Sunday 23 February 1667/68

(Lord’s day). Up, and, being desired by a messenger from Sir G. Carteret, I by water over to Southwarke, and so walked to the Falkon, on the Bank-side, and there got another boat, and so to Westminster, where I would have gone into the Swan; but the door was locked; and the girl could not let me in, and so to Wilkinson’s in King Street, and there wiped my shoes, and so to Court, where sermon not yet done I met with Brisband; and he tells me, first, that our business of tickets did come to debate yesterday, it seems, after I was gone away, and was voted a miscarriage in general. He tells me in general that there is great looking after places, upon a presumption of a great many vacancies; and he did shew me a fellow at Court, a brother of my Lord Fanshaw’s, a witty but rascally fellow, without a penny in his purse, that was asking him what places there were in the Navy fit for him, and Brisband tells me, in mirth, he told him the Clerke of the Acts, and I wish he had it, so I were well and quietly rid of it; for I am weary of this kind of trouble, having, I think, enough whereon to support myself. By and by, chapel done, I met with Sir W. Coventry, and he and I walked awhile together in the Matted Gallery; and there he told me all the proceedings yesterday: that the matter is found, in general, a miscarriage, but no persons named; and so there is no great matter to our prejudice yet, till, if ever, they come to particular persons. He told me Birch was very industrious to do what he could, and did, like a friend; but they were resolved to find the thing, in general, a miscarriage; and says, that when we shall think fit to desire its being heard, as to our own defence, it will be granted. He tells me how he hath, with advantage, cleared himself in what concerns himself therein, by his servant Robson, which I am glad of. He tells me that there is a letter sent by conspiracy to some of the House, which he hath seen, about the matter of selling of places, which he do believe he shall be called upon to-morrow for: and thinks himself well prepared to defend himself in it; and then neither he, nor his friends for him, are afeard of anything to his prejudice. Thence by coach, with Brisband, to Sir G. Carteret’s, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and there dined: a good dinner and good company; and after dinner he and I alone, discoursing of my Lord Sandwich’s matters; who hath, in the first business before the House, been very kindly used beyond expectation, the matter being laid by, till his coming home and old Mr. Vaughan did speak for my Lord, which I am mighty glad of. The business of the prizes is the worst that can be said, and therein I do fear something may lie hard upon him; but, against this, we must prepare the best we can for his defence. Thence with G. Carteret to White Hall, where I, finding a meeting of the Committee of the Council for the Navy, his Royal Highness there, and Sir W. Pen, and, some of the Brethren of the Trinity House to attend, I did go in with them; and it was to be informed of the practice heretofore, for all foreign nations, at enmity one with another, to forbear any acts of hostility to one another, in the presence of any of the King of England’s ships, of which several instances were given: and it is referred to their further enquiry, in order to the giving instructions accordingly to our ships now, during the war between Spain and France. Would to God we were in the same condition as heretofore, to challenge and maintain this our dominion! Thence with W. Pen homeward, and quite through to Mile End, for a little ayre; the days being now pretty long, but the ways mighty dirty, and here we drank at the Rose, the old house, and so back again, talking of the Parliament and our trouble with them and what passed yesterday. Going back again, Sir R. Brookes overtook us coming to town; who hath played the jacke with us all, and is a fellow that I must trust no more, he quoting me for all he hath said in this business of tickets; though I have told him nothing that either is not true, or I afeard to own. But here talking, he did discourse in this stile: “We,” — and “We” all along, — ” will not give any money, be the pretence never so great, nay, though the enemy was in the River of Thames again, till we know what is become of the last money given;” and I do believe he do speak the mind of his fellows, and so let them, if the King will suffer it. He gone, we home, and there I to read, and my belly being full of my dinner to-day, I anon to bed, and there, as I have for many days, slept not an hour quietly, but full of dreams of our defence to the Parliament and giving an account of our doings. This evening, my wife did with great pleasure shew me her stock of jewells, encreased by the ring she hath made lately as my Valentine’s gift this year, a Turky stone set with diamonds: and, with this and what she had, she reckons that she hath above 150l. worth of jewells, of one kind or other; and I am glad of it, for it is fit the wretch should have something to content herself with.


26 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"and I am glad of it, for it is fit the wretch should have something to content herself with."

Sam's "Poor wretch" often sounds affectionate...Somehow this doesn't.

