September 1st. Up, and to visit my Lady Pen and her daughter at the Ropeyarde where I did breakfast with them and sat chatting a good while. Then to my lodging at Mr. Shelden’s, where I met Captain Cocke and eat a little bit of dinner, and with him to Greenwich by water, having good discourse with him by the way. After being at Greenwich a little while, I to London, to my house, there put many more things in order for my totall remove, sending away my girle Susan and other goods down to Woolwich, and I by water to the Duke of Albemarle, and thence home late by water. At the Duke of Albemarle’s I overheard some examinations of the late plot that is discoursed of and a great deale of do there is about it. Among other discourses, I heard read, in the presence of the Duke, an examination and discourse of Sir Philip Howard’s, with one of the plotting party. In many places these words being, “Then,” said Sir P. Howard, “if you so come over to the King, and be faithfull to him, you shall be maintained, and be set up with a horse and armes,” and I know not what. And then said such a one, “Yes, I will be true to the King.” “But, damn me,” said Sir Philip, “will you so and so?” And thus I believe twelve times Sir P. Howard answered him a “damn me,” which was a fine way of rhetorique to persuade a Quaker or Anabaptist from his persuasion. And this was read in the hearing of Sir P. Howard, before the Duke and twenty more officers, and they make sport of it, only without any reproach, or he being anything ashamed of it!1 But it ended, I remember, at last, “But such a one (the plotter) did at last bid them remember that he had not told them what King he would be faithfull to.”
1 This republican plot was described by the Lord Chancellor in a speech delivered on October 9th, when parliament met at Oxford.
2nd. This morning I wrote letters to Mr. Hill and Andrews to come to dine with me tomorrow, and then I to the office, where busy, and thence to dine with Sir J. Minnes, where merry, but only that Sir J. Minnes who hath lately lost two coach horses, dead in the stable, has a third now a dying. After dinner I to Deptford, and there took occasion to ‘entrar a la casa de la gunaica de ma Minusier’, and did what I had a mind . . . To Greenwich, where wrote some letters, and home in pretty good time.
3rd (Lord’s day). Up; and put on my coloured silk suit very fine, and my new periwigg, bought a good while since, but durst not wear, because the plague was in Westminster when I bought it; and it is a wonder what will be the fashion after the plague is done, as to periwiggs, for nobody will dare to buy any haire, for fear of the infection, that it had been cut off of the heads of people dead of the plague. Before church time comes Mr. Hill (Mr. Andrews failing because he was to receive the Sacrament), and to church, where a sorry dull parson, and so home and most excellent company with Mr. Hill and discourse of musique. I took my Lady Pen home, and her daughter Pegg, and merry we were; and after dinner I made my wife show them her pictures, which did mad Pegg Pen, who learns of the same man and cannot do so well. After dinner left them and I by water to Greenwich, where much ado to be suffered to come into the towne because of the sicknesse, for fear I should come from London, till I told them who I was. So up to the church, where at the door I find Captain Cocke in my Lord Brunker’s coach, and he come out and walked with me in the church-yarde till the church was done, talking of the ill government of our Kingdom, nobody setting to heart the business of the Kingdom, but every body minding their particular profit or pleasures, the King himself minding nothing but his ease, and so we let things go to wracke. This arose upon considering what we shall do for money when the fleete comes in, and more if the fleete should not meet with the Dutch, which will put a disgrace upon the King’s actions, so as the Parliament and Kingdom will have the less mind to give more money, besides so bad an account of the last money, we fear, will be given, not half of it being spent, as it ought to be, upon the Navy. Besides, it is said that at this day our Lord Treasurer cannot tell what the profit of Chimney money is, what it comes to per annum, nor looks whether that or any other part of the revenue be duly gathered as it ought; the very money that should pay the City the £200,000 they lent the King, being all gathered and in the hands of the Receiver and hath been long and yet not brought up to pay the City, whereas we are coming to borrow 4 or £500,000 more of the City, which will never be lent as is to be feared. Church being done, my Lord Bruncker, Sir J. Minnes, and I up to the Vestry at the desire of the justices of the Peace, Sir Theo. Biddulph and Sir W. Boreman and Alderman Hooker, in order to the doing something for the keeping of the plague from growing; but Lord! to consider the madness of the people of the town, who will (because they are forbid) come in crowds along with the dead corps to see them buried; but we agreed on some orders for the prevention thereof. Among other stories, one was very passionate, methought, of a complaint brought against a man in the towne for taking a child from London from an infected house. Alderman Hooker told us it was the child of a very able citizen in Gracious Street, a saddler, who had buried all the rest of his children of the plague, and himself and wife now being shut up and in despair of escaping, did desire only to save the life of this little child; and so prevailed to have it received stark-naked into the arms of a friend, who brought it (having put it into new fresh clothes) to Greenwich; where upon hearing the story, we did agree it should be permitted to be received and kept in the towne. Thence with my Lord Bruncker to Captain Cocke’s, where we mighty merry and supped, and very late I by water to Woolwich, in great apprehensions of an ague. Here was my Lord Bruncker’s lady of pleasure, who, I perceive, goes every where with him; and he, I find, is obliged to carry her, and make all the courtship to her that can be.
4th. Writing letters all the morning, among others to my Lady Carteret, the first I have wrote to her, telling her the state of the city as to health and other sorrowfull stories, and thence after dinner to Greenwich, to Sir J. Minnes, where I found my Lord Bruncker, and having staid our hour for the justices by agreement, the time being past we to walk in the Park with Mr. Hammond and Turner, and there eat some fruit out of the King’s garden and walked in the Parke, and so back to Sir J. Minnes, and thence walked home, my Lord Bruncker giving me a very neat cane to walk with; but it troubled me to pass by Coome farme where about twenty-one people have died of the plague, and three or four days since I saw a dead corps in a coffin lie in the Close unburied, and a watch is constantly kept there night and day to keep the people in, the plague making us cruel, as doggs, one to another.
5th. Up, and walked with some Captains and others talking to me to Greenwich, they crying out upon Captain Teddiman’s management of the business of Bergen, that he staid treating too long while he saw the Dutch fitting themselves, and that at first he might have taken every ship, and done what he would with them. How true I cannot tell. Here we sat very late and for want of money, which lies heavy upon us, did nothing of business almost. Thence home with my Lord Bruncker to dinner where very merry with him and his doxy. After dinner comes Colonell Blunt in his new chariot made with springs; as that was of wicker, wherein a while since we rode at his house. And he hath rode, he says, now this journey, many miles in it with one horse, and out-drives any coach, and out-goes any horse, and so easy, he says. So for curiosity I went into it to try it, and up the hill to the heath, and over the cart-rutts and found it pretty well, but not so easy as he pretends, and so back again, and took leave of my Lord and drove myself in the chariot to the office, and there ended my letters and home pretty betimes and there found W. Pen, and he staid supper with us and mighty merry talking of his travells and the French humours, etc., and so parted and to bed.
6th. Busy all the morning writing letters to several, so to dinner, to London, to pack up more things thence; and there I looked into the street and saw fires burning in the street, as it is through the whole City, by the Lord Mayor’s order. Thence by water to the Duke of Albemarle’s: all the way fires on each side of the Thames, and strange to see in broad daylight two or three burials upon the Bankeside, one at the very heels of another: doubtless all of the plague; and yet at least forty or fifty people going along with every one of them. The Duke mighty pleasant with me; telling me that he is certainly informed that the Dutch were not come home upon the 1st instant, and so he hopes our fleete may meet with them, and here to my great joy I got him to sign bills for the several sums I have paid on Tangier business by his single letter, and so now I can get more hands to them. This was a great joy to me: Home to Woolwich late by water, found wife in bed, and yet late as [it] was to write letters in order to my rising betimes to go to Povy tomorrow. So to bed, my wife asking me to-night about a letter of hers I should find, which indeed Mary did the other day give me as if she had found it in my bed, thinking it had been mine, brought to her from a man without name owning great kindness to her and I know not what. But looking it over seriously, and seeing it bad sense and ill writ, I did believe it to be her brother’s and so had flung it away, but finding her now concerned at it and vexed with Mary about it, it did trouble me, but I would take no notice of it to-night, but fell to sleep as if angry.
