Tuesday 17 March 1667/68

Up betimes and to the office, where all the morning busy, and then at noon home to dinner, and so again to the office awhile, and then abroad to the Excize-Office, where I met Mr. Ball, and did receive the paper I went for; and there fell in talk with him, who, being an old cavalier, do swear and curse at the present state of things, that we should be brought to this, that we must be undone and cannot be saved; that the Parliament is sitting now, and will till midnight, to find how to raise this 300,000l., and he doubts they will not do it so as to be seasonable for the King: but do cry out against our great men at Court; how it is a fine thing for a Secretary of State to dance a jigg, and that it was not so heretofore; and, above all, do curse my Lord of Bristoll, saying the worst news that ever he heard in his life, or that the Devil could ever bring us, was this Lord’s coming to prayers the other day in the House of Lords, by which he is coming about again from being a Papist, which will undo this nation; and he says he ever did say, at the King’s first coming in, that this nation could not be safe while that man was alive. Having done there, I away towards Westminster, but seeing by the coaches the House to be up, I stopped at the ’Change (where, I met Mrs. Turner, and did give her a pair of gloves), and there bought several things for my wife, and so to my bookseller’s, and there looked for Montaigne’s Essays,1 which I heard by my Lord Arlington and Lord Blaney so much commended, and intend to buy it, but did not now, but home, where at the office did some business, as much as my eyes would give leave, and so home to supper, Mercer with us talking and singing, and so to bed. The House, I hear, have this day concluded upon raising 100,000l. of the 300,000l. by wine, and the rest by a poll-[tax], and have resolved to excuse the Church, in expectation that they will do the more of themselves at this juncture; and I do hear that Sir W. Coventry did make a speech in behalf of the Clergy.


25 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

House of Commons Journal

Post Meridiem.
Irish Land Adventurers.

ORDERED, That the Petitioners of the Adventurers for Lands in Ireland, or any assigned by them, have Liberty to have Recourse, from time to time, to the Books and Papers concerning the said Adventurers, in the Hands of Joseph Williamson Esquire, or any of the Clerks of his Majesty's Council, for Perusal of them; and to take out such Copies from them as they think fit, attested under the Hand of the said Mr. Williamson, or one of the said Clerks of his Majesty's Council: And also to peruse and take out Copies from the Records of the Court of Claims in Ireland, or any other Court of Record in Ireland.
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?comp…

Too bad Grey's doesn't report Sir W. Coventry's speech in behalf of the Clergy.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"The House, I hear, have this day concluded upon raising 100,000l. of the 300,000l. by wine, and the rest by a poll-[tax], and have resolved to excuse the Church, in expectation that they will do the more of themselves at this juncture..."

"Why...Of course we will...Right after we welcome back the Pope." Ecclesiastical chuckle...

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"how it is a fine thing for a Secretary of State to dance a jigg"

How timely! Mrs Clinton has every right to be jubilant today, having led a reluctant president and Pentagon into a "humanitarian" war on Libya. I hope she proves more successful in this venture than the last Madame Secretary to clash with the Pentagon and an indecisive president was in the sad case of Sudan.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"This must have been Florio’s translation, as Cotton’s was not published until 1685."

Not necessarily? My understanding of Sam's language skills is that his French would have been strong enough to read the original essays. He's mentioned reading other French "literature," oui? ("L’escholle des filles" comes to mind... :-)

Terry, thanks for the Irish reference on St. Patrick's Day!

language hat  •  Link

Can we please keep current politics out of this blog? Thanks.

Larry  •  Link

I'm all for it, language hat, but I'll not be silent when others make gratuitous and provocative remarks.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr Ball...who, being an old cavalier, do swear and curse at the present [insubstantial] state of things...[e.g.] how it is a fine thing for a Secretary of State to dance a jigg...and, above all, do curse my Lord of Bristoll, saying the worst news that ever he heard in his life, or that the Devil could ever bring us, was this Lord’s [insincerely] coming to prayers the other day in the House of Lords, by which he is coming about again from being a Papist, which will undo this nation;"

Bristol -- an inconstant and vacillating figure (see the link and read the details) -- L&M note had converted to Catholicism before the Restoration, back briefly in 1664, but now as a Catholic again would normally not attend the Anglican prayers in the House of Lords.

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? asks Mr. Ball.

martinb  •  Link

"Montaigne's Essays"

If there's one book you would want to recommend to Pepys, this is it, surely?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Indeed, the Essays might have been an interesting way to conceal Sam's plain brown paper wrapper book had he not already burnt it.

