The Diary of Samuel Pepys, by Samuel Pepys

December 1666

December 1st. Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning. At home to dinner, and then abroad walking to the Old Swan, and in my way I did see a cellar in Tower Streete in a very fresh fire, the late great winds having blown it up.1 It seemed to be only of log-wood, that Hath kept the fire all this while in it. Going further, I met my late Lord Mayor Bludworth, under whom the City was burned, and went with him by water to White Hall. But, Lord! the silly talk that this fellow had, only how ready he would be to part with all his estate in these difficult times to advance the King’s service, and complaining that now, as every body did lately in the fire, every body endeavours to save himself, and let the whole perish: but a very weak man he seems to be. I left him at White Hall, he giving 6d. towards the boat, and I to Westminster Hall, where I was again defeated in my expectation of Burroughs. However, I was not much sorry for it, but by coach home, in the evening, calling at Faythorne’s, buying three of my Lady Castlemayne’s heads, printed this day, which indeed is, as to the head, I think, a very fine picture, and like her. I did this afternoon get Mrs. Michell to let me only have a sight of a pamphlet lately printed, but suppressed and much called after, called “The Catholique’s Apology;” lamenting the severity of the Parliament against them, and comparing it with the lenity of other princes to Protestants; giving old and late instances of their loyalty to their princes, whatever is objected against them; and excusing their disquiets in Queen Elizabeth’s time, for that it was impossible for them to think her a lawfull Queen, if Queen Mary, who had been owned as such, were so; one being the daughter of the true, and the other of a false wife: and that of the Gunpowder Treason, by saying that it was only the practice of some of us, if not the King, to trepan some of their religion into it, it never being defended by the generality of their Church, nor indeed known by them; and ends with a large Catalogue, in red letters, of the Catholiques which have lost their lives in the quarrel of the late King and this. The thing is very well writ indeed. So home to my letters, and then to my supper and to bed.

1 The fire continued burning in some cellars of the ruins of the city for four months, though it rained in the month of October ten days without ceasing (Rugge’s “Diurnal”). — B.

2nd (Lord’s day). Up, and to church, and after church home to dinner, where I met Betty Michell and her husband, very merry at dinner, and after dinner, having borrowed Sir W. Pen’s coach, we to Westminster, they two and my wife and I to Mr. Martin’s, where find the company almost all come to the christening of Mrs. Martin’s child, a girl. A great deal of good plain company. After sitting long, till the church was done, the Parson comes, and then we to christen the child. I was Godfather, and Mrs. Holder (her husband, a good man, I know well), and a pretty lady, that waits, it seems, on my Lady Bath, at White Hall, her name, Mrs. Noble, were Godmothers. After the christening comes in the wine and the sweetmeats, and then to prate and tattle, and then very good company they were, and I among them. Here was old Mrs. Michell and Howlett, and several married women of the Hall, whom I knew mayds. Here was also Mrs. Burroughs and Mrs. Bales, the young widow, whom I led home, and having staid till the moon was up, I took my pretty gossip to White Hall with us, and I saw her in her lodging, and then my owne company again took coach, and no sooner in the coach but something broke, that we were fain there to stay till a smith could be fetched, which was above an hour, and then it costing me 6s. to mend. Away round by the wall and Cow Lane,1 for fear it should break again; and in pain about the coach all the way. But to ease myself therein Betty Michell did sit at the same end with me. . . . Being very much pleased with this, we at last come home, and so to supper, and then sent them by boat home, and we to bed. When I come home I went to Sir W. Batten’s, and there I hear more ill newes still: that all our New England fleete, which went out lately, are put back a third time by foul weather, and dispersed, some to one port and some to another; and their convoys also to Plymouth; and whether any of them be lost or not, we do not know. This, added to all the rest, do lay us flat in our hopes and courages, every body prophesying destruction to the nation.

1 Cow Lane, West Smithfield (now named King Street), was famous for its coachmakers.

3rd. Up, and, among a great many people that come to speak with me, one was my Lord Peterborough’s gentleman, who comes to me to dun me to get some money advanced for my Lord; and I demanding what newes, he tells me that at Court they begin to fear the business of Scotland more and more; and that the Duke of York intends to go to the North to raise an army, and that the King would have some of the Nobility and others to go and assist; but they were so served the last year, among others his Lord, in raising forces at their own charge, for fear of the French invading us, that they will not be got out now, without money advanced to them by the King, and this is like to be the King’s case for certain, if ever he comes to have need of any army. He and others gone, I by water to Westminster, and there to the Exchequer, and put my tallys in a way of doing for the last quarter. But my not following it the last week has occasioned the clerks some trouble, which I am sorry for, and they are mad at. Thence at noon home, and there find Kate Joyce, who dined with me: Her husband and she are weary of their new life of being an Innkeeper, and will leave it, and would fain get some office; but I know none the foole is fit for, but would be glad to help them, if I could, though they have enough to live on, God be thanked! though their loss hath been to the value of £3000 W. Joyce now has all the trade, she says, the trade being come to that end of the towne. She dined with me, my wife being ill of her months in bed. I left her with my wife, and away myself to Westminster Hall by appointment and there found out Burroughs, and I took her by coach as far as the Lord Treasurer’s and called at the cake house by Hales’s, and there in the coach eat and drank and then carried her home. . . . So having set her down in the palace I to the Swan, and there did the first time ‘baiser’ the little sister of Sarah that is come into her place, and so away by coach home, where to my vyall and supper and then to bed, being weary of the following of my pleasure and sorry for my omitting (though with a true salvo to my vowes) the stating my last month’s accounts in time, as I should, but resolve to settle, and clear all my business before me this month, that I may begin afresh the next yeare, and enjoy some little pleasure freely at Christmasse. So to bed, and with more cheerfulness than I have done a good while, to hear that for certain the Scott rebells are all routed; they having been so bold as to come within three miles of Edinburgh, and there given two or three repulses to the King’s forces, but at last were mastered. Three or four hundred killed or taken, among which their leader, one Wallis, and seven ministers, they having all taken the Covenant a few days before, and sworn to live and die in it, as they did; and so all is likely to be there quiet again. There is also the very good newes come of four New–England ships come home safe to Falmouth with masts for the King; which is a blessing mighty unexpected, and without which, if for nothing else, we must have failed the next year. But God be praised for thus much good fortune, and send us the continuance of his favour in other things! So to bed.

