The Diary of Samuel Pepys, by Samuel Pepys

September 1664

Sept. 1st. A sad rainy night, up and to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon to the ‘Change and thence brought Mr. Pierce, the Surgeon, and Creed, and dined very merry and handsomely; but my wife not being well of those she not with us; and we cut up the great cake Moorcocke lately sent us, which is very good. They gone I to my office, and there very busy till late at night, and so home to supper and to bed.

2nd. Up very betimes and walked (my boy with me) to Mr. Cole’s, and after long waiting below, he being under the barber’s hands, I spoke with him, and he did give me much hopes of getting my debt that my brother owed me, and also that things would go well with my father. But going to his attorney’s, that he directed me to, they tell me both that though I could bring my father to a confession of a judgment, yet he knowing that there are specialties out against him he is bound to plead his knowledge of them to me before he pays me, or else he must do it in his own wrong. I took a great deal of pains this morning in the thorough understanding hereof, and hope that I know the truth of our case, though it be but bad, yet better than to run spending money and all to no purpose. However, I will inquire a little more. Walked home, doing very many errands by the way to my great content, and at the ‘Change met and spoke with several persons about serving us with pieces of eight at Tangier. So home to dinner above stairs, my wife not being well of those in bed. I dined by her bedside, but I got her to rise and abroad with me by coach to Bartholomew Fayre, and our boy with us, and there shewed them and myself the dancing on the ropes, and several other the best shows; but pretty it is to see how our boy carries himself so innocently clownish as would make one laugh. Here till late and dark, then up and down, to buy combes for my wife to give her mayds, and then by coach home, and there at the office set down my day’s work, and then home to bed.

3rd. I have had a bad night’s rest to-night, not sleeping well, as my wife observed, and once or twice she did wake me, and I thought myself to be mightily bit with fleas, and in the morning she chid her mayds for not looking the fleas a-days. But, when I rose, I found that it is only the change of the weather from hot to cold, which, as I was two winters ago, do stop my pores, and so my blood tingles and itches all day all over my body, and so continued today all the day long just as I was then, and if it continues to be so cold I fear I must come to the same pass, but sweating cured me then, and I hope, and am told, will this also. At the office sat all the morning, dined at home, and after dinner to White Hall, to the Fishing Committee, but not above four of us met, which could do nothing, and a sad thing it is to see so great a work so ill followed, for at this pace it can come to any thing at first sight. Mr. Hill came to tell me that he had got a gentlewoman for my wife, one Mrs. Ferrabosco, that sings most admirably. I seemed glad of it; but I hear she is too gallant for me, and I am not sorry that I misse her. Thence to the office, setting some papers right, and so home to supper and to bed, after prayers.

5th. Up and to St. James’s, and there did our business with the Duke; where all our discourse of warr in the highest measure. Prince Rupert was with us; who is fitting himself to go to sea in the Heneretta. And afterwards in White Hall I met him and Mr. Gray, and he spoke to me, and in other discourse, says he, “God damn me, I can answer but for one ship, and in that I will do my part; for it is not in that as in an army, where a man can command every thing.” By and by to a Committee for the Fishery, the Duke of Yorke there, where, after Duke was made Secretary, we fell to name a Committee, whereof I was willing to be one, because I would have my hand in the business, to understand it and be known in doing something in it; and so, after cutting out work for the Committee, we rose, and I to my wife to Unthanke’s, and with her from shop to shop, laying out near £10 this morning in clothes for her. And so I to the ‘Change, where a while, and so home and to dinner, and thither came W. Bowyer and dined with us; but strange to see how he could not endure onyons in sauce to lamb, but was overcome with the sight of it, and so-was forced to make his dinner of an egg or two. He tells us how Mrs. Lane is undone, by her marrying so bad, and desires to speak with me, which I know is wholly to get me to do something for her to get her husband a place, which he is in no wise fit for. After dinner down to Woolwich with a gaily, and then to Deptford, and so home, all the way reading Sir J. Suck[l]ing’s “Aglaura,” which, methinks, is but a mean play; nothing of design in it. Coming home it is strange to see how I was troubled to find my wife, but in a necessary compliment, expecting Mr. Pen to see her, who had been there and was by her people denied, which, he having been three times, she thought not fit he should be any more. But yet even this did raise my jealousy presently and much vex me. However, he did not come, which pleased me, and I to supper, and to the office till 9 o’clock or thereabouts, and so home to bed. My aunt James had been here today with Kate Joyce twice to see us. The second time my wife was at home, and they it seems are going down to Brampton, which I am sorry for, for the charge that my father will be put to. But it must be borne with, and my mother has a mind to see them, but I do condemn myself mightily for my pride and contempt of my aunt and kindred that are not so high as myself, that I have not seen her all this while, nor invited her all this while.

