June 1st. Up; and there comes to me Mr. Commander, whom I employ about hiring of some ground behind the office, for the building of me a stable and coach-house: for I do find it necessary for me, both in respect to honour and the profit of it also, my expense in hackney-coaches being now so great, to keep a coach, and therefore will do it. Having given him some instructions about it, I to the office, where we sat all the morning; where we have news that our peace with Spayne, as to trade, is wholly concluded, and we are to furnish him with some men for Flanders against the French. How that will agree with the French, I know not; but they say that he also hath liberty, to get what men he pleases out of England. But for the Spaniard, I hear that my Lord Castlehaven is raising a regiment of 4000 men, which he is to command there; and several young gentlemen are going over in commands with him: and they say the Duke of Monmouth is going over only as a traveller, not to engage on either side, but only to see the campagne, which will be becoming him much more than to live whoreing and rogueing, as he now do. After dinner to the office, where, after a little nap, I fell to business, and did very much with infinite joy to myself, as it always is to me when I have dispatched much business, and therefore it troubles me to see how hard it is for me to settle to it sometimes when my mind is upon pleasure. So home late to supper and to bed.
2nd (Lord’s day). Up betimes, and down to my chamber without trimming myself, or putting on clean linen, thinking only to keep to my chamber and do business today, but when I come there I find that without being shaved I am not fully awake, nor ready to settle to business, and so was fain to go up again and dress myself, which I did, and so down to my chamber, and fell roundly to business, and did to my satisfaction by dinner go far in the drawing up a state of my accounts of Tangier for the new Lords Commissioners. So to dinner, and then to my business again all the afternoon close, when Creed come to visit me, but I did put him off, and to my business, till anon I did make an end, and wrote it fair with a letter to the Lords to accompany my accounts, which I think will be so much satisfaction and so soon done (their order for my doing it being dated but May 30) as they will not find from any hand else. Being weary and almost blind with writing and reading so much today, I took boat at the Old Swan, and there up the river all alone as high as Putney almost, and then back again, all the way reading, and finishing Mr. Boyle’s book of Colours, which is so chymical, that I can understand but little of it, but understand enough to see that he is a most excellent man. So back and home, and there to supper, and so to bed.
3rd. Up, and by coach to St. James’s, and with Sir W. Coventry a great while talking about several businesses, but especially about accounts, and how backward our Treasurer is in giving them satisfaction, and the truth is I do doubt he cannot do better, but it is strange to say that being conscious of our doing little at this day, nor for some time past in our office for want of money, I do hang my head to him, and cannot be so free with him as I used to be, nor can be free with him, though of all men, I think, I have the least cause to be so, having taken so much more pains, while I could do anything, than the rest of my fellows. Parted with him, and so going through the Park met Mr. Mills, our parson, whom I went back with to bring him to [Sir] W. Coventry, to give him the form of a qualification for the Duke of York to sign to, to enable him to have two livings: which was a service I did, but much against my will, for a lazy, fat priest. Thence to Westminster Hall, and there walked a turn or two with Sir William Doyly, who did lay a wager with me, the Treasurership would be in one hand, notwithstanding this present Commission, before Christmas: on which we did lay a poll of ling, a brace of carps, and a pottle of wine; and Sir W. Pen and Mr. Scowen to be at the eating of them. Thence down by water to Deptford, it being Trinity Monday, when the Master is chosen, and there, finding them all at church, and thinking they dined, as usual, at Stepny, I turned back, having a good book in my hand, the Life of Cardinal Wolsey, wrote by his own servant, and to Ratcliffe; and so walked to Stepny, and spent, my time in the churchyard, looking over the gravestones, expecting when the company would come by. Finding no company stirring, I sent to the house to see; and, it seems, they dine not there, but at Deptford: so I back again to Deptford, and there find them just sat down. And so I down with them; and we had a good dinner of plain meat, and good company at our table: among others, my good Mr. Evelyn, with whom, after dinner, I stepped aside, and talked upon the present posture of our affairs; which is, that the Dutch are known to be abroad with eighty sail of ships of war, and twenty fire-ships; and the French come into the Channell with twenty sail of men-of-war, and five fireships, while we have not a ship at sea to do them any hurt with; but are calling in all we can, while our Embassadors are treating at Bredah; and the Dutch look upon them as come to beg peace, and use them accordingly; and all this through the negligence of our Prince, who hath power, if he would, to master all these with the money and men that he hath had the command of, and may now have, if he would mind his business. But, for aught we see, the Kingdom is likely to be lost, as well as the reputation of it is, for ever; notwithstanding so much reputation got and preserved by a rebel that went before him. This discourse of ours ended with sorrowful reflections upon our condition, and so broke up, and Creed and I got out of the room, and away by water to White Hall, and there he and I waited in the Treasury-chamber an hour or two, where we saw the Country Receivers and Accountants for money come to attend; and one of them, a brisk young fellow, with his hat cocked like a fool behind, as the present fashion among the blades is, committed to the Serjeant. By and by, I, upon desire, was called in, and delivered in my report of my Accounts. Present, Lord Ashly, Clifford, and Duncomb, who, being busy, did not read it; but committed it to Sir George Downing, and so I was dismissed; but, Lord! to see how Duncomb do take upon him is an eyesore, though I think he deserves great honour, but only the suddenness of his rise, and his pride. But I do like the way of these lords, that they admit nobody to use many words, nor do they spend many words themselves, but in great state do hear what they see necessary, and say little themselves, but bid withdraw. Thence Creed and I by water up to Fox Hall, and over against it stopped, thinking to see some Cock-fighting; but it was just being done, and, therefore, back again to the other side, and to Spring Garden, and there eat and drank a little, and then to walk up and down the garden, reflecting upon the bad management of things now, compared with what it was in the late rebellious times, when men, some for fear, and some for religion, minded their business, which none now do, by being void of both. Much talk of this and, other kinds, very pleasant, and so when it was almost night we home, setting him in at White Hall, and I to the Old Swan, and thence home, where to supper, and then to read a little, and so to bed.
4th. Up, and to the office, and there busy all the morning putting in order the answering the great letter sent to the office by the new Commissioners of the Treasury, who demand an account from the King’s coming in to this day, which we shall do in the best manner we can. At noon home to dinner, and after dinner comes Mr. Commander to me and tells me, after all, that I cannot have a lease of the ground for my coach-house and stable, till a suit in law be ended, about the end of the old stable now standing, which they and I would have pulled down to make a better way for a coach. I am a little sorry that I cannot presently have it, because I am pretty full in my mind of keeping a coach; but yet, when I think on it again, the Dutch and French both at sea, and we poor, and still out of order, I know not yet what turns there may be, and besides, I am in danger of parting with one of my places, which relates to the Victualling, that brings me by accident in £800 a year, that is, £300 from the King and £500 from D. Gawden. I ought to be well contented to forbear awhile, and therefore I am contented. To the office all the afternoon, where I dispatched much business to my great content, and then home in the evening, and there to sing and pipe with my wife, and that being done, she fell all of a sudden to discourse about her clothes and my humours in not suffering her to wear them as she pleases, and grew to high words between us, but I fell to read a book (Boyle’s Hydrostatiques)1 aloud in my chamber and let her talk, till she was tired and vexed that I would not hear her, and so become friends, and to bed together the first night after 4 or 5 that she hath lain from me by reason of a great cold she had got.
1 “Hydrostatical Paradoxes made out by New Experiments” was published by the Hon. Robert Boyle in 1666 (Oxford).
5th. Up, and with Mr. Kenasteri by coach to White Hall to the Commissioners of the Treasury about getting money for Tangier, and did come to, after long waiting, speak with them, and there I find them all sat; and, among the rest, Duncomb lolling, with his heels upon another chair, by that, that he sat upon, and had an answer good enough, and then away home, and (it being a most windy day, and hath been so all night, South West, and we have great hopes that it may have done the Dutch or French fleets some hurt) having got some papers in order, I back to St. James’s, where we all met at Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, and dined and talked of our business, he being a most excellent man, and indeed, with all his business, hath more of his employed upon the good of the service of the Navy, than all of us, that makes me ashamed of it. This noon Captain Perriman brings us word how the Happy Returne’s’ [crew] below in the Hope, ordered to carry the Portugal Embassador to Holland (and the Embassador, I think, on board), refuse to go till paid; and by their example two or three more ships are in a mutiny: which is a sad consideration, while so many of the enemy’s ships are at this day triumphing in the sea. Here a very good and neat dinner, after the French manner, and good discourse, and then up after dinner to the Duke of York and did our usual business, and are put in hopes by Sir W. Coventry that we shall have money, and so away, Sir G. Carteret and I to my Lord Crew to advise about Sir G. Carteret’s carrying his accounts tomorrow to the Commissioners appointed to examine them and all other accounts since the war, who at last by the King’s calling them to him yesterday and chiding them will sit, but Littleton and Garraway much against their wills. The truth of it is, it is a ridiculous thing, for it will come to nothing, nor do the King nor kingdom good in any manner, I think. Here they talked of my Lord Hinchingbroke’s match with Lord Burlington’s daughter, which is now gone a pretty way forward, and to great content, which I am infinitely glad of. So from hence to White Hall, and in the streete Sir G. Carteret showed me a gentleman coming by in his coach, who hath been sent for up out of Lincolneshire, I think he says he is a justice of peace there, that the Council have laid by the heels here, and here lies in a messenger’s hands, for saying that a man and his wife are but one person, and so ought to pay but 12d. for both to the Poll Bill; by which others were led to do the like: and so here he lies prisoner. To White Hall, and there I attended to speak with Sir W. Coventry about Lanyon’s business, to get him some money out of the Prize Office from my Lord Ashly, and so home, and there to the office a little, and thence to my chamber to read, and supper, and to bed. My father, blessed be God! finds great ease by his new steel trusse, which he put on yesterday. So to bed. The Duke of Cambridge past hopes of living still.
6th. Up, and to the office all the morning, where (which he hath not done a great while) Sir G. Carteret come to advise with us for the disposing of £10,000, which is the first sum the new Lords Treasurers have provided us; but, unless we have more, this will not enable us to cut off any of the growing charge which they seem to give it us for, and expect we should discharge several ships quite off with it. So home and with my father and wife to Sir W. Pen’s to dinner, which they invited us to out of their respect to my father, as a stranger; though I know them as false as the devil himself, and that it is only that they think it fit to oblige me; wherein I am a happy man, that all my fellow-officers are desirous of my friendship. Here as merry as in so false a place, and where I must dissemble my hatred, I could be, and after dinner my father and wife to a play, and I to my office, and there busy all the afternoon till late at night, and then my wife and I sang a song or two in the garden, and so home to supper and to bed. This afternoon comes Mr. Pierce to me about some business, and tells me that the Duke of Cambridge is yet living, but every minute expected to die, and is given over by all people, which indeed is a sad loss.
7th. Up, and after with my flageolet and Mr. Townsend, whom I sent for to come to me to discourse about my Lord Sandwich’s business; for whom I am in some pain, lest the Accounts of the Wardrobe may not be in so good order as may please the new Lords Treasurers, who are quick-sighted, and under obligations of recommending themselves to the King and the world, by their finding and mending of faults, and are, most of them, not the best friends to my Lord, and to the office, and there all the morning. At noon home to dinner, my father, wife, and I, and a good dinner, and then to the office again, where busy all the afternoon, also I have a desire to dispatch all business that hath lain long on my hands, and so to it till the evening, and then home to sing and pipe with my wife, and then to supper and to bed, my head full of thoughts how to keep if I can some part of my wages as Surveyor of the Victualling, which I see must now come to be taken away among the other places that have been occasioned by this war, and the rather because I have of late an inclination to keep a coach. Ever since my drinking, two days ago, some very Goole drink at Sir W. Coventry’s table I have been full of wind and with some pain, and I was afraid last night that it would amount to much, but, blessed be God! I find that the worst is past, so that I do clearly see that all the indisposition I am liable today as to sickness is only the Colique. This day I read (shown me by Mr. Gibson) a discourse newly come forth of the King of France, his pretence to Flanders, which is a very fine discourse, and the truth is, hath so much of the Civil Law in it, that I am not a fit judge of it, but, as it appears to me, he hath a good pretence to it by right of his Queene. So to bed.