4th. Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning. At noon dined at home. After dinner presently to my office, and there late and then home to even my Journall and accounts, and then to supper much eased in mind, and last night’s good news, which is more and more confirmed with particulars to very good purpose, and so to bed.

5th. Up, and by water to White Hall, where we did much business before the Duke of York, which being done, I away home by water again, and there to my office till noon busy. At noon home, and Goodgroome dined with us, who teaches my wife to sing. After dinner I did give him my song, “Beauty retire,” which he has often desired of me, and without flattery I think is a very good song. He gone, I to the office, and there late, very busy doing much business, and then home to supper and talk, and then scold with my wife for not reckoning well the times that her musique master hath been with her, but setting down more than I am sure, and did convince her, they had been with her, and in an ill humour of anger with her to bed.

6th. Up, but very good friends with her before I rose, and so to the office, where we sat all the forenoon, and then home to dinner, where Harman dined with us, and great sport to hear him tell how Will Joyce grows rich by the custom of the City coming to his end of the towne, and how he rants over his brother and sister for their keeping an Inne, and goes thither and tears like a prince, calling him hosteller and his sister hostess. Then after dinner, my wife and brother, in another habit; go out to see a play; but I am not to take notice that I know of my brother’s going. So I to the office, where very busy till late at night, and then home. My wife not pleased with the play, but thinks that it is because she is grown more critical than she used to be, but my brother she says is mighty taken with it. So to supper and to bed. This day, in the Gazette, is the whole story of defeating the Scotch rebells, and of the creation of the Duke of Cambridge, Knight of the Garter.

7th. Up, and by water to the Exchequer, where I got my tallys finished for the last quarter for Tangier, and having paid all my fees I to the Swan, whither I sent for some oysters, and thither comes Mr. Falconbridge and Spicer and many more clerks; and there we eat and drank, and a great deal of their sorry discourse, and so parted, and I by coach home, meeting Balty in the streete about Charing Crosse walking, which I am glad to see and spoke to him about his mustering business, I being now to give an account how the several muster-masters have behaved themselves, and so home to dinner, where finding the cloth laid and much crumpled but clean, I grew angry and flung the trenchers about the room, and in a mighty heat I was: so a clean cloth was laid, and my poor wife very patient, and so to dinner, and in comes Mrs. Barbara Sheldon, now Mrs. Wood, and dined with us, she mighty fine, and lives, I perceive, mighty happily, which I am glad [of] for her sake, but hate her husband for a block-head in his choice. So away after dinner, leaving my wife and her, and by water to the Strand, and so to the King’s playhouse, where two acts were almost done when I come in; and there I sat with my cloak about my face, and saw the remainder of “The Mayd’s Tragedy;” a good play, and well acted, especially by the younger Marshall, who is become a pretty good actor, and is the first play I have seen in either of the houses since before the great plague, they having acted now about fourteen days publickly. But I was in mighty pain lest I should be seen by any body to be at a play. Soon as done I home, and then to my office awhile, and then home and spent the night evening my Tangier accounts, much to my satisfaction, and then to supper, and mighty good friends with my poor wife, and so to bed.

8th. Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon home to dinner, and there find Mr. Pierce and his wife and Betty, a pretty girle, who in discourse at table told me the great Proviso passed the House of Parliament yesterday; which makes the King and Court mad, the King having given order to my Lord Chamberlain to send to the playhouses and bawdy houses, to bid all the Parliament-men that were there to go to the Parliament presently. This is true, it seems; but it was carried against the Court by thirty or forty voices. It is a Proviso to the Poll Bill, that there shall be a Committee of nine persons that shall have the inspection upon oath, and power of giving others, of all the accounts of the money given and spent for this warr. This hath a most sad face, and will breed very ill blood. He tells me, brought in by Sir Robert Howard, who is one of the King’s servants, at least hath a great office, and hath got, they say, £20,000 since the King come in. Mr. Pierce did also tell me as a great truth, as being told it by Mr. Cowly, who was by, and heard it, that Tom Killigrew should publiquely tell the King that his matters were coming into a very ill state; but that yet there was a way to help all, which is, says he, “There is a good, honest, able man, that I could name, that if your Majesty would employ, and command to see all things well executed, all things would soon be mended; and this is one Charles Stuart, who now spends his time in employing his lips. . . . about the Court, and hath no other employment; but if you would give him this employment, he were the fittest man in the world to perform it.” This, he says, is most true; but the King do not profit by any of this, but lays all aside, and remembers nothing, but to his pleasures again; which is a sorrowful consideration. Very good company we were at dinner, and merry, and after dinner, he being gone about business, my wife and I and Mrs. Pierce and Betty and Balty, who come to see us today very sick, and went home not well, together out, and our coach broke the wheel off upon Ludgate Hill. So we were fain to part ourselves and get room in other people’s coaches, and Mrs. Pierce and I in one, and I carried her home and set her down, and myself to the King’s playhouse, which troubles me since, and hath cost me a forfeit of 10s., which I have paid, and there did see a good part of “The English Monsieur,” which is a mighty pretty play, very witty and pleasant. And the women do very well; but, above all, little Nelly; that I am mightily pleased with the play, and much with the House, more than ever I expected, the women doing better than ever I expected, and very fine women. Here I was in pain to be seen, and hid myself; but, as God would have it, Sir John Chichly come, and sat just by me. Thence to Mrs. Pierce’s, and there took up my wife and away home, and to the office and Sir W. Batten’s, of whom I hear that this Proviso in Parliament is mightily ill taken by all the Court party as a mortal blow, and that, that strikes deep into the King’s prerogative, which troubles me mightily. Home, and set some papers right in my chamber, and then to supper and to bed, we being in much fear of ill news of our colliers. A fleete of two hundred sail, and fourteen Dutch men-of-war between them and us and they coming home with small convoy; and the City in great want, coals being at £3 3s. per chaldron, as I am told. I saw smoke in the ruines this very day.

