John Evelyn's Diary 1683
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 January
23 Jan 1683. Sir Francis North (45), son to the Lord North, and Lord Chief Justice, being made Lord Keeper on the death of the Earl of Nottingham, the Lord Chancellor, I went to congratulate him. He is a most knowing, learned, and ingenious man, and, besides being an excellent person, of an ingenious and sweet disposition, very skillful in music, painting, the new philosophy, and politer studies.
29 Jan 1683. Supped at Sir Joseph Williamson's (49), where was a select company of our Society, Sir William Petty (59), Dr. Gale (48) (that learned schoolmaster of St. Paul's), Dr. Whistler, Mr. Hill, etc. The conversation was philosophical and cheerful, on divers considerable questions proposed; as of the hereditary succession of the Roman Emperors; the Pica mentioned in the preface to our Common Prayer, which signifies only the Greek Kalendarium. These were mixed with lighter subjects.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 February
02 Feb 1683. I made my court at St. James's, when I saw the sea charts of Captain Collins (40), which that industrious man now brought to show the Duke (49), having taken all the coasting from the mouth of the Thames, as far as Wales, and exactly measuring every creek, island, rock, soundings, harbors, sands, and tides, intending next spring to proceed till he had finished the whole island, and that measured by chains and other instruments: a most exact and useful undertaking. He affirmed, that of all the maps put out since, there are none extant so true as those of Joseph Norden, who gave us the first in Queen Elizabeth's time; all since him are erroneous.
12 Feb 1683. This morning I received the news of the death of my father-in-law, Sir Richard Browne (78), Knt. and Bart., who died at my house at Sayes Court this day at ten in the morning, after he had labored under the gout and dropsy for nearly six months, in the 78th year of his age. The funeral was solemnized on the 19th at Deptford, with as much decency as the dignity of the person, and our relation to him, required; there being invited the Bishop of Rochester (58), several noblemen, knights, and all the fraternity of the Trinity House, of which he had been Master, and others of the country. The vicar preached a short but proper discourse on Psalm xxxix. 10, on the frailty of our mortal condition, concluding with an ample and well-deserved eulogy on the defunct, relating to his honorable birth and ancestors, education, learning in Greek and Latin, modern languages, travels, public employments, signal loyalty, character abroad, and particularly the honor of supporting the Church of England in its public worship during its persecution by the late rebels' usurpation and regicide, by the suffrages of divers Bishops, Doctors of the Church, and others, who found such an asylum in his house and family at Paris, that in their disputes with the Papists (then triumphing over it as utterly lost) they used to argue for its visibility and existence from Sir R. Browne's chapel and assembly there. Then he spoke of his great and loyal sufferings during thirteen years' exile with his present Majesty (52), his return with him in the signal year 1660; his honorable employment at home, his timely Recess to recollect himself, his great age, infirmities, and death.
He gave to the Trinity Corporation that land in Deptford on which are built those almshouses for twenty-four widows of emerited seamen. He was born the famous year of the Gunpowder Treason, in 1605, and being the last [male] of his family, left my wife (48), his only daughter, heir. His grandfather, Sir Richard Browne, was the great instrument under the great Earl of Leicester (favorite to Queen Elizabeth) in his government of the Netherland. He was Master of the Household to King James, and Cofferer; I think was the first who regulated the compositions through England for the King (52)'s household, provisions, progresses,49 etc., which was so high a service, and so grateful to the whole nation, that he had acknowledgments and public thanks sent him from all the counties; he died by the rupture of a vein in a vehement speech he made about the compositions in a Parliament of King James. By his mother's side he was a Gunson, Treasurer of the Navy in the reigns of Henry VIII., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, and, as by his large pedigree appears, related to divers of the English nobility. Thus ended this honorable person, after so many changes and tossings to and fro, in the same house where he was born. "Lord teach us so to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom!"
By a special clause in his will, he ordered that his body should be buried in the churchyard under the southeast window of the chancel, adjoining to the burying places of his ancestors, since they came out of Essex into Sayes Court, he being much offended at the novel custom of burying everyone within the body of the church and chancel; that being a favor heretofore granted to martyrs and great persons; this excess of making churches charnel houses being of ill and irreverend example, and prejudicial to the health of the living, besides the continual disturbance of the pavement and seats, and several other indecencies. Dr. Hall, the pious Bishop of Norwich, would also be so interred, as may be read in his testament.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 March
16 Mar 1683. I went to see Sir Josiah Child's (52) prodigious cost in planting walnut trees about his seat, and making fish ponds, many miles in circuit, in Epping Forest, in a barren spot, as oftentimes these suddenly monied men for the most part seat themselves. He from a merchant's apprentice, and management of the East India Company's stock, being arrived to an estate (it is said) of £200,000; and lately married his daughter (17) to the eldest son (22) of the Duke of Beaufort, late Marquis of Worcester, with £50,000 portional present, and various expectations.
