Saturday 16 November 1667

At the office all the morning, and at noon took my Lord Bruncker into the garden, and there told him of his man Carcasses proceedings against the Office in the House of Commons. I did [not] desire nor advise him anything, but in general, that the end of this might be ruin to the Office, but that we shall be brought to fencing for ourselves, and that will be no profit to the office, but let it light where it would I thought I should be as well as any body. This I told him, and so he seeming to be ignorant of it, and not pleased with it, we broke off by Sir Thos. Harvy’s coming to us from the Pay Office, whither we had sent a smart letter we had writ to him this morning about keeping the clerks at work at the making up the books, which I did to place the fault somewhere, and now I let him defend himself. He was mighty angry, and particularly with me, but I do not care, but do rather desire it, for I will not spare him, that we shall bear the blame, and such an idle fellow as he have 500l. a year for nothing. So we broke off, and I home to dinner, and then to the office, and having spent the afternoon on letters, I took coach in the evening, and to White Hall, where there is to be a performance of musique of Pelham’s before the King. The company not come; but I did go into the musique-room, where Captain Cocke and many others; and here I did hear the best and the smallest organ go that ever I saw in my life, and such a one as, by the grace of God, I will have the next year, if I continue in this condition, whatever it cost me. I never was so pleased in my life. Thence, it being too soon, I to Westminster Hall, it being now about 7 at night, and there met Mr. Gregory, my old acquaintance, an understanding gentleman; and he and I walked an hour together, talking of the bad prospect of the times; and the sum of what I learn from him is this: That the King is the most concerned in the world against the Chancellor, and all people that do not appear against him, and therefore is angry with the Bishops, having said that he had one Bishop on his side (Crofts), and but one: that Buckingham and Bristoll are now his only Cabinet Council;1 and that, before the Duke of York fell sick, Buckingham was admitted to the King of his Cabinet, and there stayed with him several hours, and the Duke of York shut out. That it is plain that there is dislike between the King and Duke of York, and that it is to be feared that the House will go so far against the Chancellor, that they must do something to undo the Duke of York, or will not think themselves safe. That this Lord Vaughan, that is so great against the Chancellor, is one of the lewdest fellows of the age, worse than Sir Charles Sidly; and that he was heard to swear, God damn him, he would do my Lord Clarendon’s business. That he do find that my Lord Clarendon hath more friends in both Houses than he believes he would have, by reason that they do see what are the hands that pull him down; which they do not like. That Harry Coventry was scolded at by the King severely the other day; and that his answer was that, if he must not speak what he thought in this business in Parliament, he must not come thither. And he says that by this very business Harry Coventry hath got more fame and common esteem than any gentleman in England hath at this day, and is an excellent and able person. That the King, who not long ago did say of Bristoll, that he was a man able in three years to get himself a fortune in any kingdom in the world, and lose all again in three months, do now hug him, and commend his parts every where, above all the world. How fickle is this man [the King], and how unhappy we like to be! That he fears some furious courses will be taken against the Duke of York; and that he hath heard that it was designed, if they cannot carry matters against the Chancellor, to impeach the Duke of York himself, which God forbid! That Sir Edward Nicholas, whom he served while Secretary, is one of the best men in the world, but hated by the Queen-Mother, for a service he did the old King against her mind and her favourites; and that she and my Lady Castlemayne did make the King to lay him aside: but this man says that he is one of the most perfect heavenly and charitable men in the whole world. That the House of Commons resolve to stand by their proceedings, and have chosen a Committee to draw up the reasons thereof to carry to the Lords; which is likely to breed great heat between them. That the Parliament, after all this, is likely to give the King no money; and, therefore, that it is to be wondered what makes the King give way to so great extravagancies, which do all tend to the making him less than he is, and so will, every day more and more: and by this means every creature is divided against the other, that there never was so great an uncertainty in England, of what would, be the event of things, as at this day; nobody being at ease, or safe. Being full of his discourse, and glad of the rencontre, I to White Hall; and there got into the theater-room, and there heard both the vocall and instrumentall musick, where the little fellow’ stood keeping time; but for my part, I see no great matter, but quite the contrary in both sorts of musique. The composition I believe is very good, but no more of delightfulness to the eare or understanding but what is very ordinary. Here was the King and Queen, and some of the ladies; among whom none more jolly than my Lady Buckingham, her Lord being once more a great man. Thence by coach home and to my office, ended my letters, and then home to supper, and, my eyes being bad, to bed.

10 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"The term Cabinet Council, as stated by Clarendon, originated thus, in 1640"

The OED dates the phrase in this sense earlier

Historically, cabinets began as smaller sub-groups of the English Privy Council. The term comes from the name for a relatively small and private room used as a study or retreat. Phrases such as "cabinet counsel," meaning advice given in private [ in cabinet ] to the monarch, occur from the late 16th century, and, given the non-standardized spelling of the day, it is often hard to distinguish whether "council" or "counsel" is meant.[2] The Oxford English Dictionary credits Francis Bacon in his Essays (1605) with the first use of "Cabinet council", where it is described as a foreign habit, of which he disapproves: "For which inconveniences, the doctrine of Italy, and practice of France, in some kings’ times, hath introduced cabinet counsels; a remedy worse than the disease".[3] Charles I began a formal "Cabinet Council" from his accession in 1625, as his Privy Council, or "private council", was evidently not private enough, and the first recorded use of "cabinet" by itself for such a body comes from 1644, and is again hostile and associates the term with dubious foreign practices.[2] The process has repeated itself in recent times, as leaders have felt the need to have a Kitchen Cabinet or "sofa government".…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sounds like Carkesse may be playing a very dangerous game if he's going on this one without Bruncker's support. Since Lord Bruncker doesn't seem to gain through this, unless he's playing his own very subtle game, it seems James really is pursuing the Office on his own or has some other support.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The reference on James does suggest he's friends with the Speaker in the Commons and probably has other support in the House. I wonder if we're seeing the beginnings of the opposition to York collecting here and if this charge of Carkesse is the opening salvo of what will be a much graver threat to York and to Sam later on when carried out by more able and powerful men. Probably be very illuminating to know who James' list of friends in Parliament were.