9th (Lord’s day). Up, not to church, but to my chamber, and there begun to enter into this book my journall of September, which in the fire-time I could not enter here, but in loose papers. At noon dined, and then to my chamber all the afternoon and night, looking over and tearing and burning all the unnecessary letters, which I have had upon my file for four or five years backward, which I intend to do quite through all my papers, that I may have nothing by me but what is worth keeping, and fit to be seen, if I should miscarry. At this work till midnight, and then to supper and to bed.

10th. Up, and at my office all the morning, and several people with me, Sir W. Warren, who I do every day more and more admire for a miracle of cunning and forecast in his business, and then Captain Cocke, with whom I walked in the garden, and he tells me how angry the Court is at the late Proviso brought in by the House. How still my Lord Chancellor is, not daring to do or say any thing to displease the Parliament; that the Parliament is in a very ill humour, and grows every day more and more so; and that the unskilfulness of the Court, and their difference among one another, is the occasion of all not agreeing in what they would have, and so they give leisure and occasion to the other part to run away with what the Court would not have. Then comes Mr. Gawden, and he and I in my chamber discoursing about his business, and to pay him some Tangier orders which he delayed to receive till I had money instead of tallies, but do promise me consideration for my victualling business for this year, and also as Treasurer for Tangier, which I am glad of, but would have been gladder to have just now received it. He gone, I alone to dinner at home, my wife and her people being gone down the river today for pleasure, though a cold day and dark night to come up. In the afternoon I to the Excise Office to enter my tallies, which I did, and come presently back again, and then to the office and did much business, and then home to supper, my wife and people being come well and hungry home from Erith. Then I to begin the setting of a Base to “It is Decreed,” and so to bed.

11th. Up, and to the office, where we sat, and at noon home to dinner, a small dinner because of a good supper. After dinner my wife and I by coach to St. Clement’s Church, to Mrs. Turner’s lodgings, hard by, to take our leaves of her. She is returning into the North to her children, where, I perceive, her husband hath clearly got the mastery of her, and she is likely to spend her days there, which for her sake I am a little sorry for, though for his it is but fit she should live where he hath a mind. Here were several people come to see and take leave of her, she going tomorrow: among others, my Lady Mordant, which was Betty Turner, a most homely widow, but young, and pretty rich, and good natured. Thence, having promised to write every month to her, we home, and I to my office, while my wife to get things together for supper. Dispatching my business at the office. Anon come our guests, old Mr. Batelier, and his son and daughter, Mercer, which was all our company. We had a good venison pasty and other good cheer, and as merry as in so good, innocent, and understanding company I could be. He is much troubled that wines, laden by him in France before the late proclamation was out, cannot now be brought into England, which is so much to his and other merchants’ loss. We sat long at supper and then to talk, and so late parted and so to bed. This day the Poll Bill was to be passed, and great endeavours used to take away the Proviso.

12th. Up, and to the office, where some accounts of Mr. Gawden’s were examined, but I home most of the morning to even some accounts with Sir H. Cholmly, Mr. Moone, and others one after another. Sir H. Cholmly did with grief tell me how the Parliament hath been told plainly that the King hath been heard to say, that he would dissolve them rather than pass this Bill with the Proviso; but tells me, that the Proviso is removed, and now carried that it shall be done by a Bill by itself. He tells me how the King hath lately paid about £30,0001 to clear debts of my Lady Castlemayne’s; and that she and her husband are parted for ever, upon good terms, never to trouble one another more. He says that he hears £400,000 hath gone into the Privypurse since this warr; and that that hath consumed so much of our money, and makes the King and Court so mad to be brought to discover it. He gone, and after him the rest, I to the office, and at noon to the ‘Change, where the very good newes is just come of our four ships from Smyrna, come safe without convoy even into the Downes, without seeing any enemy; which is the best, and indeed only considerable good newes to our Exchange, since the burning of the City; and it is strange to see how it do cheer up men’s hearts. Here I saw shops now come to be in this Exchange, and met little Batelier, who sits here but at £3 per annum, whereas he sat at the other at £100, which he says he believes will prove of as good account to him now as the other did at that rent. From the ‘Change to Captain Cocke’s, and there, by agreement, dined, and there was Charles Porter, Temple, Fern, Debasty, whose bad English and pleasant discourses was exceeding good entertainment, Matt. Wren, Major Cooper, and myself, mighty merry and pretty discourse. They talked for certain, that now the King do follow Mrs. Stewart wholly, and my Lady Castlemayne not above once a week; that the Duke of York do not haunt my Lady Denham so much; that she troubles him with matters of State, being of my Lord Bristoll’s faction, and that he avoids; that she is ill still. After dinner I away to the office, where we sat late upon Mr. Gawden’s accounts, Sir J. Minnes being gone home sick. I late at the office, and then home to supper and to bed, being mightily troubled with a pain in the small of my back, through cold, or (which I think most true) my straining last night to get open my plate chest, in such pain all night I could not turn myself in my bed. Newes this day from Brampton, of Mr. Ensum, my sister’s sweetheart, being dead: a clowne.

1 Two thousand pounds of this sum went to Alderman Edward Bakewell for two diamond rings, severally charged £1000 and £900, bought March 14th, 1665–66 (Second addenda to Steinman’s “Memoir of the Duchess of Cleveland,” privately printed, 1878, p. 4.).

13th. Up, and to the office, where we sat. At noon to the ‘Change and there met Captain Cocke, and had a second time his direction to bespeak £100 of plate, which I did at Sir R. Viner’s, being twelve plates more, and something else I have to choose. Thence home to dinner, and there W. Hewer dined with me, and showed me a Gazette, in April last, which I wonder should never be remembered by any body, which tells how several persons were then tried for their lives, and were found guilty of a design of killing the King and destroying the Government; and as a means to it, to burn the City; and that the day intended for the plot was the 3rd of last September.1 And the fire did indeed break out on the 2nd of September, which is very strange, methinks, and I shall remember it. At the office all the afternoon late, and then home to even my accounts in my Tangier book, which I did to great content in all respects, and joy to my heart, and so to bed. This afternoon Sir W. Warren and Mr. Moore, one after another, walked with me in the garden, and they both tell me that my Lord Sandwich is called home, and that he do grow more and more in esteem everywhere, and is better spoken of, which I am mighty glad of, though I know well enough his deserving the same before, and did foresee that it will come to it. In mighty great pain in my back still, but I perceive it changes its place, and do not trouble me at all in making of water, and that is my joy, so that I believe it is nothing but a strain, and for these three or four days I perceive my overworking of my eyes by candlelight do hurt them as it did the last winter, that by day I am well and do get them right, but then after candlelight they begin to be sore and run, so that I intend to get some green spectacles.