I dined at Mr. Houblon's (53), a rich and gentle French merchant, who was building a house in the Forest, near Sir J. Child's (52), in a place where the late Earl of Norwich dwelt some time, and which came from his lady, the widow of Mr. Baker. It will be a pretty villa, about five miles from Whitechapel.
18 Mar 1683. I went to hear Dr. Horneck (42) preach at the Savoy Church, on Phil. ii. 5. He was a German born, a most pathetic preacher, a person of a saint-like life, and hath written an excellent treatise on Consideration.
20 Mar 1683. Dined at Dr. Whistler's, at the Physicians' College, with Sir Thomas Millington, both learned men; Dr. W. the most facetious man in nature, and now Censor of the college. I was here consulted where they should build their library; it is a pity this college is built so near Newgate Prison, and in so obscure a hole, a fault in placing most of our public buildings and churches in the city, through the avarice of some few men, and his Majesty (52) not overruling it, when it was in his power after the dreadful conflagration.
21 Mar 1683. Dr. Tenison (46) preached at Whitehall on 1 Cor. vi. 12; I esteem him to be one of the most profitable preachers in the Church of England, being also of a most holy conversation, very learned and ingenious. The pains he takes and care of his parish will, I fear, wear him out, which would be an inexpressible loss.
24 Mar 1683. I went to hear Dr. Charleton's lecture on the heart in the Anatomy Theater at the Physicians' College.
30 Mar 1683. To London, in order to my passing the following week, for the celebration of the Easter now approaching, there being in the Holy Week so many eminent preachers officiating at the Court and other places.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 April
17 Apr 1683. I was at the launching of the last of the thirty ships ordered to be newly built by Act of Parliament, named the "Neptune," a second rate, one of the goodliest vessels of the whole navy, built by my kind neighbor, young Mr. Shish, his Majesty's (52) master shipwright of this dock.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 May
01 May 1683. I went to Blackheath, to see the new fair, being the first procured by the Lord Dartmouth (36). This was the first day, pretended for the sale of cattle, but I think in truth to enrich the new tavern at the bowling-green, erected by Snape (39), his Majesty's (52) farrier, a man full of projects. There appeared nothing but an innumerable assembly of drinking people from London, peddlars, etc., and I suppose it too near London to be of any great use to the country.
March was unusually hot and dry, and all April excessively wet.
I planted all the out limits of the garden and long walks with holly.
09 May 1683. Dined at Sir Gabriel Sylvius's and thence to visit the Duke of Norfolk (54), to ask whether he would part with any of his cartoons and other drawings of Raphael, and the great masters; he told me if he might sell them all together he would, but that the late Sir Peter Lely (our famous painter) had gotten some of his best. The person who desired me to treat for them was Vander Douse, grandson to that great scholar, contemporary and friend of Joseph Scaliger.
16 May 1683. Came to dinner and visited me Sir Richard Anderson (48), of Pendley, and his lady (50), with whom I went to London.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 June
08 Jun 1683. On my return home from the Royal Society, I found Mr. Wilbraham, a young gentleman of Cheshire.
11 Jun 1683. The Lord Dartmouth (10) was elected Master of the Trinity House; son to George Legge (36), late Master of the Ordnance, and one of the grooms of the bedchamber; a great favorite of the Duke's (49), an active and understanding gentleman in sea affairs.
13 Jun 1683. To our Society, where we received the Count de Zinzendorp, Ambassador from the Duke of Saxony, a fine young man; we showed him divers experiments on the magnet, on which subject the Society were upon.
16 Jun 1683. I went to Windsor, dining by the way at Chiswick, at Sir Stephen Fox's (56), where I found Sir Robert Howard (that universal pretender), and Signor Verrio (47), who brought his draught and designs for the painting of the staircase of Sir Stephen's (56) new house.
That which was new at Windsor since I was last there, and was surprising to me, was the incomparable fresco painting in St. George's Hall, representing the legend of St. George, and triumph of the Black Prince, and his reception by Edward III.; the volto, or roof, not totally finished; then the Resurrection in the Chapel, where the figure of the Ascension is, in my opinion, comparable to any paintings of the most famous Roman masters; the Last Supper, also over the altar. I liked the contrivance of the unseen organ behind the altar, nor less the stupendous and beyond all description the incomparable carving of our Gibbons (35), who is, without controversy, the greatest master both for invention and rareness of work, that the world ever had in any age; nor doubt I at all that he will prove as great a master in the statuary art.
