Wednesday 12 March 1661/62

At the office from morning till night putting of papers in order, that so I may have my office in an orderly condition. I took much pains in sorting and folding of papers. Dined at home, and there came Mrs. Goldsborough about her old business, but I did give her a short answer and sent away.

This morning we had news from Mr. Coventry, that Sir G. Downing (like a perfidious rogue, though the action is good and of service to the King,1 yet he cannot with any good conscience do it) hath taken Okey, Corbet, and Barkestead at Delfe, in Holland, and sent them home in the Blackmore.

Sir W. Pen, talking to me this afternoon of what a strange thing it is for Downing to do this, he told me of a speech he made to the Lords States of Holland, telling them to their faces that he observed that he was not received with the respect and observance now, that he was when he came from the traitor and rebell Cromwell: by whom, I am sure, he hath got all he hath in the world, — and they know it too.2

25 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Chapin  •  Link

That guy Downing
was a piece of work, wasn't he? I've just reread the annotations on him, and I'm amazed that somebody with his well-known history of double crosses could rise and stay as high in public and official favor as he seems to have done. His timing must have been uncanny. We think of today's politicians as unprincipled careerists, but I'm hard pressed to think of a one that equals Downing in that respect.

vicenzo  •  Link

Resolved, That this House doth agree with the Council of State, that Mr. Downing have Credentials from the Parliament, unto the States-General, and the Provinces of Holland, as to the Ratification of that Treaty, and the Business of the Sound

From: British History Online
Source: House of Commons Journal Volume 7: 30 June 1659. Journal of the House of Commons: volume 7, (1802).
Date: 13/03/2005

vicenzo  •  Link

N.B. Sam did not mind working for him initially, only later does he make side commnts?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Mrs Golsborough
We haven't heard from her since October, when Sam was hoping not to have to go to law with her. Now, it seems, he can afford to be very high-handed with her. Has the threat of law-dealing faded away? Anyone with the L&M edition throw any light as to what is going on here??

Pauline  •  Link

Mrs Goldsborough
Aussie Susan, L&M has no entry for her. Her demands and Sam's problem with her come up in Oct. 15, 17 & 18 entries of last year. Here's the link for the 15th:…

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: Sam did not mind working for Downing initially

I dunno about that, Monsieur Vincente ... I remember having the distinct impression during the early days that Sam disliked his boss, and did indeed make comments about his duplicitous/grumpy/demanding nature. (I'm too pressed for time to find entries to back me up ... maybe someone can help out?)

JWB  •  Link

"...I am sure, he hath got all he hath in the world..."
And so could Sam. Without Downing sifting the faculties of Oxford & Cambridge and promoting promissing young puritans to the student bodies, Sam would most likely have been doing brother Tom's job.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"Okey, Corbet, and Barkestead" had all signed the death warrant of Charles I, and had all fled to Holland on the restoration of Charles II. Obviously, they had not counted on the perfidy of their former ally, Downing.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

George Downing:
Interesting to note that, as part of his reward for switching to the King, he was given a plot of land which became Downing Street - the home of some slippery characters even to the present day!

vicenzo  •  Link

"dunno about that, Monsieur Vincente "
On Downing: reading for Jan '60 with hindsight, it be nice: at the time before Sam had all the answers:
"...So I went down and sent a porter to my house for my best fur cap, but he coming too late with it I did not present it to him..." Was it then just to be on the safe side. ? Id est P.C..…
then the misses[mrs] was upset :
"...seemed angry that I had not been at the office that day, and she told me she was afraid that Mr. Downing may have a mind to pick some hole in my coat. So I made haste to him, but found no such thing from him..."… ..."

Clement  •  Link

From Lawrence's annotation for 15 Oct, '61:

"Mrs Goldsborough" Per L&M "She owed £10 to the estate of Robert Pepys, and presumably did not want her address to be known for fear of arrest. There was also some dispute about the mortgage on her estate…

john lauer  •  Link

Mrs. Goldsborough must look like Schrödinger’s cat to L&M.

Peter  •  Link

Some while back I was musing on the wide range of topics that come up in relation to the diary. It struck me that there seemed to be no limit as to what could come up and that undoubtedly at some point on this great journey, by some strange means,quantum mechanics would be raised. John Lauer, you did it!

