February 1st. Up, and to the office, where I was all the morning doing business, at noon home to dinner, and after dinner down by water, though it was a thick misty and rainy day, and walked to Deptford from Redriffe, and there to Bagwell’s by appointment, where the ‘mulier etoit within expecting me venir. . . . By and by ‘su marido’ come in, and there without any notice taken by him we discoursed of our business of getting him the new ship building by Mr. Deane, which I shall do for him. Thence by and by after a little talk I to the yard, and spoke with some of the officers, but staid but little, and the new clerk of the ‘Chequer, Fownes, did walk to Redriffe back with me. I perceive he is a very child, and is led by the nose by Cowly and his kinsman that was his clerk, but I did make him understand his duty, and put both understanding and spirit into him, so that I hope he will do well. [Much surprised to hear this day at Deptford that Mrs. Batters is going already to be married to him, that is now the Captain of her husband’s ship. She seemed the most passionate mourner in the world. But I believe it cannot be true.]—(The passage between brackets is written in the margin of the MS.)— Thence by water to Billingsgate; thence to the Old Swan, and there took boat, it being now night, to Westminster Hall, there to the Hall, and find Doll Lane, and ‘con elle’ I went to the Bell Taverne, and ‘ibi je’ did do what I would ‘con elle’ as well as I could, she ‘sedendo sobre’ thus far and making some little resistance. But all with much content, and ‘je tenai’ much pleasure ‘cum ista’. There parted, and I by coach home, and to the office, where pretty late doing business, and then home, and merry with my wife, and to supper. My brother and I did play with the base, and I upon my viallin, which I have not seen out of the case now I think these three years, or more, having lost the key, and now forced to find an expedient to open it. Then to bed.
2nd. Up, and to the office. This day I hear that Prince Rupert is to be trepanned. God give good issue to it. Sir W. Pen looks upon me, and I on him, and speak about business together at the table well enough, but no friendship or intimacy since our late difference about his closet, nor do I desire to have any. At noon dined well, and my brother and I to write over once more with my own hand my catalogue of books, while he reads to me. After something of that done, and dined, I to the office, where all the afternoon till night busy. At night, having done all my office matters, I home, and my brother and I to go on with my catalogue, and so to supper. Mrs. Turner come to me this night again to condole her condition and the ill usage she receives from my Lord Bruncker, which I could never have expected from him, and shall be a good caution to me while I live. She gone, I to supper, and then to read a little, and to bed. This night comes home my new silver snuffe-dish, which I do give myself for my closet, which is all I purpose to bestow in plate of myself, or shall need, many a day, if I can keep what I have. So to bed. I am very well pleased this night with reading a poem I brought home with me last night from Westminster Hall, of Dryden’s’ upon the present war; a very good poem.
3rd (Lord’s day). Up, and with Sir W. Batten and [Sir] W. Pen to White Hall, and there to Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, and there staid till he was ready, talking, and among other things of the Prince’s being trepanned, which was in doing just as we passed through the Stone Gallery, we asking at the door of his lodgings, and were told so. We are all full of wishes for the good success; though I dare say but few do really concern ourselves for him in our hearts. Up to the Duke of York, and with him did our business we come about, and among other things resolve upon a meeting at the office tomorrow morning, Sir W. Coventry to be there to determine of all things necessary for the setting of Sir W. Pen to work in his Victualling business. This did awake in me some thoughts of what might in discourse fall out touching my imployment, and did give me some apprehension of trouble. Having done here, and after our laying our necessities for money open to the Duke of York, but nothing obtained concerning it, we parted, and I with others into the House, and there hear that the work is done to the Prince in a few minutes without any pain at all to him, he not knowing when it was done. It was performed by Moulins. Having cut the outward table, as they call corrupted, so as it come out without any force; and their fear is, that the whole inside of his head is corrupted like that, which do yet make them afeard of him; but no ill accident appeared in the doing of the thing, but all with all imaginable success, as Sir Alexander Frazier did tell me himself, I asking him, who is very kind to me. I to the Chapel a little, but hearing nothing did take a turn into the Park, and then back to Chapel and heard a very good Anthem to my heart’s delight, and then to Sir G. Carteret’s to dinner, and before dinner did walk with him alone a good while, and from him hear our case likely for all these acts to be bad for money, which troubles me, the year speeding so fast, and he tells me that he believes the Duke of York will go to sea with the fleete, which I am sorry for in respect to his person, but yet there is no person in condition to command the fleete, now the Captains are grown so great, but him, it being impossible for anybody else but him to command any order or discipline among them. He tells me there is nothing at all in the late discourse about my Lord Sandwich and the French Embassador meeting and contending for the way, which I wonder at, to see the confidence of report without any ground. By and by to dinner, where very good company. Among other discourse, we talked much of Nostradamus1 his prophecy of these times, and the burning of the City of London, some of whose verses are put into Booker’s’ Almanack this year; and Sir G. Carteret did tell a story, how at his death he did make the town swear that he should never be dug up, or his tomb opened, after he was buried; but they did after sixty years do it, and upon his breast they found a plate of brasse, saying what a wicked and unfaithful people the people of that place were, who after so many vows should disturb and open him such a day and year and hour; which, if true, is very strange. Then we fell to talking of the burning of the City; and my Lady Carteret herself did tell us how abundance of pieces of burnt papers were cast by the wind as far as Cranborne; and among others she took up one, or had one brought her to see, which was a little bit of paper that had been printed, whereon there remained no more nor less than these words: “Time is, it is done.” After dinner I went and took a turn into the Park, and then took boat and away home, and there to my chamber and to read, but did receive some letters from Sir W. Coventry, touching the want of victuals to Kempthorne’s’ fleete going to the Streights and now in the Downes: which did trouble me, he saying that this disappointment might prove fatal; and the more, because Sir W. Coventry do intend to come to the office upon business tomorrow morning, and I shall not know what answer to give him. This did mightily trouble my mind; however, I fell to read a little in Hakewill’s Apology, and did satisfy myself mighty fair in the truth of the saying that the world do not grow old at all, but is in as good condition in all respects as ever it was as to nature. I continued reading this book with great pleasure till supper, and then to bed sooner than ordinary, for rising betimes in the morning tomorrow. So after reading my usual vows to bed, my mind full of trouble against tomorrow, and did not sleep any good time of the night for thoughts of tomorrow morning’s trouble.
1 Michael Nostradamus, a physician and astrologer, born in the diocese of Avignon, 1503. Amongst other predictions, one was interpreted as foreshowing the singular death of Hen. II. of France, by which his reputation was increased.
4th. I up, with my head troubled to think of the issue of this morning, so made ready and to the office, where Mr. Gawden comes, and he and I discoursed the business well, and thinks I shall get off well enough; but I do by Sir W. Coventry’s silence conclude that he is not satisfied in my management of my place and the charge it puts the King to, which I confess I am not in present condition through my late laziness to give any good answer to. But here do D. Gawden give me a good cordiall this morning, by telling me that he do give me five of the eight hundred pounds on his account remaining in my hands to myself, for the service I do him in my victualling business, and £100 for my particular share of the profits of my Tangier imployment as Treasurer. This do begin to make my heart glad, and I did dissemble it the better, so when Sir W. Coventry did come, and the rest met, I did appear unconcerned, and did give him answer pretty satisfactory what he asked me; so that I did get off this meeting without any ground lost, but rather a great deal gained by interposing that which did belong to my duty to do, and neither [Sir] W. Coventry nor (Sir) W. Yen did oppose anything thereunto, which did make my heart very glad. All the morning at this work, Sir W. Pen making a great deal of do for the fitting him in his setting out in his employment, and I do yield to any trouble that he gives me without any contradiction. Sir W. Coventry being gone, we at noon to dinner to Sir W. Pen’s, he inviting me and my wife, and there a pretty good dinner, intended indeed for Sir W. Coventry, but he would not stay. So here I was mighty merry and all our differences seemingly blown over, though he knows, if he be not a fool, that I love him not, and I do the like that he hates me. Soon as dined, my wife and I out to the Duke’s playhouse, and there saw “Heraclius,” an excellent play, to my extraordinary content; and the more from the house being very full, and great company; among others, Mrs. Steward, very fine, with her locks done up with puffes, as my wife calls them: and several other great ladies had their hair so, though I do not like it; but my wife do mightily — but it is only because she sees it is the fashion. Here I saw my Lord Rochester and his lady, Mrs. Mallet, who hath after all this ado married him; and, as I hear some say in the pit, it is a great act of charity, for he hath no estate. But it was pleasant to see how every body rose up when my Lord John Butler, the Duke of Ormond’s son, come into the pit towards the end of the play, who was a servant —[lover]— to Mrs. Mallet, and now smiled upon her, and she on him. I had sitting next to me a woman, the likest my Lady Castlemayne that ever I saw anybody like another; but she is a whore, I believe, for she is acquainted with every fine fellow, and called them by their name, Jacke, and Tom, and before the end of the play frisked to another place. Mightily pleased with the play, we home by coach, and there a little to the office, and then to my chamber, and there finished my Catalogue of my books with my own hand, and so to supper and to bed, and had a good night’s rest, the last night’s being troublesome, but now my heart light and full of resolution of standing close to my business.
