Blackwall is in Essex.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 15 January 1661. 15 Jan 1661. So after a cup of burnt wine1 at the tavern there, we took barge and went to Blackwall and viewed the dock and the new Wet dock, which is newly made there, and a brave new merchantman which is to be launched shortly, and they say to be called the Royal Oak. Hence we walked to Dick-Shore, and thence to the Towre and so home. Where I found my wife and Pall abroad, so I went to see Sir W. Pen (39), and there found Mr. Coventry (33) come to see him, and now had an opportunity to thank him, and he did express much kindness to me. I sat a great while with Sir Wm. after he was gone, and had much talk with him. I perceive none of our officers care much for one another, but I do keep in with them all as much as I can. Sir W. Pen (39) is still very ill as when I went.
1. Burnt wine was somewhat similar to mulled wine, and a favourite drink.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 04 February 1661. 04 Feb 1661. That being done, he and I back again home, where I met with my father and mother going to my cozen Snow's to Blackwall, and had promised to bring me and my wife along with them, which we could not do because we are to go to the Dolphin to-day to a dinner of Capt. Tayler's. So at last I let my wife go with them, and I to the tavern, where Sir William Pen (39) and the Comptroller (50) and several others were, men and women; and we had a very great and merry dinner; and after dinner the Comptroller (50) begun some sports, among others the naming of people round and afterwards demanding questions of them that they are forced to answer their names to, which do make very good sport. And here I took pleasure to take the forfeits of the ladies who would not do their duty by kissing of them; among others a pretty lady, who I found afterwards to be wife to Sir W. Batten's (60) son.
John Evelyn's Diary 16 January 1662. 16 Jan 1662. Having notice of the Duke of York's (28) intention to visit my poor habitation and garden this day, I returned, when he was pleased to do me that honor of his own accord, and to stay some time viewing such things as I had to entertain his curiosity. Afterward he caused me to dine with him at the Treasurer of the Navy's house, and to sit with him covered at the same table. There were his Highness (28), the Duke of Ormond (51), and several Lords. Then they viewed some of my grounds about a project for a receptacle for ships to be moored in, which was laid aside as a fancy of Sir Nicholas Crisp (63). After this, I accompanied the Duke (28) to an East India vessel that lay at Blackwall, where we had entertainment of several curiosities. Among other spirituous drinks, as punch, etc., they gave us Canary that had been carried to and brought from the Indies, which was indeed incomparably good. I returned to London with his Highness (28). This night was acted before his Majesty (31) "The Widow", a lewd play.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 04 August 1662. 04 Aug 1662. Up by four o'clock in the morning and walked to the Dock, where Commissioner Pett (51) and I took barge and went to the guardships and mustered them, finding them but badly manned; thence to the Sovereign, which we found kept in good order and very clean, which pleased us well, but few of the officers on board.
Thence to the Charles, and were troubled to see her kept so neglectedly by the boatswain Clements, who I always took for a very good officer; it is a very brave ship.
Thence to Upnor Castle, and there went up to the top, where there is a fine prospect, but of very small force; so to the yard, and there mustered the whole ordinary, where great disorder by multitude of servants and old decrepid men, which must be remedied.
So to all the storehouses and viewed the stores of all sorts and the hemp, where we found Captain Cocke's (45) (which he came down to see along with me) very bad, and some others, and with much content (God forgive me) I did hear by the Clerk of the Ropeyard how it was by Sir W. Batten's (61) private letter that one parcel of Alderman Barker's' was received.
At two o'clock to dinner to the Hill-house, and after dinner dispatched many people's business, and then to the yard again, and looked over Mr. Gregory's and Barrow's houses to see the matter of difference between them concerning an alteration that Barrow would make, which I shall report to the board, but both their houses very pretty, and deserve to be so, being well kept.
Then to a trial of several sorts of hemp, but could not perform it here so well as at Woolwich, but we did do it pretty well.
