Sunday 27 September 1668

(Lord’s day). Up, and to my office to finish my journall for five days past, and so abroad and walked to White Hall, calling in at Somerset House Chapel, and also at the Spanish Embassador’s at York House, and there did hear a little masse: and so to White Hall; and there the King being gone to Chapel, I to walk all the morning in the Park, where I met Mr. Wren; and he and I walked together in the Pell-Mell, it being most summer weather that ever was seen: and here talking of several things: of the corruption of the Court, and how unfit it is for ingenious men, and himself particularly, to live in it, where a man cannot live but he must spend, and cannot get suitably, without breach of his honour: and did thereupon tell me of the basest thing of my Lord Barkeley, one of the basest things that ever was heard of of a man, which was this: how the Duke of York’s Commissioners do let his wine-licenses at a bad rate, and being offered a better, they did persuade the Duke of York to give some satisfaction to the former to quit it, and let it to the latter, which being done, my Lord Barkeley did make the bargain for the former to have 1500l. a-year to quit it; whereof, since, it is come to light that they were to have but 800l. and himself 700l., which the Duke of York hath ever since for some years paid, though this second bargain hath been broken, and the Duke of York lost by it, [half] of what the first was.

He told me that there hath been a seeming accommodation between the Duke of York and the Duke of Buckingham and Lord Arlington, the two latter desiring it; but yet that there is not true agreement between them, but they do labour to bring in all new creatures into play, and the Duke of York do oppose it, as particularly in this of Sir D. Gawden.

Thence, he gone, I to the Queen’s Chapel, and there heard some good singing; and so to White Hall, and saw the King and Queen at dinner and thence with Sir Stephen Fox to dinner: and the Cofferer with us; and there mighty kind usage, and good discourse. Thence spent all the afternoon walking in the Park, and then in the evening at Court, on the Queen’s side; and there met Mr. Godolphin, who tells me that the news, is true we heard yesterday, of my Lord Sandwich’s being come to Mount’s Bay, in Cornwall, and so I heard this afternoon at Mrs. Pierce’s, whom I went to make a short visit to. This night, in the Queen’s drawing-room, my Lord Brouncker told me the difference that is now between the three Embassadors here, the Venetian, French, and Spaniard; the third not being willing to make a visit to the first, because he would not receive him at the door; who is willing to give him as much respect as he did to the French, who was used no otherwise, and who refuses now to take more of him, upon being desired thereto, in order to the making an accommodation in this matter, which is very pretty. So a boat staying for me all this evening, I home in the dark about eight at night, and so over the ruins from the Old Swan home with great trouble, and so to hear my boy read a little, and supper and to bed. This evening I found at home Pelling and Wallington and one Aldrige, and we supped and sung.

22 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Montagu back...It will be interesting to see what he makes of his protege now.

"Never could find a man who could shine me boots like you, Samuel. I was always telling the various grandees how back in England, I had a servant, a poor cousin with some smatterings of University, who had a sort of magic spit for the boot."

"Yes, my Lord."

"Always told my young rascal Hinchingbroke that if he ever needed a good shine on his boots he ought to go up and see you."

Yes...Shine and pocket money for his whores...Sam, inwardly. How fortunate I usually had nothing...On my person...To give.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"[Mr. Wren] did thereupon tell me of the basest thing of my Lord Barkeley"

L&M note the Duke had in 1661 been granted the revenue from the sale of licences on retail wine, this being managed for him by commissioners who let it out to farm. Berkeley of Stratton (Steward of his Household) boasted in 1663 that he (Berkeley) had already made £50,000 since the Restoration.…

Will Norton  •  Link

What a day!

Sometimes I feel tired just reading what Sam gets up to in a single day. It amazes me how me seems to manage to mix work and pleasure at the same time.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

The lesson from Mr. Wren's tale seems to be, the higher some lords stand in the pecking order the greater the opportunities for corruption. Did Sandwich's diplomatic exile -- (could it have resulted from his frowned-upon taking of prize goods?) -- cut him off from opportunities to profit at court?

languagehat  •  Link

My brain must be weakening; I couldn't make head nor tail of either the Berkeley story or the Embassador story.

