Herbivory

Up and to my office, called up by Commissioner Middleton, newly come to town, but staid not with me; so I to my office busy all the morning. Towards noon, by water to Westminster Hall, and there by several hear that the Parliament do resolve to do something to retrench Sir G. Carteret’s great salary; but cannot hear of any thing bad they can lay to his charge. The House did this day order to be engrossed the Bill against importing Irish cattle; a thing, it seems, carried on by the Western Parliament-men, wholly against the sense of most of the rest of the House; who think if you do this, you give the Irish again cause to rebel. Thus plenty on both sides makes us mad. The Committee of the Canary Company of both factions come to me for my Cozen Roger that is of the Committee. Thence with [Sir] W. Coventry when the House rose and [Sir] W. Batten to St. James’s, and there agreed of and signed our paper of extraordinaries, and there left them, and I to Unthanke’s, where Mr. Falconbridge’s girle is, and by and by comes my wife, who likes her well, though I confess I cannot (though she be of my finding out and sings pretty well), because she will be raised from so mean a condition to so high all of a sudden; but she will be much to our profit, more than Mercer, less expense. Here we bespoke anew gowne for her, and to come to us on Friday. She being gone, my wife and I home by coach, and then I presently by water with Mr. Pierce to Westminster Hall, he in the way telling me how the Duke of York and Duke of Albemarle do not agree. The Duke of York is wholly given up to this bitch of Denham. The Duke of Albemarle and Prince Rupert do less agree. So that we are all in pieces, and nobody knows what will be done the next year. The King hath yesterday in Council declared his resolution of setting a fashion for clothes, which he will never alter. It will be a vest, I know not well how; but it is to teach the nobility thrift, and will do good. By and by comes down from the Committee W. Coventry, and I find him troubled at several things happened this afternoon, which vexes me also; our business looking worse and worse, and our worke growing on our hands. Time spending, and no money to set anything in hand with; the end thereof must be speedy ruine. The Dutch insult and have taken off Bruant’s head, which they have not dared to do (though found guilty of the fault he did die for, of something of the Prince of Orange’s faction) till just now, which speaks more confidence in our being worse than before. Alderman Maynell, I hear, is dead. Thence returned in the darke by coach all alone, full of thoughts of the consequences of this ill complexion of affairs, and how to save myself and the little I have, which if I can do, I have cause to bless God that I am so well, and shall be well contented to retreat to Brampton, and spend the rest of my days there. So to my office, and did some business, and finished my Journall with resolutions, if God bless me, to apply myself soberly to settle all matters for myself, and expect the event of all with comfort. So home to supper and to bed.

noon
and the cattle come for the rose

like a sudden rift
growing in a ruin

and have taken
off a head

which speaks dark thoughts
to itself


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 8 October 1666.

Storm light

(Lord’s day). Up, and after visiting my father in his chamber, to church, and then home to dinner. Little Michell and his wife come to dine with us, which they did, and then presently after dinner I with Sir J. Minnes to White Hall, where met by Sir W. Batten and Lord Bruncker, to attend the King and Duke of York at the Cabinet; but nobody had determined what to speak of, but only in general to ask for money. So I was forced immediately to prepare in my mind a method of discoursing. And anon we were called in to the Green Room, where the King, Duke of York, Prince Rupert, Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Duke of Albemarle, [Sirs] G. Carteret, W. Coventry, Morrice. Nobody beginning, I did, and made a current, and I thought a good speech, laying open the ill state of the Navy: by the greatness of the debt; greatness of work to do against next yeare; the time and materials it would take; and our incapacity, through a total want of money. I had no sooner done, but Prince Rupert rose up and told the King in a heat, that whatever the gentleman had said, he had brought home his fleete in as good a condition as ever any fleete was brought home; that twenty boats would be as many as the fleete would want: and all the anchors and cables left in the storm might be taken up again. This arose from my saying, among other things we had to do, that the fleete was come in — the greatest fleete that ever his Majesty had yet together, and that in as bad condition as the enemy or weather could put it; and to use Sir W. Pen’s words, who is upon the place taking a survey, he dreads the reports he is to receive from the Surveyors of its defects. I therefore did only answer, that I was sorry for his Highness’s offence, but that what I said was but the report we received from those entrusted in the fleete to inform us. He muttered and repeated what he had said; and so, after a long silence on all hands, nobody, not so much as the Duke of Albemarle, seconding the Prince, nor taking notice of what he said, we withdrew. I was not a little troubled at this passage, and the more when speaking with Jacke Fenn about it, he told me that the Prince will be asking now who this Pepys is, and find him to be a creature of my Lord Sandwich’s, and therefore this was done only to disparage him. Anon they broke, up, and Sir W. Coventry come out; so I asked his advice. He told me he had said something to salve it, which was, that his Highnesse had, he believed, rightly informed the King that the fleete is come in good condition to have staid out yet longer, and have fought the enemy, but yet that Mr. Pepys his meaning might be, that, though in so good condition, if they should come in and lie all the winter, we shall be very loth to send them to sea for another year’s service with[out] great repairs. He said it would be no hurt if I went to him, and showed him the report himself brought up from the fleete, where every ship, by the Commander’s report, do need more or less, and not to mention more of Sir W. Pen for doing him a mischief. So I said I would, but do not think that all this will redound to my hurt, because the truth of what I said will soon appear. Thence, having been informed that, after all this pains, the King hath found out how to supply us with 5 or 6000l., when 100,000l. were at this time but absolutely necessary, and we mentioned 50,000l.. This is every day a greater and greater omen of ruine. God fit us for it! Sir J. Minnes and I home (it raining) by coach, calling only on Sir G. Carteret at his lodging (who is I find troubled at my Lord Treasurer and Sir Ph. Warwicke bungling in his accounts), and come home to supper with my father, and then all to bed. I made my brother in his cassocke to say grace this day, but I like his voice so ill that I begin to be sorry he hath taken this order upon him.

