Tuesday 17 March 1662/63
Up betimes and to my office a while, and then home and to Sir W. Batten, with whom by coach to St. Margaret’s Hill in Southwark, where the judge of the Admiralty came, and the rest of the Doctors of the Civill law, and some other Commissioners, whose Commission of Oyer and Terminer was read, and then the charge, given by Dr. Exton, which methought was somewhat dull, though he would seem to intend it to be very rhetoricall, saying that justice had two wings, one of which spread itself over the land, and the other over the water, which was this Admiralty Court. That being done, and the jury called, they broke up, and to dinner to a tavern hard by, where a great dinner, and I with them; but I perceive that this Court is yet but in its infancy (as to its rising again), and their design and consultation was, I could overhear them, how to proceed with the most solemnity, and spend time, there being only two businesses to do, which of themselves could not spend much time. In the afternoon to the court again, where, first, Abraham, the boatswain of the King’s pleasure boat, was tried for drowning a man; and next, Turpin, accused by our wicked rogue Field, for stealing the King’s timber; but after full examination, they were both acquitted, and as I was glad of the first, for the saving the man’s life, so I did take the other as a very good fortune to us; for if Turpin had been found guilty, it would have sounded very ill in the ears of all the world, in the business between Field and us.
So home with my mind at very great ease, over the water to the Tower, and thence, there being nobody at the office, we being absent, and so no office could be kept. Sir W. Batten and I to my Lord Mayor’s, where we found my Lord with Colonel Strangways and Sir Richard Floyd, Parliament-men, in the cellar drinking, where we sat with them, and then up; and by and by comes in Sir Richard Ford. In our drinking, which was always going, we had many discourses, but from all of them I do find Sir R. Ford a very able man of his brains and tongue, and a scholler. But my Lord Mayor I find to be a talking, bragging Bufflehead, a fellow that would be thought to have led all the City in the great business of bringing in the King, and that nobody understood his plots, and the dark lanthorn he walked by; but led them and plowed with them as oxen and asses (his own words) to do what he had a mind when in every discourse I observe him to be as very a coxcomb as I could have thought had been in the City. But he is resolved to do great matters in pulling down the shops quite through the City, as he hath done in many places, and will make a thorough passage quite through the City, through Canning-street, which indeed will be very fine. And then his precept, which he, in vain-glory, said he had drawn up himself, and hath printed it, against coachmen and carrmen affronting of the gentry in the street; it is drawn so like a fool, and some faults were openly found in it, that I believe he will have so much wit as not to proceed upon it though it be printed.
Here we staid talking till eleven at night, Sir R. Ford breaking to my Lord our business of our patent to be justices of the Peace in the City, which he stuck at mightily; but, however, Sir R. Ford knows him to be a fool, and so in his discourse he made him appear, and cajoled him into a consent to it: but so as I believe when he comes to his right mind tomorrow he will be of another opinion; and though Sir R. Ford moved it very weightily and neatly, yet I had rather it had been spared now.
But to see how he do rant, and pretend to sway all the City in the Court of Aldermen, and says plainly that they cannot do, nor will he suffer them to do, any thing but what he pleases; nor is there any officer of the City but of his putting in; nor any man that could have kept the City for the King thus well and long but him. And if the country can be preserved, he will undertake that the City shall not dare to stir again. When I am confident there is no man almost in the City cares a turd for him, nor hath he brains to outwit any ordinary tradesman.