Mr. PEPYS To the Right Honourable Sir Francis Child, Kt. Lord Mayor, and to the Court of Aldermen, up­on the Present State of CHRIST-HOSPITAL.

My Lord and Gentlemen,

THAT nothing may rest uncommunicated to this Court, of what goes from me to that of Christ-Hospital; any more than, by your Allowance, I with-hold from Them, ought of what I offer You: I here tender you a Copy of a Letter of mine thither, of the 25. of January.

The Contents of which bearing my Farewel to Them, as with all respect my purpose is in this to You; I cannot but recommend the Perusal there­of to this Court; as carrying with them such a Representation of the pe­rishing State of that House, in some fresh Particulars essential to the Well-being of it, as render it a thing little less than hopeless for me (by ordinary Means, at least) any longer to think of saving it: After find­ing my self put to above seven Months Labour, in compassing only its Treasurer's Signing that one Article of his Account, which you had before had from him Ʋnsign'd; and more than ten, in finding Passage only, through this Court thither, to my late Report of the State of the same.

And What it is that may be look't-for from it, even now it is there, with a Committee of few less than forty, and of them the Majority such, as will find little Work for them in it, but Self-Arraignment; I submit to your Lordship and this Court.

[Page]Especially, when you shall be pleas'd to reflect upon the present Circumstances of that House's Government; viz.

  • ƲNDER the Guidance of a President, equal indeed to the wor­thiest of his Predecessors, both in his general Virtues, and special Munificence to that Place. But One, whose Piety has out-liv'd his Strength for being otherwise personally aidful to it, in any of the Weightier Duties of that Charge.
  • ƲNDER a Treasurer, who (besides what you have elsewhere before you concerning him) was also pleas'd to declare himself un­able both in Mind and Body, for the longer Execution of his Office; and therefore made his formal Resignation of it, and had it as formally accepted-of from him in Court there, above two years since.
  • ƲNDER the Direction of Gentlemen acting indeed as Gover­nours, and to whom as such I have for more than 23. years had the Honour of reckoning my self a Fellow-servant; but are said to stand reported to You at this day by your Learned Council, not to be such, nor capable of being so, without (what they have never yet had) the Confirmation of this Court. And lastly,
  • ƲNDER an Administration also on the part of your Lordship and your Honoured Brethren, so Gentle; as to have suffer'd your Orders thither, even in Points the most impor­tant, to lye 7. Months together wholly neglected, and your Au­thority as openly renounc'd; without having yet thought fit to have ought done (within my Notice at least) in Assertion of it.

A Reflection, My Lord, as hard to be accounted-for, as in it self Grievous.

Forasmuch as, If after so uninterrupted a Jurisdiction, as has been al­ways exercis'd by this Court, and with a Submission as constantly paid thereto from these Hospitals; If after so long a Succession of Gifts and Bequests to them, and those to great Values, in reliance upon the Credit and Authority of this Court alone for their Security; If after so establish'd a Veneration acquir'd to it, as Guardians of these Foundations, and par­ticularly as the Moral Fathers of the Orphans of this House, when in your Easter and other Solemnities, They, as Your Children, bear no small part in the Honour of your Processions; And lastly, If after what in my particular I have been endeavouring herein for Your Service, and for the Service of the Poor; this Court shall appear to have been all this while thus credited and thus obey'd, without Authority at this day, under the greatest of their Miscarriages, to visit and reform Them; for so also your Learned Council are said to have determin'd. What must be thought of this mistake? And particularly,

  • How will the Pious Credulity of our Princely Founders and past Benefactors be to be lamented; and what more to be either hop'd or wish'd-for of Them, on these Terms, in time to come?
  • What must the Apprehensions now be of Those, whose Subsistence rests upon the Authority only of this Court, for the Payments [Page] that House stands charg'd with to their Ʋse, out of the larger Benevolences of their Charitable Auncestors?
  • Or Theirs; whose Debts of more modern Date, lye unpaid (ma­ny Thousand Pounds deep) by that Hospital at Interest, upon no other Security?
  • What is there to be rely'd-on of Fruit from the Retrospections said to be now on foot there, or those lying before your Lordship and this Court, from my Report?
  • Or in a Word; What to be hop'd-for either of Satisfaction for so much of our Poor's Stock and Benefactor's Bounties as has al­ready miscarry'd; or of better Provision in time to come, for securing the Remainder?

