June 1st. Being prevented yesterday in meeting by reason of the fast day, we met today all the morning. At noon I and my father, wife and sister, dined at Aunt Wight’s here hard by at Mr. Woolly’s, upon sudden warning, they being to go out of town tomorrow. Here dined the faire Mrs. Margaret Wight, who is a very fine lady, but the cast of her eye, got only by an ill habit, do her much wrong and her hands are bad; but she hath the face of a noble Roman lady. After dinner my uncle and Woolly and I out into their yarde, to talke about what may be done hereafter to all our profits by prizegoods, which did give us reason to lament the losse of the opportunity of the last yeare, which, if we were as wise as we are now, and at the peaceable end of all those troubles that we met with, all might have been such a hit as will never come again in this age, and so I do really believe it. Thence home to my office and there did much business, and at night home to my father to supper and to bed.
2nd. Up, and to the office, where certain newes is brought us of a letter come to the King this morning from the Duke of Albemarle, dated yesterday at eleven o’clock, as they were sailing to the Gunfleete, that they were in sight of the Dutch fleete, and were fitting themselves to fight them; so that they are, ere this, certainly engaged; besides, several do averr they heard the guns all yesterday in the afternoon. This put us at the Board into a tosse. Presently come orders for our sending away to the fleete a recruite of 200 soldiers. So I rose from the table, and to the Victualling office, and thence upon the River among several vessels, to consider of the sending them away; and lastly, down to Greenwich, and there appointed two yachts to be ready for them; and did order the soldiers to march to Blackewall. Having set all things in order against the next flood, I went on shore with Captain Erwin at Greenwich, and into the Parke, and there we could hear the guns from the fleete most plainly. Thence he and I to the King’s Head and there bespoke a dish of steaks for our dinner about four o’clock. While that was doing, we walked to the water-side, and there seeing the King and Duke come down in their barge to Greenwich-house, I to them, and did give them an account [of] what I was doing. They went up to the Parke to hear the guns of the fleete go off. All our hopes now are that Prince Rupert with his fleete is coming back and will be with the fleete this even: a message being sent to him to that purpose on Wednesday last; and a return is come from him this morning, that he did intend to sail from St. Ellen’s point about four in the afternoon on Wednesday [Friday], which was yesterday; which gives us great hopes, the wind being very fair, that he is with them this even, and the fresh going off of the guns makes us believe the same. After dinner, having nothing else to do till flood, I went and saw Mrs. Daniel, to whom I did not tell that the fleets were engaged, because of her husband, who is in the R. Charles. Very pleasant with her half an hour, and so away and down to Blackewall, and there saw the soldiers (who were by this time gotten most of them drunk) shipped off. But, Lord! to see how the poor fellows kissed their wives and sweethearts in that simple manner at their going off, and shouted, and let off their guns, was strange sport. In the evening come up the River the Katharine yacht, Captain Fazeby, who hath brought over my Lord of Alesbury and Sir Thomas Liddall (with a very pretty daughter, and in a pretty travelling-dress) from Flanders, who saw the Dutch fleete on Thursday, and ran from them; but from that houre to this hath not heard one gun, nor any newes of any fight. Having put the soldiers on board, I home and wrote what I had to write by the post, and so home to supper and to bed, it being late.
3rd (Lord’s-day; Whit-sunday). Up, and by water to White Hall, and there met with Mr. Coventry, who tells me the only news from the fleete is brought by Captain Elliott, of The Portland, which, by being run on board by The Guernsey, was disabled from staying abroad; so is come in to Aldbrough. That he saw one of the Dutch great ships blown up, and three on fire. That they begun to fight on Friday; and at his coming into port, he could make another ship of the King’s coming in, which he judged to be the Rupert: that he knows of no other hurt to our ships. With this good newes I home by water again, and to church in the sermon-time, and with great joy told it my fellows in the pew. So home after church time to dinner, and after dinner my father, wife, sister, and Mercer by water to Woolwich, while I walked by land, and saw the Exchange as full of people, and hath been all this noon as of any other day, only for newes. I to St. Margaret’s, Westminster, and there saw at church my pretty Betty Michell, and thence to the Abbey, and so to Mrs. Martin, and there did what ‘je voudrais avec her. . . . So by and by he come in, and after some discourse with him I away to White Hall, and there met with this bad newes farther, that the Prince come to Dover but at ten o’clock last night, and there heard nothing of a fight; so that we are defeated of all our hopes of his helpe to the fleete. It is also reported by some Victuallers that the Duke of Albemarle and Holmes their flags were shot down, and both fain to come to anchor to renew their rigging and sails. A letter is also come this afternoon, from Harman in the Henery; which is she [that] was taken by Elliott for the Rupert; that being fallen into the body of the Dutch fleete, he made his way through them, was set on by three fire-ships one after another, got two of them off, and disabled the third; was set on fire himself; upon which many of his men leapt into the sea and perished; among others, the parson first. Have lost above 100 men, and a good many women (God knows what is become of Balty), and at last quenched his own fire and got to Aldbrough; being, as all say, the greatest hazard that ever any ship escaped, and as bravely managed by him. The mast of the third fire-ship fell into their ship on fire, and hurt Harman’s leg, which makes him lame now, but not dangerous. I to Sir G. Carteret, who told me there hath been great bad management in all this; that the King’s orders that went on Friday for calling back the Prince, were sent but by the ordinary post on Wednesday; and come to the Prince his hands but on Friday; and then, instead of sailing presently, he stays till four in the evening. And that which is worst of all, the Hampshire, laden with merchants’ money, come from the Straights, set out with or but just before the fleete, and was in the Downes by five in the clock yesterday morning; and the Prince with his fleete come to Dover but at ten of the clock at night. This is hard to answer, if it be true. This puts great astonishment into the King, and Duke, and Court, every body being out of countenance. So meeting Creed, he and I by coach to Hide Parke alone to talke of these things, and do blesse God that my Lord Sandwich was not here at this time to be concerned in a business like to be so misfortunate. It was a pleasant thing to consider how fearfull I was of being seen with Creed all this afternoon, for fear of people’s thinking that by our relation to my Lord Sandwich we should be making ill construction of the Prince’s failure. But, God knows, I am heartily sorry for the sake of the whole nation, though, if it were not for that, it would not be amisse to have these high blades find some checke to their presumption and their disparaging of as good men. Thence set him down in Covent Guarden and so home by the ‘Change, which is full of people still, and all talk highly of the failure of the Prince in not making more haste after his instructions did come, and of our managements here in not giving it sooner and with more care and oftener. Thence. After supper to bed.
4th. Up, and with Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Pen to White Hall in the latter’s coach, where, when we come, we find the Duke at St. James’s, whither he is lately gone to lodge. So walking through the Parke we saw hundreds of people listening at the Gravel-pits — [Kensington]— and to and again in the Parke to hear the guns, and I saw a letter, dated last night, from Strowd, Governor of Dover Castle, which says that the Prince come thither the night before with his fleete, but that for the guns which we writ that we heard, it is only a mistake for thunder;1 and so far as to yesterday it is a miraculous thing that we all Friday, and Saturday and yesterday, did hear every where most plainly the guns go off, and yet at Deale and Dover to last night they did not hear one word of a fight, nor think they heard one gun. This, added to what I have set down before the other day about the Katharine, makes room for a great dispute in philosophy, how we should hear it and they not, the same wind that brought it to us being the same that should bring it to them: but so it is. Major Halsey, however (he was sent down on purpose to hear newes), did bring newes this morning that he did see the Prince and his fleete at nine of the clock yesterday morning, four or five leagues to sea behind the Goodwin, so that by the hearing of the guns this morning we conclude he is come to the fleete. After wayting upon the Duke, Sir W. Pen (who was commanded to go to-night by water down to Harwich, to dispatch away all the ships he can) and I home, drinking two bottles of Cocke ale in the streete in his new fine coach, where no sooner come, but newes is brought me of a couple of men come to speak with me from the fleete; so I down, and who should it be but Mr. Daniel, all muffled up, and his face as black as the chimney, and covered with dirt, pitch, and tarr, and powder, and muffled with dirty clouts, and his right eye stopped with okum. He is come last night at five o’clock from the fleete, with a comrade of his that hath endangered another eye. They were set on shore at Harwich this morning, and at two o’clock, in a catch with about twenty more wounded men from the Royall Charles. They being able to ride, took post about three this morning, and were here between eleven and twelve. I went presently into the coach with them, and carried them to Somerset–House-stairs, and there took water (all the world gazing upon us, and concluding it to be newes from the fleete, and every body’s face appeared expecting of newes) to the Privy-stairs, and left them at Mr. Coventry’s lodging (he, though, not being there); and so I into the Parke to the King, and told him my Lord Generall was well the last night at five o’clock, and the Prince come with his fleete and joyned with his about seven. The King was mightily pleased with this newes, and so took me by the hand and talked a little of it. Giving him the best account I could; and then he bid me to fetch the two seamen to him, he walking into the house. So I went and fetched the seamen into the Vane room to him, and there he heard the whole account.