6th. Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning. At noon home to dinner, then to my office and there waited, thinking to have had Bagwell’s wife come to me about business, that I might have talked with her, but she came not. So I to White Hall by coach with Mr. Andrews, and there I got his contract for the victualling of Tangier signed and sealed by us there, so that all the business is well over, and I hope to have made a good business of it and to receive £100 by it the next weeke, for which God be praised! Thence to W. Joyce’s and Anthony’s, to invite them to dinner to meet my aunt James at my house, and the rather because they are all to go down to my father the next weeke, and so I would be a little kind to them before they go. So home, having called upon Doll, our pretty ‘Change woman, for a pair of gloves trimmed with yellow ribbon, to [match the] petticoate my wife bought yesterday, which cost me 20s.; but she is so pretty, that, God forgive me! I could not think it too much — which is a strange slavery that I stand in to beauty, that I value nothing near it. So going home, and my coach stopping in Newgate Market over against a poulterer’s shop, I took occasion to buy a rabbit, but it proved a deadly old one when I came to eat it, as I did do after an hour being at my office, and after supper again there till past 11 at night. So home,, and to bed. This day Mr. Coventry did tell us how the Duke did receive the Dutch Embassador the other day; by telling him that, whereas they think us in jest, he believes that the Prince (Rupert) which goes in this fleete to Guinny will soon tell them that we are in earnest, and that he himself will do the like here, in the head of the fleete here at home, and that for the meschants, which he told the Duke there were in England, which did hope to do themselves good by the King’s being at warr, says he, the English have ever united all this private difference to attend foraigne, and that Cromwell, notwithstanding the meschants in his time, which were the Cavaliers, did never find them interrupt him in his foraigne businesses, and that he did not doubt but to live to see the Dutch as fearfull of provoking the English, under the government of a King, as he remembers them to have been under that of a Coquin. I writ all this story to my Lord Sandwich tonight into the Downes, it being very good and true, word for word from Mr. Coventry today.

7th. Lay long today, pleasantly discoursing with my wife about the dinner we are to have for the Joyces, a day or two hence. Then up and with Mr. Margetts to Limehouse to see his ground and ropeyarde there, which is very fine, and I believe we shall employ it for the Navy, for the King’s grounds are not sufficient to supply our defence if a warr comes. Thence back to the ‘Change, where great talke of the forwardnesse of the Dutch, which puts us all to a stand, and particularly myself for my Lord Sandwich, to think him to lie where he is for a sacrifice, if they should begin with us. So home and Creed with me, and to dinner, and after dinner I out to my office, taking in Bagwell’s wife, who I knew waited for me, but company came to me so soon that I could have no discourse with her, as I intended, of pleasure. So anon abroad with Creed walked to Bartholomew Fayre, this being the last day, and there saw the best dancing on the ropes that I think I ever saw in my life, and so all say, and so by coach home, where I find my wife hath had her head dressed by her woman, Mercer, which is to come to her tomorrow, but my wife being to go to a christening tomorrow, she came to do her head up to-night. So a while to my office, and then to supper and to bed.

8th. Up and to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon dined at home, and I by water down to Woolwich by a galley, and back again in the evening. All haste made in setting out this Guinny fleete, but yet not such as will ever do the King’s business if we come to a warr. My wife this afternoon being very well dressed by her new woman, Mary Mercer, a decayed merchant’s daughter that our Will helps us to, did go to the christening of Mrs. Mills, the parson’s wife’s child, where she never was before. After I was come home Mr. Povey came to me and took me out to supper to Mr. Bland’s, who is making now all haste to be gone for Tangier. Here pretty merry, and good discourse, fain to admire the knowledge and experience of Mrs. Bland, who I think as good a merchant as her husband. I went home and there find Mercer, whose person I like well, and I think will do well, at least I hope so. So to my office a while and then to bed.

