December 1st. Up and by coach with Sir John Minnes and Sir W. Batten to White Hall to the Duke’s chamber, where, as is usual, my Lord Sandwich and all of us, after his being ready, to his closett, and there discoursed of matters of the Navy, and here Mr. Coventry did do me the great kindness to take notice to the Duke of my pains in making a collection of all contracts about masts, which have been of great use to us. Thence I to my Lord Sandwich’s, to Mr. Moore, to talk a little about business; and then over the Parke (where I first in my life, it being a great frost, did see people sliding with their skeates,1 which is a very pretty art), to Mr. Coventry’s chamber to St. James’s, where we all met to a venison pasty, and were very merry, Major Norwood being with us, whom they did play upon for his surrendering of Dunkirk. Here we staid till three or four o’clock; and so to the Council Chamber, where there met the Duke of York, Prince Rupert, Duke of Albemarle, my Lord Sandwich, Sir Win. Compton, Mr. Coventry, Sir J. Minnes, Sir R. Ford, Sir W. Rider, myself, and Captain Cuttance, as Commissioners for Tangier. And after our Commission was read by Mr. Creed, who I perceive is to be our Secretary, we did fall to discourse of matters: as, first, the supplying them forthwith with victualls; then the reducing it to make way for the money, which upon their reduction is to go to the building of the Mole; and so to other matters, ordered as against next meeting. This done we broke up, and I to the Cockpitt, with much crowding and waiting, where I saw “The Valiant Cidd”—[Translated from the “Cid” of Corneille]— acted, a play I have read with great delight, but is a most dull thing acted, which I never understood before, there being no pleasure in it, though done by Betterton and by Ianthe, And another fine wench that is come in the room of Roxalana nor did the King or queen once smile all the whole play, nor any of the company seem to take any pleasure but what was in the greatness and gallantry of the company. Thence to my Lord’s, and Mr. Moore being in bed I staid not, but with a link walked home and got thither by 12 o’clock, knocked up my boy, and put myself to bed.
1 Iron skates appear to have been introduced by the Dutch, as the name certainly was; but we learn from Fitzstephen that bone skates (although not so called) were used in London in the twelfth century.
2nd. Before I went to the office my wife and I had another falling out about Sarah, against whom she has a deadly hate, I know not for what, nor can I see but she is a very good servant. Then to my office, and there sat all the morning, and then to dinner with my wife at home, and after dinner did give Jane a very serious lesson, against we take her to be our chamber-maid, which I spoke so to her that the poor girl cried and did promise to be very dutifull and carefull. So to the office, where we sat as Commissioners for the Chest, and so examined most of the old accountants to the Chest about it, and so we broke up, and I to my office till late preparing business, and so home, being cold, and this night first put on a wastecoate. So to bed.
3rd. Called up by Commissioner Pett, and with him by water, much against my will, to Deptford, and after drinking a warm morning draft, with Mr. Wood and our officers measuring all the morning his New England masts, with which sight I was much pleased for my information, though I perceive great neglect and indifference in all the King’s officers in what they do for the King. That done, to the Globe, and there dined with Mr. Wood, and so by water with Mr. Pett home again, all the way reading his Chest accounts, in which I did see things did not please me; as his allowing himself 1300 for one year’s looking to the business of the Chest, and £150 per annum for the rest of the years. But I found no fault to him himself, but shall when they come to be read at the Board. We did also call at Limehouse to view two Busses that are building, that being a thing we are now very hot upon. Our call was to see what dimensions they are of, being 50 feet by the keel and about 60 tons. Home and did a little business, and so taking Mr. Pett by the way, we walked to the Temple, in our way seeing one of the Russia Embassador’s coaches go along, with his footmen not in liverys, but their country habits; one of one colour and another of another, which was very strange. At the Temple spoke with Mr. Turner and Calthrop, and so walked home again, being in some pain through the cold which I have got today by water, which troubles me. At the office doing business a good while, and so home and had a posset, and so to bed.
4th. At the office all the morning setting about business, and after dinner to it again, and so till night, and then home looking over my Brampton papers against tomorrow that we are to meet with our counsel on both sides toward an arbitration, upon which I was very late, and so to bed.
5th. Up, it being a snow and hard frost, and being up I did call up Sarah, who do go away today or tomorrow. I paid her her wages, and gave her 10s. myself, and my wife 5s. to give her. For my part I think never servant and mistress parted upon such foolish terms in the world as they do, only for an opinion in my wife that she is ill-natured, in all other things being a good servant. The wench cried, and I was ready to cry too, but to keep peace I am content she should go, and the rather, though I say nothing of that, that Jane may come into her place. This being done, I walked towards Guildhall, thither being summoned by the Commissioners for the Lieutenancy; but they sat not this morning. So meeting in my way W. Swan, I took him to a house thereabouts, and gave him a morning draft of buttered ale;1 he telling me still much of his Fanatique stories, as if he were a great zealot, when I know him to be a very rogue. But I do it for discourse, and to see how things stand with him and his party; who I perceive have great expectation that God will not bless the Court nor Church, as it is now settled, but they must be purified. The worst news he tells me, is that Mr. Chetwind is dead, my old and most ingenious acquaintance. He is dead, worth £3,000, which I did not expect, he living so high as he did always and neatly. He hath given W. Symons his wife £300, and made Will one of his executors. Thence to the Temple to my counsel, and thence to Gray’s Inn to meet with Mr. Cole but could not, and so took a turn or two in the garden, being very pleasant with the snow and frost. Thence to my brother’s, and there I eat something at dinner and transcribed a copy or two of the state of my uncle’s estate, which I prepared last night, and so to the Temple Church, and there walked alone till 4 or 5 o’clock, and then to my cozen Turner’s chamber and staid there, up and down from his to Calthrop’s and Bernard’s chambers, till so late, that Mr. Cole not coming, we broke up for meeting this night, and so taking my uncle Thomas homewards with me by coach, talking of our desire to have a peace, and set him down at Gracious-street end, and so home, and there I find Gosnell come, who, my wife tells me, is like to prove a pretty companion, of which I am glad. So to my office for a little business and then home, my mind having been all this day in most extraordinary trouble and care for my father, there being so great an appearance of my uncle’s going away with the greatest part of the estate, but in the evening by Gosnell’s coming I do put off these thoughts to entertain myself with my wife and her, who sings exceeding well, and I shall take great delight in her, and so merrily to bed.
