John Evelyn.

Diary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryJohn EvelynDiary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) → online text (page 32 of 46)
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9th. I went to see the great ship newly built by the
Usurper, Oliver, carrying ninety-six brass guns, and 1000
tons burthen. In the prow was Oliver on horseback,
trampling six nations under foot, a Scot, Irishman, Dutch-
man, Frenchman, Spaniard, and English, as was easily
made out by their several habits. A Fame held a laurel
over his insulting head ; the word, God with us.

15th. I went to London with my family, to celebrate the


feast of Easter. Dr. Wild preached at St. Gregory's; the
ruling Powers conniving at the use of the Liturgy, &c., in
this church alone. In the afternoon, Mr. Pierson (since
Bishop of Chester) preached at Eastcheap,butwas disturbed
by an alarm of fire, which about this time was very frequent
in the City.

29th May. I sold Preston to Colonel Morley.

17th June. There was a collection for the persecuted
churches and Christians in Savoy, remnants of the ancient

3rd July. I was showed a pretty Terella, described with
all the circles, and showing all the magnetic deviations.

14th. Came Mr. Pratt, my old acquaintance at Rome,
also Sir Edward Hales, Sir Joseph Tufton, with Mr.

1st August. I went to Dorking, to see Mr. Charles
Howard's amphitheatre, garden, or solitary recess,* being
fifteen acres environed by a hill. He showed us divers rare
plants, caves, and an elaboratory.

10th. To Albury, to visit Mr. Howard, who had begun
to build, and alter the gardens much. He showed me many
rare pictures, particularly the Moor on horseback; Erasmus,
as big as the life, by Holbein ; a Madonna, in miniature,
by Oliver; but, above all, the Skull, carved in wood, by
Albert Durer, for which his father was offered 100/. ; also
Albert's head, by himself, with divers rare agates, intaglios,
and other curiosities.

21st. I went to Ryegate, to visit Mrs. Gary, at my Lady
Peterborough's, in an ancient monastery well in repair, but
the park much defaced; the house is nobly furnished.
The chimney-piece in the great chamber, carved in wood,
was of Henry VIII., and was taken from an house of his
in Blechingley. At Ryegate, was now the Archbishop of
Armagh, the learned James Usher, whom I went to visit.
He received me exceeding kindly. In discourse with him,
he told me how great the loss of time was to study much
the Eastern languages ; that, excepting Hebrew, there was
little fruit to be gathered of exceeding labour ; that, besides
some mathematical books, the Arabic itself had little con-
siderable ; that the best text was the Hebrew Bible ; that

Called Deepden, the property of Thomas Hope, Esq.

1655.] JOHN EVELYN. 309

the Septuagint was finished in seventy days, but full of
errors, about which he was then writing; that St. Hierome's
was to be valued next the Hebrew ; also that the seventy
translated the Pentateuch only, the rest was finished by
others ; that the Italians at present understood but little
Greek, and Kircherwas a mountebank; that Mr. Selden's
best book was his " Titles of Honour ; " that the Church
would be destroyed by sectaries, who would in all likeli-
hood bring in Popery. In conclusion, he recommended
to me the study of philology, above all human studies;
and so, with his blessing, I took my leave of this excellent
person, and returned to Wotton.

27th. I went to Boxhill, to see those rare natural bowers,
cabinets, and shady walks in the box-copses : hence, we
walked to Mickleham, and saw Sir F. Stidolph's seat,
environed with elm-trees and walnuts innumerable, and of
which last he told us they received a considerable revenue.
Here are such goodly walks and hills shaded with yew and
box, as render the place extremely agreeable, it seeming
from these ever-greens to be summer all the winter.

28th. Camethatrenownedmathematician,Mr. Oughtred*
to see me, I sending my coach to bring him to Wotton,
being now very aged. Amongst other discourse, he told
me he thought water to be the philosopher's first matter,
and that he was well persuaded of the possibility of their
elixir ; he believed the sun to be a material fire, the moon
a continent, as appears by the late Selenographers ; he had
strong apprehensions of some extraordinary event to happen
the following year, from the calculation of coincidence with
the diluvian period ; and added that it might possibly be
to convert the Jews by our Saviour's visible appearance, or
to judge the world ; and, therefore, his word was, Par ate in
occursum ; he said original sin was not met with in the
Greek Fathers, yet he believed the thing ; this was from
some discourse on Dr. Taylor's late book, which Iliad lent

16th September. Preached at St. Gregory's one Darnel,
on Psalm iv. 4, concerning the benefit of self-examination ;
more learning in so short a time as an hour I have seldom

* Rector of Albury, of whom there are several excellent engravings by
W. Hollar.


