Up, and with Sir W. Batten and [Sir] J. Minnes to St. James’s, where the first time I have been there since the enemy’s being with us, where little business but lack of money, which now is so professed by Sir W. Coventry as nothing is more, and the King’s whole business owned to be at a stand for want of it. So up to my Lord Chancellor’s, where was a Committee of Tangier in my Lord’s roome, where he is to hear causes, where all the judges’ pictures hang up, very fine. Here I read my letter to them, which was well received, and they did fall seriously to discourse the want of money and other particulars, and to some pretty good purpose. But to see how Sir W. Coventry did oppose both my Lord Chancellor and the Duke of York himself, about the Order of the Commissioners of the Treasury to me for not paying of pensions, and with so much reason, and eloquence so natural, was admirable. And another thing, about his pressing for the reduction of the charge of Tangier, which they would have put off to another time; “But,” says he, “the King suffers so much by the putting off of the consideration of reductions of charge, that he is undone; and therefore I do pray you, sir, to his Royal Highness, that when any thing offers of the kind, you will not let it escape you.” Here was a great bundle of letters brought hither, sent up from sea, from a vessel of ours that hath taken them after they had been flung over by a Dutchman; wherein, among others, the Duke of York did read the superscription of one to De Witt, thus “To the most wise, foreseeing and discreet, These, &c.;” which, I thought with myself, I could have been glad might have been duly directed to any one of them at the table, though the greatest men in this kingdom. The Duke of York, the Lord Chancellor, my Lord Duke of Albemarle, Arlington, Ashley, Peterborough, and Coventry (the best of them all for parts), I perceive they do all profess their expectation of a peace, and that suddenly, and do advise of things accordingly, and do all speak of it (and expressly, I remember, the Duke of Albemarle), saying that they hoped for it. Letters were read at the table from Tangier that Guiland is wholly lost, and that he do offer Arzill to us to deliver it to us. But Sir W. Coventry did declare his opinion that we should have nothing to do with it, and said that if Tangier were offered us now, as the King’s condition is, he would advise against the taking it; saying, that the King’s charge is too great, and must be brought down, it being, like the fire of this City, never to be mastered till you have brought it under you; and that these places abroad are but so much charge to the King, and we do rather hitherto strive to greaten them than lessen them; and then the King is forced to part with them, “as,” says he, “he did with Dunkirke, by my Lord Tiviott’s making it so chargeable to the King as he did that, and would have done Tangier, if he had lived.” I perceive he is the only man that do seek the King’s profit, and is bold to deliver what he thinks on every occasion.
Having broke up here, I away with Mr. Gawden in his coach to the ’Change, and there a, little, and then home and dined, and then to the office, and by and by with my wife to White Hall (she to Unthanke’s), and there met Creed and did a little business at the Treasury chamber, and then to walk in Westminster Hall an hour or two, with much pleasure reflecting upon our discourse to-day at the Tangier meeting, and crying up the worth of Sir W. Coventry. Creed tells me of the fray between the Duke of Buckingham at the Duke’s playhouse the last Saturday (and it is the first day I have heard that they have acted at either the King’s or Duke’s houses this month or six weeks) and Henry Killigrew, whom the Duke of Buckingham did soundly beat and take away his sword, and make a fool of, till the fellow prayed him to spare his life; and I am glad of it; for it seems in this business the Duke of Buckingham did carry himself very innocently and well, and I wish he had paid this fellow’s coat well. I heard something of this at the ’Change to-day: and it is pretty to hear how people do speak kindly of the Duke of Buckingham, as one that will enquire into faults; and therefore they do mightily favour him. And it puts me in mind that, this afternoon, Billing, the Quaker, meeting me in the Hall, come to me, and after a little discourse did say, “Well,” says he, “now you will be all called to an account;” meaning the Parliament is drawing near. This done I took coach and took up my wife, and so home, and after a little at the office I home to my chamber a while, and then to supper and to bed.
I have been nothing here
my picture is of another
I escape myself
my ash is a letter from the fire
under you to whom I pray
spare no one
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 22 July 1667.