Verrio's invention is admirable, his ordnance full and flowing, antique and heroical; his figures move; and, if the walls hold (which is the only doubt by reason of the salts which in time and in this moist climate prejudice), the work will preserve his name to ages.
There was now the terrace brought almost round the old castle; the grass made clean, even, and curiously turfed; the avenues to the new park, and other walks, planted with elms and limes, and a pretty canal, and receptacle for fowl; nor less observable and famous is the throwing so huge a quantity of excellent water to the enormous height of the castle, for the use of the whole house, by an extraordinary invention of Sir Samuel Morland (58).
17 Jun 1683. I dined at the Earl of Sunderland's (41) with the Earls of Bath (54), Castlehaven (66), Lords Viscount Falconberg (56), Falkland (27), Bishop of London (27), the Grand Master of Malta, brother to the Duke de Vendôme (a young wild spark), and Mr. Dryden (51), the poet. After evening prayer, I walked in the park with my Lord Clarendon, where we fell into discourse of the Bishop of Salisbury (Dr. Seth Ward) (66), his subtlety, etc. Dr. Durell, late Dean of Windsor, being dead, Dr. Turner, one of the Duke's chaplains was made dean.
I visited my Lady Arlington (49), groom of the stole to her Majesty (44), who being hardly set down to supper, word was brought her that the Queen (44) was going into the park to walk, it being now near eleven at night; the alarm caused the Countess (49) to rise in all haste, and leave her supper to us.
By this one may take an estimate of the extreme slavery and subjection that courtiers live in, who had not time to eat and drink at their pleasure. It put me in mind of Horace's "Mouse," and to bless God for my own private condition.
Here was Monsieur de l'Angle, the famous minister of Charenton, lately fled from the persecution in France, concerning the deplorable condition of the Protestants there.
18 Jun 1683. I was present, and saw and heard the humble submission and petition of the Lord Mayor, sheriffs, and aldermen, on behalf of the city of London, on the quo warranto against their charter which they delivered to his Majesty (53) in the presence chamber. It was delivered kneeling, and then the King (53) and Council went into the council chamber, the mayor and his brethren attending still in the presence chamber. After a short space they were called in, and my Lord Keeper made a speech to them, exaggerating the disorderly and riotous behavior in the late election, and polling for Papillon and Du Bois after the Common hall had been formally dissolved: with other misdemeanors, libels on the government, etc., by which they had incurred his Majesty's (53) high displeasure: and that but for this submission, and under such articles as the King (53) should require their obedience to, he would certainly enter judgment against them, which hitherto he had suspended. The things required were as follows: that they should neither elect mayor, sheriffs, aldermen, recorder, common Serjeant town clerk, coroner, nor steward of Southwark, without his Majesty's (53) approbation; and that if they presented any his Majesty (53) did not like, they should proceed in wonted manner to a second choice; if that was disapproved, his Majesty (53) to nominate them; and if within five days they thought good to assent to this, all former miscarriages should be forgotten. And so they tamely parted with their so ancient privileges after they had dined and been treated by the King (53). This was a signal and most remarkable period. What the consequences will prove, time will show. Divers of the old and most learned lawyers and judges were of opinion that they could not forfeit their charter, but might be personally punished for their misdemeanors; but the plurality of the younger judges and rising men judged it otherwise.
The Popish Plot also, which had hitherto made such a noise, began now sensibly to dwindle, through the folly, knavery, impudence, and giddiness of Oates (33), so as the Papists began to hold up their heads higher than ever, and those who had fled, flocked to London from abroad. Such sudden changes and eager doings there had been without anything steady or prudent, for these last seven years.
19 Jun 1683. I returned to town in a coach with the Earl of Clarendon, when passing by the glorious palace of his father, built but a few years before, which they were now demolishing, being sold to certain undertakers, I turned my head the contrary way till the coach had gone past it, lest I might minister occasion of speaking of it; which must needs have grieved him, that in so short a time their pomp was fallen.
28 Jun 1683. After the Popish Plot, there was now a new and (as they called it) a Protestant Plot discovered, that certain Lords and others should design the assassination of the King (53) and the Duke (49) as they were to come from Newmarket, with a general rising of the nation, and especially of the city of London, disaffected to the present Government. Upon which were committed to the Tower, the Lord Russell (43), eldest son of the Earl of Bedford (66), the Earl of Essex, Mr. Algernon Sidney (60), son to the old Earl of Leicester, Mr. Trenchard, Hampden, Lord Howard of Escrick, and others. A proclamation was issued against my Lord Grey, the Duke of Monmouth (34), Sir Thomas Armstrong, and one Ferguson, who had escaped beyond sea; of these some were said to be for killing the King (53), others for only seizing on him, and persuading him to new counsels, on the pretense of the danger of Popery, should the Duke live to succeed, who was now again admitted to the councils and cabinet secrets. The Lords Essex (60) and Russell (43) were much deplored, for believing they had any evil intention against the King (53), or the Church; some thought they were cunningly drawn in by their enemies for not approving some late counsels and management relating to France, to Popery, to the persecution of the Dissenters, etc. They were discovered by the Lord Howard of Escrick and some false brethren of the club, and the design happily broken; had it taken effect, it would, to all appearance, have exposed the Government to unknown and dangerous events; which God avert!
