Saturday 15 December 1666

Up and to the office, where my Lord Bruncker newly come to town, from his being at Chatham and Harwich to spy enormities: and at noon I with him and his lady Williams, to Captain Cocke’s, where a good dinner, and very merry. Good news to-day upon the Exchange, that our Hamburgh fleete is got in; and good hopes that we may soon have the like of our Gottenburgh, and then we shall be well for this winter. Very merry at dinner. And by and by comes in Matt. Wren from the Parliament-house; and tells us that he and all his party of the House, which is the Court party, are fools, and have been made so this day by the wise men of the other side; for, after the Court party had carried it yesterday so powerfully for the Paper-Bill,1 yet now it is laid aside wholly, and to be supplied by a land-tax; which it is true will do well, and will be the sooner finished, which was the great argument for the doing of it. But then it shews them fools, that they would not permit this to have been done six weeks ago, which they might have had. And next, they have parted with the Paper Bill, which, when once begun, might have proved a very good flower in the Crowne, as any there. So do really say that they are truly outwitted by the other side.

Thence away to Sir R. Viner’s, and there chose some plate besides twelve plates which I purpose to have with Captain Cocke’s gift of 100l., and so home and there busy late, and then home and to bed.

17 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"And next, they have parted with the Paper Bill, which, when once begun, might have proved a very good flower in the Crowne, as any there."

Doesn't matter, we got the money...Sam can afford to make a pun.

So are we seeing the first of Tories and Whigs battling it out here? Rather charming that it begins with admiration for the "wise men" of the other side.

JWB  •  Link

" spy enormities..."

I take to mean to discover what not thought proper.

CGS  •  Link

enormities [ excess in bacheesh? ] [2 x 4s being used for home repairs, Masts for children's Maypole the usual stuff that drops off the donkey cart be my take]

[ad. Fr. énormité, ad. L. {emac}normit{amac}tem, f. {emac}normis (see ENORM).]

1. Divergence from a normal standard or type; abnormality, irregularity. Obs. or arch.

b. concr. Something that is abnormal; an irregularity, extravagance, eccentricity. Obs.

2. Deviation from moral or legal rectitude. In later use influenced by ENORMOUS 3: Extreme or monstrous wickedness.
b. concr. A breach of law or morality; a transgression, crime; in later use, a gross and monstrous offence.

3. Excess in magnitude; hugeness, vastness. Obs.; recent examples might perh. be found, but the use is now regarded as incorrect.

CGS  •  Link

Samuell gets the low down on what really did happen, the expurgated copy is in the House.

cape henry  •  Link

"...his party of the House, which is the Court party, are fools, and have been made so this day by the wise men of the other side..." Now here is a difference twixt that time and this. Just try to imagine any person in the A Party admitting that any person or idea of the B Party is in any way "wise." Though this was said in private, allied company, to be sure, there seems to be a genuine recognition and approbation on the merits.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

"Thence away to Sir R. Viner’s, and there chose some plate besides twelve plates which I purpose to have with Captain Cocke’s gift of 100l."
So much more subtle than a fat brown envelope.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"to spy enormities"
Methinks it means to spy a lot,like the CIA.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"wise men"

I think the meaning here is "clever, skilled" rather than worthy to be followed. Not so surprising to hear such rueful comments being expressed from one insider to another, whatever the public posture may be. Politics is full of maneuvers, and it would be a dull and ineffective pol who failed see he had been outmaneuvered, and to examine why.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" spy enormities..."

"So your trip was productive, my Lord?"

"Pepys, the things I learned as to what is going on...Unbelievable, the theft...The graft."

"A sad state of affairs, my Lord."

"Deplorable. And do you know Pepys, I've even heard that merchants and other suppliers are attempting to bribe some of our pursers and victualling clerks...With rumors that the corruption penetrates to higher levels."


"Unbelievable, my Lord. Were any names mentioned, my Lord? That we might proceed..."

"My investigations are continuing...And we must be vigilant, Samuel. Your own victualling staff will be essential in uncovering these crimes against the people and Nation."

"I shall look to it, my Lord, with all good heart."

"And worst of all..." Bruncker sighs, motioning Sam to a secure corner.

"My Lord...?"

"Sam. I have had reports that women...Wives and daughters of some of our employees...Have been abused, forced to grant...Dare I say it?...Sexual favors...To some in authority over them. Truly monstrous, eh Samuel? Such evil must be hunted down and purged without mercy. I shall recommend the death penalty to the King."

Sam?...Pats a coughing Pepys...

"A crime deserving the most severe and swift punishment, my Lord."

language hat  •  Link

"Methinks it means to spy a lot,like the CIA."

No, it means to look for irregularities. Read the definition CGS so helpfully posted.

CGS  •  Link

" the wise men of the other side..."
a bit tongue in cheek?
wise man OED:
b. Ironically applied to a fool or simpleton, as in the wise men of Gotham (see GOTHAM 1).
[1471 Paston Lett. III. 32 Yonge Wyseman othyrwy[s]e callyd Foole.] 1526, c1560 [see GOTHAM 1].