Barry Reich  •  Link

"...impeach the Duke of York...." I thought impeachment applied to removal from public office. Could the House actually bring an action to remove James from his royal position, brother to the King and heir-presumptive?

language hat  •  Link

"How fickle is this man, and how unhappy we like to be!"

Just to clarify, this is not the modern verb "like" -- we would now say "how unhappy we are likely to be."

nix  •  Link

Barry -- "Impeachment" is one stage in the proceedings in which a public officer is accused of wrongdoing.

1. The impeachment itself serves the same function as a grand jury indictment -- it specifies the charges and orders the person brought to trial.

2. The trial (in this case in the House of Commons) determines guilt or innocence of the offense charged.

3. If the determination is guilty, a punishment is assessed. In the United States, the punishment for conviction of a public officer upon an impeachment is removal from office. In 17th century Britain, the punishment would be whatever legal punishment applied to the offense with which the individual was charged. Since the accused was a nobleman, the punishment for treason could be beheading. (That would, of course, have the incidental effect of removal from office.)

There is more background available at… --

"Parliament developed the impeachment process as a means to exercise some measure of control over the power of the King. An impeachment proceeding in England was a direct method of bringing the King's ministers and favorites -- men who might otherwise have been beyond reach -- to account. Impeachment, at least in its early history, has been called 'the most powerful weapon in the political armory, short of civil war.' It played a continuing role in the struggles between King and Parliament that resulted in the formation of the unwritten English constitution. In this respect impeachment was one of the tools used by the English Parliament to create more responsive and responsible government and to redress imbalances when they occurred.

"The long struggle by Parliament to assert legal restraints over the unbridled will of the King ultimately reached a climax with the execution of Charles I in 1648 and the establishment of the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. In the course of that struggle, Parliament sought to exert restraints over the King by removing those of his ministers who most effectively advanced the King's absolutist purposes. Chief among them was Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. The House of Commons impeached him in 1640. As with earlier impeachments, the thrust of the charge was damage to the state. The first article of impeachment alleged

"'That he . . . hath traiterously endeavored to subvert the Fundamental Laws and Government of the Realms . . . and instead thereof, to introduce Arbitrary and Tyrannical Government against Law. . . . '

"The other articles against Strafford included charges ranging from the allegation that he had assumed regal power and exercised it tyrannically to the charge that he had subverted the rights of Parliament.

"Characteristically, impeachment was used in individual cases to reach offenses, as perceived by Parliament' against the system of government. The charges, variously denominated 'treason,' 'high treason,' 'misdemeanors,' 'malversations,' and 'high Crimes and Misdemeanors,' thus included allegations of misconduct as various as the Kings (or their ministers) were ingenious in devising means of expanding royal power."

Mark Howell  •  Link

Pepy's "theatre-room" visit here is especially important because rooms in the homes of the nobility were used for play performances since the medieval period. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries these went by the name of "Great Hall". By the eighteenth century, the term was formalised to "Great Room" (prologue to The Beggar's Opera), "Long Room" and "Assembly Room." "Assembly Rooms" built across the U. K. throughout the eighteenth century provided formal spaces for the upper and middle classes to mix socially. They were governed by "Rules" and regulations (Bristol University Theatre Collection has a copy of a set of these rules for Gloucester Hotel Assembly Room). I presume Pepys' "theatre-room" was Whitehall Banqueting House. Godfrey Richards 1663 translation of Palladio's Four Books on Architecture states clearly that Great Rooms were spaces for dancing, feasting, concerts and play performances. They provided playhouses or theatre spaces after 1737 when Robert Walpole's Stage Licensing Act abolished free play production nationally across the U. K. This Act was not repealed till 1968. Other Great Rooms used for play performances during the eighteenth century incude: the Upper Room at the market house in York (1715 or 1716), the Long Room at Clifton (1728), Lindsey’s and Harris Harrison’s Great Rooms at Bath (c.1730 to c.1750), the Long Room at the now demolished Vine Inn, Salisbury used as a permanent theatre for thirty years from (1747 – 1777), Lloyd’s Great Room at the end of the horsefair in Bristol (1749), the Long Room in the surviving Rose and Crown tavern in West Malling, Kent (1765), and an Assembly Room built by John Bass at Leicester (c.1770). (See: Mark Howell, “Planning Provincial Theatres Under the 1737 Stage Licensing Act", Theatre Notebook 43 (1989), 104-119 & Mark A. Howell, “Long, Regular and Royal Rooms,” dissertation presented for M. Litt. at the University of Bristol, 1992, 24 – 25, 30. Copy at University of Bristol Theatre Museum.)

Doug Quixote  •  Link

Further to the prospect of impeaching the Duke of York, his offices of State included being Lord High Admiral. The defeat of the Navy in the recent war would give grounds for believing that his efforts were not up to scratch. If the detractors perceived a cooling between him and the King, his position was no longer sacrosanct.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the House of Commons resolve to stand by their proceedings, and have chosen a Committee to draw up the reasons thereof to carry to the Lords."

The Vote of the Lords concerning the impeachment of the Earl of Clarendon and their reasons is printed in a footnote to Grey's Debates of the House of Commons:…

Grey's records the subsequent debate framing a reply by Commons:…

Log in to post an annotation.

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