8th. Up, and to the office, where all the news this morning is, that the Dutch are come with a fleete of eighty sail to Harwich, and that guns were heard plain by Sir W. Rider’s people at Bednallgreene, all yesterday even. So to the office, we all sat all the morning, and then home to dinner, where our dinner a ham of French bacon, boiled with pigeons, an excellent dish. Here dined with us only W. Hewer and his mother. After dinner to the office again, where busy till night, and then home and to read a little and then to bed. The news is confirmed that the Dutch are off of Harwich, but had done nothing last night. The King hath sent down my Lord of Oxford to raise the countries there; and all the Westerne barges are taken up to make a bridge over the River, about the Hope, for horse to cross the River, if there be occasion.
9th (Lord’s day). Up, and by water to White Hall, and so walked to St. James’s, where I hear that the Duke of Cambridge, who was given over long since by the Doctors, is now likely to recover; for which God be praised! To Sir W. Coventry, and there talked with him a great while; and mighty glad I was of my good fortune to visit him, for it keeps in my acquaintance with him, and the world sees it, and reckons my interest accordingly. In comes my Lord Barkeley, who is going down to Harwich also to look after the militia there: and there is also the Duke of Monmouth, and with him a great many young Hectors, the Lord Chesterfield, my Lord Mandeville, and others: but to little purpose, I fear, but to debauch the country women thereabouts. My Lord Barkeley wanting some maps, and Sir W. Coventry recommending the six maps of England that are bound up for the pocket, I did offer to present my Lord with them, which he accepted: and so I will send them him. Thence to White Hall, and there to the Chapel, where I met Creed, and he and I staid to hear who preached, which was a man who begun dully, and so we away by water and landed in Southwarke, and to a church in the street where we take water beyond the bridge, which was so full and the weather hot that we could not stand there. So to my house, where we find my father and wife at dinner, and after dinner Creed and I by water to White Hall, and there we parted, and I to Sir G. Carteret’s, where, he busy, I up into the house, and there met with a gentleman, Captain Aldrige, that belongs to my Lord Barkeley, and I did give him the book of maps for my Lord, and so I to Westminster Church and there staid a good while, and saw Betty Michell there. So away thence, and after church time to Mrs. Martin’s, and then hazer what I would with her, and then took boat and up, all alone, a most excellent evening, as high as Barne Elmes, and there took a turn; and then to my boat again, and home, reading and making an end of the book I lately bought a merry satyr called “The Visions,” translated from Spanish by L’Estrange, wherein there are many very pretty things; but the translation is, as to the rendering it into English expression, the best that ever I saw, it being impossible almost to conceive that it should be a translation. Being come home I find an order come for the getting some fire-ships presently to annoy the Dutch, who are in the King’s Channel, and expected up higher. So [Sir] W. Batten and [Sir] W. Pen being come this evening from their country houses to town we did issue orders about it, and then home to supper and, to bed,
10th. Up; and news brought us that, the Dutch are come up as high as the Nore; and more pressing orders for fireships. W. Batten, W. Pen, and I to St. James’s; where the Duke of York gone this morning betimes, to send away some men down to Chatham. So we three to White Hall, and met Sir W. Coventry, who presses all that is possible for fire-ships. So we three to the office presently; and thither comes Sir Fretcheville Hollis, who is to command them all in some exploits he is to do with them on the enemy in the River. So we all down to Deptford, and pitched upon ships and set men at work: but, Lord! to see how backwardly things move at this pinch, notwithstanding that, by the enemy’s being now come up as high as almost the Hope, Sir J. Minnes, who has gone down to pay some ships there, hath sent up the money; and so we are possessed of money to do what we will with. Yet partly ourselves, being used to be idle and in despair, and partly people that have been used to be deceived by us as to money, won’t believe us; and we know not, though we have it, how almost to promise it; and our wants such, and men out of the way, that it is an admirable thing to consider how much the King suffers, and how necessary it is in a State to keep the King’s service always in a good posture and credit. Here I eat a bit, and then in the afternoon took boat and down to Greenwich, where I find the stairs full of people, there being a great riding1 there today for a man, the constable of the town, whose wife beat him. Here I was with much ado fain to press two watermen to make me a galley, and so to Woolwich to give order for the dispatch of a ship I have taken under my care to see dispatched, and orders being so given, I, under pretence to fetch up the ship, which lay at Grays (the Golden Hand),2 did do that in my way, and went down to Gravesend, where I find the Duke of Albemarle just come, with a great many idle lords and gentlemen, with their pistols and fooleries; and the bulwarke not able to have stood half an hour had they come up; but the Dutch are fallen down from the Hope and Shell-haven as low as Sheernesse, and we do plainly at this time hear the guns play. Yet I do not find the Duke of Albemarle intends to go thither, but stays here to-night, and hath, though the Dutch are gone, ordered our frigates to be brought to a line between the two blockhouses; which I took then to be a ridiculous thing. So I away into the town and took a captain or two of our ships (who did give me an account of the proceedings of the Dutch fleete in the river) to the taverne, and there eat and drank, and I find the townsmen had removed most of their goods out of the town, for fear of the Dutch coming up to them; and from Sir John Griffen, that last night there was not twelve men to be got in the town to defend it: which the master of the house tells me is not true, but that the men of the town did intend to stay, though they did indeed, and so had he, at the Ship, removed their goods. Thence went off to an Ostend man-of-war, just now come up, who met the Dutch fleete, who took three ships that he come convoying hither from him says they are as low as the Nore, or thereabouts. So I homeward, as long as it was light reading Mr. Boyle’s book of Hydrostatics, which is a most excellent book as ever I read, and I will take much pains to understand him through if I can, the doctrine being very useful. When it grew too dark to read I lay down and took a nap, it being a most excellent fine evening, and about one o’clock got home, and after having wrote to Sir W. Coventry an account of what I had done and seen (which is entered in my letter-book), I to bed.
1 It was an ancient custom in Berkshire, when a man had beaten his wife, for the neighbours to parade in front of his house, for the purpose of serenading him with kettles, and horns and hand-bells, and every species of “rough music,” by which name the ceremony was designated. Perhaps the riding mentioned by Pepys was a punishment somewhat similar. Malcolm (“Manners of London”) quotes from the “Protestant Mercury,” that a porter’s lady, who resided near Strand Lane, beat her husband with so much violence and perseverance, that the poor man was compelled to leap out of the window to escape her fury. Exasperated at this virago, the neighbours made a “riding,” i.e. a pedestrian procession, headed by a drum, and accompanied by a chemise, displayed for a banner. The manual musician sounded the tune of “You round-headed cuckolds, come dig, come dig!” and nearly seventy coalheavers, carmen, and porters, adorned with large horns fastened to their heads, followed. The public seemed highly pleased with the nature of the punishment, and gave liberally to the vindicators of injured manhood. — B.
2 The “Golden Hand” was to have been used for the conveyance of the Swedish Ambassadors’ horses and goods to Holland. In August, 1667, Frances, widow of Captain Douglas and daughter of Lord Grey, petitioned the king “for a gift of the prize ship Golden Hand, now employed in weighing the ships sunk at Chatham, where her husband lost his life in defence of the ships against the Dutch” (“Calendar of State Papers,” 1667, p. 430)
11th. Up, and more letters still from Sir W. Coventry about more fire-ships, and so Sir W. Batten and I to the office, where Bruncker come to us, who is just now going to Chatham upon a desire of Commissioner Pett’s, who is in a very fearful stink for fear of the Dutch, and desires help for God and the King and kingdom’s sake. So Bruncker goes down, and Sir J. Minnes also, from Gravesend. This morning Pett writes us word that Sheernesse is lost last night, after two or three hours’ dispute. The enemy hath possessed himself of that place; which is very sad, and puts us into great fears of Chatham. Sir W. Batten and I down by water to Deptford, and there Sir W. Pen and we did consider of several matters relating to the dispatch of the fire-ships, and so [Sir] W. Batten and I home again, and there to dinner, my wife and father having dined, and after dinner, by W. Hewer’s lucky advice, went to Mr. Fenn, and did get him to pay me above £400 of my wages, and W. Hewer received it for me, and brought it home this night. Thence I meeting Mr. Moore went toward the other end of the town by coach, and spying Mercer in the street, I took leave of Moore and ‘light and followed her, and at Paul’s overtook her and walked with her through the dusty street almost to home, and there in Lombard Street met The. Turner in coach, who had been at my house to see us, being to go out of town tomorrow to the Northward, and so I promised to see her tomorrow, and then home, and there to our business, hiring some fire-ships, and receiving every hour almost letters from Sir W. Coventry, calling for more fire-ships; and an order from Council to enable us to take any man’s ships; and Sir W. Coventry, in his letter to us, says he do not doubt but at this time, under an invasion, as he owns it to be, the King may, by law, take any man’s goods. At this business late, and then home; where a great deal of serious talk with my wife about the sad state we are in, and especially from the beating up of drums this night for the trainbands upon pain of death to appear in arms tomorrow morning with bullet and powder, and money to supply themselves with victuals for a fortnight; which, considering the soldiers drawn out to Chatham and elsewhere, looks as if they had a design to ruin the City and give it up to be undone; which, I hear, makes the sober citizens to think very sadly of things. So to bed after supper, ill in my mind. This afternoon Mrs. Williams sent to me to speak with her, which I did, only about news. I had not spoke with her many a day before by reason of Carcasses business.
12th. Up very betimes to our business at the office, there hiring of more fire-ships; and at it close all the morning. At noon home, and Sir W. Pen dined with us. By and by, after dinner, my wife out by coach to see her mother; and I in another, being afraid, at this busy time, to be seen with a woman in a coach, as if I were idle, towards The. Turner’s; but met Sir W. Coventry’s boy; and there in his letter find that the Dutch had made no motion since their taking Sheernesse; and the Duke of Albemarle writes that all is safe as to the great ships against any assault, the boom and chaine being so fortified; which put my heart into great joy.1 When I come to Sir W: Coventry’s chamber, I find him abroad; but his clerk, Powell, do tell me that ill newes is come to Court of the Dutch breaking the Chaine at Chatham; which struck me to the heart. And to White Hall to hear the truth of it; and there, going up the back-stairs, I did hear some lacquies speaking of sad newes come to Court, saying, that hardly anybody in the Court but do look as if he cried, and would not go into the house for fear of being seen, but slunk out and got into a coach, and to The. Turner’s to Sir W. Turner’s, where I met Roger Pepys, newly come out of the country. He and I talked aside a little, he offering a match for Pall, one Barnes, of whom we shall talk more the next time. His father married a Pepys; in discourse, he told me further that his grandfather, my great grandfather, had £800 per annum, in Queen Elizabeth’s time, in the very town of Cottenham; and that we did certainly come out of Scotland with the Abbot of Crowland. More talk I had, and shall have more with him, but my mind is so sad and head full of this ill news that I cannot now set it down. A short visit here, my wife coming to me, and took leave of The., and so home, where all our hearts do now ake; for the newes is true, that the Dutch have broke the chaine and burned our ships, and particularly “The Royal Charles,”2 other particulars I know not, but most sad to be sure. And, the truth is, I do fear so much that the whole kingdom is undone, that I do this night resolve to study with my father and wife what to do with the little that I have in money by me, for I give [up] all the rest that I have in the King’s hands, for Tangier, for lost. So God help us! and God knows what disorders we may fall into, and whether any violence on this office, or perhaps some severity on our persons, as being reckoned by the silly people, or perhaps may, by policy of State, be thought fit to be condemned by the King and Duke of York, and so put to trouble; though, God knows! I have, in my own person, done my full duty, I am sure. So having with much ado finished my business at the office, I home to consider with my father and wife of things, and then to supper and to bed with a heavy heart. The manner of my advising this night with my father was, I took him and my wife up to her chamber, and shut the door; and there told them the sad state of the times how we are like to be all undone; that I do fear some violence will be offered to this office, where all I have in the world is; and resolved upon sending it away — sometimes into the country — sometimes my father to lie in town, and have the gold with him at Sarah Giles’s, and with that resolution went to bed full of fear and fright, hardly slept all night.
1 There had been correspondence with Pett respecting this chain in April and May. On the 10th May Pett wrote to the Navy Commissioners, “The chain is promised to be dispatched tomorrow, and all things are ready for fixing it.” On the 11th June the Dutch “got twenty or twenty-two ships over the narrow part of the river at Chatham, where ships had been sunk; after two and a half hours’ fighting one guard-ship after another was fired and blown up, and the enemy master of the chain” (“Calendar of State Papers,” 1667, pp. 58, 87, 215).
2 Vandervelde’s drawings of the conflagration of the English fleet, made by him on the spot, are in the British Museum. — B.