How we found the Dutch fleete at anchor on Friday half seas over, between Dunkirke and Ostend, and made them let slip their anchors. They about ninety, and we less than sixty. We fought them, and put them to the run, till they met with about sixteen sail of fresh ships, and so bore up again. The fight continued till night, and then again the next morning from five till seven at night. And so, too, yesterday morning they begun again, and continued till about four o’clock, they chasing us for the most part of Saturday and yesterday, we flying from them. The Duke himself, then those people were put into the catch, and by and by spied the Prince’s fleete coming, upon which De Ruyter called a little council (being in chase at this time of us), and thereupon their fleete divided into two squadrons; forty in one, and about thirty in the other (the fleete being at first about ninety, but by one accident or other, supposed to be lessened to about seventy); the bigger to follow the Duke, the less to meet the Prince. But the Prince come up with the Generall’s fleete, and the Dutch come together again and bore towards their own coast, and we with them; and now what the consequence of this day will be, at that time fighting, we know not. The Duke was forced to come to anchor on Friday, having lost his sails and rigging. No particular person spoken of to be hurt but Sir W. Clerke, who hath lost his leg, and bore it bravely. The Duke himself had a little hurt in his thigh, but signified little. The King did pull out of his pocket about twenty pieces in gold, and did give it Daniel for himself and his companion; and so parted, mightily pleased with the account he did give him of the fight, and the successe it ended with, of the Prince’s coming, though it seems the Duke did give way again and again. The King did give order for care to be had of Mr. Daniel and his companion; and so we parted from him, and then met the Duke [of York], and gave him the same account: and so broke up, and I left them going to the surgeon’s and I myself by water to the ‘Change, and to several people did give account of the business. So home about four o’clock to dinner, and was followed by several people to be told the newes, and good newes it is. God send we may hear a good issue of this day’s business! After I had eat something I walked to Gresham College, where I heard my Lord Bruncker was, and there got a promise of the receipt of the fine varnish, which I shall be glad to have. Thence back with Mr. Hooke to my house and there lent some of my tables of naval matters, the names of rigging and the timbers about a ship, in order to Dr. Wilkins’ book coming out about the Universal Language. Thence, he being gone, to the Crown, behind the ‘Change, and there supped at the club with my Lord Bruncker, Sir G. Ent, and others of Gresham College; and all our discourse is of this fight at sea, and all are doubtful of the successe, and conclude all had been lost if the Prince had not come in, they having chased us the greatest part of Saturday and Sunday. Thence with my Lord Bruncker and Creed by coach to White Hall, where fresh letters are come from Harwich, where the Gloucester, Captain Clerke, is come in, and says that on Sunday night upon coming in of the Prince, the Duke did fly; but all this day they have been fighting; therefore they did face again, to be sure. Captain Bacon of The Bristoll is killed. They cry up Jenings of The Ruby, and Saunders of The Sweepstakes. They condemn mightily Sir Thomas Teddiman for a coward, but with what reason time must shew.
Having heard all this Creed and I walked into the Parke till 9 or 10 at night, it being fine moonshine, discoursing of the unhappinesse of our fleete, what it would have been if the Prince had not come in, how much the Duke hath failed of what he was so presumptuous of, how little we deserve of God Almighty to give us better fortune, how much this excuses all that was imputed to my Lord Sandwich, and how much more he is a man fit to be trusted with all those matters than those that now command, who act by nor with any advice, but rashly and without any order. How bad we are at intelligence that should give the Prince no sooner notice of any thing but let him come to Dover without notice of any fight, or where the fleete were, or any thing else, nor give the Duke any notice that he might depend upon the Prince’s reserve; and lastly, of how good use all may be to checke our pride and presumption in adventuring upon hazards upon unequal force against a people that can fight, it seems now, as well as we, and that will not be discouraged by any losses, but that they will rise again. Thence by water home, and to supper (my father, wife, and sister having been at Islington today at Pitt’s) and to bed.
1 Evelyn was in his garden when he heard the guns, and be at once set off to Rochester and the coast, but he found that nothing had been heard at Deal (see his “Diary,” June 1st, 1666).
5th. Up, and to the office, where all the morning, expecting every houre more newes of the fleete and the issue of yesterday’s fight, but nothing come. At noon, though I should have dined with my Lord Mayor and Aldermen at an entertainment of Commissioner Taylor’s, yet it being a time of expectation of the successe of the fleete, I did not go, but dined at home, and after dinner by water down to Deptford (and Woolwich, where I had not been since I lodged there, and methinks the place has grown natural to me), and thence down to Longreach, calling on all the ships in the way, seeing their condition for sayling, and what they want. Home about 11 of the clock, and so eat a bit and to bed, having received no manner of newes this day, but of The Rainbow’s being put in from the fleete, maimed as the other ships are, and some say that Sir W. Clerke is dead of his leg being cut off.
6th. Up betimes, and vexed with my people for having a key taken out of the chamber doors and nobody knew where it was, as also with my boy for not being ready as soon as I, though I called him, whereupon I boxed him soundly, and then to my business at the office and on the Victualling Office, and thence by water to St. James’s, whither he [the Duke of York] is now gone, it being a monthly fast-day for the plague. There we all met, and did our business as usual with the Duke, and among other things had Captain Cocke’s proposal of East country goods read, brought by my Lord Bruncker, which I make use of as a monkey do the cat’s foot. Sir W. Coventry did much oppose it, and it’s likely it will not do; so away goes my hopes of £500. Thence after the Duke into the Parke, walking through to White Hall, and there every body listening for guns, but none heard, and every creature is now overjoyed and concludes upon very good grounds that the Dutch are beaten because we have heard no guns nor no newes of our fleete. By and by walking a little further, Sir Philip Frowde did meet the Duke with an expresse to Sir W. Coventry (who was by) from Captain Taylor, the Storekeeper at Harwich, being the narration of Captain Hayward of The Dunkirke; who gives a very serious account, how upon Monday the two fleetes fought all day till seven at night, and then the whole fleete of Dutch did betake themselves to a very plain flight, and never looked back again. That Sir Christopher Mings is wounded in the leg; that the Generall is well. That it is conceived reasonably, that of all the Dutch fleete, which, with what recruits they had, come to one hundred sayle, there is not above fifty got home; and of them, few if any of their flags. And that little Captain Bell, in one of the fire-ships, did at the end of the day fire a ship of 70 guns. We were all so overtaken with this good newes, that the Duke ran with it to the King, who was gone to chappell, and there all the Court was in a hubbub, being rejoiced over head and ears in this good newes. Away go I by coach to the New Exchange, and there did spread this good newes a little, though I find it had broke out before. And so home to our own church, it being the common Fast-day, and it was just before sermon; but, Lord! how all the people in the church stared upon me to see me whisper to Sir John Minnes and my Lady Pen. Anon I saw people stirring and whispering below, and by and by comes up the sexton from my Lady Ford to tell me the newes (which I had brought), being now sent into the church by Sir W. Batten in writing, and handed from pew to pew. But that which pleased me as much as the newes, was, to have the fair Mrs. Middleton at our church, who indeed is a very beautiful lady. Here after sermon comes to our office 40 people almost of all sorts and qualities to hear the newes, which I took great delight to tell them. Then home and found my wife at dinner, not knowing of my being at church, and after dinner my father and she out to Hales’s, where my father is to begin to sit today for his picture, which I have a desire to have. I all the afternoon at home doing some business, drawing up my vowes for the rest of the yeare to Christmas; but, Lord! to see in what a condition of happiness I am, if I would but keepe myself so; but my love of pleasure is such, that my very soul is angry with itself for my vanity in so doing. Anon took coach and to Hales’s, but he was gone out, and my father and wife gone. So I to Lovett’s, and there to my trouble saw plainly that my project of varnished books will not take, it not keeping colour, not being able to take polishing upon a single paper. Thence home, and my father and wife not coming in, I proceeded with my coach to take a little ayre as far as Bow all alone, and there turned back and home; but before I got home, the bonefires were lighted all the towne over, and I going through Crouched Friars, seeing Mercer at her mother’s gate, stopped, and ‘light, and into her mother’s, the first time I ever was there, and find all my people, father and all, at a very fine supper at W. Hewer’s lodging, very neatly, and to my great pleasure. After supper, into his chamber, which is mighty fine with pictures and every thing else, very curious, which pleased me exceedingly. Thence to the gate, with the women all about me, and Mrs. Mercer’s son had provided a great many serpents, and so I made the women all fire some serpents. By and by comes in our faire neighbour, Mrs. Turner, and two neighbour’s daughters, Mrs. Tite, the elder of whom, a long red-nosed silly jade; the younger, a pretty black girle, and the merriest sprightly jade that ever I saw. With them idled away the whole night till twelve at night at the bonefire in the streets. Some of the people thereabouts going about with musquets, and did give me two or three vollies of their musquets, I giving them a crowne to drink; and so home. Mightily pleased with this happy day’s newes, and the more, because confirmed by Sir Daniel Harvy, who was in the whole fight with the Generall, and tells me that there appear but thirty-six in all of the Dutch fleete left at the end of the voyage when they run home. The joy of the City was this night exceeding great.