1 Buttered ale must have been a horrible concoction, as it is described as ale boiled with lump sugar and spice.
6th. Up and to the office, and there sat all the morning, Mr. Coventry and I alone, the rest being paying off of ships. Dined at home with my wife and Gosnell, my mind much pleased with her, and after dinner sat with them a good while, till my wife seemed to take notice of my being at home now more than at other times. I went to the office, and there I sat till late, doing of business, and at 9 o’clock walked to Mr. Rawlinson’s, thinking to meet my uncle Wight there, where he was, but a great deal of his wife’s kindred-women and I knew not whom (which Mr. Rawlinson did seem to me to take much notice of his being led by the nose by his wife), I went away to my office again, and doing my business there, I went home, and after a song by Gosnell we to bed.
7th (Lord’s day). A great snow, and so to church this morning with my wife, which is the first time she hath been at church since her going to Brampton, and Gosnell attending her, which was very gracefull. So home, and we dined above in our dining room, the first time since it was new done, and in the afternoon I thought to go to the French church; but finding the Dutch congregation there, and then finding the French congregation’s sermon begun in the Dutch, I returned home, and up to our gallery, where I found my wife and Gosnell, and after a drowsy sermon, we all three to my aunt Wight’s, where great store of her usuall company, and here we staid a pretty while talking, I differing from my aunt, as I commonly do, in our opinion of the handsomeness of the Queen, which I oppose mightily, saying that if my nose be handsome, then is her’s, and such like. After much discourse, seeing the room full, and being unwilling to stay all three, I took leave, and so with my wife only to see Sir W. Pen, who is now got out of his bed, and sits by the fireside. And after some talk, home and to supper, and after prayers to bed. This night came in my wife’s brother and talked to my wife and Gosnell about his wife, which they told me afterwards of, and I do smell that he I doubt is overreached in thinking that he has got a rich wife,’ and I fear she will prove otherwise. So to bed.
8th. Up, and carrying Gosnell by coach, set her down at Temple Barr, she going about business of hers today. By the way she was telling me how Balty did tell her that my wife did go every day in the week to Court and plays, and that she should have liberty of going abroad as often as she pleased, and many other lies, which I am vexed at, and I doubt the wench did come in some expectation of, which troubles me. So to the Duke and Mr. Coventry, and alone, the rest being at a Pay and elsewhere, and alone with Mr. Coventry I did read over our letter to my Lord Treasurer, which I think now is done as well as it can be. Then to my Lord Sandwich’s, and there spent the rest of the morning in making up my Lord’s accounts with Mr. Moore, and then dined with Mr. Moore and Battersby his friend, very well and merry, and good discourse. Then into the Park, to see them slide with their skeates, which is very pretty. And so to the Duke’s, where the Committee for Tangier met: and here we sat down all with him at a table, and had much good discourse about the business, and is to my great content. That done, I hearing what play it was that is to be acted before the King to-night, I would not stay, but home by coach, where I find my wife troubled about Gosnell, who brings word that her uncle, justice Jiggins, requires her to come three times a week to him, to follow some business that her mother intrusts her withall, and that, unless she may have that leisure given her, he will not have her take any place; for which we are both troubled, but there is no help for it, and believing it to be a good providence of God to prevent my running behindhand in the world, I am somewhat contented therewith, and shall make my wife so, who, poor wretch, I know will consider of things, though in good earnest the privacy of her life must needs be irksome to her. So I made Gosnell and we sit up looking over the book of Dances till 12 at night, not observing how the time went, and so to prayers and to bed.
9th. Lay long with my wife, contenting her about the business of Gosnell’s going, and I perceive she will be contented as well as myself, and so to the office, and after sitting all the morning in hopes to have Mr. Coventry dine with me, he was forced to go to White Hall, and so I dined with my own company only, taking Mr. Hater home with me, but he, poor man, was not very well, and so could not eat any thing. After dinner staid within all the afternoon, being vexed in my mind about the going away of Sarah this afternoon, who cried mightily, and so was I ready to do, and Jane did also, and then anon went Gosnell away, which did trouble me too; though upon many considerations, it is better that I am rid of the charge. All together makes my house appear to me very lonely, which troubles me much, and in a melancholy humour I went to the office, and there about business sat till I was called to Sir G. Carteret at the Treasury office about my Lord Treasurer’s letter, wherein he puts me to a new trouble to write it over again. So home and late with Sir John Minnes at the office looking over Mr. Creed’s accounts, and then home and to supper, and my wife and I melancholy to bed.
10th. This morning rose, receiving a messenger from Sir G. Carteret and a letter from Mr. Coventry, one contrary to another, about our letter to my Lord Treasurer, at which I am troubled, but I went to Sir George, and being desirous to please both, I think I have found out a way to do it. So back to the office with Sir J. Minnes, in his coach, but so great a snow that we could hardly pass the streets. So we and Sir W. Batten to the office, and there did discourse of Mr. Creed’s accounts, and I fear it will be a good while before we shall go through them, and many things we meet with, all of difficulty. Then to the Dolphin, where Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and I, did treat the Auditors of the Exchequer, Auditors Wood and Beale, and hither come Sir G. Carteret to us. We had a good dinner, cost us £5 and 6s., whereof my share 26s., and after dinner did discourse of our salarys and other matters, which I think now they will allow. Thence home, and there I found our new cook-mayde Susan come, who is recommended to us by my wife’s brother, for which I like her never the better, but being a good well-looked lass, I am willing to try, and Jane begins to take upon her as a chamber-mayde. So to the office, where late putting papers and my books and businesses in order, it being very cold, and so home to supper.
