Wednesday 22 April 1668

Up, and all the morning at my office busy. At noon, it being washing day, I toward White Hall, and stopped and dined all alone at Hercules Pillars, where I was mighty pleased to overhear a woman talk to her counsel how she had troubled her neighbours with law, and did it very roguishly and wittily. Thence to White Hall, and there we attended the Duke of York as usual; and I did present Mrs. Pett, the widow, and her petition to the Duke of York, for some relief from the King. Here was to-day a proposition made to the Duke of York by Captain Von Hemskirke for 20,000l., to discover an art how to make a ship go two foot for one what any ship do now, which the King inclines to try, it costing him nothing to try; and it is referred to us to contract with the man. Thence to attend the Council about the business of certificates to the Exchequer, where the Commissioners of the Treasury of different minds, some would, and my Lord Ashly would not have any more made out, and carried it there should not.

After done here, and the Council up, I by water from the Privy-stairs to Westminster Hall; and, taking water, the King and the Duke of York were in the new buildings; and the Duke of York called to me whither I was going? and I answered aloud, “To wait on our maisters at Westminster;” at which he and all the company laughed; but I was sorry and troubled for it afterwards, for fear any Parliament-man should have been there; and will be a caution to me for the time to come. Met with Roger Pepys, who tells me they have been on the business of money, but not ended yet, but will take up more time. So to the fishmonger’s, and bought a couple of lobsters, and over to the ’sparagus garden, thinking to have met Mr. Pierce, and his wife and Knepp; but met their servant coming to bring me to Chatelin’s, the French house, in Covent Garden, and there with musick and good company, Manuel and his wife, and one Swaddle, a clerk of Lord Arlington’s, who dances, and speaks French well, but got drunk, and was then troublesome, and here mighty merry till ten at night, and then I away, and got a coach, and so home, where I find Balty and his wife come to town, and did sup with them, and so they to bed. This night the Duke of Monmouth and a great many blades were at Chatelin’s, and I left them there, with a hackney-coach attending him.

29 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...where I was mighty pleased to overhear a woman talk to her counsel how she had troubled her neighbours with law, and did it very roguishly and wittily." So little changes...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...and one Swaddle, a clerk of Lord Arlington’s, who dances, and speaks French well, but got drunk, and was then troublesome..."

Dickensian. And what could be more troublesome than a drunken, French-speaking, dancing clerk with a name like Swaddle.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Let me get this straight:
van Heemskerck wants £20,000 to fund his experiment (which L&M say has to do with the way the grain of the wood goes), but it will cost the King nothing?

Christopher Squire  •  Link

‘blade, n. Etym:  Common Germanic: Old English blæd,. .
. .  III. Applied to a man.  [Probably connected with senses 6, 7, though whether as a fig. use of these, or as a wielder of a blade, does not appear from the 83 earliest quotations examined.]
 11. a. A gallant, a free-and-easy fellow, a good fellow; ‘fellow’, generally familiarly laudatory, sometimes good-naturedly contemptuous. (The original sense is difficult to seize: Bailey 1730 says, ‘a bravo, an Hector; also a spruce fellow, a beau’; Johnson ‘a brisk man, either fierce or gay, called so in contempt.’) (Now colloquial or slangy: in literature, chiefly a reminiscence of the eighteenth century.)
. . 1658    J. Ussher Ann. World 159   Sending for such‥as he knew to be blades, and had good hearts and head-peeces of their owne.
1667    S. Pepys Diary 3 June (1974) VIII. 249   As the present fashion among the blades is . .’ [OED]

Paul Chapin  •  Link

The van Heemskerck proposal

That caught my attention too, Terry. My first thought was that referring the proposal to the Navy board, with a "do fund" mandate, meant the money would have to come from the Navy's funds, but Sam is always referring to his work at the office as saving the King's money, so that's probably wrong. A second, maybe more likely possibility - the proposal was made to the Duke of York, who has his own resources, so if James provides the money, then Charles doesn't have to.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

one Swaddle, ... who dances, and speaks French well, but got drunk, and was then troublesome
Now we have drunken dancing men to go with the shameless flaunting women.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sounds to me like van Heemskerck offered to do it on his own, present the results, and if he can provide proof, Charlie will only then proceed to fund the project.

Bryan M  •  Link

The van Heemskerck proposal

A paper by Luca Codignola sheds light on this matter.
“(I)n April 1668 he risked his fortunes on a submission to the king to build a ship of any class that could outsail, by three miles to two, the best ships of His Majesty's Navy. … “
Codignola briefly describes how the trial was not the success Heemskerk had hoped.
“…The winter of 1669-70 found Heemskerk and his family in deep financial trouble. The king had agreed to pay him £20,000 if his gamble succeeded, but as it did not, he was given only £100 before the trial, at the end of 1668, and another £100 at the end of 1669 ~ free gifts from the king. The promised life pension of £200 per year never materialized.”

