Thursday 30 July 1668

Up, and by water to White Hall. There met with Mr. May, who was giving directions about making a close way for people to go dry from the gate up into the House, to prevent their going through the galleries; which will be very good. I staid and talked with him about the state of the King’s Offices in general, and how ill he is served, and do still find him an excellent person, and so back to the office. So close at my office all the afternoon till evening, and then out with my wife to the New Exchange, and so back again.

15 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Royal Society today at Arundel House — from the Hooke Folio Online

Iuly. 30. The expt. of shutting vp two finches of in two glasses of differing sise was tryd. the vessells wer closed wth good cement. one conteining 4 1/2 times the quantity of the other. the birds were put in at 4h. 55'. that in the smaller glasse appearing after 19'. was taken out & found dead & could not be recouerd the other was kept 1h. 28'. and appearing to be sick though not very sick was taken out it being tim for the company to rise. whereby it seems that the times and the quantity of air necessary for Respiration in these birds were here in Reciprocall proportion to one another. to be tryd wth comprest air at next meeting

(about Acid liquors.) Paris letter about circulation of Liquor in plants-)

Dr. Goddad about the swelling of a plant aboue the ligature. operator also) The Curator suggested that it should be tryed of wt. vse the pith in plants might be by stopping the pith or cutting it the same affirmd that he had obserued that charring of wood did shew other kinds of vessells then the rotting of them

(about Surinam. that European apple trees shed leaues in winter as here.)

Sr. Th: Deuaux a paper about making Coperas.[… ] filed vp).

query wt Iron. why Lead only serud for boyld.) Sr Th: Deuaux paper about chymistry)…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"...making a close way for people to go dry from the gate up into the House, to prevent their going through the galleries; "

L&M note this "way" became what Pepys called the New Gallery, a covered way, in brick. built in 1669, running from the n. end of the Banqueting House to the main range containing the Great Hall.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"There met with Mr. May, who was giving directions....I staid and talked with him about the state of the King’s Offices in general, and how ill he is served, and do still find him an excellent person,...."

This entry is one of many in which SP records talking at some length with a minor official, a shopkeeper, a dockyard worker other manual laborer, concluding that he knows what he is doing and is a person of good character.

The diary is a treasure not least because of the cast of such characters to which Pepys, a tester and taster of people, introduces us: Bacon's experimental/ experiential method applied to others.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Hugh May was actually NOT what I would call "a minor officer": he was the Comptroller of the King's Works; I stand by my last post nonetheless.

Jesse  •  Link

RE: concluding that he knows what he is doing

Who 'he'? I read the original post as Pepys, as usual, lamenting the current state of affairs; noting that the King's essentially a good guy despite being surrounded by the usual suspects.

Jenny  •  Link

I agree with Terry on this one. I think Sam is definitely talking about Mr May. I also agree that Sam's interest in and friendliness with tradesmen, etc is one of his most endearing traits. He is often found having a laugh with his carpenters and tradesmen during house repairs.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

As Comptroller of the Works and an experienced architect, May would have been a very good source for Sam on corrupt practices in other areas of the administration. It's interesting though in the midst of all the talk of bad service we have Coventry, Penn, May, Matthew Wren, Clarendon, The Petts, Povy, John Evelyn, Montagu, Brouncker, Holmes, various able members of Parliament, and others, even Prince Rupert who's certainly a decently brave fighter if not England's most skilled naval commander...And of course our boy himself. It seems Charles and Jaime are surrounded by talented, able men willing to serve them and the nation...And most with some degree of selflessness so long as essential personal security needs are met. While types like Arlington and Buckingham and Batten are either negatives or at least a hindrance on reform, it really seems like the problem is one centered at the top...With Charlie able to manage a brilliant balancing act to survive but unable to bring himself to do the work of pulling these talents together to accomplish reform and Jamie, though personally a harder worker with some interest in reform (or at least in centralization of power in his hands), largely incapable of the art of management. On the other hand, to be fair, William's coming will not exactly bring the new millenium reformwise, though he will be at least as brilliant as Charlie in the balancing act...And somewhat more willing to work at reform. Perhaps this is the most that can be done under the monarchical system, despite Coventry's dream of an efficient technocratic autocracy under a benevolent despot guided by a corps of Coventries and Pepys.

djc  •  Link

RG: "William’s coming will not exactly bring the new millenium reformwise..."

Williams coming ("The Glorious Revelution") marks the start of the Whig Ascendancy. BY Victoria's reign Parliament's victory will be complete.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

But it will not bring reform overnight...There's a long, long way to go and as I noted, given the fact that William's not able to "eliminate" corruption even with the new spirit of corule with Parliament, it may be that given the system Charlie is working with there's really little that can be done in a lasting way even by the best monarch aided by the best team. Though admittedly Charles is not exactly working for his "best monarch" award. My main point is that Charles actually does have a good pool of talented men working for him and many if not most are doing it with some level of dedication.

Anyway, as we look back from the lofty heights of our own corruption-free era, giving thanks for the triumph of legalism and representative democracy...

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'Charles II: July 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 469-516.…

July 30. 1668
The Monmouth, Spithead.
Sir Thos. Allin to the Navy Commissioners.

Hopes if the ships from the Downs arrive, to be ready to sail in 6 days;
wants an order for the colours, as it would be a discredit to use those not fitting.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 244, No. 1.]

July 30. 1668
Warrant from Sec. Morice to Thos. Wilson,
to take into custody Joseph Martin, late postmaster of Deal,
upon complaint of Sir John Bennett, of misbehaviour relating to the Postmaster-General’s office and authority.
With note of his release, 5 August.
[S.P. Dom., Entry Book 28, f. 16.]

July 30. 1668
John Powell to James Hickes.

Heard at Morlaix that the French fleet had come into Brest.

The peace between the French and Spaniards stands firm, and there is no talk of war with any other nation, the guns being dismounted in most of the garrisons in France, and the soldiers paid off.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 244, No. 4.]

July 30. 1668
B. J. [Ben Johnson] to Williamson.

The Monmouth, Mary, and Princess are safe at anchor at Spithead, and the paymasters aboard to discharge old tickets.

The Princess has received from the Dutch man-of-war what belongs to the Portuguese Ambassador.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 244, No. 5.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... the state of the King’s Offices in general, and how ill he is served, and do still find him an excellent person ..."

Pepys knows May talks with Charles II the same way he talked with James. He's still nervous about losing his position ... the whole Navy Board could be fired for losing the war. Pepys has made many snide remarks about holding the right people responsible for the lack of money and the corruption at Court ... so I sense that these compliments about The King might be a teenie-weenie bit self-serving and tongue in cheek ...? I'm not feeling great sincerity here.

Lisa  •  Link

"Anyway, as we look back from the lofty heights of our own corruption-free era, giving thanks for the triumph of legalism and representative democracy..." Robert Gertz, it does indeed take a long time to build a representative democracy based on the rule of law, but only a few years to smash it to pieces.

Mary K  •  Link

Charles II had a more intimate relationship with 'Bab' (Baptist) May, cousin of this Mr. May, who Pepys regarded as the king's pimp.

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