11th. Up, it being a great frost upon the snow, and we sat all the morning upon Mr. Creed’s accounts, wherein I did him some service and some disservice. At noon he dined with me, and we sat all the afternoon together, discoursing of ways to get money, which I am now giving myself wholly up to, and in the evening he went away and I to my office, concluding all matters concerning our great letter so long in doing to my Lord Treasurer, till almost one in the morning, and then home with my mind much eased, and so to bed.
12th. From a very hard frost, when I wake, I find a very great thaw, and my house overflown with it, which vexed me. At the office and home, doing business all the morning. Then dined with my wife and sat talking with her all the afternoon, and then to the office, and there examining my copy of Mr. Holland’s book till 10 at night, and so home to supper and bed.
13th. Slept long today till Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten were set out towards Portsmouth before I rose, and Sir G. Carteret came to the office to speak with me before I was up. So I started up and down to him. By and by we sat, Mr. Coventry and I (Sir G. Carteret being gone), and among other things, Field and Stint did come, and received the £41 given him by the judgement against me and Harry Kem;1 and we did also sign bonds in £500 to stand to the award of Mr. Porter and Smith for the rest: which, however, I did not sign to till I got Mr. Coventry to go up with me to Sir W. Pen; and he did promise me before him to bear his share in what should be awarded, and both concluded that Sir W. Batten would do no less. At noon broke up and dined with my wife, and then to the office again, and there made an end of last night’s examination, and got my study there made very clean and put in order, and then to write by the post, among other letters one to Sir W. Batten about this day’s work with Field, desiring his promise also. The letter I have caused to be entered in our public book of letters. So home to supper and to bed.
1 Fine for the imprisonment of Field (see February 4th, 1661–62, and October 21st, 1662).
14th (Lord’s day). Lay with great content talking with my wife in bed, and so up and to church and then home, and had a neat dinner by ourselves, and after dinner walked to White Hall and my Lord’s, and up and down till chappell time, and then to the King’s chappell, where I heard the service, and so to my Lord’s, and there Mr. Howe and Pagett, the counsellor, an old lover of musique. We sang some Psalms of Mr. Lawes, and played some symphonys between till night, that I was sent for to Mr. Creed’s lodging, and there was Captain Ferrers and his lady and W. Howe and I; we supped very well and good sport in discourse. After supper I was sent for to my Lord, with whom I staid talking about his, and my owne, and the publique affairs, with great content, he advising me as to my owne choosing of Sir R. Bernard for umpire in the businesses between my uncle and us, that I would not trust to him upon his direction, for he did not think him a man to be trusted at all; and so bid him good night, and to Mr. Creed’s again; Mr. Moore, with whom I intended to have lain, lying physically without sheets; and there, after some discourse, to bed, and lay ill, though the bed good, my stomach being sicke all night with my too heavy supper.
15th. Up and to my Lord’s and thence to the Duke, and followed him into the Park, where, though the ice was broken and dangerous, yet he would go slide upon his scates, which I did not like, but he slides very well. So back and to his closett, whither my Lord Sandwich comes, and there Mr. Coventry and we three had long discourse together about the matters of the Navy; and, indeed, I find myself more and more obliged to Mr. Coventry, who studies to do me all the right he can in every thing to the Duke. Thence walked a good while up and down the gallerys; and among others, met with Dr. Clerke, who in discourse tells me, that Sir Charles Barkeley’s greatness is only his being pimp to the King, and to my Lady Castlemaine. And yet for all this, that the King is very kind to the Queen; who, he says, is one of the best women in the world. Strange how the King is bewitched to this pretty Castlemaine. Thence to my Lord’s, and there with Mr. Creed, Moore, and Howe to the Crown and dined, and thence to Whitehall, where I walked up and down the gallerys, spending my time upon the pictures, till the Duke and the Committee for Tangier met (the Duke not staying with us), where the only matter was to discourse with my Lord Rutherford, who is this day made Governor of Tangier, for I know not what reasons; and my Lord of Peterborough to be called home; which, though it is said it is done with kindness, yet all the world may see it is done otherwise, and I am sorry to see a Catholick Governor sent to command there, where all the rest of the officers almost are such already. But God knows what the reason is! and all may see how slippery places all courtiers stand in. Thence by coach home, in my way calling upon Sir John Berkenheade, to speak about my assessment of £42 to the Loyal Sufferers; which, I perceive, I cannot help; but he tells me I have been abused by Sir R. Ford, which I shall hereafter make use of when it shall be fit. Thence called at the Major–General’s, Sir R. Browne, about my being assessed armes to the militia; but he was abroad; and so driving through the backside of the Shambles in Newgate Market, my coach plucked down two pieces of beef into the dirt, upon which the butchers stopped the horses, and a great rout of people in the street, crying that he had done him 40s and £5 worth of hurt; but going down, I saw that he had done little or none; and so I give them a shilling for it and they were well contented, and so home, and there to my Lady Batten’s to see her, who tells me she hath just now a letter from Sir William, how that he and Sir J. Minnes did very narrowly escape drowning on the road, the waters are so high; but is well. But, Lord! what a hypocrite-like face she made to tell it me. Thence to Sir W. Pen and sat long with him in discourse, I making myself appear one of greater action and resolution as to publique business than I have hitherto done, at which he listens, but I know is a rogue in his heart and likes not, but I perceive I may hold up my head, and the more the better, I minding of my business as I have done, in which God do and will bless me. So home and with great content to bed, and talk and chat with my wife while I was at supper, to our great pleasure.