17th. Received 26007. of Mr. Hurt, for the Manor of
Warley Magna, in Essex, purchased by me some time since.
The taxes were so intolerable that they eat up the rents, &c.,
surcharged as that county had been above all others during
our unnatural war.

19th. Came to see me Sir Edward Hales, Mr. Ashmole,
Mr. Harlakenton, and Mr. Thornhill : and, the next day,
I visited Sir Henry Newton, at Charlton, where I met the
Earl of Winchelsea and Lady Beauchamp, daughter to the
Lord Capel.

On Sunday afternoon, I frequently staid at home to
catechise and instruct my family, those exercises univer-
sally ceasing in the parish churches, so as people had no
principles, and grew very ignorant of even the common
points of Christianity ; all devotion being now placed in
hearing sermons and discourses of speculative and notional

26th. I went to see Colonel Blount's subterranean war-
ren, and drank of the wine of his vineyard, which was good
for little.

31st. Sir Nicholas Crisp came to treat with me about
his vast design of a mole * to be made for ships in part of
my grounds at Sayes Court.

3rd November. I had accidentally discourse withaPersian
and a Greek concerning the devastation of Poland by the
late incursion of the Swedes.

27th. To London, about Sir Nicholas Crisp's designs.

I went to see York House and gardens, belonging to the
former great Buckingham, but now much ruined through
neglect, f

Thence, to visit honest and learned Mr. Hartlib,J a
public spirited and ingenious person, who had propagated
many useful things and arts. He told me of the castles
which they set for ornament on their stoves in Germany

* See hereafter, under 1662, January.

t The Duke's names and titles are still preserved in the buildings erected
on the site ; viz. George Street, Villiers Street, Duke Street, Off Alley, Buck-
ingham Street.

J Samuel Hartlib. Milton's Tractate of Education is addressed to him.
Mr. Todd, in his Life of that Poet, prefixed to the last Edition of his Poetical
Works, observes that " a Life of Hartlib is a desideratum in English Bio-
graphy : " there are ample materials for it in the publications of the time.

1655.] JOHN EVELYN. 311

(he himself being a Lithuanian, as I remember), which are
furnished with small ordnance of silver on the battlements,
out of which they discharge excellent perfumes about the
rooms, charging them with a little powder to set them on
fire, and disperse the smoke ; and, in truth, no more than
need ; for their stoves are sufficiently nasty. He told me
of an ink that would give a dozen copies, moist sheets of
paper being pressed on it, and remain perfect ; and a
receipt how to take off any print without the least injury
to the original. This gentleman was master of innumerable
curiosities, and very communicative. I returned home
that evening by water, and was afflicted for it with a cold
that had almost killed me.

This day, came forth the Protector's Edict, or Proclama-
tion, prohibiting all ministers of the Church of England
from preaching or teaching any schools, in which he imi-
tated the apostate, Julian ; with the decimation of all the
royal party's revenues throughout England.

14th December. I visited Mr. Hobbes, the famous phi-
losopher of Malmesbury, with whom I had been long
acquainted in France.

Now were the Jews admitted.

25th. There was no more notice taken of Christmas-
day in churches.

I went to London, where Dr. Wild preached the funeral
sermon of Preaching, this being the last day ; after which,
Cromwell's proclamation was to take place, that none of
the Church of England should dare either to preach, or
administer Sacraments, teach school, &c., on pain of
imprisonment, or exile. So this was the mournfullest day
that in my life I had seen, or the Church of England her-
self, since the Reformation ; to the great rejoicing of both
Papist and Presbyter.* So pathetic was his discourse,
that it drew many tears from the auditory. Myself, wife,
and some of our family, received the Communion ; God
make me thankful, who hath hitherto provided forus thefood
of our souls as well as bodies ! The Lord Jesus pity our
distressed Church, and bring back the captivity of Zion !

* The text was 2 Cor. xiii. 9. That, however persecution dealt with the
Ministers of God's Word, they were still to pray for the flopk, and wish their
perfection, as it was the flock to pray for and assist their pastors, by the
example of St. Paul. J. E.


1655-6. 5th January. Came to visit me my Lord Lisle,
son to the Earl of Leicester, with Sir Charles Ouseley, two
of the Usurper's council; Mr. John Hervey, and John
Denham, the poet.

18th. Went to Eltham on foot, being a great frost, hut
a mist falling as I returned, gave me such a rheum as kept
me within doors near a whole month after.

