Sunday 18 April 1669

(Lord’s day). Up, and all the morning till 2 o’clock at my Office, with Gibson and Tom, about drawing up fair my discourse of the Administration of the Navy, and then, Mr. Spong being come to dine with me, I in to dinner, and then out to my Office again, to examine the fair draught; and so borrowing Sir J. Minnes’s coach, he going with Colonel Middleton, I to White Hall, where we all met and did sign it and then to my Lord Arlington’s, where the King, and the Duke of York, and Prince Rupert, as also Ormond and the two Secretaries, with my Lord Ashly and Sir T. Clifton was. And there, by and by, being called in, Mr. Williamson did read over our paper, which was in a letter to the Duke of York, bound up in a book with the Duke of York’s Book of Instructions. He read it well; and, after read, we were bid to withdraw, nothing being at all said to it. And by and by we were called in again, and nothing said to that business; but another begun, about the state of this year’s action, and our wants of money, as I had stated the same lately to our Treasurers; which I was bid, and did largely, and with great content, open. And having so done, we all withdrew, and left them to debate our supply of money; to which, being called in, and referred to attend on the Lords of the Treasury, we all departed. And I only staid in the House till the Council rose; and then to the Duke of York, who in the Duchess’s chamber come to me, and told me that the book was there left with my Lord Arlington, for any of the Lords to view that had a mind, and to prepare and present to the King what they had to say in writing, to any part of it, which is all we can desire, and so that rested. The Duke of York then went to other talk; and by and by comes the Prince of Tuscany to visit him, and the Duchess; and I find that he do still remain incognito, and so intends to do all the time he stays here, for avoiding trouble to the King and himself, and expence also to both.

Thence I to White Hall Gate, thinking to have found Sir J. Minnes’s coach staying for me; but, not being there, and this being the first day of rain we have had many a day, the streets being as dusty as in summer, I forced to walk to my cozen Turner’s, and there find my wife newly gone home, which vexed me, and so I, having kissed and taken leave of Betty, who goes to Putney to school to-morrow, I walked through the rain to the Temple, and there, with much ado, got a coach, and so home, and there to supper, and Pelling comes to us, and after much talk, we parted, and to bed.

14 Annotations

First Reading

Allen Appel  •  Link

It's always hard to catch a taxi in the rain.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"our paper, which was in a letter to the Duke of York, "

L&N note Pepys described this meeting as one og the King and Cabinet, which Ashley and Clifford attended to deal with supply issues. The letter was a defense of the Navy Board's existing constitution of officers with general duties and those with spacialist qualifications and specific duties. On 3 May 3 Williamson told Pepys that no-one had by that time consulted it.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

I find it interesting that Sam, having set a time and place to see Deb, seems to put the matter out of his mind and focus his mental and emotional energies on work and the Navy. The last two entries show him at his best. But who knows what tomorrow will bring? (The Shadow Knows)

ONeville  •  Link

Lord Arlington, procurer of the King's mistresses. Far more important job than sorting out the Navy. They seem to be paying lip service to a very important document and the King does not seem to have the mental capacity to deal with the problem of his country's defence. What a disaster than man was.

JWB  •  Link

'What a disaster than man was.'

I personally like my heads of state weak. Think of what a disaster Louis XIV was for Europe even up to the World Wars of the last century.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Charlie was a brilliant survivor, first and last...Poor Jamie, a more dutiful man, lacked his brother's "flexibility" and skill and paid for it in the end.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"our paper, which was in a letter to the Duke of York, "

L&M: The letter, dated 17 April was bound together with three other pièces justificatives besides the Duke's Instructions of 1662

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"our paper, which was in a letter to the Duke of York, "

L&M: The letter, dated 17 April was bound together with three other pièces justificatives besides the Duke's Instructions of 1662:…
In a memorandum of 3 May, which Pepys attached to the office-copy, he refers to this meeting as one of the King and Cabinet, which Ashley and Clifford attended in order to deal with the question of supply for the navy. The letter was in substance a defence of the existing constitution of the Navy Board, and argued that it combined the virtues of government by commission in which all or most officers had general duties, with those of governance by specialis officers with specific duties. The Board had both types of member. The office-copy of the letter (in Gibson's hand)is in NMM , LBK/8, pp. 589-93; etc.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

La Gazette de France (available, in high French only, at…) publishes today an "Extraordinary", a supplement on "the Affaires of England, in a Letter from London". The French gazette is rarely where you find your red-hot newes, so imagine our surprize on reading this:

"Mais, preſques en meſme temps qu'on a ici, reçeu cette bonne Nouvelle [a letter to Charles from the king of Denmark, which had come sometime in March] il en eſt arrivé une trés faſcheuse de Tanger, que les Tempeſtes en ont entiérement rüiné le Mole, auquel on avoit dépenſé des Sommes immenſes (...) Cette diſgrace a beaucoup faſché le Roy de la Grand' Bretagne: lequel, ayant appris le bon eſtat de la Place (...) ne penſoit plus qu'à donner les ordres nécéſſaires pour (...) en rendre la Garnison la plus forte qu'il lui auroit été poſſible (...) en cas que le Roy de Taffiléta (...) se fut réſolu d'en entreprendre le Siége".