16th. Up and to the office, and thither came Mr. Coventry and Sir G. Carteret, and among other business was Strutt’s the purser, against Captn. Browne, Sir W. Batten’s brother-inlaw, but, Lord! though I believe the Captain has played the knave, though I seem to have a good opinion of him and to mean him well, what a most troublesome fellow that Strutt is, such as I never did meet with his fellow in my life. His talking and ours to make him hold his peace set my head off akeing all the afternoon with great pain. So to dinner, thinking to have had Mr. Coventry, but he could not go with me; and so I took Captn. Murford. Of whom I do hear what the world says of me; that all do conclude Mr. Coventry, and Pett, and me, to be of a knot; and that we do now carry all things before us; and much more in particular of me, and my studiousnesse, &c., to my great content. After dinner came Mrs. Browne, the Captain’s wife, to see me and my wife, and I showed her a good countenance, and indeed her husband has been civil to us, but though I speak them fair, yet I doubt I shall not be able to do her husband much favour in this business of Strutt’s, whom without doubt he has abused. So to the office, and hence, having done some business, by coach to White Hall to Secretary Bennet’s, and agreed with Mr. Lee to set upon our new adventure at the Tower tomorrow. Hence to Col. Lovelace in Cannon Row about seeing how Sir R. Ford did report all the officers of the navy to be rated for the Loyal Sufferers, but finding him at the Rhenish wine-house I could not have any answer, but must take another time. Thence to my Lord’s, and having sat talking with Mr. Moore bewailing the vanity and disorders of the age, I went by coach to my brother’s, where I met Sarah, my late mayde, who had a desire to speak with me, and I with her to know what it was, who told me out of good will to me, for she loves me dearly, that I would beware of my wife’s brother, for he is begging or borrowing of her and often, and told me of her Scallop whisk, and her borrowing of 50s. for Will, which she believes was for him and her father. I do observe so much goodness and seriousness in the mayde, that I am again and again sorry that I have parted with her, though it was full against my will then, and if she had anything in the world I would commend her for a wife for my brother Tom. After much discourse and her professions of love to me and all my relations, I bade her good night and did kiss her, and indeed she seemed very well-favoured to me to-night, as she is always. So by coach home and to my office, did some business, and so home to supper and to bed.
17th. This morning come Mr. Lee, Wade, and Evett, intending to have gone upon our new design to the Tower today; but it raining, and the work being to be done in the open garden, we put it off to Friday next. And so I to the office doing business, and then dined at home with my poor wife with great content, and so to the office again and made an end of examining the other of Mr. Holland’s books about the Navy, with which I am much contented, and so to other businesses till night at my office, and so home to supper, and after much dear company and talk with my wife, to bed.
18th. Up and to the office, Mr. Coventry and I alone sat till two o’clock, and then he inviting himself to my house to dinner, of which I was proud; but my dinner being a legg of mutton and two capons, they were not done enough, which did vex me; but we made shift to please him, I think; but I was, when he was gone, very angry with my wife and people. This afternoon came my wife’s brother and his wife, and Mrs. Lodum his landlady (my old friend Mr. Ashwell’s sister), Balty’s wife is a most little and yet, I believe, pretty old girl, not handsome, nor has anything in the world pleasing, but, they say, she plays mighty well on the Base Violl. They dined at her father’s today, but for ought I hear he is a wise man, and will not give any thing to his daughter till he sees what her husband do put himself to, so that I doubt he has made but a bad matter of it, but I am resolved not to meddle with it. They gone I to the office, and to see Sir W. Pen, with my wife, and thence I to Mr. Cade the stationer, to direct him what to do with my two copies of Mr. Holland’s books which he is to bind, and after supplying myself with several things of him, I returned to my office, and so home to supper and to bed.
19th. Up and by appointment with Mr. Lee, Wade, Evett, and workmen to the Tower, and with the Lieutenant’s leave set them to work in the garden, in the corner against the mayne-guard, a most unlikely place. It being cold, Mr. Lee and I did sit all the day till three o’clock by the fire in the Governor’s house; I reading a play of Fletcher’s, being “A Wife for a Month,” wherein no great wit or language. Having done we went to them at work, and having wrought below the bottom of the foundation of the wall, I bid them give over, and so all our hopes ended; and so went home, taking Mr. Leigh with me, and after drunk a cup of wine he went away, and I to my office, there reading in Sir W. Petty’s book, and so home and to bed, a little displeased with my wife, who, poor wretch, is troubled with her lonely life, which I know not how without great charge to help as yet, but I will study how to do it.
20th. Up and had £100 brought me by Prior of Brampton in full of his purchase money for Barton’s house and some land. So to the office, and thence with Mr. Coventry in his coach to St. James’s, with great content and pride to see him treat me so friendly; and dined with him, and so to White Hall together; where we met upon the Tangier Commission, and discoursed many things thereon; but little will be done before my Lord Rutherford comes there, as to the fortification or Mole. That done, my Lord Sandwich and I walked together a good while in the Matted Gallery, he acquainting me with his late enquiries into the Wardrobe business to his content; and tells me how things stand. And that the first year was worth about £3000 to him, and the next about as much; so that at this day, if he were paid, it will be worth about £7000 to him. But it contents me above all things to see him trust me as his confidant: so I bid him good night, he being to go into the country, to keep his Christmas, on Monday next. So by coach home and to my office, being post night, and then home and to bed.