1 The “Gazette” of April 23rd-26th, 1666, which contains the following remarkable passage: “At the Sessions in the Old Bailey, John Rathbone, an old army colonel, William Saunders, Henry Tucker, Thomas Flint, Thomas Evans, John Myles, Will. Westcot, and John Cole, officers or soldiers in the late Rebellion, were indicted for conspiring the death of his Majesty and the overthrow of the Government. Having laid their plot and contrivance for the surprisal of the Tower, the killing his Grace the Lord General, Sir John Robinson, Lieutenant of the Tower, and Sir Richard Brown; and then to have declared for an equal division of lands, &c. The better to effect this hellish design, the City was to have been fired, and the portcullis let down to keep out all assistance; and the Horse Guards to have been surprised in the inns where they were quartered, several ostlers having been gained for that purpose. The Tower was accordingly viewed, and its surprise ordered by boats over the moat, and from thence to scale the wall. One Alexander, not yet taken, had likewise distributed money to these conspirators; and, for the carrying on the design more effectually, they were told of a Council of the great ones that sat frequently in London, from whom issued all orders; which Council received their directions from another in Holland, who sat with the States; and that the third of September was pitched on for the attempt, as being found by Lilly’s Almanack, and a scheme erected for that purpose, to be a lucky day, a planet then ruling which prognosticated the downfall of Monarchy. The evidence against these persons was very full and clear, and they were accordingly found guilty of High Treason.” See November 10th, 1666 — B.

14th. Up, and very well again of my pain in my back, it having been nothing but cold. By coach to White Hall, seeing many smokes of the fire by the way yet, and took up into the coach with me a country gentleman, who asked me room to go with me, it being dirty — one come out of the North to see his son, after the burning his house: a merchant. Here endeavoured to wait on the Duke of York, but he would not stay from the Parliament. So I to Westminster Hall, and there met my good friend Mr. Evelyn, and walked with him a good while, lamenting our condition for want of good council, and the King’s minding of his business and servants. I out to the Bell Taverne, and thither comes Doll to me. . . ., and after an hour’s stay, away and staid in Westminster Hall till the rising of the house, having told Mr. Evelyn, and he several others, of my Gazette which I had about me that mentioned in April last a plot for which several were condemned of treason at the Old Bayly for many things, and among others for a design of burning the city on the 3rd of September. The house sat till three o’clock, and then up: and I home with Sir Stephen Fox to his house to dinner, and the Cofferer with us. There I find Sir S. Fox’s lady, a fine woman, and seven the prettiest children of theirs that ever I knew almost. A very genteel dinner, and in great state and fashion, and excellent discourse; and nothing like an old experienced man and a courtier, and such is the Cofferer Ashburnham. The House have been mighty hot today against the Paper Bill, showing all manner of averseness to give the King money; which these courtiers do take mighty notice of, and look upon the others as bad rebells as ever the last were. But the courtiers did carry it against those men upon a division of the House, a great many, that it should be committed; and so it was: which they reckon good news. After dinner we three to the Excise Office, and there had long discourse about our monies, but nothing to satisfaction, that is, to shew any way of shortening the time which our tallies take up before they become payable, which is now full two years, which is 20 per, cent. for all the King’s money for interest, and the great disservice of his Majesty otherwise. Thence in the evening round by coach home, where I find Foundes his present, of a fair pair of candlesticks, and half a dozen of plates come, which cost him full £50, and is a very good present; and here I met with, sealed up, from Sir H. Cholmly, the lampoone, or the Mocke–Advice to a Paynter,1 abusing the Duke of York and my Lord Sandwich, Pen, and every body, and the King himself, in all the matters of the navy and warr. I am sorry for my Lord Sandwich’s having so great a part in it. Then to supper and musique, and to bed.

1 In a broadside (1680), quoted by Mr. G. T. Drury in his edition of Waller’s Poems, 1893, satirical reference is made to the fashionable form of advice to the painters

“Each puny brother of the rhyming trade

At every turn implores the Painter’s aid,

And fondly enamoured of own foul brat

Cries in an ecstacy, Paint this, draw that.”

The series was continued, for we find “Advice to a Painter upon the Defeat of the Rebels in the West and the Execution of the late Duke of Monmouth” (“Poems on Affairs of State,” vol. ii., p. 148); “Advice to a Painter, being a Satire on the French King,” &c., 1692, and “Advice to a Painter,” 1697 (“Poems on Affairs of State,” vol. ii., p. 428).

15th. Up and to the office, where my Lord Bruncker newly come to town, from his being at Chatham and Harwich to spy enormities: and at noon I with him and his lady Williams, to Captain Cocke’s, where a good dinner, and very merry. Good news today upon the Exchange, that our Hamburgh fleete is got in; and good hopes that we may soon have the like of our Gottenburgh, and then we shall be well for this winter. Very merry at dinner. And by and by comes in Matt. Wren from the Parliament-house; and tells us that he and all his party of the House, which is the Court party, are fools, and have been made so this day by the wise men of the other side; for, after the Court party had carried it yesterday so powerfully for the Paper–Bill,1 yet now it is laid aside wholly, and to be supplied by a land-tax; which it is true will do well, and will be the sooner finished, which was the great argument for the doing of it. But then it shews them fools, that they would not permit this to have been done six weeks ago, which they might have had. And next, they have parted with the Paper Bill, which, when once begun, might have proved a very good flower in the Crowne, as any there. So do really say that they are truly outwitted by the other side. Thence away to Sir R. Viner’s, and there chose some plate besides twelve plates which I purpose to have with Captain Cocke’s gift of £100, and so home and there busy late, and then home and to bed.

1 It was called “A Bill for raising part of the supply for his Majesty by an imposition on Sealed Paper and Parchment”— B.

