Wednesday 20 November 1661

To Westminster Hall by water in the morning, where I saw the King going in his barge to the Parliament House; this being the first day of their meeting again. And the Bishops, I hear, do take their places in the Lords House this day. I walked long in the Hall, but hear nothing of news, but what Ned Pickering tells me, which I am troubled at, that Sir J. Minnes should send word to the King, that if he did not remove all my Lord Sandwich’s captains out of this fleet, he believed the King would not be master of the fleet at its coming again: and so do endeavour to bring disgrace upon my Lord. But I hope all that will not do, for the King loves him.

Hence by water to the Wardrobe, and dined with my Lady, my Lady Wright being there too, whom I find to be a witty but very conceited woman and proud. And after dinner Mr. Moore and I to the Temple, and there he read my bill and likes it well enough, and so we came back again, he with me as far as the lower end of Cheapside, and there I gave him a pint of sack and parted, and I home, and went seriously to look over my papers touching T. Trice, and I think I have found some that will go near to do me more good in this difference of ours than all I have before. So to bed with my mind cheery upon it, and lay long reading Hobbs his “Liberty and Necessity,” and a little but very shrewd piece, and so to sleep.

38 Annotations

First Reading

Gus Spier  •  Link

Now there's a coincidence ... "Freedonm and Necessity" (ISBN 0-812-56261-5) is the title of a novel by Steven Brust and Emma Bull. I highly recommend it if you've any interest in 19th Century England. Briefly, it brings to the fore the conditions after the Chartist troubles in England and is a damned good read.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...that Sir J. Minnes should send word to the King, that if he did not remove all my Lord Sandwich's captains out of this fleet, he believed the King would not be master of the fleet at its coming again: and so do endeavour to bring disgrace upon my Lord.”

The power struggle begins in earnest…
Gee and Sir John M. seemed such a gentle, scholarly fellow.

“But I hope all that will not do, for the King loves him.”

Loves Montague, eh?…’Loves’ one of those who called his mother a French whore, a leader of the forces of Cromwell who drove his father from the throne and cut his head off, defeated (Charles II) and exiled him, and a man who casually betrayed his old comrades-in-arms for honors and a fat payoff by the new government? Hmmn…

I think Sam’s sharp political sense is failing him in evaluating Charles Stuart Jr. Though he may simply have burned too many boats to want to risk suspecting his patron is not as secure as he wants to believe.

vicente  •  Link

oh! ya ya "Parliaments are restored to their primitive Lustre and Integrity"

"...My Lords, and Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I know the Visit I make you this Day is not necessary, is not of Course: Yet, if there were no more in it, it would not be strange that I come to see, what you and I have so long desired to see, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and the Commons of England met together, to consult for the Peace and Safety of Church and State, by which Parliaments are restored to their primitive Lustre and Integrity: I do heartily congratulate with you for this Day. But, My Lords and Gentlemen, as My Coming hither at this Time is somewhat extraordinary; so the Truth is, the Occasion of My Coming is more extraordinary. It is to say something to you on My own Behalf, to ask somewhat of you for Myself; which is more than I have done of you, or of those who met here before you, since My Coming into England
.... etc:"
From: British History Online
Source: House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 20 November 1661. Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11, ().
Date: 21/11/2004

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn's diary today:

"To Lond: the discourse was about a Vernish that should resist all Weathers, & preserve yron from rust; but fire would not dry it, nor boyling water fetch it off: ..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Given the first moves here against Montague, I begin to see why Sir William Penn, Cromwellian naval hero, apart from the natural fellowship of two guys who love life as he and Sam do, has been so anxious to cultivate Sam's friendship, surrounded as he is now by long-time supporters of the King's cause, Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Mennes.

The Diary gives a fascinating glimpse here of Stuart's careful moves in resecuring his throne...He's put a few old prominent Cromwellians who turned coats into reasonably good, but not dangerous positions and is slowly, patiently beginning to eliminate or at least, neutralize them after discrediting them by having them turn on those who would not recant. If I were Lord Sandwich I would not be too comfortable with the King's and Duke's 'love'.