Was born my granddaughter at Sayes Court, and christened by the name of Martha Maria, our Vicar officiating. I pray God bless her, and may she choose the better part!.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 July
13 Jul 1683. As I was visiting Sir Thomas Yarborough and his Lady, in Covent Garden, the astonishing news was brought to us of the Earl of Essex (52) having cut his throat, having been but three days a prisoner in the Tower, and this happened on the very day and instant that Lord Russell (43) was on his trial, and had sentence of death [See Rye House Plot.]. This accident exceedingly amazed me, my Lord Essex (52) being so well known by me to be a person of such sober and religious deportment, so well at his ease, and so much obliged to the King (53). It is certain the King (53) and Duke (49) were at the Tower, and passed by his window about the same time this morning, when my Lord (52) asking for a razor, shut himself into a closet, and perpetrated the horrid act. Yet it was wondered by some how it was possible he should do it in the manner he was found, for the wound was so deep and wide, that being cut through the gullet, windpipe, and both the jugulars, it reached to the very vertebræ of the neck, so that the head held to it by a very little skin as it were; the gapping too of the razor, and cutting his own fingers, was a little strange; but more, that having passed the jugulars he should have strength to proceed so far, that an executioner could hardly have done more with an ax. There were odd reflections upon it.
The fatal news coming to Hicks's Hall upon the article of my Lord Russell's (43) trial, was said to have had no little influence on the Jury and all the Bench to his prejudice. Others said that he had himself on some occasions hinted that in case he should be in danger of having his life taken from him by any public misfortune, those who thirsted for his estate should miss of their aim; and that he should speak favorably of that Earl of Northumberland, and some others, who made away with themselves; but these are discourses so unlike his sober and prudent conversation that I have no inclination to credit them. What might instigate him to this devilish act, I am not able to conjecture. My Lord Clarendon, his brother-in-law, who was with him but the day before, assured me he was then very cheerful, and declared it to be the effect of his innocence and loyalty; and most believe that his Majesty (53) had no severe intentions against him, though he was altogether inexorable as to Lord Russell (43) and some of the rest. For my part, I believe the crafty and ambitious Earl of Shaftesbury had brought them into some dislike of the present carriage of matters at Court, not with any design of destroying the monarchy (which Shaftesbury had in confidence and for unanswerable reasons told me he would support to his last breath, as having seen and felt the misery of being under mechanic tyranny), but perhaps of setting up some other whom he might govern, and frame to his own platonic fancy, without much regard to the religion established under the hierarchy, for which he had no esteem; but when he perceived those whom he had engaged to rise, fail of his expectations, and the day past, reproaching his accomplices that a second day for an exploit of this nature was never successful, he gave them the slip, and got into Holland, where the fox died, three months before these unhappy Lords and others were discovered or suspected. Every one deplored Essex (52) and Russell (43), especially the last, as being thought to have been drawn in on pretense only of endeavoring to rescue the King (53) from his present councilors, and secure religion from Popery, and the nation from arbitrary government, now so much apprehended; while the rest of those who were fled, especially Ferguson and his gang, had doubtless some bloody design to get up a Commonwealth, and turn all things topsy-turvy. Of the same tragical principles is Sydney.
I had this day much discourse with Monsieur Pontaq, son to the famous and wise prime President of Bordeaux. This gentleman was owner of that excellent vignoble of Pontaq and O'Brien, from whence come the choicest of our Bordeaux wines; and I think I may truly say of him, what was not so truly said of St. Paul, that much learning had made him mad. He had studied well in philosophy, but chiefly the Rabbins, and was exceedingly addicted to cabalistical fancies, an eternal hablador [romancer], and half distracted by reading abundance of the extravagant Eastern Jews. He spoke all languages, was very rich, had a handsome person, and was well bred, about forty-five years of age.