5th. Up, and to the office, where all the morning doing business, and then home to dinner. Heard this morning that the Prince is much better, and hath good rest. All the talk is that my Lord Sandwich hath perfected the peace with Spayne, which is very good, if true. Sir H. Cholmly was with me this morning, and told me of my Lord Bellasses’s base dealings with him by getting him to give him great gratuities to near £2000 for his friendship in the business of the Mole, and hath been lately underhand endeavouring to bring another man into his place as Governor, so as to receive his money of Sir H. Cholmly for nothing. Dined at home, and after dinner come Mrs. Daniel and her sister and staid and talked a little, and then I to the office, and after setting my things in order at the office I abroad with my wife and little Betty Michell, and took them against my vowes, but I will make good my forfeit, to the King’s house, to show them a play, “The Chances.” A good play I find it, and the actors most good in it; and pretty to hear Knipp sing in the play very properly, “All night I weepe;” and sung it admirably. The whole play pleases me well: and most of all, the sight of many fine ladies — among others, my Lady Castlemayne and Mrs. Middleton: the latter of the two hath also a very excellent face and body, I think. Thence by coach to the New Exchange, and there laid out money, and I did give Betty Michell two pair of gloves and a dressing-box; and so home in the dark, over the ruins, with a link. I was troubled with my pain, having got a bruise on my right testicle, I know not how. But this I did make good use of to make my wife shift sides with me, and I did come to sit ‘avec’ Betty Michell, and there had her ‘main’, which ‘elle’ did give me very frankly now, and did hazer whatever I ‘voudrais avec la’, which did ‘plaisir’ me ‘grandement’, and so set her at home with my mind mighty glad of what I have prevailed for so far; and so home, and to the office, and did my business there, and then home to supper, and after to set some things right in my chamber, and so to bed. This morning, before I went to the office, there come to me Mr. Young and Whistler, flaggmakers, and with mighty earnestness did present me with, and press me to take a box, wherein I could not guess there was less than £100 in gold: but I do wholly refuse it, and did not at last take it. The truth is, not thinking them safe men to receive such a gratuity from, nor knowing any considerable courtesy that ever I did do them, but desirous to keep myself free from their reports, and to have it in my power to say I had refused their offer.
6th. Up, lying a little long in bed, and by water to White Hall, and there find the Duke of York gone out, he being in haste to go to the Parliament, and so all my Brethren were gone to the office too. So I to Sir Ph. Warwicke’s about my Tangier business, and then to Westminster Hall, and walked up and down, and hear that the Prince do still rest well by day and night, and out of pain; so as great hopes are conceived of him: though I did meet Dr. Clerke and Mr. Pierce, and they do say they believe he will not recover it, they supposing that his whole head within is eaten by this corruption, which appeared in this piece of the inner table. Up to the Parliament door, and there discoursed with Roger Pepys, who goes out of town this week, the Parliament rising this week also. So down to the Hall and there spied Betty Michell, and so I sent for burnt wine to Mrs. Michell’s, and there did drink with the two mothers, and by that means with Betty, poor girle, whom I love with all my heart. And God forgive me, it did make me stay longer and hover all the morning up and down the Hall to ‘busquer occasions para ambulare con elle. But ego ne pouvoir’. So home by water and to dinner, and then to the office, where we sat upon Denis Gawden’s accounts, and before night I rose and by water to White Hall, to attend the Council; but they sat not today. So to Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, and find him within, and with a letter from the Downes in his hands, telling the loss of the St. Patricke coming from Harwich in her way to Portsmouth; and would needs chase two ships (she having the Malago fire-ship in company) which from English colours put up Dutch, and he would clap on board the Vice–Admirall; and after long dispute the Admirall comes on the other side of him, and both together took him. Our fire-ship (Seely) not coming in to fire all three, but come away, leaving her in their possession, and carried away by them: a ship built at Bristoll the last year, of fifty guns and upwards, and a most excellent good ship. This made him very melancholy. I to talk of our wants of money, but I do find that he is not pleased with that discourse, but grieves to hear it, and do seem to think that Sir G. Carteret do not mind the getting of money with the same good cheer that he did heretofore, nor do I think he hath the same reason. Thence to Westminster Hall, thinking to see Betty Michell, she staying there all night, and had hopes to get her out alone, but missed, and so away by coach home, and to Sir W. Batten’s, to tell him my bad news, and then to the office, and home to supper, where Mrs. Hewer was, and after supper and she gone, W. Hewer talking with me very late of the ill manner of Sir G. Carteret’s accounts being kept, and in what a sad condition he would be if either Fenn or Wayth should break or die, and am resolved to take some time to tell Sir G. Carteret or my Lady of it, I do love them so well and their family. So to bed, my pain pretty well gone.
7th. Lay long with pleasure with my wife, and then up and to the office, where all the morning, and then home to dinner, and before dinner I went into my green dining room, and there talking with my brother upon matters relating to his journey to Brampton tomorrow, and giving him good counsel about spending the time when he shall stay in the country with my father, I looking another way heard him fall down, and turned my head, and he was fallen down all along upon the ground dead, which did put me into a great fright; and, to see my brotherly love! I did presently lift him up from the ground, he being as pale as death; and, being upon his legs, he did presently come to himself, and said he had something come into his stomach very hot. He knew not what it was, nor ever had such a fit before. I never was so frighted but once, when my wife was ill at Ware upon the road, and I did continue trembling a good while and ready to weepe to see him, he continuing mighty pale all dinner and melancholy, that I was loth to let him take his journey tomorrow; but he began to be pretty well, and after dinner my wife and Barker fell to singing, which pleased me pretty well, my wife taking mighty pains and proud that she shall come to trill, and indeed I think she will. So to the office, and there all the afternoon late doing business, and then home, and find my brother pretty well. So to write a letter to my Lady Sandwich for him to carry, I having not writ to her a great while. Then to supper and so to bed. I did this night give him 20s. for books, and as much for his pocket, and 15s. to carry him down, and so to bed. Poor fellow! he is so melancholy, and withal, my wife says, harmless, that I begin to love him, and would be loth he should not do well.
8th. This morning my brother John come up to my bedside, and took his leave of us, going this day to Brampton. My wife loves him mightily as one that is pretty harmless, and I do begin to fancy him from yesterday’s accident, it troubling me to think I should be left without a brother or sister, which is the first time that ever I had thoughts of that kind in my life. He gone, I up, and to the office, where we sat upon the Victuallers’ accounts all the morning. At noon Lord Bruncker, Sir W. Batten, [Sir] W. Pen, and myself to the Swan in Leadenhall Street to dinner, where an exceedingly good dinner and good discourse. Sir W. Batten come this morning from the House, where the King hath prorogued this Parliament to October next. I am glad they are up. The Bill for Accounts was not offered, the party being willing to let it fall; but the King did tell them he expected it. They are parted with great heartburnings, one party against the other. Pray God bring them hereafter together in better temper! It is said that the King do intend himself in this interval to take away Lord Mordaunt’s government, so as to do something to appease the House against they come together, and let them see he will do that of his own accord which is fit, without their forcing him; and that he will have his Commission for Accounts go on which will be good things. At dinner we talked much of Cromwell; all saying he was a brave fellow, and did owe his crowne he got to himself as much as any man that ever got one. Thence to the office, and there begun the account which Sir W. Pen by his late employment hath examined, but begun to examine it in the old manner, a clerk to read the Petty warrants, my Lord Bruncker upon very good ground did except against it, and would not suffer him to go on. This being Sir W. Pen’s clerk he took it in snuff, and so hot they grew upon it that my Lord Bruncker left the office. He gone (Sir) W. Pen ranted like a devil, saying that nothing but ignorance could do this. I was pleased at heart all this while. At last moved to have Lord Bruncker desired to return, which he did, and I read the petty warrants all the day till late at night, that I was very weary, and troubled to have my private business of my office stopped to attend this, but mightily pleased at this falling out, and the truth is [Sir] W. Pen do make so much noise in this business of his, and do it so little and so ill, that I think the King will be little the better by changing the hand. So up and to my office a little, but being at it all day I could not do much there. So home and to supper, to teach Barker to sing another piece of my song, and then to bed.
9th. To the office, where we sat all the morning busy. At noon home to dinner, and then to my office again, where also busy, very busy late, and then went home and read a piece of a play, “Every Man in his Humour,”—[Ben Jonson’s well-known play.]— wherein is the greatest propriety of speech that ever I read in my life: and so to bed. This noon come my wife’s watchmaker, and received £12 of me for her watch; but Captain Rolt coming to speak with me about a little business, he did judge of the work to be very good work, and so I am well contented, and he hath made very good, that I knew, to Sir W. Pen and Lady Batten.