vicente  •  Link

"...Gee and Sir John M. seemed such a gentle, scholarly fellow...." Power begets the one item all salesmen [or super salesmen Politicians: they have nutin to sell except charm]have, smile while fleecing yer pocket. Tis wot seperates man from beast: its his beautiful smile and charming debonaire words, dripping with everything ye want to hear
Phaeddrus doth say in Fabulae , III 9 ,1
"Vulgare amici nomen , sed rara est fides."
the word Friend is common, the fact is rare.
if that don't ring the bell then Beware of Greeks bearing gifts [especially nice words]…

vicente  •  Link

Note Charley II is not without political skill in and out of the boudoir. In his first acceptance speech, he made sure that the sailors 'eard that they would get their chits [did not say when]inspite of the fact that they had fought against him and he picked his victims for sweet revenge very carefully, i.e. those who lacked juice with the miscreants that had been running the country. If he had sacked the lot, like some may have suggested, he would be in another insurgent war, weeding out misfits and those that were stubborn was a very artfull way of getting his crown and funds to keep his lower brain happy.
Good example of head or title: Downing and his fellow travellers. There are not that many idealistic types who stand on principle before tumtum. It is better to cull than to destroy all ones enemies at one time. Too many Men easily change opinions with a good dollop of money.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Something tells me that on rushing to London to get his experienced and loyal captains retained Montague will get a pleasant smile and pat on the head from the King, a vague promise that something will be done, perhaps a nice medal, some new little trinket of an honor, or maybe a little cash or preferably (from Charles' pov) credit...And within the month all but a handful of his loyal ole boys will be replaced by trusted, (if not necessarily competent naval officers), old Cavaliers.

I would suspect Abermarle (General Monck) is getting the same treatment. Unless Charlie has judged him a fool as Montague did and ruled him out as a potential threat.

Our Charles has learned some lessons in exile...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Note Charley II is not without political skill in and out of the boudoir..."

I've always thought Charles Stuart Jr was underrated for his brilliant political skill, owing to the bedroom and mistress nonsense, at least at the start of his restoration...The 'Merry Monarch' is a crafty manipulator who's learned how to use men in ways his father never could. It's a little sad that he's dismissed at times by historians as a lightweight simply because he didn't use that skill to bloodthirsty ends, for the most part sparing his victims and making them his creatures when possible rather than murdering the lot. So far he's managed to come back from nothing and win back his kingdom without firing a shot (sure opportunity, but he dodged many a slip along the way), outfoxed some of Cromwell's best men who hoped to make him their creature, and driven the Presbyterian fanatics out of their greatest stronghold, the church. All while seeming a rather jolly and careless fellow...

Mary  •  Link

"a witty but very conceited woman and proud"

Sam doesn't like her much, does he? Perhaps some of her wit was aimed at him.

In this instance it looks very much as if Pepys is using the word 'conceited' in much the same way as it would be used today. However, in the mid-17th century it could also be used to mean 'opinionated' as well as witty, clever or amusing. Since Sam additionally describes Lady Wright as witty and proud, it's possible that his 'conceited' may mean 'opinionated' in this context.

Pedro.  •  Link

The King.

Some quotes from Bishop Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715) about Charles relevant to today's discussion?..

"He had a good understanding, was well acquainted with the state of affairs both at home and abroad, and had an easy affability and softness of temper that charmed all that came near him, until they were made sensible how little his good looks, and kind words, and fair promises, wherein he was liberal to excess, were to be depended on".
His compass of knowledge was considerable; for he understood physic and chemistry, mechanics and navigation well, and the architecture of a ship a little more exactly than what became a prince...
His private opinion of people was very odd. He thought no man sincere or woman honest, out of principle; but whenever they proved so, humour or vanity was at the bottom of it. No one, he fancied, served him out of love, and therefore he endeavoured to be quits with the world by loving others as little as he thought they loved him...
(About relationship with Palmer) His passion for her, and her strange behaviour to him, disordered him so that he was oftentimes neither master of himself nor capable of business, and therefore committed the care of all to the management of the Earl of Clarendon.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"His private opinion of people was very odd. He thought no man sincere or woman honest, out of principle; but whenever they proved so, humour or vanity was at the bottom of it. No one, he fancied, served him out of love, and therefore he endeavoured to be quits with the world by loving others as little as he thought they loved him."

Actor George Saunders as Charles caught this brilliantly in the old film “Forever Amber…” and it fits perfectly with the events in Stuart’s life which forced him, like poor Claudius (at least the fictional fellow of “I, Claudius” and “Claudius the God”) to trust no one. And surrounded by folks like the turncoats Penn and Montague, the treacherous Batten (who betrayed his Parliamentary naval command to join the Royalists when things were going their way in the War), what other line than to trust no one can he take? What actually fascinates me about Charles is his innate kindness…He is removed from all around him, and can never give his trust to them (both for psychological and practical reasons) but rather than simply plotting revenge, he tries to spare feelings and use all kindly (after eliminating the Puritan hold-outs, who are simply too dangerous to leave alive…And whose public executions help to discredit their treacherous old comrades). At the same time he’s carefully neutered and made increasingly dependent old Cromwellians like Penn and Montague who might otherwise one day form a core of opposition while retaining their services. Imagine what it must cost him to take Montague by the hand and assure him of his constant affection…Though by now it must be an old trick to him. James, the more uptight and upright brother of the pair, isn’t quite able to bend so well…A fatal flaw as history will show, though he is able to win the devotion of men like Pepys to him when he wants to make the effort and so must have had a fair degree of Charles’ charm. But not his political skill and sense of the realities…