5th February. "Was showed me a pretty perspective and
well represented in a triangular box, the great Church of
Haarlem in Holland, to be seen through a small hole at one
of the corners, and contrived into a handsome cabinet. It
was so rarely done, that all the artists and painters in town
nocked to see and admire it.

10th. I heard Dr. Wilkins* preach before the Lord
Mayor in St. Paul's, showing how obedience was prefer-
able to sacrifice. He was a most obliging person, who
had married the Protector's sister, and took great pains to
preserve the Universities from the ignorant sacrilegious
commanders and soldiers, who would fain have demolished
all places and persons that pretended to learning.

llth. I ventured to go to Whitehall, wiiere of many
years I had not been, and found it very glorious and well-
furnished, as far as I could safely go, and was glad to find
they had not much defaced that rare piece of Henry VII,,
&c., done on the walls of the King's privy chamber.

14th. I dined with Mr. Berkeley, son of Lord Berkeley,
of Berkeley Castle, where I renewed my acquaintance with
my Lord Bruce, my fellow-traveller in Italy.

19th. Went with Dr. Wilkinsto see Barlow, the famous
painter of fowls, beasts, and birds.

4th March. This night I was invited by Mr. Roger
L'Estrange to hear the incomparable Lubicer on the violin.
His variety on a few notes and plain ground, with that
wonderful dexterity, was admirable. Though a young
man, yet so perfect and skilful, that there was nothing,
however cross and perplexed, brought to him by our artists,
which he did not play off at sight Avith ravishing sweetness
and improvements, to the astonishment of our best masters.
In sum, he played on the single instrument a full concert,
so as the rest flung down their instruments, acknowledging

Afterwards, Bishop of Chester.

1656.] JOHN EVELYN. 313

the victory. As to my own particular, I stand to this
hour amazed that God should give so great perfection to
so young a person. There were at that time as excellent
in their profession as any were thought to be in Europe,
Paul Wheeler, Mr. Mell, and others, till this prodigy
appeared. I can no longer question the eifects we read of
in David's harp to charm evil spirits, or what is said some
particular notes produced in the passions of Alexander, and
that King of Denmark.

12th April. Mr. Berkeley and Mr. Kobert Boyle (that
excellent person and great virtuoso), Dr. Taylor, and Dr.
Wilkins, dined with me at Sayes Court, when I presented
Dr. Wilkins with my rare burning-glass. In the after-
noon, we all went to Colonel Blount' s, to see his new-invented

22nd. Came to see Mr. Henshaw and Sir William Pas-
ton's son, since Earl of Yarmouth. Afterwards, I went to
see his Majesty's house at Eltham, both palace and chapel
in miserable ruins, the noble woods and park destroyed by
Rich, the rebel.

6th May. I brought Monsieur le Franc, a young French
Sorbonnist, a proselyte, to converse with Dr. Taylor ; they
fell to dispute on original sin, in Latin, upon a book
newly published by the Doctor, who was much satisfied
with the young man. Thence, to see Mr. Dugdale, our
learned antiquary and herald. Returning, I was showed
the three vast volumes of Father Kircher's, "Obeliscus
Pamphilius" and " jEgyptiacus ;" in the second volume, I
found the hieroglyphic I first communicated and sent to
him at Rome by the hands of Mr. Henshaw, whom he
mentions. I designed it from the stone itse,lf brought me
to Venice from Cairo by Captain Powell.*

7th. I visited Dr. Taylor, and prevailed on him to pro-
pose Monsieur le Franc to the Bishop that he might have
Orders, I having sometime before brought him to a full
consent to the Church of England, her doctrine and dis-
cipline, in which he had till of late made some difficulty ;
so he was this day ordained both deacon and priest by the
Bishop of Meath. I paid the fees to his lordship, w r ho was
very poor and in great want ; to that necessity were our

* See pp. 212, 213.


clergy reduced ! In the afternoon, I met Alderman
Robinson, to treat with Mr. Papillion about the marriage
of my cousin, George Tuke, with Mrs. Fontaine.

8th. I went to yisit Dr. Wilkins, at Whitehall, when I
first met with Sir P. Neale, famous for his optic glasses.
Greatorix, the mathematical instrument-maker, showed
me his excellent invention to quench fire.

12th. Was published my Essay on Lucretius,* with
innumerable errata by the negligence of Mr. Triplet, who
undertook the correction of the press in my absence. Little
of the Epicurean philosophy Avas then known amongst us.

