Prophet

Up, and with Sir W. Pen in his new chariot (which indeed is plain, but pretty and more fashionable in shape than any coach he hath, and yet do not cost him, harness and all, above 32l.) to White Hall; where staid a very little: and thence to St. James’s to W. Coventry, whom I have not seen since before the coming of the Dutch into the river, nor did indeed know how well to go see him, for shame either to him or me, or both of us, to find ourselves in so much misery. I find that he and his fellow-Treasurers are in the utmost want of money, and do find fault with Sir G. Carteret, that, having kept the mystery of borrowing money to himself so long, to the ruin of the nation, as W. Coventry said in words to W. Pen and me, he should now lay it aside and come to them for money for every penny he hath, declaring that he can raise no more: which, I confess, do appear to me the most like ill-will of any thing that I have observed of W. Coventry, when he himself did tell us, on another occasion at the same time, that the bankers who used to furnish them money are not able to lend a farthing, and he knows well enough that that was all the mystery G. Carteret did use, that is, only his credit with them. He told us the masters and owners of the two ships that I had complained of, for not readily setting forth their ships, which we had taken up to make men-of-war, had been yesterday with the King and Council, and had made their case so well understood, that the King did owe them for what they had earned the last year, that they could not set them out again without some money or stores out of the King’s Yards; the latter of which W. Coventry said must be done, for that they were not able to raise money for them, though it was but 200l. a ship: which do skew us our condition to be so bad, that I am in a total despair of ever having the nation do well. After talking awhile, and all out of heart with stories of want of seamen, and seamen’s running away, and their demanding a month’s advance, and our being forced to give seamen 3s. a-day to go hence to work at Chatham, and other things that show nothing but destruction upon us; for it is certain that, as it now is, the seamen of England, in my conscience, would, if they could, go over and serve the King of France or Holland rather than us. Up to the Duke of York to his chamber, where he seems to be pretty easy, and now and then merry; but yet one may perceive in all their minds there is something of trouble and care, and with good reason. Thence to White Hall, and with Sir W. Pen, by chariot; and there in the Court met with my Lord Anglesey: and he to talk with W. Pen, and told him of the masters of ships being with the Council yesterday, and that we were not in condition, though the men were willing, to furnish them with 200l. of money, already due to them as earned by them the last year, to enable them to set out their ships again this year for the King: which he is amazed at; and when I told him, “My Lord, this is a sad instance of the condition we are in,” he answered, that it was so indeed, and sighed: and so parted: and he up to the Council-chamber, where I perceive they sit every morning, and I to Westminster Hall, where it is Term time. I met with none I knew, nor did desire it, but only past through the-Hall and so back again, and by coach home to dinner, being weary indeed of seeing the world, and thinking it high time for me to provide against the foul weather that is certainly coming upon us. So to the office, and there W. Pen and I did some business, and then home to dinner, where my wife pleases me mightily with what she can do upon the flageolet, and then I to the office again, and busy all the afternoon, and it is worth noting that the King and Council, in their order of the 23rd instant, for unloading three merchant-ships taken up for the King’s service for men- of-war, do call the late coming of the Dutch “an invasion.” I was told, yesterday, that Mr. Oldenburg, our Secretary at Gresham College, is put into the Tower, for writing newes to a virtuoso in France, with whom he constantly corresponds in philosophical matters; which makes it very unsafe at this time to write, or almost do any thing. Several captains come to the office yesterday and to-day, complaining that their men come and go when they will, and will not be commanded, though they are paid every night, or may be. Nay, this afternoon comes Harry Russell from Gravesend, telling us that the money carried down yesterday for the Chest at Chatham had like to have been seized upon yesterday, in the barge there, by seamen, who did beat our watermen: and what men should these be but the boat’s crew of Sir Fretcheville Hollis, who used to brag so much of the goodness and order of his men, and his command over them. Busy all the afternoon at the office. Towards night I with Mr. Kinaston to White Hall about a Tangier order, but lost our labour, only met Sir H. Cholmly there, and he tells me great newes; that this day in Council the King hath declared that he will call his Parliament in thirty days: which is the best newes I have heard a great while, and will, if any thing, save the kingdom. How the King come to be advised to this, I know not; but he tells me that it was against the Duke of York’s mind flatly, who did rather advise the King to raise money as he pleased; and against the Chancellor’s, who told the King that Queen Elizabeth did do all her business in eighty-eight without calling a Parliament, and so might he do, for anything he saw. But, blessed be God! it is done; and pray God it may hold, though some of us must surely go to the pot, for all must be flung up to them, or nothing will be done. So back home, and my wife down by water, I sent her, with Mrs. Hewer and her son, W. Hewer, to see the sunk ships, while I staid at the office, and in the evening was visited by Mr. Roberts the merchant by us about the getting him a ship cleared from serving the King as a man of war, which I will endeavour to do. So home to supper and to bed.

I have seen the ruin of the nation

words appear
like fur on my heart

stories that show
nothing but destruction

I am weary of seeing foul weather
coming upon us

it is not a philosophical matter

when night raves like the sea
against a sunk ship


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 25 June 1667.

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