the green time of the storm
had the greatest weather

silence is a creature
of the winter air

but all this rain
is home to my voice


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 7 October 1666.

Connoisseur

Up, and having seen my brother in his cassocke, which I am not the most satisfied in, being doubtfull at this time what course to have him profess too soon. To the office and there busy about a list of the extraordinaries of the charge of the fleete this war; and was led to go to the office of the ordnance to be satisfied in something, and find their accounts and books kept in mighty good order, but that they can give no light, nor will the nature of their affairs permit it to tell what the charge of the ordnance comes to a man a month. So home again and to dinner, there coming Creed to me; but what with business and my hatred to the man, I did not spend any time with him, but after dinner [my] wife and he and I took coach and to Westminster, but he ‘light about Paul’s, and set her at her tailor’s, and myself to St. James’s, but there missing W. Coventry, returned and took up my wife, and calling at the Exchange home, whither Sir H. Cholmly come to visit me, but my business suffered me not to stay with him. So he gone I by water to Westminster Hall and thence to St. James’s, and there found W. Coventry waiting for me, and I did give him a good account to his mind of the business he expected about extraordinaries and then fell to other talke, among others, our sad condition contracted by want of a Comptroller; and it was his words, that he believes, besides all the shame and trouble he hath brought on the office, the King had better have given 100,000l. than ever have had him there. He did discourse about some of these discontented Parliament-men, and says that Birch is a false rogue, but that Garraway is a man that hath not been well used by the Court, though very stout to death, and hath suffered all that is possible for the King from the beginning. But discontented as he is, yet he never knew a Session of Parliament but he hath done some good deed for the King before it rose. I told him the passage Cocke told me of his having begged a brace of bucks of the Lord Arlington for him, and when it come to him, he sent it back again. Sir W. Coventry told me, it is much to be pitied that the King should lose the service of a man so able and faithfull; and that he ought to be brought over, but that it is always observed, that by bringing over one discontented man, you raise up three in his room; which is a State lesson I never knew before. But when others discover your fear, and that discontent procures favour, they will be discontented too, and impose on you. Thence to White Hall and got a coach and home, and there did business late, and so home and set up my little books of one of my presses come home gilt, which pleases me mightily, and then to bed. This morning my wife told me of a fine gentlewoman my Lady Pen tells her of, for 20l. per annum, that sings, dances, plays on four or five instruments and many other fine things, which pleases me mightily: and she sent to have her see her, which she did this afternoon; but sings basely, and is a tawdry wench that would take 8l., but [neither] my wife nor I think her fit to come.

my cassock is doubt
I profess no light
or nature or other
false way out

death is the one
king of the faithful

but I serve you
my little books
my instruments and other
fine things


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 6 October 1666.

