Wednesday 22 May 1667
Up, and by water to White Hall to Sir G. Carteret, who tells me now for certain how the Commission for the Treasury is disposed of: viz., to Duke of Albemarle, Lord Ashly, Sir W. Coventry, Sir John Duncomb, and Sir Thomas Clifford: at which, he says, all the whole Court is disturbed; it having been once concluded otherwise into the other hands formerly mentioned in yesterday’s notes, but all of a sudden the King’s choice was changed, and these are to be the men; the first of which is only for a puppet to give honour to the rest. He do presage that these men will make it their business to find faults in the management of the late Lord Treasurer, and in discouraging the bankers: but I am, whatever I in compliance do say to him, of another mind, and my heart is very glad of it, for I do expect they will do much good, and that it is the happiest thing that hath appeared to me for the good of the nation since the King come in. Thence to St. James’s, and up to the Duke of York; and there in his chamber Sir W. Coventry did of himself take notice of this business of the Treasury, wherein he is in the Commission, and desired that I would be thinking of any thing fit for him to be acquainted with for the lessening of charge and bettering of our credit, and what our expence hath been since the King’s coming home, which he believes will be one of the first things they shall enquire into: which I promised him, and from time to time, which he desires, will give him an account of what I can think of worthy his knowledge. I am mighty glad of this opportunity of professing my joy to him in what choice the King hath made, and the hopes I have that it will save the kingdom from perishing and how it do encourage me to take pains again, after my having through despair neglected it! which he told me of himself that it was so with him, that he had given himself up to more ease than ever he expected, and that his opinion of matters was so bad, that there was no publick employment in the kingdom should have been accepted by him but this which the King hath now given him; and therein he is glad, in hopes of the service he may do therein; and in my conscience he will. So into the Duke of York’s closet; and there, among other things, Sir W. Coventry did take notice of what he told me the other day, about a report of Commissioner Pett’s dealing for timber in the Navy, and selling it to us in other names; and, besides his own proof, did produce a paper I had given him this morning about it, in the case of Widow Murford and Morecocke, which was so handled, that the Duke of York grew very angry, and commanded us presently to fall into the examination of it, saying that he would not trust a man for his sake that lifts up the whites of his eyes. And it was declared that if he be found to have done so, he should be reckoned unfit to serve the Navy; and I do believe he will be turned out; and it was, methought, a worthy saying of Sir W. Coventry to the Duke of York, “Sir,” says he, “I do not make this complaint out of any disrespect to Commissioner Pett, but because I do love to do these things fairly and openly.”
Thence I to Westminster Hall with Sir G. Carteret to the Chequer Chamber to hear our cause of the Lindeboome prize there before the Lords of Appeal, where was Lord Ashly, Arlington, Barkely, and Sir G. Carteret, but the latter three signified nothing, the former only either minding or understanding what was said. Here was good pleading of Sir Walter Walker’s and worth hearing, but little done in our business. Thence by coach to the Red Lyon, thinking to meet my father, but I come too soon, but my wife is gone out of town to meet him. I am in great pain, poor man, for him, lest he should come up in pain to town. So I staid not, but to the ’Change, and there staid a little, where most of the newes is that the Swedes are likely to fall out with the Dutch, which we wish, but how true I know not. Here I met my uncle Wight, the second day he hath been abroad, having been sick these two months even to death, but having never sent to me even in the greatest of his danger. I do think my Aunt had no mind I should come, and so I never went to see him, but neither he took notice of it to me, nor I made any excuse for it to him, but past two or three How do you’s, and so parted and so home, and by and by comes my poor father, much better than I expected, being at ease by fits, according as his truss sits, and at another time in as much pain. I am mighty glad to see him come well to town. So to dinner, where Creed comes. After dinner my wife and father abroad, and Creed and I also by water, and parted at the Temple stairs, where I landed, and to the King’s house, where I did give 18d., and saw the two last acts of “The Goblins,” a play I could not make any thing of by these two acts, but here Knipp spied me out of the tiring-room, and come to the pit door, and I out to her, and kissed her, she only coming to see me, being in a country-dress, she, and others having, it seemed, had a country-dance in the play, but she no other part: so we parted, and I into the pit again till it was done. The house full, but I had no mind to be seen, but thence to my cutler’s, and two or three other places on small, errands, and so home, where my father and wife come home, and pretty well my father, who to supper and betimes to bed at his country hours. I to Sir W. Batten’s, and there got some more part of my dividend of the prize-money. So home and to set down in writing the state of the account, and then to supper, and my wife to her flageolet, wherein she did make out a tune so prettily of herself, that I was infinitely pleased beyond whatever I expected from her, and so to bed.
This day coming from Westminster with W. Batten, we saw at White Hall stairs a fisher-boat, with a sturgeon that he had newly catched in the River; which I saw, but it was but a little one; but big enough to prevent my mistake of that for a colt, if ever I become Mayor of Huntingdon!1