Heemskerk seems to have been quite a character. He’s the Dutchman who guided Robert Holmes into the Vlie estuary in 1666 for his famous bonfire. (However, Ollard in his biography of Holmes, argues that Heemskerk wasn’t that much help and Holmes did not trust him.) Codignola tells how, after the trial above, Heemskerk switched allegiance to the French and became a pretend explorer.

Laurens Van Heemskerk's Pretended Expeditions to the Arctic, 1688-1672: A Note Author: Luca Codignola The International History Review, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Aug., 1990), pp. 514-527

john  •  Link

The term "gay blade" was still in use when I was much younger (with a meaning as above).

language hat  •  Link

Swaddle is definitely Dickensian, but Manuel made me think of Fawlty Towers.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hmmn...Knepp and Sam observe the unconscious Swaddle, now peacefully asleep in the cabman's livery after making quite a drunken ruckus during the ride. "In Swaddle's clothes, lying in a manger..." Knepp notes. "Poetic."

"Indeed." Sam, nodding, leaning close.

"Enough with the handiwork for one night, Samuel." Knepp, frowning.

Michael L  •  Link

So why did the King et al. laugh at his reply? Because it sounded so subservient, or is there another reason I am missing?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Because Sam was calling Parliament the masters. He was afraid some from the House might have heard him and been annoyed.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Re Sam's comment - He was right to be uneasy - most of those who heard him would have remembered how squabbles and insults to Parliament could lead to death as no doubt he did.

Australian Susan  •  Link

....or was he concerned that the D of Y might have thought this was a personal insult?

Mary  •  Link

Sam's quip.

Like many who make a smart remark, Sam has almost instant regrets. Not surprising, really. It's only a couple of weeks since he spoke so eloquently and persuasively to members of the House and it could prove foolish for him to risk tainting his resulting high reputation with this kind of quip.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

April 22./ May 2. 1668
Rob. Francis to Williamson.
[Robert Francis works in Lord Arlington's office, Stone Gallery, Whitehall.]

The ratifications being mutually interchanged, I suppose there is no further necessity for staying at Paris;
I expected to be sent back, some material clause having been left out which might have caused a dispute, but that the French were content Sir John [Trevor] should interline it.
The Lord Chancellor [CLARENDON] has sent an account of what befell him to Abbot Montagu;
and if M. Desnoyers sends his paper to me before the post, I will forward it.
Sir John [TREVOR] is going to St. Germains on Mr. Burnett’s business.
I shall come home by way of Dieppe, the sickness being much spread in Picardy.
[2 pages. Ibid. No. 180.]

Earl of Clarendon to [Abbot Montagu]. [ROMAN CATHOLIC CONFESSOR TO QUEEN HENRIETTA MARIA -- and possibly Charles II's informant?]
God’s wonderful mercy in preserving my life is some comfortable evidence that He will not abandon me to the rage of my enemies.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Clarendon's letter continues ...

I left Rouen for Bourbon on Sunday [April 12], but arriving there late, and not being well able to go upstairs, I went to the worst inn in the town.
An English company of seamen who were quartered in the town gathered about the door to attack me; the few there attempted a defence.
M. la Fond behaved with great courage, but the gate of the house being broken down, they were forced to retire into my room, where by barricading the doors, they hoped to defend themselves till assistance came from the town; but the seamen quickly made their entrance, both at the doors and windows, having first fired many pistols, and received some hurt themselves from the firing of M. la Fond, who was also shot in the head, and received some hurts with swords.
When the rabble were in the chamber, they gave me all the ill language possible, telling me that they were 3 years ‘in arrears, and that I had received all their pay; that I was a Papist, and had betrayed my King to the King of France; and they would fain killed me, as their principal conductor, Ensign Edw. Howard, clapped a pistol to my face, and twice endeavoured to shoot, but it missed fire;
another fellow with a great broad sword struck me with all his force, which would have cleft my head, if it had not fallen upon the flat.
Having some difference among themselves whether they should kill me in the chamber, or out in the court, or take me to London to be hanged there, they dragged me to the court;
but some of their company having fallen to pillaging my trunks and boxes, their lieutenant of the company, Capt. Swain, by threats and blows, and drawing his sword, rescued me
and kept me in his chamber, until the provost of the country and magistrates of the city came, and carried many to prison, when the rest withdrew, many going away with their booty.
On conference with M. la Fond, the magistrates brought me to the castle of the Duke of Bouillon, and placed a guard for my defence.
The physicians and surgeons visited us, and reported that the bullet had not pierced la Fond’s head, and that his greatest wounds were with the sword, while mine were only contusions the same as my servants’;
they used such applications as they thought fit, and hoped we could proceed in a day or two;
however, la Fond is worse than they took him to be, so that he and I are separated, to my unspeakable discomfort. I found his conversation delightful; I know not how securely to go or stay, and yet am in a house without conveniences, though the magistrates are very civil;
I am better in my head, but the lameness I brought with me is worse.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Clarendon continues