10th (Lord’s day). Up and with my wife to church, where Mr. Mills made an unnecessary sermon upon Original Sin, neither understood by himself nor the people. Home, where Michell and his wife, and also there come Mr. Carter, my old acquaintance of Magdalene College, who hath not been here of many years. He hath spent his time in the North with the Bishop of Carlisle much. He is grown a very comely person, and of good discourse, and one that I like very much. We had much talk of our old acquaintance of the College, concerning their various fortunes; wherein, to my joy, I met not with any that have sped better than myself. After dinner he went away, and awhile after them Michell and his wife, whom I love mightily, and then I to my chamber there to my Tangier accounts, which I had let run a little behind hand, but did settle them very well to my satisfaction, but it cost me sitting up till two in the morning, and the longer by reason that our neighbour, Mrs. Turner, poor woman, did come to take her leave of us, she being to quit her house tomorrow to my Lord Bruncker, who hath used her very unhandsomely. She is going to lodgings, and do tell me very odde stories how Mrs. Williams do receive the applications of people, and hath presents, and she is the hand that receives all, while my Lord Bruncker do the business, which will shortly come to be loud talk if she continues here, I do foresee, and bring my Lord no great credit. So having done all my business, to bed.
11th. Up, and by water to the Temple, and thence to Sir Ph. Warwicke’s about my Tangier warrant for tallies, and there met my Lord Bellasses and Creed, and discoursed about our business of money, but we are defeated as to any hopes of getting [any] thing upon the Poll Bill, which I seem but not much troubled at, it not concerning me much. Thence with Creed to Westminster Hall, and there up and down, and heard that Prince Rupert is still better and better; and that he did tell Dr. Troutbecke expressly that my Lord Sandwich is ordered home. I hear, too, that Prince Rupert hath begged the having of all the stolen prize-goods which he can find, and that he is looking out anew after them, which at first troubled me; but I do see it cannot come to anything, but is done by Hayes, or some of his little people about him. Here, among other newes, I bought the King’s speech at proroguing the House the other day, wherein are some words which cannot but import some prospect of a peace, which God send us! After walking a good while in the Hall, it being Term time, I home by water, calling at Michell’s and giving him a fair occasion to send his wife to the New Exchange to meet my wife and me this afternoon. So home to dinner, and after dinner by coach to Lord Bellasses, and with him to Povy’s house, whom we find with Auditor Beale and Vernatty about their accounts still, which is never likely to have end. Our business was to speak with Vernatty, who is certainly a most cunning knave as ever was born. Having done what we had to do there, my Lord carried me and set me down at the New Exchange, where I staid at Pottle’s shop till Betty Michell come, which she did about five o’clock, and was surprised not to ‘trouver my muger’ I there; but I did make an excuse good enough, and so I took ‘elle’ down, and over the water to the cabinet-maker’s, and there bought a dressing-box for her for 20s., but would require an hour’s time to make fit. This I was glad of, thinking to have got ‘elle’ to enter to a ‘casa de biber’, but ‘elle’ would not, so I did not much press it, but suffered ‘elle’ to enter ‘a la casa de uno de sus hermanos’, and so I past my time walking up and down, and among other places, to one Drumbleby, a maker of flageolets, the best in towne. He not within, my design to bespeak a pair of flageolets of the same tune, ordered him to come to me in a day or two, and so I back to the cabinet-maker’s and there staid; and by and by Betty comes, and here we staid in the shop and above seeing the workmen work, which was pretty, and some exceeding good work, and very pleasant to see them do it, till it was late quite dark, and the mistresse of the shop took us into the kitchen and there talked and used us very prettily, and took her for my wife, which I owned and her big belly, and there very merry, till my thing done, and then took coach and home . . . But now comes our trouble, I did begin to fear that ‘su marido’ might go to my house to ‘enquire pour elle’, and there, ‘trouvant’ my ‘muger’—[wife in Spanish.]— at home, would not only think himself, but give my ‘femme’ occasion to think strange things. This did trouble me mightily, so though ‘elle’ would not seem to have me trouble myself about it, yet did agree to the stopping the coach at the streete’s end, and ‘je allois con elle’ home, and there presently hear by him that he had newly sent ‘su mayde’ to my house to see for her mistresse. This do much perplex me, and I did go presently home Betty whispering me behind the ‘tergo de her mari’, that if I would say that we did come home by water, ‘elle’ could make up ‘la cose well satis’, and there in a sweat did walk in the entry ante my door, thinking what I should say a my ‘femme’, and as God would have it, while I was in this case (the worst in reference a my ‘femme’ that ever I was in in my life), a little woman comes stumbling to the entry steps in the dark; whom asking who she was, she enquired for my house. So knowing her voice, and telling her ‘su donna’ is come home she went away. But, Lord! in what a trouble was I, when she was gone, to recollect whether this was not the second time of her coming, but at last concluding that she had not been here before, I did bless myself in my good fortune in getting home before her, and do verily believe she had loitered some time by the way, which was my great good fortune, and so I in a-doors and there find all well. So my heart full of joy, I to the office awhile, and then home, and after supper and doing a little business in my chamber I to bed, after teaching Barker a little of my song.
12th. Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, with several things (among others) discoursed relating to our two new assistant controllers, but especially Sir W. Pen, who is mighty troublesome in it. At noon home to dinner, and then to the office again, and there did much business, and by and by comes Mr. Moore, who in discourse did almost convince me that it is necessary for my Lord Sandwich to come home end take his command at sea this year, for that a peace is like to be. Many considerations he did give me hereupon, which were very good both in reference to the publick and his private condition. By and by with Lord Bruncker by coach to his house, there to hear some Italian musique: and here we met Tom Killigrew, Sir Robert Murray, and the Italian Signor Baptista, who hath composed a play in Italian for the Opera, which T. Killigrew do intend to have up; and here he did sing one of the acts. He himself is the poet as well as the musician; which is very much, and did sing the whole from the words without any musique prickt, and played all along upon a harpsicon most admirably, and the composition most excellent. The words I did not understand, and so know not how they are fitted, but believe very well, and all in the recitativo very fine. But I perceive there is a proper accent in every country’s discourse, and that do reach in their setting of notes to words, which, therefore, cannot be natural to any body else but them; so that I am not so much smitten with it as, it may be, I should be, if I were acquainted with their accent. But the whole composition is certainly most excellent; and the poetry, T. Killigrew and Sir R. Murray, who understood the words, did say was excellent. I confess I was mightily pleased with the musique. He pretends not to voice, though it be good, but not excellent. This done, T. Killigrew and I to talk: and he tells me how the audience at his house is not above half so much as it used to be before the late fire. That Knipp is like to make the best actor that ever come upon the stage, she understanding so well: that they are going to give her £30 a-year more. That the stage is now by his pains a thousand times better and more glorious than ever heretofore. Now, wax-candles, and many of them; then, not above 3 lbs. of tallow: now, all things civil, no rudeness anywhere; then, as in a bear-garden then, two or three fiddlers; now, nine or ten of the best then, nothing but rushes upon the ground, and every thing else mean; and now, all otherwise: then, the Queen seldom and the King never would come; now, not the King only for state, but all civil people do think they may come as well as any. He tells me that he hath gone several times, eight or ten times, he tells me, hence to Rome to hear good musique; so much he loves it, though he never did sing or play a note. That he hath ever endeavoured in the late King’s time, and in this, to introduce good musique, but he never could do it, there never having been any musique here better than ballads. Nay, says, “Hermitt poore” and “Chevy Chese”1 was all the musique we had; and yet no ordinary fiddlers get so much money as ours do here, which speaks our rudenesse still. That he hath gathered our Italians from several Courts in Christendome, to come to make a concert for the King, which he do give £200 a-year a-piece to: but badly paid, and do come in the room of keeping four ridiculous gundilows,2 he having got, the King to put them away, and lay out money this way; and indeed I do commend him for it, for I think it is a very noble undertaking. He do intend to have some times of the year these operas to be performed at the two present theatres, since he is defeated in what he intended in Moorefields on purpose for it; and he tells me plainly that the City audience was as good as the Court, but now they are most gone. Baptista tells me that Giacomo Charissimi is still alive at Rome, who was master to Vinnecotio, who is one of the Italians that the King hath here, and the chief composer of them. My great wonder is, how this man do to keep in memory so perfectly the musique of the whole act, both for the voice and the instrument too. I confess I do admire it: but in recitativo the sense much helps him, for there is but one proper way of discoursing and giving the accents. Having done our discourse, we all took coaches, my Lord’s and T. Killigrew’s, and to Mrs. Knipp’s chamber, where this Italian is to teach her to sing her part. And so we all thither, and there she did sing an Italian song or two very fine, while he played the bass upon a harpsicon there; and exceedingly taken I am with her singing, and believe that she will do miracles at that and acting. Her little girl is mighty pretty and witty. After being there an hour, and I mightily pleased with this evening’s work, we all parted, and I took coach and home, where late at my office, and then home to enter my last three days’ Journall; and so to supper and to bed, troubled at nothing, but that these pleasures do hinder me in my business, and the more by reason of our being to dine abroad tomorrow, and then Saturday next is appointed to meet again at my Lord Bruncker’s lodgings, and there to have the whole quire of Italians; but then I do consider that this is all the pleasure I live for in the world, and the greatest I can ever expect in the best of my life, and one thing more, that by hearing this man to-night, and I think Captain Cooke tomorrow, and the quire of Italians on Saturday, I shall be truly able to distinguish which of them pleases me truly best, which I do much desire to know and have good reason and fresh occasion of judging.
