Thursday 24 September 1668

Up betimes and Sir D. Gawden with me, and I told him all, being very desirous for the King’s sake, as well as my own, that he may be kept in it, and after consulting him I to the Office, where we met again and spent most of the morning about this business, and no other, and so at noon home to dinner, and then close with Mr. Gibson till night, drawing up our answer, which I did the most part by seven at night, and so to Lord Brouncker and the rest at his lodgings to read it, and they approved of it. So back home to supper, and made my boy read to me awhile, and then to bed.

7 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ormond to Ossory
Written from: Whitehall
Date: 24 September 1668

All that can be said of the Public is that discontent and despondency were never more high or universal; nor was ever any Court fallen into so much contempt, or governed with so little care to redeem itself. ... For all that the writer can find, justice betwixt man and man, and that upon offenders is well distributed in the Courts of Judicature. But certainly favours, recompenses, & employments are not so. ... The meeting of the Parliament is become dreadful to those who taught it to fly upon Ministers of State. ...…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"this business"

See yesterday: "a Committee of the Council...did give us, the Officers of the Navy, the proposals of the several bidders for the victualling of the Navy, for us to give our answer to, which is the best, and whether it be better to victual by commission or contract, and to bring them our answer by Friday afternoon, which is a great deal of work."…

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The volume covering correspondence from Nov. 1667 – Sept. 1668 is at…

Pages 647 – 650 – lots of mail today


Sept. 24, 1668. / Oct. 4, 1668.
J. W. or Bulstrode to Williamson.

Blount's right name is Thos. Hull, near Tenbury, Shropshire.

He was a great padder during the plague in London, but has not meddled with it of late, having settled himself with Granger, and done several of those cheats both at Bristol, West Chester, and other places.
His chief rendezvous has been at Cobbet's, an innkeeper at Kensington, where he spent 600/. in a short time, and when not there, at Maxwell's, at the upper end of Chancery [Lane], now removed into Holborn, both of whom are privy to his designs.
He left a good horse with Cobbet when he came away, which Cobbet has still.

The other person here is Lawrence Clark, a great padder, condemned at Hartford, before Lord Chief Justice Bridgeman, 3 years since;
he had 3 reprieves before he had his pardon, and has followed the same trade until the last action at Newcastle, and therefore infinitely fears being sent over.
I cannot get from either of them the name of the postmaster that was corrupted in the York Road, but have learnt that the stage is 60 miles from London in that road, and that he had 100/. given him in hand, before he would permit the thing to be done.
Also that Granger stayed there while the others went to and from Newcastle and intercepted the letters; and because the post was not to stay, he sealed up the bags again and so omitted that post, and prepared his counterfeit letters against the next, at which time he put those in and took the others out.
I find they are tampering with Carr, the postmaster at Harwich, who was formerly a highwayman and one of Clark's gang, but if the affair is not very warily managed, without immediate questioning those persons, I shall not be able to do the service I desire.
They say that there is not above 5 or 6 principal highwaymen of this gang now about London, of which Edw. Madocks is chief, and one Brixhirst, whose brother waits upon the Speaker of the House of Commons, is another;
this crew will be found very busy towards Newmarket during his Majesty's progress.
They had a design on foot, if Oxenden had not been taken, to have gone to sea upon a desperate attempt.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The captain who was taken with Oxenden was to have been their master, and they say that he has not his fellow in England, and that he was lately a prisoner in Dover Castle in a dungeon, the walls whereof were washed by the sea, and broke through the walls where the sea came in, and made a miraculous escape upon the rocks, all persons believing him drowned.
They had a ship ready at Flushing, had they not been prevented.
Granger betrayed them because he was cheated of the 1,000/. amongst them, Oxenden having got 500/.
Granger besides laid out the money to the postmaster, and was at 100/. more charge in preparing the business.

