Tuesday 14 March 1664/65

Up before six, to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon dined with Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes, at the Tower, with Sir J. Robinson, at a farewell dinner which he gives Major Holmes at his going out of the Tower, where he hath for some time, since his coming from Guinny, been a prisoner, and, it seems, had presented the Lieutenant with fifty pieces yesterday. Here a great deale of good victuals and company.

Thence home to my office, where very late, and home to supper and to bed weary of business.

14 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"with Sir J. Robinson, at a farewell dinner which he gives Major Holmes at his going out of the Tower, where he hath for some time, since his coming from Guinny"

Pepys had written in his Diary 9 January 1664/65, "Holmes was this day sent to the Tower, but I perceive it is made matter of jest only; but if the Dutch should be our masters, it may come to be of earnest to him, to be given over to them for a sacrifice, as Sir W. Rawly [Raleigh] was." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1… So Holmes had been in the Tower for 63 days or 9 weeks.

Pedro  •  Link

"Major Holmes at his going out of the Tower, where he hath for some time, since his coming from Guinny, been a prisoner,"

Actually Holmes had been relaesed under surveilance from the 23rd January and recommitted on the 14th February.

Ollard, in his biography of Holmes, suggests that the gift shows that the Royal Company did not have it all their own way.

Pedro  •  Link

“relaesed under surveilance”

Spelling…Go to the bottom of the class!

Paul Dyson  •  Link

"At noon dined with Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes, at the Tower, with Sir J. Robinson, at a farewell dinner which he gives Major Holmes at his going out of the Tower"

Sort of Spoiler.

Good practice for Sam! In 1679 he will will be a prisoner in the Tower himself.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The persons who fêted Major Holmes at dinner upon his departure from the Tower were the members of the Navy Board not at sea -- Mr. S. Pepys, Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes --, and the host, Sir J. Robinson, his Majesty’s Lieutenant of the Tower of London.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"Here a great deale of good victuals ..."

Interesting that as SP has risen in the world, and his access to fine food more frequent, his descriptions of the menu have become more terse, the decreasing references to venison pasties as one example; given his past enthusiasm for that dish I can't believe he has either given it up or that venison has become mundane.

dirk  •  Link

The Rev. Josselin's diary:

The weather is changing...

"the last I saw of the frost, the ice generally melted, and the frost gone out of the ground, it continued, from Wednesday Decemb. 21. to this day being 12. weeks very violent. this an effect of the blazing star, and now it tends to drought"

JWB  •  Link

For a discussion of the casus belli for a 2nd Dutch War look though this Google preview of Pincus's "Protestantism and Patriotism" starting @ about page 290:


Carl in Boston  •  Link

It is hard for me to accept that Holmes the prisoner sat at dinner with Robinson his jailer and parted friendly like. Police and lawyers do this every day, but I can't fathom this. Presumably Holmes was put up in The Presidential Suite at The Tower, at His Majesty's pleasure. Doubtless His Majesty thought of Holmes every day, and Holmes went back to work for His Majesty as if nothing ever happened.

language hat  •  Link

That's a very interesting link, JWB. (The Amazon page has the "Search inside" feature, which is equally useful, especially if you run into pages Google won't let you see: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos… ) Here's an excerpt from pp. 291-93:

Did the English people believe they were finally about to begin the long-desired trade war against their primary commercial rival? Did they believe this conflict would immediately and significantly improve their standard of living?

In fact, very few thought that war with the Dutch would be in their short-term economic self-interest. Most were convinced, as was Sir George Downing, that "this war . . . must necessarily for the present stop and hinder a great deal of trade and draw away a great deal of money extraordinary for ship provisions and the like." In the event, Downing's fears proved to be greatly understated. Trade, wrote one East India merchant, "was never more interrupted from the beginning of the world by those unnatural wars now in Europe, where the several princes seem to play at nine pins to tip down one another." ...

When war was declared, the historian James Ralph later recalled, "the East India Company of England was struck with terrible apprehensions and made no scruple to give out that it was a court war, which was set on foot solely for the interest of the Duke of York, and some other great persons, who were engag'd with him."

Pedro  •  Link

“Presumably Holmes was put up in the Presidential Suite"

Carl, as a follower of the exploits of Holmes, I think it is better understood if taken in the context of the events over the last few years.

Holmes was very close to Prince Rupert having fought alongside him on land and sailed with him in the Interregnum Fleet, which had visited the coast of West Africa before turning to the West Indies. It was on the African coast that Rupert saw the profit to be gained in gold and other trade if the Dutch, who had ousted the Portuguese, could be dislodged.

