John Evelyn's Diary 1679
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 January
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 January. 15 Jan 1679. I went with my Lady Sunderland (33) to Chelsea, and dined with the Countess of Bristol (59) [her mother] in the great house, formerly the Duke of Buckingham's, a spacious and excellent place for the extent of ground and situation in a good air. The house is large but ill-contrived, though my Lord of Bristol, who purchased it after he sold Wimbledon to my Lord Treasurer (46), expended much money on it. There were divers pictures of Titian and Vandyke, and some of Bassano, very excellent, especially an Adonis and Venus, a Duke of Venice, a butcher in his shambles selling meat to a Swiss; and of Vandyke, my Lord of Bristol's picture, with the Earl of Bedford's at length, in the same table. There was in the garden a rare collection of orange trees, of which she was pleased to bestow some upon me.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 January. 16 Jan 1679. I supped this night with Mr. Secretary at one Mr. Houblon's (49), a French merchant, who had his house furnished en Prince, and gave us a splendid entertainment.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 January. 25 Jan 1679. The Long Parliament, which had sat ever since the Restoration, was dissolved by persuasion of the Lord Treasurer (46), though divers of them were believed to be his pensioner. At this, all the politicians were at a stand, they being very eager in pursuit of the late plot of the Papists.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 January. 30 Jan 1679. Dr. Cudworth preached before the King (48) at Whitehall, on 2 Timothy iii. 5, reckoning up the perils of the last times, in which, among other wickedness, treasons should be one of the greatest, applying it to the occasion, as committed under a form of reformation and godliness; concluding that the prophecy did intend more particularly the present age, as one of the last times; the sins there enumerated, more abundantly reigning than ever.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 February
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 February. 04 Feb 1679. Dr. Pierce, Dean of Salisbury, preached on 1 John, iv. 1, "Try the Spirits, there being so many delusory ones gone forth of late into the world"; he inveighed against the pernicious doctrines of Mr. Hobbes.
My brother Evelyn, was now chosen Knight for the County of Surrey, carrying it against my Lord Longford and Sir Adam Brown, of Bechworth Castle. The country coming in to give him their suffrages were so many, that I believe they ate and drank him out near £2,000, by a most abominable custom.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 April
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 April. 04 Apr 1679. The Bishop of Gloucester preached in a manner very like Bishop Andrews, full of divisions, and scholastical, and that with much quickness. The Holy Communion followed.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 April. 20 Apr 1679. Easter day. Our vicar preached exceedingly well on 1 Cor. v. 7. The Holy Communion followed, at which I and my daughter, Mary (14) (now about fourteen years old), received for the first time. The Lord Jesus continue his grace unto her, and improve this blessed beginning!.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 April. 24 Apr 1679. The Duke of York (45), voted against by the Commons for his recusancy, went over to Flanders; which made much discourse.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 June
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 June. 04 Jun 1679. I dined with Mr. Pepys (46) in the Tower of London, he having been committed by the House of Commons for misdemeanors in the Admiralty when he was secretary; I believe he was unjustly charged. Here I saluted my Lords Stafford (64) and Petre (53), who were committed for the Popish plot.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 June. 07 Jun 1679. I saw the magnificent cavalcade and entry of the Portugal Ambassador (53).
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 June. 17 Jun 1679. I was godfather to a son of Sir Christopher Wren (55), surveyor of his Majesty's (49) buildings, that most excellent and learned person, with Sir William Fermor (30), and my Lady Viscountess Newport, wife of the Treasurer of the Household (59).
Thence to Chelsea, to Sir Stephen Fox (52), and my lady, in order to the purchase of the Countess of Bristol's (59) house there, which she desired me to procure a chapman for.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 June. 19 Jun 1679. I dined at Sir Robert Clayton's (50) with Sir Robert Viner (48), the great banker.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 June. 25 Jun 1679. The new Commissioners of the Admiralty came to visit me, viz, Sir Henry Capell (41), brother to the Earl of Essex (47), Mr. Finch (31), eldest son to the Lord Chancellor (57), Sir Humphry Winch (57), Sir Thomas Meeres (45), Mr. Hales, with some of the Commissioners of the Navy. I went with them to London.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 July
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 July. 06 Jul 1679. Now were there papers, speeches, and libels, publicly cried in the streets against the Dukes of York (45) and Lauderdale (63), etc., obnoxious to the Parliament, with too much and indeed too shameful a liberty; but the people and Parliament had gotten head by reason of the vices of the great ones.