So took barge at the dock and to Rochester, and there Captain Cocke (45) and I and our two men took coach about 8 at night and to Gravesend, where it was very dark before we got thither to the Swan; and there, meeting with Doncaster, an old waterman of mine above bridge, we eat a short supper, being very merry with the drolling, drunken coachman that brought us, and so took water. It being very dark, and the wind rising, and our waterman unacquainted with this part of the river, so that we presently cast upon the Essex shore, but got off again, and so, as well as we could, went on, but I in such fear that I could not sleep till we came to Erith, and there it begun to be calm, and the stars to shine, and so I began to take heart again, and the rest too, and so made shift to slumber a little. Above Woolwich we lost our way, and went back to Blackwall, and up and down, being guided by nothing but the barking of a dog, which we had observed in passing by Blackwall, and so, [Continued tomorrow]
Diary of Samuel Pepys 12 July 1664. 12 Jul 1664. And so rose, called up by my Lord Peterborough's (42) gentleman about getting his Lord's money to-day of Mr. Povy (50), wherein I took such order, that it was paid, and I had my £50 brought me, which comforts my heart. We sat at the office all the morning, then at home. Dined alone; sad for want of company and not being very well, and know not how to eat alone.
After dinner down with Sir G. Carteret (54), Sir J. Minnes (65), and Sir W. Batten (63) to view, and did like a place by Deptford yard to lay masts in.
By and by comes Mr. Coventry (36), and after a little stay he and I down to Blackwall, he having a mind to see the yarde, which we did, and fine storehouses there are and good docks, but of no great profit to him that oweth them for ought we see1.
So home by water with him, having good discourse by the way, and so I to the office a while, and late home to supper and to bed.
1. For "owneth". This sense is very common in Shakespeare. In the original edition of the authorized version of the Bible we read: "So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle" (Acts xxi. I i) Nares's Glossary.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 14 September 1664. 14 Sep 1664. Up, and wanting some things that should be laid ready for my dressing myself I was angry, and one thing after another made my wife give Besse warning to be gone, which the jade, whether out of fear or ill-nature or simplicity I know not, but she took it and asked leave to go forth to look a place, and did, which vexed me to the heart, she being as good a natured wench as ever we shall have, but only forgetful.
At the office all the morning and at noon to the 'Change, and there went off with Sir W. Warren and took occasion to desire him to lend me £100, which he said he would let the have with all his heart presently, as he had promised me a little while ago to give me for my pains in his two great contracts for masts £100, and that this should be it. To which end I did move it to him, and by this means I hope to be, possessed of the £100 presently within 2 or 3 days.
So home to dinner, and then to the office, and down to Blackwall by water to view a place found out for laying of masts, and I think it will be most proper.
So home and there find Mr. Pen (19) come to visit my wife, and staid with them till sent for to Mr. Bland's, whither by appointment I was to go to supper, and against my will left them together, but, God knows, without any reason of fear in my conscience of any evil between them, but such is my natural folly. Being thither come they would needs have my wife, and so Mr. Bland and his wife (the first time she was ever at my house or my wife at hers) very civilly went forth and brought her and W. Pen, and there Mr. Povy (50) and we supped nobly and very merry, it being to take leave of Mr. Bland, who is upon going soon to Tangier. So late home and to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 05 May 1665. 05 May 1665. Up betimes, and by water to Westminster, there to speak the first time with Sir Robert Long (65), to give him my Privy Seal and my Lord Treasurer's (58) order for Tangier Tallys; he received me kindly enough.
Thence home by water, and presently down to Woolwich and back to Blackewall, and there, viewed the Breach, in order to a Mast Docke, and so to Deptford to the Globe, where my Lord Brunkard (45), Sir J. Minnes (66), Sir W. Batten (64), and Commissioner Pett (54) were at dinner, having been at the Breach also, but they find it will be too great charge to make use of it.
After dinner to Mr. Evelyn's (44); he being abroad, we walked in his garden, and a lovely noble ground he hath indeed. And among other rarities, a hive of bees, so as being hived in glass, you may see the bees making their honey and combs mighty pleasantly.