Martyrdom

Up, and with my father talking awhile, then to the office, and there troubled with a message from Lord Peterborough about money; but I did give as kind answer as I could, though I hate him. Then to Sir G. Carteret to discourse about paying of part of the great ships come in, and so home again to compare the comparison of the two Dutch wars’ charges for [Sir] W. Coventry, and then by water (and saw old Mr. Michell digging like a painfull father for his son) to him, and find him at dinner. After dinner to look over my papers, and comparing them with some notes of his and brought me, the sight of some good Navy notes of his which I shall get. Then examined and liked well my notes, and away together to White Hall, in the way discoursing the inconvenience of the King’s being thus subject to an account, but it will be remedied for the time to come, he thinks, if we can get this over, and I find he will have the Comptroller’s business better done, swearing he will never be for a wit to be employed on business again. Thence I home, and back again to White Hall, and meeting Sir H. Cholmly to White Hall; there walked till night that the Committee come down, and there Sir W. Coventry tells me that the Subcommittee have made their report to the Grand Committee, and in pretty kind terms, and have agreed upon allowing us 4l. per head, which I am sure will do the business, but he had endeavoured to have got more, but this do well, and he and I are both mighty glad it is come to this, and the heat of the present business seems almost over. But I have more worke cut out for me, to prepare a list of the extraordinaries, not to be included within the 4l., against Monday. So I away from him, and met with the Vice-Chamberlain, and I told him when I had this evening in coming hither met with Captain Cocke, and he told me of a wild motion made in the House of Lords by the Duke of Buckingham for all men that had cheated the King to be declared traitors and felons, and that my Lord Sandwich was named. This put me into a great pain, so the Vice-Chamberlain, who had heard nothing of it, having been all day in the City, away with me to White Hall; and there come to me and told me that, upon Lord Ashly’s asking their direction whether, being a peere, he should bring in his accounts to the Commons, which they did give way to, the Duke of Buckingham did move that, for the time to come, what I have written above might be declared by some fuller law than heretofore. Lord Ashly answered, that it was not the fault of the present laws, but want of proof; and so said the Lord Chancellor. He answered, that a better law, he thought, might be made so the House laughing, did refer it to him to bring in a Bill to that purpose, and this was all. So I away with joyful heart home, calling on Cocke and telling him the same. So I away home to the office to clear my Journall for five days, and so home to supper and to bed, my father who had staid out late and troubled me thereat being come home well and gone to bed, which pleases me also. This day, coming home, Mr. Kirton’s kinsman, my bookseller, come in my way; and so I am told by him that Mr. Kirton is utterly undone, and made 2 or 3000l. worse than nothing, from being worth 7 or 8,000l.. That the goods laid in the Churchyarde fired through the windows those in St. Fayth’s church; and those coming to the warehouses’ doors fired them, and burned all the books and the pillars of the church, so as the roof falling down, broke quite down, which it did not do in the other places of the church, which is alike pillared (which I knew not before); but being not burned, they stand still. He do believe there is above; 50,000l. of books burned; all the great booksellers almost undone: not only these, but their warehouses at their Hall, and under Christchurch, and elsewhere being all burned. A great want thereof there will be of books, specially Latin books and foreign books; and, among others, the Polyglottes and new Bible, which he believes will be presently worth 40l. a-piece.

digging like a father
for his son

I find my notes
for the subcommittee on pain

all the old accounts of a heart
clear as windows in a church

and the doors burned
and the roof falling down


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 5 October 1666.

The system

Up, and mighty betimes, to W. Coventry, to give him an account of yesterday’s work, which do give him good content. He did then tell me his speech lately to the House in his owne vindication about the report of his selling of places, he having a small occasion offered him by chance, which he did desire, and took, and did it to his content, and, he says, to the House’s seeming to approve of it by their hum. He confessed how long he had done it, and how he desired to have something else; and, since then, he had taken nothing, and challenged all the world. I was glad of this also. Thence up to the Duke of York, by appointment, with fellow officers, to complaine, but to no purpose, of want of money, and so away. I to Sir G. Carteret, to his lodging, and here discoursed much of the want of money and our being designed for destruction. How the King hath lost his power, by submitting himself to this way of examining his accounts, and is become but as a private man. He says the King is troubled at it, but they talk an entry shall be made, that it is not to be brought into example; that the King must, if they do not agree presently, make them a courageous speech, which he says he may do, the City of London being now burned, and himself master of an army, better than any prince before him, and so I believe. Thence home, about noon, to dinner. After dinner the book binder come, and I sent by him some more books to gild. I to the office all day, and spent most of it with Sir W. Warren, whom I have had no discourse with a great while, and when all is done I do find him a mighty wise man as any I know, and his counsel as much to be followed. Late with Mr. Hater upon comparing the charge and husbandry of the last Dutch war with ours now, and do find good roome to think we have done little worse than they, whereof good use may and will be made. So home to supper, and to bed.

workplaces hum
with want of money

our design for destruction
bled the present better
than any noon

when all is done we have done
little worse than the mad


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 4 October 1666.