1 “Like hermit poor in pensive place obscure” is found in “The Phoenix Nest,” 1593, and in Harl. MS. No. 6910, written soon after 1596. It was set to music by Alfonso Ferrabosco, and published in his “Ayres,” 1609. The song was a favourite with Izaak Walton, and is alluded to in “Hudibras” (Part I., canto ii., line 1169). See Rimbault’s “Little Book of Songs and Ballads,” 1851, p. 98. Both versions of the famous ballad of “Chevy Chase” are printed in Percy’s “Reliques.”
2 The gondolas mentioned before, as sent by the Doge of Venice. See September 12th, 1661
13th. Up, and by water to White Hall, where to the Duke of York, and there did our usual business; but troubled to see that, at this time, after our declaring a debt to the Parliament of £900,000, and nothing paid since, but the debt increased, and now the fleete to set out; to hear that the King hath ordered but £35,000 for the setting out of the fleete, out of the Poll Bill, to buy all provisions, when five times as much had been little enough to have done any thing to purpose. They have, indeed, ordered more for paying off of seamen and the Yards to some time, but not enough for that neither. Another thing is, the acquainting the Duke of York with the case of Mr. Lanyon, our agent at Plymouth, who has trusted us to £8000 out of purse; we are not in condition, after so many promises, to obtain him a farthing, nor though a message was carried by Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Coventry to the Commissioners for Prizes, that he might have £3000 out of £20,000 worth of prizes to be shortly sold there, that he might buy at the candle and pay for the goods out of bills, and all would [not] do any thing, but that money must go all another way, while the King’s service is undone, and those that trust him perish. These things grieve me to the heart. The Prince, I hear, is every day better and better. So away by water home, stopping at Michell’s, where Mrs. Martin was, and I there drank with them and whispered with Betty, who tells me all is well, but was prevented in something she would have said, her ‘marido venant’ just then, a news which did trouble me, and so drank and parted and home, and there took up my wife by coach, and to Mrs. Pierce’s, there to take her up, and with them to Dr. Clerke’s, by invitation, where we have not been a great while, nor had any mind to go now, but that the Dr., whom I love, would have us choose a day. Here was his wife, painted, and her sister Worshipp, a widow now and mighty pretty in her mourning. Here was also Mr. Pierce and Mr. Floyd, Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of Prizes, and Captain Cooke, to dinner, an ill and little mean one, with foul cloth and dishes, and everything poor. Discoursed most about plays and the Opera, where, among other vanities, Captain Cooke had the arrogance to say that he was fain to direct Sir W. Davenant in the breaking of his verses into such and such lengths, according as would be fit for musick, and how he used to swear at Davenant, and command him that way, when W. Davenant would be angry, and find fault with this or that note — but a vain coxcomb I perceive he is, though he sings and composes so well. But what I wondered at, Dr. Clerke did say that Sir W. Davenant is no good judge of a dramatick poem, finding fault with his choice of Henry the 5th, and others, for the stage, when I do think, and he confesses, “The Siege of Rhodes” as good as ever was writ. After dinner Captain Cooke and two of his boys to sing, but it was indeed both in performance and composition most plainly below what I heard last night, which I could not have believed. Besides overlooking the words which he sung, I find them not at all humoured as they ought to be, and as I believed he had done all he had sett. Though he himself do indeed sing in a manner as to voice and manner the best I ever heard yet, and a strange mastery he hath in making of extraordinary surprising closes, that are mighty pretty, but his bragging that he do understand tones and sounds as well as any man in the world, and better than Sir W. Davenant or any body else, I do not like by no means, but was sick of it and of him for it. He gone, Dr. Clerke fell to reading a new play, newly writ, of a friend’s of his; but, by his discourse and confession afterwards, it was his own. Some things, but very few, moderately good; but infinitely far from the conceit, wit, design, and language of very many plays that I know; so that, but for compliment, I was quite tired with hearing it. It being done, and commending the play, but against my judgment, only the prologue magnifying the happiness of our former poets when such sorry things did please the world as was then acted, was very good. So set Mrs. Pierce at home, and away ourselves home, and there to my office, and then my chamber till my eyes were sore at writing and making ready my letter and accounts for the Commissioners of Tangier tomorrow, which being done, to bed, hearing that there was a very great disorder this day at the Ticket Office, to the beating and bruising of the face of Carcasse very much. A foul evening this was to-night, and I mightily troubled to get a coach home; and, which is now my common practice, going over the ruins in the night, I rid with my sword drawn in the coach.
14th. Up and to the office, where Carcasse comes with his plaistered face, and called himself Sir W. Batten’s martyr, which made W. Batten mad almost, and mighty quarrelling there was. We spent the morning almost wholly upon considering some way of keeping the peace at the Ticket Office; but it is plain that the care of that office is nobody’s work, and that is it that makes it stand in the ill condition it do. At noon home to dinner, and after dinner by coach to my Lord Chancellor’s, and there a meeting: the Duke of York, Duke of Albemarle, and several other Lords of the Commission of Tangier. And there I did present a state of my accounts, and managed them well; and my Lord Chancellor did say, though he was, in other things, in an ill humour, that no man in England was of more method, nor made himself better understood than myself. But going, after the business of money was over, to other businesses, of settling the garrison, he did fling out, and so did the Duke of York, two or three severe words touching my Lord Bellasses: that he would have no Governor come away from thence in less than three years; no, though his lady were with child. “And,” says the Duke of York, “there should be no Governor continue so, longer than three years.” “Nor,” says Lord Arlington, “when our rules are once set, and upon good judgment declared, no Governor should offer to alter them.”—“We must correct the many things that are amiss there; for,” says the Lord Chancellor, “you must think we do hear of more things amisse than we are willing to speak before our friends’ faces.” My Lord Bellasses would not take notice of their reflecting on him, and did wisely, but there were also many reflections on him. Thence away by coach to Sir H. Cholmly and Fitzgerald and Creed, setting down the two latter at the New Exchange. And Sir H. Cholmly and I to the Temple, and there walked in the dark in the walks talking of newes; and he surprises me with the certain newes that the King did last night in Council declare his being in treaty with the Dutch: that they had sent him a very civil letter, declaring that, if nobody but themselves were concerned, they would not dispute the place of treaty, but leave it to his choice; but that, being obliged to satisfy therein a Prince of equal quality with himself, they must except any place in England or Spayne. And so the King hath chosen the Hague, and thither hath chose my Lord Hollis and Harry Coventry to go Embassadors to treat; which is so mean a thing, as all the world will believe, that we do go to beg a peace of them, whatever we pretend. And it seems all our Court are mightily for a peace, taking this to be the time to make one, while the King hath money, that he may save something of what the Parliament hath given him to put him out of debt, so as he may need the help of no more Parliaments, as to the point of money: but our debt is so great, and expence daily so encreased, that I believe little of the money will be saved between this and the making of the peace up. But that which troubles me most is, that we have chosen a son of Secretary Morris, a boy never used to any business, to go Embassador [Secretary] to the Embassy, which shows how, little we are sensible of the weight of the business upon us. God therefore give a good end to it, for I doubt it, and yet do much more doubt the issue of our continuing the war, for we are in no wise fit for it, and yet it troubles me to think what Sir H. Cholmly says, that he believes they will not give us any reparation for what we have suffered by the war, nor put us into any better condition than what we were in before the war, for that will be shamefull for us. Thence parted with him and home through the dark over the ruins by coach, with my sword drawn, to the office, where dispatched some business; and so home to my chamber and to supper and to bed. This morning come up to my wife’s bedside, I being up dressing myself, little Will Mercer to be her Valentine; and brought her name writ upon blue paper in gold letters, done by himself, very pretty; and we were both well pleased with it. But I am also this year my wife’s Valentine, and it will cost me £5; but that I must have laid out if we had not been Valentines. So to bed.
15th. Up and with Sir W. Batten and [Sir] J. Minnes by coach to White Hall, where we attended upon the Duke of York to complain of the disorders the other day among the seamen at the Pay at the Ticket Office, and that it arises from lack of money, and that we desire, unless better provided for with money, to have nothing more to do with the payment of tickets, it being not our duty; and the Duke of York and [Sir] W. Coventry did agree to it, so that I hope we shall be rid of that trouble. This done, I moved for allowance for a house for Mr. Turner, and got it granted. Then away to Westminster Hall, and there to the Exchequer about my tallies, and so back to White Hall, and so with Lord Bellasses to the Excise Office, where met by Sir H. Cholmly to consider about our business of money there, and that done, home and to dinner, where I hear Pegg Pen is married this day privately; no friends, but two or three relations on his side and hers. Borrowed many things of my kitchen for dressing their dinner. So after dinner to the office, and there busy and did much business, and late at it. Mrs. Turner come to me to hear how matters went; I told her of our getting rent for a house for her. She did give me account of this wedding today, its being private being imputed to its being just before Lent, and so in vain to make new clothes till Easter, that they might see the fashions as they are like to be this summer; which is reason good enough. Mrs. Turner tells me she hears [Sir W. Pen] gives £4500 or 4000 with her. They are gone to bed, so I wish them much sport, and home to supper and to bed. They own the treaty for a peace publickly at Court, and the Commissioners providing themselves to go over as soon as a passe comes for them.
