Up by candlelight, which I do not use to do, though it be very late, that is to say almost 8 o’clock, and out by coach to White Hall, where we all met and to the Duke, where I heard a large discourse between one that goes over an agent from the King to Legorne and thereabouts, to remove the inconveniences his ships are put to by denial of pratique; which is a thing that is now-a-days made use of only as a cheat, for a man may buy a bill of health for a piece of eight, and my enemy may agree with the Intendent of the Sante for ten pieces of eight or so; that he shall not give me a bill of health, and so spoil me in my design, whatever it be. This the King will not endure, and so resolves either to have it removed, or to keep all ships from coming in, or going out there, so long as his ships are stayed for want hereof.
Then, my Lord Sandwich being there, we all went into the Duke’s closet and did our business. But among other things, Lord! what an account did Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten make of the pulling down and burning of the head of the Charles, where Cromwell was placed with people under his horse, and Peter, as the Duke called him, is praying to him; and Sir J. Minnes would needs infer the temper of the people from their joy at the doing of this and their building a gibbet for the hanging of his head up, when God knows, it is even the flinging away of 100l. out of the King’s purse, to the building of another, which it seems must be a Neptune.
Thence I through White Hall only to see what was doing, but meeting none that I knew I went through the garden to my Lord Sandwich’s lodging, where I found my Lord got before me (which I did not intend or expect) and was there trying some musique, which he intends for an anthem of three parts, I know not whether for the King’s chapel or no, but he seems mighty intent upon it. But it did trouble me to hear him swear before God and other oathes, as he did now and then without any occasion, which methinks did so ill become him, and I hope will be a caution for me, it being so ill a thing in him.
The musique being done, without showing me any good or ill countenance, he did give me his hat and so adieu, and went down to his coach without saying anything to me. He being gone I and Mr. Howe talked a good while. He tells me that my Lord, it is true, for a while after my letter, was displeased, and did shew many slightings of me when he had occasion of mentioning me to his Lordship, but that now my Lord is in good temper and he do believe will shew me as much respect as ever, and would have me not to refrain to come to him. This news I confess did much trouble me, but when I did hear how he is come to himself, and hath wholly left Chelsy, and the slut, and that I see he do follow his business, and becomes in better repute than before, I am rejoiced to see it, though it do cost me some disfavour for a time, for if not his good nature and ingenuity, yet I believe his memory will not bear it always in his mind. But it is my comfort that this is the thing that after so many years good service that has made him my enemy.
Thence to the King’s Head ordinary, and there dined among a company of fine gentlemen; some of them discoursed of the King of France’s greatness, and how he is come to make the Princes of the Blood to take place of all foreign Embassadors, which it seems is granted by them of Venice and other States, and expected from my Lord. Hollis, our King’s Embassador there; and that either upon that score or something else he hath not had his entry yet in Paris, but hath received several affronts, and among others his harnesse cut, and his gentlemen of his horse killed, which will breed bad blood if true. They say also that the King of France hath hired threescore ships of Holland, and forty of the Swede, but nobody knows what to do; but some great designs he hath on foot against the next year.
Thence by coach home and to my office, where I spent all the evening till night with Captain Taylor discoursing about keeping of masts, and when he was gone, with Sir W. Warren, who did give me excellent discourse about the same thing, which I have committed to paper, and then fell to other talk of his being at Chatham lately and there discoursing of his masts. Commissioner Pett did let fall several scurvy words concerning my pretending to know masts as well as any body, which I know proceeds ever since I told him I could measure a piece of timber as well as anybody employed by the King. But, however, I shall remember him for a black sheep again a good while, with all his fair words to me, and perhaps may let him know that my ignorance does the King as much good as all his knowledge, which would do more it is true if it were well used.
Then we fell to talk of Sir J. Minnes’s and Sir W. Batten’s burning of Oliver’s head, while he was there; which was done with so much insulting and folly as I never heard of, and had the Trayned Band of Rochester to come to the solemnity, which when all comes to all, Commissioner Pett says it never was made for him; but it troubles me the King should suffer 100l. losse in his purse, to make a new one after it was forgot whose it was, or any words spoke of it.
He being gone I mightily pleased with his discourse, by which I always learn something, I to read a little in Rushworth, and so home to supper to my wife, it having been washing day, and so to bed, my mind I confess a little troubled for my Lord Sandwich’s displeasure. But God will give me patience to bear since it rises from so good an occasion.
to inconvenience an enemy
I will not remove my own head
for a head with good countenance
a light head
ordinary as a horse
but a foot
committed to ignorance
does as much good as
a burning head
but I make new words
of ash and trouble
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 14 December 1663.