13th. No sooner up but hear the sad newes confirmed of the Royall Charles being taken by them, and now in fitting by them — which Pett should have carried up higher by our several orders, and deserves, therefore, to be hanged for not doing it — and turning several others; and that another fleete is come up into the Hope. Upon which newes the King and Duke of York have been below —[Below London Bridge.]— since four o’clock in the morning, to command the sinking of ships at Barking–Creeke, and other places, to stop their coming up higher: which put me into such a fear, that I presently resolved of my father’s and wife’s going into the country; and, at two hours’ warning, they did go by the coach this day, with about £1300 in gold in their night-bag. Pray God give them good passage, and good care to hide it when they come home! but my heart is full of fear: They gone, I continued in fright and fear what to do with the rest. W. Hewer hath been at the banker’s, and hath got £500 out of Backewell’s hands of his own money; but they are so called upon that they will be all broke, hundreds coming to them for money: and their answer is, “It is payable at twenty days — when the days are out, we will pay you;” and those that are not so, they make tell over their money, and make their bags false, on purpose to give cause to retell it, and so spend time. I cannot have my 200 pieces of gold again for silver, all being bought up last night that were to be had, and sold for 24 and 25s. a-piece. So I must keep the silver by me, which sometimes I think to fling into the house of office, and then again know not how I shall come by it, if we be made to leave the office. Every minute some one or other calls for this or that order; and so I forced to be at the office, most of the day, about the fire-ships which are to be suddenly fitted out: and it’s a most strange thing that we hear nothing from any of my brethren at Chatham; so that we are wholly in the dark, various being the reports of what is done there; insomuch that I sent Mr. Clapham express thither to see how matters go: I did, about noon, resolve to send Mr. Gibson away after my wife with another 1000 pieces, under colour of an express to Sir Jeremy Smith; who is, as I hear, with some ships at Newcastle; which I did really send to him, and may, possibly, prove of good use to the King; for it is possible, in the hurry of business, they may not think of it at Court, and the charge of an express is not considerable to the King. So though I intend Gibson no further than to Huntingdon I direct him to send the packet forward. My business the most of the afternoon is listening to every body that comes to the office, what news? which is variously related, some better, some worse, but nothing certain. The King and Duke of York up and down all the day here and there: some time on Tower Hill, where the City militia was; where the King did make a speech to them, that they should venture themselves no further than he would himself. I also sent, my mind being in pain, Saunders after my wife and father, to overtake them at their night’s lodgings, to see how matters go with them. In the evening, I sent for my cousin Sarah [Gyles] and her husband, who come; and I did deliver them my chest of writings about Brampton, and my brother Tom’s papers, and my journalls, which I value much; and did send my two silver flaggons to Kate Joyce’s: that so, being scattered what I have, something might be saved. I have also made a girdle, by which, with some trouble, I do carry about me £300 in gold about my body, that I may not be without something in case I should be surprised: for I think, in any nation but our’s, people that appear (for we are not indeed so) so faulty as we, would have their throats cut. In the evening comes Mr. Pelling, and several others, to the office, and tell me that never were people so dejected as they are in the City all over at this day; and do talk most loudly, even treason; as, that we are bought and sold — that we are betrayed by the Papists, and others, about the King; cry out that the office of the Ordnance hath been so backward as no powder to have been at Chatham nor Upnor Castle till such a time, and the carriages all broken; that Legg is a Papist; that Upnor, the old good castle built by Queen Elizabeth, should be lately slighted; that the ships at Chatham should not be carried up higher. They look upon us as lost, and remove their families and rich goods in the City; and do think verily that the French, being come down with his army to Dunkirke, it is to invade us, and that we shall be invaded. Mr. Clerke, the solicitor, comes to me about business, and tells me that he hears that the King hath chosen Mr. Pierpont and Vaughan of the West, Privy-councillors; that my Lord Chancellor was affronted in the Hall this day, by people telling him of his Dunkirke house; and that there are regiments ordered to be got together, whereof to be commanders my Lord Fairfax, Ingoldsby, Bethell, Norton, and Birch, and other Presbyterians; and that Dr. Bates will have liberty to preach. Now, whether this be true or not, I know not; but do think that nothing but this will unite us together. Late at night comes Mr. Hudson, the cooper, my neighbour, and tells me that he come from Chatham this evening at five o’clock, and saw this afternoon “The Royal James,” “Oake,” and “London,” burnt by the enemy with their fire-ships: that two or three men-of-war come up with them, and made no more of Upnor Castle’s shooting, than of a fly; that those ships lay below Upnor Castle, but therein, I conceive, he is in an error; that the Dutch are fitting out “The Royall Charles;” that we shot so far as from the Yard thither, so that the shot did no good, for the bullets grazed on the water; that Upnor played hard with their guns at first, but slowly afterwards, either from the men being beat off, or their powder spent. But we hear that the fleete in the Hope is not come up any higher the last flood; and Sir W. Batten tells me that ships are provided to sink in the River, about Woolwich, that will prevent their coming up higher if they should attempt it. I made my will also this day, and did give all I had equally between my father and wife, and left copies of it in each of Mr. Hater and W. Hewer’s hands, who both witnessed the will, and so to supper and then to bed, and slept pretty well, but yet often waking.
14th. Up, and to the office; where Mr. Fryer comes and tells me that there are several Frenchmen and Flemish ships in the River, with passes from the Duke of York for carrying of prisoners, that ought to be parted from the rest of the ships, and their powder taken, lest they do fire themselves when the enemy comes, and so spoil us; which is good advice, and I think I will give notice of it; and did so. But it is pretty odd to see how every body, even at this high time of danger, puts business off of their own hands! He says that he told this to the Lieutenant of the Tower, to whom I, for the same reason, was directing him to go; and the Lieutenant of the Tower bade him come to us, for he had nothing to do with it; and yesterday comes Captain Crew, of one of the fireships, and told me that the officers of the Ordnance would deliver his gunner’s materials, but not compound them,1 but that we must do it; whereupon I was forced to write to them about it; and one that like a great many come to me this morning by and by comes — Mr. Wilson, and by direction of his, a man of Mr. Gawden’s; who come from Chatham last night, and saw the three ships burnt, they lying all dry, and boats going from the men-of-war and fire them. But that, that he tells me of worst consequence is, that he himself, I think he said, did hear many Englishmen on board the Dutch ships speaking to one another in English; and that they did cry and say, “We did heretofore fight for tickets; now we fight for dollars!” and did ask how such and such a one did, and would commend themselves to them: which is a sad consideration. And Mr. Lewes, who was present at this fellow’s discourse to me, did tell me, that he is told that when they took “The Royall Charles,” they said that they had their tickets signed, and showed some, and that now they come to have them paid, and would have them paid before they parted. And several seamen come this morning to me, to tell me that, if I would get their tickets paid, they would go and do all they could against the Dutch; but otherwise they would not venture being killed, and lose all they have already fought for: so that I was forced to try what I could do to get them paid. This man tells me that the ships burnt last night did lie above Upnor Castle, over against the Docke; and the boats come from the ships of war and burnt them all which is very sad. And masters of ships, that we are now taking up, do keep from their ships all their stores, or as much as they can, so that we can despatch them, having not time to appraise them nor secure their payment; only some little money we have, which we are fain to pay the men we have with, every night, or they will not work. And indeed the hearts as well as affections of the seamen are turned away; and in the open streets in Wapping, and up and down, the wives have cried publickly, “This comes of your not paying our husbands; and now your work is undone, or done by hands that understand it not.” And Sir W. Batten told me that he was himself affronted with a woman, in language of this kind, on Tower Hill publickly yesterday; and we are fain to bear it, and to keep one at the office door to let no idle people in, for fear of firing of the office and doing us mischief. The City is troubled at their being put upon duty: summoned one hour, and discharged two hours after; and then again summoned two hours after that; to their great charge as well as trouble. And Pelling, the Potticary, tells me the world says all over, that less charge than what the kingdom is put to, of one kind or other, by this business, would have set out all our great ships. It is said they did in open streets yesterday, at Westminster, cry, “A Parliament! a Parliament!” and I do believe it will cost blood to answer for these miscarriages. We do not hear that the Dutch are come to Gravesend; which is a wonder. But a wonderful thing it is that to this day we have not one word yet from Bruncker, or Peter Pett, or J. Minnes, of any thing at Chatham. The people that come hither to hear how things go, make me ashamed to be found unable to answer them: for I am left alone here at the office; and the truth is, I am glad my station is to be here, near my own home and out of danger, yet in a place of doing the King good service. I have this morning good news from Gibson; three letters from three several stages, that he was safe last night as far as Royston, at between nine and ten at night. The dismay that is upon us all, in the business of the kingdom and Navy at this day, is not to be expressed otherwise than by the condition the citizens were in when the City was on fire, nobody knowing which way to turn themselves, while every thing concurred to greaten the fire; as here the easterly gale and spring-tides for coming up both rivers, and enabling them to break the chaine. D. Gawden did tell me yesterday, that the day before at the Council they were ready to fall together by the ears at the Council-table, arraigning one another of being guilty of the counsel that brought us into this misery, by laying up all the great ships. Mr. Hater tells me at noon that some rude people have been, as he hears, at my Lord Chancellor’s, where they have cut down the trees before his house and broke his windows; and a gibbet either set up before or painted upon his gate, and these three words writ: “Three sights to be seen; Dunkirke, Tangier, and a barren Queene.”1 It gives great matter of talk that it is said there is at this hour, in the Exchequer, as much money as is ready to break down the floor. This arises, I believe, from Sir G. Downing’s late talk of the greatness of the sum lying there of people’s money, that they would not fetch away, which he shewed me and a great many others. Most people that I speak with are in doubt how we shall do to secure our seamen from running over to the Dutch; which is a sad but very true consideration at this day. At noon I am told that my Lord Duke of Albemarle is made Lord High Constable; the meaning whereof at this time I know not, nor whether it, be true or no. Dined, and Mr. Hater and W. Hewer with me; where they do speak very sorrowfully of the posture of the times, and how people do cry out in the streets of their being bought and sold; and both they, and every body that come to me, do tell me that people make nothing of talking treason in the streets openly: as, that we are bought and sold, and governed by Papists, and that we are betrayed by people about the King, and shall be delivered up to the French, and I know not what. At dinner we discoursed of Tom of the Wood, a fellow that lives like a hermit near Woolwich, who, as they say, and Mr. Bodham, they tell me, affirms that he was by at the justice’s when some did accuse him there for it, did foretell the burning of the City, and now says that a greater desolation is at hand. Thence we read and laughed at Lilly’s prophecies this month, in his Almanack this year! So to the office after dinner; and thither comes Mr. Pierce, who tells me his condition, how he cannot get his money, about £500, which, he says, is a very great part of what he hath for his family and children, out of Viner’s hand: and indeed it is to be feared that this will wholly undo the bankers. He says he knows nothing of the late affronts to my Lord Chancellor’s house, as is said, nor hears of the Duke of Albemarle’s being made High Constable; but says that they are in great distraction at White Hall, and that every where people do speak high against Sir W. Coventry: but he agrees with me, that he is the best Minister of State the King hath, and so from my heart I believe. At night come home Sir W. Batten and W. Pen, who only can tell me that they have placed guns at Woolwich and Deptford, and sunk some ships below Woolwich and Blackewall, and are in hopes that they will stop the enemy’s coming up. But strange our confusion! that among them that are sunk they have gone and sunk without consideration “The Franakin,”’ one of the King’s ships, with stores to a very considerable value, that hath been long loaden for supply of the ships; and the new ship at Bristoll, and much wanted there; and nobody will own that they directed it, but do lay it on Sir W. Rider. They speak also of another ship, loaden to the value of £80,000, sunk with the goods in her, or at least was mightily contended for by him, and a foreign ship, that had the faith of the nation for her security: this Sir R. Ford tells us: And it is too plain a truth, that both here and at Chatham the ships that we have sunk have many, and the first of them, been ships completely fitted for fire-ships at great charge. But most strange the backwardness and disorder of all people, especially the King’s people in pay, to do any work, Sir W. Pen tells me, all crying out for money; and it was so at Chatham, that this night comes an order from Sir W. Coventry to stop the pay of the wages of that Yard; the Duke of Albemarle having related, that not above three of 1100 in pay there did attend to do any work there. This evening having sent a messenger to Chatham on purpose, we have received a dull letter from my Lord Bruncker and Peter Pett, how matters have gone there this week; but not so much, or so particularly, as we knew it by common talk before, and as true. I doubt they will be found to have been but slow men in this business; and they say the Duke of Albemarle did tell my Lord Bruncker to his face that his discharging of the great ships there was the cause of all this; and I am told that it is become common talk against my Lord Bruncker. But in that he is to be justified, for he did it by verbal order from Sir W. Coventry, and with good intent; and it was to good purpose, whatever the success be, for the men would have but spent the King so much the more in wages, and yet not attended on board to have done the King any service; and as an evidence of that, just now, being the 15th day in the morning that I am writing yesterday’s passages, one is with me, Jacob Bryan, Purser of “The Princesse,” who confesses to me that he hath about 180 men borne at this day in victuals and wages on that ship lying at Chatham, being lately brought in thither; of which 180 there was not above five appeared to do the King any service at this late business. And this morning also, some of the Cambridge’s men come up from Portsmouth, by order from Sir Fretcheville Hollis, who boasted to us the other day that he had sent for 50, and would be hanged if 100 did not come up that would do as much as twice the number of other men: I say some of them, instead of being at work at Deptford, where they were intended, do come to the office this morning to demand the payment of their tickets; for otherwise they would, they said, do no more work; and are, as I understand from every body that has to do with them, the most debauched, damning, swearing rogues that ever were in the Navy, just like their prophane commander. So to Sir W. Batten’s to sit and talk a little, and then home to my flageolet, my heart being at pretty good ease by a letter from my wife, brought by Saunders, that my father and wife got well last night to their Inne and out again this morning, and Gibson’s being got safe to Caxton at twelve last night. So to supper, and then to bed. No news today of any motion of the enemy either upwards towards Chatham or this way.