21st (Lord’s day). Lay long in bed, so up to Church, and so home to dinner alone with my wife very pleasant. After dinner I walked to my brother’s, where he told me some hopes he had of bringing his business to pass still of his mistress, but I do find they do stand upon terms that will not be either fit or in his power to grant, and therefore I did dislike his talk and advised him to give it quite over. Thence walked to White Hall, and there to chappell, and from thence up stairs, and up and down the house and gallerys on the King’s and Queen’s side, and so through the garden to my Lord’s lodgings, where there was Mr. Gibbons, Madge, and Mallard, and Pagett; and by and by comes in my Lord Sandwich, and so we had great store of good musique. By and by comes in my simple Lord Chandois, who (my Lord Sandwich being gone out to Court) began to sing psalms, but so dully that I was weary of it. At last we broke up; and by and by comes in my Lord Sandwich again, and he and I to talk together about his businesses, and so he to bed and I and Mr. Creed and Captain Ferrers fell to a cold goose pye of Mrs. Sarah’s, heartily, and so spent our time till past twelve o’clock, and then with Creed to his lodgings, and so with him to bed, and slept till
22nd. Six or seven o’clock and so up, and by the fireside read a good part of “The Advice to a Daughter,” which a simple coxcomb has wrote against Osborne, but in all my life I never did nor can expect to see so much nonsense in print Thence to my Lord’s, who is getting himself ready for his journey to Hinchingbroke. And by and by, after eating something, and talking with me about many things, and telling me his mind, upon my asking about Sarah (who, it seems, only married of late, but is also said to be turned a great drunkard, which I am ashamed of), that he likes her service well, and do not love a strange face, but will not endure the fault, but hath bade me speak to her and advise her if she hath a mind to stay with him, which I will do. My Lord and his people being gone, I walked to Mr. Coventry’s chamber, where I found him gone out into the Park with the Duke, so the boy being there ready with my things, I shifted myself into a riding-habitt, and followed him through White Hall, and in the Park Mr. Coventry’s people having a horse ready for me (so fine a one that I was almost afeard to get upon him, but I did, and found myself more feared than hurt) and I got up and followed the Duke, who, with some of his people (among others Mr. Coventry) was riding out. And with them to Hide Park. Where Mr. Coventry asking leave of the Duke, he bid us go to Woolwich. So he and I to the waterside, and our horses coming by the ferry, we by oars over to Lambeth, and from thence, with brave discourse by the way, rode to Woolwich, where we eat and drank at Mr. Peat’s, and discoursed of many businesses, and put in practice my new way of the Call-book, which will be of great use. Here, having staid a good while, we got up again and brought night home with us and foul weather. So over to Whitehall to his chamber, whither my boy came, who had staid in St. James’s Park by my mistake all day, looking for me. Thence took my things that I put off today, and by coach, being very wet and cold, on my feet home, and presently shifted myself, and so had the barber come; and my wife and I to read “Ovid’s Metamorphoses,” which I brought her home from Paul’s Churchyard to-night, having called for it by the way, and so to bed,
23rd. And slept hard till 8 o’clock this morning, and so up and to the office, where I found Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten come unexpectedly home last night from Portsmouth, having done the Pay there before we could have, thought it. Sat all the morning, and at noon home to dinner with my wife alone, and after dinner sat by the fire, and then up to make up my accounts with her, and find that my ordinary housekeeping comes to £7 a month, which is a great deal. By and by comes Dr. Pierce, who among other things tells me that my Lady Castlemaine’s interest at Court increases, and is more and greater than the Queen’s; that she hath brought in Sir H. Bennet, and Sir Charles Barkeley; but that the queen is a most good lady, and takes all with the greatest meekness that may be. He tells me too that Mr. Edward Montagu is quite broke at Court with his repute and purse; and that he lately was engaged in a quarrell against my Lord Chesterfield: but that the King did cause it to be taken up. He tells me, too, that the King is much concerned in the Chancellor’s sickness, and that the Chancellor is as great, he thinks, as ever he was with the King. He also tells me what the world says of me, “that Mr. Coventry and I do all the business of the office almost:” at which I am highly proud. He being gone I fell to business, which was very great, but got it well over by nine at night, and so home, and after supper to bed.
24th. Lay pleasantly, talking to my wife, till 8 o’clock, then up and to Sir W. Batten’s to see him and Sir G. Carteret and Sir J. Minnes take coach towards the Pay at Chatham, which they did and I home, and took money in my pocket to pay many reckonings today in the town, as my bookseller’s, and paid at another shop £4 10s. for “Stephens’s Thesaurus Graecae Linguae,” given to Paul’s School: So to my brother’s and shoemaker, and so to my Lord Crew’s, and dined alone with him, and after dinner much discourse about matters. Upon the whole, I understand there are great factions at Court, and something he said that did imply a difference like to be between the King and the Duke, in case the Queen should not be with child. I understand, about this bastard.1 He says, also, that some great man will be aimed at when Parliament comes to sit again; I understand, the Chancellor: and that there is a bill will be brought in, that none that have been in arms for the Parliament shall be capable of office. And that the Court are weary of my Lord Albemarle and Chamberlin. He wishes that my Lord Sandwich had some good occasion to be abroad this summer which is coming on, and that my Lord Hinchingbroke were well married, and Sydney had some place at Court. He pities the poor ministers that are put out, to whom, he says, the King is beholden for his coming in, and that if any such thing had been foreseen he had never come in. After this, and much other discourse of the sea, and breeding young gentlemen to the sea, I went away, and homeward, met Mr. Creed at my bookseller’s in Paul’s Church-yard, who takes it ill my letter last night to Mr. Povy, wherein I accuse him of the neglect of the Tangier boats, in which I must confess I did not do altogether like a friend; but however it was truth, and I must own it to be so, though I fall wholly out with him for it. Thence home and to my office alone to do business, and read over half of Mr. Bland’s discourse concerning Trade, which (he being no scholler and so knows not the rules of writing orderly) is very good. So home to supper and to bed, my wife not being well. . . . This evening Mr. Gauden sent me, against Christmas, a great chine of beef and three dozen of tongues. I did give 5s. to the man that brought it, and half-a-crown to the porters. This day also the parish-clerk brought the general bill of mortality, which cost me half-a-crown more.2
1 James Crofts, son of Charles II. by Lucy Walter, created Duke of Monmouth in 1663, Duke of Buccleuch in 1673, when he took the name of Scott.
2 The Bills of Mortality for London were first compiled by order of Thomas Cromwell about 1538, and the keeping of them was commenced by the Company of Parish Clerks in the great plague year of 1593. The bills were issued weekly from 1603. The charter of the Parish Clerks’ Company (1611) directs that “each parish clerk shall bring to the Clerks’ Hall weekly a note of all christenings and burials.” Charles I. in 1636 granted permission to the Parish Clerks to have a printing press and employ a printer in their hall for the purpose of printing their weekly bills.