Mary  •  Link

Oh, those ambassadors.

I think (but am not entirely sure) that I have a handle on this - please add your own two-penn'orth if you think otherwise.

The Spanish ambassador has taken umbrage because he feels that the Venetian ambassador should have met him at his (Venice's) door when he came to pay a call.

The Venetian ambassador says that he is prepared to offer the Spanish ambassador equal courtesies to those which he afforded the French ambassador. This did not involve being met at the door.

However, the French ambassador appears satisfied with being met elsewhere than at the door and is not prepared to go through the slightly more elaborate rigmarole of being greeted (on a separate occasion)at the Vemetian ambassador's door just so that the Spanish ambassador may claim equal and elevated signs of respect.

The Venetian ambassador is not prepared to favour the one over the other and so they have reached a stand-off.

Lord, what fools these mortals be! (which seems to be Pepys's attitude).

I haven't sorted out the Berkely story yet.

Mary  •  Link

I've belatedly spotted the L&M note on this altercation. It all concerned the crucial protocol for official visits. The highest regard was shown by meeting the visitor at the door. The French ambassador had been shown the lesser honour of being greeted half-way up the stairs, the Venetian ambassador not having 'put himself to the trouble' of descending them fully to door-level. The Spanish ambassador wanted to elevate the whole business to doorstep level.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Ambassadors in the Waltz about respect and diplomatic seniority

Pietro Mocenigo, Ambassador of Venice, is the new guy - received at court 31 August (who'd been here since 10 August )… 334

The Ambassador of France, Charles Colbert, marquis de Croissy,… had come incognito August 8 1688 & paraded to court with mules 17 August (recorded by Mocenigo in a leeter to Venice as aggressive and devious)

The Ambassador of Spain, whose presence in London Pepys recorded (but not by name) 11 March 1666/67…
was (L&M say) Antonio Francesca Mexia, Comde de Molina de Tobar y Paz,


Mary, nice analysis! I couldn't figure out who was refused more.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"The highest regard was shown by meeting the visitor at the door" > hence to meet a visiting dignitary on the tarmac is the highest regard today.

Is Berkeley using his position to skim an outrageous part of the Duke's take?

Mary  •  Link

Again, L&M clarifies the situation.

Charles had granted York the revenues from the sale of licences to sell wine. The business had been managed for him by commissioners who, in turn, let it out to farm for a consideration.

Berkely is quoted as having said in 1665 that he had already made £50,000 since the Restoration in this business, so it's a fair assumption that he's been feathering his nest at York's expense whilst at the same time playing off one agent against another in pursuit of gain and still allowing York sufficient income to keep him sweet.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

The protocol kerfluffle reminds me of the time President and Mrs. Nixon paid a call on Alice Roosevelt Longworth on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Mrs. Longworth met the president and wife, not at the front door, not midway up the stairs, but at the top of the stairs, and she stood on the top step, forcing the Nixons to stand one or two steps below her. She had also invited all the top journalists in town who had turned against the Nixons (this was 1973. It was quite an evening.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

My copy of L&M dates Berkeley's brag 1663 (see above).

Michael Wright  •  Link

I *think* I have worked out Berkeley's wine licence scam. York's commissioners decide they can get more money for these licences than they're presently fetching, so they are prepared to make payments to the present holders to get them to surrender them.

Berkeley negotiates on behalf of one of these holders, and gets the commissioners to agree to a buy-out at GBP 1500 p.a. But he tells his client (or mark) that the commissioners are paying GBP 800, and he pockets the difference. Which is the kind of deal that raises Pepys' eyebrows, even after all the scamming he's seen.

The problem is that the pronoun references aren't made unambiguous in the Diary, which is somewhat characteristic of English, unless you're really careful, and thinking about the reader.

Sorry I don't have the pound Sterling sign on this keyboard.