1 Meaning, apparently, that the Ordnance would deliver the charcoal, sulphur, and saltpetre separately, but not mix them as gunpowder.
[The want of ammunition when the Dutch burnt the fleet, and the revenge of the deserter sailors, are well described by Marvell
“Our Seamen, whom no danger’s shape could fright,
Unpaid, refuse to mount their ships, for spite
Or to their fellows swim, on board the Dutch,
Who show the tempting metal in their clutch.
1 “Pride, Lust, Ambition, and the People’s Hate,
The kingdom’s broker, ruin of the State,
Dunkirk’s sad loss, divider of the fleet,
Tangier’s compounder for a barren sheet
This shrub of gentry, married to the crown,
His daughter to the heir, is tumbled down.”
Poems on State Affairs, vol. i., p. 253. — B.
15th. All the morning at the office. No newes more than last night; only Purser Tyler comes and tells me that he being at all the passages in this business at Chatham, he says there have been horrible miscarriages, such as we shall shortly hear of: that the want of boats hath undone us; and it is commonly said, and Sir J. Minnes under his hand tells us, that they were employed by the men of the Yard to carry away their goods; and I hear that Commissioner Pett will be found the first man that began to remove; he is much spoken against, and Bruncker is complained of and reproached for discharging the men of the great ships heretofore. At noon Mr. Hater dined with me; and tells me he believes that it will hardly be the want of money alone that will excuse to the Parliament the neglect of not setting out a fleete, it having never been done in our greatest straits, but however unlikely it appeared, yet when it was gone about, the State or King did compass it; and there is something in it. In like manner all the afternoon busy, vexed to see how slowly things go on for want of money. At night comes, unexpectedly so soon, Mr. Gibson, who left my wife well, and all got down well with them, but not with himself, which I was afeard of, and cannot blame him, but must myself be wiser against another time. He had one of his bags broke, through his breeches, and some pieces dropped out, not many, he thinks, but two, for he ‘light, and took them up, and went back and could find no more. But I am not able to tell how many, which troubles me, but the joy of having the greatest part safe there makes me bear with it, so as not to afflict myself for it. This afternoon poor Betty Michell, whom I love, sent to tell my wife her child was dying, which I am troubled for, poor girle! At night home and to my flageolet. Played with pleasure, but with a heavy heart, only it pleased me to think how it may please God I may live to spend my time in the country with plainness and pleasure, though but with little glory. So to supper and to bed.
16th (Lord’s day). Up, and called on by several on business of the office. Then to the office to look out several of my old letters to Sir W. Coventry in order to the preparing for justifying this office in our frequent foretelling the want of money. By and by comes Roger Pepys and his son Talbot, whom he had brought to town to settle at the Temple, but, by reason of our present stirs, will carry him back again with him this week. He seems to be but a silly lad. I sent them to church this morning, I staying at home at the office, busy. At noon home to dinner, and much good discourse with him, he being mighty sensible of our misery and mal-administration. Talking of these straits we are in, he tells me that my Lord Arlington did the last week take up £12,000 in gold, which is very likely, for all was taken up that could be. Discoursing afterwards with him of our family he told me, that when I come to his house he will show me a decree in Chancery, wherein there was twenty-six men all housekeepers in the town of Cottenham, in Queene Elizabeth’s time, of our name. He to church again in the afternoon, I staid at home busy, and did show some dalliance to my maid Nell, speaking to her of her sweetheart which she had, silly girle. After sermon Roger Pepys comes again. I spent the evening with him much troubled with the thoughts of the evils of our time, whereon we discoursed. By and by occasion offered for my writing to Sir W. Coventry a plain bold letter touching lack of money; which, when it was gone, I was afeard might give offence: but upon two or three readings over again the copy of it, I was satisfied it was a good letter; only Sir W. Batten signed it with me, which I could wish I had done alone. Roger Pepys gone, I to the garden, and there dallied a while all alone with Mrs. Markham, and then home to my chamber and to read and write, and then to supper and to bed.
17th. Up, and to my office, where busy all the morning, particularly setting my people to work in transcribing pieces of letters publique and private, which I do collect against a black day to defend the office with and myself. At noon dined at home, Mr. Hater with me alone, who do seem to be confident that this nation will be undone, and with good reason: Wishes himself at Hambrough, as a great many more, he says, he believes do, but nothing but the reconciling of the Presbyterian party will save us, and I am of his mind. At the office all the afternoon, where every moment business of one kind or other about the fire-ships and other businesses, most of them vexatious for want of money, the commanders all complaining that, if they miss to pay their men a night, they run away; seamen demanding money of them by way of advance, and some of Sir Fretcheville Hollis’s men, that he so bragged of, demanding their tickets to be paid, or they would not work: this Hollis, Sir W. Batten and W. Pen say, proves a very . . ., as Sir W. B. terms him, and the other called him a conceited, idle, prating, lying fellow. But it was pleasant this morning to hear Hollis give me the account what, he says, he told the King in Commissioner Pett’s presence, whence it was that his ship was fit sooner than others, telling the King how he dealt with the several Commissioners and agents of the Ports where he comes, offering Lanyon to carry him a Ton or two of goods to the streights, giving Middleton an hour or two’s hearing of his stories of Barbadoes, going to prayer with Taylor, and standing bare and calling, “If it please your Honour,” to Pett, but Sir W. Pen says that he tells this story to every body, and believes it to be a very lie. At night comes Captain Cocke to see me, and he and I an hour in the garden together. He tells me there have been great endeavours of bringing in the Presbyterian interest, but that it will not do. He named to me several of the insipid lords that are to command the armies that are to be raised. He says the King and Court are all troubled, and the gates of the Court were shut up upon the first coming of the Dutch to us, but they do mind the business no more than ever: that the bankers, he fears, are broke as to ready-money, though Viner had £100,000 by him when our trouble begun: that he and the Duke of Albemarle have received into their own hands, of Viner, the former £10,000, and the latter £12,000, in tallies or assignments, to secure what was in his hands of theirs; and many other great men of our. masters have done the like; which is no good sign, when they begin to fear the main. He and every body cries out of the office of the Ordnance, for their neglects, both at Gravesend and Upnor, and everywhere else. He gone, I to my business again, and then home to supper and to bed. I have lately played the fool much with our Nell, in playing with her breasts. This night, late, comes a porter with a letter from Monsieur Pratt, to borrow £100 for my Lord Hinchingbroke, to enable him to go out with his troop in the country, as he is commanded; but I did find an excuse to decline it. Among other reasons to myself, this is one, to teach him the necessity of being a good husband, and keeping money or credit by him.
18th. Up, and did this morning dally with Nell . . . which I was afterward troubled for. To the office, and there all the morning. Peg Pen come to see me, and I was glad of it, and did resolve to have tried her this afternoon, but that there was company with elle at my home, whither I got her. Dined at home, W. Hewer with me, and then to the office, and to my Lady Pen’s, and did find occasion for Peg to go home with me to my chamber, but there being an idle gentleman with them, he went with us, and I lost my hope. So to the office, and by and by word was brought me that Commissioner Pett is brought to the Tower, and there laid up close prisoner; which puts me into a fright, lest they may do the same with us as they do with him. This puts me upon hastening what I am doing with my people, and collecting out of my papers our defence. Myself got Fist, Sir W. Batten’s clerk, and busy with him writing letters late, and then home to supper and to read myself asleep, after piping, and so to bed. Great newes to-night of the blowing up of one of the Dutch greatest ships, while a Council of War was on board: the latter part, I doubt, is not so, it not being confirmed since; but the former, that they had a ship blown up, is said to be true. This evening comes Sir G. Carteret to the office, to talk of business at Sir W. Batten’s; where all to be undone for want of money, there being none to pay the Chest at their publique pay the 24th of this month, which will make us a scorn to the world. After he had done there, he and I into the garden, and walked; and the greatest of our discourse is, his sense of the requisiteness of his parting with his being Treasurer of the Navy, if he can, on any good terms. He do harp upon getting my Lord Bruncker to take it on half profit, but that he is not able to secure him in paying him so much. But the thing I do advise him to do by all means, and he resolves on it, being but the same counsel which I intend to take myself. My Lady Jem goes down to Hinchingbroke to lie down, because of the troubles of the times here. He tells me he is not sure that the King of France will not annoy us this year, but that the Court seems [to] reckon upon it as a thing certain, for that is all that I and most people are afeard of this year. He tells me now the great question is, whether a Parliament or no Parliament; and says the Parliament itself cannot be thought able at present to raise money, and therefore it will be to no purpose to call one. I hear this day poor Michell’s child is dead.
19th. Up, and to the office, where all the morning busy with Fist again, beginning early to overtake my business in my letters, which for a post or two have by the late and present troubles been interrupted. At noon comes Sir W. Batten and [Sir] W. Pen, and we to [Sir] W. Pen’s house, and there discoursed of business an hour, and by and by comes an order from Sir R. Browne, commanding me this afternoon to attend the Council-board, with all my books and papers touching the Medway. I was ready [to fear] some mischief to myself, though it appears most reasonable that it is to inform them about Commissioner Pett. I eat a little bit in haste at Sir W. Batten’s, without much comfort, being fearful, though I shew it not, and to my office and get up some papers, and found out the most material letters and orders in our books, and so took coach and to the Council-chamber lobby, where I met Mr. Evelyn, who do miserably decry our follies that bring all this misery upon us. While we were discoursing over our publique misfortunes, I am called in to a large Committee of the Council: present the Duke of Albemarle, Anglesey, Arlington, Ashly, Carteret, Duncomb, Coventry, Ingram, Clifford, Lauderdale, Morrice, Manchester, Craven, Carlisle, Bridgewater. And after Sir W. Coventry’s telling them what orders His Royal Highness had made for the safety of the Medway, I told them to their full content what we had done, and showed them our letters. Then was Peter Pett called in, with the Lieutenant of the Tower. He is in his old clothes, and looked most sillily. His charge was chiefly the not carrying up of the great ships, and the using of the boats in carrying away his goods; to which he answered very sillily, though his faults to me seem only great omissions. Lord Arlington and Coventry very severe against him; the former saying that, if he was not guilty, the world would think them all guilty.1 The latter urged, that there must be some faults, and that the Admiral must be found to have done his part. I did say an unhappy word, which I was sorry for, when he complained of want of oares for the boats: and there was, it seems, enough, and good enough, to carry away all the boats with from the King’s occasions. He said he used never a boat till they were all gone but one; and that was to carry away things of great value, and these were his models of ships; which, when the Council, some of them, had said they wished that the Dutch had had them instead of the King’s ships, he answered, he did believe the Dutch would have made more advantage of the models than of the ships, and that the King had had greater loss thereby; this they all laughed at. After having heard him for an hour or more, they bid him withdraw. I all this while showing him no respect, but rather against him, for which God forgive me! for I mean no hurt to him, but only find that these Lords are upon their own purgation, and it is necessary I should be so in behalf of the office. He being gone, they caused Sir Richard Browne to read over his minutes; and then my Lord Arlington moved that they might be put into my hands to put into form, I being more acquainted with such business; and they were so. So I away back with my books and papers; and when I got into the Court it was pretty to see how people gazed upon me, that I thought myself obliged to salute people and to smile, lest they should think I was a prisoner too; but afterwards I found that most did take me to be there to bear evidence against P. Pett; but my fear was such, at my going in, of the success of the day, that at my going in I did think fit to give T. Hater, whom I took with me, to wait the event, my closet-key and directions where to find £500 and more in silver and gold, and my tallys, to remove, in case of any misfortune to me. Thence to Sir G. Carteret’s to take my leave of my Lady Jem, who is going into the country tomorrow; but she being now at prayers with my Lady and family, and hearing here by Yorke, the carrier, that my wife is coming to towne, I did make haste home to see her, that she might not find me abroad, it being the first minute I have been abroad since yesterday was se’ennight. It is pretty to see how strange it is to be abroad to see people, as it used to be after a month or two’s absence, and I have brought myself so to it, that I have no great mind to be abroad, which I could not have believed of myself. I got home, and after being there a little, she come, and two of her fellow-travellers with her, with whom we drunk: a couple of merchant-like men, I think, but have friends in our country. They being gone, I and my wife to talk, who did give me so bad an account of her and my father’s method in burying of our gold, that made me mad: and she herself is not pleased with it, she believing that my sister knows of it. My father and she did it on Sunday, when they were gone to church, in open daylight, in the midst of the garden; where, for aught they knew, many eyes might see them: which put me into such trouble, that I was almost mad about it, and presently cast about, how to have it back again to secure it here, the times being a little better now; at least at White Hall they seem as if they were, but one way or other I am resolved to free them from the place if I can get them. Such was my trouble at this, that I fell out with my wife, that though new come to towne, I did not sup with her, nor speak to her tonight, but to bed and sleep.
