Wednesday 28 April 1669

Up, and was called upon by Sir H. Cholmly to discourse about some accounts of his, of Tangier: and then other talk; and I find by him that it is brought almost effect ([through] the late endeavours of the Duke of York and Duchess, the Queen-Mother, and my Lord St. Albans, together with some of the contrary faction, my Lord Arlington), that for a sum of money we shall enter into a league with the King of France, wherein, he says, my Lord Chancellor —[Clarendon; then an exile in France.]— is also concerned; and that he believes that, in the doing hereof, it is meant that he [Clarendon] shall come again, and that this sum of money will so help the King that he will not need the Parliament; and that, in that regard it will be forwarded by the Duke of Buckingham and his faction, who dread the Parliament. But hereby we must leave the Dutch, and that I doubt will undo us; and Sir H. Cholmly says he finds W. Coventry do think the like. Lady Castlemayne is instrumental in this matter, and, he say never more great with the King than she is now. But this a thing that will make the Parliament and kingdom mad, and will turn to our ruine: for with this money the King shall wanton away his time in pleasures, and think nothing of the main till it be too late. He gone, I to the office, where busy till noon, and then home to dinner, where W. Batelier dined with us, and pretty merry, and so I to the office again. This morning Mr. Sheres sent me, in two volumes, Mariana his History of Spaine, in Spanish, an excellent book; and I am much obliged for it to him.

7 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"But hereby we must leave the Dutch, and that I doubt [ = fear ] will undo us"

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"it is brought almost effect...that for a sum of money we shall enter into a league with the King of France, wherein, he says, my Lord Chancellor —[Clarendon; then an exile in France.]— is also concerned"

L&M note these were the negotiations that led to the secret Treaty of Dover in 1670; that Clarendon was not concerned; but that the King would promise to declare himself a Catholic, about which Buckingham knew nothing.

More details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Treaty_of_D...

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

The Secret Treaty of Dover, 1670. Some secret, if the court knew about it more than a year ahead (though the King's promise to become Roman Catholic in exchange for Louis' money was indeed kept secret, it seems).

Sam is prescient: "But this a thing that will make the Parliament and kingdom mad, and will turn to our ruine: for with this money the King shall wanton away his time in pleasures, and think nothing of the main till it be too late."

From the Wikipedia article on the Third Anglo-Dutch War:

"Charles was receiving considerable subsidies from Louis, about ₤225,000 a year, but he preferred to spend these on the luxuries of his own court. Besides, the treaty being after all secret, these subsidies couldn't be directed to the fleet anyway.... To provide for short-term money Charles therefore on 2 January 1672 repudiated the Crown debts in the Great Stop of the Exchequer which gained him ₤1,300,000."

Some months earlier Charles decided to manufacture a pretext for war with the Dutch that involved the royal yacht Merlin and Sam's duplicitous old friend George Downing. War was joined but it came out badly for the English. In short, Charles at his worst:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Anglo-Dutch_War

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Shrewd analysis by Sam. Though I wonder if he in his private thoughts, even beyond the Diary, speculated as to this bordering on treason...It would be interesting to know if Sam has convinced himself that the King by his very nature cannot commit treason or if he's simply too circumspect to risk putting more down.

languagehat   Link to this

I don't think it would have occurred to anyone but a pretty extreme Leveller (and they were vanishingly rare by then, I would imagine) that the king was capable of committing treason; in the worldview of that time, it was a meaningless concept, like God being sinful. The king could drive the country to rack and ruin, but he could not commit treason.

Jenny   Link to this

Charles I was executed for treason.

languagehat   Link to this

Good point! I withdraw the overstatement, though not the general idea (extreme anti-monarchy ideas were, of course, more common back in the days when they were chopping off Charlie's head).

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