"What's so interesting?" Bess eyes book. "Oh, it's in French... "Essays"? Can I have a look?"

"Just a mo, just a mo...Let me finish."

"You could read it to me. We can discuss it."

Hmmn...Would make for an interesting...No, I don't think so...

"I'd like to contemplate these brilliant essays properly in my own time...Later we can read them again together."

Might even be something interesting there as well...Sam muses, eyeing the rest of the book for a moment.

But first I must know what Madeleine and M. Abelaird are up to...And more important why Heloise ran from the room in horror after taking one look. Though given early chapters, I think she'll be back.

In its way, after all...A study of the human condition, worthy of the review of a sober man of the world to arm himself against the...

Oh, my God in Heaven! Turns book...

"What's so...?" Bess, suspiciously...

"The uh...Thoughts, the gentleman expresses...And his...Gestures in expressing them. Simply amazing...Transcendent."

"Gestures?...I thought it was a book of essays. Let me see that..."

"His literary gestures, I mean, of course. Just let me finish this in my study and ponder its meaning a while." hurries in, slamming door.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"The House, I hear, have this day concluded upon raising 100,000l. of the 300,000l. by wine, and the rest by a poll-[tax], and have resolved to excuse the Church, in expectation that they will do the more of themselves at this juncture;"

L&M note these were committee votes, confirmed by the whole House on the morrow. In the event the clergy did not tax themselves as they had last in 1663.

john  •  Link

Was such a jigg ever danced by the Secretary or this a metaphor and why such a choice of metaphor?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... a fine thing for a Secretary of State to dance a jigg, ..."

" ... a most sad, melancholy play, and pretty good; but nothing eminent in it, as some tragedys are; only little Mis. Davis did dance a jig after the end of the play, and there telling the next day’s play; so that it come in by force only to please the company to see her dance ..."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/03/07/

"... at the end of a play, it was the practice to conclude with a sung and danced theatrical afterpiece or * jig. ..." Oxford Companion to Shakespeare
http://books.google.com/books?id=tRajFq8EnEEC&pg=…

Autumnbreeze Movies  •  Link

"The House, I hear, have this day concluded upon raising 100,000l. of the 300,000l. by wine, and the rest by a poll-[tax], and have resolved to excuse the Church, in expectation that they will do the more of themselves at this juncture..."

Sure, sure... The Church will donate prayers.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"The House, I hear, have this day concluded upon raising 100,000l. of the 300,000l. by wine, and the rest by a poll-[tax], and have resolved to excuse the Church, in expectation that they will do the more of themselves at this juncture..."

Commons Journal;
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/commons-jrnl/vol…

It would be interesting to know what % of the wine involved was ordered by "the Church" in England, where the mass weekly consumption of Anglican communion wine was required by law.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr. Ball...do curse my Lord of Bristoll, saying the worst news that ever he heard in his life, or that the Devil could ever bring us, was this Lord’s coming to prayers the other day in the House of Lords, by which he is coming about again from being a Papist, which will undo this nation; and he says he ever did say, at the King’s first coming in, that this nation could not be safe while that man was alive."

L&M note Bristol had been converted to Rome just before the Restoration, and had reverted to anglicanism once before, in 1664, but only temporarily. There was no truth to the suggestion that he had now reverted again. As a Catholic peer he normally attended and voted in the House without going to prayers.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" ... a fine thing for a Secretary of State to dance a jigg, ..."

L&M: A reference to the courtly accommplishments of Arlington.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Well, of course a wine tax. How original. Wine is clearly big business in thirsty, vineyard-less England, and it's all imports from foreigne princes. In December we had seen a petition from Bristol merchants (visible at https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=gCk5AQAAM…), who said their trade in "oils, wines, &c., from Spain and Portugal" to Newfoundland alone, "brings in 40,000L. a year to his Majesty". And interestingly, also in December Sir Robert Vyner, petitioning the King to be paid "30,000L., part of the great Navy debt, of which he is unhappily concerned", had noted that "my request would not much injure the King; the Navy debts will fall first on the wine Act" (https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=gCk5AQAAM…). So the Office has a very direct stake in today's proceedings.