Thence home, and I by and by to Mr. Povy's (51) to see him, who is yet in his chamber not well, and thence by his advice to one Lovett's, a varnisher, to see his manner of new varnish, but found not him at home, but his wife, a very beautiful woman, who shewed me much variety of admirable work, and is in order to my having of some papers fitted with his lines for my use for tables and the like. I know not whether I was more pleased with the thing, or that I was shewed it by her, but resolved I am to have some made.
So home to my office late, and then to supper and to bed. My wife tells me that she hears that my poor aunt James hath had her breast cut off here in town, her breast having long been out of order. This day, after I had suffered my owne hayre to grow long, in order to wearing it, I find the convenience of periwiggs is so great, that I have cut off all short again, and will keep to periwiggs.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 04 August 1665. 04 Aug 1665. Up at five o'clock, and by six walked out alone, with my Lady Slanning, to the Docke Yard, where walked up and down, and so to Mr. Pett's (54), who led us into his garden, and there the lady, the best humoured woman in the world, and a devout woman (I having spied her on her knees half an houre this morning in her chamber), clambered up to the top of the banquetting-house to gather nuts, and mighty merry, and so walked back again through the new rope house, which is very usefull; and so to the Hill-house to breakfast and mighty merry.
Then they took coach, and Sir G. Carteret (55) kissed me himself heartily, and my Lady several times, with great kindnesse, and then the young ladies, and so with much joy, bade "God be with you!" and an end I think it will be to my mirthe for a great while, it having been the passage of my whole life the most pleasing for the time, considering the quality and nature of the business, and my noble usage in the doing of it, and very many fine journys, entertainments and great company. I returned into the house for a while to do business there with Commissioner Pett (54), and there with the officers of the Chest, where I saw more of Sir W. Batten's (64) business than ever I did before, for whereas he did own once under his hand to them that he was accountable for £2200, of which he had yet paid but £1600, he writes them a letter lately that he hath but about £50 left that is due to the Chest, but I will do something in it and that speedily.
That being done I took horse, and Mr. Barrow with me bore me company to Gravesend, discoursing of his business, wherein I vexed him, and he me, I seeing his frowardness, but yet that he is in my conscience a very honest man, and some good things he told me, which I shall remember to the King's advantage.
There I took boat alone, and, the tide being against me, landed at Blackwall and walked to Wapping, Captain Bowd whom I met with talking with me all the way, who is a sober man.
So home, and found all things well, and letters from Dover that my Lord Hinchingbrooke (17) is arrived at Dover, and would be at Scott's hall this night, where the whole company will meet. I wish myself with them.
After writing a few letters I took boat and down to Woolwich very late, and there found my wife and her woman upon the key hearing a fellow in a barge, that lay by, fiddle. So I to them and in, very merry, and to bed, I sleepy and weary.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 11 August 1665. 11 Aug 1665. Up, and all day long finishing and writing over my will twice, for my father and my wife, only in the morning a pleasant rencontre happened in having a young married woman brought me by her father, old Delkes, that carries pins always in his mouth, to get her husband off that he should not go to sea, 'une contre pouvait avoir done any cose cum else, but I did nothing, si ni baisser her1'. After they were gone my mind run upon having them called back again, and I sent a messenger to Blackwall, but he failed. So I lost my expectation.
I to the Exchequer, about striking new tallys, and I find the Exchequer, by proclamation, removing to Nonesuch2. Back again and at my papers, and putting up my books into chests, and settling my house and all things in the best and speediest order I can, lest it should please God to take me away, or force me to leave my house. Late up at it, and weary and full of wind, finding perfectly that so long as I keepe myself in company at meals and do there eat lustily (which I cannot do alone, having no love to eating, but my mind runs upon my business), I am as well as can be, but when I come to be alone, I do not eat in time, nor enough, nor with any good heart, and I immediately begin to be full of wind, which brings my pain, till I come to fill my belly a-days again, then am presently well.
1. I would have been able to have done the thing with her but I did nothing except kiss her.
2. Nonsuch Palace, near Epsom, where the Exchequer money was kept during the time of the plague.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 22 September 1665. 22 Sep 1665. Up betimes and to the office, meaning to have entered my last 5 or 6 days' Journall, but was called away by my Lord Bruncker (45) and Sir J. Minnes (66), and to Blackwall, there to look after the storehouses in order to the laying of goods out of the East India ships when they shall be unloaden.