7th. Up by 5 of the clock, mighty full of fear of an ague, but was obliged to go, and so by water, wrapping myself up warm, to the Tower, and there sent for the Weekely Bill, and find 8,252 dead in all, and of them 6,878 of the plague; which is a most dreadfull number, and shows reason to fear that the plague hath got that hold that it will yet continue among us. Thence to Brainford, reading “The Villaine,” a pretty good play, all the way. There a coach of Mr. Povy’s stood ready for me, and he at his house ready to come in, and so we together merrily to Swakely, Sir R. Viner’s. A very pleasant place, bought by him of Sir James Harrington’s lady. He took us up and down with great respect, and showed us all his house and grounds; and it is a place not very moderne in the garden nor house, but the most uniforme in all that ever I saw; and some things to excess. Pretty to see over the screene of the hall (put up by Sir J. Harrington, a Long Parliamentman) the King’s head, and my Lord of Essex on one side, and Fairfax on the other; and upon the other side of the screene, the parson of the parish, and the lord of the manor and his sisters. The window-cases, door-cases, and chimnys of all the house are marble. He showed me a black boy that he had, that died of a consumption, and being dead, he caused him to be dried in an oven, and lies there entire in a box. By and by to dinner, where his lady I find yet handsome, but hath been a very handsome woman; now is old. Hath brought him near £100,000 and now he lives, no man in England in greater plenty, and commands both King and Council with his credit he gives them. Here was a fine lady a merchant’s wife at dinner with us, and who should be here in the quality of a woman but Mrs. Worship’s daughter, Dr. Clerke’s niece, and after dinner Sir Robert led us up to his long gallery, very fine, above stairs (and better, or such, furniture I never did see), and there Mrs. Worship did give us three or four very good songs, and sings very neatly, to my great delight. After all this, and ending the chief business to my content about getting a promise of some money of him, we took leave, being exceedingly well treated here, and a most pleasant journey we had back, Povy and I, and his company most excellent in anything but business, he here giving me an account of as many persons at Court as I had a mind or thought of enquiring after. He tells me by a letter he showed me, that the King is not, nor hath been of late, very well, but quite out of humour; and, as some think, in a consumption, and weary of every thing. He showed me my Lord Arlington’s house that he was born in, in a towne called Harlington: and so carried me through a most pleasant country to Brainford, and there put me into my boat, and good night. So I wrapt myself warm, and by water got to Woolwich about one in the morning, my wife and all in bed.
8th. Waked, and fell in talk with my wife about the letter, and she satisfied me that she did not know from whence it come, but believed it might be from her cozen Franke Moore lately come out of France. The truth is the thing I think cannot have much in it, and being unwilling (being in other things so much at ease) to vex myself in a strange place at a melancholy time, passed all by and were presently friends. Up, and several with me about business. Anon comes my Lord Bruncker, as I expected, and we to the enquiring into the business of the late desertion of the Shipwrights from worke, who had left us for three days together for want of money, and upon this all the morning, and brought it to a pretty good issue, that they, we believe, will come tomorrow to work. To dinner, having but a mean one, yet sufficient for him, and he well enough pleased, besides that I do not desire to vye entertainments with him or any else. Here was Captain Cocke also, and Mr. Wayth. We staid together talking upon one business or other all the afternoon. In the evening my Lord Bruncker hearing that Mr. Ackeworth’s clerke, the Dutchman who writes and draws so well, was transcribing a book of Rates and our ships for Captain Millet a gallant of his mistress’s, we sent for him for it. He would not deliver it, but said it was his mistress’s and had delivered it to her. At last we were forced to send to her for it; she would come herself, and indeed the book was a very neat one and worth keeping as a rarity, but we did think fit, and though much against my will, to cancell all that he had finished of it, and did give her the rest, which vexed her, and she bore it discreetly enough, but with a cruel deal of malicious rancour in her looks. I must confess I would have persuaded her to have let us have it to the office, and it may be the board would not have censured too hardly of it, but my intent was to have had it as a Record for the office, but she foresaw what would be the end of it and so desired it might rather be cancelled, which was a plaguy deal of spite. My Lord Bruncker being gone and company, and she also, afterwards I took my wife and people and walked into the fields about a while till night, and then home, and so to sing a little and then to bed. I was in great trouble all this day for my boy Tom who went to Greenwich yesterday by my order and come not home till to-night for fear of the plague, but he did come home to-night, saying he staid last night by Mr. Hater’s advice hoping to have me called as I come home with my boat to come along with me.
9th. Up and walked to Greenwich, and there we sat and dispatched a good deal of business I had a mind to. At noon, by invitation, to my Lord Bruncker’s, all of us, to dinner, where a good venison pasty, and mighty merry. Here was Sir W. Doyly, lately come from Ipswich about the sicke and wounded, and Mr. Evelyn and Captain Cocke. My wife also was sent for by my Lord Bruncker, by Cocke, and was here. After dinner, my Lord and his mistress would see her home again, it being a most cursed rainy afternoon, having had none a great while before, and I, forced to go to the office on foot through all the rain, was almost wet to my skin, and spoiled my silke breeches almost. Rained all the afternoon and evening, so as my letters being done, I was forced to get a bed at Captain Cocke’s, where I find Sir W. Doyly, and he, and Evelyn at supper; and I with them full of discourse of the neglect of our masters, the great officers of State, about all business, and especially that of money: having now some thousands prisoners, kept to no purpose at a great charge, and no money provided almost for the doing of it. We fell to talk largely of the want of some persons understanding to look after businesses, but all goes to rack. “For,” says Captain Cocke, “my Lord Treasurer, he minds his ease, and lets things go how they will: if he can have his £8000 per annum, and a game at l’ombre — [Spanish card game]— he is well. My Lord Chancellor he minds getting of money and nothing else; and my Lord Ashly will rob the Devil and the Alter, but he will get money if it be to be got.” But that that put us into this great melancholy, was newes brought today, which Captain Cocke reports as a certain truth, that all the Dutch fleete, men-of-war and merchant East India ships, are got every one in from Bergen the 3d of this month, Sunday last; which will make us all ridiculous. The fleete come home with shame to require a great deale of money, which is not to be had, to discharge many men that must get the plague then or continue at greater charge on shipboard, nothing done by them to encourage the Parliament to give money, nor the Kingdom able to spare any money, if they would, at this time of the plague, so that, as things look at present, the whole state must come to ruine. Full of these melancholy thoughts, to bed; where, though I lay the softest I ever did in my life, with a downe bed, after the Danish manner, upon me, yet I slept very ill, chiefly through the thoughts of my Lord Sandwich’s concernment in all this ill successe at sea.