14 Jul 1683. I visited Mr. Fraser, a learned Scotch gentleman, whom I had formerly recommended to Lord Berkeley (55) for the instruction and government of his son, since dead at sea. He had now been in Holland at the sale of the learned Heinsius's library, and showed me some very rare and curious books, and some MSS., which he had purchased to good value. There were three or four Herbals in miniature, accurately done, divers Roman antiquities of Verona, and very many books of Aldus's impression.
15 Jul 1683. A stranger, an old man, preached on Jerem. vi. 8, the not hearkening to instruction, portentous of desolation to a people; much after Bishop Andrew's method, full of logical divisions, in short and broken periods, and Latin sentences, now quite out of fashion in the pulpit, which is grown into a far more profitable way, of plain and practical discourses, of which sort this nation, or any other, never had greater plenty or more profitable (I am confident); so much has it to answer for thriving no better on it.
The public was now in great consternation on the late plot and conspiracy; his Majesty (53) very melancholy, and not stirring without double guards; all the avenues and private doors about Whitehall and the Park shut up, few admitted to walk in it. The Papists, in the meantime, very jocund; and indeed with reason, seeing their own plot brought to nothing, and turned to ridicule, and now a conspiracy of Protestants, as they called them.
The Turks were likewise in hostility against the German Emperor, almost masters of the Upper Hungary, and drawing toward Vienna. On the other side, the French King (who it is believed brought in the infidels) disturbing his Spanish and Dutch neighbors, having swallowed up almost all Flanders, pursuing his ambition of a fifth universal monarchy; and all this blood and disorder in Christendom had evidently its rise from our defections at home, in a wanton peace, minding nothing but luxury, ambition, and to procure money for our vices. To this add our irreligion and atheism, great ingratitude, and self-interest; the apostacy of some, and the suffering the French to grow so great, and the Hollanders so weak. In a word, we were wanton, mad, and surfeiting with prosperity; every moment unsettling the old foundations, and never constant to anything. The Lord in mercy avert the sad omen, and that we do not provoke him till he bear it no longer!
This summer did we suffer twenty French men-of-war to pass our Channel toward the Sound, to help the Danes against the Swedes, who had abandoned the French interest, we not having ready sufficient to guard our coasts, or take cognizance of what they did; though the nation never had more, or a better navy, yet the sea had never so slender a fleet.
19 Jul 1683. George, Prince of Denmark (30), who had landed this day, came to marry the Lady Anne (18), daughter to the Duke (49); so I returned home, having seen the young gallant at dinner at Whitehall.
20 Jul 1683. Several of the conspirators of the lower form were executed at Tyburn; and the next day.
21 Jul 1683. Lord Russell (43) was beheaded in Lincoln's Inn Fields, the executioner giving him three butcherly strokes. The speech he made, and the paper which he gave the Sheriff of declaring his innocence, the nobleness of the family, the piety and worthiness of the unhappy gentleman, wrought much pity, and occasioned various discourses on the plot.
25 Jul 1683. I again saw Prince George of Denmark (30): he had the Danish countenance, blonde, of few words, spoke French but ill, seemed somewhat heavy, but reported to be valiant, and indeed he had bravely rescued and brought off his brother, the King of Denmark (37), in a battle against the Swedes, when both these Kings were engaged very smartly.
28 Jul 1683. He (30) was married to the Lady Anne (18) at Whitehall. Her Court and household to be modeled as the Duke's, her father (49), had been, and they to continue in England. See Marriage of Lady Anne and Prince George.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 August
02 Aug 1683. The Countesses of Bristol (63) and Sunderland (37), aunt and cousin-german of the late Lord Russell, came to visit me, and condole his sad fate. The next day, came Colonel Russell (63), uncle to the late Lord Russell, and brother to the Earl of Bedford (67), and with him Mrs. Middleton (38), that famous and indeed incomparable beauty, daughter to my relation, Sir Robert Needham.
19 Aug 1683. I went to Bromley to visit our Bishop (58), and excellent neighbor, and to congratulate his now being made Archbishop of York. On the 28th, he came to take his leave of us, now preparing for his journey and residence in his province.
28 Aug 1683. My sweet little grandchild, Martha Maria, died, and on the 29th was buried in the parish church.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 September
01 Sep 1683. This morning, was read in the church, after the office was done, the Declaration setting forth the late conspiracy against the King (53)'s person.
03 Sep 1683. I went to see what had been done by the Duke of Beaufort (54) on his lately purchased house at Chelsea, which I once had the selling of for the Countess of Bristol, he had made great alterations, but might have built a better house with the materials and the cost he had been at.
Saw the Countess of Monte Feltre, whose husband I had formerly known, he was a subject of the Pope's, but becoming a Protestant he resided in England, and married into the family of the Savilles, of Yorkshire. The Count, her late husband, was a very learned gentleman, a great politician, and a goodly man. She was accompanied by her sister, exceedingly skilled in painting, nor did they spare for color on their own faces. They had a great deal of wit.
