Wednesday 3 October 1660

With Sir W. Batten and Pen by water to White Hall, where a meeting of the Dukes of York and Albemarle, my Lord Sandwich and all the principal officers, about the Winter Guard, but we determined of nothing. To my Lord’s, who sent a great iron chest to White Hall; and I saw it carried, into the King’s closet, where I saw most incomparable pictures. Among the rest a book open upon a desk, which I durst have sworn was a reall book, and back again to my Lord, and dined all alone with him, who do treat me with a great deal of respect; and after dinner did discourse an hour with me, and advise about some way to get himself some money to make up for all his great expenses, saying that he believed that he might have any thing that he would ask of the King.

This day Mr. Sheply and all my Lord’s goods came from sea, some of them laid of the Wardrobe and some brought to my Lord’s house.

From thence to our office, where we met and did business, and so home and spent the evening looking upon the painters that are at work in my house.

This day I heard the Duke speak of a great design that he and my Lord of Pembroke have, and a great many others, of sending a venture to some parts of Africa to dig for gold ore there. They intend to admit as many as will venture their money, and so make themselves a company. 250l. is the lowest share for every man. But I do not find that my Lord do much like it.

At night Dr. Fairbrother (for so he is lately made of the Civil Law) brought home my wife by coach, it being rainy weather, she having been abroad today to buy more furniture for her house.

14 Annotations

Paul Brewster  •  Link

advise about getting of some way to get himself some money
L&M insert the phrase "getting of". I suspect Wheatley was just cleaning up SP's wording.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"so make themselves a company. 250l. is the lowest share"
The Restoration was much more than just a choice between Parliament and a limited monarchy. It also brought back culture, license (in various forms!), science, and commerce. Here we witness the birth of investment securities.
At time Montagu and Pembroke are planning these ventures, in Holland they are forming the Dutch East India Company, and soon we'll have the British equivalent, and off we go from trade to empire.
Last week it was tea, today it's profit-making-adventuring. Hold on to your perukes, friends, here comes the British Empire.

helena murphy  •  Link

Were the pictures already in the closet or did the iron chest contain them? If so we may assume that they are pictures which formed part of his father's vast collection which was sold off after his death by the Commonwealth.Charles II tried very hard to reassemble the original collection but sadly many works were irretrievably lost.

Mary  •  Link

The illusionist picture

L&M note refers to ' A picture of a book upon the closet door' recorded as belonging James II's collection. The picture was later at Kensington Palace, but is not recorded in the inventories of the royal collection after 1714.

Mary  •  Link

The Royal African Company

(per L&M) was eventually incorporated on 18 December 1660; it consisted of the Duke of York and 31 others. Pembroke was the chairman and Sandwich became a member.

Michiel van der Leeuw  •  Link

Dutch East India Company
This company, known as the VOC, was not (as David says) formed in these years, but already established in 1602.

Alan  •  Link

''which I durst have sworn was a reall book'' Why is SP so excited about this? Does reall mean royal?

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"which I durst have sworn was a reall book" Why is SP so excited about this? Does reall mean royal?

I believe the reference is to a trompe l’oeil painting on a door panel on the closet door. He had seen, and been impressed by, similar paintings in the Netherlands a few months ago.

Pauline  •  Link

"Why is SP so excited about this?"
I think we are so accustomed to seeing pictures depicting things "really" and to photographs that we cannot imagine (or relive) Sam's astonishment at seeing a book in a painting that looks very very real.

Getting the perspective exact is what makes an image most life-like. I wonder if the artist in this case used a camera obscura. See the following link for a discussion of Vermeer's possible use of a camera obscura in the 17th century:…

vincent  •  Link

"trading co." who first? It is a matter of who said what when ?
one version.?The East India Company chartered by the British crown and ultimately responsible to the parliament, launched British rule in India. The British East India Company was established under a Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I for 15 years for spice trading on 31st December 1600 AD with the capital of £70,000.…
Voc 1602:…

Kevin Peter  •  Link

The Royal African Company was originally called the "Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa". After eventual financial failure (mostly due to the war with Holland) it was reorganized in 1672 as the Royal African Company.

The Royal African Company began the British slave trade in the late 1600s, since labor was badly needed in the Caribbean colonies. It had a monopoly on the slave trade, transporting an average of 5000 slaves a year, until Parliament repealed its monopoly in 1698.

Bill  •  Link

Capt. Robert Holmes, who we met in June 1660, will command this gold-hunting, Dutch-baiting, empire-building expedition to Africa in January. See his encyclopedia entry for more details:

Dick Wilson  •  Link

And of course it never occurred to anyone to ask the Africans.

Tonyel  •  Link

'she having been abroad today to buy more furniture for her house.'
The entry a few days ago referred to Bess buying a bed for "her" chamber which I took to mean her separate private room. This sounds as though Sam has given her responsibility for furnishing the whole house which he now sees as her domain.

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