Provisions

Up, and with W. Pen to St. James’s, and there the Duke of York was preparing to go to some further ceremonies about the Garter, that he could give us no audience. Thence to Westminster Hall, the first day of the Term, and there joyed Mrs. Michell, who is mightily pleased with my wife’s work yesterday, and so away to my barber’s about my periwigg, and then to the Exchange, there to meet Fenn about some money to be borrowed of the office of the Ordnance to answer a great pinch. So home to dinner, and in the afternoon met by agreement (being put on it by Harry Bruncker’s frighting us into a despatch of Carcasse’s business) Bruncker, T. Harvey, J. Minnes, W. Batten, and I (Sir W. Pen keeping out of the way still), where a great many high words from Bruncker, and as many from me and others to him, and to better purpose, for I think we have fortified ourselves to overthrow his man Carcasse, and to do no honour to him. We rose with little done but great heat, not to be reconciled I doubt, and I care not, for I will be on the right side, and that shall keep me. Thence by coach to Sir John Duncomb’s lodging in the Pell Mell, in order to the money spoken of in the morning; and there awhile sat and discoursed: and I find him that he is a very proper man for business, being very resolute and proud, and industrious. He told me what reformation they had made in the office of the Ordnance, taking away Legg’s fees: and have got an order that no Treasurer after him shall ever sit at the Board; and it is a good one: that no master of the Ordnance here shall ever sell a place. He tells me they have not paid any increase of price for any thing during this war, but in most have paid less; and at this day have greater stores than they know where to lay, if there should be peace, and than ever was any time this war. That they pay every man in course, and have notice of the disposal of every farthing. Every man that they owe money to has his share of every sum they receive; never borrowed all this war but 30,000l. by the King’s express command, but do usually stay till their assignments become payable in their own course, which is the whole mystery, that they have had assignments for a fifth part of whatever was assigned to the Navy. They have power of putting out and in of all officers; are going upon a building that will cost them 12,000l.; that they out of their stock of tallies have been forced to help the Treasurer of the Navy at this great pinch. Then to talk of newes: that he thinks the want of money hath undone the King, for the Parliament will never give the King more money without calling all people to account, nor, as he believes, will ever make war again, but they will manage it themselves: unless, which I proposed, he would visibly become a severer inspector into his own business and accounts, and that would gain upon the Parliament yet: which he confesses and confirms as the only lift to set him upon his legs, but says that it is not in his nature ever to do. He says that he believes but four men (such as he could name) would do the business of both offices, his and ours, and if ever the war were to be again it should be so, he believes. He told me to my face that I was a very good clerk, and did understand the business and do it very well, and that he would never desire a better. He do believe that the Parliament, if ever they meet, will offer some alterations to the King, and will turn some of us out, and I protest I think he is in the right that either they or the King will be advised to some regulations, and therefore I ought to beware, as it is easy for me to keep myself up if I will. He thinks that much of our misfortune hath been for want of an active Lord Treasurer, and that such a man as Sir W. Coventry would do the business thoroughly. This talk being over, comes his boy and tells us W. Coventry is come in, and so he and I to him, and there told the difficulty of getting this money, and they did play hard upon Sir G. Carteret as a man moped and stunned, not knowing which way to turn himself. Sir W. Coventry cried that he was disheartened, and I do think that there is much in it, but Sir J. Duncomb do charge him with mighty neglect in the pursuing of his business, and that he do not look after it himself, but leaves it to Fenn, so that I do perceive that they are resolved to scheme at bringing the business into a better way of execution, and I think it needs, that is the truth of it. So I away to Sir G. Carteret’s lodgings about this money, and contrary to expectation I find he hath prevailed with Legg on his own bond to lend him 2000l., which I am glad of, but, poor man, he little sees what observations people do make upon his management, and he is not a man fit to be told what one hears. Thence by water at 10 at night from Westminster Bridge, having kissed little Frank, and so to the Old Swan, and walked home by moonshine, and there to my chamber a while, and supper and to bed.

an inch-high rose
shall keep me a while

no treasure
is greater than peace

no borrowed mystery
will ever outdo

this old hard egg
of a moon


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 24 April 1667.

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