9th. Up, and to put things in order against dinner. I out and bought several things, among others, a dozen of silver salts; home, and to the office, where some of us met a little, and then home, and at noon comes my company, namely, Anthony and Will Joyce and their wives, my aunt James newly come out of Wales, and my cozen Sarah Gyles. Her husband did not come, and by her I did understand afterwards, that it was because he was not yet able to pay me the 40s. she had borrowed a year ago of me.1 I was as merry as I could, giving them a good dinner; but W. Joyce did so talk, that he made every body else dumb, but only laugh at him. I forgot there was Mr. Harman and his wife, my aunt, a very good harmlesse woman. All their talke is of her and my two she-cozen Joyces and Will’s little boy Will (who was also here today), down to Brampton to my father’s next week, which will be trouble and charge to them, but however my father and mother desire to see them, and so let them. They eyed mightily my great cupboard of plate, I this day putting my two flaggons upon my table; and indeed it is a fine sight, and better than ever I did hope to see of my owne. Mercer dined with us at table, this being her first dinner in my house. After dinner left them and to White Hall, where a small Tangier Committee, and so back again home, and there my wife and Mercer and Tom and I sat till eleven at night, singing and fiddling, and a great joy it is to see me master of so much pleasure in my house, that it is and will be still, I hope, a constant pleasure to me to be at home. The girle plays pretty well upon the harpsicon, but only ordinary tunes, but hath a good hand; sings a little, but hath a good voyce and eare. My boy, a brave boy, sings finely, and is the most pleasant boy at present, while his ignorant boy’s tricks last, that ever I saw. So to supper, and with great pleasure to bed.

1 Pepys would have been more proud of his cousin had he anticipated her husband’s becoming a knight, for she was probably the same person whose burial is recorded in the register of St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate, September 4th, 1704: “Dame Sarah Gyles, widow, relict of Sir John Gyles.”— B.

10th. Up and to the office, where we sate all the morning, and I much troubled to think what the end of our great sluggishness will be, for we do nothing in this office like people able to carry on a warr. We must be put out, or other people put in. Dined at home, and then my wife and I and Mercer to the Duke’s house, and there saw “The Rivalls,” which is no excellent play, but good acting in it; especially Gosnell comes and sings and dances finely, but, for all that, fell out of the key, so that the musique could not play to her afterwards, and so did Harris also go out of the tune to agree with her. Thence home and late writing letters, and this night I received, by Will, £105, the first-fruits of my endeavours in the late contract for victualling of Tangier, for which God be praised! for I can with a safe conscience say that I have therein saved the King £5000 per annum, and yet got myself a hope of £300 per annum without the least wrong to the King. So to supper and to bed.

11th (Lord’s day). Up and to church in the best manner I have gone a good while, that is to say, with my wife, and her woman, Mercer, along with us, and Tom, my boy, waiting on us. A dull sermon. Home, dined, left my wife to go to church alone, and I walked in haste being late to the Abbey at Westminster, according to promise to meet Jane Welsh, and there wearily walked, expecting her till 6 o’clock from three, but no Jane came, which vexed me, only part of it I spent with Mr. Blagrave walking in the Abbey, he telling me the whole government and discipline of White Hall Chappell, and the caution now used against admitting any debauched persons, which I was glad to hear, though he tells me there are persons bad enough. Thence going home went by Jarvis’s, and there stood Jane at the door, and so I took her in and drank with her, her master and mistress being out of doors. She told me how she could not come to me this afternoon, but promised another time. So I walked home contented with my speaking with her, and walked to my uncle Wight’s, where they were all at supper, and among others comes fair Mrs. Margarett Wight, who indeed is very pretty. So after supper home to prayers and to bed. This afternoon, it seems, Sir J. Minnes fell sicke at church, and going down the gallery stairs fell down dead, but came to himself again and is pretty well.

12th. Up, and to my cozen Anthony Joyce’s, and there took leave of my aunt James, and both cozens, their wives, who are this day going down to my father’s by coach. I did give my Aunt 20s., to carry as a token to my mother, and 10s. to Pall. Thence by coach to St. James’s, and there did our business as usual with the Duke; and saw him with great pleasure play with his little girle — [Afterwards Queen Mary II.]— like an ordinary private father of a child. Thence walked to Jervas’s, where I took Jane in the shop alone, and there heard of her, her master and mistress were going out. So I went away and came again half an hour after. In the meantime went to the Abbey, and there went in to see the tombs with great pleasure. Back again to Jane, and there upstairs and drank with her, and staid two hours with her kissing her, but nothing more. Anon took boat and by water to the Neat Houses over against Fox Hall to have seen Greatorex dive, which Jervas and his wife were gone to see, and there I found them (and did it the rather for a pretence for my having been so long at their house), but being disappointed of some necessaries to do it I staid not, but back to Jane, but she would not go out with me. So I to Mr. Creed’s lodgings, and with him walked up and down in the New Exchange, talking mightily of the convenience and necessity of a man’s wearing good clothes, and so after eating a messe of creame I took leave of him, he walking with me as far as Fleete Conduit, he offering me upon my request to put out some money for me into Backewell’s hands at 6 per cent. interest, which he seldom gives, which I will consider of, being doubtful of trusting any of these great dealers because of their mortality, but then the convenience of having one’s money, at an houre’s call is very great. Thence to my uncle Wight’s, and there supped with my wife, having given them a brave barrel of oysters of Povy’s giving me. So home and to bed.