25th (Christmas Day). Up pretty early, leaving my wife not well in bed, and with my boy walked, it being a most brave cold and dry frosty morning, and had a pleasant walk to White Hall, where I intended to have received the Communion with the family, but I came a little too late. So I walked up into the house and spent my time looking over pictures, particularly the ships in King Henry the VIIIth’s Voyage to Bullen;1 marking the great difference between their build then and now. By and by down to the chappell again where Bishopp Morley preached upon the song of the Angels, “Glory to God on high, on earth peace, and good will towards men.” Methought he made but a poor sermon, but long, and reprehending the mistaken jollity of the Court for the true joy that shall and ought to be on these days, he particularized concerning their excess in plays and gaming, saying that he whose office it is to keep the gamesters in order and within bounds, serves but for a second rather in a duell, meaning the groom-porter. Upon which it was worth observing how far they are come from taking the reprehensions of a bishopp seriously, that they all laugh in the chappell when he reflected on their ill actions and courses. He did much press us to joy in these publique days of joy, and to hospitality. But one that stood by whispered in my ear that the Bishopp himself do not spend one groat to the poor himself. The sermon done, a good anthem followed, with vialls, and then the King came down to receive the Sacrament. But I staid not, but calling my boy from my Lord’s lodgings, and giving Sarah some good advice, by my Lord’s order, to be sober and look after the house, I walked home again with great pleasure, and there dined by my wife’s bed-side with great content, having a mess of brave plum-porridge2 and a roasted pullet for dinner, and I sent for a mince-pie abroad, my wife not being well to make any herself yet. After dinner sat talking a good while with her, her [pain] being become less, and then to see Sir W. Pen a little, and so to my office, practising arithmetique alone and making an end of last night’s book with great content till eleven at night, and so home to supper and to bed.
1 Boulogne. These pictures were given by George III. to the Society of Antiquaries, who in return presented to the king a set of Thomas Hearne’s works, on large paper. The pictures were reclaimed by George IV., and are now at Hampton Court. They were exhibited in the Tudor Exhibition, 1890.
2 The national Christmas dish of plum pudding is a modern evolution from plum porridge, which was probably similar to the dish still produced at Windsor Castle.
26th. Up, my wife to the making of Christmas pies all day, being now pretty well again, and I abroad to several places about some businesses, among others bought a bake-pan in Newgate Market, and sent it home, it cost me 16s. So to Dr. Williams, but he is out of town, then to the Wardrobe. Hither come Mr. Battersby; and we falling into a discourse of a new book of drollery in verse called Hudebras,1 I would needs go find it out, and met with it at the Temple: cost me 2s. 6d. But when I came to read it, it is so silly an abuse of the Presbyter Knight going to the warrs, that I am ashamed of it; and by and by meeting at Mr. Townsend’s at dinner, I sold it to him for 18d. Here we dined with many tradesmen that belong to the Wardrobe, but I was weary soon of their company, and broke up dinner as soon as I could, and away, with the greatest reluctancy and dispute (two or three times my reason stopping my sense and I would go back again) within myself, to the Duke’s house and saw “The Villaine,” which I ought not to do without my wife, but that my time is now out that I did undertake it for. But, Lord! to consider how my natural desire is to pleasure, which God be praised that he has given me the power by my late oaths to curb so well as I have done, and will do again after two or three plays more. Here I was better pleased with the play than I was at first, understanding the design better than I did. Here I saw Gosnell and her sister at a distance, and could have found it in my heart to have accosted them, but thought not prudent. But I watched their going out and found that they came, she, her sister and another woman, alone, without any man, and did go over the fields a foot. I find that I have an inclination to have her come again, though it is most against my interest either of profit or content of mind, other than for their singing. Home on foot, in my way calling at Mr. Rawlinson’s and drinking only a cup of ale there. He tells me my uncle has ended his purchase, which cost him £4,500, and how my uncle do express his trouble that he has with his wife’s relations, but I understand his great intentions are for the Wights that hang upon him and by whose advice this estate is bought. Thence home, and found my wife busy among her pies, but angry for some saucy words that her mayde Jane has given her, which I will not allow of, and therefore will give her warning to be gone. As also we are both displeased for some slight words that Sarah, now at Sir W. Pen’s, hath spoke of us, but it is no matter. We shall endeavour to joyne the lion’s skin to the fox’s tail. So to my office alone a while, and then home to my study and supper and bed. Being also vexed at my boy for his staying playing abroad when he is sent of errands, so that I have sent him to-night to see whether their country carrier be in town or no, for I am resolved to keep him no more.
1 The first edition of Butler’s “Hudibras” is dated 1663, and it probably had only been published a few days when Pepys bought it and sold it at a loss. He subsequently endeavoured to appreciate the work, but was not successful. The edition in the Pepysian Library is dated 1689.
27th. Up, and while I am dressing I sent for my boy’s brother, William, that lives in town here as a groom, to whom and their sister Jane I told my resolution to keep the boy no longer. So upon the whole they desire to have him stay a week longer, and then he shall go. So to the office, and there Mr. Coventry and I sat till noon, and then I stept to the Exchange, and so home to dinner, and after dinner with my wife to the Duke’s Theatre, and saw the second part of “Rhodes,” done with the new Roxalana; which do it rather better in all respects for person, voice, and judgment, then the first Roxalana. Home with great content with my wife, not so well pleased with the company at the house today, which was full of citizens, there hardly being a gentleman or woman in the house; a couple of pretty ladies by us that made sport in it, being jostled and crowded by prentices. So home, and I to my study making up my monthly accounts, which is now fallen again to £630 or thereabouts, which not long since was £680, at which I am sorry, but I trust in God I shall get it up again, and in the meantime will live sparingly. So home to supper and to bed.
28th (Lord’s day). Up and, with my wife to church, and coming out, went out both before my Lady Batten, he not being there, which I believe will vex her. After dinner my wife to church again, and I to the French church, where I heard an old man make a tedious, long sermon, till they were fain to light candles to baptize the children by. So homewards, meeting my brother Tom, but spoke but little with him, and calling also at my uncle Wight’s, but met him and her going forth, and so I went directly home, and there fell to the renewing my last year’s oaths, whereby it has pleased God so much to better myself and practise, and so down to supper, and then prayers and bed.