That being done, we into Johnson's house, and were much made of, eating and drinking. But here it is observable what he tells us, that in digging his late Docke, he did 12 foot under ground find perfect trees over-covered with earth. Nut trees, with the branches and the very nuts upon them; some of whose nuts he showed us. Their shells black with age, and their kernell, upon opening, decayed, but their shell perfectly hard as ever. And a yew tree he showed us (upon which, he says, the very ivy was taken up whole about it), which upon cutting with an addes [adze], we found to be rather harder than the living tree usually is. They say, very much, but I do not know how hard a yew tree naturally is1. The armes, they say, were taken up at first whole, about the body, which is very strange.
Thence away by water, and I walked with my Lord Bruncker (45) home, and there at dinner comes a letter from my Lord Sandwich (40) to tell me that he would this day be at Woolwich, and desired me to meet him. Which fearing might have lain in Sir J. Minnes' (66) pocket a while, he sending it me, did give my Lord Bruncker (45), his mistress, and I occasion to talk of him as the most unfit man for business in the world.
Though at last afterwards I found that he was not in this faulty, but hereby I have got a clear evidence of my Lord Bruncker's (45) opinion of him. My Lord Bruncker (45) presently ordered his coach to be ready and we to Woolwich, and my Lord Sandwich (40) not being come, we took a boat and about a mile off met him in his Catch, and boarded him, and come up with him; and, after making a little halt at my house, which I ordered, to have my wife see him, we all together by coach to Mr. Boreman's, where Sir J. Minnes (66) did receive him very handsomely, and there he is to lie; and Sir J. Minnes (66) did give him on the sudden, a very handsome supper and brave discourse, my Lord Bruncker (45), and Captain Cocke (48), and Captain Herbert being there, with myself. Here my Lord did witness great respect to me, and very kind expressions, and by other occasions, from one thing to another did take notice how I was overjoyed at first to see the King's letter to his Lordship, and told them how I did kiss it, and that, whatever he was, I did always love the King (35). This my Lord Bruncker (45) did take such notice [of] as that he could not forbear kissing me before my Lord, professing his finding occasion every day more and more to love me, and Captain Cocke (48) has since of himself taken notice of that speech of my Lord then concerning me, and may be of good use to me.
Among other discourse concerning long life, Sir J. Minnes (66) saying that his great-grandfather was alive in Edward the Vth's time; my Lord Sandwich (40) did tell us how few there have been of his family since King Harry the VIIIth; that is to say, the then Chiefe Justice, and his son the Lord Montagu, who was father to Sir Sidney (84)2, who was his father. And yet, what is more wonderfull, he did assure us from the mouth of my Lord Montagu (40) himself, that in King James's time ([when he] had a mind to get the King (35) to cut off the entayle of some land which was given in Harry the VIIIth's time to the family, with the remainder in the Crowne); he did answer the King (35) in showing how unlikely it was that ever it could revert to the Crown, but that it would be a present convenience to him; and did show that at that time there were 4,000 persons derived from the very body of the Chiefe Justice. It seems the number of daughters in the family having been very great, and they too had most of them many children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. This he tells as a most known and certain truth.
After supper, my Lord Bruncker (45) took his leave, and I also did mine, taking Captain Herbert home to my lodging to lie with me, who did mighty seriously inquire after who was that in the black dress with my wife yesterday, and would not believe that it was my wife's mayde, Mercer, but it was she.
1. The same discovery was made in 1789, in digging the Brunswick Dock, also at Blackwall, and elsewhere in the neighbourhood.
2. These are the words in the MS., and not "his son and the Lord Montagu", as in some former editions. Pepys seems to have written Lord Montagu by mistake for Sir Edward Montagu.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 18 May 1666. 18 May 1666. Up by 5 o'clock, and so down by water to Deptford and Blackewall to dispatch some business. So walked to Dickeshoare, and there took boat again and home, and thence to Westminster, and attended all the morning on the Exchequer for a quarter's tallys for Tangier. But, Lord! to see what a dull, heavy sort of people they are there would make a man mad.