7th. Up betimes, and to my office about business (Sir W. Coventry having sent me word that he is gone down to the fleete to see how matters stand, and to be back again speedily); and with the same expectation of congratulating ourselves with the victory that I had yesterday. But my Lord Bruncker and Sir T. H. that come from Court, tell me quite contrary newes, which astonishes me: that is to say, that we are beaten, lost many ships and good commanders; have not taken one ship of the enemy’s; and so can only report ourselves a victory; nor is it certain that we were left masters of the field. But, above all, that The Prince run on shore upon the Galloper, and there stuck; was endeavoured to be fetched off by the Dutch, but could not; and so they burned her; and Sir G. Ascue is taken prisoner, and carried into Holland. This newes do much trouble me, and the thoughts of the ill consequences of it, and the pride and presumption that brought us to it. At noon to the ‘Change, and there find the discourse of towne, and their countenances much changed; but yet not very plain. So home to dinner all alone, my father and people being gone all to Woolwich to see the launching of the new ship The Greenwich, built by Chr. Pett. I left alone with little Mrs. Tooker, whom I kept with me in my chamber all the afternoon, and did what I would with her. By and by comes Mr. Wayth to me; and discoursing of our ill successe, he tells me plainly from Captain Page’s own mouth (who hath lost his arm in the fight), that the Dutch did pursue us two hours before they left us, and then they suffered us to go on homewards, and they retreated towards their coast: which is very sad newes. Then to my office and anon to White Hall, late, to the Duke of York to see what commands he hath and to pray a meeting tomorrow for Tangier in behalf of Mr. Yeabsly, which I did do and do find the Duke much damped in his discourse, touching the late fight, and all the Court talk sadly of it. The Duke did give me several letters he had received from the fleete, and Sir W. Coventry and Sir W. Pen, who are gone down thither, for me to pick out some works to be done for the setting out the fleete again; and so I took them home with me, and was drawing out an abstract of them till midnight. And as to newes, I do find great reason to think that we are beaten in every respect, and that we are the losers. The Prince upon the Galloper, where both the Royall Charles and Royall Katharine had come twice aground, but got off. The Essex carried into Holland; the Swiftsure missing (Sir William Barkeley) ever since the beginning of the fight. Captains Bacon, Tearne, Wood, Mootham, Whitty, and Coppin, slayne. The Duke of Albemarle writes, that he never fought with worse officers in his life, not above twenty of them behaving themselves like men. Sir William Clerke lost his leg; and in two days died. The Loyall George, Seven Oakes, and Swiftsure, are still missing, having never, as the Generall writes himself, engaged with them. It was as great an alteration to find myself required to write a sad letter instead of a triumphant one to my Lady Sandwich this night, as ever on any occasion I had in my life. So late home and to bed.
8th. Up very betimes and to attend the Duke of York by order, all of us to report to him what the works are that are required of us and to divide among us, wherein I have taken a very good share, and more than I can perform, I doubt. Thence to the Exchequer about some Tangier businesses, and then home, where to my very great joy I find Balty come home without any hurt, after the utmost imaginable danger he hath gone through in the Henery, being upon the quarterdeck with Harman all the time; and for which service Harman I heard this day commended most seriously and most eminently by the Duke of Yorke. As also the Duke did do most utmost right to Sir Thomas Teddiman, of whom a scandal was raised, but without cause, he having behaved himself most eminently brave all the whole fight, and to extraordinary great service and purpose, having given Trump himself such a broadside as was hardly ever given to any ship. Mings is shot through the face, and into the shoulder, where the bullet is lodged. Young Holmes’ is also ill wounded, and Ather in The Rupert. Balty tells me the case of The Henery; and it was, indeed, most extraordinary sad and desperate. After dinner Balty and I to my office, and there talked a great deal of this fight; and I am mightily pleased in him and have great content in, and hopes of his doing well. Thence out to White Hall to a Committee for Tangier, but it met not. But, Lord! to see how melancholy the Court is, under the thoughts of this last overthrow (for so it is), instead of a victory, so much and so unreasonably expected. Thence, the Committee not meeting, Creed and I down the river as low as Sir W. Warren’s, with whom I did motion a business that may be of profit to me, about buying some lighters to send down to the fleete, wherein he will assist me. So back again, he and I talking of the late ill management of this fight, and of the ill management of fighting at all against so great a force bigger than ours, and so to the office, where we parted, but with this satisfaction that we hear the Swiftsure, Sir W. Barkeley, is come in safe to the Nore, after her being absent ever since the beginning of the fight, wherein she did not appear at all from beginning to end. But wherever she has been, they say she is arrived there well, which I pray God however may be true. At the office late, doing business, and so home to supper and to bed.
9th. Up, and to St. James’s, there to wait on the Duke of Yorke, and had discourse with him about several businesses of the fleete. But, Lord! to see how the Court is divided about The Swiftsure and The Essex’s being safe. And wagers and odds laid on both sides. I did tell the Duke how Sir W. Batten did tell me this morning that he was sure the Swiftsure is safe. This put them all in a great joy and certainty of it, but this I doubt will prove nothing. Thence to White Ball in expectation of a meeting of Tangier, and we did industriously labour to have it this morning; but we could not get a fifth person there, so after much pains and thoughts on my side on behalfe of Yeabsly, we were fain to breake up. But, Lord! to see with what patience Lord Ashly did stay all the morning to get a Committee, little thinking that I know the reason of his willingnesse. So I home to dinner and back again to White Hall, and, being come thither a little too soon, went to Westminster Hall, and bought a payre of gloves, and to see how people do take this late fight at sea, and I find all give over the thoughts of it as a victory and to reckon it a great overthrow. So to White Hall, and there when we were come all together in certain expectation of doing our business to Yeabsly’s full content, and us that were his friends, my Lord Peterborough (whether through some difference between him and my Lord Ashly, or him and me or Povy, or through the falsenesse of Creed, I know not) do bring word that the Duke of Yorke (who did expressly bid me wait at the Committee for the dispatch of the business) would not have us go forward in this business of allowing the losse of the ships till Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Coventry were come to towne, which was the very thing indeed which we would have avoided. This being told us, we broke up doing nothing, to my great discontent, though I said nothing, and afterwards I find by my Lord Ashly’s discourse to me that he is troubled mightily at it, and indeed it is a great abuse of him and of the whole Commissioners that nothing of that nature can be done without Sir G. Carteret or Sir W. Coventry. No sooner was the Committee up, and I going [through] the Court homeward, but I am told Sir W. Coventry is come to town; so I to his chamber, and there did give him an account how matters go in our office, and with some content I parted from him, after we had discoursed several things of the haste requisite to be made in getting the fleete out again and the manner of doing it. But I do not hear that he is at all pleased or satisfied with the late fight; but he tells me more newes of our suffering, by the death of one or two captains more than I knew before. But he do give over the thoughts of the safety of The Swiftsure or Essex. Thence homewards, landed at the Old Swan, and there find my pretty Betty Michell and her husband at their doore in Thames Streete, which I was glad to find, and went into their shop, and they made me drink some of their strong water, the first time I was ever with them there. I do exceedingly love her. After sitting a little and talking with them about several things at great distance I parted and home to my business late. But I am to observe how the drinking of some strong water did immediately put my eyes into a fit of sorenesse again as they were the other day. I mean my right eye only. Late at night I had an account brought me by Sir W. Warren that he has gone through four lighters for me, which pleases me very well. So home to bed, much troubled with our disappointment at the Tangier Committee.