28th. I dined with Nieuport, the Holland Ambassador,
who received me with extraordinary courtesy. I found
him a judicious, crafty, and wise man. He gave me
excellent cautions as to the danger of the times, and the
circumstances our nation was in. I remember the obser-
vation he made upon the ill success of our former Par-
liaments, and their private animosities, and little care of
the public.

Came to visit me the old Marquis of Argyle (since
executed), Lord Lothian, and some other Scotch noble-
men, all strangers to me. Note, the Marquis took the
turtle-doves in the aviary for owls.

The Earl of Southampton (since Treasurer) and Mr.
Spencer, brother to the Earl of Sunderland, came to see
my garden.

7th July. I began my journey to see some parts of the
north-east of England; but the weather was so excessive
hot and dusty, I shortened my progress.

8th. To Colchester, a fair town, but now wretchedly
demolished by the late siege, especially the suburbs, which
were all burnt, but were then repairing. The town is
built on a rising ground, having fair meadows on one side,

* A translation into English verse of the first book only, the frontispiece
to which was designed by Mr. Evelyn's lady. Prefixed to the copy in
the library at Wotton, is this note in his own handwriting : " Never was book
so abominably misused by printer : never copy so negligently surveyed by
one who undertook to look over the proof-sheets with all exactness and care ;
namely, Dr. Triplet, well known for his ability, and who pretended to oblige
me in my absence, and so readily offered himself. This good yet I received
by it, that publishing it vainly, its ill success at the printer's discouraged me
with troubling the world with the rest."

1656.] JOHN EVELYN. 315

and a river with a strong ancient castle, said to have been
built by King Coilus, father of Helena, mother of Con-
stantine the Great, of whom I find no memory save at the
pinnacle of one of their wool-staple houses, where is a
statue of Coilus, in wood, wretchedly carved. The walls
are exceeding strong, deeply trenched, and filled with
earth. It has six gates, and some watch-towers, and some
handsome churches. But what was showed us as a kind
of miracle, at the outside of the Castle, the wall where Sir
Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle, those valiant and
noble persons who so bravely behaved themselves in the
last siege, were barbarously shot, murdered by Ireton in
cold blood, after surrendering on articles; having been
disappointed of relief from the Scotch army, which had
been defeated with the King at Worcester. The place
was bare of grass for a large space, all the rest of it
abounding with herbage. For the rest, this is a ragged
and factious town, now swarming with sectaries. Their
trading is in cloth with the Dutch, and baize and says with
Spain ; it is the only place in England where these stuffs
are made unsophisticated. It is also famous for oysters
and eringo-root, growing hereabout, and candied for sale.

Went to Dedham, a pretty country town, having a very
fair church, finely situated, the valley well watered. Here,
I met with Dr. Stokes, a young gentleman, but an excel-
lent mathematician. This is a clothing town, as most are
in Essex, but lies in the unwholesome hundreds.

Hence to Ipswich, doubtless one of the sweetest, most
pleasant, well-built towns in England. It has twelve fair
churches, many noble houses, especially the Lord Devereux's;
a brave quay, and commodious harbour, being about seven
miles from the main ; an ample market-place. Here was
born the great Cardinal Wolsey, who began a palace here,
which was not finished.

I had the curiosity to visit some Quakers here in prison;
a new fanatic sect, of dangerous principles, who show no
respect to any man, magistrate, or other, and seem a
melancholy, proud sort of people, and exceedingly ignorant.
One of these was said to have fasted twenty days; but
another, endeavouring to do the like, perished on the 10th,
when he would have eaten, but could not.

10th. I returned homeward, passing again through


Colchester; and, by the way, near the ancient town of
Chelmsford, saw New Hall, built in a park by Henry VII.
and VIII., and given by Queen Elizabeth to the Earl of
Sussex, who sold it to the late great Duke of Buckingham,
and since seized on by Oliver Cromwell (pretended Pro-
tector) . It is a fair old house, built with brick, low, being
only of two stories, as the manner then was ; the gate-
house, better ; the court, large and pretty ; the staircase,
of extraordinary wideness, with a piece representing Sir
Francis Drake's action in the year 1580, an excellent sea-
piece; the galleries are trifling; the hall is noble; the
garden a fair plot, and the whole Seat well accommodated
with water; but, above all, I admired the fair avenue
planted with stately lime trees, in four rows, for near a
mile in length. It has three descents, which is the only
fault, and may be reformed. There is another fair walk of
the same at the mall and wilderness, with a tennis-court,
and pleasant terrace towards the park, which was well
stored with deer and ponds.