16th (Lord’s day). Lay long talking with my wife in bed, then up with great content and to my chamber to set right a picture or two, Lovett having sent me yesterday Sancta Clara’s head varnished, which is very fine, and now my closet is so full stored, and so fine, as I would never desire to have it better. Dined without any strangers with me, which I do not like on Sundays. Then after dinner by water to Westminster to see Mrs. Martin, whom I found up in her chamber and ready to go abroad. I sat there with her and her husband and others a pretty while, and then away to White Hall, and there walked up and down to the Queen’s side, and there saw my dear Lady Castlemayne, who continues admirable, methinks, and I do not hear but that the King is the same to her still as ever. Anon to chapel, by the King’s closet, and heard a very good anthemne. Then with Lord Bruncker to Sir W. Coventry’s chamber; and there we sat with him and talked. He is weary of anything to do, he says, in the Navy. He tells us this Committee of Accounts will enquire sharply into our office. And, speaking of Sir J. Minnes, he says he will not bear any body’s faults but his own. He discoursed as bad of Sir W. Batten almost, and cries out upon the discipline of the fleete, which is lost, and that there is not in any of the fourth rates and under scarce left one Sea Commander, but all young gentlemen; and what troubles him, he hears that the gentlemen give out that in two or three years a Tarpaulin shall not dare to look after being better than a Boatswain. Which he is troubled at, and with good reason, and at this day Sir Robert Holmes is mighty troubled that his brother do not command in chief, but is commanded by Captain Hannum, who, Sir W. Coventry says, he believes to be at least of as good blood, is a longer bred seaman, an elder officer, and an elder commander, but such is Sir R. Holmes’s pride as never to be stopt, he being greatly troubled at my Lord Bruncker’s late discharging all his men and officers but the standing officers at Chatham, and so are all other Commanders, and a very great cry hath been to the King from them all in my Lord’s absence. But Sir W. Coventry do undertake to defend it, and my Lord Bruncker got ground I believe by it, who is angry at Sir W. Batten’s and Sir W. Pen’s bad words concerning it, and I have made it worse by telling him that they refuse to sign to a paper which he and I signed on Saturday to declare the reason of his actions, which Sir W. Coventry likes and would have it sent him and he will sign it, which pleases me well. So we parted, and I with Lord Bruncker to Sir P. Neale’s chamber, and there sat and talked awhile, Sir Edward Walker being there, and telling us how he hath lost many fine rowles of antiquity in heraldry by the late fire, but hath saved the most of his papers. Here was also Dr. Wallis, the famous scholar and mathematician; but he promises little. Left them, and in the dark and cold home by water, and so to supper and to read and so to bed, my eyes being better today, and I cannot impute it to anything but by my being much in the dark to-night, for I plainly find that it is only excess of light that makes my eyes sore. This after noon I walked with Lord Bruncker into the Park and there talked of the times, and he do think that the King sees that he cannot never have much more money or good from this Parliament, and that therefore he may hereafter dissolve them, that as soon as he has the money settled he believes a peace will be clapped up, and that there are overtures of a peace, which if such as the Lord Chancellor can excuse he will take. For it is the Chancellor’s interest, he says, to bring peace again, for in peace he can do all and command all, but in war he cannot, because he understands not the nature of the war as to the management thereof. He tells me he do not believe the Duke of York will go to sea again, though there are a great many about the King that would be glad of any occasion to take him out of the world, he standing in their ways; and seemed to mean the Duke of Monmouth, who spends his time the most viciously and idly of any man, nor will be fit for any thing; yet bespeaks as if it were not impossible but the King would own him for his son, and that there was a marriage between his mother and him; which God forbid should be if it be not true, nor will the Duke of York easily be gulled in it. But this put to our other distractions makes things appear very sad, and likely to be the occasion of much confusion in a little time, and my Lord Bruncker seems to say that nothing can help us but the King’s making a peace soon as he hath this money; and thereby putting himself out of debt, and so becoming a good husband, and then he will neither need this nor any other Parliament, till he can have one to his mind: for no Parliament can, as he says, be kept long good, but they will spoil one another, and that therefore it hath been the practice of kings to tell Parliaments what he hath for them to do, and give them so long time to do it in, and no longer. Harry Kembe, one of our messengers, is lately dead.

17th. Up, and several people to speak with me, and then comes Mr. Caesar, and then Goodgroome, and, what with one and the other, nothing but musique with me this morning, to my great content; and the more, to see that God Aimighty hath put me into condition to bear the charge of all this. So out to the ‘Change, and did a little business, and then home, where they two musicians and Mr. Cooke come to see me, and Mercer to go along with my wife this afternoon to a play. To dinner, and then our company all broke up, and to my chamber to do several things. Among other things, to write a letter to my Lord Sandwich, it being one of the burdens upon my mind that I have not writ to him since he went into Spain, but now I do intend to give him a brief account of our whole year’s actions since he went, which will make amends. My wife well home in the evening from the play; which I was glad of, it being cold and dark, and she having her necklace of pearl on, and none but Mercer with her. Spent the evening in fitting my books, to have the number set upon each, in order to my having an alphabet of my whole, which will be of great ease to me. This day Captain Batters come from sea in his fireship and come to see me, poor man, as his patron, and a poor painful wretch he is as can be. After supper to bed.

18th. Up, and to the office, where I hear the ill news that poor Batters, that had been born and bred a seaman, and brought up his ship from sea but yesterday, was, going down from me to his ship, drowned in the Thames, which is a sad fortune, and do make me afeard, and will do, more than ever I was. At noon dined at home, and then by coach to my Lord Bellasses, but not at home. So to Westminster Hall, where the Lords are sitting still, I to see Mrs. Martin, who is very well, and intends to go abroad tomorrow after her childbed. She do tell me that this child did come is ‘meme jour that it ought to hazer after my avoir ete con elle before her marid did venir home. . . . Thence to the Swan, and there I sent for Sarah, and mighty merry we were. . . . So to Sir Robert Viner’s about my plate, and carried home another dozen of plates, which makes my stock of plates up 2 1/2 dozen, and at home find Mr. Thomas Andrews, with whom I staid and talked a little and invited him to dine with me at Christmas, and then I to the office, and there late doing business, and so home and to bed. Sorry for poor Batters.