13th. Up and, to the office, where sat busy all morning, dined at home and after dinner to Fishmonger’s Hall, where we met the first time upon the Fishery Committee, and many good things discoursed of concerning making of farthings, which was proposed as a way of raising money for this business, and then that of lotterys,1 but with great confusion; but I hope we shall fall into greater order. So home again and to my office, where after doing business home and to a little musique, after supper, and so to bed.

1 Among the State Papers is a “Statement of Articles in the Covenant proposed by the Commissioners for the Royal Fishing to, Sir Ant. Desmarces & Co. in reference to the regulation of lotteries; which are very unreasonable, and of the objections thereto” (“Calendar of State Papers,” Domestic, 1663–64, p. 576.)

14th. Up, and wanting some things that should be laid ready for my dressing myself I was angry, and one thing after another made my wife give Besse warning to be gone, which the jade, whether out of fear or ill-nature or simplicity I know not, but she took it and asked leave to go forth to look a place, and did, which vexed me to the heart, she being as good a natured wench as ever we shall have, but only forgetful. At the office all the morning and at noon to the ‘Change, and there went off with Sir W. Warren and took occasion to desire him to lend me £100, which he said he would let the have with all his heart presently, as he had promised me a little while ago to give me for my pains in his two great contracts for masts £100, and that this should be it. To which end I did move it to him, and by this means I hope to be, possessed of the £100 presently within 2 or 3 days. So home to dinner, and then to the office, and down to Blackwall by water to view a place found out for laying of masts, and I think it will be most proper. So home and there find Mr. Pen come to visit my wife, and staid with them till sent for to Mr. Bland’s, whither by appointment I was to go to supper, and against my will left them together, but, God knows, without any reason of fear in my conscience of any evil between them, but such is my natural folly. Being thither come they would needs have my wife, and so Mr. Bland and his wife (the first time she was ever at my house or my wife at hers) very civilly went forth and brought her and W. Pen, and there Mr. Povy and we supped nobly and very merry, it being to take leave of Mr. Bland, who is upon going soon to Tangier. So late home and to bed.

15th. At the office all the morning, then to the ‘Change, and so home to dinner, where Luellin dined with us, and after dinner many people came in and kept me all the afternoon, among other the Master and Wardens of Chyrurgeon’s Hall, who staid arguing their cause with me; I did give them the best answer I could, and after their being two hours with me parted, and I to my office to do business, which is much on my hands, and so late home to supper and to bed.

16th. Up betimes and to my office, where all the morning very busy putting papers to rights. And among other things Mr. Gauden coming to me, I had a good opportunity to speak to him about his present, which hitherto hath been a burden: to me, that I could not do it, because I was doubtfull that he meant it as a temptation to me to stand by him in the business of Tangier victualling; but he clears me it was not, and that he values me and my proceedings therein very highly, being but what became me, and that what he did was for my old kindnesses to him in dispatching of his business, which I was glad to hear, and with my heart in good rest and great joy parted, and to my business again. At noon to the ‘Change, where by appointment I met Sir W. Warren, and afterwards to the Sun taverne, where he brought to me, being all alone; £100 in a bag, which I offered him to give him my receipt for, but he told me, no, it was my owne, which he had a little while since promised me and was glad that (as I had told him two days since) it would now do me courtesy; and so most kindly he did give it me, and I as joyfully, even out of myself, carried it home in a coach, he himself expressly taking care that nobody might see this business done, though I was willing enough to have carried a servant with me to have received it, but he advised me to do it myself. So home with it and to dinner; after dinner I forth with my boy to buy severall things, stools and andirons and candlesticks, &c., household stuff, and walked to the mathematical instrument maker in Moorefields and bought a large pair of compasses, and there met Mr. Pargiter, and he would needs have me drink a cup of horse-radish ale, which he and a friend of his troubled with the stone have been drinking of, which we did and then walked into the fields as far almost as Sir G. Whitmore’s, all the way talking of Russia, which, he says, is a sad place; and, though Moscow is a very great city, yet it is from the distance between house and house, and few people compared with this, and poor, sorry houses, the Emperor himself living in a wooden house, his exercise only flying a hawk at pigeons and carrying pigeons ten or twelve miles off and then laying wagers which pigeon shall come soonest home to her house. All the winter within doors, some few playing at chesse, but most drinking their time away. Women live very slavishly there, and it seems in the Emperor’s court no room hath above two or three windows, and those the greatest not a yard wide or high, for warmth in winter time; and that the general cure for all diseases there is their sweating houses, or people that are poor they get into their ovens, being heated, and there lie. Little learning among things of any sort. Not a man that speaks Latin, unless the Secretary of State by chance. Mr. Pargiter and I walked to the ‘Change together and there parted, and so I to buy more things and then home, and after a little at my office, home to supper and to bed. This day old Hardwicke came and redeemed a watch he had left with me in pawne for 40s. seven years ago, and I let him gave it. Great talk that the Dutch will certainly be out this week, and will sail directly to Guinny, being convoyed out of the Channel with 42 sail of ships.