09 Sep 1683. It being the day of public thanksgiving for his Majesty's (53) late preservation, the former Declaration was again read, and there was an office used, composed for the occasion. A loyal sermon was preached on the divine right of Kings, from Psalm cxliv. 10. "Thou hast preserved David from the peril of the sword.".
15 Sep 1683. Came to visit me the learned anatomist, Dr. Tyson (32), with some other Fellows of our Society.
16 Sep 1683. At the elegant villa and garden of Mr. Bohun, at Lee. He showed me the zinnar tree, or platanus, and told me that since they had planted this kind of tree about the city of Ispahan, in Persia, the plague, which formerly much infested the place, had exceedingly abated of its mortal effects, and rendered it very healthy.
18 Sep 1683. I went to London to visit the Duchess of Grafton (28), now great with child, a most virtuous and beautiful lady. Dining with her at my Lord Chamberlain's, met my Lord of St. Alban's (78), now grown so blind, that he could not see to take his meat. He has lived a most easy life, in plenty even abroad, while his Majesty (53) was a sufferer; he has lost immense sums at play, which yet, at about eighty years old, he continues, having one that sits by him to name the spots on the cards. He ate and drank with extraordinary appetite. He is a prudent old courtier, and much enriched since his Majesty's (53) return.
After dinner, I walked to survey the sad demolition of Clarendon House, that costly and only sumptuous palace of the late Lord Chancellor Hyde, where I have often been so cheerful with him, and sometimes so sad: happening to make him a visit but the day before he fled from the angry Parliament, accusing him of maladministration, and being envious at his grandeur, who from a private lawyer came to be father-in-law to the Duke of York (49), and as some would suggest, designing his Majesty's (53) marriage with the Infanta of Portugal (44), not apt to breed. To this they imputed much of our unhappiness; and that he, being sole minister and favorite at his Majesty's (53) restoration, neglected to gratify the King (53)'s suffering party, preferring those who were the cause of our troubles. But perhaps as many of these things were injuriously laid to his charge, so he kept the government far steadier than it has proved since. I could name some who I think contributed greatly to his ruin,—the buffoons and the MISSIS, to whom he was an eye-sore. It is true he was of a jolly temper, after the old English fashion; but France had now the ascendant, and we were become quite another nation. The Chancellor gone, and dying in exile, the Earl his successor sold that which cost £50,000 building, to the young Duke of Albemarle (30) for £25,000, to pay debts which how contracted remains yet a mystery, his son (30) being no way a prodigal. Some imagine the Duchess his daughter (29) [Note. Daughter-in-law?] had been chargeable to him. However it were, this stately palace is decreed to ruin, to support the prodigious waste the Duke of Albemarle (30) had made of his estate, since the old man died. He sold it to the highest bidder, and it fell to certain rich bankers and mechanics, who gave for it and the ground about it, £35,000; they design a new town, as it were, and a most magnificent piazza [square]. It is said they have already materials toward it with what they sold of the house alone, more worth than what they paid for it. See the vicissitudes of earthly things! I was astonished at this demolition, nor less at the little army of laborers and artificers leveling the ground, laying foundations, and contriving great buildings at an expense of £200,000, if they perfect their design.
19 Sep 1683. In my walks I stepped into a goldbeater's workhouse, where he showed me the wonderful ductility of that spreading and oily metal. He said it must be finer than the standard, such as was old angel-gold, and that of such he had once to the value of £100 stamped with the agnus dei, and coined at the time of the holy war; which had been found in a ruined wall somewhere in the North, near to Scotland, some of which he beat into leaves, and the rest sold to the curiosi in antiquities and medals.
23 Sep 1683. We had now the welcome tidings of the King (53) of Poland raising the siege of Vienna, which had given terror to all Europe, and utmost reproach to the French, who it is believed brought in the Turks for diversion, that the French King might the more easily swallow Flanders, and pursue his unjust conquest on the empire, while we sat unconcerned and under a deadly charm from somebody.