David A. Smith  •  Link

"So to bed with my mind cheery upon it"
Nothing settles the mind like reviewing a complex and troubling matter and finding, amidst the candle-flickering papers, the ah-ha moment "that will go near to do me more good in this difference of ours than all I have before."
Visions of sugarplums dance in his head ....

David A. Smith  •  Link

"But I hope all that will not do"
Disraeli once famously said, 'Nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. Only permanent interests.'
He might have learned this by studying Charles II and *his* faithful first minister (as then called) Edward Hyde. Barrels of ink have been spilled chronicling the enigma of Charles's thought processes ... because if he did not accomplish much in his reign, he survived it and died in his bed, and he spent most of the time playing with few cards in his hand.

JWB  •  Link

CII's skills, baloney...
"There has rarely been a group of leaders who so seriously shifted the course of modern history as did the little clique who surrounded Charles II from the summer of 1660 to the autumn of 1667. Only three of them, Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon after the Restoration, Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury after 1673, and John Lord Berkeley, brother of the Virginia governor, were of high aristocratic stock. The others were self-made men who knew even better than Clarendon and Shaftesbury the art of personal aggrandizement: George Monck, earl of Albemarle, Henry Bennet, earl of Arlington, Sir George Carteret, onetime pirate and the "richest man in England", Sir George Downing of Harvard College, and two merchants, Martin Noell and Thomas Povey.5 Nearly all of these were members of the privy council and thus guided the policy of the crown; these controlling members of the council were also the masters of His Majesty's famous board of trade and plantations which worked out the new British colonial and commercial program; they likewise dominated both the East India Company and the new African slave trade corporation, in which the Duke of York and the king's "devoted" sister, the Duchess of Orleans, were heavy stockholders. Every important political and economic interest of Restoration England was thus under the control of eight intimates of His Majesty who were "interlocking" directors of one political and three commercial boards.6

Their purposes were clearly revealed in the Clarendon Code of 1662-1665, which decreed a complete surrender of all dissenters to the State Church, dismissed at a single stroke twelve hundred clergymen, cast such men as John Bunyan and Richard Baxter into prison, and sometimes executed groups of religious or political opponents who refused to surrender. If church folk held private meetings, they were expelled from the country and subject to execution if they returned..." Wm, E. Dodd, Am. Hist. Review, Jan'35

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"CII's skills, baloney...” jwb

But Charles Jr rode herd on the bunch and you ought to know what happened to Hyde and others who tried to grab too much… Charles’ skill is best seen in how little his hand was recognized. All of the crew you mentioned, JWB, who thought they were running things, wound up disgraced, removed from office, neutralized and discredited, or worse.

Charles got lazy in time and became too hopeful of emulating Louis XIV’s style of rule, but he was smiling on the throne long after all those who thought they had him in their pocket were out. James on the other hand, perhaps a more honest but far less skilled politician flopped…Disasterously.

JWB  •  Link

CII-the cowboy king?
He rode herd on none but fops & whores. Hyde fell because he couldn't deliver the goods to revanchist cavalier parliament, not by C's machinations. Skill seen by not being seen? Seeing's believing. Believe the word history derives from the Greek "to see".

David A. Smith  •  Link

"he believed the King would not be master of the fleet"
If I were the King and heard such talk, I would become deeply skeptical of *both* Sandwich (Montagu, no e, commenters!) who is accused of becoming hight and mighty, *and* Minnes whose leak is transparently self-serving.
As a result -- speculation alert! -- I suspect that from here on out Charles II will be gradually moving both gentlemen away from thelevers of power.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"for the King loves him"
Politics is the art of the possible.
And since history is by definition a string of irreproducible results, one can judge Charles II, at least in macro, only in comparison to those around him.
* His father was executed, triggering a civil war.
* The Protector left no legacy.
* His younger brother was run out of town on a rail within four years.
* Meanwhile ...
Goofy Charles took office in a broken Treasury, outlasted a string of ambitious courtiers, successfully kept his religion an enigma, extracted thousands of pounds of subsidy from Louis XIV for sweet fanny adam, and died in his bed, beloved of his people. Not bad use of the cards he was dealt.
His record has two major blemishes:
* The licentiousness of his court, which bred rank corruption and in which he led the vanguard.
* His passivity in the face of the 1670's Popish Plot hysteria.
And, though he was royally generous with his seed, he was also gracious enough to remain married despite his wife's inability to give him an heir, showing a greater chivalry that his Tudor forerunner, Henry VIII.