17th. Up and to the office, where Mr. Coventry very angry to see things go so coldly as they do, and I must needs say it makes me fearful every day of having some change of the office, and the truth is, I am of late a little guilty of being remiss myself of what I used to be, but I hope I shall come to my old pass again, my family being now settled again. Dined at home, and to the office, where late busy in setting all my businesses in order, and I did a very great and a very contenting afternoon’s work. This day my aunt Wight sent my wife a new scarfe, with a compliment for the many favours she had received of her, which is the several things we have sent her. I am glad enough of it, for I see my uncle is so given up to the Wights that I hope for little more of them. So home to supper and to bed.

18th (Lord’s day). Up and to church all of us. At noon comes Anthony and W. Joyce (their wives being in the country with my father) and dined with me very merry as I can be in such company. After dinner walked to Westminster (tiring them by the way, and so left them, Anthony in Cheapside and the other in the Strand), and there spent all the afternoon in the Cloysters as I had agreed with Jane Welsh, but she came not, which vexed me, staying till 5 o’clock, and then walked homeward, and by coach to the old Exchange, and thence to my aunt Wight’s, and invited her and my uncle to supper, and so home, and by and by they came, and we eat a brave barrel of oysters Mr. Povy sent me this morning, and very merry at supper, and so to prayers and to bed. Last night it seems my aunt Wight did send my wife a new scarfe, laced, as a token for her many givings to her. It is true now and then we give them some toys, as oranges, &c., but my aime is to get myself something more from my uncle’s favour than this.

19th. Up, my wife and I having a little anger about her woman already, she thinking that I take too much care of her at table to mind her (my wife) of cutting for her, but it soon over, and so up and with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen to St. James’s, and there did our business with the Duke, and thence homeward straight, calling at the Coffee-house, and there had very good discourse with Sir —— Blunt and Dr. Whistler about Egypt and other things. So home to dinner, my wife having put on today her winter new suit of moyre, which is handsome, and so after dinner I did give her £15 to lay out in linen and necessaries for the house and to buy a suit for Pall, and I myself to White Hall to a Tangier Committee, where Colonell Reames hath brought us so full and methodical an account of all matters there, that I never have nor hope to see the like of any publique business while I live again. The Committee up, I to Westminster to Jervas’s, and spoke with Jane; who I find cold and not so desirous of a meeting as before, and it is no matter, I shall be the freer from the inconvenience that might follow thereof, besides offending God Almighty and neglecting my business. So by coach home and to my office, where late, and so to supper and to bed. I met with Dr. Pierce today, who, speaking of Dr. Frazier’s being so earnest to have such a one (one Collins) go chyrurgeon to the Prince’s person will have him go in his terms and with so much money put into his hands, he tells me (when I was wondering that Frazier should order things with the Prince in that confident manner) that Frazier is so great with my Lady Castlemayne, and Stewart, and all the ladies at Court, in helping to slip their calfes when there is occasion, and with the great men in curing of their claps that he can do what he please with the King, in spite of any man, and upon the same score with the Prince; they all having more or less occasion to make use of him. Sir G. Carteret tells me this afternoon that the Dutch are not yet ready to set out; and by that means do lose a good wind which would carry them out and keep us in, and moreover he says that they begin to boggle in the business, and he thinks may offer terms of peace for all this, and seems to argue that it will be well for the King too, and I pray God send it. Colonell Reames did, among other things, this day tell me how it is clear that, if my Lord Tiviott had lived, he would have quite undone Tangier, or designed himself to be master of it. He did put the King upon most great, chargeable, and unnecessary works there, and took the course industriously to deter, all other merchants but himself to deal there, and to make both King and all others pay what he pleased for all that was brought thither.