16th. Up, and to the office, where all the morning. Among other things great heat we were all in on one side or other in the examining witnesses against Mr. Carcasse about his buying of tickets, and a cunning knave I do believe he is, and will appear, though I have thought otherwise heretofore. At noon home to dinner, and there find Mr. Andrews, and Pierce and Hollyard, and they dined with us and merry, but we did rise soon for saving of my wife’s seeing a new play this afternoon, and so away by coach, and left her at Mrs. Pierces, myself to the Excise Office about business, and thence to the Temple to walk a little only, and then to Westminster to pass away time till anon, and here I went to Mrs. Martin’s to thank her for her oysters. . . . Thence away to my Lord Bruncker’s, and there was Sir Robert Murray, whom I never understood so well as now by this opportunity of discourse with him, a most excellent man of reason and learning, and understands the doctrine of musique, and everything else I could discourse of, very finely. Here come Mr. Hooke, Sir George Ent, Dr. Wren, and many others; and by and by the musique, that is to say, Signor Vincentio, who is the master-composer, and six more, whereof two eunuches, so tall, that Sir T. Harvey said well that he believes they do grow large by being gelt as our oxen do, and one woman very well dressed and handsome enough, but would not be kissed, as Mr. Killigrew, who brought the company in, did acquaint us. They sent two harpsicons before; and by and by, after tuning them, they begun; and, I confess, very good musique they made; that is, the composition exceeding good, but yet not at all more pleasing to me than what I have heard in English by Mrs. Knipp, Captain Cooke, and others. Nor do I dote on the eunuches; they sing, indeed, pretty high, and have a mellow kind of sound, but yet I have been as well satisfied with several women’s voices and men also, as Crispe of the Wardrobe. The women sung well, but that which distinguishes all is this, that in singing, the words are to be considered, and how they are fitted with notes, and then the common accent of the country is to be known and understood by the hearer, or he will never be a good judge of the vocal musique of another country. So that I was not taken with this at all, neither understanding the first, nor by practice reconciled to the latter, so that their motions, and risings and fallings, though it may be pleasing to an Italian, or one that understands the tongue, yet to me it did not, but do from my heart believe that I could set words in English, and make musique of them more agreeable to any Englishman’s eare (the most judicious) than any Italian musique set for the voice, and performed before the same man, unless he be acquainted with the Italian accent of speech. The composition as to the musique part was exceeding good, and their justness in keeping time by practice much before any that we have, unless it be a good band of practised fiddlers. So away, here being Captain Cocke, who is stole away, leaving them at it, in his coach, and to Mrs. Pierce’s, where I took up my wife, and there I find Mrs. Pierce’s little girl is my Valentine, she having drawn me; which I was not sorry for, it easing me of something more that I must have given to others. But here I do first observe the fashion of drawing of mottos as well as names; so that Pierce, who drew my wife, did draw also a motto, and this girl drew another for me. What mine was I have forgot; but my wife’s was, “Most virtuous and most fair;” which, as it may be used, or an anagram made upon each name, might be very pretty. Thence with Cocke and my wife, set him at home, and then we home. To the office, and there did a little business, troubled that I have so much been hindered by matters of pleasure from my business, but I shall recover it I hope in a little time. So home and to supper, not at all smitten with the musique to-night, which I did expect should have been so extraordinary, Tom Killigrew crying it up, and so all the world, above all things in the world, and so to bed. One wonder I observed today, that there was no musique in the morning to call up our new-married people, which is very mean, methinks, and is as if they had married like dog and bitch.
17th (Lord’s day). Up, and called at Michell’s, and took him and his wife and carried them to Westminster, I landing at White Hall, and having no pleasure in the way ‘con elle’; and so to the Duke’s, where we all met and had a hot encounter before the Duke of York about the business of our payments at the Ticket Office, where we urged that we had nothing to do to be troubled with the pay, having examined the tickets. Besides, we are neglected, having not money sent us in time, but to see the baseness of my brethren, not a man almost put in a word but Sir W. Coventry, though at the office like very devils in this point. But I did plainly declare that, without money, no fleete could be expected, and desired the Duke of York to take notice of it, and notice was taken of it, but I doubt will do no good. But I desire to remember it as a most prodigious thing that to this day my Lord Treasurer hath not consulted counsel, which Sir W. Coventry and I and others do think is necessary, about the late Poll act, enough to put the same into such order as that any body dare lend money upon it, though we have from this office under our hands related the necessity thereof to the Duke of York, nor is like to be determined in, for ought I see, a good while had not Sir W. Coventry plainly said that he did believe it would be a better work for the King than going to church this morning, to send for the Atturney Generall to meet at the Lord Treasurer’s this afternoon and to bring the thing to an issue, saying that himself, were he going to the Sacrament, would not think he should offend God to leave it and go to the ending this work, so much it is of moment to the King and Kingdom. Hereupon the Duke of York said he would presently speak to the King, and cause it to be done this afternoon. Having done here we broke up; having done nothing almost though for all this, and by and by I met Sir G. Carteret, and he is stark mad at what has passed this morning, and I believe is heartily vexed with me: I said little, but I am sure the King will suffer if some better care be not taken than he takes to look after this business of money. So parted, and I by water home and to dinner, W. Hewer with us, a good dinner and-very merry, my wife and I, and after dinner to my chamber, to fit some things against: the Council anon, and that being done away to White Hall by water, and thence to my Lord Chancellor’s, where I met with, and had much pretty discourse with, one of the Progers’s that knows me; and it was pretty to hear him tell me, of his own accord, as a matter of no shame, that in Spayne he had a pretty woman, his mistress, whom, when money grew scarce with him, he was forced to leave, and afterwards heard how she and her husband lived well, she being kept by an old fryer who used her as his whore; but this, says he, is better than as our ministers do, who have wives that lay up their estates, and do no good nor relieve any poor — no, not our greatest prelates, and I think he is in the right for my part. Staid till the Council was up, and attended the King and Duke of York round the Park, and was asked several questions by both; but I was in pain, lest they should ask me what I could not answer; as the Duke of York did the value of the hull of the St. Patrick lately lost, which I told him I could not presently answer; though I might have easily furnished myself to answer all those questions. They stood a good while to see the ganders and geese tread one another in the water, the goose being all the while kept for a great while: quite under water, which was new to me, but they did make mighty sport of it, saying (as the King did often) “Now you shall see a marriage, between this and that,” which did not please me. They gone, by coach to my Lord Treasurer’s, as the Duke of York told me, to settle the business of money for the navy, I walked into the Court to and again till night, and there met Colonell Reames, and he and I walked together a great while complaining of the ill-management of things, whereof he is as full as I am. We ran over many persons and things, and see nothing done like men like to do well while the King minds his pleasures so much. We did bemoan it that nobody would or had authority enough with the King to tell him how all things go to rack and will be lost. Then he and I parted, and I to Westminster to the Swan, and there staid till Michell and his wife come. Old Michell and his wife come to see me, and there we drank and laughed a little, and then the young ones and I took boat, it being fine moonshine. I did to my trouble see all the way that ‘elle’ did get as close ‘a su marido’ as ‘elle’ could, and turn her ‘mains’ away ‘quand je’ did endeavour to take one. . . . So that I had no pleasure at all ‘con elle ce’ night. When we landed I did take occasion to send him back a the bateau while I did get a ‘baiser’ or two, and would have taken ‘la’ by ‘la’ hand, but ‘elle’ did turn away, and ‘quand’ I said shall I not ‘toucher’ to answered ‘ego’ no love touching, in a slight mood. I seemed not to take notice of it, but parted kindly; ‘su marido’ did alter with me almost a my case, and there we parted, and so I home troubled at this, but I think I shall make good use of it and mind my business more. At home, by appointment, comes Captain Cocke to me, to talk of State matters, and about the peace; who told me that the whole business is managed between Kevet, Burgomaster of Amsterdam, and my Lord Arlington, who hath, by the interest of his wife there, some interest. We have proposed the Hague, but know not yet whether the Dutch will like it; or; if they do, whether the French will. We think we shall have the help of the information of their affairs and state, and the helps of the Prince of Orange his faction; but above all, that De Witt, who hath all this while said he cannot get peace, his mouth will now be stopped, so that he will be forced to offer fit terms for fear of the people; and, lastly, if France or Spayne do not please us, we are in a way presently to clap up a peace with the Dutch, and secure them. But we are also in treaty with France, as he says: but it must be to the excluding our alliance with the King of Spayne or House of Austria; which we do not know presently what will be determined in. He tells me the Vice–Chamberlaine is so great with the King, that, let the Duke of York, and Sir W. Coventry, and this office, do or say what they will, while the King lives, Sir G. Carteret will do what he will; and advises me to be often with him, and eat and drink with him.; and tells me that he doubts he is jealous of me, and was mighty mad today at our discourse to him before the Duke of York. But I did give him my reasons that the office is concerned to declare that, without money, the King’s work cannot go on. From that discourse we ran to others, and among the others he assures me that Henry Bruncker is one of the shrewdest fellows for parts in England, and a dangerous man; that if ever the Parliament comes again Sir W. Coventry cannot stand, but in this I believe him not; that, while we want money so much in the Navy, the Officers of the Ordnance have at this day £300,000 good in tallys, which they can command money upon, got by their over-estimating their charge in getting it reckoned as a fifth part of the expense of the Navy; that Harry Coventry, who is to go upon this treaty with Lord Hollis (who he confesses to be a very wise man) into Holland, is a mighty quick, ready man, but not so weighty as he should be, he knowing him so well in his drink as he do; that, unless the King do do something against my Lord Mordaunt and the Patent for the Canary Company, before the Parliament next meets, he do believe there will be a civil war before there will be any more money given, unless it may be at their perfect disposal; and that all things are now ordered to the provoking of the Parliament against they come next, and the spending the King’s money, so as to put him into a necessity of having it at the time it is prorogued for, or sooner. Having discoursed all this and much more, he away, and I to supper and to read my vows, and to bed. My mind troubled about Betty Michell, ‘pour sa carriage’ this night ‘envers moy’, but do hope it will put me upon doing my business. This evening, going to the Queen’s side to see the ladies, I did find the Queene, the Duchesse of York, and another or two, at cards, with the room full of great ladies and men; which I was amazed at to see on a Sunday, having not believed it; but, contrarily, flatly denied the same a little while since to my cozen Roger Pepys? I did this day, going by water, read the answer to “The Apology for Papists,” which did like me mightily, it being a thing as well writ as I think most things that ever I read in my life, and glad I am that I read it.