19th. Up, and by water down to White Hall, and there with the.Duke of York did our usual business, but nothing but complaints of want of money [without] success, and Sir W. Coventry’s complaint of the defects of our office (indeed Sir J. Minnes’s) without any amendment, and he tells us so plainly of the Committee of Parliament’s resolution to enquire home into all our managements that it makes me resolve to be wary, and to do all things betimes to be ready for them. Thence going away met Mr. Hingston the organist (my old acquaintance) in the Court, and I took him to the Dog Taverne and got him to set me a bass to my “It is decreed,” which I think will go well, but he commends the song not knowing the words, but says the ayre is good, and believes the words are plainly expressed. He is of my mind against having of 8ths unnecessarily in composition. This did all please me mightily. Then to talk of the King’s family. He says many of the musique are ready to starve, they being five years behindhand for their wages; nay, Evens, the famous man upon the Harp having not his equal in the world, did the other day die for mere want, and was fain to be buried at the almes of the parish, and carried to his grave in the dark at night without one linke, but that Mr. Hingston met it by chance, and did give 12d. to buy two or three links. He says all must come to ruin at this rate, and I believe him. Thence I up to the Lords’ House to enquire for Lord Bellasses; and there hear how at a conference this morning between the two Houses about the business of the Canary Company, my Lord Buckingham leaning rudely over my Lord Marquis Dorchester, my Lord Dorchester removed his elbow. Duke of Buckingham asked him whether he was uneasy; Dorchester replied, yes, and that he durst not do this were he any where else: Buckingham replied, yes he would, and that he was a better man than himself; Dorchester answered that he lyed. With this Buckingham struck off his hat, and took him by his periwigg, and pulled it aside, and held him. My Lord Chamberlain and others interposed, and, upon coming into the House, the Lords did order them both to the Tower, whither they are to go this afternoon. I down into the Hall, and there the Lieutenant of the Tower took me with him, and would have me to the Tower to dinner; where I dined at the head of his table, next his lady,’ who is comely and seeming sober and stately, but very proud and very cunning, or I am mistaken, and wanton, too. This day’s work will bring the Lieutenant of the Tower £350. But a strange, conceited, vain man he is that ever I met withal, in his own praise, as I have heretofore observed of him. Thence home, and upon Tower Hill saw about 3 or 400 seamen get together; and one, standing upon a pile of bricks, made his sign, with his handkercher, upon his stick, and called all the rest to him, and several shouts they gave. This made me afeard; so I got home as fast as I could. And hearing of no present hurt did go to Sir Robert Viner’s about my plate again, and coming home do hear of 1000 seamen said in the streets to be in armes. So in great fear home, expecting to find a tumult about my house, and was doubtful of my riches there. But I thank God I found all well. But by and by Sir W. Batten and Sir R. Ford do tell me, that the seamen have been at some prisons, to release some seamen, and the Duke of Albemarle is in armes, and all the Guards at the other end of the town; and the Duke of Albemarle is gone with some forces to Wapping, to quell the seamen; which is a thing of infinite disgrace to us. I sat long talking with them; and, among other things, Sir R. Ford did make me understand how the House of Commons is a beast not to be understood, it being impossible to know beforehand the success almost of any small plain thing, there being so many to think and speak to any business, and they of so uncertain minds and interests and passions. He did tell me, and so did Sir W. Batten, how Sir Allen Brodericke and Sir Allen Apsly did come drunk the other day into the House, and did both speak for half an hour together, and could not be either laughed, or pulled, or bid to sit down and hold their peace, to the great contempt of the King’s servants and cause; which I am grieved at with all my heart. We were full in discourse of the sad state of our times, and the horrid shame brought on the King’s service by the just clamours of the poor seamen, and that we must be undone in a little time. Home full of trouble on these considerations, and, among other things, I to my chamber, and there to ticket a good part of my books, in order to the numbering of them for my easy finding them to read as I have occasion. So to supper and to bed, with my heart full of trouble.

20th. Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and here among other things come Captain Cocke, and I did get him to sign me a note for the £100 to pay for the plate he do present me with, which I am very glad of. At noon home to dinner, where was Balty come, who is well again, and the most recovered in his countenance that ever I did see. Here dined with me also Mrs. Batters, poor woman! now left a sad widow by the drowning of her husband the other day. I pity her, and will do her what kindness I can; yet I observe something of ill-nature in myself more than should be, that I am colder towards her in my charity than I should be to one so painful as he and she have been and full of kindness to their power to my wife and I. After dinner out with Balty, setting him down at the Maypole in the Strand, and then I to my Lord Bellasses, and there spoke with Mr. Moone about some business, and so away home to my business at the office, and then home to supper and to bed, after having finished the putting of little papers upon my books to be numbered hereafter.

21st. Lay long, and when up find Mrs. Clerk of Greenwich and her daughter Daniel, their business among other things was a request her daughter was to make, so I took her into my chamber, and there it was to help her husband to the command of a little new pleasure boat building, which I promised to assist in. And here I had opportunity ‘para baiser elle, and toucher ses mamailles’. . . . Then to the office, and there did a little business, and then to the ‘Change and did the like. So home to dinner, and spent all the afternoon in putting some things, pictures especially, in order, and pasting my Lady Castlemayne’s print on a frame, which I have made handsome, and is a fine piece. So to the office in the evening to marshall my papers of accounts presented to the Parliament, against any future occasion to recur to them, which I did do to my great content. So home and did some Tangier work, and so to bed.

22nd. At the office all the morning, and there come news from Hogg that our shipp hath brought in a Lubecker to Portsmouth, likely to prove prize, of deals, which joys us. At noon home to dinner, and then Sir W. Pen, Sir R. Ford, and I met at Sir W. Batten’s to examine our papers, and have great hopes to prove her prize, and Sir R. Ford I find a mighty yare —[Quick or ready, a naval term frequently used by Shakespeare.]— man in this business, making exceeding good observations from the papers on our behalf. Hereupon concluded what to write to Hogg and Middleton, which I did, and also with Mr. Oviatt (Sir R. Ford’s son, who is to be our solicitor), to fee some counsel in the Admiralty, but none in town. So home again, and after writing letters by the post, I with all my clerks and Carcasse and Whitfield to the ticket-office, there to be informed in the method and disorder of the office, which I find infinite great, of infinite concernment to be mended, and did spend till 12 at night to my great satisfaction, it being a point of our office I was wholly unacquainted in. So with great content home and to bed.