1 Pett was made a scapegoat. This is confirmed by Marvel:
“After this loss, to relish discontent,
Some one must be accused by Parliament;
All our miscarriages on Pett must fall,
His name alone seems fit to answer all.
Whose counsel first did this mad war beget?
Who all commands sold through the Navy? Pett.
Who would not follow when the Dutch were beat?
Who treated out the time at Bergen? Pett.
Who the Dutch fleet with storms disabled met,
And, rifling prizes, them neglected? Pett.
Who with false news prevented the Gazette,
The fleet divided, writ for Ruhert? Pett.
Who all our seamen cheated of their debt?
And all our prizes who did swallow? Pett.
Who did advise no navy out to set?
And who the forts left unprepared? Pett.
Who to supply with powder did forget
Languard, Sheerness, Gravesend, and Upnor? Pett.
Who all our ships exposed in Chatham net?
Who should it be but the fanatick Pett?
Pett, the sea-architect, in making ships,
Was the first cause of all these naval slips.
Had he not built, none of these faults had been;
If no creation, there had been no sin
But his great crime, one boat away he sent,
That lost our fleet, and did our flight prevent.”
Instructions to a Painter. — B
20th. Up, without any respect to my wife, only answering her a question or two, without any anger though, and so to the office, where all the morning busy, and among other things Mr. Barber come to me (one of the clerks of the Ticket office) to get me to sign some tickets, and told me that all the discourse yesterday, about that part of the town where he was, was that Mr. Pett and I were in the Tower; and I did hear the same before. At noon, home to dinner, and there my wife and I very good friends; the care of my gold being somewhat over, considering it was in their hands that have as much cause to secure it as myself almost, and so if they will be mad, let them. But yet I do intend to, send for it away. Here dined Mercer with us, and after dinner she cut my hair, and then I into my closet and there slept a little, as I do now almost every day after dinner; and then, after dallying a little with Nell, which I am ashamed to think of, away to the office. Busy all the afternoon; in the evening did treat with, and in the end agree; but by some kind of compulsion, with the owners of six merchant ships, to serve the King as men-of-war. But, Lord! to see how against the hair it is with these men and every body to trust us and the King; and how unreasonable it is to expect they should be willing to lend their ships, and lay out 2 or £300 a man to fit their ships for new voyages, when we have not paid them half of what we owe them for their old services! I did write so to Sir W. Coventry this night. At night my wife and I to walk and talk again about our gold, which I am not quiet in my mind to be safe, and therefore will think of some way to remove it, it troubling me very much. So home with my wife to supper and to bed, miserable hot weather all night it was.
21st. Up and by water to White Hall, there to discourse with [Sir] G. Carteret and Mr. Fenn about office business. I found them all aground, and no money to do anything with. Thence homewards, calling at my Tailor’s to bespeak some coloured clothes, and thence to Hercules Pillars, all alone, and there spent 6d. on myself, and so home and busy all the morning. At noon to dinner, home, where my wife shows me a letter from her father, who is going over sea, and this afternoon would take his leave of her. I sent him by her three Jacobuses in gold, having real pity for him and her. So I to my office, and there all the afternoon. This day comes news from Harwich that the Dutch fleete are all in sight, near 100 sail great and small, they think, coming towards them; where, they think, they shall be able to oppose them; but do cry out of the falling back of the seamen, few standing by them, and those with much faintness. The like they write from Portsmouth, and their letters this post are worth reading. Sir H. Cholmly come to me this day, and tells me the Court is as mad as ever; and that the night the Dutch burned our ships the King did sup with my Lady Castlemayne, at the Duchess of Monmouth’s, and there were all mad in hunting of a poor moth. All the Court afraid of a Parliament; but he thinks nothing can save us but the King’s giving up all to a Parliament. Busy at the office all the afternoon, and did much business to my great content. In the evening sent for home, and there I find my Lady Pen and Mrs. Lowther, and Mrs. Turner and my wife eating some victuals, and there I sat and laughed with them a little, and so to the office again, and in the evening walked with my wife in the garden, and did give Sir W. Pen at his lodgings (being just come from Deptford from attending the dispatch of the fire-ships there) an account of what passed the other day at Council touching Commissioner Pett, and so home to supper and to bed.
22nd. Up, and to my office, where busy, and there comes Mrs. Daniel . . . At the office I all the morning busy. At noon home to dinner, where Mr. Lewes Phillips, by invitation of my wife, comes, he coming up to town with her in the coach this week, and she expected another gentleman, a fellow-traveller, and I perceive the feast was for him, though she do not say it, but by some mistake he come not, so there was a good dinner lost. Here we had the two Mercers, and pretty merry. Much talk with Mr. Phillips about country business, among others that there is no way for me to purchase any severall lands in Brampton, or making any severall that is not so, without much trouble and cost, and, it may be, not do it neither, so that there is no more ground to be laid to our Brampton house. After dinner I left them, and to the office, and thence to Sir W. Pen’s, there to talk with Mrs. Lowther, and by and by we hearing Mercer and my boy singing at my house, making exceeding good musique, to the joy of my heart, that I should be the master of it, I took her to my office and there merry a while, and then I left them, and at the office busy all the afternoon, and sleepy after a great dinner. In the evening come Captain Hart and Haywood to me about the six merchant-ships now taken up for men-of-war; and in talk they told me about the taking of “The Royal Charles;” that nothing but carelessness lost the ship, for they might have saved her the very tide that the Dutch come up, if they would have but used means and had had but boats: and that the want of boats plainly lost all the other ships. That the Dutch did take her with a boat of nine men, who found not a man on board her, and her laying so near them was a main temptation to them to come on; and presently a man went up and struck her flag and jacke, and a trumpeter sounded upon her “Joan’s placket is torn,” that they did carry her down at a time, both for tides and wind, when the best pilot in Chatham would not have undertaken it, they heeling her on one side to make her draw little water: and so carried her away safe. They being gone, by and by comes Sir W. Pen home, and he and I together talking. He hath been at Court; and in the first place, I hear the Duke of Cambridge is dead; a which is a great loss to the nation, having, I think, never an heyre male now of the King’s or Duke’s to succeed to the Crown. He tells me that they do begin already to damn the Dutch, and call them cowards at White Hall, and think of them and their business no better than they used to do; which is very sad. The King did tell him himself, which is so, I was told, here in the City, that the City, hath lent him £10,000, to be laid out towards securing of the River of Thames; which, methinks, is a very poor thing, that we should be induced to borrow by such mean sums. He tells me that it is most manifest that one great thing making it impossible for us to have set out a fleete this year, if we could have done it for money or stores, was the liberty given the beginning of the year for the setting out of merchant-men, which did take up, as is said, above ten, if not fifteen thousand seamen: and this the other day Captain Cocke tells me appears in the council-books, that is the number of seamen required to man the merchant ships that had passes to go abroad. By and by, my wife being here, they sat down and eat a bit of their nasty victuals, and so parted and we to bed.
23rd (Lord’s day). Up to my chamber, and there all the morning reading in my Lord Coke’s Pleas of the Crowne, very fine noble reading. After church time comes my wife and Sir W. Pen his lady and daughter; and Mrs. Markham and Captain Harrison (who come to dine with them), by invitation end dined with me, they as good as inviting themselves. I confess I hate their company and tricks, and so had no great pleasure in [it], but a good dinner lost. After dinner they all to church, and I by water alone to Woolwich, and there called on Mr. Bodham: and he and I to see the batterys newly raised; which, indeed, are good works to command the River below the ships that are sunk, but not above them. Here I met with Captain Cocke and Matt. Wren, Fenn, and Charles Porter, and Temple and his wife. Here I fell in with these, and to Bodham’s with them, and there we sat and laughed and drank in his arbour, Wren making much and kissing all the day of Temple’s wife. It is a sad sight to see so many good ships there sunk in the River, while we would be thought to be masters of the sea. Cocke says the bankers cannot, till peace returns, ever hope to have credit again; so that they can pay no more money, but people must be contented to take publick security such as they can give them; and if so, and they do live to receive the money thereupon, the bankers will be happy men. Fenn read me an order of council passed the 17th instant, directing all the Treasurers of any part of the King’s revenue to make no payments but such as shall be approved by the present Lords Commissioners; which will, I think, spoil the credit of all his Majesty’s service, when people cannot depend upon payment any where. But the King’s declaration in behalf of the bankers, to make good their assignments for money, is very good, and will, I hope, secure me. Cocke says, that he hears it is come to it now, that the King will try what he can soon do for a peace; and if he cannot, that then he will cast all upon the Parliament to do as they see fit: and in doing so, perhaps, he may save us all. The King of France, it is believed, is engaged for this year;1 so that we shall be safe as to him. The great misery the City and kingdom is like to suffer for want of coals in a little time is very visible, and, is feared, will breed a mutiny; for we are not in any prospect to command the sea for our colliers to come, but rather, it is feared, the Dutch may go and burn all our colliers at Newcastle; though others do say that they lie safe enough there. No news at all of late from Bredagh what our Treaters do. By and by, all by water in three boats to Greenwich, there to Cocke’s, where we supped well, and then late, Wren, Fenn, and I home by water, set me in at the Tower, and they to White Hall, and so I home, and after a little talk with my wife to bed.
1 Louis XIV. was at this time in Flanders, with his queen, his mistresses, and all his Court. Turenne commanded under him. Whilst Charles was hunting moths at Lady Castlemaine’s, and the English fleet was burning, Louis was carrying on the campaign with vigour. Armentieres was taken on the 28th May; Charleroi on the 2nd June, St. Winox on the 6th, Fumes on the 12th, Ath on the 16th, Toumay on the 24th; the Escarpe on the 6th July, Courtray on the 18th, Audenarde on the 31st; and Lisle on the 27th August. — B.