18th. Up, and to my bookbinder’s, and there mightily pleased to see some papers of the account we did give the Parliament of the expense of the Navy sewed together, which I could not have conceived before how prettily it was done. Then by coach to the Exchequer about some tallies, and thence back again home, by the way meeting Mr. Weaver, of Huntingdon, and did discourse our business of law together, which did ease my mind, for I was afeard I have omitted doing what I in prudence ought to have done. So home and to dinner, and after dinner to the office, where je had Mrs. Burrows all sola a my closet, and did there ‘baiser and toucher ses mamelles’. . . . Thence away, and with my wife by coach to the Duke of York’s play-house, expecting a new play, and so stayed not no more than other people, but to the King’s house, to “The Mayd’s Tragedy;” but vexed all the while with two talking ladies and Sir Charles Sedley; yet pleased to hear their discourse, he being a stranger. And one of the ladies would, and did sit with her mask on, all the play, and, being exceeding witty as ever I heard woman, did talk most pleasantly with him; but was, I believe, a virtuous woman, and of quality. He would fain know who she was, but she would not tell; yet did give him many pleasant hints of her knowledge of him, by that means setting his brains at work to find, out who she was, and did give him leave to use all means to find out who she was, but pulling off her mask. He was mighty witty, and she also making sport with him very inoffensively, that a more pleasant ‘rencontre’ I never heard. But by that means lost the pleasure of the play wholly, to which now and then Sir Charles Sedley’s exceptions against both words and pronouncing were very pretty. So home and to the office, did much business, then home, to supper, and to bed.
19th. Up, and to the office, where all the morning doing little business, our want of money being so infinite great. At noon home, and there find old Mr. Michell and Howlett come to desire mine and my wife’s company to dinner to their son’s, and so away by coach with them, it being Betty’s wedding-day a year, as also Shrove Tuesday. Here I made myself mighty merry, the two old women being there also, and a mighty pretty dinner we had in this little house, to my exceeding great content, and my wife’s, and my heart pleased to see Betty. But I have not been so merry a very great while as with them, every thing pleasing me there as much as among so mean company I could be pleased. After dinner I fell to read the Acts about the building of the City again;1 and indeed the laws seem to be very good, and I pray God I may live to see it built in that manner! Anon with much content home, walking with my wife and her woman, and there to my office, where late doing much business, and then home to supper and to bed. This morning I hear that our discourse of peace is all in the dirt; for the Dutch will not like of the place, or at least the French will not agree to it; so that I do wonder what we shall do, for carry on the war we cannot. I long to hear the truth of it tomorrow at Court.
1 Burnet wrote (“History of his Own Time,” book ii.): “An act passed in this session for rebuilding the city of London, which gave Lord Chief Justice Hale a great reputation, for it was drawn with so true a judgment, and so great foresight, that the whole city was raised out of its ashes without any suits of law.”
20th. Up, with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen by coach to White Hall, by the way observing Sir W. Pen’s carrying a favour to Sir W. Coventry, for his daughter’s wedding, and saying that there was others for us, when we will fetch them, which vexed me, and I am resolved not to wear it when he orders me one. His wedding hath been so poorly kept, that I am ashamed of it; for a fellow that makes such a flutter as he do. When we come to the Duke of York here, I heard discourse how Harris of his play-house is sick, and everybody commends him, and, above all things, for acting the Cardinall. Here they talk also how the King’s viallin — [violin]— Bannister, is mad that the King hath a Frenchman come to be chief of some part of the King’s musique, at which the Duke of York made great mirth. Then withdrew to his closett, all our business, lack of money and prospect of the effects of it, such as made Sir W. Coventry say publickly before us all, that he do heartily wish that his Royal Highness had nothing to do in the Navy, whatever become of him; so much dishonour, he says, is likely to fall under the management of it. The Duke of York was angry, as much as he could be, or ever I saw him, with Sir G. Carteret, for not paying the masters of some ships on Monday last, according to his promise, and I do think Sir G. Carteret will make himself unhappy by not taking some course either to borrow more money or wholly lay aside his pretence to the charge of raising money, when he hath nothing to do to trouble himself with. Thence to the Exchequer, and there find the people in readiness to dispatch my tallies today, though Ash Wednesday. So I back by coach to London to Sir Robt. Viner’s and there got £100, and come away with it and pay my fees round, and so away with the ‘Chequer men to the Leg in King Street, and there had wine for them; and here was one in company with them, that was the man that got the vessel to carry over the King from Bredhemson, who hath a pension of 200 per annum, but ill paid, and the man is looking after getting of a prizeship to live by; but the trouble is, that this poor man, who hath received no part of his money these four years, and is ready to starve almost, must yet pay to the Poll Bill for this pension. He told me several particulars of the King’s coming thither, which was mighty pleasant, and shews how mean a thing a king is, how subject to fall, and how like other men he is in his afflictions. Thence with my tallies home, and a little dinner, and then with my wife by coach to Lincoln’s Inn Fields, sent her to her brother’s, and I with Lord Bellasses to the Lord Chancellor’s. Lord Bellasses tells me how the King of France hath caused the stop to be made to our proposition of treating in The Hague; that he being greater than they, we may better come and treat at Paris: so that God knows what will become of the peace! He tells me, too, as a grand secret, that he do believe the peace offensive and defensive between Spayne and us is quite finished, but must not be known, to prevent the King of France’s present falling upon Flanders. He do believe the Duke of York will be made General of the Spanish armies there, and Governor of Flanders, if the French should come against it, and we assist the Spaniard: that we have done the Spaniard abundance of mischief in the West Indys, by our privateers at Jamaica, which they lament mightily, and I am sorry for it to have it done at this time. By and by, come to my Lord Chancellor, who heard mighty quietly my complaints for lack of money, and spoke mighty kind to me, but little hopes of help therein, only his good word. He do prettily cry upon Povy’s account with sometimes seeming friendship and pity, and this day quite the contrary. He do confess our streights here and every where else arise from our outspending our revenue. I mean that the King do do so. Thence away, took up my wife; who tells me her brother hath laid out much money upon himself and wife for clothes, which I am sorry to hear, it requiring great expense. So home and to the office a while, and then home to supper, where Mrs. Turner come to us, and sat and talked. Poor woman, I pity her, but she is very cunning. She concurs with me in the falseness of Sir W. Pen’s friendship, and she tells pretty storms of my Lord Bruncker since he come to our end of the town, of people’s applications to Mrs. Williams. So, she gone, I back to my accounts of Tangier, which I am settling, having my new tallies from the Exchequer this day, and having set all right as I could wish, then to bed.
21st. Up, and to the Office, where sat all the morning, and there a most furious conflict between Sir W. Pen and I, in few words, and on a sudden occasion, of no great moment, but very bitter, and stared on one another, and so broke off; and to our business, my heart as full of spite as it could hold, for which God forgive me and him! At the end of the day come witnesses on behalf of Mr. Carcasse; but, instead of clearing him, I find they were brought to recriminate Sir W. Batten, and did it by oath very highly, that made the old man mad, and, I confess, me ashamed, so that I caused all but ourselves to withdraw; being sorry to have such things declared in the open office, before 100 people. But it was done home, and I do believe true, though (Sir) W. Batten denies all, but is cruel mad, and swore one of them, he or Carcasse, should not continue in the Office, which is said like a fool. He gone, for he would not stay, and [Sir] W. Pen gone a good while before, Lord Bruncker, Sir T. Harvy, and I, staid and examined the witnesses, though amounting to little more than a reproaching of Sir W. Batten. I home, my head and mind vexed about the conflict between Sir W. Pen and I, though I have got, nor lost any ground by it. At home was Mr. Daniel and wife and sister, and dined with us, and I disturbed at dinner, Colonell Fitzgerald coming to me about tallies, which I did go and give him, and then to the office, where did much business and walked an hour or two with Lord Bruncker, who is mightily concerned in this business for Carcasse and against Sir W. Batten, and I do hope it will come to a good height, for I think it will be good for the King as well as for me, that they two do not agree, though I do, for ought I see yet, think that my Lord is for the most part in the right. He gone, I to the office again to dispatch business, and late at night comes in Sir W. Batten, [Sir] W. Pen, and [Sir] J. Minnes to the office, and what was it but to examine one Jones, a young merchant, who was said to have spoke the worst against Sir W. Batten, but he do deny it wholly, yet I do believe Carcasse will go near to prove all that was sworn in the morning, and so it be true I wish it may. That done, I to end my letters, and then home to supper, and set right some accounts of Tangier, and then to bed.
