Wednesday 9 January 1666/67
Up, and with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen in a hackney-coach to White Hall, the way being most horribly bad upon the breaking up of the frost, so as not to be passed almost. There did our usual [business] with the Duke of York, and here I do hear, by my Lord Bruncker, that for certain Sir W. Coventry hath resigned his place of Commissioner; which I believe he hath done upon good grounds of security to himself, from all the blame which must attend our office this next year; but I fear the King will suffer by it. Thence to Westminster Hall, and there to the conference of the Houses about the word “Nuisance,”1 which the Commons would have, and the Lords will not, in the Irish Bill. The Commons do it professedly to prevent the King’s dispensing with it; which Sir Robert Howard and others did expressly repeat often: viz., “the King nor any King ever could do any thing which was hurtful to their people.” Now the Lords did argue, that it was an ill precedent, and that which will ever hereafter be used as a way of preventing the King’s dispensation with acts; and therefore rather advise to pass the Bill without that word, and let it go, accompanied with a petition, to the King, that he will not dispense with it; this being a more civil way to the King. They answered well, that this do imply that the King should pass their Bill, and yet with design to dispense with it; which is to suppose the King guilty of abusing them. And more, they produce precedents for it; namely, that against new buildings and about leather, wherein the word “Nuisance” is used to the purpose: and further, that they do not rob the King of any right he ever had, for he never had a power to do hurt to his people, nor would exercise it; and therefore there is no danger, in the passing this Bill, of imposing on his prerogative; and concluded, that they think they ought to do this, so as the people may really have the benefit of it when it is passed, for never any people could expect so reasonably to be indulged something from a King, they having already given him so much money, and are likely to give more. Thus they broke up, both adhering to their opinions; but the Commons seemed much more full of judgment and reason than the Lords.
Then the Commons made their Report to the Lords of their vote, that their Lordships’ proceedings in the Bill for examining Accounts were unparliamentary; they having, while a Bill was sent up to them from the Commons about the business, petitioned his Majesty that he would do the same thing by his Commission. They did give their reasons: viz., that it had no precedent; that the King ought not to be informed of anything passing in the Houses till it comes to a Bill; that it will wholly break off all correspondence between the two Houses, and in the issue wholly infringe the very use and being of Parliaments. Having left their arguments with the Lords they all broke up, and I by coach to the ordinary by the Temple, and there dined alone on a rabbit, and read a book I brought home from Mrs. Michell’s, of the proceedings of the Parliament in the 3rd and 4th year of the late King, a very good book for speeches and for arguments of law.
Thence to Faythorne, and bought a head or two; one of them my Lord of Ormond’s, the best I ever saw, and then to Arundell House, where first the Royall Society meet, by the favour of Mr. Harry Howard, who was there, and has given us his grandfather’s library, a noble gift, and a noble favour and undertaking it is for him to make his house the seat for this college. Here was an experiment shown about improving the use of powder for creating of force in winding up of springs and other uses of great worth. And here was a great meeting of worthy noble persons; but my Lord Bruncker, who pretended to make a congratulatory speech upon their coming hither, and in thanks to Mr. Howard, do it in the worst manner in the world, being the worst speaker, so as I do wonder at his parts and the unhappiness of his speaking.
Mr. Cowling did this day in the House-lobby tell me of the many complaints among people against Mr. Townsend in the Wardrobe, and advises me to think of my Lord Sandwich’s concernment there under his care. He did also tell me upon my demanding it, that he do believe there are some things on foot for a peace between France and us, but that we shall be foiled in it.