Response

Waked betimes, mightily troubled in mind, and in the most true trouble that I ever was in my life, saving in the business last year of the East India prizes. So up, and with Mr. Hater and W. Hewer and Griffin to consider of our business, and books and papers necessary for this examination; and by and by, by eight o’clock, comes Birch, the first, with the lists and books of accounts delivered in. He calls me to work, and there he and I begun, when, by and by, comes Garraway, the first time I ever saw him, and Sir W. Thompson and Mr. Boscawen. They to it, and I did make shift to answer them better than I expected. Sir W. Batten, Lord Bruncker, W. Pen, come in, but presently went out; and J. Minnes come in, and said two or three words from the purpose, but to do hurt; and so away he went also, and left me all the morning with them alone to stand or fall. At noon Sir W. Batten comes to them to invite them (though fast day) to dinner, which they did, and good company they were, but especially Garraway. Here I have news brought me of my father’s coming to town, and I presently to him, glad to see him, poor man, he being come to town unexpectedly to see us and the city. I could not stay with him, but after dinner to work again, only the Committee and I, till dark night, and by that time they cast up all the lists, and found out what the medium of men was borne all the war, of all sorts, and ended with good peace, and much seeming satisfaction; but I find them wise and reserved, and instructed to hit all our blots, as among others, that we reckon the ships full manned from the beginning. They gone, and my heart eased of a great deale of fear and pain, and reckoning myself to come off with victory, because not overcome in anything or much foiled, I away to Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, but he not within, then to White Hall, and there among the ladies, and saw my Lady Castlemaine never looked so ill, nor Mrs. Stewart neither, as in this plain, natural dress. I was not pleased with either of them. Away, not finding W. Coventry, and so home, and there find my father and my brother come to towne — my father without my expectation; but glad I am to see him. And so to supper with him, and to work again at the office; then home, to set up all my folio books, which are come home gilt on the backs, very handsome to the eye, and then at midnight to bed. This night W. Pen told me W. Batten swears he will have nothing to do with the Privateer if his son do not go Lieutenant, which angers me and him; but we will be even with him, one way or other.

true
in my hate

when I answer
the expected words
to unexpected hands

the eye will have nothing
to do with it


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 3 October 1666.

Falconiform

Up, and am sent for to Sir G. Carteret, and to him, and there he tells me how our lists are referred to a Sub-committee to consider and examine, and that I am ordered to be there this afternoon. So I away thence to my new bookbinder to see my books gilding in the backs, and then to White Hall to the House, and spoke to Sir W. Coventry, where he told me I must attend the Committee in the afternoon, and received some hints of more work to do. So I away to the ‘Chequer, and thence to an alehouse, and found Mr. Falconbridge, and agreed for his kinswoman to come to me. He says she can dress my wife, and will do anything we would have her to do, and is of a good spirit and mighty cheerful. He is much pleased therewith, and so we shall be. So agreed for her coming the next week. So away home, and eat a short dinner, and then with Sir W. Pen to White Hall, and do give his boy my book of papers to hold while he went into the Committee Chamber in the Inner Court of Wards, and I walked without with Mr. Slingsby, of the Tower, who was there, and who did in walking inform me mightily in several things; among others, that the heightening or lowering of money is only a cheat, and do good to some particular men, which, if I can but remember how, I am now by him fully convinced of. Anon Sir W. Pen went away, telling me that Sir W. Coventry that was within had told him that the fleete is all come into the buoy of the Nore, and that he must hasten down to them, and so went away, and I into the Committee Chamber before the Committee sat, and there heard Birch discourse highly and understandingly about the Navy business and a proposal made heretofore to farm the Navy; but Sir W. Coventry did abundantly answer him, and is a most excellent person. By and by the Committee met, and I walked out, and anon they rose and called me in, and appointed me to attend a Committee of them to-morrow at the office to examine our lists. This put me into a mighty fear and trouble; they doing it in a very ill humour, methought. So I away and called on my Lord Bruncker to desire him to be there to-morrow, and so home, having taken up my wife at Unthanke’s, full of trouble in mind to think what I shall be obliged to answer, that am neither fully fit, nor in any measure concerned to take the shame and trouble of this office upon me, but only from the inability and folly of the Comptroller that occasions it. When come home I to Sir W. Pen’s, to his boy, for my book, and there find he hath it not, but delivered it to the doorekeeper of the Committee for me. This, added to my former disquiet, made me stark mad, considering all the nakedness of the office lay open in papers within those covers. I could not tell in the world what to do, but was mad on all sides, and that which made me worse Captain Cocke was there, and he did so swear and curse at the boy that told me. So Cocke, Griffin, and the boy with me, they to find the housekeeper of the Parliament, Hughes, while I to Sir W. Coventry, but could hear nothing of it there. But coming to our rendezvous at the Swan Taverne, in King Streete, I find they have found the housekeeper, and the book simply locked up in the Court. So I staid and drank, and rewarded the doore-keeper, and away home, my heart lighter by all this, but to bed very sad notwithstanding, in fear of what will happen to-morrow upon their coming.

falcon in a birch
the nakedness
of the world


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 2 October 1666.

