Thursday 4 April 1667
Up, and going down found Jervas the barber with a periwigg which I had the other day cheapened at Westminster, but it being full of nits, as heretofore his work used to be, I did now refuse it, having bought elsewhere. So to the office till noon, busy, and then (which I think I have not done three times in my life) left the board upon occasion of a letter of Sir W. Coventry, and meeting Balty at my house I took him with me by water, and to the Duke of Albemarle to give him an account of the business, which was the escaping of some soldiers for the manning of a few ships now going out with Harman to the West Indies, which is a sad consideration that at the very beginning of the year and few ships abroad we should be in such want of men that they do hide themselves, and swear they will not go to be killed and have no pay. I find the Duke of Albemarle at dinner with sorry company, some of his officers of the Army; dirty dishes, and a nasty wife at table, and bad meat, of which I made but an ill dinner. Pretty to hear how she talked against Captain Du Tell, the Frenchman, that the Prince and her husband put out the last year; and how, says she, the Duke of York hath made him, for his good services, his Cupbearer; yet he fired more shot into the Prince’s ship, and others of the King’s ships, than of the enemy. And the Duke of Albemarle did confirm it, and that somebody in the fight did cry out that a little Dutchman, by his ship, did plague him more than any other; upon which they were going to order him to be sunk, when they looked and found it was Du Tell, who, as the Duke of Albemarle says, had killed several men in several of our ships. He said, but for his interest, which he knew he had at Court, he had hanged him at the yard’s-arm, without staying for a Court-martiall. One Colonel Howard, at the table, magnified the Duke of Albemarle’s fight in June last, as being a greater action than ever was done by Caesar. The Duke of Albemarle, did say it had been no great action, had all his number fought, as they should have done, to have beat the Dutch; but of his 55 ships, not above 25 fought. He did give an account that it was a fight he was forced to: the Dutch being come in his way, and he being ordered to the buoy of the Nore, he could not pass by them without fighting, nor avoid them without great disadvantage and dishonour; and this Sir G. Carteret, I afterwards giving him an account of what he said, says that it is true, that he was ordered up to the Nore. But I remember he said, had all his captains fought, he would no more have doubted to have beat the Dutch, with all their number, than to eat the apple that lay on his trencher.
My Lady Duchesse, among other things, discoursed of the wisdom of dividing the fleete; which the General said nothing to, though he knows well that it come from themselves in the fleete, and was brought up hither by Sir Edward Spragge. Colonel Howard, asking how the prince did, the Duke of Albemarle answering, “Pretty well;” the other replied, “But not so well as to go to sea again.” — “How!” says the Duchess, “what should he go for, if he were well, for there are no ships for him to command? And so you have brought your hogs to a fair market,” said she. [It was pretty to hear the Duke of Albemarle himself to wish that they would come on our ground, meaning the French, for that he would pay them, so as to make them glad to go back to France again; which was like a general, but not like an admiral.] One at the table told an odd passage in this late plague: that at Petersfield, I think, he said, one side of the street had every house almost infected through the town, and the other, not one shut up. Dinner being done, I brought Balty to the Duke of Albemarle to kiss his hand and thank him for his kindness the last year to him, and take leave of him, and then Balty and I to walk in the Park, and, out of pity to his father, told him what I had in my thoughts to do for him about the money — that is, to make him Deputy Treasurer of the fleete, which I have done by getting Sir G. Carteret’s consent, and an order from the Duke of York for 1500l. to be paid to him. He promises the whole profit to be paid to my wife, for to be disposed of as she sees fit, for her father and mother’s relief. So mightily pleased with our walk, it being mighty pleasant weather, I back to Sir G. Carteret’s, and there he had newly dined, and talked, and find that he do give every thing over for lost, declaring no money to be raised, and let Sir W. Coventry name the man that persuaded the King to take the Land Tax on promise, of raising present money upon it. He will, he says, be able to clear himself enough of it. I made him merry, with telling him how many land-admirals we are to have this year: Allen at Plymouth, Holmes at Portsmouth, Spragge for Medway, Teddiman at Dover, Smith to the Northward, and Harman to the Southward. He did defend to me Sir W. Coventry as not guilty of the dividing of the fleete the last year, and blesses God, as I do, for my Lord Sandwich’s absence, and tells me how the King did lately observe to him how they have been particularly punished that were enemies to my Lord Sandwich. Mightily pleased I am with his family, and my Lady Carteret was on the bed to-day, having been let blood, and tells me of my Lady Jemimah’s being big-bellied. Thence with him to my Lord Treasurer’s, and there walked during Council sitting with Sir Stephen Fox, talking of the sad condition of the King’s purse, and affairs thereby; and how sad the King’s life must be, to pass by his officers every hour, that are four years behind-hand unpaid. My Lord Barkeley [of Stratton] I met with there, and fell into talk with him on the same thing, wishing to God that it might be remedied, to which he answered, with an oath, that it was as easy to remedy it as anything in the world; saying, that there is himself and three more would venture their carcasses upon it to pay all the King’s debts in three years, had they the managing his revenue, and putting 300,000l. in his purse, as a stock. But, Lord! what a thing is this to me, that do know how likely a man my Lord Barkeley of all the world is, to do such a thing as this. Here I spoke with Sir W. Coventry, who tells me plainly that to all future complaints of lack of money he will answer but with the shrug of his shoulder; which methought did come to my heart, to see him to begin to abandon the King’s affairs, and let them sink or swim, so he do his owne part, which I confess I believe he do beyond any officer the King hath, but unless he do endeavour to make others do theirs, nothing will be done. The consideration here do make me go away very sad, and so home by coach, and there took up my wife and Mercer, who had been to-day at White Hall to the Maundy, it being Maundy Thursday; but the King did not wash the poor people’s feet himself, but the Bishop of London did it for him, but I did not see it, and with them took up Mrs. Anne Jones at her mother’s door, and so to take the ayre to Hackney, where good neat’s tongue, and things to eat and drink, and very merry, the weather being mighty pleasant; and here I was told that at their church they have a fair pair of organs, which play while the people sing, which I am mighty glad of, wishing the like at our church at London, and would give 50l. towards it. So very pleasant, and hugging of Mercer in our going home, we home, and then to the office to do a little business, and so to supper at home and to bed.