22nd. Up, and to the office, where I awhile, and then home with Sir H. Cholmly to give him some tallies upon the business of the Mole at Tangier, and then out with him by coach to the Excise Office, there to enter them, and so back again with him to the Exchange, and there I took another coach, and home to the office, and to my business till dinner, the rest of our officers having been this morning upon the Victuallers’ accounts. At dinner all of us, that is to say, Lord Bruncker, [Sir] J. Minnes, [Sir] W. Batten, [Sir] T. Harvy, and myself, to Sir W. Pen’s house, where some other company. It is instead of a wedding dinner for his daughter, whom I saw in palterly clothes, nothing new but a bracelet that her servant had given her, and ugly she is, as heart can wish. A sorry dinner, not any thing handsome or clean, but some silver plates they borrowed of me. My wife was here too. So a great deal of talk, and I seemingly merry, but took no pleasure at all. We had favours given us all, and we put them in our hats, I against my will, but that my Lord and the rest did, I being displeased that he did carry Sir W. Coventry’s himself several days ago, and the people up and down the town long since, and we must have them but today. After dinner to talk a little, and then I away to my office, to draw up a letter of the state of the Office and Navy for the Duke of York against Sunday next, and at it late, and then home to supper and to bed, talking with my wife of the poorness and meanness of all that Sir W. Pen and the people about us do, compared with what we do.
23rd. This day I am, by the blessing of God, 34 years old, in very good health and mind’s content, and in condition of estate much beyond whatever my friends could expect of a child of theirs, this day 34 years. The Lord’s name be praised! and may I be ever thankful for it. Up betimes to the office, in order to my letter to the Duke of York tomorrow, and then the office met and spent the greatest part about this letter. At noon home to dinner, and then to the office again very close at it all the day till midnight, making an end and writing fair this great letter and other things to my full content, it abundantly providing for the vindication of this office, whatever the success be of our wants of money. This evening Sir W. Batten come to me to the office on purpose, out of spleen (of which he is full to Carcasse!), to tell me that he is now informed of many double tickets now found of Carcasses making which quite overthrows him. It is strange to see how, though I do believe this fellow to be a rogue, and could be contented to have him removed, yet to see him persecuted by Sir W. Batten, who is as bad himself, and that with so much rancour, I am almost the fellow’s friend. But this good I shall have from it, that the differences between Sir W. Batten and my Lord Bruncker will do me no hurt.
24th (Lord’s day). Up, and with [Sir] W. Batten, by coach; he set me down at my Lord Bruncker’s (his feud there not suffering him to ‘light himself), and I with my Lord by and by when ready to White Hall, and by and by up to the Duke of York, and there presented our great letter and other papers, and among the rest my report of the victualling, which is good, I think, and will continue my pretence to the place, which I am still afeard Sir W. Coventry’s employment may extinguish. We have discharged ourselves in this letter fully from blame in the bad success of the Navy, if money do not come soon to us, and so my heart is at pretty good rest in this point. Having done here, Sir W. Batten and I home by coach, and though the sermon at our church was begun, yet he would ‘light to go home and eat a slice of roast beef off the spit, and did, and then he and I to church in the middle of the sermon. My Lady Pen there saluted me with great content to tell me that her daughter and husband are still in bed, as if the silly woman thought it a great matter of honour, and did, going out of the church, ask me whether we did not make a great show at Court today, with all our favours in our hats. After sermon home, and alone with my wife dined. Among other things my wife told me how ill a report our Mercer hath got by her keeping of company, so that she will not send for her to dine with us or be with us as heretofore; and, what is more strange, tells me that little Mis. Tooker hath got a clap as young as she is, being brought up loosely by her mother. . . . In the afternoon away to White Hall by water, and took a turn or two in the Park, and then back to White Hall, and there meeting my Lord Arlington, he, by I know not what kindness, offered to carry me along with him to my Lord Treasurer’s, whither, I told him, I was going. I believe he had a mind to discourse of some Navy businesses, but Sir Thomas Clifford coming into the coach to us, we were prevented; which I was sorry for, for I had a mind to begin an acquaintance with him. He speaks well, and hath pretty slight superficial parts, I believe. He, in our going, talked much of the plain habit of the Spaniards; how the King and Lords themselves wear but a cloak of Colchester bayze, and the ladies mantles, in cold weather, of white flannell: and that the endeavours frequently of setting up the manufacture of making these stuffs there have only been prevented by the Inquisition: the English and Dutchmen that have been sent for to work, being taken with a Psalmbook or Testament, and so clapped up, and the house pulled down by the Inquisitors; and the greatest Lord in Spayne dare not say a word against it, if the word Inquisition be but mentioned. At my Lord Treasurer’s ‘light and parted with them, they going into Council, and I walked with Captain Cocke, who takes mighty notice of the differences growing in our office between Lord Bruncker and [Sir] W. Batten, and among others also, and I fear it may do us hurt, but I will keep out of them. By and by comes Sir S. Fox, and he and I walked and talked together on many things, but chiefly want of money, and the straits the King brings himself and affairs into for want of it. Captain Cocke did tell me what I must not forget: that the answer of the Dutch, refusing The Hague for a place of treaty, and proposing the Boysse, Bredah, Bergen-opZoome, or Mastricht, was seemingly stopped by the Swede’s Embassador (though he did show it to the King, but the King would take no notice of it, nor does not) from being delivered to the King; and he hath wrote to desire them to consider better of it: so that, though we know their refusal of the place, yet they know not that we know it, nor is the King obliged to show his sense of the affront. That the Dutch are in very great straits, so as to be said to be not able to set out their fleete this year. By and by comes Sir Robert Viner and my Lord Mayor to ask the King’s directions about measuring out the streets according to the new Act for building of the City, wherein the King is to be pleased.1 But he says that the way proposed in Parliament, by Colonel Birch, would have been the best, to have chosen some persons in trust, and sold the whole ground, and let it be sold again by them, with preference to the old owner, which would have certainly caused the City to be built where these Trustees pleased; whereas now, great differences will be, and the streets built by fits, and not entire till all differences be decided. This, as he tells it, I think would have been the best way. I enquired about the Frenchman2 that was said to fire the City, and was hanged for it, by his own confession, that he was hired for it by a Frenchman of Roane, and that he did with a stick reach in a fire-ball in at a window of the house: whereas the master of the house, who is the King’s baker, and his son, and daughter, do all swear there was no such window, and that the fire did not begin thereabouts. Yet the fellow, who, though a mopish besotted fellow, did not speak like a madman, did swear that he did fire it: and did not this like a madman; for, being tried on purpose, and landed with his keeper at the Tower Wharf, he could carry the keeper to the very house. Asking Sir R. Viner what he thought was the cause of the fire, he tells me, that the baker, son, and his daughter, did all swear again and again, that their oven was drawn by ten o’clock at night; that, having occasion to light a candle about twelve, there was not so much fire in the bakehouse as to light a match for a candle, so that they were fain to go into another place to light it; that about two in the morning they felt themselves almost choked with smoke, and rising, did find the fire coming upstairs; so they rose to save themselves; but that, at that time, the bavins —[brushwood, or faggots used for lighting fires]— were not on fire in the yard. So that they are, as they swear, in absolute ignorance how this fire should come; which is a strange thing, that so horrid an effect should have so mean and uncertain a beginning. By and by called in to the King and Cabinet, and there had a few insipid words about money for Tangier, but to no purpose. Thence away walked to my boat at White Hall, and so home and to supper, and then to talk with W. Hewer about business of the differences at present among the people of our office, and so to my journall and to bed. This night going through bridge by water, my waterman told me how the mistress of the Beare tavern, at the bridge-foot, did lately fling herself into the Thames, and drowned herself; which did trouble me the more, when they tell me it was she that did live at the White Horse tavern in Lumbard Streete, which was a most beautiful woman, as most I have seen. It seems she hath had long melancholy upon her, and hath endeavoured to make away with herself often.
1 See Sir Christopher Wren’s “Proposals for rebuilding the City of London after the great fire, with an engraved Plan of the principal Streets and Public Buildings,” in Elmes’s “Memoirs of Sir Christopher Wren,” Appendix, p.61. The originals are in All Souls’ College Library, Oxford. — B.