Australian Susan  •  Link

So are we now pondering the meaning of existence and reality?
Does Mrs G exist outside of Sam entries for last October and now this one?

vicenzo  •  Link

Sorry LH, I am not amazed,'Tis this type that fools all of us, History is full of them, MOLES they be. Smile , it is the secret weapon of many, always reinforce the the opinion of the Leader. Read Descartes his first 3 rules of logic, it goes "...never accept anything for true which I did not clearly know to be such..."

"Stiltus est qui stratum , non equum inspicit; stultissimus qui hominem aut veste aut condicione aestimat"
seneca the younger XVII 23,25
Stupid is he who inspects the saddle and not the horse, more stupid who judges the man by his Tea shirt or Tie or his car. [not exact,liberties be taken]
[google will give true answer]

language hat  •  Link

"Sorry LH, I am not amazed"

I was quoting Paul Chapin (just as I am quoting you in the headline here) -- I myself am no more amazed than you, having read my classics and the daily papers.

vicenzo  •  Link

so sorry! must put my specs on;

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

A bit of a black-ops extraordinary rendition for the regicides:

Berkstead, Cobbet, and Okey, three regicides, had escaped beyond sea; and after wandering some time concealed in Germany, came privately to Delft, having appointed their families to meet them in that place. They were discovered by Downing, the King's resident in Holland, who had formerly served the Protector and Commonwealth in the same station, and who once had even been Chaplain to Okey's regiment. He applied to the States for a warrant to arrest them. It had been usual for the States to grant these warrants; though at the same time, they had ever been careful secretly to advertise the persons, that they might be enabled to make their escape. This precautlon was eluded by the vigilance and dispatch of Downing. He quickly seized the criminals, hurried them on board a frigate which lay off the coast, and sent them to England.
---The history of England. David Hume, 1763.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

DNB writes:

‘As [Downing] later boasted to Pepys: he ‘ . . had so good spies, that he hath had the keys taken out of De Witts pocket when he was a-bed, and his closet opened and the papers brought to him and left in his hands for an [hour], and carried back and laid in the place again and the keys put in his pocket again . . ‘

His efforts culminated in 1662 in the triumph of scoutmastering from which his personal reputation would never recover: the apprehension and return for execution in England of the three regicides John Okey, Miles Corbet, and John Barkstead. It was not simply that the men had effectively been kidnapped on the territory of a foreign sovereign state. On the scaffold it fell to Okey to forgive his own ‘Chaplaine who pursued my life to the Death’. This achievement brought Downing a baronetcy and the personal attention of the king. Lucrative offices followed . .

It is against the same background, however, that Downing's extraordinary contribution to Restoration fiscal reconstruction and state building, the basis of his real historical importance, must be understood . . ‘

Peter Stoddard  •  Link

Sir George Downing's sister, Mary, whom history shows to be a far more pleasant person than her brother, married linen merchant Anthony Stoddard of Boston, my immigrant ancestor. George is my 8th great-granduncle. Anthony and Mary Downing Stoddard had a son, Solomon, who became an influential minister in western Massachusetts.

Following graduation from Harvard and a 2 years of service as chaplain in Barbados, Solomon planned to return to England, his belongings on board a ship set to sail the next day, when elders from the Northampton Church persuaded him to instead become their pastor.

Solomon's plan had been to tie his fortunes to his uncle, George Downing, in England. Downing went on to become a traitorous rogue, and Solomon a very godly man. It would be interesting to know who would have influenced whom had Solomon gone to England.

jimmigee  •  Link

Recommend Charles Spencer's book, Killers of the King (2014), about the regicides and figures such as Downing.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Sir W. Pen, talking to me this afternoon of what a strange thing it is for Downing to do this, he told me of a speech he made to the Lords States of Holland, telling them to their faces that he observed that he was not received with the respect and observance now, that he was when he came from the traitor and rebell Cromwell: by whom, I am sure, he hath got all he hath in the world, — and they know it too."

L&M: Since October 1661 Downing had refused to attend any conferences with the deputies of the States General because they denied him the courtesies which he claimed they had always in the past given to ambassadors, himself included. See his dispatches to Clarendon (25 October, and 8 November: Bodl., Clar. 105, ff. 86+, 108+), in which he blamed de Witt and the republicans. Downing had previously served in The Hague, 1657-60.

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