Monday 15 October 1666

Called up, though a very rainy morning, by Sir H. Cholmley, and he and I most of the morning together evening of accounts, which I was very glad of. Then he and I out to Sir Robt. Viner’s, at the African house (where I had not been since he come thither); but he was not there; but I did some business with his people, and then to Colvill’s, who, I find, lives now in Lyme Streete, and with the same credit as ever, this fire having not done them any wrong that I hear of at all. Thence he and I together to Westminster Hall, in our way talking of matters and passages of state, the viciousness of the Court; the contempt the King brings himself into thereby; his minding nothing, but doing all things just as his people about him will have it; the Duke of York becoming a slave to this whore Denham, and wholly minds her; that there really was amours between the Duchesse and Sidney; a that there is reason to fear that, as soon as the Parliament have raised this money, the King will see that he hath got all that he can get, and then make up a peace. He tells me, what I wonder at, but that I find it confirmed by Mr. Pierce, whom I met by-and-by in the Hall, that Sir W. Coventry is of the caball with the Duke of York, and Bruncker, with this Denham; which is a shame, and I am sorry for it, and that Sir W. Coventry do make her visits; but yet I hope it is not so. Pierce tells me, that as little agreement as there is between the Prince —[Rupert]— and Duke of Albemarle, yet they are likely to go to sea again; for the first will not be trusted alone, and nobody will go with him but this Duke of Albemarle. He tells me much how all the commanders of the fleete and officers that are sober men do cry out upon their bad discipline, and the ruine that must follow it if it continue. But that which I wonder most at, it seems their secretaries have been the most exorbitant in their fees to all sorts of the people, that it is not to be believed that they durst do it, so as it is believed they have got 800l. apiece by the very vacancies in the fleete. He tells me that Lady Castlemayne is concluded to be with child again; and that all the people about the King do make no scruple of saying that the King do lie with Mrs. Stewart, who, he says, is a most excellent-natured lady. This day the King begins to put on his vest, and I did see several persons of the House of Lords and Commons too, great courtiers, who are in it; being a long cassocke close to the body, of black cloth, and pinked with white silke under it, and a coat over it, and the legs ruffled with black riband like a pigeon’s leg; and, upon the whole, I wish the King may keep it, for it is a very fine and handsome garment.1 Walking with Pierce in the Court of Wards out comes Sir W. Coventry, and he and I talked of business. Among others I proposed the making Sir J. Minnes a Commissioner, and make somebody else Comptroller. He tells me it is the thing he hath been thinking of, and hath spoke to the Duke of York of it. He believes it will be done; but that which I fear is that Pen will be Comptroller, which I shall grudge a little. The Duke of Buckingham called him aside and spoke a good while with him. I did presently fear it might be to discourse something of his design to blemish my Lord of Sandwich, in pursuance of the wild motion he made the other day in the House. Sir W. Coventry, when he come to me again, told me that he had wrought a miracle, which was, the convincing the Duke of Buckingham that something — he did not name what — that he had intended to do was not fit to be done, and that the Duke is gone away of that opinion. This makes me verily believe it was something like what I feared. By and by the House rose, and then we parted, and I with Sir G. Carteret, and walked in the Exchequer Court, discoursing of businesses. Among others, I observing to him how friendly Sir W. Coventry had carried himself to him in these late inquiries, when, if he had borne him any spleen, he could have had what occasion he pleased offered him, he did confess he found the same thing, and would thanke him for it. I did give him some other advices, and so away with him to his lodgings at White Hall to dinner, where my Lady Carteret is, and mighty kind, both of them, to me. Their son and my Lady Jemimah will be here very speedily. She tells me the ladies are to go into a new fashion shortly, and that is, to wear short coats, above their ancles; which she and I do not like, but conclude this long trayne to be mighty graceful. But she cries out of the vices of the Court, and how they are going to set up plays already; and how, the next day after the late great fast, the Duchesse of York did give the King and Queene a play. Nay, she told me that they have heretofore had plays at Court the very nights before the fast for the death of the late King: She do much cry out upon these things, and that which she believes will undo the whole nation; and I fear so too. After dinner away home, Mr. Brisband along with me as far as the Temple, and there looked upon a new booke, set out by one Rycault, secretary to my Lord Winchelsea, of the policy and customs of the Turks, which is, it seems, much cried up. But I could not stay, but home, where I find Balty come back, and with him some muster-books, which I am glad of, and hope he will do me credit in his employment. By and by took coach again and carried him home, and my wife to her tailor’s, while I to White Hall to have found out Povy, but miss him and so call in my wife and home again, where at Sir W. Batten’s I met Sir W. Pen, lately come from the fleete at the Nore; and here were many good fellows, among others Sir R. Holmes, who is exceeding kind to me, more than usual, which makes me afeard of him, though I do much wish his friendship. Thereupon, after a little stay, I withdrew, and to the office and awhile, and then home to supper and to my chamber to settle a few papers, and then to bed. This day the great debate was in Parliament, the manner of raising the 1,800,000l. they voted [the King] on Friday; and at last, after many proposals, one moved that the Chimney-money might be taken from the King, and an equal revenue of something else might be found for the King, and people be enjoyned to buy off this tax of Chimney-money for ever at eight years’ purchase, which will raise present money, as they think, 1,600,000l., and the State be eased of an ill burthen and the King be supplied of something as food or better for his use. The House seems to like this, and put off the debate to to-morrow.