Christopher Squire  •  Link

Re: ’ . . it is fit the wretch should have something . . ’:
Not as unkindly meant by Pepys as it now sounds:

‘ . . 2e. A person or little creature. (Used as a term of playful depreciation, or to denote slight commiseration or pity.)
. . a1616    Shakespeare Othello (1622) iii. iii. 91   Excellent wretch, perdition catch my soule, But I doe loue thee.
1663    S. Pepys Diary 25 May (1971) IV. 155   She being a good-natured and painful wretch.
1749    H. Fielding Tom Jones I. i. vii. 34   Had you exposed the little Wretch in the Manner of some inhuman Mothers.’ [OED]

andy  •  Link

Mile End, for a little ayre;

We used to live across the road from the Mile End tube station. A small park opposite I believe is now bigger, and of course Victoria Park very near for a little air: pushed my children about in their prams...

Matt  •  Link

It's interesting that this is the first time in the diary that Pepys does not mention his birthday. Clearly he was too busy for it today – or perhaps he was no longer so worried that each year might be his last.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...where I would have gone into the Swan; but the door was locked; and the girl could not let me in..."

Couldn't or...a little too familiar with our boy to be caught with him alone?

language hat  •  Link

"Sam’s 'Poor wretch' often sounds affectionate…Somehow this doesn’t."

It may not sound affectionate to you, but I'm sure he meant it that way. The word did not sound then as it does now.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Global peacemongers?

"the practice...for all foreign nations, at enmity one with another, to forbear any acts of hostility to one another, in the presence of any of the King of England’s ships"

If only.

nix  •  Link

"He tells me in general that there is great looking after places, upon a presumption of a great many vacancies; and he did shew me a fellow at Court, a brother of my Lord Fanshaw’s, a witty but rascally fellow, without a penny in his purse, that was asking him what places there were in the Navy fit for him" --

The "witty but rascally fellow" is eternal. The American variety surfaces every fourth year. I was working for a prominent Congressman in Washington during a presidential transition, and chatted with the very same fellow a number of times.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"his Royal Highness there, and Sir W. Pen, and, some of the Brethren of the Trinity House to attend, I did go in with them; and it was to be informed of the practice heretofore, for all foreign nations, at enmity one with another, to forbear any acts of hostility to one another, in the presence of any of the King of England’s ships, of which several instances were given"

'The Master [of Trinity House] instanced a passage when King Charles the 1st returned from Spain and found some Dutch men-of-war fighting with Ostenders, which were parted, and though they did importune the King, then prince, for liberty to fight, he would not permit them, but kept some of the commanders on board until the others sailed away': HMC.Rep. , 8/1/1/253b. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I by water over to Southwarke, and so walked to the Falkon, on the Bank-side, and there got another boat, and so to Westminster, where I would have gone into the Swan; but the door was locked; and the girl could not let me in"

L&M: Taverns were fobidden to serve customers during divine service,

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"He tells me in general that there is great looking after places, upon a presumption of a great many vacancies; and he did shew me a fellow at Court, a brother of my Lord Fanshaw’s, a witty but rascally fellow, without a penny in his purse, that was asking him what places there were in the Navy fit for him"

L&M: This was Henry Fanshawe, brother of the 2nd Viscount. He had a minor post in the Exchequer ('keeping, sorting and ordering' hearth-tax returns) for which he had a salary of £20 p.a.: CTB, iii. 215; H. C. Fanshawe, Fanshawe Family, p. 121.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I met with Sir W. Coventry, and he and I walked awhile together in the Matted Gallery; and there he told me all the proceedings yesterday: that the matter"

L&M: Of tickets.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"He tells me that there is a letter sent by conspiracy to some of the House, which he hath seen, about the matter of selling of places, which he do believe he shall be called upon to-morrow for: and thinks himself well prepared to defend himself in it; and then neither he, nor his friends for him, are afeard of anything to his prejudice."

L&M: The petition was presented on the 24th by Sir Robert Brooke, but since it accused nobody by name the House did not allow it to be read: Grey, i. 92; Milward, , p. 197. Presente3d again in April, it named Coventry: Rawl. A 1952, f. 74 (copy). For Coventry's reply (13 April) , see Milward, pp. 320-1. He had been accused of the same offense in 1663 (see https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/06/02/
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/10/12/ and https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/10/12/#c736…
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/10/12/#c534…
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/10/12/#c534…
and madeboth then and now a considerable collection of papers in this own defence (Longleat, Coventry MSS 101, ff. 104-244).