20th. Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, at noon to the ‘Change, and there met by appointment with Captain Poyntz, who hath some place, or title to a place, belonging to gameing, and so I discoursed with him about the business of our improving of the Lotterys, to the King’s benefit, and that of the Fishery, and had some light from him in the business, and shall, he says, have more in writing from him. So home to dinner and then abroad to the Fishing Committee at Fishmongers’ Hall, and there sat and did some business considerable, and so up and home, and there late at my office doing much business, and I find with great delight that I am come to my good temper of business again. God continue me in it. So home to supper, it being washing day, and to bed.

21st. Up, and by coach to Mr. Povy’s, and there got him to signe the payment of Captain Tayler’s bills for the remainder of freight for the Eagle, wherein I shall be gainer about £30, thence with him to Westminster by coach to Houseman’s [Huysman] the great picture drawer, and saw again very fine pictures, and have his promise, for Mr. Povy’s sake, to take pains in what picture I shall set him about, and I think to have my wife’s. But it is a strange thing to observe and fit for me to remember that I am at no time so unwilling to part with money as when I am concerned in the getting of it most, as I thank God of late I have got more in this month, viz. near 0250, than ever I did in half a year before in my life, I think. Thence to White Hall with him, and so walked to the old Exchange and back to Povy’s to dinner, where great and good company; among others Sir John Skeffington, whom I knew at Magdalen College, a fellow-commoner, my fellow-pupil, but one with whom I had no great acquaintance, he being then, God knows, much above me. Here I was afresh delighted with Mr. Povy’s house and pictures of perspective, being strange things to think how they do delude one’s eye, that methinks it would make a man doubtful of swearing that ever he saw any thing. Thence with him to St. James’s, and so to White Hall to a Tangier Committee, and hope I have light of another opportunity of getting a little money if Sir W. Warren will use me kindly for deales to Tangier, and with the hopes went joyfully home, and there received Captain Tayler’s money, received by Will today, out of which (as I said above) I shall get above £30. So with great comfort to bed, after supper. By discourse this day I have great hopes from Mr. Coventry that the Dutch and we shall not fall out.

22nd. Up and at the office all the morning. To the ‘Change at noon, and among other things discoursed with Sir William Warren what I might do to get a little money by carrying of deales to Tangier, and told him the opportunity I have there of doing it, and he did give me some advice, though not so good as he would have done at any other time of the year, but such as I hope to make good use of, and get a little money by. So to Sir G. Carteret’s to dinner, and he and I and Captain Cocke all alone, and good discourse, and thence to a Committee of Tangier at White Hall, and so home, where I found my wife not well, and she tells me she thinks she is with child, but I neither believe nor desire it. But God’s will be done! So to my office late, and home to supper and to bed; having got a strange cold in my head, by flinging off my hat at dinner, and sitting with the wind in my neck.1

1 In Lord Clarendon’s Essay, “On the decay of respect paid to Age,” he says that in his younger days he never kept his hat on before those older than himself, except at dinner. — B.

23rd. My cold and pain in my head increasing, and the palate of my mouth falling, I was in great pain all night. My wife also was not well, so that a mayd was fain to sit up by her all night. Lay long in the morning, at last up, and amongst others comes Mr. Fuller, that was the wit of Cambridge, and Praevaricator1 in my time, and staid all the morning with me discoursing, and his business to get a man discharged, which I did do for him. Dined with little heart at noon, in the afternoon against my will to the office, where Sir G. Carteret and we met about an order of the Council for the hiring him a house, giving him £1000 fine, and £70 per annum for it. Here Sir J. Minnes took occasion, in the most childish and most unbeseeming manner, to reproach us all, but most himself, that he was not valued as Comptroller among us, nor did anything but only set his hand to paper, which is but too true; and every body had a palace, and he no house to lie in, and wished he had but as much to build him a house with, as we have laid out in carved worke. It was to no end to oppose, but all bore it, and after laughed at him for it. So home, and late reading “The Siege of Rhodes” to my wife, and then to bed, my head being in great pain and my palate still down.

1 At the Commencement (Comitia Majora) in July, the Praevaricator, or Varier, held a similar position to the Tripos at the Comitia Minora. He was so named from varying the question which he proposed, either by a play upon the words or by the transposition of the terms in which it was expressed. Under the pretence of maintaining some philosophical question, he poured out a medley of absurd jokes and ‘personal ridicule, which gradually led to the abolition of the office. In Thoresby’s “Diary” we read, “Tuesday, July 6th. The Praevaricator’s speech was smart and ingenious, attended with vollies of hurras” (see Wordsworth’s “University Life in the Eighteenth Century “). — M. B.