29th. Up and walked to Whitehall, where the Duke and Mr. Coventry being gone forth I went to Westminster Hall, where I staid reading at Mrs. Mitchell’s shop, and sent for half a pint of sack for her. Here she told me what I heard not of before, the strange burning of Mr. De Laun, a merchant’s house in Loathbury, and his lady (Sir Thomas Allen’s daughter) and her whole family; not one thing, dog nor cat, escaping; nor any of the neighbours almost hearing of it till the house was quite down and burnt. How this should come to pass, God knows, but a most strange thing it is! Hither came Jack Spicer to me, and I took him to the Swan, where Mr. Herbert did give me my breakfast of cold chine of pork; and here Spicer and I talked of Exchequer matters, and how the Lord Treasurer’ hath now ordered all monies to be brought into the Exchequer, and hath settled the King’s revenue, and given to every general expence proper assignments; to the Navy £200,000 and odd. He also told me of the great vast trade of the goldsmiths in supplying the King with money at dear rates. Thence to White Hall, and got up to the top gallerys in the Banquetting House, to see the audience of the Russia Embassadors; which [took place] after long waiting and fear of the falling of the gallery (it being so full, and part of it being parted from the rest, for nobody to come up merely from the weakness thereof): and very handsome it was. After they were come in, I went down and got through the croude almost as high as the King and the Embassadors, where I saw all the presents, being rich furs, hawks, carpets, cloths of tissue, and sea-horse teeth. The King took two or three hawks upon his fist, having a glove on, wrought with gold, given him for the purpose. The son of one of the Embassadors was in the richest suit for pearl and tissue, that ever I did see, or shall, I believe. After they and all the company had kissed the King’s hand, then the three Embassadors and the son, and no more, did kiss the Queen’s. One thing more I did observe, that the chief Embassador did carry up his master’s letters in state before him on high; and as soon as he had delivered them, he did fall down to the ground and lay there a great while. After all was done, the company broke up; and I spent a little while walking up and down the gallery seeing the ladies, the two Queens, and the Duke of Monmouth with his little mistress, which is very little, and like my brother-inlaw’s wife. So with Mr. Creed to the Harp and Ball, and there meeting with Mr. How, Goodgroom, and young Coleman, did drink and talk with them, and I have almost found out a young gentlewoman for my turn, to wait on my wife, of good family and that can sing. Thence I went away, and getting a coach went home and sat late talking with my wife about our entertaining Dr. Clerke’s lady and Mrs. Pierce shortly, being in great pain that my wife hath never a winter gown, being almost ashamed of it, that she should be seen in a taffeta one; when all the world wears moyre; —[By moyre is meant mohair.-B.]— so to prayers and to bed, but we could not come to any resolution what to do therein, other than to appear as she is.
30th. Up and to the office, whither Sir W. Pen came, the first time that he has come downstairs since his late great sickness of the gout. We with Mr. Coventry sat till noon, then I to the Change ward, to see what play was there, but I liked none of them, and so homeward, and calling in at Mr. Rawlinson’s, where he stopped me to dine with him and two East India officers of ships and Howell our turner. With the officers I had good discourse, particularly of the people at the Cape of Good Hope, of whom they of their own knowledge do tell me these one or two things: viz. . . . that they never sleep lying, but always sitting upon the ground, that their speech is not so articulate as ours, but yet [they] understand one another well, that they paint themselves all over with the grease the Dutch sell them (who have a fort there) and soot. After dinner drinking five or six glasses of wine, which liberty I now take till I begin my oath again, I went home and took my wife into coach, and carried her to Westminster; there visited Mrs. Ferrer, and staid talking with her a good while, there being a little, proud, ugly, talking lady there, that was much crying up the Queen–Mother’s Court at Somerset House above our own Queen’s; there being before no allowance of laughing and the mirth that is at the other’s; and indeed it is observed that the greatest Court now-a-days is there. Thence to White Hall, where I carried my wife to see the Queen in her presence-chamber; and the maydes of honour and the young Duke of Monmouth playing at cards. Some of them, and but a few, were very pretty; though all well dressed in velvet gowns. Thence to my Lord’s lodgings, where Mrs. Sarah did make us my Lord’s bed, and Mr. Creed I being sent for, sat playing at cards till it was late, and so good night, and with great pleasure to bed.