At noon had them and carried them home, and there dined with great content with my people, and within and at the office all the afternoon and night, and so home to settle some papers there, and so to bed, being not very well, having eaten too much lobster at noon at dinner with Mr. Hollyard (57), he coming in and commending it so much.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 31 May 1666. 31 May 1666. Waked very betimes in the morning by extraordinary thunder and rain, which did keep me sleeping and waking till very late, and it being a holiday and my eye very sore, and myself having had very little sleep for a good while till nine o'clock, and so up, and so saw all my family up, and my father and sister, who is a pretty good-bodied woman, and not over thicke, as I thought she would have been, but full of freckles, and not handsome in face.
And so I out by water among the ships, and to Deptford and Blackewall about business, and so home and to dinner with my father and sister and family, mighty pleasant all of us; and, among other things, with a sparrow that our Mercer hath brought up now for three weeks, which is so tame that it flies up and down, and upon the table, and eats and pecks, and do everything so pleasantly, that we are mightily pleased with it.
After dinner I to my papers and accounts of this month to sett all straight, it being a publique Fast-day appointed to pray for the good successe of the fleete. But it is a pretty thing to consider how little a matter they make of this keeping of a Fast, that it was not so much as declared time enough to be read in the churches the last Sunday; but ordered by proclamation since: I suppose upon some sudden newes of the Dutch being come out. To my accounts and settled them clear; but to my grief find myself poorer than I was the last by near £20, by reason of my being forced to return £50 to Downing, the smith, which he had presented me with. However, I am well contented, finding myself yet to be worth £5,200. Having done, to supper with my wife, and then to finish the writing fair of my accounts, and so to bed. This day come to town Mr.
Homewood, and I took him home in the evening to my chamber, and discoursed with him about my business of the Victualling, which I have a mind to employ him in, and he is desirous of also, but do very ingenuously declare he understands it not so well as other things, and desires to be informed in the nature of it before he attempts it, which I like well, and so I carried him to Mr. Gibson to discourse with him about it, and so home again to my accounts. Thus ends this month, with my mind oppressed by my defect in my duty of the Victualling, which lies upon me as a burden, till I get myself into a better posture therein, and hinders me and casts down my courage in every thing else that belongs to me, and the jealousy I have of Sir W. Coventry's (38) being displeased with me about it; but I hope in a little time to remedy all. As to publique business; by late tidings of the French fleete being come to Rochelle (how true, though, I know not) our fleete is divided; Prince Rupert (46) being gone with about thirty ships to the Westward as is conceived to meet the French, to hinder their coming to join with the Dutch. My Lord Duke of Albemarle (57) lies in the Downes with the rest, and intends presently to sail to the Gunfleete.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 02 June 1666. 02 Jun 1666. Up, and to the office, where certain newes is brought us of a letter come to the King (36) this morning from the Duke of Albemarle (57), dated yesterday at eleven o'clock, as they were sailing to the Gunfleete, that they were in sight of the Dutch fleete, and were fitting themselves to fight them; so that they are, ere this, certainly engaged; besides, several do averr they heard the guns all yesterday in the afternoon. This put us at the Board into a tosse. Presently come orders for our sending away to the fleete a recruite of 200 soldiers. So I rose from the table, and to the Victualling Office, and thence upon the River among several vessels, to consider of the sending them away; and lastly, down to Greenwich, and there appointed two yachts to be ready for them; and did order the soldiers to march to Blackewall. Having set all things in order against the next flood, I went on shore with Captain Erwin at Greenwich, and into the Parke, and there we could hear the guns from the fleete most plainly.