10th (Lord’s day). Walked home; being forced thereto by one of my watermen falling sick yesterday, and it was God’s great mercy I did not go by water with them yesterday, for he fell sick on Saturday night, and it is to be feared of the plague. So I sent him away to London with his fellow; but another boat come to me this morning, whom I sent to Blackewall for Mr. Andrews. I walked to Woolwich, and there find Mr. Hill, and he and I all the morning at musique and a song he hath set of three parts, methinks, very good. Anon comes Mr. Andrews, though it be a very ill day, and so after dinner we to musique and sang till about 4 or 5 o’clock, it blowing very hard, and now and then raining, and wind and tide being against us, Andrews and I took leave and walked to Greenwich. My wife before I come out telling me the ill news that she hears that her father is very ill, and then I told her I feared of the plague, for that the house is shut up. And so she much troubled she did desire me to send them something; and I said I would, and will do so. But before I come out there happened newes to come to the by an expresse from Mr. Coventry, telling me the most happy news of my Lord Sandwich’s meeting with part of the Dutch; his taking two of their East India ships, and six or seven others, and very good prizes and that he is in search of the rest of the fleet, which he hopes to find upon the Wellbancke, with the loss only of the Hector, poor Captain Cuttle. This newes do so overjoy me that I know not what to say enough to express it, but the better to do it I did walk to Greenwich, and there sending away Mr. Andrews, I to Captain Cocke’s, where I find my Lord Bruncker and his mistress, and Sir J. Minnes. Where we supped (there was also Sir W. Doyly and Mr. Evelyn); but the receipt of this newes did put us all into such an extacy of joy, that it inspired into Sir J. Minnes and Mr. Evelyn such a spirit of mirth, that in all my life I never met with so merry a two hours as our company this night was. Among other humours, Mr. Evelyn’s repeating of some verses made up of nothing but the various acceptations of may and can, and doing it so aptly upon occasion of something of that nature, and so fast, did make us all die almost with laughing, and did so stop the mouth of Sir J. Minnes in the middle of all his mirth (and in a thing agreeing with his own manner of genius), that I never saw any man so out-done in all my life; and Sir J. Minnes’s mirth too to see himself out-done, was the crown of all our mirth. In this humour we sat till about ten at night, and so my Lord and his mistress home, and we to bed, it being one of the times of my life wherein I was the fullest of true sense of joy.
11th. Up and walked to the office, there to do some business till ten of the clock, and then by agreement my Lord, Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Doyly, and I took boat and over to the ferry, where Sir W. Batten’s coach was ready for us, and to Walthamstow drove merrily, excellent merry discourse in the way, and most upon our last night’s revells; there come we were very merry, and a good plain venison dinner. After dinner to billiards, where I won an angel,1 and among other sports we were merry with my pretending to have a warrant to Sir W. Hickes (who was there, and was out of humour with Sir W. Doyly’s having lately got a warrant for a leash of buckes, of which we were now eating one) which vexed him, and at last would compound with me to give my Lord Bruncker half a buck now, and me a Doe for it a while hence when the season comes in, which we agreed to and had held, but that we fear Sir W. Doyly did betray our design, which spoiled all; however, my Lady Batten invited herself to dine with him this week, and she invited us all to dine with her there, which we agreed to, only to vex him, he being the most niggardly fellow, it seems, in the world. Full of good victuals and mirth we set homeward in the evening, and very merry all the way. So to Greenwich, where when come I find my Lord Rutherford and Creed come from Court, and among other things have brought me several orders for money to pay for Tangier; and, among the rest £7000 and more, to this Lord, which is an excellent thing to consider, that, though they can do nothing else, they can give away the King’s money upon their progresse. I did give him the best answer I could to pay him with tallys, and that is all they could get from me. I was not in humour to spend much time with them, but walked a little before Sir J. Minnes’s door and then took leave, and I by water to Woolwich, where with my wife to a game at tables,2 and to bed.
1 A gold coin, so called because it bore the image of an angel, varying in value from six shillings and eightpence to ten shillings.
2 The old name for backgammon, used by Shakespeare and others. The following lines are from an epitaph entirely made up of puns on backgammon
“Man’s life’s a game at tables, and he may
Mend his bad fortune by his wiser play.”
Wit’s Recre., i. 250, reprint, 1817.
12th. Up, and walked to the office, where we sat late, and thence to dinner home with Sir J. Minnes, and so to the office, where writing letters, and home in the evening, where my wife shews me a letter from her brother speaking of their father’s being ill, like to die, which, God forgive me! did not trouble me so much as it should, though I was indeed sorry for it. I did presently resolve to send him something in a letter from my wife, viz. 20s. So to bed.
13th. Up, and walked to Greenwich, taking pleasure to walk with my minute watch in my hand, by which I am come now to see the distances of my way from Woolwich to Greenwich, and do find myself to come within two minutes constantly to the same place at the end of each quarter of an houre. Here we rendezvoused at Captain Cocke’s, and there eat oysters, and so my Lord Bruncker, Sir J. Minnes, and I took boat, and in my Lord’s coach to Sir W. Hickes’s, whither by and by my Lady Batten and Sir William comes. It is a good seat, with a fair grove of trees by it, and the remains of a good garden; but so let to run to ruine, both house and every thing in and about it, so ill furnished and miserably looked after, I never did see in all my life. Not so much as a latch to his dining-room door; which saved him nothing, for the wind blowing into the room for want thereof, flung down a great bow pott that stood upon the side-table, and that fell upon some Venice glasses, and did him a crown’s worth of hurt. He did give us the meanest dinner (of beef, shoulder and umbles of venison1 which he takes away from the keeper of the Forest, and a few pigeons, and all in the meanest manner) that ever I did see, to the basest degree. After dinner we officers of the Navy stepped aside to read some letters and consider some business, and so in again. I was only pleased at a very fine picture of the Queene–Mother, when she was young, by Van–Dike; a very good picture, and a lovely sweet face. Thence in the afternoon home, and landing at Greenwich I saw Mr. Pen walking my way, so we walked together, and for discourse I put him into talk of France, when he took delight to tell me of his observations, some good, some impertinent, and all ill told, but it served for want of better, and so to my house, where I find my wife abroad, and hath been all this day, nobody knows where, which troubled me, it being late and a cold evening. So being invited to his mother’s to supper, we took Mrs. Barbara, who was mighty finely dressed, and in my Lady’s coach, which we met going for my wife, we thither, and there after some discourse went to supper. By and by comes my wife and Mercer, and had been with Captain Cocke all day, he coming and taking her out to go see his boy at school at Brumly [Bromley], and brought her home again with great respect. Here pretty merry, only I had no stomach, having dined late, to eat. After supper Mr. Pen and I fell to discourse about some words in a French song my wife was saying, “D’un air tout interdict,” wherein I laid twenty to one against him which he would not agree with me, though I know myself in the right as to the sense of the word, and almost angry we were, and were an houre and more upon the dispute, till at last broke up not satisfied, and so home in their coach and so to bed. H. Russell did this day deliver my 20s. to my wife’s father or mother, but has not yet told us how they do.
1 Dr. Johnson was puzzled by the following passage in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” act v., sc. 3: “Divide me like a bribe-buck, each a haunch. I will keep the sides to myself; my shoulders for the fellow of this walk.” If he could have read the account of Sir William Hickes’s dinner, he would at once have understood the allusion to the keeper’s perquisites of the shoulders of all deer killed in his walk. — B.