24th. Up, and to the office, where much business upon me by the coming of people of all sorts about the dispatch of one business or other of the fire-ships, or other ships to be set out now. This morning Greeting come, and I with him at my flageolet. At noon dined at home with my wife alone, and then in the afternoon all the day at my office. Troubled a little at a letter from my father, which tells me of an idle companion, one Coleman, who went down with him and my wife in the coach, and come up again with my wife, a pensioner of the King’s Guard, and one that my wife, indeed, made the feast for on Saturday last, though he did not come; but if he knows nothing of our money I will prevent any other inconvenience. In the evening comes Mr. Povy about business; and he and I to walk in the garden an hour or two, and to talk of State matters. He tells me his opinion that it is out of possibility for us to escape being undone, there being nothing in our power to do that is necessary for the saving us: a lazy Prince, no Council, no money, no reputation at home or abroad. He says that to this day the King do follow the women as much as ever he did; that the Duke of York hath not got Mrs. Middleton, as I was told the other day: but says that he wants not her, for he hath others, and hath always had, and that he [Povy] hath known them brought through the Matted Gallery at White Hall into his [the Duke’s] closet; nay, he hath come out of his wife’s bed, and gone to others laid in bed for him: that Mr. Bruncker is not the only pimp, but that the whole family is of the same strain, and will do anything to please him: that, besides the death of the two Princes lately, the family is in horrible disorder by being in debt by spending above £60,000 per. annum, when he hath not £40,000: that the Duchesse is not only the proudest woman in the world, but the most expensefull; and that the Duke of York’s marriage with her hath undone the kingdom, by making the Chancellor so great above reach, who otherwise would have been but an ordinary man, to have been dealt with by other people; and he would have been careful of managing things well, for fear of being called to account; whereas, now he is secure, and hath let things run to rack, as they now appear. That at a certain time Mr. Povy did carry him an account of the state of the Duke of York’s estate, showing in faithfullness how he spent more than his estate would bear, by above £20,000 per annum, and asked my Lord’s opinion of it; to which he answered that no man that loved the King or kingdom durst own the writing of that paper; at which Povy was startled, and reckoned himself undone for this good service, and found it necessary then to show it to the Duke of York’s Commissioners; who read, examined, and approved of it, so as to cause it to be put into form, and signed it, and gave it the Duke. Now the end of the Chancellor was, for fear that his daughter’s ill housewifery should be condemned. He [Povy] tells me that the other day, upon this ill newes of the Dutch being upon us, White Hall was shut up, and the Council called and sat close; and, by the way, he do assure me, from the mouth of some Privy-councillors, that at this day the Privy-council in general do know no more what the state of the kingdom as to peace and war is, than he or I; nor knows who manages it, nor upon whom it depends; and there my Lord Chancellor did make a speech to them, saying that they knew well that he was no friend to the war from the beginning, and therefore had concerned himself little in, nor could say much to it; and a great deal of that kind, to discharge himself of the fault of the war. Upon which my Lord Anglesey rose up and told his Majesty that he thought their coming now together was not to enquire who was, or was not, the cause of the war, but to enquire what was, or could be, done in the business of making a peace, and in whose hands that was, and where it was stopped or forwarded; and went on very highly to have all made open to them: and, by the way, I remember that Captain Cocke did the other day tell me that this Lord Anglesey hath said, within few days, that he would willingly give £10,000 of his estate that he was well secured of the rest, such apprehensions he hath of the sequel of things, as giving all over for lost. He tells me, speaking of the horrid effeminacy of the King, that the King hath taken ten times more care and pains in making friends between my Lady Castlemayne and Mrs. Stewart, when they have fallen out, than ever he did to save his kingdom; nay, that upon any falling out between my Lady Castlemayne’s nurse and her woman, my Lady hath often said she would make the King to make them friends, and they would be friends and be quiet; which the King hath been fain to do: that the King is, at this day, every night in Hyde Park with the Duchesse of Monmouth, or with my Lady Castlemaine: that he [Povy] is concerned of late by my Lord Arlington in the looking after some buildings that he is about in Norfolke, where my Lord is laying out a great deal of money; and that he, Mr. Povy, considering the unsafeness of laying out money at such a time as this, and, besides, the enviousness of the particular county, as well as all the kingdom, to find him building and employing workmen, while all the ordinary people of the country are carried down to the seasides for securing the land, he thought it becoming him to go to my Lord Arlington (Sir Thomas Clifford by), and give it as his advice to hold his hands a little; but my Lord would not, but would have him go on, and so Sir Thomas Clifford advised also, which one would think, if he were a statesman worth a fart should be a sign of his foreseeing that all shall do well. But I do forbear concluding any such thing from them. He tells me that there is not so great confidence between any two men of power in the nation at this day, that he knows of, as between my Lord Arlington and Sir Thomas Clifford; and that it arises by accident only, there being no relation nor acquaintance between them, but only Sir Thomas Clifford’s coming to him, and applying himself to him for favours, when he come first up to town to be a Parliament-man. He tells me that he do not think there is anything in the world for us possibly to be saved by but the King of France’s generousnesse to stand by us against the Dutch, and getting us a tolerable peace, it may be, upon our giving him Tangier and the islands he hath taken, and other things he shall please to ask. He confirms me in the several grounds I have conceived of fearing that we shall shortly fall into mutinys and outrages among ourselves, and that therefore he, as a Treasurer, and therefore much more myself, I say, as being not only a Treasurer but an officer of the Navy, on whom, for all the world knows, the faults of all our evils are to be laid, do fear to be seized on by some rude hands as having money to answer for, which will make me the more desirous to get off of this Treasurership as soon as I can, as I had before in my mind resolved. Having done all this discourse, and concluded the kingdom in a desperate condition, we parted; and I to my wife, with whom was Mercer and Betty Michell, poor woman, come with her husband to see us after the death of her little girle. We sat in the garden together a while, it being night, and then Mercer and I a song or two, and then in (the Michell’s home), my wife, Mercer, and I to supper, and then parted and to bed.
25th. Up, and with Sir W. Pen in his new chariot (which indeed is plain, but pretty and more fashionable in shape than any coach he hath, and yet do not cost him, harness and all, above £32) to White Hall; where staid a very little: and thence to St. James’s to [Sir] W. Coventry, whom I have not seen since before the coming of the Dutch into the river, nor did indeed know how well to go see him, for shame either to him or me, or both of us, to find ourselves in so much misery. I find that he and his fellow-Treasurers are in the utmost want of money, and do find fault with Sir G. Carteret, that, having kept the mystery of borrowing money to himself so long, to the ruin of the nation, as [Sir] W. Coventry said in words to [Sir] W. Pen and me, he should now lay it aside and come to them for money for every penny he hath, declaring that he can raise no more: which, I confess, do appear to me the most like ill-will of any thing that I have observed of [Sir] W. Coventry, when he himself did tell us, on another occasion at the same time, that the bankers who used to furnish them money are not able to lend a farthing, and he knows well enough that that was all the mystery [Sir] G. Carteret did use, that is, only his credit with them. He told us the masters and owners of the two ships that I had complained of, for not readily setting forth their ships, which we had taken up to make men-of-war, had been yesterday with the King and Council, and had made their case so well understood, that the King did owe them for what they had earned the last year, that they could not set them out again without some money or stores out of the King’s Yards; the latter of which [Sir] W. Coventry said must be done, for that they were not able to raise money for them, though it was but £200 a ship: which do skew us our condition to be so bad, that I am in a total despair of ever having the nation do well. After talking awhile, and all out of heart with stories of want of seamen, and seamen’s running away, and their demanding a month’s advance, and our being forced to give seamen 3s. a-day to go hence to work at Chatham, and other things that show nothing but destruction upon us; for it is certain that, as it now is, the seamen of England, in my conscience, would, if they could, go over and serve the King of France or Holland rather than us. Up to the Duke of York to his chamber, where he seems to be pretty easy, and now and then merry; but yet one may perceive in all their minds there is something of trouble and care, and with good reason. Thence to White Hall, and with Sir W. Pen, by chariot; and there in the Court met with my Lord Anglesey: and he to talk with [Sir] W. Pen, and told him of the masters of ships being with the Council yesterday, and that we were not in condition, though the men were willing, to furnish them with £200 of money, already due to them as earned by them the last year, to enable them to set out their ships again this year for the King: which he is amazed at; and when I told him, “My Lord, this is a sad instance of the condition we are in,” he answered, that it was so indeed, and sighed: and so parted: and he up to the Council-chamber, where I perceive they sit every morning, and I to Westminster Hall, where it is Term time. I met with none I knew, nor did desire it, but only past through the-Hall and so back again, and by coach home to dinner, being weary indeed of seeing the world, and thinking it high time for me to provide against the foul weather that is certainly coming upon us. So to the office, and there [Sir] W. Pen and I did some business, and then home to dinner, where my wife pleases me mightily with what she can do upon the flageolet, and then I to the office again, and busy all the afternoon, and it is worth noting that the King and Council, in their order of the 23rd instant, for unloading three merchant-ships taken up for the King’s service for men-of-war, do call the late coming of the Dutch “an invasion.” I was told, yesterday, that Mr. Oldenburg, our Secretary at Gresham College, is put into the Tower, for writing newes to a virtuoso in France, with whom he constantly corresponds in philosophical matters; which makes it very unsafe at this time to write, or almost do any thing. Several captains come to the office yesterday and today, complaining that their men come and go when they will, and will not be commanded, though they are paid every night, or may be. Nay, this afternoon comes Harry Russell from Gravesend, telling us that the money carried down yesterday for the Chest at Chatham had like to have been seized upon yesterday, in the barge there, by seamen, who did beat our watermen: and what men should these be but the boat’s crew of Sir Fretcheville Hollis, who used to brag so much of the goodness and order of his men, and his command over them. Busy all the afternoon at the office. Towards night I with Mr. Kinaston to White Hall about a Tangier order, but lost our labour, only met Sir H. Cholmly there, and he tells me great newes; that this day in Council the King hath declared that he will call his Parliament in thirty days: which is the best newes I have heard a great while, and will, if any thing, save the kingdom. How the King come to be advised to this, I know not; but he tells me that it was against the Duke of York’s mind flatly, who did rather advise the King to raise money as he pleased; and against the Chancellor’s, who told the King that Queen Elizabeth did do all her business in eighty-eight without calling a Parliament, and so might he do, for anything he saw. But, blessed be God! it is done; and pray God it may hold, though some of us must surely go to the pot, for all must be flung up to them, or nothing will be done. So back home, and my wife down by water, I sent her, with Mrs. Hewer and her son, W. Hewer, to see the sunk ships, while I staid at the office, and in the evening was visited by Mr. Roberts the merchant by us about the getting him a ship cleared from serving the King as a man of war, which I will endeavour to do. So home to supper and to bed.
26th. Up, and in dressing myself in my dressing chamber comes up Nell, and I did play with her. . . . So being ready I to White Hall by water, and there to the Lords Treasurers’ chamber, and there wait, and here it is every body’s discourse that the Parliament is ordered to meet the 25th of July, being, as they say, St. James’s day; which every creature is glad of. But it is pretty to consider how, walking to the Old Swan from my house, I met Sir Thomas Harvy, whom, asking the newes of the Parliament’s meeting, he told me it was true, and they would certainly make a great rout among us. I answered, I did not care for my part, though I was ruined, so that the Commonwealth might escape ruin by it. He answered, that is a good one, in faith; for you know yourself to be secure, in being necessary to the office; but for my part, says he, I must look to be removed; but then, says he, I doubt not but I shall have amends made me; for all the world knows upon what terms I come in; which is a saying that a wise man would not unnecessarily have said, I think, to any body, meaning his buying his place of my Lord Barkely [of Stratton]. So we parted, and I to White Hall, as I said before, and there met with Sir Stephen Fox and Mr. Scawen, who both confirm the news of the Parliament’s meeting. Here I staid for an order for my Tangier money, £30,000, upon the 11 months’ tax, and so away to my Lord Arlington’s office, and there spoke to him about Mr. Lanyon’s business, and received a good answer, and thence to Westminster Hall and there walked a little, and there met with Colonell Reames, who tells me of a letter come last night, or the day before, from my Lord St. Albans, out of France, wherein he says, that the King of France did lately fall out with him, giving him ill names, saying that he had belied him to our King, by saying that he had promised to assist our King, and to forward the peace; saying that indeed he had offered to forward the peace at such a time, but it was not accepted of, and so he thinks himself not obliged, and would do what was fit for him; and so made him to go out of his sight in great displeasure: and he hath given this account to the King, which, Colonell Reymes tells me, puts them into new melancholy at Court, and he believes hath forwarded the resolution of calling the Parliament. Wherewith for all this I am very well contented, and so parted and to the Exchequer, but Mr. Burgess was not in his office; so alone to the Swan, and thither come Mr. Kinaston to me, and he and I into a room and there drank and discoursed, and I am mightily pleased with him for a most diligent and methodical man in all his business. By and by to Burgess, and did as much as we could with him about our Tangier order, though we met with unexpected delays in it, but such as are not to be avoided by reason of the form of the Act and the disorders which the King’s necessities do put upon it, and therefore away by coach, and at White Hall spied Mr. Povy, who tells me, as a great secret, which none knows but himself, that Sir G. Carteret hath parted with his place of Treasurer of the Navy, by consent, to my Lord Anglesey, and is to be Treasurer of Ireland in his stead; but upon what terms it is I know not, but Mr. Povy tells it is so, and that it is in his power to bring me to as great a friendship and confidence in my Lord Anglesey as ever I was with [Sir] W. Coventry, which I am glad of, and so parted, and I to my tailor’s about turning my old silk suit and cloak into a suit and vest, and thence with Mr. Kinaston (whom I had set down in the Strand and took up again at the Temple gate) home, and there to dinner, mightily pleased with my wife’s playing on the flageolet, and so after dinner to the office. Such is the want already of coals, and the despair of having any supply, by reason of the enemy’s being abroad, and no fleete of ours to secure, that they are come, as Mr. Kinaston tells me, at this day to £5 10s. per chaldron. All the afternoon busy at the office. In the evening with my wife and Mercer took coach and to Islington to the Old House, and there eat and drank and sang with great pleasure, and then round by Hackney home with great pleasure, and when come home to bed, my stomach not being well pleased with the cream we had to-night.
