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SAMUEL PEPYS, F.R.S.
SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY
IN THE REIGNS OF CHARLES II. AND JAMES II.
THE DIARY DECIPHERED BY THE REV. J. SMITH, A.M.
FROM THE ORIGINAL SHORTHAND MS. IN THE PEPYSIAN LIBRARY.
PUBLISHED FOR HENRY COLBURN,
SAMUEL PEPY S.
JUNE 1st. The Duke having been a hunting to-day, and so lately come home and gone to bed, we could not see him, and we walked away.
And I with Sir J. Minnes to the Strand May-pole ;' and there light out of his coach, and walked to the New Theatre, which, since the King's players are gone to the Royal one, is this day begun to be employed by the fencers to play prizes at. And here I come and saw the first prize I ever saw in my life : and it was between one Mathews, who did beat at all weapons, and one Westwicke, who was soundly cut several times both in the head and legs, that he was all over blood : and other deadly blows they did give and take in very good earnest, till Westwicke was in a sad pickle. They fought at eight weapons, three boutes at each weapon. This being upon a private quarrel, they did it in good earnest; and I felt one of their swords, and found it to be very little, if at all, blunter on the edge than the common swords are. Strange to see what a deal of money is flung to them both upon the stage between every boute. So, well pleased for once with this sight, I walked home. This day I hear at Court of the great plot which was lately discovered in Ireland, made among the Presbyters and others, designing to cry up the Covenant,
The raising of the Strand Maypole has been assigned to John Clarges, a blacksmith, whose daughter had the good fortune to become the wife of General Monk.—Brayley's Londiniana, vol. iii., p. 260.
Opened 8th April, 1663. VOL. II.
and to secure Dublin Castle and other places; and they have debauched a good part of the army there, promising them ready money.
Some of the Parliament there, they say, are guilty, and some withdrawn upon it ; several persons taken, and among others a son of Scott's, that was executed here for the King's murder. What reason the King hath, I know not; but it seems he is doubtfull of Scotland : and this afternoon, when I was there, the Council was called extraordinary; and they were opening the letters this last post's coming and going between Scotland and us and other places. The King of France is well again.
2d. To St. James's, to Mr. Coventry; where I had an hour's private talk with him concerning his own condition, at present being under the censure of the House, being concerned with others in the Bill for selling of offices.
He tells me, that though he thinks himself to suffer much in his fame hereby, yet he values nothing more of evil to hang over him ; for that it is against no statute, as is pretended, nor more than what his predecessors time out of mind have taken ; and that so soon as he found himself to be in an errour, he did desire to have his fees set, which was done; and since that time he hath not taken a token more. He undertakes to prove, that he did never take a token of any captain to get him employed in his life beforehand, or demanded any thing: and for the other accusation, that the Cavaliers are not employed, he looked over the list of them now in the service, and of the twenty-seven that are employed, thirteen have been heretofore always under the King; two neutralls, and the other twelve men of great courage, and such as had either the King's particular commands, or great recommendation to put them in, and none by himself. Besides that, he sees it is not the King's nor Duke's opinion that the whole party of the late officers should be rendered desperate. And lastly, he confesses that the more of the Cavaliers are put in, the less of discipline hath followed in the fleet; and that, whenever there comes occasion, it must be the old ones that must do any good. He tells me, that he cannot guess whom all this should come from; but he suspects Sir G. Carteret, as I also do, at least that he is pleased with it. But he tells me that he will
bring Sir G. Carteret to be the first adviser and instructor of him (as to] what is to make his place of benefit to him ; telling him that Smith did make his place worth 50001., and he believed 70001. to him the first year; besides something else greater than all this, which he forbore to tell me.
It seems one Sir Thomas Tomkins,' of the House, that makes many mad motions, did bring it into the House, saying that a letter was left at his lodgings, subscribed by one Benson, which is a feigned name, for there is no such in the Navy, telling him how many places in the Navy have been sold. And in another letter, left in the same manner since, nobody appearing, he writes him that there is one Hughes, and another, Butler, both rogues, that have for their roguery been turned out of their places, that will swear that Mr. Coventry did sell their places and other things. I offered him my service, and will with all my heart serve him ; but he tells me he do not think it convenient to meddle, or to any purpose. To Westminster Hall, where I hear more of the plot from Ireland; which it seems hath been hatching, and known to the Lord Lieutenant a great while, and kept close till within three days that it should have taken effect. The terme ended yesterday, and it seems the Courts rose sooner for want of causes than it is remembered to have done in the memory of man.
To Mr. Beacham, the goldsmith, he being one of the jury to-morrow, in Sir W. Batten's case against Field, I have been telling him our case, and I believe he will do us good service there. With the vintner's man, who came by my direction to taste again my tierce of claret, to go down to the cellar with him to consult about the drawing of it; and there, to my great vexation, I find that the cellar door hath long been kept unlocked, and above half the wine drunk.
3d. Sir W. Batten is this morning gone to Guildhall, to his trial with Field.
I to my office, and there read all the morning in my statute-book, consulting among others the statute against selling of offices, wherein Mr. Coventry is so much concerned ; and though he tells me that the statute do
Burgess for Weobly, and one of the proposed Knights of the Royal Oak, for Herefordshire.