vicente  •  Link

Ah! but the City did prosper and grow, it attracted folks from around the globe. The masses were distracted by the sports in and out of bed, while the real barons did accumulate wealth, 14 generations later, the power and money is still under their control.
Always have a Front man to take the bad eggs and rotten tomatoes.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

It's my opinion Charles' survival is the proof of his political skill...A master at balancing factions and men against each other probably not matched by any but Elizabeth I and Henry IV. As a military leader, inept and lucky of course, but despite some fiascos he dodged true disaster and as a diplomat handled himself well. Contrast his ability to keep the lid on to brother James, father Charles, grandfather James in the midst of overcoming years of unrest and strife and it's my opinion you have to grant him a prominent place among England's politician-kings.

(JWB, I let the 'baloney' pass but I gotta say on the 'cowboy' stuff...Are you afraid your opinions are that weak you have to try and belittle mine this way instead of just making a good point? Cause I ain't impressed with that kinda stuff, though I'm pleased to debate with you as I love Tudor-Stuart history. I respect your opinions, how's about a little towards mine?...They're both only our opinions, after all.)

Pedro.  •  Link

From the link of Vincente-…

His Majesty commanded the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod to signify His Pleasure to the House of Commons, “That they presently come up and attend him,” who immediately came with their Speaker.

And on this day 23 November 2004..

The Queen’s Speech is delivered by the Queen from the Throne in the House of Lords. The speech is given in the presence of members of both Houses, the Commons being summoned to hear the speech by an official known as ‘Black Rod’. In a symbol of the Commons’ independence, the door to their chamber is slammed in his face and not opened until he has knocked on the door with his staff of office. Although the speech is made by the Queen, the content of the speech is entirely drawn up by the Government and approved by the Cabinet.…

vicenti  •  Link

opinion [opinio,onis/ opinor,-ari,-atus][ a conjecture/ to suppose]; a belief not based on absolute certainly or positive knowledge i.e a viewpoint amongst other synonyms.
I don't expect any one to agree with any of mine, but I do like to opine. Thank goodness for this place to graffitize my version of looking thru pink spectacles.

vicenti  •  Link

" to ask somewhat of you for Myself; which is more than I have done of you," from H of Lauds: see above.
My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for
you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. ...… - 13k

Pedro.  •  Link

Thank goodness for this place to graffitize.

Opinon makes this such an interesting site, so let us not commit any metaphysical conjecture to the flames.

Glyn  •  Link

Sam's bedtime reading is different from my own. (The Da Vinci Code? - pah!) One forgets how serious this young man is.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Another vote for Charles II
The fascinating debate about history's judgment of C2 prompts me to add an opinion of my own. I have to preface my remark by noting that I have zero knowledge of the history of this period aside from what I have gleaned from daily reading of this wonderful blog - two years ago I couldn't have told you the difference between Charles II and Richard II. So forgive me if my opinion is either commonplace or absurd according to received historical understanding.

It seems to me that C2 deserves great credit for the Declaration of Breda. As far as I know, the concept of forgiving your opponents, in the interest of reconciling a nation, was a bold and unprecedented departure from the bloody norm of vengeance and retribution. It seems to have formed the basis for the evolution of the English political system into one in which power could be channeled and transferred by civil means rather than by combat and murder. It is an example sadly lacking in the history of some other regions of the world, such as the Middle East and the Balkans, where people still kill one another to exact justice for perceived wrongs going back centuries.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"for the King loves him"
Echoing Paul, the Breda Declaration was a master stroke of tolerance. As frankly, have Charles's other moves been up to now, no witch hunts, pardoning of his enemies (upon taking the oath of loyalty), a steadying and easy demeanor. Oil on the troubled waters.
Of course, all political honeymoons come to an end, and when they do (not a spoiler alert!), a different set of skills may be needed. But those challenges lie in Charles II's future ... at least as we readers view it.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Nov. 20 [1661]
The Parliament sate again, wherein the Lords Spiritual were restored to their Ancient Privileges.
---A Chronological History of England. J. Pointer, 1714.

Bill  •  Link

"my Lady Wright being there too, whom I find to be a witty but very conceited woman and proud"

CONCEITED, opinionated, affected, proud, puffed up.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

"my Lady Wright being there too, whom I find to be a witty but very conceited woman and proud"

I wonder if he would describe an opinionated man as conceited and proud?