There was this day a collection for rebuilding Newmarket, consumed by an accidental fire, which removing his Majesty (53) thence sooner than was intended, put by the assassins, who were disappointed of their rendezvous and expectation by a wonderful providence. This made the King (53) more earnest to render Winchester the seat of his autumnal field diversions for the future, designing a palace there, where the ancient castle stood; infinitely indeed preferable to Newmarket for prospects, air, pleasure, and provisions. The surveyor has already begun the foundation for a palace, estimated to cost £35,000, and his Majesty (53) is purchasing ground about it to make a park, etc.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 October
04 Oct 1683. I went to London, on receiving a note from the Countess of Arlington (49), of some considerable charge or advantage I might obtain by applying myself to his Majesty (53) on this signal conjuncture of his Majesty (53) entering up judgment against the city charter; the proposal made me I wholly declined, not being well satisfied with these violent transactions, and not a little sorry that his Majesty (53) was so often put upon things of this nature against so great a city, the consequence whereof may be so much to his prejudice; so I returned home. At this time, the Lord Chief-Justice Pemberton (59) was displaced. He was held to be the most learned of the judges, and an honest man. Sir George Jeffreys (38) was advanced, reputed to be most ignorant, but most daring. Sir George Treby, Recorder of London, was also put by, and one Genner, an obscure lawyer, set in his place. Eight of the richest and chief aldermen were removed and all the rest made only justices of the peace, and no more wearing of gowns, or chains of gold; the Lord Mayor and two sheriffs holding their places by new grants as custodes, at the King (53)'s pleasure. The pomp and grandeur of the most august city in the world thus changed face in a moment; which gave great occasion of discourse and thoughts of hearts, what all this would end in. Prudent men were for the old foundations.
Following his Majesty (53) this morning through the gallery, I went with the few who attended him, into the Duchess of Portsmouth's (34) Dressing Room within her bedchamber, where she was in her morning loose garment, her maids combing her, newly out of her bed, his Majesty (53) and the gallants standing about her; but that which engaged my curiosity, was the rich and splendid furniture of this woman's apartment, now twice or thrice pulled down and rebuilt to satisfy her prodigal and expensive pleasures, while her Majesty's (53) does not exceed some gentlemen's ladies in furniture and accommodation. Here I saw the new fabric of French tapestry, for design, tenderness of work, and incomparable imitation of the best paintings, beyond anything I had ever beheld. Some pieces had Versailles, St. Germains, and other palaces of the French King, with huntings, figures, and landscapes, exotic fowls, and all to the life rarely done. Then for Japan cabinets, screens, pendule clocks, great vases of wrought plate, tables, stands, chimney-furniture, sconces, branches, braseras, etc., all of massy silver and out of number, besides some of her Majesty's (53) best paintings.
Surfeiting of this, I dined at Sir Stephen Fox's (56) and went contented home to my poor, but quiet villa. What contentment can there be in the riches and splendor of this world, purchased with vice and dishonor?.
10 Oct 1683. Visited the Duchess of Grafton (28), not yet brought to bed, and dining with my Lord Chamberlain (her father) (65), went with them to see Montague House, a palace lately built by Lord Montague (44), who had married the most beautiful Countess of Northumberland (29). It is a stately and ample palace. Signor Verrio's (47) fresco paintings, especially the funeral pile of Dido, on the staircase, the labors of Hercules, fight with the Centaurs, his effeminacy with Dejanira, and Apotheosis or reception among the gods, on the walls and roof of the great room above,—I think exceeds anything he has yet done, both for design, coloring, and exuberance of invention, comparable to the greatest of the old masters, or what they so celebrate at Rome. In the rest of the chamber are some excellent paintings of Holbein, and other masters. The garden is large, and in good air, but the fronts of the house not answerable to the inside. The court at entry, and wings for offices seem too near the street, and that so very narrow and meanly built, that the corridor is not in proportion to the rest, to hide the court from being overlooked by neighbors; all which might have been prevented, had they placed the house further into the ground, of which there was enough to spare. But on the whole it is a fine palace, built after the French pavilion-way, by Mr. Hooke, the Curator of the Royal Society. There were with us my Lady Scroope, the great wit, and Monsieur Chardine (39), the celebrated traveler.
13 Oct 1683. Came to visit me my old and worthy friend, Mr. Packer, bringing with him his nephew Berkeley, grandson to the honest judge. A most ingenious, virtuous, and religious gentleman, seated near Worcester, and very curious in gardening.
26 Oct 1683. Came to visit and dine with me, Mr. Brisbane, Secretary to the Admiralty, a learned and agreeable man.
30 Oct 1683. I went to Kew to visit Sir Henry Capell (45), brother to the late Earl of Essex; but he being gone to Cashiobury, after I had seen his garden and the alterations therein, I returned home. He had repaired his house, roofed his hall with a kind of cupola, and in a niche was an artificial fountain; but the room seems to me over-melancholy, yet might be much improved by having the walls well painted á fresco. The two green houses for oranges and myrtles, communicating with the rooms below, are very well contrived. There is a cupola made with pole-work between two elms at the end of a walk, which being covered by plashing the trees to them, is very pretty; for the rest there are too many fir trees in the garden.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 November
17 Nov 1683. I took a house in Villiers Street, York Buildings, for the winter, having many important concerns to dispatch, and for the education of my daughters.