10th (Lord’s day). Up very betimes, and down the river to Deptford, and did a good deale of business in sending away and directing several things to the Fleete. That being done, back to London to my office, and there at my office till after Church time fitting some notes to carry to Sir W. Coventry in the afternoon. At noon home to dinner, where my cozen Joyces, both of them, they and their wives and little Will, come by invitation to dinner to me, and I had a good dinner for them; but, Lord! how sicke was I of W. Joyce’s company, both the impertinencies of it and his ill manners before me at my table to his wife, which I could hardly forbear taking notice of; but being at my table and for his wife’s sake, I did, though I will prevent his giving me the like occasion again at my house I will warrant him. After dinner I took leave and by water to White Hall, and there spent all the afternoon in the Gallery, till the Council was up, to speake with Sir W. Coventry. Walking here I met with Pierce the surgeon, who is lately come from the fleete, and tells me that all the commanders, officers, and even the common seamen do condemn every part of the late conduct of the Duke of Albemarle: both in his fighting at all, in his manner of fighting, running among them in his retreat, and running the ships on ground; so as nothing can be worse spoken of. That Holmes, Spragg, and Smith do all the business, and the old and wiser commanders nothing. So as Sir Thomas Teddiman (whom the King and all the world speak well of) is mightily discontented, as being wholly slighted. He says we lost more after the Prince come, than before too. The Prince was so maimed, as to be forced to be towed home. He says all the fleete confess their being chased home by the Dutch; and yet the body of the Dutch that did it, was not above forty sayle at most. And yet this put us into the fright, as to bring all our ships on ground. He says, however, that the Duke of Albemarle is as high almost as ever, and pleases himself to think that he hath given the Dutch their bellies full, without sense of what he hath lost us; and talks how he knows now the way to beat them. But he says, that even Smith himself, one of his creatures, did himself condemn the late conduct from the beginning to the end. He tells me further, how the Duke of Yorke is wholly given up to his new mistresse, my Lady Denham, going at noon-day with all his gentlemen with him to visit her in Scotland Yard; she declaring she will not be his mistresse, as Mrs. Price, to go up and down the Privy-stairs, but will be owned publicly; and so she is. Mr. Bruncker, it seems, was the pimp to bring it about, and my Lady Castlemaine, who designs thereby to fortify herself by the Duke; there being a falling-out the other day between the King and her: on this occasion, the Queene, in ordinary talke before the ladies in her drawing-room, did say to my Lady Castlemaine that she feared the King did take cold, by staying so late abroad at her house. She answered before them all, that he did not stay so late abroad with her, for he went betimes thence (though he do not before one, two, or three in the morning), but must stay somewhere else. The King then coming in and overhearing, did whisper in the eare aside, and told her she was a bold impertinent woman, and bid her to be gone out of the Court, and not come again till he sent for, her; which she did presently, and went to a lodging in the Pell Mell, and kept there two or three days, and then sent to the King to know whether she might send for her things away out of her house. The King sent to her, she must first come and view them: and so she come, and the King went to her, and all friends again. He tells me she did, in her anger, say she would be even with the King, and print his letters to her. So putting all together, we are and are like to be in a sad condition. We are endeavouring to raise money by borrowing it of the City; but I do not think the City will lend a farthing. By and by the Council broke up, and I spoke with Sir W. Coventry about business, with whom I doubt not in a little time to be mighty well, when I shall appear to mind my business again as I used to do, which by the grace of God I will do. Gone from him I endeavoured to find out Sir G. Carteret, and at last did at Mr. Ashburnham’s, in the Old Palace Yarde, and thence he and I stepped out and walked an houre in the church-yarde, under Henry the Seventh’s Chappell, he being lately come from the fleete; and tells me, as I hear from every body else, that the management in the late fight was bad from top to bottom. That several said this would not have been if my Lord Sandwich had had the ordering of it. Nay, he tells me that certainly had my Lord Sandwich had the misfortune to have done as they have done, the King could not have saved him. There is, too, nothing but discontent among the officers; and all the old experienced men are slighted. He tells me to my question (but as a great secret), that the dividing of the fleete did proceed first from a proposition from the fleete, though agreed to hence. But he confesses it arose from want of due intelligence, which he confesses we do want. He do, however, call the fleete’s retreat on Sunday a very honourable retreat, and that the Duke of Albemarle did do well in it, and would have been well if he had done it sooner, rather than venture the loss of the fleete and crown, as he must have done if the Prince had not come. He was surprised when I told him I heard that the King did intend to borrow some money of the City, and would know who had spoke of it to me; I told him Sir Ellis Layton this afternoon. He says it is a dangerous discourse; for that the City certainly will not be invited to do it, and then for the King to ask it and be denied, will be the beginning of our sorrow. He seems to fear we shall all fall to pieces among ourselves. This evening we hear that Sir Christopher Mings is dead of his late wounds; and Sir W. Coventry did commend him to me in a most extraordinary manner. But this day, after three days’ trial in vain, and the hazard of the spoiling of the ship in lying till next spring, besides the disgrace of it, newes is brought that the Loyall London is launched at Deptford. Having talked thus much with Sir G. Carteret we parted there, and I home by water, taking in my boat with me young Michell and my Betty his wife, meeting them accidentally going to look a boat. I set them down at the Old Swan and myself, went through bridge to the Tower, and so home, and after supper to bed.
11th. Up, and down by water to Sir W. Warren’s (the first time I was in his new house on the other side the water since he enlarged it) to discourse about our lighters that he hath bought for me, and I hope to get £100 by this jobb. Having done with him I took boat again (being mightily struck with a woman in a hat, a seaman’s mother — [Mother or mauther, a wench.]— that stood on the key) and home, where at the office all the morning with Sir W. Coventry and some others of our board hiring of fireships, and Sir W. Coventry begins to see my pains again, which I do begin to take, and I am proud of it, and I hope shall continue it. He gone, at noon I home to dinner, and after dinner my father and wife out to the painter’s to sit again, and I, with my Lady Pen and her daughter, to see Harman; whom we find lame in bed. His bones of his anckle are broke, but he hopes to do well soon; and a fine person by his discourse he seems to be and my hearty [friend]; and he did plainly tell me that at the Council of War before the fight, it was against his reason to begin the fight then, and the reasons of most sober men there, the wind being such, and we to windward, that they could not use their lower tier of guns, which was a very sad thing for us to have the honour and weal of the nation ventured so foolishly. I left them there, and walked to Deptford, reading in Walsingham’s Manual, a very good book, and there met with Sir W. Batten and my Lady at Uthwayt’s. Here I did much business and yet had some little mirthe with my Lady, and anon we all come up together to our office, where I was very late doing much business. Late comes Sir J. Bankes to see me, and tells me that coming up from Rochester he overtook three or four hundred seamen, and he believes every day they come flocking from the fleete in like numbers; which is a sad neglect there, when it will be impossible to get others, and we have little reason to think that these will return presently again. He gone, I to end my letters to-night, and then home to supper and to bed.
12th. Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning. At noon to dinner, and then to White Hall in hopes of a meeting of Tangier about Yeabsly’s business, but it could not be obtained, Sir G. Carteret nor Sir W. Coventry being able to be there, which still vexes [me] to see the poor man forced still to attend, as also being desirous to see what my profit is, and get it. Walking here in the galleries I find the Ladies of Honour dressed in their riding garbs, with coats and doublets with deep skirts, just for all the world like mine, and buttoned their doublets up the breast, with perriwigs and with hats; so that, only for a long petticoat dragging under their men’s coats, nobody could take them for women in any point whatever; which was an odde sight, and a sight did not please me. It was Mrs. Wells and another fine lady that I saw thus. Thence down by water to Deptford, and there late seeing some things dispatched down to the fleete, and so home (thinking indeed to have met with Bagwell, but I did not) to write my letters very late, and so to supper and to bed.
13th. Up, and by coach to St. James’s, and there did our business before the Duke as usual, having, before the Duke come out of his bed, walked in an ante-chamber with Sir H. Cholmly, who tells me there are great jarrs between the Duke of Yorke and the Duke of Albemarle, about the later’s turning out one or two of the commanders put in by the Duke of Yorke. Among others, Captain Du Tell, a Frenchman, put in by the Duke of Yorke, and mightily defended by him; and is therein led by Monsieur Blancford, that it seems hath the same command over the Duke of Yorke as Sir W. Coventry hath; which raises ill blood between them. And I do in several little things observe that Sir W. Coventry hath of late, by the by, reflected on the Duke of Albemarle and his captains, particularly in that of old Teddiman, who did deserve to be turned out this fight, and was so; but I heard Sir W. Coventry say that the Duke of Albemarle put in one as bad as he is in his room, and one that did as little. After we had done with the Duke of Yorke, I with others to White Hall, there to attend again a Committee of Tangier, but there was none, which vexed me to the heart, and makes me mighty doubtfull that when we have one, it will be prejudiced against poor Yeabsly and to my great disadvantage thereby, my Lord Peterborough making it his business, I perceive (whether in spite to me, whom he cannot but smell to be a friend to it, or to my Lord Ashly, I know not), to obstruct it, and seems to take delight in disappointing of us; but I shall be revenged of him. Here I staid a very great while, almost till noon, and then meeting Balty I took him with me, and to Westminster to the Exchequer about breaking of two tallys of £2000 each into smaller tallys, which I have been endeavouring a good while, but to my trouble it will not, I fear, be done, though there be no reason against it, but only a little trouble to the clerks; but it is nothing to me of real profit at all. Thence with Balty to Hales’s by coach, it being the seventh day from my making my late oathes, and by them I am at liberty to dispense with any of my oathes every seventh day after I had for the six days before going performed all my vowes. Here I find my father’s picture begun, and so much to my content, that it joys my very heart to thinke that I should have his picture so well done; who, besides that he is my father, and a man that loves me, and hath ever done so, is also, at this day, one of the most carefull and innocent men, in the world. Thence with mighty content homeward, and in my way at the Stockes did buy a couple of lobsters, and so home to dinner, where I find my wife and father had dined, and were going out to Hales’s to sit there, so Balty and I alone to dinner, and in the middle of my grace, praying for a blessing upon (these his good creatures), my mind fell upon my