14th. Up, and walked to Greenwich, and there fitted myself in several businesses to go to London, where I have not been now a pretty while. But before I went from the office newes is brought by word of mouth that letters are now just now brought from the fleete of our taking a great many more of the Dutch fleete, in which I did never more plainly see my command of my temper in my not admitting myself to receive any kind of joy from it till I had heard the certainty of it, and therefore went by water directly to the Duke of Albemarle, where I find a letter of the Lath from Solebay, from my Lord Sandwich, of the fleete’s meeting with about eighteen more of the Dutch fleete, and his taking of most of them; and the messenger says, they had taken three after the letter was wrote and sealed; which being twenty-one, and the fourteen took the other day, is forty-five sail; some of which are good, and others rich ships, which is so great a cause of joy in us all that my Lord and everybody is highly joyed thereat. And having taken a copy of my Lord’s letter, I away back again to the Beare at the Bridge foot, being full of wind and out of order, and there called for a biscuit and a piece of cheese and gill of sacke, being forced to walk over the Bridge, toward the ‘Change, and the plague being all thereabouts. Here my news was highly welcome, and I did wonder to see the ‘Change so full, I believe 200 people; but not a man or merchant of any fashion, but plain men all. And Lord! to see how I did endeavour all I could to talk with as few as I could, there being now no observation of shutting up of houses infected, that to be sure we do converse and meet with people that have the plague upon them. I to Sir Robert Viner’s, where my main business was about settling the business of Debusty’s £5000 tallys, which I did for the present to enable me to have some money, and so home, buying some things for my wife in the way. So home, and put up several things to carry to Woolwich, and upon serious thoughts I am advised by W. Griffin to let my money and plate rest there, as being as safe as any place, nobody imagining that people would leave money in their houses now, when all their families are gone. So for the present that being my opinion, I did leave them there still. But, Lord! to see the trouble that it puts a man to, to keep safe what with pain a man hath been getting together, and there is good reason for it. Down to the office, and there wrote letters to and again about this good newes of our victory, and so by water home late. Where, when I come home I spent some thoughts upon the occurrences of this day, giving matter for as much content on one hand and melancholy on another, as any day in all my life. For the first; the finding of my money and plate, and all safe at London, and speeding in my business of money this day. The hearing of this good news to such excess, after so great a despair of my Lord’s doing anything this year; adding to that, the decrease of 500 and more, which is the first decrease we have yet had in the sickness since it begun: and great hopes that the next week it will be greater. Then, on the other side, my finding that though the Bill in general is abated, yet the City within the walls is encreased, and likely to continue so, and is close to our house there. My meeting dead corpses of the plague, carried to be buried close to me at noon-day through the City in Fanchurch-street. To see a person sick of the sores, carried close by me by Gracechurch in a hackney-coach. My finding the Angell tavern, at the lower end of Tower-hill, shut up, and more than that, the alehouse at the Tower-stairs, and more than that, the person was then dying of the plague when I was last there, a little while ago, at night, to write a short letter there, and I overheard the mistresse of the house sadly saying to her husband somebody was very ill, but did not think it was of the plague. To hear that poor Payne, my waiter, hath buried a child, and is dying himself. To hear that a labourer I sent but the other day to Dagenhams, to know how they did there, is dead of the plague; and that one of my own watermen, that carried me daily, fell sick as soon as he had landed me on Friday morning last, when I had been all night upon the water (and I believe he did get his infection that day at Brainford), and is now dead of the plague. To hear that Captain Lambert and Cuttle are killed in the taking these ships; and that Mr. Sidney Montague is sick of a desperate fever at my Lady Carteret’s, at Scott’s-hall. To hear that Mr. Lewes hath another daughter sick. And, lastly, that both my servants, W. Hewer and Tom Edwards, have lost their fathers, both in St. Sepulchre’s parish, of the plague this week, do put me into great apprehensions of melancholy, and with good reason. But I put off the thoughts of sadness as much as I can, and the rather to keep my wife in good heart and family also. After supper (having eat nothing all this day) upon a fine tench of Mr. Shelden’s taking, we to bed.
15th. Up, it being a cold misting morning, and so by water to the office, where very busy upon several businesses. At noon got the messenger, Marlow, to get me a piece of bread and butter and cheese and a bottle of beer and ale, and so I went not out of the office but dined off that, and my boy Tom, but the rest of my clerks went home to dinner. Then to my business again, and by and by sent my waterman to see how Sir W. Warren do, who is sicke, and for which I have reason to be very sorry, he being the friend I have got most by of most friends in England but the King: who returns me that he is pretty well again, his disease being an ague. I by water to Deptford, thinking to have seen my valentine, but I could not, and so come back again, and to the office, where a little business, and thence with Captain Cocke, and there drank a cup of good drink, which I am fain to allow myself during this plague time, by advice of all, and not contrary to my oathe, my physician being dead, and chyrurgeon out of the way, whose advice I am obliged to take, and so by water home and eat my supper, and to bed, being in much pain to think what I shall do this winter time; for go every day to Woolwich I cannot, without endangering my life; and staying from my wife at Greenwich is not handsome.
16th. Up, and walked to Greenwich reading a play, and to the office, where I find Sir J. Minnes gone to the fleete, like a doating foole, to do no good, but proclaim himself an asse; for no service he can do there, nor inform my Lord, who is come in thither to the buoy of the Nore, in anything worth his knowledge. At noon to dinner to my Lord Bruncker, where Sir W. Batten and his Lady come, by invitation, and very merry we were, only that the discourse of the likelihood of the increase of the plague this weeke makes us a little sad, but then again the thoughts of the late prizes make us glad. After dinner, by appointment, comes Mr. Andrews, and he and I walking alone in the garden talking of our Tangier business, and I endeavoured by the by to offer some encouragements for their continuing in the business, which he seemed to take hold of, and the truth is my profit is so much concerned that I could wish they would, and would take pains to ease them in the business of money as much as was possible. He being gone (after I had ordered him £2000, and he paid me my quantum out of it) I also walked to the office, and there to my business; but find myself, through the unfitness of my place to write in, and my coming from great dinners, and drinking wine, that I am not in the good temper of doing business now a days that I used to be and ought still to be. At night to Captain Cocke’s, meaning to lie there, it being late, and he not being at home, I walked to him to my Lord Bruncker’s, and there staid a while, they being at tables; and so by and by parted, and walked to his house; and, after a mess of good broth, to bed, in great pleasure, his company being most excellent.
17th (Lord’s day). Up, and before I went out of my chamber did draw a musique scale, in order to my having it at any time ready in my hand to turn to for exercise, for I have a great mind in this Vacation to perfect myself in my scale, in order to my practising of composition, and so that being done I down stairs, and there find Captain Cocke under the barber’s hands, the barber that did heretofore trim Commissioner Pett, and with whom I have been. He offered to come this day after dinner with his violin to play me a set of Lyra-ayres upon it, which I was glad of, hoping to be merry thereby. Being ready we to church, where a company of fine people to church, and a fine Church, and very good sermon, Mr. Plume’ being a very excellent scholler and preacher. Coming out of the church I met Mrs. Pierce, whom I was ashamed to see, having not been with her since my coming to town, but promised to visit her. Thence with Captain Cocke, in his coach, home to dinner, whither comes by invitation my Lord Bruncker and his mistresse and very good company we were, but in dinner time comes Sir J. Minnes from the fleete, like a simple weak man, having nothing to say of what he hath done there, but tells of what value he imagines the prizes to be, and that my Lord Sandwich is well, and mightily concerned to hear that I was well. But this did put me upon a desire of going thither; and, moving of it to my Lord, we presently agreed upon it to go this very tide, we two and Captain Cocke. So every body prepared to fit himself for his journey, and I walked to Woolwich to trim and shift myself, and by the time I was ready they come down in the Bezan yacht, and so I aboard and my boy Tom, and there very merrily we sailed to below Gravesend, and there come to anchor for all night, and supped and talked, and with much pleasure at last settled ourselves to sleep having very good lodging upon cushions in the cabbin.