[But, nearly at the ſame time as we had here received this good Newes, came a most vexing one from Tangiers, that the Stormes have entirely wrecked its Mole, to which we had devoted immenſe Amounts (...) This diſgrace has much angered the King of Great Britain: who, having learned of the good state of the Place (...) only thought to give the necesſary orders to (...) make its Garrison as strong as possible (...) in case the King of Taffilet (...) would resolve to undertake its Siege".]

At this we almost choked on our cardamome coffee, for when had Mr Pepys, emerging from all these Committees for Tangiers, ever mentioned this Apocalypse? Never - his only discourse of Tangiers was of routine budget matters and, indeed, on the reorg of the troops there. (Or could the quicksilver in our daily Purgative indeed have confused our Braines? Some say it can do that). We perused the State Papers - keeping in minde that the French gazette is usually a month behind, even with this newfangled calendar the Continentals are using - and found no mention either!

This would indeed make it wise to send Taffilet gifts of jewels and ego-boosting Ambassies. If 'tis true. If 'tis not, we now wonder what Advantage could accrue to Versailles, in disseminating this canard...

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

As Williamson finishes reading Appendix III to Sam's dense and detailed letter, James bends toward the King and whispers: "You should say something".

"Hmm? Yeah, thanks Williamson. Gentlemen, we'll discuss this in private now, if you would be so kinde as to wait outside..."

Sam and the rest bow and file out. Williamson has a stretch and a large glass of wine. James to Charles: "You should have said more".

"More about what? Whatever are you after?"

"You know how the gossips are. A 30-minute presentation, and then you say nothing. They'll say you didn't understand or care or don't have the mental capacity. You should have asked two questions and contradicted a little and offered on-the-spot advice. All Great Leaders do this. I had questions ready for you on this card here. You could have asked for another report, Pepys loves doing them".

"For God's sake, Jimbo, we asked him to do a report on how that office is set up, he did it, he says in perfectly clear language that all's fine and should be kept as is, and that's it! It's if I had launched into a detailed debate that people would wonder if I understood. Arlington, send that report to the Lords, and then we'll see what a fountain of clever ideas they are. And I'd like to see my Privy Council meetings being gossiped openly..."

"They all keep Diaries, bro, you know that, nothing's really private anymore".

"So if in a hundred years people read of King Charles' wise pronouncement on how many types of specialist officers the Navy Office should have, my place in history will be assured?" The king harrumphs. "Let's discuss the budget, instead, shall we, my lord High Admiral? If I'm gonna fight the French this summer, I'd rather not spend my time opining on org charts. OK, bring' em back in".

Scube  •  Link

Anyone know what the Prince of Tuscany is up to and why he chooses to remain in cognito?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Hi Scube ... Terry Foreman recommended this biography of Cosmo III:…

If you click through on Cosmo's name above, the Wikipedia entry seems a fair summary of the poor guy's situation: Unhappily married to a French princess who tried to steal the Tuscan crown jewels ... sent for a second time on an European tour by his father to give him a break ... was expecting to go to Spain but a storm shipwrecked him on the coast of Ireland, so he is making an unofficial visit to England as he makes his way to the rest of Europe. As a Head of (a minor) State in Waiting, this was a courtesy visit to James, but Cosmo was really more interested in meeting the members of the Royal Society.

The book is his Diary as recorded by his travelling companion. It's not a personal Diary like Pepys', but a travelogue with helpful details mostly about towns, houses and gardens.

Scube  •  Link

Thanks to you and Terry for the recommendation. I'll take a look.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"The Duke of York then went to other talk; and by and by comes the Prince of Tuscany to visit him, and the Duchess; and I find that he do still remain incognito, and so intends to do all the time he stays here, for avoiding trouble to the King and himself, and expence also to both."

Incognity -- in Cosmo's travelogue, this is generally shortened to "incog." and I think the meaning was "unofficial, informal", as opposed to "having one's true identity concealed" which is today's definition.

Cosmo, the future Grand Duke of Turin, is visiting London, and staying at Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Alban's house.

I've standardized the spelling of names I know, corrected the scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs. Sometimes I got confused making the N.S./O.S. date conversions, so I apologize if they are wrong.

I think Cosmo's faithful scribe took a couple of days off, as these are the only combined entries I've found so far:

On 17/27 and 18/28 April, 1669, several gentlemen visited his highness; amongst these, my Lord George Savile, Viscount Halifax; my Lord Philip Herbert, Earl of Pembroke; Sir Richard Jones; Sir Langhorn; Viscount Brouncker; my Lord Blaney; Sir Sydney, son of the Earl of Leicester, and Sir Sedley, and some of these staid to dine with his highness, who sat at the head of the table; the rest sitting indiscriminately round it, at a little distance from his highness, as had been always the custom.

On these days, his highness went in his carriage, through the city, and again made visits to the ladies; appearing in the evening at the closet, and at the apartments of the Duchess of York.


His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II.

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