lobsters: upon which I cried, Odd zooks! and Balty looked upon me like a man at a losse what I meant, thinking at first that I meant only that I had said the grace after meat instead of that before meat. But then I cried, what is become of my lobsters? Whereupon he run out of doors to overtake the coach, but could not, so came back again, and mighty merry at dinner to thinke of my surprize. After dinner to the Excise Office by appointment, and there find my Lord Bellasses and the Commissioners, and by and by the whole company come to dispute the business of our running so far behindhand there, and did come to a good issue in it, that is to say, to resolve upon having the debt due to us, and the Household and the Guards from the Excise stated, and so we shall come to know the worst of our condition and endeavour for some helpe from my Lord Treasurer. Thence home, and put off Balty, and so, being invited, to Sir Christopher Mings’s funeral, but find them gone to church. However I into the church (which is a fair, large church, and a great chappell) and there heard the service, and staid till they buried him, and then out. And there met with Sir W. Coventry (who was there out of great generosity, and no person of quality there but he) and went with him into his coach, and being in it with him there happened this extraordinary case, one of the most romantique that ever I heard of in my life, and could not have believed, but that I did see it; which was this:— About a dozen able, lusty, proper men come to the coach-side with tears in their eyes, and one of them that spoke for the rest begun and says to Sir W. Coventry, “We are here a dozen of us that have long known and loved, and served our dead commander, Sir Christopher Mings, and have now done the last office of laying him in the ground. We would be glad we had any other to offer after him, and in revenge of him. All we have is our lives; if you will please to get His Royal Highness to give us a fireship among us all, here is a dozen of us, out of all which choose you one to be commander, and the rest of us, whoever he is, will serve him; and, if possible, do that that shall show our memory of our dead commander, and our revenge.” Sir W. Coventry was herewith much moved (as well as I, who could hardly abstain from weeping), and took their names, and so parted; telling me that he would move His Royal Highness as in a thing very extraordinary, which was done. Thereon see the next day in this book. So we parted. The truth is, Sir Christopher Mings was a very stout man, and a man of great parts, and most excellent tongue among ordinary men; and as Sir W. Coventry says, could have been the most useful man at such a pinch of time as this. He was come into great renowne here at home, and more abroad in the West Indys. He had brought his family into a way of being great; but dying at this time, his memory and name (his father being always and at this day a shoemaker, and his mother a Hoyman’s daughter; of which he was used frequently to boast) will be quite forgot in a few months as if he had never been, nor any of his name be the better by it; he having not had time to will any estate, but is dead poor rather than rich. So we left the church and crowd, and I home (being set down on Tower Hill), and there did a little business and then in the evening went down by water to Deptford, it being very late, and there I staid out as much time as I could, and then took boat again homeward, but the officers being gone in, returned and walked to Mrs. Bagwell’s house, and there (it being by this time pretty dark and past ten o’clock) went into her house and did what I would. But I was not a little fearfull of what she told me but now, which is, that her servant was dead of the plague, that her coming to me yesterday was the first day of her coming forth, and that she had new whitened the house all below stairs, but that above stairs they are not so fit for me to go up to, they being not so. So I parted thence, with a very good will, but very civil, and away to the waterside, and sent for a pint of sacke and so home, drank what I would and gave the waterman the rest; and so adieu. Home about twelve at night, and so to bed, finding most of my people gone to bed. In my way home I called on a fisherman and bought three eeles, which cost me three shillings.
14th. Up, and to the office, and there sat all the morning. At noon dined at home, and thence with my wife and father to Hales’s, and there looked only on my father’s picture (which is mighty like); and so away to White Hall to a committee for Tangier, where the Duke of York was, and Sir W. Coventry, and a very full committee; and instead of having a very prejudiced meeting, they did, though indeed inclined against Yeabsly, yield to the greatest part of his account, so as to allow of his demands to the value of £7,000 and more, and only give time for him to make good his pretence to the rest; which was mighty joy to me: and so we rose up. But I must observe the force of money, which did make my Lord Ashly to argue and behave himself in the business with the greatest friendship, and yet with all the discretion imaginable; and [it] will be a business of admonition and instruction to me concerning him (and other men, too, for aught I know) as long as I live. Thence took Creed with some kind of violence and some hard words between us to St. James’s, to have found out Sir W. Coventry to have signed the order for his payment among others that did stay on purpose to do it (and which is strange among the rest my Lord Ashly, who did cause Creed to write it presently and kept two or three of them with him by cunning to stay and sign it), but Creed’s ill nature (though never so well bribed, as it hath lately in this case by twenty pieces) will not be overcome from his usual delays. Thence failing of meeting Sir W. Coventry I took leave of Creed (very good friends) and away home, and there took out my father, wife, sister, and Mercer our grand Tour in the evening, and made it ten at night before we got home, only drink at the doore at Islington at the Katherine Wheel, and so home and to the office a little, and then to bed.
15th. Up betimes, and to my Journall entries, but disturbed by many businesses, among others by Mr. Houblon’s coming to me about evening their freight for Tangier, which I did, and then Mr. Bland, who presented me yesterday with a very fine African mat, to lay upon the ground under a bed of state, being the first fruits of our peace with Guyland. So to the office, and thither come my pretty widow Mrs. Burrows, poor woman, to get her ticket paid for her husband’s service, which I did her myself, and did ‘baisser her moucher’, and I do hope may thereafter have some day ‘sa’ company. Thence to Westminster to the Exchequer, but could not persuade the blockheaded fellows to do what I desire, of breaking my great tallys into less, notwithstanding my Lord Treasurer’s order, which vexed [me] so much that I would not bestow more time and trouble among a company of dunces, and so back again home, and to dinner, whither Creed come and dined with me and after dinner Mr. Moore, and he and I abroad, thinking to go down the river together, but the tide being against me would not, but returned and walked an houre in the garden, but, Lord! to hear how he pleases himself in behalf of my Lord Sandwich, in the miscarriage of the Duke of Albemarle, and do inveigh against Sir W. Coventry as a cunning knave, but I thinke that without any manner of reason at all, but only his passion. He being gone I to my chamber at home to set my Journall right and so to settle my Tangier accounts, which I did in very good order, and then in the evening comes Mr. Yeabsly to reckon with me, which I did also, and have above £200 profit therein to myself, which is a great blessing, the God of heaven make me thankfull for it. That being done, and my eyes beginning to be sore with overmuch writing, I to supper and to bed.
16th. Up betimes and to my office, and there we sat all the morning and dispatched much business, the King, Duke of Yorke, and Sir W. Coventry being gone down to the fleete. At noon home to dinner and then down to Woolwich and Deptford to look after things, my head akeing from the multitude of businesses I had in my head yesterday in settling my accounts. All the way down and up, reading of “The Mayor of Quinborough,” a simple play. At Deptford, while I am there, comes Mr. Williamson, Sir Arthur Ingram and Jacke Fen, to see the new ships, which they had done, and then I with them home in their boat, and a very fine gentleman Mr. Williamson is. It seems the Dutch do mightily insult of their victory, and they have great reason.1 Sir William Barkeley was killed before his ship taken; and there he lies dead in a sugar-chest, for every body to see, with his flag standing up by him. And Sir George Ascue is carried up and down the Hague for people to see. Home to my office, where late, and then to bed.
1 This treatment seems to have been that of the Dutch populace alone, and there does not appear to have been cause of complaint against the government. Respecting Sir W. Berkeley’s body the following notice was published in the “London Gazette” of July 15th, 1666 (No. 69) “Whitehall, July 15. This day arrived a trumpet from the States of Holland, who came over from Calais in the Dover packet-boat, with a letter to his Majesty, that the States have taken order for the embalming the body of Sir William Berkeley, which they have placed in the chapel of the great church at the Hague, a civility they profess to owe to his corpse, in respect to the quality of his person, the greatness of his command, and of the high courage and valour he showed in the late engagement; desiring his Majesty to signify his pleasure about the further disposal of it.” “Frederick Ruysch, the celebrated Dutch anatomist, undertook, by order of the States–General, to inject the body of the English Admiral Berkeley, killed in the sea-fight of 1666; and the body, already somewhat decomposed, was sent over to England as well prepared as if it had been the fresh corpse of a child. This produced to Ruysch, on the part of the States–General, a recompense worthy of their liberality, and the merit of the anatomist,” “James’s Medical Dictionary.”
17th (Lord’s day). Being invited to Anthony Joyce’s to dinner, my wife and sister and Mercer and I walked out in the morning, it being fine weather, to Christ Church, and there heard a silly sermon, but sat where we saw one of the prettiest little boys with the prettiest mouth that ever I saw in [my] life. Thence to Joyce’s, where William Joyce and his wife were, and had a good dinner; but, Lord! how sicke was I of the company, only hope I shall have no more of it a good while; but am invited to Will’s this week; and his wife, poor unhappy woman, cried to hear me say that I could not be there, she thinking that I slight her: so they got me to promise to come. Thence my father and I walked to Gray’s Inne Fields, and there spent an houre or two walking and talking of several businesses; first, as to his estate, he told me it produced about £80 per ann., but then there goes £30 per. ann. taxes and other things, certain charge, which I do promise to make good as far as this £30, at which the poor man was overjoyed and wept. As to Pall he tells me he is mightily satisfied with Ensum, and so I promised to give her £500 presently, and to oblige myself to 100 more on the birth of her first child, he insuring her in £10 per ann. for every £100, and in the meantime till she do marry I promise to allow her £10 per ann. Then as to John I tell him I will promise him nothing, but will supply him as so much lent him, I declaring that I am not pleased with him yet, and that when his degree is over I will send for him up hither, and if he be good for any thing doubt not to get him preferment. This discourse ended to the joy of my father and no less to me to see that I am able to do this, we return to Joyce’s and there wanting a coach to carry us home I walked out as far as the New Exchange to find one, but could not. So down to the Milke-house, and drank three glasses of whay, and then up into the Strand again, and there met with a coach, and so to Joyce’s and took up my father, wife, sister, and Mercer, and to Islington, where we drank, and then our tour by Hackney home, where, after a little, business at my office and then talke with my Lady and Pegg Pen in the garden, I home and to bed, being very weary.
