Mare Frigoris

Up, and to my Lord Sandwich’s; where he sent for me up, and I did give my Lord an account of what had passed with my Lord Chancellor yesterday; with which he was well pleased, and advised me by all means to study in the best manner I could to serve him in this business. After this discourse ended, he begun to tell me that he had now pitched upon his day of going to sea upon Monday next, and that he would now give me an account how matters are with him.
He told me that his work now in the world is only to keep up his interest at Court, having little hopes to get more considerably, he saying that he hath now about 8,000l. per annum. It is true, he says, he oweth about 10,000l.; but he hath been at great charges in getting things to this pass in his estate; besides his building and good goods that he hath bought. He says he hath now evened his reckonings at the Wardrobe till Michaelmas last, and hopes to finish it to Ladyday before he goes. He says now there is due, too, 7,000l. to him there, if he knew how to get it paid, besides 2000l. that Mr. Montagu do owe him. As to his interest, he says that he hath had all the injury done him that ever man could have by another bosom friend that knows all his secrets, by Mr. Montagu; but he says that the worst of it all is past, and he gone out and hated, his very person by the King, and he believes the more upon the score of his carriage to him; nay, that the Duke of Yorke did say a little while since in his closett, that he did hate him because of his ungratefull carriage to my Lord of Sandwich. He says that he is as great with the Chancellor, or greater, than ever in his life. That with the King he is the like; and told me an instance, that whereas he formerly was of the private council to the King before he was last sicke, and that by the sickness an interruption was made in his attendance upon him; the King did not constantly call him, as he used to do, to his private council, only in businesses of the sea and the like; but of late the King did send a message to him by Sir Harry Bennet, to excuse the King to my Lord that he had not of late sent for him as he used to do to his private council, for it was not out of any distaste, but to avoid giving offence to some others whom he did not name; but my Lord supposes it might be Prince Rupert, or it may be only that the King would rather pass it by an excuse, than be thought unkind: but that now he did desire him to attend him constantly, which of late he hath done, and the King never more kind to him in his life than now. The Duke of Yorke, as much as is possible; and in the business of late, when I was to speak to my Lord about his going to sea, he says that he finds the Duke did it with the greatest ingenuity and love in the world; “and whereas,” says my Lord, “here is a wise man hard by that thinks himself so, and would be thought so, and it may be is in a degree so (naming by and by my Lord Crew), would have had me condition with him that neither Prince Rupert nor any body should come over his head, and I know not what.” The Duke himself hath caused in his commission, that he be made Admirall of this and what other ships or fleets shall hereafter be put out after these; which is very noble. He tells me in these cases, and that of Mr. Montagu’s, and all others, he finds that bearing of them patiently is his best way, without noise or trouble, and things wear out of themselves and come fair again. But, says he, take it from me, never to trust too much to any man in the world, for you put yourself into his power; and the best seeming friend and real friend as to the present may have or take occasion to fall out with you, and then out comes all.
Then he told me of Sir Harry Bennet, though they were always kind, yet now it is become to an acquaintance and familiarity above ordinary, that for these months he hath done no business but with my Lord’s advice in his chamber, and promises all faithfull love to him and service upon all occasions. My Lord says, that he hath the advantage of being able by his experience to helpe and advise him; and he believes that that chiefly do invite Sir Harry to this manner of treating him.
“Now,” says my Lord,” the only and the greatest embarras that I have in the world is, how to behave myself to Sir H. Bennet and my Lord Chancellor, in case that there do lie any thing under the embers about my Lord Bristoll, which nobody can tell; for then,” says he, “I must appear for one or other, and I will lose all I have in the world rather than desert my Lord Chancellor: so that,” says he, “I know not for my life what to do in that case.” For Sir H. Bennet’s love is come to the height, and his confidence, that he hath given my Lord a character, and will oblige my Lord to correspond with him. “This,” says he, “is the whole condition of my estate and interest; which I tell you, because I know not whether I shall see you again or no.” Then as to the voyage, he thinks it will be of charge to him, and no profit; but that he must not now look after nor think to encrease, but study to make good what he hath, that what is due to him from the Wardrobe or elsewhere may be paid, which otherwise would fail, and all a man hath be but small content to him.
So we seemed to take leave one of another; my Lord of me, desiring me that I would write to him and give him information upon all occasions in matters that concern him; which, put together with what he preambled with yesterday, makes me think that my Lord do truly esteem me still, and desires to preserve my service to him; which I do bless God for.
In the middle of our discourse my Lady Crew came in to bring my Lord word that he hath another son, my Lady being brought to bed just now, I did not think her time had been so nigh, but she’s well brought to bed, for which God be praised! and send my Lord to study the laying up of something the more!
Then with Creed to St. James’s, and missing Mr. Coventry, to White Hall; where, staying for him in one of the galleries, there comes out of the chayre-room Mrs. Stewart, in a most lovely form, with her hair all about her eares, having her picture taking there. There was the King and twenty more, I think, standing by all the while, and a lovely creature she in this dress seemed to be.
Thence to the ‘Change by coach, and so home to dinner and then to my office. In the evening Mr. Hill, Andrews and I to my chamber to sing, which we did very pleasantly, and then to my office again, where very late and so home, with my mind I bless God in good state of ease and body of health, only my head at this juncture very full of business, how to get something. Among others what this rogue Creed will do before he goes to sea, for I would fain be rid of him and see what he means to do, for I will then declare myself his firm friend or enemy.

I have a secret hate
like a private sea

that taste of ships put out to rust
that anything other than desert

for a voyage to white hair and ill health
my head full of how to get rid
of my enemy


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 15 July 1664.

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