27th. Wakened this morning, about three o’clock, by Mr. Griffin with a letter from Sir W. Coventry to W. Pen, which W. Pen sent me to see, that the Dutch are come up to the Nore again, and he knows not whether further or no, and would have, therefore, several things done: ships sunk, and I know not what — which Sir W. Pen (who it seems is very ill this night, or would be thought so) hath directed Griffin to carry to the Trinity House; so he went away with the letter, and I tried and with much ado did get a little sleep more, and so up about six o’clock, full of thought what to do with the little money I have left and my plate, wishing with all my heart that that was all secured. So to the office, where much business all the morning, and the more by my brethren being all out of the way; Sir W. Pen this night taken so ill cannot stir; [Sir] W. Batten ill at Walthamstow; Sir J. Minnes the like at Chatham, and my Lord Bruncker there also upon business. Horrible trouble with the backwardness of the merchants to let us have their ships, and seamen’s running away, and not to be got or kept without money. It is worth turning to our letters this day to Sir W. Coventry about these matters. At noon to dinner, having a haunch of venison boiled; and all my clerks at dinner with me; and mightily taken with Mr. Gibson’s discourse of the faults of this war in its management compared [with] that in the last war, which I will get him to put into writing. Thence, after dinner, to the office again, and there I saw the proclamations come out this day for the Parliament to meet the 25th of next month; for which God be praised! and another to invite seamen to bring in their complaints, of their being ill-used in the getting their tickets and money, there being a Committee of the Council appointed to receive their complaints. This noon W. Hewer and T. Hater both tell me that it is all over the town, and Mr. Pierce tells me also, this afternoon coming to me, that for certain Sir G. Carteret hath parted with his Treasurer’s place, and that my Lord Anglesey is in it upon agreement and change of places, though the latter part I do not think. This Povy told me yesterday, and I think it is a wise act of [Sir] G. Carteret. Pierce tells me that he hears for certain fresh at Court, that France and we shall agree; and more, that yesterday was damned at the Council, the Canary Company; and also that my Lord Mordaunt hath laid down his Commission, both good things to please the Parliament, which I hope will do good. Pierce tells me that all the town do cry out of our office, for a pack of fools and knaves; but says that everybody speaks either well, or at least the best of me, which is my great comfort, and think I do deserve it, and shall shew I have; but yet do think, and he also, that the Parliament will send us all going; and I shall be well contented with it, God knows! But he tells me how Matt. Wren should say that he was told that I should say that W. Coventry was guilty of the miscarriage at Chatham, though I myself, as he confesses, did tell him otherwise, and that it was wholly Pett’s fault. This do trouble me, not only as untrue, but as a design in some [one] or other to do me hurt; for, as the thing is false, so it never entered into my mouth or thought, nor ever shall. He says that he hath rectified Wren in his belief of this, and so all is well. He gone, I to business till the evening, and then by chance home, and find the fellow that come up with my wife, Coleman, last from Brampton, a silly rogue, but one that would seem a gentleman; but I did not stay with him. So to the office, where late, busy, and then to walk a little in the garden, and so home to supper and to bed. News this tide, that about 80 sail of the Dutch, great and small were seen coming up the river this morning; and this tide some of them to the upper end of the Hope.
28th. Up, and hear Sir W. Batten is come to town: I to see him; he is very ill of his fever, and come to town only for advice. Sir J. Minnes, I hear also, is very ill all this night, worse than before. Thence I going out met at the gate Sir H. Cholmly coming to me, and I to him in the coach, and both of us presently to St. James’s, by the way discoursing of some Tangier business about money, which the want of I see will certainly bring the place into a bad condition. We find the Duke of York and [Sir] W. Coventry gone this morning, by two o’clock, to Chatham, to come home to-night: and it is fine to observe how both the King and Duke of York have, in their several late journeys to and again, done them in the night for coolnesse. Thence with him to the Treasury Chamber, and then to the Exchequer to inform ourselves a little about our warrant for £30,000 for Tangier, which vexes us that it is so far off in time of payment. Having walked two or three turns with him in the Hall we parted, and I home by coach, and did business at the office till noon, and then by water to White Hall to dinner to Sir G. Carteret, but he not at home, but I dined with my Lady and good company, and good dinner. My Lady and the family in very good humour upon this business of his parting with his place of Treasurer of the Navy, which I perceive they do own, and we did talk of it with satisfaction. They do here tell me that the Duke of Buckingham hath surrendered himself to Secretary Morrice, and is going to the Tower. Mr. Fenn, at the table, says that he hath been taken by the watch two or three times of late, at unseasonable hours, but so disguised that they could not know him: and when I come home, by and by, Mr. Lowther tells me that the Duke of Buckingham do dine publickly this day at Wadlow’s, at the Sun Tavern; and is mighty merry, and sent word to the Lieutenant of the Tower, that he would come to him as soon as he had dined. Now, how sad a thing it is, when we come to make sport of proclaiming men traitors, and banishing them, and putting them out of their offices, and Privy Council, and of sending to and going to the Tower: God have mercy on us! At table, my Lady and Sir Philip Carteret have great and good discourse of the greatness of the present King of France — what great things he hath done, that a man may pass, at any hour in the night, all over that wild city [Paris], with a purse in his hand and no danger: that there is not a beggar to be seen in it, nor dirt lying in it; that he hath married two of Colbert’s daughters to two of the greatest princes of France, and given them portions — bought the greatest dukedom in France, and given it to Colbert;1 and ne’er a prince in France dare whisper against it, whereas here our King cannot do any such thing, but everybody’s mouth is open against him for it, and the man that hath the favour also. That to several commanders that had not money to set them out to the present campagne, he did of his own accord — send them £1000 sterling a-piece, to equip themselves. But then they did enlarge upon the slavery of the people — that they are taxed more than the real estates they have; nay, it is an ordinary thing for people to desire to give the King all their land that they have, and themselves become only his tenants, and pay him rent to the full value of it: so they may have but their earnings, But this will not be granted; but he shall give the value of his rent, and part of his labour too. That there is not a petty governor of a province — nay, of a town, but he will take the daughter from the richest man in the town under him, that hath got anything, and give her to his footman for a wife if he pleases, and the King of France will do the like to the best man in his kingdom — take his daughter from him, and give her to his footman, or whom he pleases. It is said that he do make a sport of us now; and says, that he knows no reason why his cozen, the King of England, should not be as willing to let him have his kingdom, as that the Dutch should take it from him, which is a most wretched thing that ever we should live to be in this most contemptible condition. After dinner Sir G. Carteret come in, and I to him and my Lady, and there he did tell me that the business was done between him and my Lord Anglesey; that himself is to have the other’s place of Deputy Treasurer of Ireland, which is a place of honour and great profit, being far better, I know not for what reason, but a reason there is, than the Treasurer’s, my Lord of Corke’s, and to give the other his, of Treasurer of the Navy; that the King, at his earnest entreaty, did, with much unwillingness, but with owning of great obligations to him, for his faithfulness and long service to him and his father, and therefore was willing to grant his desire. That the Duke of York hath given him the same kind words, so that it is done with all the good manner that could be, and he I perceive do look upon it, and so do I, I confess, as a great good fortune to him to meet with one of my Lord Anglesey’s quality willing to receive it at this time. Sir W. Coventry he hath not yet made acquainted with it, nor do intend it, it being done purely to ease himself of the many troubles and plagues which he thinks the perverseness and unkindness of Sir W. Coventry and others by his means have and is likely every day to bring upon him, and the Parliament’s envy, and lastly to put himself into a condition of making up his accounts, which he is, he says, afeard he shall never otherwise be. My Lord Chancellor, I perceive, is his friend in it. I remember I did in the morning tell Sir H. Cholmly of this business: and he answered me, he was sorry for it; for, whatever Sir G. Carteret was, he is confident my Lord Anglesey is one of the greatest knaves in the world, which is news to me, but I shall make my use of it. Having done this discourse with Sir G. Carteret, and signified my great satisfaction in it, which they seem to look upon as something, I went away and by coach home, and there find my wife making of tea, a drink which Mr. Pelling, the Potticary, tells her is good for her cold and defluxions. I to the office (whither come Mr. Carcasse to me to sue for my favour to him), and Sir W. Pen’s, where I find Mr. Lowther come to town after the journey, and after a small visit to him, I to the office to do much business, and then in the evening to Sir W. Batten’s, to see how he did; and he is better than he was. He told me how Mrs. Lowther had her train held up yesterday by her page, at his house in the country; which is so ridiculous a piece of pride as I am ashamed of. He told me also how he hears by somebody that my Lord Bruncker’s maid hath told that her lady Mrs. Williams had sold her jewels and clothes to raise money for something or other; and indeed the last night a letter was sent from her to me, to send to my Lord, with about five pieces of gold in it, which methought at the time was but a poor supply. I then to Sir W. Pen, who continues a little ill, or dissembles it, the latter of which I am apt to believe. Here I staid but little, not meaning much kindness in it; and so to the office, and dispatched more business; and then home at night, and to supper with my wife, and who should come in but Mr. Pelling, and supped with us, and told us the news of the town; how the officers of the Navy are cried out upon, and a great many greater men; but do think that I shall do well enough; and I think, if I have justice, I shall. He tells me of my Lord Duke of Buckingham, his dining today at the Sun, and that he was mighty merry; and, what is strange, tells me that really he is at this day a very popular man, the world reckoning him to suffer upon no other account than that he did propound in Parliament to have all the questions that had to do with the receipt of the taxes and prizes; but they must be very silly that do think he can do any thing out of good intention. After a great deal of tittle-tattle with this honest man, he gone we to bed. We hear that the Dutch are gone down again; and thanks be to God! the trouble they give us this second time is not very considerable.
1 The Carterets appear to have mystified Pepys, who eagerly believed all that was told him. At this time Paris was notoriously unsafe, infested with robbers and beggars, and abominably unclean. Colbert had three daughters, of whom the eldest was just married when Pepys wrote, viz., Jean Marie Therese, to the Duc de Chevreuse, on the 3rd February, 1667. The second daughter, Henriette Louise, was not married to the Duc de St. Aignan till January 21st, 1671; and the third, Marie Anne, to the Duc de Mortemart, February 14th, 1679. Colbert himself was never made a duke. His highest title was Marquis de Seignelay. — B.