18th. Up betimes and in my chamber most of the morning setting things to rights there, my Journall and accounts with my father and brother, then to the office a little, and so to Lumbard Streete, to borrow a little money upon a tally, but cannot. Thence to the Exchequer, and there after much wrangling got consent that I should have a great tally broken into little ones. Thence to Hales’s to see how my father’s picture goes on, which pleases me mighty well, though I find again, as I did in Mrs. Pierce’s, that a picture may have more of a likeness in the first or second working than it shall have when finished, though this is very well and to my full content, but so it is, and certainly mine was not so like at the first, second, or third sitting as it was afterward. Thence to my Lord Bellasses, by invitation, and there dined with him, and his lady and daughter; and at dinner there played to us a young boy, lately come from France, where he had been learning a yeare or two on the viallin, and plays finely. But impartially I do not find any goodnesse in their ayres (though very good) beyond ours when played by the same hand, I observed in several of Baptiste’s’1 (the present great composer) and our Bannister’s. But it was pretty to see how passionately my Lord’s daughter loves musique, the most that ever I saw creature in my life. Thence after dinner home and to the office and anon to Lumbard Streete again, where much talke at Colvill’s, he censuring the times, and how matters are ordered, and with reason enough; but, above all, the thinking to borrow money of the City, which will not be done, but be denied, they being little pleased with the King’s affairs, and that must breed differences between the King and the City. Thence down by water to Deptford, to order things away to the fleete and back again, and after some business at my office late home to supper and to bed. Sir W. Coventry is returned this night from the fleete, he being the activest man in the world, and we all (myself particularly) more afeard of him than of the King or his service, for aught I see; God forgive us! This day the great newes is come of the French, their taking the island of St. Christopher’s’ from us; and it is to be feared they have done the like of all those islands thereabouts this makes the city mad.
1 Jean Baptiste Lulli, son of a Tuscan peasant, born 1633, died 1687. He invented the dramatic overture. “But during the first years of Charles II. all musick affected by the beau mond run in the french way; and the rather because at that time the master of the court musick in France, whose name was Baptista (an Italian frenchifyed) had influenced the french style by infusing a great portion of the Italian harmony into it, whereby the ayre was exceedingly improved” (North’s “Memoires of Musick,” ed. Rimbault, 1846, p, 102).
19th. Up, and to my office, there to fit business against the rest meet, which they did by and by, and sat late. After the office rose (with Creed with me) to Wm. Joyce’s to dinner, being invited, and there find my father and sister, my wife and Mercer, with them, almost dined. I made myself as complaisant as I could till I had dined, but yet much against my will, and so away after dinner with Creed to Penny’s, my Tailor, where I bespoke a thin stuff suit, and did spend a little time evening some little accounts with Creed and so parted, and I to Sir. G. Carteret’s by appointment; where I perceive by him the King is going to borrow some money of the City; but I fear it will do no good, but hurt. He tells me how the Generall —[The Duke of Albemarle.]— is displeased, and there have been some high words between the Generall and Sir W. Coventry. And it may be so; for I do not find Sir W. Coventry so highly commending the Duke as he used to be, but letting fall now and then some little jerkes: as this day, speaking of newes from Holland, he says, “I find their victory begins to shrinke there, as well as ours here.” Here I met with Captain Cocke, and he tells me that the first thing the Prince said to the King upon his coming, was complaining of the Commissioners of the Navy; that they could have been abroad in three or four days but for us; that we do not take care of them which I am troubled at, and do fear may in violence break out upon this office some time or other; for we shall not be able to carry on the business. Thence home, and at my business till late at night, then with my wife into the garden and there sang with Mercer, whom I feel myself begin to love too much by handling of her breasts in a’ morning when she dresses me, they being the finest that ever I saw in my life, that is the truth of it. So home and to supper with beans and bacon and to bed.
20th. Up, but in some pain of the collique. I have of late taken too much cold by washing my feet and going in a thin silke waistcoate, without any other coate over it, and open-breasted, but I hope it will go over. I did this morning (my father being to go away tomorrow) give my father some money to buy him a horse, and for other things to himself and my mother and sister, among them £20, besides undertaking to pay for other things for them to about £3, which the poor man takes with infinite kindnesse, and I do not thinke I can bestow it better. Thence by coach to St. James’s as usual to wait on the Duke of York, after having discoursed with Collonell Fitzgerald, whom I met in my way and he returned with me to Westminster, about paying him a sum of 700 and odd pounds, and he bids me defalk £25 for myself — [Abate from an amount.]— which is a very good thing; having done with the Duke I to the Exchequer and there after much ado do get my business quite over of the difficulty of breaking a great tally into little ones and so shall have it done tomorrow. Thence to the Hall and with Mrs. Martin home and staid with her a while, and then away to the Swan and sent for a bit of meat and dined there, and thence to Faythorne, the picture-seller’s, and there chose two or three good Cutts to try to vernish, and so to Hales’s to see my father’s picture, which is now near finished and is very good, and here I staid and took a nap of an hour, thinking my father and wife would have come, but they did not; so I away home as fast as I could, fearing lest my father this day going abroad to see Mr. Honiwood at Major Russell’s might meet with any trouble, and so in great pain home; but to spite me, in Cheapside I met Mrs. Williams in a coach, and she called me, so I must needs ‘light and go along with her and poor Knipp (who is so big as she can tumble and looks-every day to lie down) as far as Paternoster Row, which I did do and there staid in Bennett’s shop with them, and was fearfull lest the people of the shop, knowing me, should aske after my father and give Mrs. Williams any knowledge of me to my disgrace. Having seen them done there and accompanied them to Ludgate I ‘light and into my owne coach and home, where I find my father and wife had had no intent of coming at all to Hales’s. So I at home all the evening doing business, and at night in the garden (it having been these three or four days mighty hot weather) singing in the evening, and then home to supper and to bed.
21st. Up, and at the office all the morning; whereby several circumstances I find Sir W. Coventry and the Duke of Albemarle do not agree as they used to do; Sir W. Coventry commending Aylett (in some reproach to the Duke), whom the Duke hath put out for want of courage; and found fault with Steward, whom the Duke keeps in, though as much in fault as any commander in the fleete. At noon home to dinner, my father, sister, and wife dining at Sarah Giles’s, poor woman, where I should have been, but my pride would not suffer me. After dinner to Mr. Debasty’s to speake with Sir Robert Viner, a fine house and a great many fine ladies. He used me mighty civilly. My business was to set the matter right about the letter of credit he did give my Lord Belassis, that I may take up the tallys lodged with Viner for his security in the answering of my Lord’s bills, which we did set right very well, and Sir Robert Viner went home with me and did give me the £5000 tallys presently. Here at Mr. Debasty’s I saw, in a gold frame, a picture of a Outer playing on his flute which, for a good while, I took for paynting, but at last observed it a piece of tapestry, and is the finest that ever I saw in my life for figures, and good natural colours, and a very fine thing it is indeed. So home and met Sir George Smith by the way, who tells me that this day my Lord Chancellor and some of the Court have been with the City, and the City have voted to lend the King £100,000; which, if soon paid (as he says he believes it will), will be a greater service than I did ever expect at this time from the City. So home to my letters and then with my wife in the garden, and then upon our leades singing in the evening and so to supper (while at supper comes young Michell, whose wife I love, little Betty Howlet, to get my favour about a ticket, and I am glad of this occasion of obliging him and give occasion of his coming to me, for I must be better acquainted with him and her), and after supper to bed.
22nd. Up, and before I went out Mr. Peter Barr sent me a tierce of claret, which is very welcome. And so abroad down the river to Deptford and there did some business, and then to Westminster, and there did with much ado get my tallys (my small ones instead of one great one of £2,000), and so away home and there all day upon my Tangier accounts with Creed, and, he being gone, with myself, in settling other accounts till past twelve at night, and then every body being in bed, I to bed, my father, wife, and sister late abroad upon the water, and Mercer being gone to her mother’s and staid so long she could not get into the office, which vexed me.