There was now brought up to London a child, son of one Mr. Wotton, formerly amanuensis to Dr. Andrews, Bishop of Winton, who both read and perfectly understood Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Syriac, and most of the modern languages; disputed in divinity, law, and all the sciences; was skillful in history, both ecclesiastical and profane; in politics; in a word, so universally and solidly learned at eleven years of age, that he was looked on as a miracle. Dr. Lloyd (42), one of the most deeply learned divines of this nation in all sorts of literature, with Dr. Burnet (35), who had severely examined him, came away astonished, and they told me they did not believe there had the like appeared in the world. He had only been instructed by his father, who being himself a learned person, confessed that his son knew all that he himself knew. But, what was more admirable than his vast memory, was his judgment and invention, he being tried with divers hard questions, which required maturity of thought and experience. He was also dexterous in chronology, antiquities, mathematics. In sum, an intellectus universalis, beyond all that we read of Picus Mirandula, and other precocious wits, and yet withal a very humble child.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 July. 14 Jul 1679. I went to see how things stood at Parson's Green, my Lady Viscountess Mordaunt (now sick in Paris, whither she went for health) having made me a trustee for her children, an office I could not refuse to this most excellent, pious, and virtuous lady, my long acquaintance.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 July. 18 Jul 1679. I went early to the Old Bailey Sessions House, to the famous trial of Sir George Wakeman, one of the Queen's (40) physicians, and three Benedictine monks; the first (whom I was well acquainted with, and take to be a worthy gentleman abhorring such a fact), for intending to poison the King (49); the others as accomplices to carry on the plot, to subvert the government, and introduce Popery. The bench was crowded with the judges, Lord Mayor justices, and innumerable spectators. The chief accusers, Dr. Oates (29) (as he called himself), and one Bedlow, a man of inferior note. Their testimonies were not so pregnant, and I fear much of it from hearsay, but swearing positively to some particulars, which drew suspicion upon their truth; nor did circumstances so agree, as to give either the bench or jury so entire satisfaction as was expected. After, therefore, a long and tedious trial of nine hours, the jury brought them in not guilty, to the extraordinary triumph of the Papists, and without sufficient disadvantage and reflections on witnesses, especially Oates (29) and Bedlow.
This was a happy day for the lords in the Tower, who, expecting their trial, had this gone against the prisoners at the bar, would all have been in the utmost hazard. For my part, I look on Oates (29) as a vain, insolent man, puffed up with the favor of the Commons for having discovered something really true, more especially as detecting the dangerous intrigue of Coleman, proved out of his own letters, and of a general design which the Jesuited party of the Papists ever had and still have, to ruin the Church of England; but that he was trusted with those great secrets he pretended, or had any solid ground for what he accused divers noblemen of, I have many reasons to induce my contrary belief. That among so many commissions as he affirmed to have delivered to them from P. Oliva and the Pope,—he who made no scruple of opening all other papers, letters, and secrets, should not only not open any of those pretended commissions, but not so much as take any copy or witness of any one of them, is almost miraculous. But the Commons (some leading persons I mean of them) had so exalted him that they took all he said for Gospel, and without more ado ruined all whom he named to be conspirators; nor did he spare whoever came in his way. But, indeed, the murder of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, suspected to have been compassed by the Jesuits' party for his intimacy with Coleman (a busy person whom I also knew), and the fear they had that he was able to have discovered things to their prejudice, did so exasperate not only the Commons, but all the nation, that much of these sharpnesses against the more honest Roman Catholics who lived peaceably, is to be imputed to that horrid fact.