18th. By break of day we come to within sight of the fleete, which was a very fine thing to behold, being above 100 ships, great and small; with the flag-ships of each squadron, distinguished by their several flags on their main, fore, or mizen masts. Among others, the Soveraigne, Charles, and Prince; in the last of which my Lord Sandwich was. When we called by her side his Lordshipp was not stirring, so we come to anchor a little below his ship, thinking to have rowed on board him, but the wind and tide was so strong against us that we could not get up to him, no, though rowed by a boat of the Prince’s that come to us to tow us up; at last however he brought us within a little way, and then they flung out a rope to us from the Prince and so come on board, but with great trouble and tune and patience, it being very cold; we find my Lord newly up in his night-gown very well. He received us kindly; telling us the state of the fleet, lacking provisions, having no beer at all, nor have had most of them these three weeks or month, and but few days’ dry provisions. And indeed he tells us that he believes no fleete was ever set to sea in so ill condition of provision, as this was when it went out last. He did inform us in the business of Bergen,1 so as to let us see how the judgment of the world is not to be depended on in things they know not; it being a place just wide enough, and not so much hardly, for ships to go through to it, the yardarmes sticking in the very rocks. He do not, upon his best enquiry, find reason to except against any part of the management of the business by Teddiman; he having staid treating no longer than during the night, whiles he was fitting himself to fight, bringing his ship a-breast, and not a quarter of an hour longer (as is said); nor could more ships have been brought to play, as is thought. Nor could men be landed, there being 10,000 men effectively always in armes of the Danes; nor, says he, could we expect more from the Dane than he did, it being impossible to set fire on the ships but it must burn the towne. But that wherein the Dane did amisse is, that he did assist them, the Dutch, all the while, while he was treating with us, while he should have been neutrall to us both. But, however, he did demand but the treaty of us; which is, that we should not come with more than five ships. A flag of truce is said, and confessed by my Lord, that he believes it was hung out; but while they did hang it out, they did shoot at us; so that it was not either seen perhaps, or fit to cease upon sight of it, while they continued actually in action against us. But the main thing my Lord wonders at, and condemns the Dane for, is, that the blockhead, who is so much in debt to the Hollander, having now a treasure more by much than all his Crowne was worth, and that which would for ever have beggared the Hollanders, should not take this time to break with the Hollander, and, thereby paid his debt which must have been forgiven him, and got the greatest treasure into his hands that ever was together in the world. By and by my Lord took me aside to discourse of his private matters, who was very free with me touching the ill condition of the fleete that it hath been in, and the good fortune that he hath had, and nothing else that these prizes are to be imputed to. He also talked with me about Mr. Coventry’s dealing with him in sending Sir W. Pen away before him, which was not fair nor kind; but that he hath mastered and cajoled Sir W. Pen, that he hath been able to do, nothing in the fleete, but been obedient to him; but withal tells me he is a man that is but of very mean parts, and a fellow not to be lived with, so false and base he is; which I know well enough to be very true, and did, as I had formerly done, give my Lord my knowledge of him. By and by was called a Council of Warr on board, when come Sir W. Pen there, and Sir Christopher Mings, Sir Edward Spragg, Sir Jos. Jordan, Sir Thomas Teddiman, and Sir Roger Cuttance, and so the necessity of the fleete for victuals, clothes, and money was discoursed, but by the discourse there of all but my Lord, that is to say, the counterfeit grave nonsense of Sir W. Pen and the poor mean discourse of the rest, methinks I saw how the government and management of the greatest business of the three nations is committed to very ordinary heads, saving my Lord, and in effect is only upon him, who is able to do what he pleases with them, they not having the meanest degree of reason to be able to oppose anything that he says, and so I fear it is ordered but like all the rest of the King’s publique affayres. The council being up they most of them went away, only Sir W. Pen who staid to dine there and did so, but the wind being high the ship (though the motion of it was hardly discernible to the eye) did make me sick, so as I could not eat any thing almost. After dinner Cocke did pray me to helpe him to £500 of W. How, who is deputy Treasurer, wherein my Lord Bruncker and I am to be concerned and I did aske it my Lord, and he did consent to have us furnished with £500, and I did get it paid to Sir Roger Cuttance and Mr. Pierce in part for above £1000 worth of goods, Mace, Nutmegs, Cynamon, and Cloves, and he tells us we may hope to get £1500 by it, which God send! Great spoil, I hear, there hath been of the two East India ships, and that yet they will come in to the King very rich: so that I hope this journey will be worth £100 to me.2 After having paid this money, we took leave of my Lord and so to our Yacht again, having seen many of my friends there. Among others I hear that W. Howe will grow very rich by this last business and grows very proud and insolent by it; but it is what I ever expected. I hear by every body how much my poor Lord of Sandwich was concerned for me during my silence a while, lest I had been dead of the plague in this sickly time. No sooner come into the yacht, though overjoyed with the good work we have done today, but I was overcome with sea sickness so that I begun to spue soundly, and so continued a good while, till at last I went into the cabbin and shutting my eyes my trouble did cease that I fell asleep, which continued till we come into Chatham river where the water was smooth, and then I rose and was very well, and the tide coming to be against us we did land before we come to Chatham and walked a mile, having very good discourse by the way, it being dark and it beginning to rain just as we got thither. At Commissioner Pett’s we did eat and drink very well and very merry we were, and about 10 at night, it being moonshine and very cold, we set out, his coach carrying us, and so all night travelled to Greenwich, we sometimes sleeping a little and then talking and laughing by the way, and with much pleasure, but that it was very horrible cold, that I was afeard of an ague. A pretty passage was that the coach stood of a sudden and the coachman come down and the horses stirring, he cried, Hold! which waked me, and the coach[man] standing at the boote to [do] something or other and crying, Hold! I did wake of a sudden and not knowing who he was, nor thinking of the coachman between sleeping and waking I did take up the heart to take him by the shoulder, thinking verily he had been a thief. But when I waked I found my cowardly heart to discover a fear within me and that I should never have done it if I had been awake.
1 Lord Sandwich was not so successful in convincing other people as to the propriety of his conduct at Bergen as he was with Pepys.
2 There is a shorthand journal of proceedings relating to Pepys’s purchase of some East India prize goods among the Rawlinson MSS. in the Bodleian Library.
19th. About 4 or 5 of the clock we come to Greenwich, and, having first set down my Lord Bruncker, Cocke and I went to his house, it being light, and there to our great trouble, we being sleepy and cold, we met with the ill newes that his boy Jacke was gone to bed sicke, which put Captain Cocke and me also into much trouble, the boy, as they told us, complaining of his head most, which is a bad sign it seems. So they presently betook themselves to consult whither and how to remove him. However I thought it not fit for me to discover too much fear to go away, nor had I any place to go to. So to bed I went and slept till 10 of the clock and then comes Captain Cocke to wake me and tell me that his boy was well again. With great joy I heard the newes and he told it, so I up and to the office where we did a little, and but a little business. At noon by invitation to my Lord Bruncker’s where we staid till four of the clock for my Lady Batten and she not then coming we to dinner and pretty merry but disordered by her making us stay so long. After dinner I to the office, and there wrote letters and did business till night and then to Sir J. Minnes’s, where I find my Lady Batten come, and she and my Lord Bruncker and his mistresse, and the whole house-full there at cards. But by and by my Lord Bruncker goes away and others of the company, and when I expected Sir J. Minnes and his sister should have staid to have made Sir W. Batten and Lady sup, I find they go up in snuffe to bed without taking any manner of leave of them, but left them with Mr. Boreman. The reason of this I could not presently learn, but anon I hear it is that Sir J. Minnes did expect and intend them a supper, but they without respect to him did first apply themselves to Boreman, which makes all this great feude. However I staid and there supped, all of us being in great disorder from this, and more from Cocke’s boy’s being ill, where my Lady Batten and Sir W. Batten did come to town with an intent to lodge, and I was forced to go seek a lodging which my W. Hewer did get me, viz., his own chamber in the towne, whither I went and found it a very fine room, and there lay most excellently.