24th. Up and to the office, where all the morning busy, then home to dinner, and so after dinner comes one Phillips, who is concerned in the Lottery, and from him I collected much concerning that business. I carried him in my way to White Hall and set him down at Somersett House. Among other things he told me that Monsieur Du Puy, that is so great a man at the Duke of Yorke’s, and this man’s great opponent, is a knave and by quality but a tailor. To the Tangier Committee, and there I opposed Colonell Legg’s estimate of supplies of provisions to be sent to Tangier till all were ashamed of it, and he fain after all his good husbandry and seeming ignorance and joy to have the King’s money saved, yet afterwards he discovered all his design to be to keep the furnishing of these things to the officers of the Ordnance, but Mr. Coventry seconded me, and between us we shall save the King some money in the year. In one business of deales in £520, I offer to save £172, and yet purpose getting money, to myself by it. So home and to my office, and business being done home to supper and so to bed, my head and throat being still out of order mightily. This night Prior of Brampton came and paid me £40, and I find this poor painful man is the only thriving and purchasing man in the town almost. We were told today of a Dutch ship of 3 or 400 tons, where all the men were dead of the plague, and the ship cast ashore at Gottenburgh.

25th (Lord’s day). Up, and my throat being yet very sore, and, my head out of order, we went not to church, but I spent all the morning reading of “The Madd Lovers,” a very good play, and at noon comes Harman and his wife, whom I sent for to meet the Joyces, but they came not. It seems Will has got a fall off his horse and broke his face. However, we were as merry as I could in their company, and we had a good chine of beef, but I had no taste nor stomach through my cold, and therefore little pleased with my dinner. It raining, they sat talking with us all the afternoon. So anon they went away; and then I to read another play, “The Custome of the Country,” which is a very poor one, methinks. Then to supper, prayers, and bed.

26th. Up pretty well again, but my mouth very scabby, my cold being going away, so that I was forced to wear a great black patch, but that would not do much good, but it happens we did not go to the Duke today, and so I staid at home busy all the morning. At noon, after dinner, to the ‘Change, and thence home to my office again, where busy, well employed till 10 at night, and so home to supper and to bed, my mind a little troubled that I have not of late kept up myself so briske in business; but mind my ease a little too much and my family upon the coming of Mercer and Tom. So that I have not kept company, nor appeared very active with Mr. Coventry, but now I resolve to settle to it again, not that I have idled all my time, but as to my ease something. So I have looked a little too much after Tangier and the Fishery, and that in the sight of Mr. Coventry, but I have good reason to love myself for serving Tangier, for it is one of the best flowers in my garden.

27th. Lay long, sleeping, it raining and blowing very hard. Then up and to the office, my mouth still being scabby and a patch on it. At the office all the morning. At noon dined at home, and so after dinner (Lewellin dining with me and in my way talking about Deering) to the Fishing Committee, and had there very many fine things argued, and I hope some good will cone of it. So home, where my wife having (after all her merry discourse of being with child) her months upon her is gone to bed. I to my office very late doing business, then home to supper and to bed. To-night Mr. T. Trice and Piggot came to see me, and desire my going down to Brampton Court, where for Piggot’s sake, for whom it is necessary, I should go, I would be glad to go, and will, contrary to my purpose, endeavour it, but having now almost £1000, if not above, in my house, I know not what to do with it, and that will trouble my mind to leave in the house, and I not at home.

28th. Up and by water with Mr. Tucker down to Woolwich, first to do several businesses of the King’s, then on board Captain Fisher’s ship, which we hire to carry goods to Tangier. All the way going and coming I reading and discoursing over some papers of his which he, poor man, having some experience, but greater conceit of it than is fit, did at the King’s first coming over make proposals of, ordering in a new manner the whole revenue of the kingdom, but, God knows, a most weak thing; however, one paper I keep wherein he do state the main branches of the publick revenue fit to consider and remember. So home, very cold, and fearfull of having got some pain, but, thanks be to God! I was well after it. So to dinner, and after dinner by coach to White Hall, thinking to have met at a Committee of Tangier, but nobody being there but my Lord Rutherford, he would needs carry me and another Scotch Lord to a play, and so we saw, coming late, part of “The Generall,” my Lord Orrery’s (Broghill) second play; but, Lord! to see how no more either in words, sense, or design, it is to his “Harry the 5th” is not imaginable, and so poorly acted, though in finer clothes, is strange. And here I must confess breach of a vowe in appearance, but I not desiring it, but against my will, and my oathe being to go neither at my own charge nor at another’s, as I had done by becoming liable to give them another, as I am to Sir W. Pen and Mr. Creed; but here I neither know which of them paid for me, nor, if I did, am I obliged ever to return the like, or did it by desire or with any willingness. So that with a safe conscience I do think my oathe is not broke and judge God Almighty will not think it other wise. Thence to W. Joyce’s, and there found my aunt and cozen Mary come home from my father’s with great pleasure and content, and thence to Kate’s and found her also mighty pleased with her journey and their good usage of them, and so home, troubled in my conscience at my being at a play. But at home I found Mercer playing on her Vyall, which is a pretty instrument, and so I to the Vyall and singing till late, and so to bed. My mind at a great losse how to go down to Brampton this weeke, to satisfy Piggott; but what with the fears of my house, my money, my wife, and my office, I know not how in the world to think of it, Tom Hater being out of towne, and I having near £1000 in my house.