The sessions ended, I dined or rather supped (so late it was) with the judges in the large room annexed to the place, and so returned home. Though it was not my custom or delight to be often present at any capital trials, we having them commonly so exactly published by those who take them in short-hand, yet I was inclined to be at this signal one, that by the ocular view of the carriages and other circumstances of the managers and parties concerned, I might inform myself, and regulate my opinion of a cause that had so alarmed the whole nation.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 July. 22 Jul 1679. Dined at Clapham, at Sir D. Gauden's; went thence with him to Windsor, to assist him in a business with his Majesty (49). I lay that night at Eton College, the Provost's lodgings (Dr. Craddock), where I was courteously entertained.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 July. 23 Jul 1679. To Court: after dinner, I visited that excellent painter, Verrio (43), whose works in fresco in the King's (49) palace, at Windsor, will celebrate his name as long as those walls last. He showed us his pretty garden, choice flowers, and curiosities, he himself being a skillful gardener.
I went to Clifden, that stupendous natural rock, wood, and prospect, of the Duke of Buckingham's (51), and buildings of extraordinary expense. The grots in the chalky rocks are pretty: it is a romantic object, and the place altogether answers the most poetical description that can be made of solitude, precipice, prospect, or whatever can contribute to a thing so very like their imaginations. The stand, somewhat like Frascati as to its front, and on the platform is a circular view to the utmost verge of the horizon, which, with the serpenting of the Thames, is admirable. The staircase is for its materials singular; the cloisters, descents, gardens, and avenue through the wood, august and stately; but the land all about wretchedly barren, and producing nothing but fern. Indeed, as I told his Majesty (49) that evening (asking me how I liked Clifden) without flattery, that it did not please me so well as Windsor for the prospect and park, which is without compare; there being but one only opening, and that narrow, which led one to any variety; whereas that of Windsor is everywhere great and unconfined.
Returning, I called at my cousin Evelyn's, who has a very pretty seat in the forest, two miles by hither Clifden, on a flat, with gardens exquisitely kept, though large, and the house a staunch good old building, and what was singular, some of the rooms floored dove tail-wise without a nail, exactly close. One of the closets is pargeted with plain deal, set in diamond, exceeding staunch and pretty.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 August
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 August. 07 Aug 1679. Dined at the Sheriff's, when, the Company of Drapers and their wives being invited, there was a sumptuous entertainment, according to the forms of the city, with music, etc., comparable to any prince's service in Europe.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 August. 08 Aug 1679. I went this morning to show my Lord Chamberlain (61), his Lady (45), and the Duchess of Grafton (24), the incomparable work of Mr. Gibbon (31), the carver, whom I first recommended to his Majesty (49), his house being furnished like a cabinet, not only with his own work, but divers excellent paintings of the best hands. Thence, to Sir Stephen Fox's (52), where we spent the day.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 August. 31 Aug 1679. After evening service, to see a neighbor, one Mr. Bohun, related to my son's (24) late tutor of that name, a rich Spanish merchant, living in a neat place, which he has adorned with many curiosities, especially several carvings of Mr. Gibbons (31), and some pictures by Streeter.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 September
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 September. 13 Sep 1679. To Windsor, to congratulate his Majesty (49) on his recovery; I kissed the Duke's (45) hand, now lately returned from Flanders to visit his brother the King (49), on which there were various bold and foolish discourses, the Duke of Monmouth (30) being sent away.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 September. 19 Sep 1679. My Lord Sunderland (38), one of the principal Secretaries of State, invited me to dinner, where was the King's (49) natural son, the Earl of Plymouth (22), the Earl of Shrewsbury, Earl of Essex (47), Earl of Mulgrave (31), Mr. Hyde, and Mr. Godolphin (34). After dinner I went to prayers at Eton College, and visited Mr. Henry Godolphin (31), fellow there, and Dr. Craddock.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 October