23rd (Lord’s day). Up and alone to church, and meeting Nan Wright at the gate had opportunity to take two or three ‘baisers’, and so to church, where a vain fellow with a periwigg preached, Chaplain, as by his prayer appeared, to the Earl of Carlisle? Home, and there dined with us Betty Michell and her husband. After dinner to White Hall by coach, and took them with me. And in the way I would have taken ‘su main’ as I did the last time, but she did in a manner withhold it. So set them down at White Hall, and I to the Chapel to find Dr. Gibbons, and from him to the Harp and Ball to transcribe the treble which I would have him to set a bass to. But this took me so much time, and it growing night, I was fearful of missing a coach, and therefore took a coach and to rights to call Michell and his wife at their father Howlett’s, and so home, it being cold, and the ground all snow. . . . They gone I to my chamber, and with my brother and wife did number all my books in my closet, and took a list of their names, which pleases me mightily, and is a jobb I wanted much to have done. Then to supper and to bed.

24th. Up, and to the office, where Lord Bruncker, [Sir] J. Mimics, [Sir] W. Yen, and myself met, and there I did use my notes I took on Saturday night about tickets, and did come to a good settlement in the business of that office, if it be kept to, this morning being a meeting on purpose. At noon to prevent my Lord Bruncker’s dining here I walked as if upon business with him, it being frost and dry, as far as Paul’s, and so back again through the City by Guildhall, observing the ruines thereabouts, till I did truly lose myself, and so home to dinner. I do truly find that I have overwrought my eyes, so that now they are become weak and apt to be tired, and all excess of light makes them sore, so that now to the candlelight I am forced to sit by, adding, the snow upon the ground all day, my eyes are very bad, and will be worse if not helped, so my Lord Bruncker do advise as a certain cure to use greene spectacles, which I will do. So to dinner, where Mercer with us, and very merry. After dinner she goes and fetches a little son of Mr. Backeworth’s, the wittiest child and of the most spirit that ever I saw in my life for discourse of all kind, and so ready and to the purpose, not above four years old. Thence to Sir Robert Viner’s, and there paid for the plate I have bought to the value of £94, with the £100 Captain Cocke did give me to that purpose, and received the rest in money. I this evening did buy me a pair of green spectacles, to see whether they will help my eyes or no. So to the ‘Change, and went to the Upper ‘Change, which is almost as good as the old one; only shops are but on one side. Then home to the office, and did business till my eyes began to be bad, and so home to supper. My people busy making mince pies, and so to bed. No newes yet of our Gottenburgh fleete; which makes [us] have some fears, it being of mighty concernment to have our supply of masts safe. I met with Mr. Cade to-night, my stationer; and he tells me that he hears for certain that the Queene–Mother is about and hath near finished a peace with France, which, as a Presbyterian, he do not like, but seems to fear it will be a means to introduce Popery.

25th (Christmas day). Lay pretty long in bed, and then rose, leaving my wife desirous to sleep, having sat up till four this morning seeing her mayds make mince-pies. I to church, where our parson Mills made a good sermon. Then home, and dined well on some good ribbs of beef roasted and mince pies; only my wife, brother, and Barker, and plenty of good wine of my owne, and my heart full of true joy; and thanks to God Almighty for the goodness of my condition at this day. After dinner, I begun to teach my wife and Barker my song, “It is decreed,” which pleases me mightily as now I have Mr. Hinxton’s base. Then out and walked alone on foot to the Temple, it being a fine frost, thinking to have seen a play all alone; but there, missing of any bills, concluded there was none, and so back home; and there with my brother reducing the names of all my books to an alphabet, which kept us till 7 or 8 at night, and then to supper, W. Hewer with us, and pretty merry, and then to my chamber to enter this day’s journal only, and then to bed. My head a little thoughtfull how to behave myself in the business of the victualling, which I think will be prudence to offer my service in doing something in passing the pursers’ accounts, thereby to serve the King, get honour to myself, and confirm me in my place in the victualling, which at present yields not work enough to deserve my wages.

26th. Up, and walked all the way (it being a most fine frost), to White Hall, to Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, and thence with him up to the Duke of York, where among other things at our meeting I did offer my assistance to Sir J. Minnes to do the business of his office, relating to the Pursers’ accounts, which was well accepted by the Duke of York, and I think I have and shall do myself good in it, if it be taken, for it will confirm me in the business of the victualling office, which I do now very little for. Thence home, carrying a barrel of oysters with me. Anon comes Mr. John Andrews and his wife by invitation from Bow to dine with me, and young Batelier and his wife with her great belly, which has spoiled her looks mightily already. Here was also Mercer and Creed, whom I met coming home, who tells me of a most bitter lampoone now out against the Court and the management of State from head to foot, mighty witty and mighty severe. By and by to dinner, a very good one, and merry. After dinner I put the women into a coach, and they to the Duke’s house, to a play which was acted, “The ————.” It was indifferently done, but was not pleased with the song, Gosnell not singing, but a new wench, that sings naughtily. Thence home, all by coach, and there Mr. Andrews to the vyall, who plays most excellently on it, which I did not know before. Then to dance, here being Pembleton come, by my wife’s direction, and a fiddler; and we got, also, the elder Batelier to-night, and Nan Wright, and mighty merry we were, and I danced; and so till twelve at night, and to supper, and then to cross purposes, mighty merry, and then to bed, my eyes being sore. Creed lay here in Barker’s bed.

27th. Up; and called up by the King’s trumpets, which cost me 10s. So to the office, where we sat all the morning. At noon, by invitation, my wife, who had not been there these to months, I think, and I, to meet all our families at Sir W. Batten’s at dinner, whither neither a great dinner for so much company nor anything good or handsome. In the middle of dinner I rose, and my wife, and by coach to the King’s playhouse, and meeting Creed took him up, and there saw “The Scornfull Lady” well acted; Doll Common doing Abigail most excellently, and Knipp the widow very well, and will be an excellent actor, I think. In other parts the play not so well done as used to be, by the old actors. Anon to White Hall by coach, thinking to have seen a play there to-night, but found it a mistake, so back again, and missed our coach[man], who was gone, thinking to come time enough three hours hence, and we could not blame him. So forced to get another coach, and all three home to my house, and there to Sir W. Batten’s, and eat a bit of cold chine of beef, and then staid and talked, and then home and sat and talked a little by the fireside with my wife and Creed, and so to bed, my left eye being very sore. No business publick or private minded all these two days. This day a house or two was blown up with powder in the Minorys, and several people spoiled, and many dug out from under the rubbish.