AnnieC  •  Link

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn't any
Other stair
Quite like

I'm not at the bottom,
I'm not at the top;
So this is the stair
I always

(A.A. Milne)

Australian Susan  •  Link

There's a workaround to get a pound sign on a$ keyboard. But I forget.

arby  •  Link

Option+3 on a Mac. Something more complicated on a PC I think. rb

Terry Foreman  •  Link

359. Piero Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When I thought I had done well in the renewal of this embassy by having established equality with the royal ambassadors, without the slightest diminution of pre-eminence, my peace of mind is disturbed somewhat by an affair with the Spanish ambassador about an ambiguity over ceremonial. The minister of your Excellencies has always been made a battle ground in every Court in the strife between the ambassadors of France and Spain, and it has fallen to me, who desired more than anything to cultivate friendly relations and to avoid unpleasantness, to meet with one, the less likely to be foreseen because it is over one of the most trivial and usual formalities. The knowledge of the ceremonial approved at all the Courts and the opinion expressed by the Master of the Ceremonies about the claim of Earl Craven, that meeting on the staircase was a novel procedure on such occasions, made me resolve not to depart from the approved ceremonial on the first visits with the French and Dutch ambassadors. Both responded by meeting me on the stairs when I returned their visits and everything happened without anything of note.
When the Spanish ambassador asked for an appointment, Saturday morning was fixed and he appeared at the house. My gentlemen were at the door and he had scarcely entered when he asked them if I was indisposed, and advancing to the foot of the stairs demanded roundly that I should meet him there. When I heard this I was forced to be very reserved. I sent the Secretary Alberti assuring him that I would meet him where I had met the French ambassador. I would rather show increased than diminished respect for the minister of his Catholic Majesty, but I could not descend the stairs because I could not treat him differently from the French ambassador. After hesitating awhile the Count of Molina decided to leave me with regret at not being able to pay his respects, and he left without seeing me.
It seems that this claim is based oil a particular practice of this Court which is new and perhaps invented by these Spanish ambassadors, who having no stairs in their houses may have extended the greeting, to be met by the other ambassadors on the ground floor. Colbert, the French minister, stands out against this, because if the innovation was accepted and the dukes, earls and leading ministers of this country continued to receive on the stairs in the old way, the ambassadors would lose their parity, as would certainly be the case if the Spanish ministers were met by the French at the door and by a duke on the stairs. Molina did not consider this, fastening on what was done with him by Colbert himself. To this Colbert replies that the extraordinary courtesy of a secret visit from Count Molina, and the belief that it was the practice of dukes, earls and ministers at this Court, obliged him to show special civility at the first meeting and he by no means wished to continue the abuse, when he found that dukes continued to visit and receive in the rooms. He concluded that an abuse prejudicial to the position of royal ambassadors should not be continued, and it should be forgotten as being an offence rather than a favour, and as he was content to break the first lances, and be met on the stairs, as was the Dutch ambassador who enjoys parity, the Spanish ambassador cannot escape following the example, as he has no right to claim a more distinguished treatment than they.
Not content with this the French ambassador, by these arguments has bound me hand and foot, making a protest here by his gentlemen that any concession to the Spanish ambassador would be a positive offence to his ministry. He was fully satisfied with my reception, which conformed with the ceremonial of all the Courts and here also, where the duke of Buchincan and the Secretary Arlinton had received him on the stairs, so that any change would offend his character, and that I as well as the Spanish ambassador should have to compensate him for this.
This declaration of the French ambassador prevents any compromise, and he will on no account agree to the reception claimed by Spain, on the ground also that it would seem as if Spain had precedence over France. But Spain remains deaf to considerations of the common service of the ambassadors. He acts with prudence, however, and is not taking any further steps but lets the compliment wait, while expecting replies from Spain. In the mean time he will not join issue on those points of punctilio which the French ambassador wishes to raise, in order to renew differences and, if needful, odious declarations.
I shall wait to hear the intentions of your Serenity, hoping that my reluctance to gratify the Spanish ambassador will be approved, in order to avoid the quarrels which one tries so hard to prevent now. I have no doubt that I have fulfilled my instructions in cultivating friendly relations with both ambassadors, acting rather as a mediator than as a party, leaving them to their disputes, if I had not the good fortune to reconcile them.
With a few words I was able to assure the French ambassador of my deep respect for his king, and as he has so far declared that he has received from me the treatment he desires, so in the future I shall not do him offence in my dealings with the Spanish ambassador.
With the count of Molina, after making sure of a courteous reception, I have made a civil advance, sending the Secretary Alberti to tell him that the succour contributed by the Viceroy of Naples to the needs of Candia were so opportune that I sent to congratulate him on this holy resolution which would add to the glory of his Catholic Majesty. The office proved acceptable and met with a very hearty response, both of us having avoided any reference to the past incident.
This civility prepared the way for a second office on the following day when he received the Secretary Alberti, who told him my extreme regret that a misunderstanding about ceremonial deprived me of the opportunity of waiting upon him. I had not been able to oblige him, because I could not go further than I had with the French ambassador, and I felt sure he would not take it ill that I had not taken a step which would have caused disturbance and a dispute about precedence. The ambassador replied that for me personally and as minister of your Excellencies he had every regard. He had wished to meet me incognito in the first days of my arrival in London, but the misunderstandings of servants had deprived him of that pleasure. For the public visit he would let the matter rest until some compromise had been found, in the hope that the French ambassador would make this easy. As Count of Molina he would always be at my service and offered to devote himself to the interests of the republic, esteeming that so he would be serving his queen. In spite of the difficulty about visits there would be the same correspondence, as we should have opportunities of seeing each other at Court in the evening, where we should meet as private gentlemen without observation. The secretary did not lose the opportunity to assure him of my sincerity and goodwill.
Such is the present state of the affair. As I always have an eye for the satisfaction of France I shall try to get an arrangement made as soon as possible, hoping that the prudence of the count of Molina will not open the way to disputes, and if he can withdraw with honour from the position he has taken up, he should soon be ready to abandon punctilio. He has the example of the Ambassador Batteville, who tried to uphold the advantage of the crown by the way of a rupture, and did it infinite harm, while he personally lost the credit of having served well in an important matter by serving too well in punctilio.
London, the 12th October, 1668. [Italian.]…
[Excuse the long post, but methought it amusing.]