17 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's "Tyrannus, or the Mode" (1661) announced a theme on which he elaborated thereafter: " The central point at issue was the belief that an individual style of dress was an essential part of national identity and confidence. The feeling that copying French fashion was wrong was enhanced by the customary hostility towards France, enhanced by fears of Catholicism." The text &c.:

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Fear of Holmes' excessive mateyness...Uneasy must lie the head that wears the CoA. On the other hand, Sam it may be the happy sign that your success with the Parliamentary commissioners is winning you notice as a good man to have on your side.

JKM  •  Link

"it seems their secretaries have been the most exorbitant in their fees to all sorts of the people, that it is not to be believed that they durst do it, so as it is believed they have got 800l. apiece"

Sam, having just sent sacks of accumulated gold to be stored with his family in the country, is shocked, shocked to find that people have been making private profits from their public offices!

Given that making a bit on the side seems to have been part of official culture at this time, why does he disapprove in particular of these fees?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Obviously a young Claude Rains should have played Pepys... "Shocked, shocked!"

Geoff Hallett  •  Link

Having looked at the paintings of all the ladies mentioned over the last few days , I don't know how Sam could tell who was who. They all look the same to me.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Lady Margaret Denham

She'd been married at 17 to the 50-year-old surveyor of the king's works, Sir John. She was quite a looker and caught the Duke of York's eye at court. Much more than an eye, actually. By 1667 their affair would throw the cuckolded surveyor into a paroxysm of rage. He actually storms into the King's presence, declaring himself the Holy Spirit coming in vengeance! A few days later, Margaret would fall suddenly ill and die. As she lay dying she would claim that her husband had poisoned her with a cup of chocolate. Some gossips, however, would accuse the Duchess of York of her murder. These scandalous events led the Duke to declare that he would never again take a public mistress - a promise he would not keep, as it turns out.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In this, the apocalyptic year, 1666

London Gazette Issue 96 published on the 15 October 1666, p. 2

Leg[h]orn [Livorno ], Sept. 28

"Fresh news is every day brought us of the great zeal of the Jews in the Levant, to the pretended Messiah, who flock in such numbers to him, that in one day no less then [sic] 8000 strangers were in the Castle, where he is prisoner, to see him so that when he goes abroad (which is as oft as he pleases) he is always attended as a King, to the admiration of all sober men. All this being permitted by the Grand Signior himself, who allows him a considerable daily maintenance.
"They have a new Prophet also risen in Scio [Italian for the Greek island Chios], who declares That the 16 of the Seventh Moneth or Moon, which begins the 30 instant, All the World is to see the deliverance of the Jews."

Another account of the cushy prison-time of Sabbatai Zevi (aka Shabbsai Zvi, etc.)

Less off-topic than it may seem, the career of Sabbatai Zevi took place in the context of the influence of English millenarianism

"During the first half of the 17th century, millenarian ideas of the approach of the Messianic time, and more especially of the redemption of the Jews and their return to the land of Israel, with their own independent sovereignty, were popular. The apocalyptic year was identified by Christian authors as 1666. This belief was so dominant that Manasseh ben Israel, in his letter to Oliver Cromwell and the Rump Parliament, did not hesitate to use it as a motive for his plea for the readmission of the Jews into England, remarking "the opinions of many Christians and mine do concur herein, that we both believe that the restoring time of our Nation into their native country is very near at hand"."

It's been awhile since Pepys wrote about the threats of millennarians, but they are still feared by authorities who watch and imprison certain nonconformists.

The Mollusc  •  Link

Feelings running high about high fees

Sam is not shocked at the customary surcharges made on offering someone a captaincy in the Navy (or anyother high office). He is taken aback (to keep the nautical theme) to hear of the amounts that were extracted for those few transactions.

He would insist that his extra-curricular earnings are reasonable in proportion to the profit potential that he offers others...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Dangerous game being a royal mistress...Lucky Castlemaine to have gentle Queen Catherine and Roger Palmer as her injured parties.

djc  •  Link

"with the same credit as ever, this fire having not done them any wrong that I hear of at all. "

Crisis! What Crisis? Bankers back in business again.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Pierce chatters on about "the contempt the King brings himself into thereby; his minding nothing, but doing all things just as his people about him will have it; the Duke of York becoming a slave to this whore Denham" etc.

Was it only five weeks ago that everyone was praising the Stuart bros. for their on-the-ground leadership in fighting the Great Fire and helping its victims?

A nice illustration of the theme in King Lear's words of comfort to Cordelia (Act V, Scene 3): they will, he says,

"hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies"

CGS  •  Link

Breeches: noted also warn by the ladies of the stage.
“…The breeches the Spanish cut…”

….Mrs. Lee’s strength was in romantic and tragic roles. She
was very popular in breeches. …

pg 159
also see page 72.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I wish the King may keep it, for it is a very fine and handsome garment."

L&M: The costume was in two senses a war measure, being both economical and anti-French. Both Rugge and Anthony Wood state that the King first wore the costume on the 14th, but Pepys's statement is probably to be preferred. Several courtiers had wagered that the King would soon abandon it and the King was said to have accepted the bet at 100 to 1: Evelyn, 18 October. Pepys very soon bought an outfit for himself: see It became the prototype of the later coat and waistcoat, displacing jerkin and doublet, and was worn until c. 1670-2. Fore the story of Louis XIV's counter-measure, see and

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"But she cries out of the vices of the Court, and how they are going to set up plays already"

On 18 October Evelyn saw a performance of Mephisto at the Cockpit, the royal private theatre adjoining Whitehall Palace. (L&M note)

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