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 October. 06 Oct 1679. A very wet and sickly season.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November. 04 Nov 1679. Dined at the Lord Mayor's (50); and, in the evening, went to the funeral of my pious, dear, and ancient learned friend, Dr. Jasper Needham, who was buried at St Bride's Church. He was a true and holy Christian, and one who loved me with great affection. Dr. Dove preached with an eulogy due to his memory. I lost in this person one of my dearest remaining sincere friends.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November. 05 Nov 1679. I was invited to dine at my Lord Teviotdale's, a Scotch Earl, a learned and knowing nobleman. We afterward went to see Mr. Montague's new palace near Bloomsbury, built by our curator, Mr. Hooke (44), somewhat after the French; it was most nobly furnished, and a fine, but too much exposed garden.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November. 06 Nov 1679. Dined at the Countess of Sunderland's (33), and was this evening at the remarriage of the Duchess of Grafton (24) to the Duke (16) his Majesty's (49) natural son), she being now twelve years old. The ceremony was performed in my Lord Chamberlain's (61) (her father's) lodgings at Whitehall by the Bishop of Rochester (54), his Majesty (49) being present. A sudden and unexpected thing, when everybody believed the first marriage would have come to nothing; but, the measure being determined, I was privately invited by my Lady (45), her mother, to be present. I confess I could give her little joy, and so I plainly told her, but she said the King (49) would have it so, and there was no going back. This sweetest, most hopeful, most beautiful, child, and most virtuous, too, was sacrificed to a boy that had been rudely bred, without anything to encourage them but his Majesty's (49) pleasure. I pray God the sweet child find it to her advantage, who, if my augury deceive me not, will in a few years be such a paragon as were fit to make the wife of the greatest Prince in Europe! I staid supper, where his Majesty (49) sat between the Duchess of Cleveland (38) (the mother of the Duke of Grafton) and the sweet Duchess (24) the bride; there were several great persons and ladies, without pomp. My love to my Lord Arlington's (61) family, and the sweet child made me behold all this with regret, though as the Duke of Grafton (16) affects the sea, to which I find his father intends to use him, he may emerge a plain, useful and robust officer: and were he polished, a tolerable person; for he is exceedingly handsome, by far surpassing any of the King's (49) other natural issue.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November. 18 Nov 1679. I dined at my Lord Mayor's (50), being desired by the Countess of Sunderland (33) to carry her thither on a solemn day, that she might see the pomp and ceremony of this Prince of Citizens, there never having been any, who for the stateliness of his palace, prodigious feasting, and magnificence, exceeded him. This Lord Mayor's acquaintance had been from the time of his being apprentice to one Mr. Abbot, his uncle [Note. His mother's brother], who being a scrivener, and an honest worthy man, one who was condemned to die at the beginning of the troubles forty years past, as concerned in the commission of array for King Charles I had escaped with his life; I often used his assistance in money matters. Robert Clayton (50), then a boy, his nephew, became, after his uncle Abbot's death, so prodigiously rich and opulent, that he was reckoned one of the wealthiest citizens. He married a free-hearted woman, who became his hospitable disposition; and having no children, with the accession of his partner and fellow apprentice, who also left him his estate, he grew excessively rich. He was a discreet magistrate, and though envied, I think without much cause. Some believed him guilty of hard dealing, especially with the Duke of Buckingham (51), much of whose estate he had swallowed, but I never saw any ill by him, considering the trade he was of. The reputation and known integrity of his uncle, Abbot, brought all the royal party to him, by which he got not only great credit, but vast wealth, so as he passed this office with infinite magnificence and honor.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November. 20 Nov 1679. I dined with Mr. Slingsby (58), Master of the Mint, with my wife (44), invited to hear music, which was exquisitely performed by four of the most renowned masters: Du Prue, a Frenchman, on the lute; Signor Bartholomeo, an Italian, on the harpsichord; Nicholao on the violin; but, above all, for its sweetness and novelty, the viol d'amore of five wire strings played on with a bow, being but an ordinary violin, played on lyre-way, by a German. There was also a flute douce, now in much request for accompanying the voice. Mr. Slingsby (58), whose son and daughter played skillfully, had these meetings frequently in his house.