Up betimes, and down to the waterside (calling and drinking a dram of the bottle at Michell’s, but saw not Betty), and thence to White Hall and to Sir W. Coventry’s lodging, where he and I alone a good while, where he gives me the full of the Duke of Albemarle’s and Prince’s narratives, given yesterday by the House, wherein they fall foul of him and Sir G. Carteret in something about the dividing of the fleete, and the Prince particularly charging the Commissioners of the Navy with negligence, he says the Commissioners of the Navy whereof Sir W. Coventry is one. He tells me that he is prepared to answer any particular most thoroughly, but the quality of the persons do make it difficult for him, and so I do see is in great pain, poor man, though he deserves better than twenty such as either of them, for his abilities and true service to the King and kingdom. He says there is incoherences, he believes, to be found between their two reports, which will be pretty work to consider. The Duke of Albemarle charges W. Coventry that he should tell him, when he come down to the fleete with Sir G. Carteret, to consult about dividing the fleete, that the Dutch would not be out in six weeks, which W. Coventry says is as false as is possible, and he can prove the contrary by the Duke of Albemarle’s own letters. The Duke of Albemarle says that he did upon sight of the Dutch call a council of officers, and they did conclude they could not avoid fighting the Dutch; and yet we did go to the enemy, and found them at anchor, which is a pretty contradiction. And he tells me that Spragg did the other day say in the House, that the Prince, at his going from the Duke of Albemarle with his fleete, did tell him that if the Dutch should come on, the Duke was to follow him, the Prince, with his fleete, and not fight the Dutch. Out of all this a great deal of good might well be picked. But it is a sad consideration that all this picking of holes in one another’s coats — nay, and the thanks of the House to the Prince and the Duke of Albemarle, and all this envy and design to ruin Sir W. Coventry — did arise from Sir W. Coventry’s unfortunate mistake the other day, in producing of a letter from the Duke of Albemarle, touching the good condition of all things at Chatham just before the Dutch come up, and did us that fatal mischiefe; for upon this they are resolved to undo him, and I pray God they do not. He tells me upon my demanding it that he thinks the King do not like this their bringing these narratives, and that they give out that they would have said more but that the King hath hindered them, that I suppose is about my Lord Sandwich. He is getting a copy of the Narratives, which I shall then have, and so I parted from him and away to White Hall, where I met Mr. Creed and Yeabsly, and discoursed a little about Mr. Yeabsly’s business and accounts, and so I to chapel and there staid, it being All-Hallows day, and heard a fine anthem, made by Pelham (who is come over) in France, of which there was great expectation, and indeed is a very good piece of musique, but still I cannot call the Anthem anything but instrumentall musique with the voice, for nothing is made of the words at all.
I this morning before chapel visited Sir G. Carteret, who is vexed to see how things are likely to go, but cannot help it, and yet seems to think himself mighty safe. I also visited my Lord Hinchingbroke, at his chamber at White Hall, where I found Mr. Turner, Moore, and Creed, talking of my Lord Sandwich, whose case I doubt is but bad, and, I fear, will not escape being worse, though some of the company did say otherwise. But I am mightily pleased with my Lord Hinchingbroke’s sobriety and few words.
After chapel I with Creed to the Exchange, and after much talk he and I there about securing of some money either by land or goods to be always at our command, which we think a thing advisable in this critical time, we parted, and I to the Sun Taverne with Sir W. Warren (with whom I have not drank many a day, having for some time been strange to him), and there did put it to him to advise me how to dispose of my prize, which he will think of and do to my best advantage. We talked of several other things relating to his service, wherein I promise assistance, but coldly, thinking it policy to do so, and so, after eating a short dinner, I away home, and there took out my wife, and she and I alone to the King’s playhouse, and there saw a silly play and an old one, “The Taming of a Shrew,” and so home and I to my office a little, and then home to supper and to bed.
bottle full of yesterday
found between two holes
in a coat
let it undo me
like an anthem with no words
I will exchange the sun
for time alone
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 1 November 1667.