In France they employed Mr. Roch, that went over major to Col. Stanniers; but he being dead, they sent another to Paris to lay their designs.
I pray that no notice may be taken of my letter.
13 pages. S.P. Dom., Čar. 11. 246, No. 136.]
An international gang of highwaymen, forging and stealing mail, aided and abetted by the post masters? You can’t make this stuff up!
A follow-up to yesterday’s mail…

Sept. 24 . 1668
Gray’s Inn
John Johnson to Mr. Garret.

A little before the King came in, 2,000/. and odd was gathered in the northern countries for the relief of Lambert's army, which was so suddenly dissipated that it could not be distributed, but was left in the Treasurer's hands, and shared among several persons in and about York, by agreement amongst themselves.

Several writings in the hands of Elizabeth Dixon, a widow, make it all out;
I have seen them, and desire you will request Mr. Williamson, as Clerk of the Papers, to send for them.

With query, 25 Sept.,
the Customers have a farm of ships forfeited for transporting of prohibited goods, and to whom must a man apply for a grant of the same, besides the King?

Endorsed with note that Elizabeth Dixon lives at the sign of the Sugar Loaf near Ford's stables.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 246, No. 139.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sept. 24. 1668
Warrant to Sir Stephen Fox, Paymaster of the Forces,
to pay 2,100/. to Thos. Ross,
to enable the King's own troop of Guards to attend him to Audley End;
they are 5 months behind in pay, because the rolls are in the hands of Charles Lord Gerard.
Endorsed “2,100/. D. Monmouth's troope."
[S.P. Dom., Čar. 11. 246, No. 142.]

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Blount/Hull and Granger don't make it easy on us by having such bland names. A "padder" was, dictionaries inform us, a thief who stole on foot, so little more than a pickpocket; small fry. Note that you had to be a bit crazy to do it in London during the plague; maybe he just robbed empty houses, like everyone else. Then he graduated to stealing mail, a capital crime from which photo IDs and barred checks were later to remove all the fun.

He didn't make it to our favorite encyclopedia of villains, the Newgate Calendar, or in any other record which our bookseller Mr. Google has at hand. But so did Thomas Lympus, who had also planned to decamp to France but was caught and hung by the neck in 1739 - the Calendar, written in the mid-19C, sighs on this occasion that "the security now given to our mail-coaches render[s] an open attempt on them impracticable, unless sustained by a whole band of robbers" […, with a nice engraving]. So also did Huffey White and Richard Kendall, executed in 1813, after stealing "from the Leeds mail (...) a bill of exchange for £200 which became due on the following day", a real case of simultaneous good/bad luck […]. A quick search of for keyword "mail" recalls around 70 of these sad stories through the mid-19C.

But not Blount et al. We hope they'll surface in some future State Paper, because hey, they didn't just steal letters of exchange but forged them to up the value; put stuff back in the next day's bag to be undiscovered, which shows some brains; potentially had a way of getting into the House of Commons; had that French connection (ha!), valuable in itself in these post-war months when the Quality is settling bills for its manors in Normandy, and quite a few money orders must be crossing the Channel; and - what's this? Arresting them would be a "particular service to" my lord Arlington? Now that's piquant. Now that's another level. What did Blount get his hands on that so annoys the secretary of State, at such an interesting time in England's relation with France?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

We also like, in today's State Papers, No. 143, a petition to the King from two French bakers, Adrian le Pore and Sam. Caron, who want the bakers guild, who wants to shut them down 'coz they're foreigners, to leave them alone because "their trade (...) is for their countrymen only, and (...) not to the disadvantage of any English baker".

Which implies that there's enough French in London to sustain a French bakery, and that they'd rather shop there than at an English bakery (this we understand, religion apart - English bread, pfwargh). And it's been like this since Henry VIII, one of whose century-old laws they invoke. But if you're English and throw a French dinner, of the fashionable sort that so impressed Sam a few months ago (to the point of rigging one up too, if memory serves) - how do you get the right bread, then? If, poor you, you don't have a French cook to send to the French bakery? Do you then don a fake French moustache, and a fake Inspector-Clouzeau accent? ("I will tekk zis nice baguette oveur zere, plize"). Of course Sam could send Betty.

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