23rd. My father and sister very betimes took their leave; and my wife, with all possible kindnesse, went with them to the coach, I being mightily pleased with their company thus long, and my father with his being here, and it rejoices my heart that I am in condition to do any thing to comfort him, and could, were it not for my mother, have been contented he should have stayed always here with me, he is such innocent company. They being gone, I to my papers, but vexed at what I heard but a little of this morning, before my wife went out, that Mercer and she fell out last night, and that the girle is gone home to her mother’s for all-together: This troubles me, though perhaps it may be an ease to me of so much charge. But I love the girle, and another we must be forced to keepe I do foresee and then shall be sorry to part with her. At the office all the morning, much disquiett in my mind in the middle of my business about this girle. Home at noon to dinner, and what with the going away of my father today and the losse of Mercer, I after dinner went up to my chamber and there could have cried to myself, had not people come to me about business. In the evening down to Tower Wharfe thinking to go by water, but could not get watermen; they being now so scarce, by reason of the great presse; so to the Custome House, and there, with great threats, got a couple to carry me down to Deptford, all the way reading Pompey the Great (a play translated from the French by several noble persons; among others, my Lord Buckhurst), that to me is but a mean play, and the words and sense not very extraordinary. From Deptford I walked to Redriffe, and in my way was overtaken by Bagwell, lately come from sea in the Providence, who did give me an account of several particulars in the late fight, and how his ship was deserted basely by the York, Captain Swanly, commander. So I home and there after writing my letters home to supper and to bed, fully resolved to rise betimes, and go down the river tomorrow morning, being vexed this night to find none of the officers in the yarde at 7 at night, nor any body concerned as if it were a Dutch warr. It seems Mercer’s mother was here in the morning to speak with my wife, but my wife would not. In the afternoon I and my wife in writing did instruct W. Hewer in some discourse to her, and she in the evening did come and satisfy my wife, and by and by Mercer did come, which I was mighty glad of and eased of much pain about her.
24th. Sunday. Midsummer Day. Up, but, being weary the last night, not so soon as I intended. Then being dressed, down by water to Deptford, and there did a great deale of business, being in a mighty hurry, Sir W. Coventry writing to me that there was some thoughts that the Dutch fleete were out or coming out. Business being done in providing for the carrying down of some provisions to the fleete, I away back home and after dinner by water to White Hall, and there waited till the councill rose, in the boarded gallery, and there among other things I hear that Sir Francis Prujean is dead, after being married to a widow about a yeare or thereabouts. He died very rich, and had, for the last yeare, lived very handsomely, his lady bringing him to it. He was no great painstaker in person, yet died very rich; and, as Dr. Clerke says, was of a very great judgment, but hath writ nothing to leave his name to posterity. In the gallery among others met with Major Halsey, a great creature of the Duke of Albemarle’s; who tells me that the Duke, by name, hath said that he expected to have the worke here up in the River done, having left Sir W. Batten and Mr. Phipps there. He says that the Duke of Albemarle do say that this is a victory we have had, having, as he was sure, killed them 8000 men, and sunk about fourteen of their ships; but nothing like this appears true. He lays much of the little success we had, however, upon the fleete’s being divided by order from above, and the want of spirit in the commanders; and that he was commanded by order to go out of the Downes to the Gun-fleete, and in the way meeting the Dutch fleete, what should he do? should he not fight them? especially having beat them heretofore at as great disadvantage. He tells me further, that having been downe with the Duke of Albemarle, he finds that Holmes and Spragge do govern most business of the Navy; and by others I understand that Sir Thomas Allen is offended thereat; that he is not so much advised with as he ought to be. He tells me also, as he says, of his own knowledge, that several people before the Duke went out did offer to supply the King with £100,000 provided he would be treasurer of it, to see it laid out for the Navy; which he refused, and so it died. But I believe none of this. This day I saw my Lady Falmouth, with whom I remember now I have dined at my Lord Barkeley’s heretofore, a pretty woman: she was now in her second or third mourning, and pretty pleasant in her looks. By and by the Council rises, and Sir W. Coventry comes out; and he and I went aside, and discoursed of much business of the Navy; and afterwards took his coach, and to Hide–Parke, he and I alone: there we had much talke. First, he started a discourse of a talke he hears about the towne, which, says he, is a very bad one, and fit to be suppressed, if we knew how which is, the comparing of the successe of the last year with that of this; saying that that was good, and that bad. I was as sparing in speaking as I could, being jealous of him and myself also, but wished it could be stopped; but said I doubted it could not otherwise than by the fleete’s being abroad again, and so finding other worke for men’s minds and discourse. Then to discourse of himself, saying, that he heard that he was under the lash of people’s discourse about the Prince’s not having notice of the Dutch being out, and for him to comeback again, nor the Duke of Albemarle notice that the Prince was sent for back again: to which he told me very particularly how careful he was the very same night that it was resolved to send for the Prince back, to cause orders to be writ, and waked the Duke, who was then in bed, to sign them; and that they went by expresse that very night, being the Wednesday night before the fight, which begun on the Friday; and that for sending them by the post expresse, and not by gentlemen on purpose, he made a sport of it, and said, I knew of none to send it with, but would at least have lost more time in fitting themselves out, than any diligence of theirs beyond that of the ordinary post would have recovered. I told him that this was not so much the towne talke as the reason of dividing the fleete. To this he told me he ought not to say much; but did assure me in general that the proposition did first come from the fleete, and the resolution not being prosecuted with orders so soon as the Generall thought fit, the Generall did send Sir Edward Spragge up on purpose for them; and that there was nothing in the whole business which was not done with the full consent and advice of the Duke of Albemarle.
But he did adde (as the Catholiques call ‘le secret de la Masse’), that Sir Edward Spragge — who had even in Sir Christopher Mings’s time put in to be the great favourite of the Prince, but much more now had a mind to be the great man with him, and to that end had a mind to have the Prince at a distance from the Duke of Albemarle, that they might be doing something alone — did, as he believed, put on this business of dividing the fleete, and that thence it came.1 He tells me as to the business of intelligence, the want whereof the world did complain much of, that for that it was not his business, and as he was therefore to have no share in the blame, so he would not meddle to lay it any where else. That de Ruyter was ordered by the States not to make it his business to come into much danger, but to preserve himself as much as was fit out of harm’s way, to be able to direct the fleete. He do, I perceive, with some violence, forbear saying any thing to the reproach of the Duke of Albemarle; but, contrarily, speaks much of his courage; but I do as plainly see that he do not like the Duke of Albemarle’s proceedings, but, contrarily, is displeased therewith. And he do plainly diminish the commanders put in by the Duke, and do lessen the miscarriages of any that have been removed by him. He concurs with me, that the next bout will be a fatal one to one side or other, because, if we be beaten, we shall not be able to set out our fleete again. He do confess with me that the hearts of our seamen are much saddened; and for that reason, among others, wishes Sir Christopher Mings was alive, who might inspire courage and spirit into them. Speaking of Holmes, how great a man he is, and that he do for the present, and hath done all the voyage, kept himself in good order and within bounds; but, says he, a cat will be a cat still, and some time or other out his humour must break again. He do not disowne but that the dividing of the fleete upon the presumptions that were then had (which, I suppose, was the French fleete being come this way), was a good resolution. Having had all this discourse, he and I back to White Hall; and there I left him, being [in] a little doubt whether I had behaved myself in my discourse with the policy and circumspection which ought to be used to so great a courtier as he is, and so wise and factious a man, and by water home, and so, after supper, to bed.
1 This division of the fleet was the original cause of the disaster, and at a later period the enemies of Clarendon charged him with having advised this action, but Coventry’s communication to Pepys in the text completely exonerates Clarendon.
25th. Up, and all the morning at my Tangier accounts, which the chopping and changing of my tallys make mighty troublesome; but, however, I did end them with great satisfaction to myself. At noon, without staying to eat my dinner, I down by water to Deptford, and there coming find Sir W. Batten and Sir Jeremy Smith (whom the dispatch of the Loyall London detained) at dinner at Greenwich at the Beare Taverne, and thither I to them and there dined with them. Very good company of strangers there was, but I took no great pleasure among them, being desirous to be back again. So got them to rise as soon as I could, having told them the newes Sir W. Coventry just now wrote me to tell them, which is, that the Dutch are certainly come out. I did much business at Deptford, and so home, by an old poor man, a sculler, having no oares to be got, and all this day on the water entertained myself with the play of Commenius, and being come home did go out to Aldgate, there to be overtaken by Mrs. Margot Pen in her father’s coach, and my wife and Mercer with her, and Mrs. Pen carried us to two gardens at Hackny, (which I every day grow more and more in love with,) Mr. Drake’s one, where the garden is good, and house and the prospect admirable; the other my Lord Brooke’s, where the gardens are much better, but the house not so good, nor the prospect good at all. But the gardens are excellent; and here I first saw oranges grow: some green, some half, some a quarter, and some full ripe, on the same tree, and one fruit of the same tree do come a year or two after the other. I pulled off a little one by stealth (the man being mighty curious of them) and eat it, and it was just as other little green small oranges are; as big as half the end of my little finger. Here were also great variety of other exotique plants, and several labarinths, and a pretty aviary. Having done there with very great pleasure we away back again, and called at the Taverne in Hackny by the church, and there drank and eate, and so in the Goole of the evening home. This being the first day of my putting on my black stuff bombazin suit, and I hope to feel no inconvenience by it, the weather being extremely hot. So home and to bed, and this night the first night of my lying without a waistcoat, which I hope I shall very well endure. So to bed. This morning I did with great pleasure hear Mr. Caesar play some good things on his lute, while he come to teach my boy Tom, and I did give him 40s. for his encouragement.