1596 RALEIGH Discov. Guiana 5 Who like Wise men in the absence of their Captaine followed the Indians.

1711 Countrey-Mans Lett. to Curate 32 It were..too Churlish to grudge these talkers the Character of the only Wisemen of G{emem}

Australian Susan  •  Link

The King's Friends were the first sort of recognised Parliamentary grouping which could be called a Party. We are seeing the beginnings of this here. But even when Parties were well established in the 19th century, voting was still being done according to social networking rather than straight Party lines. Valerie Cromwell of the History Dept. at the University of Sussex did some interesting work on finding this out by analyzing voting patterns of 19th c Parliaments. I worked as her research asst. for a time (we are talking 1979 here, folks). So it is not really like Democrats and Republicans or Liberal and Labor (Oz) or Labour and Conservative (UK contemp) - very loose grouping.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

121. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The gentleman who reached the English ambassador (fn. 2) has brought the most definite news from Braganza.... He must be recognised as king or else as an enemy.....
The earl of Sanduich....expressed regret at a difficulty which has now been rendered insurmountable....
It is certain that the peace and the royal title are as much abhorrent to them here as they are desired in Lisbon....
...It is quite true that they suspect that Braganza, being so closely united with the king [of England], his brother-in-law, both in blood and by pledges, is unable to consent to any proposal unless it is supported or put forward by his mediation.....
In some Juntas they have begun to discuss the question of settling the difficulties of trade with England..... It is feared that England will not agree, and seeing itself so powerful at sea, it may choose to lay down the law to the weaker party [i.e. Spain]. The ambassadors of France and Holland are watching this particular question with the closest attention. If the government [of Spain] makes any concession in favour of the British king, they will immediately wish to forestall it, especially for free trade in the Indies....
Madrid, the 15th December, 1666.
[Italian; deciphered.]…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Today in Commons Pepys's interest continues to lie with the
Supply Bill.…

Resolved, &c. That the House will, on Monday Morning next, resolve into a Committee of the whole House, to proceed on the Bill for the monthly Assessment: And that they do fill up the Blanks in that Bill for raising so much of the whole One million Eight hundred thousand Pounds Supply for his Majesty, which shall be found wanting on the Estimate of the Poll Bill.

And then the House adjourned till Monday Morning, Eight of the Clock.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"the most definite news from Braganza.... He must be recognised as king or else as an enemy.....
The earl of Sanduich....expressed regret at a difficulty which has now been rendered insurmountable...."

Recently I questioned why we call the Queen "Catherine of Braganza" and not Catherine of Portugal. This indicates that her brother, Carlos II, called himself "of Braganza" also. If recognized as a King, I'm thinking it would mark Spain's recognition of the independence of Portugal from Spain, at which time he might change to Carlos II of Portugal? We shall see, no doubt.

Carlos has thus made England's desired alliance with Spain -- to counter-balance the French/Dutch alliance -- more difficult. Crazy brothers-in-law can be so inconsiderate, considering that Charles II kept his word and sent the English troops to help free Portugal.

No wonder Charles II left Sandwich in Spain for another year, despite needing his talent to lead the Navy since Rupert seems to have blackened Monck's reputation, and Monck is having a hissy fit. Diplomatic continuity counts.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

33 MP's missed roll call, so they don't know that Charles II cancelled Christmas recess because the Supply Bill MUST be funded. They have until Tuesday to pay a fine or be arrested:

"Mr. Secretary Morice delivers a Message, in Writing, from his Majesty to Mr. Speaker: Which was twice read; and is as followeth;
"HIS Majesty is sorry, that the Difficulty his House of Commons hath met with, hath detained them so long, without perfecting his Supply. His Majesty could wish, That the Posture of His Affairs would permit the giving His Two Houses a short Recess at Christmas: But the Season of the Year being considered, and how much the necessary Preparations against the Spring depend upon the Dispatch of the Supply He assures Himself is preparing for Him, He cannot think it consistent with His Service, and the public Safety, to permit any Adjournment (except for the chief Festival Days), until That, and the other most public Bills, be perfected; which he desires may be hastened; and which his Majesty should be glad, if possible, might be finished by Christmas, as well for their Ease, as for his own Service. Given at the Court at Whitehall, the 15 Day of December, 1666.

"Defaulters at Call of the House.
"The House then proceeded to Call over the Names of such Members as were Defaulters in attending the Service of the House, according to former Order.
"Resolved, &c. That these Persons following be sent for in Custody of the Serjeant at Arms, for their Default in not attending the Service of the House; viz. Sir Edmond Pye, Sir John Roll, Sir Geo. S. Sonds, Mr. Hen. Williams, Mr. Wm. Stanley, Mr. Robert Pierpoint, Mr. Hen. Wallop, Mr. John Elliot, Mr. John Harris, Sir Thomas Hele, Mr. John George, Mr. Jeffery Rishton, Sir Wm. Fenwicke, Sir Wm. Oglander, Sir Edw. Littleton, Mr. Wm. Blois, Mr. Richard Cooke, Sir John Lewknor, Mr. Edw. Blaker, Mr. Henry Goreing, Mr. Henry Baynton, Sir John Hotham, Mr. Roger Talbott, Lord Herbert of Cardiffe, Sir John Rouse, Mr. Charles Cornwallis, Sir John Stapeley, Sir Cecil Bishopp, Sir Clement Fisher, Mr. Wm. Thompson, Mr. John Vaughan, Mr. Wm. Griffith, Mr. Edgcome.
"Resolved, &c. That the Serjeant shall not go, or send, to take any of the Persons Defaulters into Custody, till Tuesday next."

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.