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November. 21 Nov 1679. I dined at my Lord Mayor's (50), to accompany my worthiest and generous friend, the Earl of Ossory (45); it was on a Friday, a private day, but the feast and entertainment might have become a King. Such an hospitable costume and splendid magistrature does no city in the world show, as I believe.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November. 23 Nov 1679. Dr. Allestree (57) preached before the household on St. Luke xi. 2; Dr. Lloyd (42) on Matt. xxiii. 20, before the King (49), showing with how little reason the Papists applied those words of our blessed Savior to maintain the pretended infallibility they boast of. I never heard a more Christian and excellent discourse; yet were some offended that he seemed to say the Church of Rome was a true church; but it was a captious mistake; for he never affirmed anything that could be more to their reproach, and that such was the present Church of Rome, showing how much it had erred. There was not in this sermon so much as a shadow for censure, no person of all the clergy having testified greater zeal against the errors of the Papists than this pious and most learned person. I dined at the Bishop of Rochester's (54), and then went to St. Paul's to hear that great wit, Dr. Sprat (44), now newly succeeding Dr. Outram, in the cure of St. Margaret's. His talent was a great memory, never making use of notes, a readiness of expression in a most pure and plain style of words, full of matter, easily delivered.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November. 26 Nov 1679. I met the Earl of Clarendon with the rest of my fellow executors of the Will of my late Lady Viscountess Mordaunt, namely, Mr. Laurence Hyde (37), one of the Commissioners of the Treasury, and lately Plenipotentiary-Ambassador at Nimeguen; Andrew Newport (59); and Sir Charles Wheeler (59); to examine and audit and dispose of this year's account of the estate of this excellent Lady, according to the direction of her Will.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November. 27 Nov 1679. I went to see Sir John Stonehouse (40), with whom I was treating a marriage between my son (59) and his daughter-in-law (20) [Note. Means step-daughter. Martha Spencer 1659-1726 (20) was the daughter of Martha Briggs who re-married John Stonhouse 2nd Baronet 1639-1700 (40) after her first husband Richard Spencer Turkey Merchant 1604-1668 died in 1668].
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November. 28 Nov 1679. Came over the Duke of Monmouth (30) from Holland unexpectedly to his Majesty (49); while the Duke of York (46) was on his journey to Scotland, whither the King (49) sent him to reside and govern. The bells and bonfires of the city at this arrival of the Duke of Monmouth (30) publishing their joy, to the no small regret of some at Court. This Duke (30), whom for distinction they called the Protestant Duke (though the son of an abandoned woman), the people made their idol.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 December
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 December. 04 Dec 1679. I dined, together with Lord Ossory (45) and the Earl of Chesterfield (45), at the Portugal Ambassador's (53), now newly come, at Cleveland House, a noble palace, too good for that infamous.... [Note. Probably a reference to Barbara Villiers 1st Duchess of Cleveland 1640-1709 (39)] The staircase is sumptuous, and the gallery and garden; but, above all, the costly furniture belonging to the Ambassador, especially the rich Japan cabinets, of which I think there were a dozen. There was a billiard table, with as many more hazards as ours commonly have; the game being only to prosecute the ball till hazarded, without passing the port, or touching the pin; if one miss hitting the ball every time, the game is lost, or if hazarded. It is more difficult to hazard a ball, though so many, than in our table, by reason the bound is made so exactly even, and the edges not stuffed; the balls are also bigger, and they for the most part use the sharp and small end of the billiard stick, which is shod with brass, or silver. The entertainment was exceedingly civil; but, besides a good olio, the dishes were trifling, hashed and condited after their way, not at all fit for an English stomach, which is for solid meat. There was yet good fowls, but roasted to coal, nor were the sweetmeats good.
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 December. 30 Dec 1679. I went to meet Sir John Stonehouse (40), and give him a particular of the settlement on my son (59), who now made his addresses to the young lady (20) his daughter-in-law [Note. Step-daughter], daughter of Lady Stonehouse.