Australian Susan  •  Link

I've worked it out! It's (on a Macbook) option + 3 See £ !!

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"He told me that there hath been a seeming accommodation between the Duke of York and the Duke of Buckingham and Lord Arlington, the two latter desiring it; but yet that there is not true agreement between them, but they do labour to bring in all new creatures into play"

L&M: Cf.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"met Mr. Godolphin, who tells me that the news, is true we heard yesterday, of my Lord Sandwich’s being come to Mount’s Bay, in Cornwall,"

L&M: Cf. F. Bellot to Williamson, Pendennis, 23 September, reporting that the Greenwich frigate wth Sandwich aboard is anchored in Mount's bay because of contrary winds. She had sailed from Tangier on 29 August: Harris, ii. 159.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

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

Page 653

Slow mail day today ... this is everything:

Sept. 27. 1668
Rich. Watts to [Williamson].

Has not had any opportunity of sending the packet for Lisbon.

Only the Dartmouth and Drake are in the Downs, and the latter is going cruising.
It is reported that 12 of the King's brass guns were carried from Chatham beyond sea, under pretence of carrying them by order to the river, but this is best known at Whitehall.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 247, No. 1.]

Sept. 27. 1668
Queen's College, Oxford
Tim. Halton to Williamson.

Will wait on him on Tuesday; and if Mr. Clifford can be at Oxford on the Friday following, it will be convenient.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 247, No. 2.]

Sept. 27 1668
John Moore and Edw. Moorcock to the Navy Commissioners.

Are in a fair way of clearing the river of another wreck, having removed her from the middle to so near the shore that it dries at low water to within half her length.
She is the ship that was disposed of to the gunner of the Henry, and is not so good as was expected; having been a fireship, she is much burned, and her deck gone, being, as they suppose, blown up with her powder.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 247, No. 3.]

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