I am expecting orders from Court, which I presume cannot take notice of la Fond’s condition, and consequently can make no provision for my security if I remove;
I should be impatient to do so, but from gratitude to M. la Fond.
Pray continue your protection, and send me counsel what to do, being destitute of a friend, and having only one servant besides Mr. Conell who can speak French.
I have recovered my trunks and all taken, except a little gold out of my pockets.
La Fond’s wounds getting worse, he resolves for Paris, and advises me to leave the town, and will provide me a guard to Chartres;
I will follow this advice, so shall be at Dreux on Friday,
and at Orleans on Monday, where I expect to hear from you.
—Evreux 16/26 April 1668.
[Copy by Robert Francis. 4 pages.
With note from Sir J. Trevor that this was written to Abbot Montagu.
S.P. Dom., Car. II. 238, No. 180I.]

'Charles II: April 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 320-369. British History Online…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"April 22./ May 2. 1668
The ratifications being mutually interchanged, ..."

"The Treaty of Aix la Chapelle or Treaty of Aachen was signed on May 2, 1668 in Aachen. It ended the war of Devolution between France and Spain."…

"Fireworks on a great scale, with public entertainments, took place in Green Park at the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle." -- Maybe not tonight, as so any of the gay blades are at Chatelin’s, but soon. Pepys, the tired old bureaucrat, never mentions the party.…
Title: The Strand District
The Fascination of London

Author: Sir Walter Besant
Geraldine Edith Mitton

For info on fireworks, see…

Batch  •  Link

Wash day! We haven't heard that mentioned in a great while.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

From Clarendon's letter:

"On conference with M. la Fond, the magistrates brought me to the castle of the Duke of Bouillon, and placed a guard for my defence."

Godefroy Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne, Duke of Bouillon (21 June 1636 – 26 July 1721), oldest brother of the great Marshal of France, Turenne.…'Auvergne,_Duke_of_Bouillon

Presumably Clarendon and his protector, la Fond, were taken to:

The Château de Navarre was a château near Évreux in Normandy. The medieval structure was built for Queen Joan II of Navarre and later came into the possession of the House of La Tour d'Auvergne.
In 1750 a new Chateau was built, possibly incorporating part of the medieval structure and two towers dating from the 17th century. The chateau was built surrounded by a moat on marshy land in the forest of Evreux, being part of the principality of Bearn.…

Clarendon was staying in a chateau owned by one of the most noble and well-connected families in France. The Duchess of Bouillion was Marie Anne Mancini, the youngest niece of Cardinal Mazarin and one of the Mazarinettes.

John G  •  Link

Yes John. I, here in Australia, recall hearing of gay blades back in the 1940s.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Clarendon, Clarendon my friend... What an adventure you've had, and what were you doing in Normandy still? We know not of any city of "Bourbon" between Rouen and Dreux, but you must have stopped at Gaillon, which is indeed on the way, and home to the convent of Bourbon-lèz-Gaillon (visit at…) Anyway, our last reports had you on the bus to Germany ("The Dover packet brings news that the Earl of Clarendon is at Calais, sick of fever, and is bound for Germany", at the end of…). It seems the fever really delayed you.

Leaving aside just what those "English seamen" were doing so far from the coast, how did they identify you as the infamous C? It's not like they've seen your photo in the papers. If such had been invented, Mr. Pepys' life could be equally as lively (given how the first grievance they hurled at you was about their unpaid wages)... but England's a village, no?

The English seamen and the rabble of other patrons watch in glee as the youngest of the stranded nobles jerks a dead rat at the innkeeper: "I demand, madam, that at the least you have the room swept! We are not the ruffians you seem to expect! This monsieur here is none but His Grace the Lord Clarendon, a very high personage in la Cour d'Angleterre!"

Clarendon gestures agitedly. We had agreed I was your uncle Claude! The mood in the common room suddenly changes. The cook uses the chance to discreetly whisk away the dead rat for tonight's roast.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

For the record, the Gazette will be notified on May 16, and will report in its No. 259 (page 2) that several of Clarendon's assailants, who turned out indeed to be English mercenaries not seamen, were captured and that, after four of them were personally sentenced to death by Louis, "two were broken upon the Wheel, and the other two hanged". Attacks on the nobility are not a joke at all in France, and military indiscipline is discouraged also.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Gratifying to hear, Stephane. Thank you, Louis XIV, for doing the right thing by Clarendon, who got scant thanks for 35 years of faithful, albeit conservative, work.

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