20th. Called up by Captain Cocke (who was last night put into great trouble upon his boy’s being rather worse than better, upon which he removed him out of his house to his stable), who told me that to my comfort his boy was now as well as ever he was in his life. So I up, and after being trimmed, the first time I have been touched by a barber these twelvemonths, I think, and more, went to Sir J. Minnes’s, where I find all out of order still, they having not seen one another till by and by Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten met, to go into my Lord Bruncker’s coach, and so we four to Lambeth, and thence to the Duke of Albemarle, to inform him what we have done as to the fleete, which is very little, and to receive his direction. But, Lord! what a sad time it is to see no boats upon the River; and grass grows all up and down White Hall court, and nobody but poor wretches in the streets! And, which is worst of all, the Duke showed us the number of the plague this week, brought in the last night from the Lord Mayor; that it is encreased about 600 more than the last, which is quite contrary to all our hopes and expectations, from the coldness of the late season. For the whole general number is 8,297, and of them the plague 7,165; which is more in the whole by above 50, than the biggest Bill yet; which is very grievous to us all. I find here a design in my Lord Bruncker and Captain Cocke to have had my Lord Bruncker chosen as one of us to have been sent aboard one of the East Indiamen, and Captain Cocke as a merchant to be joined with him, and Sir J. Minnes for the other, and Sir G. Smith to be joined with him. But I did order it so that my Lord Bruncker and Sir J. Minnes were ordered, but I did stop the merchants to be added, which would have been a most pernicious thing to the King I am sure. In this I did, I think, a very good office, though I cannot acquit myself from some envy of mine in the business to have the profitable business done by another hand while I lay wholly imployed in the trouble of the office. Thence back again by my Lord’s coach to my Lord Bruncker’s house, where I find my Lady Batten, who is become very great with Mrs. Williams (my Lord Bruncker’s whore), and there we dined and were mighty merry. After dinner I to the office there to write letters, to fit myself for a journey tomorrow to Nonsuch to the Exchequer by appointment. That being done I to Sir J. Minnes where I find Sir W. Batten and his Lady gone home to Walthamstow in great snuffe as to Sir J. Minnes, but yet with some necessity, hearing that a mayde-servant of theirs is taken ill. Here I staid and resolved of my going in my Lord Bruncker’s coach which he would have me to take, though himself cannot go with me as he intended, and so to my last night’s lodging to bed very weary.
21st. Up between five and six o’clock; and by the time I was ready, my Lord’s coach comes for me; and taking Will Hewer with me, who is all in mourning for his father, who is lately dead of the plague, as my boy Tom’s is also, I set out, and took about £100 with me to pay the fees there, and so rode in some fear of robbing. When I come thither, I find only Mr. Ward, who led me to Burgess’s bedside, and Spicer’s, who, watching of the house, as it is their turns every night, did lie long in bed today, and I find nothing at all done in my business, which vexed me. But not seeing how to helpe it I did walk up and down with Mr. Ward to see the house; and by and by Spicer and Mr. Falconbrige come to me and he and I to a towne near by, Yowell, there drink and set up my horses and also bespoke a dinner, and while that is dressing went with Spicer and walked up and down the house and park; and a fine place it hath heretofore been, and a fine prospect about the house. A great walk of an elme and a walnutt set one after another in order. And all the house on the outside filled with figures of stories, and good painting of Rubens’ or Holben’s doing. And one great thing is, that most of the house is covered, I mean the posts, and quarters in the walls; covered with lead, and gilded. I walked into the ruined garden, and there found a plain little girle, kinswoman of Mr. Falconbridge, to sing very finely by the eare only, but a fine way of singing, and if I come ever to lacke a girle again I shall think of getting her. Thence to the towne, and there Spicer, Woodruffe, and W. Bowyer and I dined together and a friend of Spicer’s; and a good dinner I had for them. Falconbrige dined somewhere else, by appointment. Strange to see how young W. Bowyer looks at 41 years; one would not take him for 24 or more, and is one of the greatest wonders I ever did see. After dinner, about 4 of the clock we broke up, and I took coach and home (in fear for the money I had with me, but that this friend of Spicer’s, one of the Duke’s guard did ride along the best part of the way with us). I got to my Lord Bruncker’s before night, and there I sat and supped with him and his mistresse, and Cocke whose boy is yet ill. Thence, after losing a crowne betting at Tables —[Cribbage] — we walked home, Cocke seeing me at my new lodging, where I went to bed. All my worke this day in the coach going and coming was to refresh myself in my musique scale, which I would fain have perfecter than ever I had yet.
22nd. Up betimes and to the office, meaning to have entered my last 5 or 6 days’ Journall, but was called away by my Lord Bruncker and Sir J. Minnes, and to Blackwall, there to look after the storehouses in order to the laying of goods out of the East India ships when they shall be unloaden. That being done, we into Johnson’s house, and were much made of, eating and drinking. But here it is observable what he tells us, that in digging his late Docke, he did 12 foot under ground find perfect trees over-covered with earth. Nut trees, with the branches and the very nuts upon them; some of whose nuts he showed us. Their shells black with age, and their kernell, upon opening, decayed, but their shell perfectly hard as ever. And a yew tree he showed us (upon which, he says, the very ivy was taken up whole about it), which upon cutting with an addes [adze], we found to be rather harder than the living tree usually is. They say, very much, but I do not know how hard a yew tree naturally is.1 The armes, they say, were taken up at first whole, about the body, which is very strange. Thence away by water, and I walked with my Lord Bruncker home, and there at dinner comes a letter from my Lord Sandwich to tell me that he would this day be at Woolwich, and desired me to meet him. Which fearing might have lain in Sir J. Minnes’ pocket a while, he sending it me, did give my Lord Bruncker, his mistress, and I occasion to talk of him as the most unfit man for business in the world. Though at last afterwards I found that he was not in this faulty, but hereby I have got a clear evidence of my Lord Bruncker’s opinion of him. My Lord Bruncker presently ordered his coach to be ready and we to Woolwich, and my Lord Sandwich not being come, we took a boat and about a mile off met him in his Catch, and boarded him, and come up with him; and, after making a little halt at my house, which I ordered, to have my wife see him, we all together by coach to Mr. Boreman’s, where Sir J. Minnes did receive him very handsomely, and there he is to lie; and Sir J. Minnes did give him on the sudden, a very handsome supper and brave discourse, my Lord Bruncker, and Captain Cocke, and Captain Herbert being there, with myself. Here my Lord did witness great respect to me, and very kind expressions, and by other occasions, from one thing to another did take notice how I was overjoyed at first to see the King’s letter to his Lordship, and told them how I did kiss it, and that, whatever he was, I did always love the King. This my Lord Bruncker did take such notice [of] as that he could not forbear kissing me before my Lord, professing his finding occasion every day more and more to love me, and Captain Cocke has since of himself taken notice of that speech of my Lord then concerning me, and may be of good use to me. Among other discourse concerning long life, Sir J. Minnes saying that his great-grandfather was alive in Edward the Vth’s time; my Lord Sandwich did tell us how few there have been of his family since King Harry the VIIIth; that is to say, the then Chiefe Justice, and his son the Lord Montagu, who was father to Sir Sidney,2 who was his father. And yet, what is more wonderfull, he did assure us from the mouth of my Lord Montagu himself, that in King James’s time ([when he] had a mind to get the King to cut off the entayle of some land which was given in Harry the VIIIth’s time to the family, with the remainder in the Crowne); he did answer the King in showing how unlikely it was that ever it could revert to the Crown, but that it would be a present convenience to him; and did show that at that time there were 4,000 persons derived from the very body of the Chiefe Justice. It seems the number of daughters in the family having been very great, and they too had most of them many children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. This he tells as a most known and certain truth. After supper, my Lord Bruncker took his leave, and I also did mine, taking Captain Herbert home to my lodging to lie with me, who did mighty seriously inquire after who was that in the black dress with my wife yesterday, and would not believe that it was my wife’s mayde, Mercer, but it was she.