llth. Came home by Greenwich ferry, where I saw Sir
J. Winter's project of charring sea-coal, to burn out the
sulphur, and render it sweet. He did it by burning the
coals in such earthen pots as the glass-men melt their
metal, so firing them without consuming them, using a
bar of iron in each crucible, or pot, which bar has a hook
at one end, that so the coals being melted in a furnace
with other crude sea-coals under them, may be drawn out
of the pots sticking to the iron, whence they are beaten off
in great half-exhausted cinders, which being re-kindled
make a clear pleasant chamber-fire, deprived of their
sulphur and arsenic malignity. What success it may have,
time will discover.*

3rd August. I went to London, to receive the Blessed
Sacrament, the first time the Church of England was
reduced to a chamber and conventicle ; so sharp was the
persecution. The parish-churches were filled with sectaries
of all sorts, blasphemous and ignorant mechanics usurping
the pulpits everywhere. Dr. Wildf preached in a private

* Many years ago, Lord Dundonald, a Scotch nobleman, revived the pro-
ject, but with the proposed improvement of extracting and saving the tar.
Unfortunately, his Lordship did not profit by it. The Gas Companies sell the
coal thus charred, by the name of coke, as fuel for many purposes.

f See note, p. 334.


house in Fleet-street, where we had a great meeting of
zealous Christians, who were generally much more devout
and religious than in our greatest prosperity. In the
afternoon, I went to the French Church in the Savoy, where
I heard Monsieur d'Espagne catechise, and so returned to
my house.

20th. Was a confused election of Parliament called by
the Usurper.

7th September. I went to take leave of my excellent
neighbour and friend, Sir H. Newton and lady, now going
to dwell at Warwick ; and Mr. Needham, my dear and
learned friend, came to visit me.

14th. Now was old Sir Henry Vane sent to Carisbrook
Castle, in Wight, for a foolish book he published; the pre-
tended Protector fortifying himself exceedingly, and send-
ing many to prison.

2nd October. Came to visit me my cousin, Stephens, and
Mr. Pierce (since Head of Magdalen College, Oxford), a
learned minister of Brington, in Northamptonshire, and
Captain Cooke, both excellent musicians.

2nd November. There was now nothing practical
preached, or that pressed reformation of life, but high
and speculative points and strains that few understood,
which left people very ignorant, and of no steady principles,,
the source of all our sects and divisions, for there was
much envy and uncharity in the world ; God of his mercy
amend it ! Now, indeed, that I went at all to church,
whilst these usurpers possessed the pulpits, was that I
might not be suspected for a Papist, and that, though the
minister was Presbyterianly affected, he yet was as I
understood duly ordained, and preached sound doctrine
after their way, and besides was an humble, harmless, and
peaceable man.

25th December. I went to London, to receive the Blessed
Communion this holy festival at Dr. Wild's lodgings,
where I rejoiced to find so full an assembly of devout and
sober Christians.

26th. I invited some of my neighbours and tenants,
according to custom, and to preserve hospitality and

28th. A stranger preached on Luke xviii. 7, 8, on which


he made a confused discourse, with a great deal of Greek
and ostentation of learning, to but little purpose.

30th. Dined with me Sir William Paston's son, Mr.
Henshaw, and Mr. Clayton.

31st. I begged God's blessing and mercies for his good-
ness to me the past year, and set my domestic affairs in

1656-7. 1st January. Having prayed with my family, and
celebrated the anniversary, I spent some time in imploring
God's blessing the year I was entered into.

7th. Came Mr. Matthew Wren (since secretary to the
Duke), slain in the Dutch war, eldest son to the Bishop of
Ely, now a prisoner in the Tower; a most worthy and
learned gentleman.

10th. Came Dr. Joyliffe, that famous physician and ana-
tomist, first detector of the lymphatic veins ; also the old
Marquis of Argyle, and another Scotch Earl.

5th February. Dined at the Holland Ambassador's ; he
told me the East India Company of Holland had constantly
a stock of 400,000/. in India, and forty-eight men-of-war
there: he spoke of their exact and just keeping their
books and correspondence, so as no adventurer's stock
could possibly be lost, or defeated ; that it was a vulgar
error that the Hollanders furnished their enemies with
powder and ammunition for their money, though engaged
in a cruel war, but that they used to merchandize indiffer-
ently, and were permitted to sell to the friends of their
enemies. He laughed at our Committee of Trade, as com-
posed of men wholly ignorant of it, and how they were the
ruin of commerce, by gratifying some for private ends.

10th. I went to visit the Governor of Havannah, a brave,
sober, valiant Spanish gentleman, taken by Captain Young,

Online LibraryJohn EvelynDiary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) → online text (page 32 of 46)