Arsonism

Up, and to the office, where much business upon me by the coming of people of all sorts about the dispatch of one business or other of the fire-ships, or other ships to be set out now. This morning Greeting come, and I with him at my flageolet. At noon dined at home with my wife alone, and then in the afternoon all the day at my office. Troubled a little at a letter from my father, which tells me of an idle companion, one Coleman, who went down with him and my wife in the coach, and come up again with my wife, a pensioner of the King’s Guard, and one that my wife, indeed, made the feast for on Saturday last, though he did not come; but if he knows nothing of our money I will prevent any other inconvenience. In the evening comes Mr. Povy about business; and he and I to walk in the garden an hour or two, and to talk of State matters. He tells me his opinion that it is out of possibility for us to escape being undone, there being nothing in our power to do that is necessary for the saving us: a lazy Prince, no Council, no money, no reputation at home or abroad. He says that to this day the King do follow the women as much as ever he did; that the Duke of York hath not got Mrs. Middleton, as I was told the other day: but says that he wants not her, for he hath others, and hath always had, and that he [Povy] hath known them brought through the Matted Gallery at White Hall into his [the Duke’s] closet; nay, he hath come out of his wife’s bed, and gone to others laid in bed for him: that Mr. Bruncker is not the only pimp, but that the whole family is of the same strain, and will do anything to please him: that, besides the death of the two Princes lately, the family is in horrible disorder by being in debt by spending above 60,000l. per. annum, when he hath not 40,000l.: that the Duchesse is not only the proudest woman in the world, but the most expensefull; and that the Duke of York’s marriage with her hath undone the kingdom, by making the Chancellor so great above reach, who otherwise would have been but an ordinary man, to have been dealt with by other people; and he would have been careful of managing things well, for fear of being called to account; whereas, now he is secure, and hath let things run to rack, as they now appear. That at a certain time Mr. Povy did carry him an account of the state of the Duke of York’s estate, showing in faithfullness how he spent more than his estate would bear, by above 20,000l. per annum, and asked my Lord’s opinion of it; to which he answered that no man that loved the King or kingdom durst own the writing of that paper; at which Povy was startled, and reckoned himself undone for this good service, and found it necessary then to show it to the Duke of York’s Commissioners; who read, examined, and approved of it, so as to cause it to be put into form, and signed it, and gave it the Duke. Now the end of the Chancellor was, for fear that his daughter’s ill housewifery should be condemned. He [Povy] tells me that the other day, upon this ill newes of the Dutch being upon us, White Hall was shut up, and the Council called and sat close; and, by the way, he do assure me, from the mouth of some Privy-councillors, that at this day the Privy-council in general do know no more what the state of the kingdom as to peace and war is, than he or I; nor knows who manages it, nor upon whom it depends; and there my Lord Chancellor did make a speech to them, saying that they knew well that he was no friend to the war from the beginning, and therefore had concerned himself little in, nor could say much to it; and a great deal of that kind, to discharge himself of the fault of the war. Upon which my Lord Anglesey rose up and told his Majesty that he thought their coming now together was not to enquire who was, or was not, the cause of the war, but to enquire what was, or could be, done in the business of making a peace, and in whose hands that was, and where it was stopped or forwarded; and went on very highly to have all made open to them: and, by the way, I remember that Captain Cocke did the other day tell me that this Lord Anglesey hath said, within few days, that he would willingly give 10,000l. of his estate that he was well secured of the rest, such apprehensions he hath of the sequel of things, as giving all over for lost. He tells me, speaking of the horrid effeminacy of the King, that the King hath taken ten times more care and pains in making friends between my Lady Castlemayne and Mrs. Stewart, when they have fallen out, than ever he did to save his kingdom; nay, that upon any falling out between my Lady Castlemayne’s nurse and her woman, my Lady hath often said she would make the King to make them friends, and they would be friends and be quiet; which the King hath been fain to do: that the King is, at this day, every night in Hyde Park with the Duchesse of Monmouth, or with my Lady Castlemaine: that he [Povy] is concerned of late by my Lord Arlington in the looking after some buildings that he is about in Norfolke, where my Lord is laying out a great deal of money; and that he, Mr. Povy, considering the unsafeness of laying out money at such a time as this, and, besides, the enviousness of the particular county, as well as all the kingdom, to find him building and employing workmen, while all the ordinary people of the country are carried down to the seasides for securing the land, he thought it becoming him to go to my Lord Arlington (Sir Thomas Clifford by), and give it as his advice to hold his hands a little; but my Lord would not, but would have him go on, and so Sir Thomas Clifford advised also, which one would think, if he were a statesman worth a fart should be a sign of his foreseeing that all shall do well. But I do forbear concluding any such thing from them. He tells me that there is not so great confidence between any two men of power in the nation at this day, that he knows of, as between my Lord Arlington and Sir Thomas Clifford; and that it arises by accident only, there being no relation nor acquaintance between them, but only Sir Thomas Clifford’s coming to him, and applying himself to him for favours, when he come first up to town to be a Parliament-man. He tells me that he do not think there is anything in the world for us possibly to be saved by but the King of France’s generousnesse to stand by us against the Dutch, and getting us a tolerable peace, it may be, upon our giving him Tangier and the islands he hath taken, and other things he shall please to ask. He confirms me in the several grounds I have conceived of fearing that we shall shortly fall into mutinys and outrages among ourselves, and that therefore he, as a Treasurer, and therefore much more myself, I say, as being not only a Treasurer but an officer of the Navy, on whom, for all the world knows, the faults of all our evils are to be laid, do fear to be seized on by some rude hands as having money to answer for, which will make me the more desirous to get off of this Treasurership as soon as I can, as I had before in my mind resolved. Having done all this discourse, and concluded the kingdom in a desperate condition, we parted; and I to my wife, with whom was Mercer and Betty Michell, poor woman, come with her husband to see us after the death of her little girle. We sat in the garden together a while, it being night, and then Mercer and I a song or two, and then in (the Michell’s home), my wife, Mercer, and I to supper, and then parted and to bed.

fire is my flag
if nothing matters

there being nothing
to follow as much as
this necessary rose

what hands
open with more
unparticular generousness


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 24 June 1667.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.