Parliament of fools

Up, and all the morning at the office, getting the list of all the ships and vessels employed since the war, for the Committee of Parliament. At noon with it to Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, and there dined with him and W. Batten, and W. Pen, and after dinner examined it and find it will do us much right in the number of men rising to near the expense we delivered to the Parliament. W. Coventry and I (the others going before the Committee) to Lord Bruncker’s for his hand, and find him simply mighty busy in a council of the Queen’s. He come out and took in the papers to sign, and sent them mighty wisely out again. Sir W. Coventry away to the Committee, and I to the Mercer’s, and there took a bill of what I owe of late, which comes to about 17l.. Thence to White Hall, and there did hear Betty Michell was at this end of the towne, and so without breach of vowe did stay to endeavour to meet with her and carry her home; but she did not come, so I lost my whole afternoon. But pretty! how I took another pretty woman for her, taking her a clap on the breech, thinking verily it had been her. Staid till W. Batten and W. Pen come out, and so away home by water with them, and to the office to do some business, and then home, and my wife do tell me that W. Hewer tells her that Mercer hath no mind to come. So I was angry at it, and resolved with her to have Falconbridge’s girle, and I think it will be better for us, and will please me better with singing. With this resolution, to supper and to bed.

a parliament with a pen is
a parliament of paper

an ow comes out of each owe

how to think with no ink


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 1 October 1666.

Up and down

(Lord’s day). Up, and to church, where I have not been a good while: and there the church infinitely thronged with strangers since the fire come into our parish; but not one handsome face in all of them, as if, indeed, there was a curse, as Bishop Fuller heretofore said, upon our parish. Here I saw Mercer come into the church, which I had a mind to, but she avoided looking up, which vexed me. A pretty good sermon, and then home, and comes Balty and dined with us. A good dinner; and then to have my haire cut against winter close to my head, and then to church again. A sorry sermon, and away home. W. Pen and I to walk to talk about several businesses, and then home; and my wife and I to read in Fuller’s Church History, and so to supper and to bed.
This month ends with my mind full of business and concernment how this office will speed with the Parliament, which begins to be mighty severe in the examining our accounts, and the expence of the Navy this war.

church thronged
with strangers
one face looking up

*

haircut in winter
I talk about the history
of mining


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 30 September 1666.

The first rose

A little meeting at the office by Sir W. Batten, Sir W. Pen, and myself, being the first since the fire. We rose soon, and comes Sir W. Warren, by our desire, and with Sir W. Pen and I talked of our Scotch motion, which Sir W. Warren did seem to be stumbled at, and did give no ready answer, but proposed some thing previous to it, which he knows would find us work, or writing to Mr. Pett to be informed how matters go there as to cost and ways of providing sawyers or saw-mills. We were parted without coming to any good resolution in it, I discerning plainly that Sir W. Warren had no mind to it, but that he was surprised at our motion. He gone, I to some office business, and then home to dinner, and then to office again, and then got done by night the lists that are to be presented to the Parliament Committee of the ships, number of men, and time employed since the war, and then I with it (leaving my wife at Unthanke’s) to St. James’s, where Sir W. Coventry staid for me, and I perused our lists, and find to our great joy that wages, victuals, wear and tear, cast by the medium of the men, will come to above 3,000,000; and that the extraordinaries, which all the world will allow us, will arise to more than will justify the expence we have declared to have been at since the war, viz., 320,000l., he and I being both mightily satisfied, he saying to me, that if God send us over this rub we must take another course for a better Comptroller. So parted, and I to my wife, who staid for the finishing her new best gowne (the best that ever I made her) coloured tabby, flowered, and so took it and her home; and then I to my people, and having cut them out a little more work than they expected, viz., the writing over the lists in new method, I home to bed, being in good humour, and glad of the end we have brought this matter to.

the first rose
to rise perused
our joy, wages,
wear and tear

the war that we take for
a better red flower

the cut-over bed


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 29 September 1666.