29th. Up and to the office, where all the morning, dined at home and Creed with me; after dinner I to Sir G. Carteret, and with him to his new house he is taking in Broad Streete, and there surveyed all the rooms and bounds, in order to the drawing up a lease thereof; and that done, Mr. Cutler, his landlord, took me up and down, and showed me all his ground and house, which is extraordinary great, he having bought all the Augustine Fryers, and many, many a £1000 he hath and will bury there. So home to my business, clearing my papers and preparing my accounts against tomorrow for a monthly and a great auditt. So to supper and to bed. Fresh newes come of our beating the Dutch at Guinny quite out of all their castles almost, which will make them quite mad here at home sure. And Sir G. Carteret did tell me, that the King do joy mightily at it; but asked him laughing, “But,” says he, “how shall I do to answer this to the Embassador when he comes?” Nay they say that we have beat them out of the New Netherlands too;1 so that we have been doing them mischief for a great while in several parts of the world; without publique knowledge or reason. Their fleete for Guinny is now, they say, ready, and abroad, and will be going this week. Coming home to-night, I did go to examine my wife’s house accounts, and finding things that seemed somewhat doubtful, I was angry though she did make it pretty plain, but confessed that when she do misse a sum, she do add something to other things to make it, and, upon my being very angry, she do protest she will here lay up something for herself to buy her a necklace with, which madded me and do still trouble me, for I fear she will forget by degrees the way of living cheap and under a sense of want.

1 Captain (afterwards Sir Robert) Holmes’ expedition to attack the Dutch settlements in Africa eventuated in an important exploit. Holmes suddenly left the coast of Africa, sailed across the Atlantic, and reduced the Dutch settlement of New Netherlands to English rule, under the title of New York. “The short and true state of the matter is this: the country mentioned was part of the province of Virginia, and, as there is no settling an extensive country at once, a few Swedes crept in there, who surrendered the plantations they could not defend to the Dutch, who, having bought the charts and papers of one Hudson, a seaman, who, by the commission from the crown of England, discovered a river, to which he gave his name, conceited they had purchased a province. Sometimes, when we had strength in those parts, they were English subjects; at others, when that strength declined, they were subjects of the United Provinces. However, upon King Charles’s claim the States disowned the title, but resumed it during our confusions. On March 12th, 1663–64, Charles II. granted it to the Duke of York . . . The King sent Holmes, when he returned, to the Tower, and did not discharge him; till he made it evidently appear that he had not infringed the law of nations “. (Campbell’s “Naval History,” vol. ii, p., 89). How little did the King or Holmes himself foresee the effects of the capture — B.

30th. Up, and all day, both morning and afternoon, at my accounts, it being a great month, both for profit and layings out, the last being £89 for kitchen and clothes for myself and wife, and a few extraordinaries for the house; and my profits, besides salary, £239; so that I have this weeke, notwithstanding great layings out, and preparations for laying out, which I make as paid this month, my balance to come to £1203, for which the Lord’s name be praised! Dined at home at noon, staying long looking for Kate Joyce and my aunt James and Mary, but they came not. So my wife abroad to see them, and took Mary Joyce to a play. Then in the evening came and sat working by me at the office, and late home to supper and to bed, with my heart in good rest for this day’s work, though troubled to think that my last month’s negligence besides the making me neglect business and spend money, and lessen myself both as to business and the world and myself, I am fain to preserve my vowe by paying 20s. dry —[ Dry = hard, as “hard cash.” ]— money into the poor’s box, because I had not fulfilled all my memorandums and paid all my petty debts and received all my petty credits, of the last month, but I trust in God I shall do so no more.

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Last updated Monday, March 17, 2014 at 17:10