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Going back again, Sir R. Brookes overtook us coming to town; who hath played the jacke"

play the jack - As early as the mid-16th century the jack card was known in England as the knave (meaning a male servant of royalty). Knave also means "a dishonest or unscrupulous man."
https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ACYBGNQwMX33u…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Sir R. Brookes"

L&M: Chairman of the Commons' Committee on Miscarriages.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... and it was to be informed of the practice heretofore, for all foreign nations, at enmity one with another, to forbear any acts of hostility to one another, in the presence of any of the King of England’s ships, of which several instances were given: and it is referred to their further enquiry, in order to the giving instructions accordingly to our ships now, during the war between Spain and France."

Maybe this has something to do with today's conversation:

Feb. 23. 1668
Whitehall.
Charles II to the Duke of York.
We are informed of great violence in several ports committed by French skippers under Sieur De la Roche.
To prevent the like in the future, and obtain satisfaction for the past, you are to order Sir Thos. Allin to sail to the said ports, taking his own squadron and the Diamond, search for De la Roche in Cowes road, Torbay, Plymouth, and Falmouth, &c.,
and if Allin be the stronger, to require him to deliver all English subjects and seamen on board any of his ships;
to demand restitution of any prisoners who are subjects of allies, especially 4 named, taken by him in February last, from Capt. Barron, from under Cowes castle;
also restitution of all vessels taken by him out of English ports.
In case De la Roche refuses, Allin is not to let him stir out of the port where he finds him.
If he meets him at sea, he is to say nothing to him, if De la Roche be the stronger.
If he do not find him, he is to return to Torbay, and not to act on these instructions if De la Roche is gone eastward, or to the coast of France.
[pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 55.]

Why Louis XIV is provoking the English at this time is beyond me. Previously we heard he was upset England was aligned with the Dutch over Flanders, and England is trying to be nice to Spain and Portugal at the same time so not to be dragged into that quagmire. So why poke the sleeping dog, Louis? You know Charles II is with you.

'Charles II: February 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 204-261.
British History Online
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers…

...Amanda...  •  Link

"and I am glad of it, for it is fit the wretch should have something to content herself with."

I wonder if this is an allusion to them not having children? It wouldn't then have been a topic to trigger a lot of consideration (either God willed it or he didn't), and there wasn't much in the way of language for mental states, but the sense of something missing would have been there, and babies being women's job, maybe that's what Pepys notices and pities his wife not having something to content herself with?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Why, you ask, is Louis (it's "the Most Christian", "the Sun King", "Louis the Great", or maybe "the Dear Leader" to you) poking the sleeping dog? Because it's a sleeping dog, and while he will cajole the docile ones, he'll render those who give him trouble into sausage meat. Louis has just had a very hot war against England in the Americas, where he trashed Nevis and St. Christopher, and just this week he was handed back Cayenne and L'Acadie. He is winning (for now, OK) in Flanders, in the France Comté, in Luxembourg, is poking at Poland, commands one of Europe's largest armies if not the largest, and -- never, ever forget this -- anything Louis does is God's will. God right now wants to secure French borders and to expand them to wherever a claim can be discerned, and Louis has never felt so good about himself.

Louis' views of England in his mémoires for 1667-68 (searchable, in French only we're afraid, at https://books.google.fr/books?id=K2kPAAAAQAAJ) range from neutral to disparaging. He wants to keep Charles neutral mainly to remain free on other fronts but considers him feeble, corrupt and easily bullied. See, at page 192, how he will, years later, boast of having brilliantly shoehorned Charles into signing the Treaty of Breda, without even using the bribe set aside for this, "for the English, not daring to put their fleet to sea out of fear that I would join to the Dutch my own, that I kept all ready, were so maltreated in their own ports that they were forced to consent shamefully to the conditions they had previously refused". And at page 275, he gloats of having filched some of Charles' own gendarmes, along with a number of other good soldiers, because they were Catholics, and falling over themselves to rally France's glorious cause.

Just give it, say, ten years, and you'll see. Louis will turn against everybody. God's will is something to have on your side.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

"the practice heretofore, for all foreign nations, at enmity one with another, to forbear any acts of hostility to one another, in the presence of any of the King of England’s ships"

Very cute. Better send a telex to every other ship captain in the world, or the potential for misunderstandings and incidents will be high. In the real world, bilateral peace treaties allow up to a year of additional hostilities until there has been a chance to give everyone the memo. Expect a brisk trade in bootleg English flags, too.

Dorothy  •  Link

I read the meaning of "wretch" as Amanda did.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Thanks Stephane. I have 4 biographies of Louis XIV and not one explained things that plainly ... two ignor the second Anglo=Dutch war totally, and skipped from 1663 to 1670.

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