1 The same discovery was made in 1789, in digging the Brunswick Dock, also at Blackwall, and elsewhere in the neighbourhood.
2 These are the words in the MS., and not “his son and the Lord Montagu,” as in some former editions. Pepys seems to have written Lord Montagu by mistake for Sir Edward Montagu.
23rd. Up, and to my Lord Sandwich, who did advise alone with me how far he might trust Captain Cocke in the business of the prize-goods, my Lord telling me that he hath taken into his hands 2 or £3000 value of them: it being a good way, he says, to get money, and afterwards to get the King’s allowance thereof, it being easier, he observes, to keepe money when got of the King than to get it when it is too late. I advised him not to trust Cocke too far, and did therefore offer him ready money for a £1000 or two, which he listens to and do agree to, which is great joy to me, hoping thereby to get something! Thence by coach to Lambeth, his Lordship, and all our office, and Mr. Evelyn, to the Duke of Albemarle, where, after the compliment with my Lord very kind, we sat down to consult of the disposing and supporting of the fleete with victuals and money, and for the sicke men and prisoners; and I did propose the taking out some goods out of the prizes, to the value of £10,000, which was accorded to, and an order, drawn up and signed by the Duke and my Lord, done in the best manner I can, and referred to my Lord Bruncker and Sir J. Minnes, but what inconveniences may arise from it I do not yet see, but fear there may be many. Here we dined, and I did hear my Lord Craven whisper, as he is mightily possessed with a good opinion of me, much to my advantage, which my good Lord did second, and anon my Lord Craven did speak publiquely of me to the Duke, in the hearing of all the rest; and the Duke did say something of the like advantage to me; I believe, not much to the satisfaction of my brethren; but I was mightily joyed at it. Thence took leave, leaving my Lord Sandwich to go visit the Bishop of Canterbury, and I and Sir W. Batten down to the Tower, where he went further by water, and I home, and among other things took out all my gold to carry along with me to-night with Captain Cocke downe to the fleete, being £180 and more, hoping to lay out that and a great deal more to good advantage. Thence down to Greenwich to the office, and there wrote several letters, and so to my Lord Sandwich, and mighty merry and he mighty kind to me in the face of all, saying much in my favour, and after supper I took leave and with Captain Cocke set out in the yacht about ten o’clock at night, and after some discourse, and drinking a little, my mind full of what we are going about and jealous of Cocke’s outdoing me. So to sleep upon beds brought by Cocke on board mighty handsome, and never slept better than upon this bed upon the floor in the Cabbin.
24th (Lord’s day). Waked, and up and drank, and then to discourse; and then being about Grayes, and a very calme, curious morning, we took our wherry, and to the fishermen, and bought a great deal of fine fish, and to Gravesend to White’s, and had part of it dressed; and, in the meantime, we to walk about a mile from the towne, and so back again; and there, after breakfast, one of our watermen told us he had heard of a bargain of cloves for us, and we went to a blind alehouse at the further end wretched dirty seamen, who, of the towne to a couple of poor wretches, had got together about 37 lb. of cloves and to 10 of nutmeggs, and we bought them of them, the first at 5s. 6d. per lb. and the latter at 4s.; and paid them in gold; but, Lord! to see how silly these men are in the selling of it, and easily to be persuaded almost to anything, offering a bag to us to pass as 20 lbs. of cloves, which upon weighing proved 25 lbs. But it would never have been allowed by my conscience to have wronged the poor wretches, who told us how dangerously they had got some, and dearly paid for the rest of these goods. This being done we with great content herein on board again and there Captain Cocke and I to discourse of our business, but he will not yet be open to me, nor am I to him till I hear what he will say and do with Sir Roger Cuttance. However, this discourse did do me good, and got me a copy of the agreement made the other day on board for the parcel of Mr. Pierce and Sir Roger Cuttance, but this great parcel is of my Lord Sandwich’s. By and by to dinner about 3 o’clock and then I in the cabbin to writing down my journall for these last seven days to my great content, it having pleased God that in this sad time of the plague every thing else has conspired to my happiness and pleasure more for these last three months than in all my life before in so little time. God long preserve it and make me thankful) for it! After finishing my Journal), then to discourse and to read, and then to supper and to bed, my mind not being at full ease, having not fully satisfied myself how Captain Cocke will deal with me as to the share of the profits.
25th. Found ourselves come to the fleete, and so aboard the Prince; and there, after a good while in discourse, we did agree a bargain of £5,000 with Sir Roger Cuttance for my Lord Sandwich for silk, cinnamon, nutmeggs, and indigo. And I was near signing to an undertaking for the payment of the whole sum; but I did by chance escape it; having since, upon second thoughts, great cause to be glad of it, reflecting upon the craft and not good condition, it may be, of Captain Cocke. I could get no trifles for my wife. Anon to dinner and thence in great haste to make a short visit to Sir W. Pen, where I found them and his lady and daughter and many commanders at dinner. Among others Sir G. Askue, of whom whatever the matter is, the world is silent altogether. But a very pretty dinner there was, and after dinner Sir W. Pen made a bargain with Cocke for ten bales of silke, at 16s. per lb., which, as Cocke says, will be a good pennyworth, and so away to the Prince and presently comes my Lord on board from Greenwich, with whom, after a little discourse about his trusting of Cocke, we parted and to our yacht; but it being calme, we to make haste, took our wherry toward Chatham; but, it growing darke, we were put to great difficultys, our simple, yet confident waterman, not knowing a step of the way; and we found ourselves to go backward and forward, which, in the darke night and a wild place, did vex us mightily. At last we got a fisher boy by chance, and took him into the boat, and being an odde kind of boy, did vex us too; for he would not answer us aloud when we spoke to him, but did carry us safe thither, though with a mistake or two; but I wonder they were not more. In our way I was [surprised] and so were we all, at the strange nature of the sea-water in a darke night, that it seemed like fire upon every stroke of the oare, and, they say, is a sign of winde. We went to the Crowne Inne, at Rochester, and there to supper, and made ourselves merry with our poor fisher-boy, who told us he had not been in a bed in the whole seven years since he came to ‘prentice, and hath two or three more years to serve. After eating something, we in our clothes to bed.
26th. Up by five o’clock and got post horses and so set out for Greenwich, calling and drinking at Dartford. Being come to Greenwich and shifting myself I to the office, from whence by and by my Lord Bruncker and Sir J. Minnes set out toward Erith to take charge of the two East India shipps, which I had a hand in contriving for the King’s service and may do myself a good office too thereby. I to dinner with Mr. Wright to his father-inlaw in Greenwich, one of the most silly, harmless, prating old men that ever I heard in my life. Creed dined with me, and among other discourses got of me a promise of half that he could get my Lord Rutherford to give me upon clearing his business, which should not be less, he says, than £50 for my half, which is a good thing, though cunningly got of him. By and by Luellin comes, and I hope to get something of Deering shortly. They being gone, Mr. Wright and I went into the garden to discourse with much trouble for fear of losing all the profit and principal of what we have laid out in buying of prize goods, and therefore puts me upon thoughts of flinging up my interest, but yet I shall take good advice first. Thence to the office, and after some letters down to Woolwich, where I have not lain with my wife these eight days I think, or more. After supper, and telling her my mind in my trouble in what I have done as to buying’ of these goods, we to bed.