Thence he and I to the King's Head and there bespoke a dish of steaks for our dinner about four o'clock. While that was doing, we walked to the water-side, and there seeing the King (36) and Duke (32) come down in their barge to Greenwich-house, I to them, and did give them an account [of] what I was doing. They went up to the Parke to hear the guns of the fleete go off. All our hopes now are that Prince Rupert (46) with his fleete is coming back and will be with the fleete this even: a message being sent to him to that purpose on Wednesday last; and a return is come from him this morning, that he did intend to sail from St. Ellen's point about four in the afternoon on Wednesday [Friday], which was yesterday; which gives us great hopes, the wind being very fair, that he is with them this even, and the fresh going off of the guns makes us believe the same.
After dinner, having nothing else to do till flood, I went and saw Mrs. Daniel, to whom I did not tell that the fleets were engaged, because of her husband, who is in the R. Charles. Very pleasant with her half an hour, and so away and down to Blackewall, and there saw the soldiers (who were by this time gotten most of them drunk) shipped off. But, Lord! to see how the poor fellows kissed their wives and sweethearts in that simple manner at their going off, and shouted, and let off their guns, was strange sport.
In the evening come up the River the Katharine yacht, Captain Fazeby, who hath brought over my Lord of Alesbury (40) and Sir Thomas Liddall (with a very pretty daughter (7), and in a pretty travelling-dress) from Flanders, who saw the Dutch fleete on Thursday, and ran from them; but from that houre to this hath not heard one gun, nor any newes of any fight. Having put the soldiers on board, I home and wrote what I had to write by the post, and so home to supper and to bed, it being late.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 27 February 1667. 27 Feb 1667. Up by candle-light, about six o'clock, it being bitter cold weather again, after all our warm weather, and by water down to Woolwich Rope-yard, I being this day at a leisure, the King (36) and Duke of York (33) being gone down to Sheerenesse this morning to lay out the design for a fortification there to the river Medway; and so we do not attend the Duke of York (33) as we should otherwise have done, and there to the Dock Yard to enquire of the state of things, and went into Mr. Pett's (56); and there, beyond expectation, he did present me with a Japan cane, with a silver head, and his wife sent me by him a ring, with a Woolwich stone1 now much in request; which I accepted, the values not being great, and knowing that I had done them courtesies, which he did own in very high terms; and then, at my asking, did give me an old draught of an ancient-built ship, given him by his father, of the Beare, in Queen Elizabeth's time. This did much please me, it being a thing I much desired to have, to shew the difference in the build of ships now and heretofore.
Being much taken with this kindness, I away to Blackwall and Deptford, to satisfy myself there about the King's business, and then walked to Redriffe, and so home about noon; there find Mr. Hunt, newly come out of the country, who tells me the country is much impoverished by the greatness of taxes: the farmers do break every day almost, and £1000 a-year become not worth £500. He dined with us, and we had good discourse of the general ill state of things, and, by the way, he told me some ridiculous pieces of thrift of Sir G. Downing's (42), who is his countryman, in inviting some poor people, at Christmas last, to charm the country people's mouths; but did give them nothing but beef, porridge, pudding, and pork, and nothing said all dinner, but only his mother would say, "It's good broth, son". He would answer, "Yes, it is good broth". Then, says his lady, Confirm all, and say, "Yes, very good broth". By and by she would begin and say, "Good pork:"—"Yes", says the mother, "good pork". Then he cries, "Yes, very good pork". And so they said of all things; to which nobody made any answer, they going there not out of love or esteem of them, but to eat his victuals, knowing him to be a niggardly fellow; and with this he is jeered now all over the country.
This day just before dinner comes Captain Story, of Cambridge, to me to the office, about a bill for prest money2, for men sent out of the country and the countries about him to the fleete the last year; but, Lord! to see the natures of men; how this man, hearing of my name, did ask me of my country, and told me of my cozen Roger (49), that he was not so wise a man as his father (84); for that he do not agree in Parliament with his fellow burgesses and knights of the shire, whereas I know very well the reason; for he is not so high a flyer as Mr. Chichley (52) and others, but loves the King (36) better than any of them, and to better purpose. But yet, he says that he is a very honest gentleman, and thence runs into a hundred stories of his own services to the King (36), and how he at this day brings in the taxes before anybody here thinks they are collected: discourse very absurd to entertain a stranger with. He being gone, and I glad of it, I home then to dinner.