26th. Up and to my office betimes, and there all the morning, very busy to get out the fleete, the Dutch being now for certain out, and we shall not, we thinke, be much behindhand with them. At noon to the ‘Change about business, and so home to dinner, and after dinner to the setting my Journall to rights, and so to the office again, where all the afternoon full of business, and there till night, that my eyes were sore, that I could not write no longer. Then into the garden, then my wife and Mercer and my Lady Yen and her daughter with us, and here we sung in the darke very finely half an houre, and so home to supper and to bed. This afternoon, after a long drowth, we had a good shower of rain, but it will not signify much if no more come. This day in the morning come Mr. Chichly to Sir W. Coventry, to tell him the ill successe of the guns made for the Loyall London; which is, that in the trial every one of the great guns, the whole cannon of seven (as I take it), broke in pieces, which is a strange mishap, and that which will give more occasion to people’s discourse of the King’s business being done ill. This night Mary my cookemayde, that hath been with us about three months, but find herself not able to do my worke, so is gone with great kindnesse away, and another (Luce) come, very ugly and plaine, but may be a good servant for all that.
27th. Up, and to my office awhile, and then down the river a little way to see vessels ready for the carrying down of 400 land soldiers to the fleete. Then back to the office for my papers, and so to St. James’s, where we did our usual attendance on the Duke. Having done with him, we all of us down to Sir W. Coventry’s chamber (where I saw his father my Lord Coventry’s picture hung up, done by Stone, who then brought it home. It is a good picture, drawn in his judge’s robes, and the great seale by him. And while it was hanging up, “This,” says Sir W. Coventry, merrily, “is the use we make of our fathers,”) to discourse about the proposition of serving us with hempe, delivered in by my Lord Brouncker as from an unknown person, though I know it to be Captain Cocke’s. My Lord and Sir William Coventry had some earnest words about it, the one promoting it for his private ends, being, as Cocke tells me himself, to have £500 if the bargain goes on, and I am to have as much, and the other opposing it for the unseasonableness of it, not knowing at all whose the proposition is, which seems the more ingenious of the two. I sat by and said nothing, being no great friend to the proposition, though Cocke intends me a convenience by it. But what I observed most from the discourse was this of Sir W. Coventry, that he do look upon ourselves in a desperate condition. The issue of all standing upon this one point, that by the next fight, if we beat, the Dutch will certainly be content to take eggs for their money (that was his expression); or if we be beaten, we must be contented to make peace, and glad if we can have it without paying too dear for it. And withall we do rely wholly upon the Parliament’s giving us more money the next sitting, or else we are undone. Being gone hence, I took coach to the Old Exchange, but did not go into it, but to Mr. Cade’s, the stationer, stood till the shower was over, it being a great and welcome one after so much dry weather. Here I understand that Ogleby is putting out some new fables of his owne, which will be very fine and very satyricall. Thence home to dinner, and after dinner carried my wife to her sister’s and I to Mr. Hales’s, to pay for my father’s picture, which cost me £10 the head and 25s. the frame. Thence to Lovett’s, who has now done something towards the varnishing of single paper for the making of books, which will do, I think, very well. He did also carry me to a Knight’s chamber in Graye’s Inne, where there is a frame of his making, of counterfeite tortoise shell, which indeed is most excellently done. Then I took him with me to a picture shop to choose a print for him to vernish, but did not agree for one then. Thence to my wife to take her up and so carried her home, and I at the office till late, and so to supper with my wife and to bed. I did this afternoon visit my Lord Bellasses, who professes all imaginable satisfaction in me. He spoke dissatisfiedly with Creed, which I was pleased well enough with. My Lord is going down to his garrison to Hull, by the King’s command, to put it in order for fear of an invasion which course I perceive is taken upon the sea-coasts round; for we have a real apprehension of the King of France’s invading us.
28th. Up, and at the office all the morning. At noon home to dinner, and after dinner abroad to Lumbard Streete, there to reckon with Sir Robert Viner for some money, and did sett all straight to my great content, and so home, and all the afternoon and evening at the office, my mind full at this time of getting my accounts over, and as much money in my hands as I can, for a great turne is to be feared in the times, the French having some great design (whatever it is) in hand, and our necessities on every side very great. The Dutch are now known to be out, and we may expect them every houre upon our coast. But our fleete is in pretty good readinesse for them.
29th. Up, and within doors most of the morning, sending a porter (Sanders) up and down to several people to pay them money to clear my month’s debts every where, being mighty desirous to have all clear so soon as I can, and to that end did so much in settling my Tangier accounts clear. At noon dined, having first been down at Deptford and did a little business there and back again. After dinner to White Hall to a Committee of Tangier, but I come a little too late, they were up, so I to several places about business, among others to Westminster Hall, and there did meet with Betty Michell at her own mother’s shop. I would fain have carried her home by water, but she was to sup at that end of the town. So I away to White Hall, and thence, the Council being up, walked to St. James’s, and there had much discourse with Sir W. Coventry at his chamber, who I find quite weary of the warr, decries our having any warr at all, or himself to have been any occasion of it, that he hopes this will make us shy of any warr hereafter, or to prepare better for it, believes that one overthrow on the Dutch side would make them desire peace, and that one on ours will make us willing to accept of one: tells me that Commissioner Pett is fallen infinitely under the displeasure of the Prince and Duke of Albemarle, not giving them satisfaction in the getting out of the fleete, and that the complaint he believes is come to the King, and by Sir W. Coventry’s discourse I find he do concur in it, and speaks of his having of no authority in the place where he is, and I do believe at least it will end in his being removed to some other yarde, and I am not sorry for it, but do fear that though he deserves as bad, yet at this time the blame may not be so well deserved. Thence home and to the office; where I met with a letter from Dover, which tells me (and it did come by expresse) that newes is brought over by a gentleman from Callice that the Dutch fleete, 130 sail, are come upon the French coast; and that the country is bringing in picke-axes, and shovells, and wheel-barrows into Callice; that there are 6,000 men armed with head, back, and breast (Frenchmen) ready to go on board the Dutch fleete, and will be followed by 12,000 more. That they pretend they are to come to Dover; and that thereupon the Governor of Dover Castle is getting the victuallers’ provision out of the towne into the Castle to secure it. But I do think this is a ridiculous conceit; but a little time will show. At night home to supper and to bed,
30th. Up, and to the office, and mightily troubled all this morning with going to my Lord Mayor (Sir Thomas Bludworth,1 a silly man, I think), and other places, about getting shipped some men that they have these two last nights pressed in the City out of houses: the persons wholly unfit for sea, and many of them people of very good fashion, which is a shame to think of, and carried to Bridewell they are, yet without being impressed with money legally as they ought to be. But to see how the King’s business is done; my Lord Mayor himself did scruple at this time of extremity to do this thing, because he had not money to pay the pressed-money to the men, he told me so himself; nor to take up boats to carry them down through bridge to the ships I had prepared to carry them down in; insomuch that I was forced to promise to be his paymaster, and he did send his City Remembrancer afterwards to the office, and at the table, in the face of the officers, I did there out of my owne purse disburse £15 to pay for their pressing and diet last night and this morning; which is a thing worth record of my Lord Mayor. Busy about this all the morning, at noon dined and then to the office again, and all the afternoon till twelve at night full of this business and others, and among these others about the getting off men pressed by our officers of the fleete into the service; even our owne men that are at the office, and the boats that carry us. So that it is now become impossible to have so much as a letter carried from place to place, or any message done for us: nay, out of Victualling ships full loaden to go down to the fleete, and out of the vessels of the officers of the Ordnance, they press men, so that for want of discipline in this respect I do fear all will be undone. Vexed with these things, but eased in mind by my ridding of a great deale of business from the office, I late home to supper and to bed. But before I was in bed, while I was undressing myself, our new ugly mayde, Luce, had like to have broke her necke in the darke, going down our upper stairs; but, which I was glad of, the poor girle did only bruise her head, but at first did lie on the ground groaning and drawing her breath, like one a-dying. This month I end in much hurry of business, but in much more trouble in mind to thinke what will become of publique businesses, having so many enemys abroad, and neither force nor money at all, and but little courage for ourselves, it being really true that the spirits of our seamen and commanders too are really broke by the last defeate with the Dutch, and this is not my conjecture only, but the real and serious thoughts of Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Coventry, whom I have at distinct times heard the same thing come from with a great deale of grief and trouble. But, lastly, I am providing against a foule day to get as much money into my hands as I can, at least out of the publique hands, that so, if a turne, which I fear, do come, I may have a little to trust to. I pray God give me good successe in my choice how to dispose of what little I have, that I may not take it out of publique hands, and put it into worse.
1 As his conduct during the Great Fire fully proved, when he is said to have boasted that he would extinguish the flames by the same means to which Swift tells us Gulliver had recourse at Lilliput. — B.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59