27th. Up, and saw and admired my wife’s picture of our Saviour,1 now finished, which is very pretty. So by water to Greenwich, where with Creed and Lord Rutherford, and there my Lord told me that he would give me £100 for my pains, which pleased me well, though Creed, like a cunning rogue, hath got a promise of half of it from me. We to the King’s Head, the great musique house, the first time I was ever there, and had a good breakfast, and thence parted, I being much troubled to hear from Creed, that he was told at Salsbury that I am come to be a great swearer and drinker, though I know the contrary; but, Lord! to see how my late little drinking of wine is taken notice of by envious men to my disadvantage. I thence to Captain Cocke’s, [and] (he not yet come from town) to Mr. Evelyn’s, where much company; and thence in his coach with him to the Duke of Albemarle by Lambeth, who was in a mighty pleasant humour; there the Duke tells us that the Dutch do stay abroad, and our fleet must go out again, or to be ready to do so. Here we got several things ordered as we desired for the relief of the prisoners, and sick and wounded men. Here I saw this week’s Bill of Mortality, wherein, blessed be God! there is above 1800 decrease, being the first considerable decrease we have had. Back again the same way and had most excellent discourse of Mr. Evelyn touching all manner of learning; wherein I find him a very fine gentleman, and particularly of paynting, in which he tells me the beautifull Mrs. Middleton is rare, and his own wife do brave things. He brought me to the office, whither comes unexpectedly Captain Cocke, who hath brought one parcel of our goods by waggons, and at first resolved to have lodged them at our office; but then the thoughts of its being the King’s house altered our resolution, and so put them at his friend’s, Mr. Glanvill’s, and there they are safe. Would the rest of them were so too! In discourse, we come to mention my profit, and he offers me £500 clear, and I demand £600 for my certain profit. We part to-night, and I lie there at Mr. Glanvill’s house, there being none there but a maydeservant and a young man; being in some pain, partly from not knowing what to do in this business, having a mind to be at a certainty in my profit, and partly through his having Jacke sicke still, and his blackemore now also fallen sicke. So he being gone, I to bed.
1 This picture by Mrs. Pepys may have given trouble when Pepys was unjustifiably attacked for having Popish pictures in his house.
28th. Up, and being mightily pleased with my night’s lodging, drank a cup of beer, and went out to my office, and there did some business, and so took boat and down to Woolwich (having first made a visit to Madam Williams, who is going down to my Lord Bruncker) and there dined, and then fitted my papers and money and every thing else for a journey to Nonsuch tomorrow. That being done I walked to Greenwich, and there to the office pretty late expecting Captain Cocke’s coming, which he did, and so with me to my new lodging (and there I chose rather to lie because of my interest in the goods that we have brought there to lie), but the people were abed, so we knocked them up, and so I to bed, and in the night was mightily troubled with a looseness (I suppose from some fresh damp linen that I put on this night), and feeling for a chamber-pott, there was none, I having called the mayde up out of her bed, she had forgot I suppose to put one there; so I was forced in this strange house to rise and shit in the chimney twice; and so to bed and was very well again, and
29th. To sleep till 5 o’clock, when it is now very dark, and then rose, being called up by order by Mr. Marlow, and so up and dressed myself, and by and by comes Mr. Lashmore on horseback, and I had my horse I borrowed of Mr. Gillthropp, Sir W. Batten’s clerke, brought to me, and so we set out and rode hard and was at Nonsuch by about eight o’clock, a very fine journey and a fine day. There I come just about chappell time and so I went to chappell with them and thence to the several offices about my tallys, which I find done, but strung for sums not to my purpose, and so was forced to get them to promise me to have them cut into other sums. But, Lord! what ado I had to persuade the dull fellows to it, especially Mr. Warder, Master of the Pells, and yet without any manner of reason for their scruple. But at last I did, and so left my tallies there against another day, and so walked to Yowell, and there did spend a peece upon them, having a whole house full, and much mirth by a sister of the mistresse of the house, an old mayde lately married to a lieutenant of a company that quarters there, and much pleasant discourse we had and, dinner being done, we to horse again and come to Greenwich before night, and so to my lodging, and there being a little weary sat down and fell to order some of my pocket papers, and then comes Captain Cocke, and after a great deal of discourse with him seriously upon the disorders of our state through lack of men to mind the public business and to understand it, we broke up, sitting up talking very late. We spoke a little of my late business propounded of taking profit for my money laid out for these goods, but he finds I rise in my demand, he offering me still £500 certain. So we did give it over, and I to bed. I hear for certain this night upon the road that Sir Martin Noell is this day dead of the plague in London, where he hath lain sick of it these eight days.
30th. Up and to the office, where busy all the morning, and at noon with Sir W. Batten to Coll. Cleggat to dinner, being invited, where a very pretty dinner to my full content and very merry. The great burden we have upon us at this time at the office, is the providing for prisoners and sicke men that are recovered, they lying before our office doors all night and all day, poor wretches. Having been on shore, the captains won’t receive them on board, and other ships we have not to put them on, nor money to pay them off, or provide for them. God remove this difficulty! This made us followed all the way to this gentleman’s house and there are waited for our coming out after dinner. Hither come Luellin to me and would force me to take Mr. Deering’s 20 pieces in gold he did offer me a good while since, which I did, yet really and sincerely against my will and content, I seeing him a man not likely to do well in his business, nor I to reap any comfort in having to do with, and be beholden to, a man that minds more his pleasure and company than his business. Thence mighty merry and much pleased with the dinner and company and they with me I parted and there was set upon by the poor wretches, whom I did give good words and some little money to, and the poor people went away like lambs, and in good earnest are not to be censured if their necessities drive them to bad courses of stealing or the like, while they lacke wherewith to live. Thence to the office, and there wrote a letter or two and dispatched a little business, and then to Captain Cocke’s, where I find Mr. Temple, the fat blade, Sir Robert. Viner’s chief man. And we three and two companions of his in the evening by agreement took ship in the Bezan and the tide carried us no further than Woolwich about 8 at night, and so I on shore to my wife, and there to my great trouble find my wife out of order, and she took me downstairs and there alone did tell me her falling out with both her mayds and particularly Mary, and how Mary had to her teeth told her she would tell me of something that should stop her mouth and words of that sense. Which I suspect may be about Brown, but my wife prays me to call it to examination, and this, I being of myself jealous, do make me mightily out of temper, and seeing it not fit to enter into the dispute did passionately go away, thinking to go on board again. But when I come to the stairs I considered the Bezan would not go till the next ebb, and it was best to lie in a good bed and, it may be, get myself into a better humour by being with my wife. So I back again and to bed and having otherwise so many reasons to rejoice and hopes of good profit, besides considering the ill that trouble of mind and melancholly may in this sickly time bring a family into, and that if the difference were never so great, it is not a time to put away servants, I was resolved to salve up the business rather than stir in it, and so become pleasant with my wife and to bed, minding nothing of this difference. So to sleep with a good deal of content, and saving only this night and a day or two about the same business a month or six weeks ago, I do end this month with the greatest content, and may say that these last three months, for joy, health, and profit, have been much the greatest that ever I received in all my life in any twelve months almost in my life, having nothing upon me but the consideration of the sicklinesse of the season during this great plague to mortify mee. For all which the Lord God be praised!
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:53