29th. Up, having had many ugly dreams to-night of my father and my sister and mother’s coming to us, and meeting my wife and me at the gate of the office going out, they all in laced suits, and come, they told me, to be with me this May day. My mother told me she lacked a pair of gloves, and I remembered a pair of my wife’s in my chamber, and resolved she should have them, but then recollected how my mother come to be here when I was in mourning for her, and so thinking it to be a mistake in our thinking her all this while dead, I did contrive that it should be said to any that enquired that it was my mother-inlaw, my wife’s mother, that was dead, and we in mourning for. This dream troubled me and I waked. . . . These dreams did trouble me mightily all night. Up, and by coach to St. James’s, and there find Sir W. Coventry and Sir W. Pen above stairs, and then we to discourse about making up our accounts against the Parliament; and Sir W. Coventry did give us the best advice he could for us to provide for our own justification, believing, as everybody do, that they will fall heavily upon us all, though he lay all upon want of money, only a little, he says (if the Parliament be in any temper), may be laid upon themselves for not providing money sooner, they being expressly and industriously warned thereof by him, he says, even to the troubling them, that some of them did afterwards tell him that he had frighted them. He says he do prepare to justify himself, and that he hears that my Lord Chancellor, my Lord Arlington, the Vice Chamberlain and himself are reported all up and down the Coffee houses to be the four sacrifices that must be made to atone the people. Then we to talk of the loss of all affection and obedience, now in the seamen, so that all power is lost. He told us that he do concur in thinking that want of money do do the most of it, but that that is not all, but the having of gentlemen Captains, who discourage all Tarpaulins, and have given out that they would in a little time bring it to that pass that a Tarpaulin should not dare to aspire to more than to be a Boatswain or a gunner. That this makes the Sea Captains to lose their own good affections to the service, and to instil it into the seamen also, and that the seamen do see it themselves and resent it; and tells us that it is notorious, even to his bearing of great ill will at Court, that he hath been the opposer of gentlemen Captains; and Sir W. Pen did put in, and said that he was esteemed to have been the man that did instil it into Sir W. Coventry, which Sir W. Coventry did owne also, and says that he hath always told the Gentlemen Captains his opinion of them, and that himself who had now served to the business of the sea 6 or 7 years should know a little, and as much as them that had never almost been at sea, and that yet he found himself fitter to be a Bishop or Pope than to be a Sea–Commander, and so indeed he is. I begun to tell him of the experience I had of the great brags made by Sir F. Hollis the other day, and the little proof either of the command or interest he had in his men, which Sir W. Pen seconded by saying Sir Fr. Hollis had told him that there was not a pilot to be got the other day for his fire-ships, and so was forced to carry them down himself, which Sir W. Coventry says, in my conscience, he knows no more to do and understand the River no more than he do Tiber or Ganges. Thence I away with Sir W. Pen to White Hall, to the Treasury Chamber, but to no purpose, and so by coach home, and there to my office to business, and then home to dinner, and to pipe with my wife, and so to the office again, having taken a resolution to take a turn to Chatham tomorrow, indeed to do business of the King’s, but also to give myself the satisfaction of seeing the place after the Dutch have been here. I have sent to and got Creed to go with me by coach betimes tomorrow morning. After having done my business at the office I home, and there I found Coleman come again to my house, and with my wife in our great chamber, which vexed me, there being a bed therein. I staid there awhile, and then to my study vexed, showing no civility to the man. But he comes on a compliment to receive my wife’s commands into the country, whither he is going, and it being Saturday my wife told me there was no other room for her to bring him in, and so much is truth. But I staid vexed in my closet till by and by my cozen Thomas Pepys, of Hatcham, come to see me, and he up to my closet, and there sat talking an hour or two of the sad state of the times, whereof we did talk very freely, and he thinks nothing but a union of religious interests will ever settle us; and I do think that, and the Parliament’s taking the whole management of things into their hands, and severe inquisitions into our miscarriages; will help us. After we had bewailed ourselves and the kingdom very freely one to another (wherein I do blame myself for my freedom of speech to anybody), he gone, and Coleman gone also before, I to the office, whither Creed come by my desire, and he and I to my wife, to whom I now propose the going to Chatham, who, mightily pleased with it, sent for Mercer to go with her, but she could not go, having friends at home, which vexed my wife and me; and the poor wretch would have had anybody else to have gone, but I would like nobody else, so was contented to stay at home, on condition to go to Ispsum next Sunday, which I will do, and so I to the office to dispatch my business, and then home to supper with Creed, and then Creed and I together to bed, very pleasant in discourse. This day talking with Sir W. Batten, he did give me an account how ill the King and Duke of York was advised to send orders for our frigates and fire-ships to come from Gravesend, soon as ever news come of the Dutch being returned into the river, wherein no seamen, he believes, was advised with; for, says he, we might have done just as Warwicke did, when he, W. Batten; come with the King and the like fleete, in the late wars, into the river: for Warwicke did not run away from them, but sailed before them when they sailed, and come to anchor when they come to anchor, and always kept in a small distance from them: so as to be able to take any opportunity of any of their ships running aground, or change of wind, or any thing else, to his advantage. So might we have done with our fire-ships, and we have lost an opportunity of taking or burning a good ship of their’s, which was run aground about Holehaven, I think he said, with the wind so as their ships could not get her away; but we might have done what we would with her, and, it may be, done them mischief, too, with the wind. This seems very probable, and I believe was not considered.
30th (Lord’s day). Up about three o’clock, and Creed and I got ourselves ready, and took coach at our gate, it being very fine weather, and the cool of the morning, and with much pleasure, without any stop, got to Rochester about ten of the clock, all the way having mighty pleasant talk of the fate that is over all we do, that it seems as if we were designed in every thing, by land by sea, to undo ourselves. At the foot of Rochester bridge, at the landing-place, I met my Lord Bruncker and my Lord Douglas, and all the officers of the soldiers in the town, waiting there for the Duke of York, whom they heard was coming thither this day; by and by comes my Lord Middleton, the first time I remember to have seen him, well mounted, who had been to meet him, but come back without him; he seems a fine soldier, and so every body says he is; and a man, like my Lord Teviott, and indeed most of the Scotch gentry, as I observe, of few words. After staying here by the water-side and seeing the boats come up from Chatham, with them that rowed with bandeleeres about their shoulders, and muskets in their boats, they being the workmen of the Yard, who have promised to redeem their credit, lost by their deserting the service when the Dutch were there, my Lord Bruncker went with Lord Middleton to his inne, the Crowne, to dinner, which I took unkindly, but he was slightly invited. So I and Creed down by boat to Chatham-yard (our watermen having their bandeleeres about them all the way), and to Commissioner Pett’s house, where my Lord Bruncker told me that I should meet with his dinner two dishes of meat, but did not, but however by the help of Mr. Wiles had some beer and ale brought me, and a good piece of roast beef from somebody’s table, and eat well at two, and after dinner into the garden to shew Creed, and I must confess it must needs be thought a sorrowful thing for a man that hath taken so much pains to make a place neat to lose it as Commissioner Pett must now this. Thence to see the batteries made; which, indeed, are very fine, and guns placed so as one would think the River should be very secure. I was glad, as also it was new to me, to see so many fortifications as I have of late seen, and so up to the top of the Hill, there to look, and could see towards Sheerenesse, to spy the Dutch fleete, but could make [out] none but one vessel, they being all gone. But here I was told, that, in all the late attempt, there was but one man that they knew killed on shore: and that was a man that had laid himself upon his belly upon one of the hills, on the other side of the River, to see the action; and a bullet come, took the ground away just under his belly, and ripped up his belly, and so was killed. Thence back to the docke, and in my way saw how they are fain to take the deals of the rope-house to supply other occasions, and how sillily the country troopers look, that stand upon the passes there; and, methinks, as if they were more willing to run away than to fight, and it is said that the country soldiers did first run at Sheerenesse, but that then my Lord Douglas’s men did run also; but it is excused that there was no defence for them towards the sea, that so the very beach did fly in their faces as the bullets come, and annoyed them, they having, after all this preparation of the officers of the ordnance, only done something towards the land, and nothing at all towards the sea. The people here everywhere do speak very badly of Sir Edward Spragge, as not behaving himself as he should have done in that business, going away with the first, and that old Captain Pyne, who, I am here told, and no sooner, is Master–Gunner of England, was the last that staid there. Thence by barge, it raining hard, down to the chaine; and in our way did see the sad wrackes of the poor “Royall Oake,” “James,” and “London;”1 and several other of our ships by us sunk, and several of the enemy’s, whereof three men-of-war that they could not get off, and so burned. We did also see several dead bodies lie by the side of the water. I do not see that Upnor Castle hath received any hurt by them, though they played long against it; and they themselves shot till they had hardly a gun left upon the carriages, so badly provided they were: they have now made two batteries on that side, which will be very good, and do good service. So to the chaine, and there saw it fast at the end on Upnor side of the River; very fast, and borne up upon the several stages across the River; and where it is broke nobody can tell me. I went on shore on Upnor side to look upon the end of the chaine; and caused the link to be measured, and it was six inches and one-fourth in circumference. They have burned the Crane House that was to hawl it taught. It seems very remarkable to me, and of great honour to the Dutch, that those of them that did go on shore to Gillingham, though they went in fear of their lives, and were some of them killed; and, notwithstanding their provocation at Schelling, yet killed none of our people nor plundered their houses, but did take some things of easy carriage, and left the rest, and not a house burned; and, which is to our eternal disgrace, that what my Lord Douglas’s men, who come after them, found there, they plundered and took all away; and the watermen that carried us did further tell us, that our own soldiers are far more terrible to those people of the country-towns than the Dutch themselves. We were told at the batteries, upon my seeing of the field-guns that were there, that, had they come a day sooner, they had been able to have saved all; but they had no orders, and lay lingering upon the way, and did not come forward for want of direction. Commissioner Pett’s house was all unfurnished, he having carried away all his goods. I met with no satisfaction whereabouts the chaine was broke, but do confess I met with nobody that I could well expect to have satisfaction [from], it being Sunday; and the officers of the Yard most of them abroad, or at the Hill house, at the pay of the Chest, which they did make use of to day to do part in. Several complaints, I hear, of the Monmouth’s coming away too soon from the chaine, where she was placed with the two guard-ships to secure it; and Captain Robert Clerke, my friend, is blamed for so doing there, but I hear nothing of him at London about it; but Captain Brookes’s running aground with the “Sancta Maria,” which was one of the three ships that were ordered to be sunk to have dammed up the River at the chaine, is mightily cried against, and with reason, he being the chief man to approve of the abilities of other men, and the other two slips did get safe thither and he run aground; but yet I do hear that though he be blameable, yet if she had been there, she nor two more to them three would have been able to have commanded the river all over. I find that here, as it hath been in our river, fire-ships, when fitted, have been sunk afterwards, and particularly those here at the Mussle, where they did no good at all. Our great ships that were run aground and sunk are all well raised but the “Vanguard,” which they go about to raise tomorrow. “The Henery,” being let loose to drive up the river of herself, did run up as high as the bridge, and broke down some of the rails of the bridge, and so back again with the tide, and up again, and then berthed himself so well as no pilot could ever have done better; and Punnet says he would not, for his life, have undertaken to have done it, with all his skill. I find it is true that the Dutch did heele “The Charles” to get her down, and yet run aground twice or thrice, and yet got her safe away, and have her, with a great many good guns in her, which none of our pilots would ever have undertaken. It is very considerable the quantity of goods, which the making of these platforms and batterys do take out of the King’s stores: so that we shall have little left there, and, God knows! no credit to buy any; besides, the taking away and spending of (it is possible) several goods that would have been either rejected or abatement made for them before used. It is a strange thing to see that, while my Lords Douglas and Middleton do ride up and down upon single horses, my Lord Bruncker do go up and down with his hackney-coach and six horses at the King’s charge, which will do, for all this time, and the time that he is likely to stay, must amount to a great deal. But I do not see that he hath any command over the seamen, he being affronted by three or four seamen before my very face, which he took sillily, methought; and is not able to do so much good as a good boatswain in this business. My Lord Bruncker, I perceive, do endeavour to speak well of Commissioner Pett, saying that he did exercise great care and pains while he was there, but do not undertake to answer for his not carrying up of the great ships. Back again to Rochester, and there walked to the Cathedral as they were beginning of the service, but would not be seen to stay to church there, besides had no mind, but rather to go to our inne, the White Hart, where we drank and were fain (the towne being so full of soldiers) to have a bed corded for us to lie in, I being unwilling to lie at the Hill house for one night, being desirous to be near our coach to be gone betimes tomorrow morning. Here in the streets, I did hear the Scotch march beat by the drums before the soldiers, which is very odde. Thence to the Castle, and viewed it with Creed, and had good satisfaction from him that showed it us touching the history of it. Then into the fields, a fine walk, and there saw Sir Francis Clerke’s house, which is a pretty seat, and then back to our inne and bespoke supper, and so back to the fields and into the Cherry garden, where we had them fresh gathered, and here met with a young, plain, silly shopkeeper, and his wife, a pretty young woman, the man’s name Hawkins, and I did kiss her, and we talked (and the woman of the house is a very talking bawdy jade), and eat cherries together, and then to walk in the fields till it was late, and did kiss her, and I believe had I had a fit time and place I might have done what I would with her. Walked back and left them at their house near our inne, and then to our inne, where, I hear, my Lord Bruncker hath sent for me to speak with me before I go: so I took his coach, which stands there with two horses, and to him and to his bedside, where he was in bed, and hath a watchman with a halbert at his door; and to him, and did talk a little, and find him a very weak man for this business that he is upon; and do pity the King’s service, that is no better handled, and his folly to call away Pett before we could have found a better man to have staid in his stead; so took leave of him, and with Creed back again, it being now about 10 at night, and to our inne to supper, and then to bed, being both sleepy, but could get no sheets to our bed, only linen to our mouths, and so to sleep, merrily talking of Hawkins and his wife, and troubled that Creed did see so much of my dalliance, though very little.
1 “The bottom of the ‘Royal James’ is got afloat, and those of the ‘Loyal London’ and ‘Royal Oak’ soon will be so. Many men are at work to put Sheerness in a posture of defence, and a boom is being fitted over the river by Upnor Castle, which with the good fortifications will leave nothing to fear.”— Calendar of State Papers, 1667, p. 285.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:53