31st. Lay pretty long in bed, and then I up and to Westminster Hall, and so to the Swan, sending for Mr. W. Bowyer, and there drank my morning draft, and had some of his simple discourse. Among other things he tells me how the difference comes between his fair cozen Butler and Collonell Dillon, upon his opening letters of her brother’s from Ireland, complaining of his knavery, and forging others to the contrary; and so they are long ago quite broke off. Thence to a barber’s and so to my wife, and at noon took her to Mrs. Pierces by invitacion to dinner, where there came Dr. Clerke and his wife and sister and Mr. Knight, chief chyrurgeon to the King and his wife. We were pretty merry, the two men being excellent company, but I confess I am wedded from the opinion either of Mrs. Pierces beauty upon discovery of her naked neck today, being undrest when we came in, or of Mrs. Clerke’s genius, which I so much admired, I finding her to be so conceited and fantastique in her dress this day and carriage, though the truth is, witty enough. After dinner with much ado the doctor and I got away to follow our business for a while, he to his patients and I to the Tangier Committee, where the Duke of York was, and we staid at it a good while, and thence in order to the despatch of the boats and provisions for Tangier away, Mr. Povy, in his coach, carried Mr. Gauden and I into London to Mr. Bland’s, the merchant, where we staid discoursing upon the reason of the delay of the going away of these things a great while. Then to eat a dish of anchovies, and drink wine and syder, and very merry, but above all things pleased to hear Mrs. Bland talk like a merchant in her husband’s business very well, and it seems she do understand it and perform a great deal. Thence merry back, Mr. Povy and, I to White Hall; he carrying me thither on purpose to carry me into the ball this night before the King. All the way he talking very ingenuously, and I find him a fine gentleman, and one that loves to live nobly and neatly, as I perceive by his discourse of his house, pictures, and horses. He brought me first to the Duke’s chamber, where I saw him and the Duchess at supper; and thence into the room where the ball was to be, crammed with fine ladies, the greatest of the Court. By and by comes the King and Queen, the Duke and Duchess, and all the great ones: and after seating themselves, the King takes out the Duchess of York; and the Duke, the Duchess of Buckingham; the Duke of Monmouth, my Lady Castlemaine; and so other lords other ladies: and they danced the Bransle.1 After that, the King led a lady a single Coranto —[swift and lively]— and then the rest of the lords, one after another, other ladies very noble it was, and great pleasure to see. Then to country dances; the King leading the first, which he called for; which was, says he, “Cuckolds all awry,” the old dance of England. Of the ladies that danced, the Duke of Monmouth’s mistress, and my Lady Castlemaine, and a daughter of Sir Harry de Vicke’s, were the best. The manner was, when the King dances, all the ladies in the room, and the Queen herself, stand up: and indeed he dances rarely, and much better that the Duke of York. Having staid here as long as I thought fit, to my infinite content, it being the greatest pleasure I could wish now to see at Court, I went out, leaving them dancing, and to Mrs. Pierces, where I found the company had staid very long for my coming, but all gone but my wife, and so I took her home by coach and so to my Lord’s again, where after some supper to bed, very weary and in a little pain from my riding a little uneasily to-night in the coach.
Thus ends this year with great mirth to me and my wife: Our condition being thus:— we are at present spending a night or two at my Lord’s lodgings at White Hall. Our home at the Navy-office, which is and hath a pretty while been in good condition, finished and made very convenient. My purse is worth about £650, besides my goods of all sorts, which yet might have been more but for my late layings out upon my house and public assessment, and yet would not have been so much if I had not lived a very orderly life all this year by virtue of the oaths that God put into my heart to take against wine, plays, and other expenses, and to observe for these last twelve months, and which I am now going to renew, I under God owing my present content thereunto. My family is myself and wife, William, my clerk; Jane, my wife’s upper mayde, but, I think, growing proud and negligent upon it: we must part, which troubles me; Susan, our cook-mayde, a pretty willing wench, but no good cook; and Wayneman, my boy, who I am now turning away for his naughty tricks. We have had from the beginning our healths to this day very well, blessed be God! Our late mayde Sarah going from us (though put away by us) to live with Sir W. Pen do trouble me, though I love the wench, so that we do make ourselves a little strange to him and his family for it, and resolve to do so. The same we are for other reasons to my Lady Batten and hers. We have lately had it in our thoughts, and I can hardly bring myself off of it, since Mrs. Gosnell cannot be with us, to find out another to be in the quality of a woman to my wife that can sing or dance, and yet finding it hard to save anything at the year’s end as I now live, I think I shall not be such a fool till I am more warm in my purse, besides my oath of entering into no such expenses till I am worth £1000. By my last year’s diligence in my office, blessed be God! I am come to a good degree of knowledge therein; and am acknowledged so by all — the world, even the Duke himself, to whom I have a good access and by that, and my being Commissioner with him for Tangier, he takes much notice of me; and I doubt not but, by the continuance of the same endeavours, I shall in a little time come to be a man much taken notice of in the world, specially being come to so great an esteem with Mr. Coventry. The only weight that lies heavy upon my mind is the ending the business with my uncle Thomas about my-dead uncle’s estate, which is very ill on our side, and I fear when all is done I must be forced to maintain my father myself, or spare a good deal towards it out of my own purse, which will be a very great pull back to me in my fortune. But I must be contented and bring it to an issue one way or other. Publique matters stand thus: The King is bringing, as is said, his family, and Navy, and all other his charges, to a less expence. In the mean time, himself following his pleasures more than with good advice he would do; at least, to be seen to all the world to do so. His dalliance with my Lady Castlemaine being publique, every day, to his great reproach; and his favouring of none at Court so much as those that are the confidants of his pleasure, as Sir H. Bennet and Sir Charles Barkeley; which, good God! put it into his heart to mend, before he makes himself too much contemned by his people for it! The Duke of Monmouth is in so great splendour at Court, and so dandled by the King, that some doubt, if the King should have no child by the Queen (which there is yet no appearance of), whether he would not be acknowledged for a lawful son; and that there will be a difference follow upon it between the Duke of York and him; which God prevent! My Lord Chancellor is threatened by people to be questioned, the next sitting of the Parliament, by some spirits that do not love to see him so great: but certainly he is a good servant to the King. The Queen–Mother is said to keep too great a Court now; and her being married to my Lord St. Albans is commonly talked of; and that they had a daughter between them in France, how true, God knows. The Bishopps are high, and go on without any diffidence in pressing uniformity; and the Presbyters seem silent in it, and either conform or lay down, though without doubt they expect a turn, and would be glad these endeavours of the other Fanatiques would take effect; there having been a plot lately found, for which four have been publickly tried at the Old Bayley and hanged. My Lord Sandwich is still in good esteem, and now keeping his Christmas in the country; and I in good esteem, I think, as any man can be, with him. Mr. Moore is very sickly, and I doubt will hardly get over his late fit of sickness, that still hangs on him. In fine, for the good condition of myself, wife, family, and estate, in the great degree that it is, and for the public state of the nation, so quiett as it is, the Lord God be praised!
1“Branle. Espece de danse de plusieurs personnes, qui se tiennent par la main, et qui se menent tour-a-tour. “Dictionnaire de l’Academie. A country dance mentioned by Shakespeare and other dramatists under the form of brawl, which word continued to be used in the eighteenth century.
“My grave Lord Keeper led the brawls;
The seals and maces danced before him.”
Gray, ‘A Long Story.’
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:53