What, I say my Lord, must the Result of all this be, and how to be answerd-for; should this Court be so unhappy, as knowingly to per­mit such a Foundation and its Revenue to rest one day longer, in Hands no otherwise qualify'd-for, nor better intitled to the Trust of it? While by a Resolution of its own, not yet 16. Months old, you have been pleas'd to declare your selves standing Governours of the same, and (as such) required your being (as anciently) summon'd to every of its Courts, and accordingly have ever since been so, and now are: To the entitling Your selves (I fear) to a nearer Concernment in the Fate of it, than may have been yet sufficiently reflected-on; and possibly, to an Accountableness with Them, for the good or bad Events of their Managements there.

A Consideration I am the more willingly your present Remembrancer in, from the fresh Endeavours said to be now on foot there, for resuming their Old Liberty of taking-in Children, while unprovided of a Bit of Bread for those they now have, otherwise than by running into new Debt, or length'ning their Score of Interest upon the Old; Besides sacrificing the Innocence of so many fresh Infants, to the Dissoluteness of Manners now reigning, among those they are to be there mixed-with. The Evil of whose Contagion, and Pressure of which Debt, I take to be no otherwise removable, than by a total Stop to be for some time put, to the Occasions of Both.

An Expedient, that I well know will at the first hearing be thought as Impracticable, as in other Respects Extraordinary.

But the Case is Extraordinary too; and consequently, to restrain its Remedy to Ordinary Methods only, is little other, than to leave it Remedy-less. Which I cannot think any Gentleman, who hath the Ho­nour and Trust of a Governour there, will contentedly sit-down with, while furnish'd with any thing to offer towards the Saving it, as (for want of better) I do this: And yet with an Opinion so far from deeming it Impracticable, as to reckon it a Work neither of Length nor Difficulty; if, in Atonement for that Misconduct of ours, by which, from the Prosperity this House was in while under the Care but of 16. Governours with 500. Children, it has been brought into the Condition it now lies with 400. Governours (little more or less) and [Page] but 400. Children; if (I say) in Atonement for that Misconduct, we would improve the Opportunity of this nearness in our Numbers, to the easing the House at once of the Whole, by every Governour's taking to himself One: Thereby leaving the Income of it entirely free to the Discharge of its Debts, doing Right to its Founders and Benefactors, and that being done, to the setting-out afresh, with a Revenue clear'd, its Discipline reform'd, and Provision made for its future better Conduct through the Whole. And this I lay with all Deference before your Lordship and this Court, as that without which, or some other Aequi­valent, I must avow my Despair of ever seeing this unhappy House in the State it ought to be; and therefore would be glad, with your Concurrence and the Concurrence of the Gentlemen of that Body, to be doing my part, either in this or any other Effectual Proposition, towards it.

I am well aware, My Lord, of the Censure this Fervor of mine may expose me to, as One overpressing in a Cause, wherein Others nei­ther less interested nor less discerning than my self, are pleas'd to shew so little of the Dissatisfaction I do; and without any surprise on my side at it, as well remembring how little different my own Sentiments were of it, while my Knowledge thereof (like theirs) had no other Direction, than the Information of Others. Whereas no sooner was I engaged in the closer and more deliberate Enquiries apply'd thereto of my own, but that Indifference of mine was awaken'd to the Degree of Concernment I now profess; and which, on like Conviction, would be no less in any other, whose Morals (like mine) know no middle, in matters of Trust at least, between scrupulously Iust, and down-right the contrary. Or to speak more plainly; between mixing my own Hand in the Ruin of this Religious House, and sitting silently within View of its being brought-about, by the Vanitie, Supineness, Prodigality, or Self-interest of Others.