28th. Up, and Creed and I walked (a very fine walk in the frost) to my Lord Bellasses, but missing him did find him at White Hall, and there spoke with him about some Tangier business. That done, we to Creed’s lodgings, which are very pretty, but he is going from them. So we to Lincoln’s Inne Fields, he to Ned Pickering’s, who it seems lives there, keeping a good house, and I to my Lord Crew’s, where I dined, and hear the newes how my Lord’s brother, Mr. Nathaniel Crew, hath an estate of 6 or £700 per annum, left him by the death of an old acquaintance of his, but not akin to him at all. And this man is dead without will, but had, above ten years since, made over his estate to this Mr. Crew, to him and his heirs for ever, and given Mr. Crew the keeping of the deeds in his own hand all this time; by which, if he would, he might have taken present possession of the estate, for he knew what they were. This is as great an act of confident friendship as this latter age, I believe, can shew. From hence to the Duke’s house, and there saw “Macbeth” most excellently acted, and a most excellent play for variety. I had sent for my wife to meet me there, who did come, and after the play was done, I out so soon to meet her at the other door that I left my cloake in the playhouse, and while I returned to get it, she was gone out and missed me, and with W. Hewer away home. I not sorry for it much did go to White Hall, and got my Lord Bellasses to get me into the playhouse; and there, after all staying above an hour for the players, the King and all waiting, which was absurd, saw “Henry the Fifth” well done by the Duke’s people, and in most excellent habits, all new vests, being put on but this night. But I sat so high and far off, that I missed most of the words, and sat with a wind coming into my back and neck, which did much trouble me. The play continued till twelve at night; and then up, and a most horrid cold night it was, and frosty, and moonshine. But the worst was, I had left my cloak at Sir G. Carteret’s, and they being abed I was forced to go home without it. So by chance got a coach and to the Golden Lion Taverne in the Strand, and there drank some mulled sack, and so home, where find my poor wife staying for me, and then to bed mighty cold.

29th. Up, called up with newes from Sir W. Batten that Hogg hath brought in two prizes more: and so I thither, and hear the particulars, which are good; one of them, if prize, being worth £4,000: for which God be thanked! Then to the office, and have the newes brought us of Captain Robinson’s coming with his fleete from Gottenburgh: dispersed, though, by foul weather. But he hath light of five Dutch men-of-war, and taken three, whereof one is sunk; which is very good newes to close up the year with, and most of our merchantmen already heard of to be safely come home, though after long lookings-for, and now to several ports, as they could make them. At noon home to dinner, where Balty is and now well recovered. Then to the office to do business, and at night, it being very cold, home to my chamber, and there late writing, but my left eye still very sore. I write by spectacles all this night, then to supper and to bed. This day’s good news making me very lively, only the arrears of much business on my hands and my accounts to be settled for the whole year past do lie as a weight on my mind.

30th (Lord’s day). Lay long, however up and to church, where Mills made a good sermon. Here was a collection for the sexton; but it come into my head why we should be more bold in making the collection while the psalm is singing, than in the sermon or prayer. Home, and, without any strangers, to dinner, and then all the afternoon and evening in my chamber preparing all my accounts in good condition against tomorrow, to state them for the whole year past, to which God give me a good issue when I come to close them! So to supper and to bed.

31st. Rising this day with a full design to mind nothing else but to make up my accounts for the year past, I did take money, and walk forth to several places in the towne as far as the New Exchange, to pay all my debts, it being still a very great frost and good walking. I staid at the Fleece Tavern in Covent Garden while my boy Tom went to W. Joyce’s to pay what I owed for candles there. Thence to the New Exchange to clear my wife’s score, and so going back again I met Doll Lane (Mrs. Martin’s sister), with another young woman of the Hall, one Scott, and took them to the Half Moon Taverne and there drank some burnt wine with them, without more pleasure, and so away home by coach, and there to dinner, and then to my accounts, wherein, at last, I find them clear and right; but, to my great discontent, do find that my gettings this year have been £573 less than my last: it being this year in all but £2,986; whereas, the last, I got £3,560. And then again my spendings this year have exceeded my spendings the last by £644: my whole spendings last year being but £509; whereas this year, it appears, I have spent £1154, which is a sum not fit to be said that ever I should spend in one year, before I am master of a better estate than I am. Yet, blessed be God! and I pray God make me thankful for it, I do find myself worth in money, all good, above £6,200; which is above £1800 more than I was the last year. This, I trust in God, will make me thankfull for what I have, and carefull to make up by care next year what by my negligence and prodigality I have lost and spent this year. The doing of this, and entering of it fair, with the sorting of all my expenses, to see how and in what points I have exceeded, did make it late work, till my eyes become very sore and ill, and then did give over, and supper, and to bed. Thus ends this year of publick wonder and mischief to this nation, and, therefore, generally wished by all people to have an end. Myself and family well, having four mayds and one clerk, Tom, in my house, and my brother, now with me, to spend time in order to his preferment. Our healths all well, only my eyes with overworking them are sore as candlelight comes to them, and not else; publick matters in a most sad condition; seamen discouraged for want of pay, and are become not to be governed: nor, as matters are now, can any fleete go out next year. Our enemies, French and Dutch, great, and grow more by our poverty. The Parliament backward in raising, because jealous of the spending of the money; the City less and less likely to be built again, every body settling elsewhere, and nobody encouraged to trade. A sad, vicious, negligent Court, and all sober men there fearful of the ruin of the whole kingdom this next year; from which, good God deliver us! One thing I reckon remarkable in my owne condition is, that I am come to abound in good plate, so as at all entertainments to be served wholly with silver plates, having two dozen and a half.

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