After dinner with my wife by coach abroad, and set Mr. Hunt down at the Temple and her at her brother's (27), and I to White Hall to meet Sir W. Coventry (39), but found him not, but met Mr. Cooling, who tells me of my Lord Duke of Buckingham's (39) being sent for last night, by a Serjeant at Armes, to the Tower, for treasonable practices, and that the King (36) is infinitely angry with him, and declared him no longer one of his Council. I know not the reason of it, or occasion.
To Westminster Hall, and there paid what I owed for books, and so by coach, took up my wife to the Exchange, and there bought things for Mrs. Pierce's little daughter, my Valentine, and so to their house, where we find Knipp, who also challengeth me for her Valentine. She looks well, sang well, and very merry we were for half an hour. Tells me Harris (33) is well again, having been very ill, and so we home, and I to the office; then, at night, to Sir W. Pen's (45), and sat with my Lady, and the young couple (Sir William out of town) talking merrily; but they make a very sorry couple, methinks, though rich. So late home and to bed.
1. Woolwich stones, still collected in that locality, are simply waterworn pebbles of flint, which, when broken with a hammer, exhibit on the smooth surface some resemblance to the human face; and their possessors are thus enabled to trace likenesses of friends, or eminent public characters. The late Mr. Tennant, the geologist, of the Strand, had a collection of such stones. In the British Museum is a nodule of globular or Egyptian jasper, which, in its fracture, bears a striking resemblance to the well-known portrait of Chaucer. It is engraved in Rymsdyk's "Museum Britannicum", tab. xxviii. A flint, showing Mr. Pitt's face, used once to be exhibited at the meetings of the Pitt Club. B.
2. Money paid to men who enlist into the public service; press money. So called because those who receive it are to be prest or ready when called on ("Encyclopaedic Dictionary ").
Diary of Samuel Pepys 22 March 1667. 22 Mar 1667. Up and by coach to Sir Ph. Warwicke (57) about business for Tangier about money, and then to Sir Stephen Fox (39) to give him account of a little service I have done him about money coming to him from our office, and then to Lovett's and saw a few baubling things of their doing which are very pretty, but the quality of the people, living only by shifts, do not please me, that it makes me I do no more care for them, nor shall have more acquaintance with them after I have got my Baroness Castlemayne's (26) picture home.
So to White Hall, where the King (36) at Chapel, and I would not stay, but to Westminster to Howlett's, and there, he being not well, I sent for a quart of claret and burnt it and drank, and had a 'basado' or three or four of Sarah, whom 'je trouve ici', and so by coach to Sir Robt. Viner's (36) about my accounts with him, and so to the 'Change, where I hear for certain that we are going on with our treaty of peace, and that we are to treat at Bredah. But this our condescension people do think will undo us, and I do much fear it.
So home to dinner, where my wife having dressed herself in a silly dress of a blue petticoat uppermost, and a white satin waistcoat and whitehood, though I think she did it because her gown is gone to the tailor's, did, together with my being hungry, which always makes me peevish, make me angry, but when my belly was full were friends again, and dined and then by water down to Greenwich and thence walked to Woolwich, all the way reading Playford's (44) "Introduction to Musique", wherein are some things very pretty.
At Woolwich I did much business, taking an account of the state of the ships there under hand, thence to Blackwall, and did the like for two ships we have repairing there, and then to Deptford and did the like there, and so home. Captain Perriman with me from Deptford, telling me many particulars how the King's business is ill ordered, and indeed so they are, God knows!