23 Nov 1683. The Duke of Monmouth (34), till now proclaimed traitor on the pretended plot for which Lord Russell was lately beheaded, came this evening to Whitehall and rendered himself, on which were various discourses.
26 Nov 1683. I went to compliment the Duchess of Grafton (28), now lying-in of her first child, a son, which she called for, that I might see it. She was become more beautiful, if it were possible, than before, and full of virtue and sweetness. She discoursed with me of many particulars, with great prudence and gravity beyond her years.
29 Nov 1683. Mr. Forbes showed me the plot of the garden making at Burleigh, at my Lord Exeter's, which I looked on as one of the most noble that I had seen.
The whole court and town in solemn mourning for the death of the King of Portugal, her Majesty's (45) brother.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 December
05 Dec 1683. I was this day invited to a wedding of one Mrs. Castle, to whom I had some obligation, and it was to her fifth husband, a lieutenant-colonel of the city. She was the daughter of one Burton, a broom-man, by his wife, who sold kitchen stuff in Kent Street, whom God so blessed that the father became a very rich, and was a very honest man; he was Sheriff of Surrey, where I have sat on the bench with him. Another of his daughters was married to Sir John Bowles; and this daughter was a jolly friendly woman. There was at the wedding the Lord Mayor, the Sheriff, several Aldermen and persons of quality; above all, Sir George Jeffreys (38), newly made Lord Chief Justice of England, with Mr. Justice Withings, danced with the bride, and were exceedingly merry. These great men spent the rest of the afternoon, till eleven at night, in drinking healths, taking tobacco, and talking much beneath the gravity of judges, who had but a day or two before condemned Mr. Algernon Sidney (60), who was executed the 7th on Tower Hill, on the single witness of that monster of a man, Lord Howard of Escrick, and some sheets of paper taken in Mr. Sidney's (60) study, pretended to be written by him, but not fully proved, nor the time when, but appearing to have been written before his Majesty's (53) Restoration, and then pardoned by the Act of Oblivion; so that though Mr. Sidney was known to be a person obstinately averse to government by a monarch (the subject of the paper was in answer to one by Sir E. Filmer), yet it was thought he had very hard measure. There is this yet observable, that he had been an inveterate enemy to the last king, and in actual rebellion against him; a man of great courage, great sense, great parts, which he showed both at his trial and death; for, when he came on the scaffold, instead of a speech, he told them only that he had made his peace with God, that he came not thither to talk, but to die; put a paper into the sheriff's hand, and another into a friend's; said one prayer as short as a grace, laid down his neck, and bid the executioner do his office.
The Duke of Monmouth (34), now having his pardon, refuses to acknowledge there was any treasonable plot; for which he is banished Whitehall. This is a great disappointment to some who had prosecuted Trenchard, Hampden, etc., that for want of a second witness were come out of the Tower upon their habeas corpus.
The King had now augmented his guards with a new sort of dragoons, who carried also grenades, and were habited after the Polish manner, with long peaked caps, very fierce and fantastical.
07 Dec 1683. I went to the Tower, and visited the Earl of Danby (51), the late Lord High Treasurer, who had ben imprison'd four years : he receiv'd me with greate kindnesse. I dined with him, and staied till night. We had discourse of many things, his Lady (54) railing sufficiently at the keeping her husband so long in prison. Here I saluted the Lord Dunblaine's (24) wife, who before had ben married to Emerton, and about whom there was that scandalous businesse before ye delegates.
23 Dec 1683. The small pox very prevalent and mortal; the Thames frozen..
26 Dec 1683. I dined at Lord Clarendon's, where I was to meet that ingenious and learned gent Sr Geo. Wheeler (32), who has published the excellent description of Africa and Greece, and who being a Knight of a very fair estate and young, had now newly entred into holy orders.
27 Dec 1683. I went to visite Sir John Chardin (40), a French gentleman who had travell'd three times by land into Persia, and had made many curious researches in his travells, of which he was now setting forth a relation. It being in England this year one of the severest frosts that had hap pen'd of many yeares, he told me the cold in Persia was much greater, the ice of an incredible thicknesse; that they had little use of iron in all that country, it being so moiste (tho' the aire admirably clear and healthy), that oyle would not preserve it from rusting, so that they had neither clocks nor watches; some padlocks they had for doores and boxes. .
30 Dec 1683. Dr. Sprat (48), now made Deane of Westminster, preached to the King (53) at Whitehall, on 6 Matt. 24. Recollecting the passages of the past yeare, I gave God thanks for his mercies, praying his blessing for the future.