2 “One Hubert, a French papist, was seized in Essex, as he was getting out of the way in great confusion. He confessed he had begun the fire, and persisted in his confession to his death, for he was hanged upon no other evidence but that of his own confession. It is true he gave so broken an account of the whole matter that he was thought mad. Yet he was blindfolded, and carried to several places of the city, and then his eyes being opened, he was asked if that was the place, and he being carried to wrong places, after he looked round about for some time, he said that was not the place, but when he was brought to the place where it first broke out, he affirmed that was the true place. “Burnet’s Own Time,” book ii. Archbishop Tillotson, according to Burnet, believed that London was burnt by design.
25th. Lay long in bed, talking with pleasure with my poor wife, how she used to make coal fires, and wash my foul clothes with her own hand for me, poor wretch! in our little room at my Lord Sandwich’s; for which I ought for ever to love and admire her, and do; and persuade myself she would do the same thing again, if God should reduce us to it. So up and by coach abroad to the Duke of Albemarle’s about sending soldiers down to some ships, and so home, calling at a belt-maker’s to mend my belt, and so home and to dinner, where pleasant with my wife, and then to the office, where mighty busy all the day, saving going forth to the ‘Change to pay for some things, and on other occasions, and at my goldsmith’s did observe the King’s new medall, where, in little, there is Mrs. Steward’s face as well done as ever I saw anything in my whole life, I think: and a pretty thing it is, that he should choose her face to represent Britannia by. So at the office late very busy and much business with great joy dispatched, and so home to supper and to bed.
26th. Up, and to the office, where all the morning. And here did receive another reference from Sir W. Coventry about the business of some of the Muster–Masters, concerning whom I had returned their small performances, which do give me a little more trouble for fear [Sir] W. Coventry should think I had a design to favour my brother Balty, and to that end to disparage all the rest. But I shall clear all very well, only it do exercise my thoughts more than I am at leisure for. At home find Balty and his wife very fine, which I did not like, for fear he do spend too much of his money that way, and lay [not] up anything. After dinner to the office again, where by and by Lord Bruncker, [Sir] W. Batten, [Sir] J. Minnes and I met about receiving Carcasses answers to the depositions against him. Wherein I did see so much favour from my Lord to him that I do again begin to see that my Lord is not right at the bottom, and did make me the more earnest against him, though said little. My Lord rising, declaring his judgement in his behalf, and going away, I did hinder our arguing it by ourselves, and so broke up the meeting, and myself went full of trouble to my office, there to write over the deposition and his answers side by side, and then home to supper and to bed with some trouble of mind to think of the issue of this, how it will breed ill blood among us here.
27th. Up by candle-light, about six o’clock, it being bitter cold weather again, after all our warm weather, and by water down to Woolwich rope-yard, I being this day at a leisure, the King and Duke of York being gone down to Sheerenesse this morning to lay out the design for a fortification there to the river Medway; and so we do not attend the Duke of York as we should otherwise have done, and there to the Dock Yard to enquire of the state of things, and went into Mr. Pett’s; and there, beyond expectation, he did present me with a Japan cane, with a silver head, and his wife sent me by him a ring, with a Woolwich stone;1 now much in request; which I accepted, the values not being great, and knowing that I had done them courtesies, which he did own in very high terms; and then, at my asking, did give me an old draught of an ancient-built ship, given him by his father, of the Beare, in Queen Elizabeth’s time. This did much please me, it being a thing I much desired to have, to shew the difference in the build of ships now and heretofore. Being much taken with this kindness, I away to Blackwall and Deptford, to satisfy myself there about the King’s business, and then walked to Redriffe, and so home about noon; there find Mr. Hunt, newly come out of the country, who tells me the country is much impoverished by the greatness of taxes: the farmers do break every day almost, and £1000 a-year become not worth £500. He dined with us, and we had good discourse of the general ill state of things, and, by the way, he told me some ridiculous pieces of thrift of Sir G. Downing’s, who is his countryman, in inviting some poor people, at Christmas last, to charm the country people’s mouths; but did give them nothing but beef, porridge, pudding, and pork, and nothing said all dinner, but only his mother would say, “It’s good broth, son.” He would answer, “Yes, it is good broth.” Then, says his lady, Confirm all, and say, “Yes, very good broth.” By and by she would begin and say, “Good pork:"—“Yes,” says the mother, “good pork.” Then he cries, “Yes, very good pork.” And so they said of all things; to which nobody made any answer, they going there not out of love or esteem of them, but to eat his victuals, knowing him to be a niggardly fellow; and with this he is jeered now all over the country. This day just before dinner comes Captain Story, of Cambridge, to me to the office, about a bill for prest money,2 for men sent out of the country and the countries about him to the fleete the last year; but, Lord! to see the natures of men; how this man, hearing of my name, did ask me of my country, and told me of my cozen Roger, that he was not so wise a man as his father; for that he do not agree in Parliament with his fellow burgesses and knights of the shire, whereas I know very well the reason; for he is not so high a flyer as Mr. Chichley and others, but loves the King better than any of them, and to better purpose. But yet, he says that he is a very honest gentleman, and thence runs into a hundred stories of his own services to the King, and how he at this day brings in the taxes before anybody here thinks they are collected: discourse very absurd to entertain a stranger with. He being gone, and I glad of it, I home then to dinner. After dinner with my wife by coach abroad, andset Mr. Hunt down at the Temple and her at her brother’s, and I to White Hall to meet [Sir] W. Coventry, but found him not, but met Mr. Cooling, who tells me of my Lord Duke of Buckingham’s being sent for last night, by a Serjeant at Armes, to the Tower, for treasonable practices, and that the King is infinitely angry with him, and declared him no longer one of his Council. I know not the reason of it, or occasion. To Westminster Hall, and there paid what I owed for books, and so by coach, took up my wife to the Exchange, and there bought things for Mrs. Pierces little daughter, my Valentine, and so to their house, where we find Knipp, who also challengeth me for her Valentine. She looks well, sang well, and very merry we were for half an hour. Tells me Harris is well again, having been very ill, and so we home, and I to the office; then, at night, to Sir W. Pen’s, and sat with my Lady, and the young couple (Sir William out of town) talking merrily; but they make a very sorry couple, methinks, though rich. So late home and to bed.
1 Woolwich stones, still collected in that locality, are simply waterworn pebbles of flint, which, when broken with a hammer, exhibit on the smooth surface some resemblance to the human face; and their possessors are thus enabled to trace likenesses of friends, or eminent public characters. The late Mr. Tennant, the geologist, of the Strand, had a collection of such stones. In the British Museum is a nodule of globular or Egyptian jasper, which, in its fracture, bears a striking resemblance to the well-known portrait of Chaucer. It is engraved in Rymsdyk’s “Museum Britannicum,” tab. xxviii. A flint, showing Mr. Pitt’s face, used once to be exhibited at the meetings of the Pitt Club. — B.
2 Money paid to men who enlist into the public service; press money. So called because those who receive it are to be prest or ready when called on (“Encyclopaedic Dictionary “).
28th. Up, and there comes to me Drumbleby with a flageolet, made to suit with my former and brings me one Greeting, a master, to teach my wife. I agree by the whole with him to teach her to take out any lesson of herself for £4. She was not ready to begin today, but do tomorrow. So I to the office, where my Lord Bruncker and I only all the morning, and did business. At noon to the Exchange and to Sir Rob. Viner’s about settling my accounts there. So back home and to dinner, where Mr. Holliard dined with us, and pleasant company he is. I love his company, and he secures me against ever having the stone again. He gives it me, as his opinion, that the City will never be built again together, as is expected, while any restraint is laid upon them. He hath been a great loser, and would be a builder again, but, he says, he knows not what restrictions there will be, so as it is unsafe for him to begin. He gone, I to the office, and there busy till night doing much business, then home and to my accounts, wherein, beyond expectation, I succeeded so well as to settle them very clear and plain, though by borrowing of monies this month to pay D. Gawden, and chopping and changing with my Tangier money, they were become somewhat intricate, and, blessed be God; upon the evening my accounts, I do appear £6800 creditor: This done, I to supper about 12 at night, and so to bed. The weather for three or four days being come to be exceeding cold again as any time this year. I did within these six days see smoke still remaining of the late fire in the City; and it is strange to think how, to this very day, I cannot sleep at night without great terrors of fire, and this very night I could not sleep till almost two in the morning through thoughts of fire. Thus this month is ended with great content of mind to me, thriving in my estate, and the affairs in my offices going pretty well as to myself. This afternoon Mr. Gawden was with me and tells me more than I knew before — that he hath orders to get all the victuals he can to Plymouth, and the Western ports, and other outports, and some to Scotland, so that we do intend to keep but a flying fleete this year; which, it may be, may preserve us a year longer, but the end of it must be ruin. Sir J. Minnes this night tells me, that he hears for certain, that ballads are made of us in Holland for begging of a peace; which I expected, but am vexed at. So ends this month, with nothing of weight upon my mind, but for my father and mother, who are both very ill, and have been so for some weeks: whom God help! but I do fear my poor father will hardly be ever thoroughly well again.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59