And anyway a good English patriot drinks beer, not French wine. Though now that may change. Yesterday, presumably amid the howls of the wine merchants, were filed "Considerations on laying the new impositions on wines; proposing time for paying the duties, an allowance of an additional percentage for leakage, no limitation on the selling price (...)" (https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=gCk5AQAAM…). The price of wine being regulated (Parliament had recently agreed to keep it flat).

Hmmm... Leakage. Nice loophole. And we wonder, does Sam still keep a couple of tuns discreetly buried where they had been stashed during the Fire?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Also yesterday, we had noted in the State Papers an avalanche of budget memos documenting the Administration's effort to also help on its side of the ledger. This is not the place to go into all the details, but a few were picturesque (see March 16 entries at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-paper…). They include a 40% salary cut for at least some Commissioners (the Ordnance ones, but there's a precedent); big savings on the hallowed offices of the buckhounds (no more liveries for them), harriers and falconers, a sign that we're not in the Middle Ages anymore, and that Charles is perhaps not much into tally-ho (but we can hear the buckounds' howls too: "my charge! My charge!"); and an "order [to] the Master of the Jewel House to restrict his payments to 8,000L. a year". And that the boss is more into, as we know.

The great cutting reaches even into the Tower, as "the fees allowed for keeping prisoners of quality—viz., 4L. a week for a duke or marquis, and in proportion for persons of inferior quality—are to be reduced one-third". Surely not all for food, but since the last meal for which Sam showed us the bill was around £0.4, it's still enough for a duke to maintain Sam standards of good living all week round. Not that there's that many of them inside, or that they really need the Crown to pay for their room service.

More in our department, a "Warrant to the Duke of York to signify to the Navy Commissioners that the expenses of the Navy are to be reduced to 200,000l. a year in times of peace, the ships being first repaired, and stores replenished by other means".

Gerald Berg  •  Link

"they will not do it so as to be seasonable for the King:"

Seasonable? I thought I knew what it meant but maybe not.

Dorothy  •  Link

The idea of the Secretary of State dancing a jig reminds me of the Lilliputian rope dancers in Gulliver!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Gerald, when I Googled "seasonable" I got this:

ARCHAIC
coming at the right time or meeting the needs of the occasion; opportune.

That seems to fit the situation.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Right.

"he doubts they will not do it"

I think this is what threw me off the sense. It still does!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Double negatives might not show up in shorthand? Pepys frequently could use an editor.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

March 17. 1668
H. H. to Sir Rob. Carr.
[Robert Carr was a MP for Lincolnshire.]

I have considered the proposition as to a cessation of my intelligence, which is great drudgery, having to undergo much from the factions;

I have spent more in the service than I have received out of it; I hope you will help me to some other employment.

I was instrumental in discovering that bloody design in the time of Sir Wm. Compton, and brought Tyler and Jones to witness against that generation of plotters, by discovering what they did and spoke in their cabinet councils;
I suffered myself to be hunted up and down the town and country, as Sir Wm. Compton and Major Walden can witness;

I was the instrument of discovering the inside of Grise, who, when taken, endeavoured to mince his stories to the General.

As to the private press, I dare pawn my life that it is in one of 5 houses in Blue Anchor Alley;

I am sure Oliver took more pains when he searched 16 houses in one night in hunting after my life;

as to there being nothing now, if the small company of old soldiers had been disbanded, you would quickly have found the heat of the fiery spirit kindled into a flame; those you have to deal with are no cowards, if their external strength were suitable to their internal temper; and to divide such an enemy is a better conquest than routing them in the field;

I have been not a little instrumental the last fortnight in this work.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 236, No. 178.]

'Charles II: March 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 262-320. British History Online
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The concern about French intentions continues ...

March 17. 1668
Falmouth.
Thos. Holden to Hickes.

The James of Dover has arrived with wine and brandy from Nantes.
She came out with 60 more Dutch and English ships, and reports that they are likely to have a war there with Holland, but nothing is said concerning England;
also that Louis XIV will have 120 sail of frigates ready the next spring.

There is a great press there for seamen, who are very unwilling to join the service, and frequently run away after being pressed, although Charles II has passed a severe law against it;

50 French seamen would have come away in that ship, if the master would have carried them.

The Papists in France are very severe against the Protestants taking away their children, and putting them into convents to bring them up in their religion.

Sir Thos. Allin is cruising between Falmouth and the Lizard, and it is supposed he will convoy Don John of Austria and his fleet, who are expected from Bilbao.

Four other vessels have come in.
[1¼ pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 236, No. 175.]

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