Up, and by water down to White Hall, and there with the Duke of York did our usual business, but nothing but complaints of want of money [without] success, and Sir W. Coventry’s complaint of the defects of our office (indeed Sir J. Minnes’s) without any amendment, and he tells us so plainly of the Committee of Parliament’s resolution to enquire home into all our managements that it makes me resolve to be wary, and to do all things betimes to be ready for them. Thence going away met Mr. Hingston the organist (my old acquaintance) in the Court, and I took him to the Dog Taverne and got him to set me a bass to my “It is decreed,” which I think will go well, but he commends the song not knowing the words, but says the ayre is good, and believes the words are plainly expressed. He is of my mind against having of 8ths unnecessarily in composition. This did all please me mightily. Then to talk of the King’s family. He says many of the musique are ready to starve, they being five years behindhand for their wages; nay, Evens, the famous man upon the Harp having not his equal in the world, did the other day die for mere want, and was fain to be buried at the almes of the parish, and carried to his grave in the dark at night without one linke, but that Mr. Hingston met it by chance, and did give 12d. to buy two or three links. He says all must come to ruin at this rate, and I believe him.
Thence I up to the Lords’ House to enquire for Lord Bellasses; and there hear how at a conference this morning between the two Houses about the business of the Canary Company, my Lord Buckingham leaning rudely over my Lord Marquis Dorchester, my Lord Dorchester removed his elbow. Duke of Buckingham asked him whether he was uneasy; Dorchester replied, yes, and that he durst not do this were he any where else: Buckingham replied, yes he would, and that he was a better man than himself; Dorchester answered that he lyed. With this Buckingham struck off his hat, and took him by his periwigg, and pulled it aside, and held him. My Lord Chamberlain and others interposed, and, upon coming into the House, the Lords did order them both to the Tower, whither they are to go this afternoon.
I down into the Hall, and there the Lieutenant of the Tower took me with him, and would have me to the Tower to dinner; where I dined at the head of his table, next his lady, who is comely and seeming sober and stately, but very proud and very cunning, or I am mistaken, and wanton, too. This day’s work will bring the Lieutenant of the Tower 350l.. But a strange, conceited, vain man he is that ever I met withal, in his own praise, as I have heretofore observed of him. Thence home, and upon Tower Hill saw about 3 or 400 seamen get together; and one, standing upon a pile of bricks, made his sign, with his handkercher, upon his stick, and called all the rest to him, and several shouts they gave. This made me afeard; so I got home as fast as I could. And hearing of no present hurt did go to Sir Robert Viner’s about my plate again, and coming home do hear of 1000 seamen said in the streets to be in armes. So in great fear home, expecting to find a tumult about my house, and was doubtful of my riches there. But I thank God I found all well. But by and by Sir W. Batten and Sir R. Ford do tell me, that the seamen have been at some prisons, to release some seamen, and the Duke of Albemarle is in armes, and all the Guards at the other end of the town; and the Duke of Albemarle is gone with some forces to Wapping, to quell the seamen; which is a thing of infinite disgrace to us.
I sat long talking with them; and, among other things, Sir R. Ford did make me understand how the House of Commons is a beast not to be understood, it being impossible to know beforehand the success almost of any small plain thing, there being so many to think and speak to any business, and they of so uncertain minds and interests and passions.
He did tell me, and so did Sir W. Batten, how Sir Allen Brodericke and Sir Allen Apsly did come drunk the other day into the House, and did both speak for half an hour together, and could not be either laughed, or pulled, or bid to sit down and hold their peace, to the great contempt of the King’s servants and cause; which I am grieved at with all my heart.
We were full in discourse of the sad state of our times, and the horrid shame brought on the King’s service by the just clamours of the poor seamen, and that we must be undone in a little time.
Home full of trouble on these considerations, and, among other things, I to my chamber, and there to ticket a good part of my books, in order to the numbering of them for my easy finding them to read as I have occasion.
So to supper and to bed, with my heart full of trouble.
I am at all times ready
to believe words plainly expressed
ready to die and be buried
in the dark without a hat
I am better than
that struck-off hat
or this head next to it
served up on a stick
to shout about the infinite
a beast not to be understood
it being impossible to know
almost any small plain thing
and so certain as a drunk
for half an hour I grieve
at the just clamors of the poor
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 19 December 1666.