Indulge me therefore, My Lord, the Liberty of this One only closing Note to Your Lordship upon this Subject. Namely, That as the Direction of the Hospitals, has in all times hitherto been undeniably exercised by your Honourable Predecessors, in this Place; and as un­interruptedly submitted-to. So is it no less evident, that however an Occasion has now (after sevenscore years Practice) been administred to the questioning it; Your said Predecessors, (the Lord Mayor, Commonalty, and Citizens of London) upon Covenants first by Them entered-into with K. Edward VI. for the good Government of Them, were by his special Charter of Incorporation as Governours thereof, furnished with all the Powers requisite to the enabling them to make-good those Covenants.

In consideration of which, and in Duty to Your Lordship, to the City, to this Court, and to the Poor, I cannot (as a Servant to all) but most earnestly pray; that this Matter may without delay, be laid for Remedy before that Body Corporate, where-ever it now rests; in order to the preventing, if possible, any unnecessary recourse to Methods Extraordinary, for what should be thought attainable by Ordinary. Espe­cially [Page] while, Sitting a Parliament, with so many of your own Number, and of the Hospital's, Members therein, and with a Bill already (I take it) before Them, relating to Charitable Uses ▪ no reasonable Supple­ment ought to be doubted from it, to that Ordinary Power: If any such can be judg'd wanting, after so illustrious a Proof, as I have sometime since given you, of the issue of his Lordship, the present Lord Chancellor's Proceeding in the late Memorable Case of St. Katharines [...] Proceeding I cannot but remind you of; as well as of the Check put but few years be­fore at the Great Seal, to a Visitation then offered-at, in a Method less regular, in the Case of St. Thomas's.

To conclude, My Lord, this Calamity of ours in our Hospital-con­cernment is a Spot not to be cover'd in our Feasts of Charity, once the Glory of this City. And a Spot not at the worst neither, but daily spreading, and daily deepening too, through every part of it. Witness its Appearance (where least to have been lookt-for) in the very last act of our Treasurer's signing this Account; as giving you therein, his own Hand in Evidence against the Truth of what you had had before from him Ʋnsign'd; and in which, as in all other its former Editions, to my self, to the Hospital, and from thence to the Lords of the Treasury, there had been suppress'd in the single Article of Sea Wages, a Sum no less than 1400 l. besides others of greater Moment yet behind. And this too, notwithstanding repeated Cautions to them concerning it; and particularly in my last, whereof this brings you a Copy. And since which (as fresh at it is) they have nevertheless adventur'd to ask, and actually received more than 700 l. upon that very Head on which the Treasurer has so lately own'd his having twice that Sum of the King's in his Hand, yet to be accounted-for.

Be pleased therefore to think of some speedy Prevention to the Growth of this our Reproach. And towards it, permit me only to say; That as uneasy as the Ʋndertaking may appear to others; I see no Cause of apprehending any thing of more difficulty needful towards it (whether as to the due animadverting upon what is past, or better pro­viding for what is to come) than a Right Choice of a very few Hands to be assign'd thereto, supported with an Authority suited to the Work, and Powers requisite to the rendring their Labours and Determinations there­in Effectual.

Which being adjusted, and that only; I should with great assu­rance of success, both readily and gladly pay the utmost of my personal Service to the Gentlemen so commission'd; as well in detecting the Errors of my own Calculations (and which for the Poor's sake I could wish more, than I dare yet hope them to be) as suggesting and applying adequate Remedies, to what those Gentlemen in their happyer Enquirys may find truly needing the same.

But if after all (which God avert) it should be our Infelicity, even with the aid of that Charter, not to have wherewith of our own to help our selves herein. The Cause nevertheless is too sacred, both in it self, and as it is the King's, to be permitted to sink, while within [Page] the support I have so often mention'd, of his Own Soveraign Visi­tation; And more particularly in what relates to Himself within our Care in the Mathematical Foundation; by translating it, from the Hands in which it now languishes, to those he is pleased to intrust with that of his Own later Erection, to the same Royal Purpose in the Advancement of Navigation, within his Own Palace and Inspection at Greenwich.

I am in most respectful manner, My Lord and Gentlemen,
Your ever most faithful and obedient Servant, S. Pepys.

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