So home and to the office, where did business, and so home to my chamber, and then to supper and to bed. Landing at the Tower to-night I met on Tower Hill with Captain Cocke (50) and spent half an hour walking in the dusk of the evening with him, talking of the sorrowful condition we are in, that we must be ruined if the Parliament do not come and chastize us, that we are resolved to make a peace whatever it cost, that the King (36) is disobliging the Parliament in this interval all that may be, yet his money is gone and he must have more, and they likely not to give it, without a great deal of do. God knows what the issue of it will be. But the considering that the Duke of York (33), instead of being at sea as Admirall, is now going from port to port, as he is at this day at Harwich, and was the other day with the King (36) at Sheernesse, and hath ordered at Portsmouth how fortifications shall be made to oppose the enemy, in case of invasion, [which] is to us a sad consideration, and as shameful to the nation, especially after so many proud vaunts as we have made against the Dutch, and all from the folly of the Duke of Albemarle (58), who made nothing of beating them, and Sir John Lawson (52) he always declared that we never did fail to beat them with lesser numbers than theirs, which did so prevail with the King (36) as to throw us into this war.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 28 March 1667. 28 Mar 1667. My tailor come to me betimes this morning, and having given him directions, I to the office and there all the morning.
At noon dined well. Balty (27), who is mighty thoughtful how to dispose of his wife, and would fain have me provide a place for her, which the thoughts of what I should do with her if he should miscarry at sea makes me avoid the offering him that she should be at my house. I find he is plainly jealous of her being in any place where she may have ill company, and I do pity him for it, and would be glad to help him, and will if I can.
Having dined, I down by water with Sir W. Batten (66), Sir W. Pen (45), and Sir R. Ford (53) to our prize, part of whose goods were condemned yesterday—"The Lindeboome"—and there we did drink some of her wine, very good. But it did grate my heart to see the poor master come on board, and look about into every corner, and find fault that she was not so clean as she used to be, though methought she was very clean; and to see his new masters come in, that had nothing to do with her, did trouble me to see him.
Thence to Blackwall and there to Mr. Johnson's (44), to see how some works upon some of our repaired ships go on, and at his house eat and drank and mighty extraordinary merry (too merry for me whose mother died so lately, but they know it not, so cannot reproach me therein, though I reproach myself), and in going home had many good stories of Sir W. Batten (66) and one of Sir W. Pen (45), the most tedious and silly and troublesome (he forcing us to hear him) that ever I heard in my life.
So to the office awhile, troubled with Sir W. Pen's (45) impertinences, he being half foxed at Johnson's, and so to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 14 June 1667. 14 Jun 1667. 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 (33) 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 (52), 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 them1, 2 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 (66) 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 (47), or Peter Pett (56), or J. Minnes (68), 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 (37) 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. Gauden 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 Chancellor's (58), 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 (57)"3.
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 (42) 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 (58) 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 (25) 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 (37), 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 (36) 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 Chancellor's (58) house, as is said, nor hears of the Duke of Albemarle's (58) 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 (39): but he agrees with me, that he is the best Minister of State the King (37) hath, and so from my heart I believe.
At night come home Sir W. Batten (66) and W. Pen (46), 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 (53) 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 (46) tells me, all crying out for money; and it was so at Chatham, that this night comes an order from Sir W. Coventry (39) to stop the pay of the wages of that Yard; the Duke of Albemarle (58) 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 (47) and Peter Pett (56), 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 (58) did tell my Lord Bruncker (47) 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 (47). But in that he is to be justified, for he did it by verbal order from Sir W. Coventry (39), and with good intent; and it was to good purpose, whatever the success be, for the men would have but spent the King (37) so much the more in wages, and yet not attended on board to have done the King (37) 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 (37) 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 (25), 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 (66) 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 to-day 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.
2. 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.
3. "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.
John Evelyn's Diary 09 October 1676. 09 Oct 1676. I went with Mrs. Godolphin (24) and my wife (41) to Blackwall, to see some Indian curiosities; the streets being slippery, I fell against a piece of timber with such violence that I could not speak nor fetch my breath for some space; being carried into a house and let blood, I was removed to the water-side and so home, where, after a day's rest, I recovered. This being one of my greatest deliverances, the Lord Jesus make me ever mindful and thankful!
John Evelyn's Diary 31 October 1676. 31 Oct 1676. Being my birthday, and fifty-six years old, I spent the morning in devotion and imploring God's protection, with solemn thanksgiving for all his signal mercies to me, especially for that escape which concerned me this month at Blackwall. Dined with Mrs. Godolphin (24), and returned home through a prodigious and dangerous mist.