Human sacrifice

Up and to the office, where I hear that Sir John Coventry is come over from Bredah, a nephew, I think, of Sir W. Coventry’s: but what message he brings I know not. This morning news is come that Sir Jos. Jordan is come from Harwich, with sixteen fire-ships and four other little ships of war: and did attempt to do some execution upon the enemy, but did it without discretion, as most do say, so as that they have been able to do no good, but have lost four of their fire ships. They attempted, it seems, when the wind was too strong, that our grapplings could not hold: others say we come to leeward of them, but all condemn it as a foolish management. They are come to Sir Edward Spragg about Lee, and the Dutch are below at the Nore. At the office all the morning; and at noon to the ’Change, where I met Fenn; and he tells me that Sir John Coventry do bring the confirmation of the peace; but I do not find the ’Change at all glad of it, but rather the worse, they looking upon it as a peace made only to preserve the King for a time in his lusts and ease, and to sacrifice trade and his kingdoms only to his own pleasures: so that the hearts of merchants are quite down. He tells me that the King and my Lady Castlemayne are quite broke off, and she is gone away, and is with child, and swears the King shall own it; and she will have it christened in the Chapel at White Hall so, and owned for the King’s, as other Kings have done; or she will bring it into White Hall gallery, and dash the brains of it out before the King’s face.
He tells me that the King and Court were never in the world so bad as they are now for gaming, swearing, whoring, and drinking, and the most abominable vices that ever were in the world; so that all must come to nought. He told me that Sir G. Carteret was at this end of the town; so I went to visit him in Broad Street; and there he and I together: and he is mightily pleased with my Lady Jem’s having a son; and a mighty glad man he is. He tells me, as to news, that the peace is now confirmed, and all that over. He says it was a very unhappy motion in the House the other day about the land-army; for, whether the King hath a mind of his own to do the thing desired or no, his doing it will be looked upon as a thing done only in fear of the Parliament. He says that the Duke of York is suspected to be the great man that is for raising of this army, and bringing things to be commanded by an army; but he believes that he is wronged, and says that he do know that he is wronged therein. He do say that the Court is in a way to ruin all for their pleasures; and says that he himself hath once taken the liberty to tell the King the necessity of having, at least, a show of religion in the Government, and sobriety; and that it was that, that did set up and keep up Oliver, though he was the greatest rogue in the world, and that it is so fixed in the nature of the common Englishman that it will not out of him. He tells me that while all should be labouring to settle the kingdom, they are at Court all in factions, some for and others against my Lord Chancellor, and another for and against another man, and the King adheres to no man, but this day delivers himself up to this, and the next to that, to the ruin of himself and business; that he is at the command of any woman like a slave, though he be the best man to the Queene in the world, with so much respect, and never lies a night from her: but yet cannot command himself in the presence of a woman he likes. Having had this discourse, I parted, and home to dinner, and thence to the office all the afternoon to my great content very busy. It raining this day all day to our great joy, it having not rained, I think, this month before, so as the ground was everywhere so burned and dry as could be; and no travelling in the road or streets in London, for dust. At night late home to supper and to bed.

ah sacrifice
the hearts wronged
in a show of religion

laboring to settle
like an all-day rain
on ground dry as dust


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 27 July 1667.

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