James was not a lover of Holmes, but being a big stakeholder along with Charles in the Royal Africa Company, would find no one better man to send on the First expedition than Holmes with his knowledge of the coast. On his arrival back Holmes had exceeded his duties and his commission was withdrawn, but Sam could not help but wonder at his wealth, even bringing back the baboon.

On the second expedition his commission was drawn up by Coventry and signed by the Duke, but was open to interpretation and gave him much scope. There was also the hidden agenda, not in writing, to provoke war with the Dutch. Letters to Williamson, the main intelligence man of time, show that Holmes was expected to do the business and “they” expected good news to follow.

On his return and imprisonment in the Tower, Sam had remarked that “it is made matter of jest only”. During this time James had written to him, addressing him as Captain Holmes of the Jersey, and ordering him to hand over the gold to the Company. He was released for a period under surveillance to see to the Company’s business and no doubt his own. He appears to have been recommitted to the Tower to face a second examination, probably as a formality, and Charles is eager to get one of his best fighting men out with the fleet.

jeannine  •  Link

"Presumably Holmes was put up in the Presidential Suite”

Apparently there was a level of different status when in the Tower. In 1693, a Gentleman for the Bedchamber to CII and James, who had remained loyal to their cause found himself on the losing side of William and ended up in the Tower. In his bio, The Life and Loyalties of Thomas Bruce” by the Earl of Cardigan we get to see inside his unusual stay when he ended up a prisoner in the house of a warder…

“The first few weeks of the imprisonment were particularly trying, owing that the great difficulty of learning, except by rumor, what was going on in the world outside. Ailesbury’s health began to suffer, but at least he was about to obtain an interview with two members of the Cabinet Council….. the latter was kindly and helpful and arranged for a doctor to visit the prisoner, and also for Lady Ailesbury to be immured voluntarily in the Tower, so as to live with her husband and see to his well-being.

Elizabeth, always the loyal wife, welcomed this concession….she came gladly, bringing her personal maid, Ann Speight, and another as a cook. Thomas already had with him a valet, and thus a small, independent household was set up within the warder’s home.”

Of course, in this situation, it became easy to send out for food, sneak in paper and keep up wo date with those who could help his imprisonment. One can only wonder what level of service was provided to Holmes, but, as he’d obviously aided the intentions of CII, he very easily could have had a celebrity’s stay.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"It is hard for me to accept that Holmes the prisoner sat at dinner with Robinson his jailer and parted friendly like. "

A friend, Elizabeth St.John, has written a book *The Lady of the Tower* about Lady Lucy St.John Apsley, wife of Sir Allen Apsley, Keeper of the Tower under King James. It's based on family documents and the diary of her daughter, Lucy Hutchinson, wife of the regicide Col. John Hutchinson. Yes, that's 40 years before Pepys, but things worked much the same. Buying positions, taking fees off-the-top for service, monopolies -- and paying off the Keeper when you leave, or are executed.

How people were treated varied by how much they could pay, and how the King wanted them to be treated. For instance:

One example (not from her book):

From 1605-1622 the Martin Tower in the Tower of London housed an illustrious guest. A gentleman of high fashion, good looks, keen intellect, loyal to friends and congenial to his hosts who could hardly be called jailers, as they went to great lengths to assure his comfort and entertainment.

Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland's occupancy of the Martin Tower was well known as his rooms occupied most, if not all, of it. He entertained often and lavishly, and used it as the center of operations for his widespread business enterprises. Among his frequent guests were his son and heir, his pet fox, and Sir Walter Raleigh.

From his arrival on 27 November, 1605 (after the Gunpowder Plot) the man nicknamed The Wizard Earl made himself at home.

If rumors circulating in 1622 held any truth, when Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland was released, he was loathe to leave as his apartment housed much of his celebrated library. He owned one of the largest collections of books in Britain. They covered a broad range of topics, many related to alchemy. His interest in natural philosophy (what we call science) earned him the moniker The Wizard Earl.

Richard Lomas in *A Power In The Land* (Tuckwell Press, 1999) and other sources describe Northumberland's suite in the Martin Tower as having multiple dining rooms, a drawing room, gardens with access to a tennis court, and enough space to accommodate 20 servants. And of course there was a bowling alley. Servants ran between his home, Syon House, and the Martin Tower with imported delicacies.

Northumberland perfected his game of Ten Pins, read books, poured fine wine, smoked tobacco with Sir Walter Raleigh, and later dined and gambled with his fellow prisoners, Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset and his murderous countess Lady Frances Howard.

For more: http://englishhistoryauthors.blog…

Meanwhile Jesuits were on the rack, in the building next door.

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