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

The crucial thing about today's news is that it is "nothing ... but what Ned Pickering tells me". Pickering is currently a jealous poor relation, being Sandwich's brother "in law in law" via Sandwich's sister. His elder brother Gilbert was a regicide who had his bacon (and lands) saved by Sandwich obtaining a pardon for him. Ned's dubious gossip often has the flavour of anticipated Schadenfreude.

The important revenge, against the regicides, having already been taken, I don't buy that there is a Machiavellian plot by Charles to destroy all Commonwealth/Protectorate supporters. Some, like Sandwich's cousin Manchester, now Lord Chamberlain, had very illustrious careers under the restoration. However, the new court is a venial place; the way to the top is by flattery, bribery and backstabbery. Sandwich has always been a moderate, and is a bit too honourable to thrive in this environment; also, being abroad, he can't defend himself easily against intrigue.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Al Doman’s search gives 95 hits, beginning:

Much good discourse, and I think him a very just man, only a little conceited, but yet very able in his way, and so he by water also with me also ...
William Howe come to see me, being come up with my Lord from sea: he is grown a discreet, but very conceited fellow. He tells me how little ...
This fellow Deane is a conceited fellow, and one that means the King a great deal of service, more of disservice to other people that go away ...
... a very hopeful young man, but only a little conceited …

Mainly from 1663 on, perhaps because by then he he is secure in his own status and confident in his judgement of those he meets.

‘Conceited’ at that date meant both:

‘ . .1.c †c. Clever, witty, amusing: said of persons and their words or writings. Obs.
. . 1649 Ld. Herbert Life Henry VIII anno 1534, The pleasure he had in his conceited and merry language . . ‘


‘3. a. Having an overweening opinion of oneself, or one's own qualities, etc.; vain. Orig. self-conceited. (The principal existing sense.)
. . 1609 Bp. J. Hall Medit. & Vowes (new ed.) I. §96 A conceited man must be a foole. For, that ouerweening opinion, hee hath of himselfe, excludes al opportunity of purchasing knowledge.
. . 1710 Lady M. W. Montagu Let. 20 July (1965) I. 45 A tatling, impertinent, vain, and Conceited Creature . .
1872 C. Darwin Emotions xiii. 331 The conceited are rarely shy; for they value themselves much too highly to expect depreciation.’


Ivan  •  Link

I have just finished reading Charles Spencer's passionate and well-researched book "Killers of the King" which was published in 2014. He depicts and proves, as far as I am concerned, Charles11 as a man of vengeance. The Declaration of Breda was a smokescreen as its provisions were not to be applied to those Parliament "excepted". And Charles made sure that anyone connected, however remotely, with the death of his father was "excepted" and then savagely executed in the most abominable manner imaginable.
Men who surrendered themselves expecting some clemency and mercy were hung, drawn and quartered. The King's agents hunted down men who had fled to Europe and the Americas. I would urge people interested in this period to read Spencer's book. Having done so I think they would reject Robert Gertz's notion of Charles Stuart's "innate kindness" and Paul Chapin's idea of Charles as departing "from the bloody norm of vengeance and retribution". It was a continuation and some!!

jimmigee  •  Link

I also recommend Spencer's book.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"And the Bishops, I hear, do take their places in the Lords House this day."

L&M: The act of 1642 excluding them had been repealed in July.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I walked long in the Hall, but hear nothing of news, but what Ned Pickering tells me, which I am troubled at, that Sir J. Minnes should send word to the King, that if he did not remove all my Lord Sandwich’s captains out of this fleet, he believed the King would not be master of the fleet at its coming again: and so do endeavour to bring disgrace upon my Lord. But I hope all that will not do, for the King loves him."

Pepys says nothing about this in his letter to Sandwich today; what could Sandwich do about it, anyways?

Samuel Pepys to Sandwich
Written from: London
Date: 20 November 1661
Shelfmark: MS. Carte 73, fol(s). 619
Document type: Holograph

Entreats his Lordship's interest with the Duke of Ormonde, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in relation to his enjoyment of an "arreare" [i.e. a claim for arrears upon the Crown?] in that Kingdom which had been purchased by his father, & bequeathed to himself ...

Carte Calendar Volume 32, June - December 1661
Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Edward Edwards, 2005
Shelfmark: MS. Carte Calendar 32
Extent: 464 pages…


James Butler, Duke of Ormonde, was reappointed as the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on 4 November, 1661.…

I read this as Pepys alerting Sandwich that Pepys has been trying unsuccessfully to collect an Irish claim for Sandwich, and needs help in approaching the new Lord Lieutenant.

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