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 33 of 46)
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of Deptford, when, after twenty years being in the Indies,
and amassing great wealth, his lady and whole family,
except two sons, were burnt, destroyed, and taken within
sight of Spain, his eldest son, daughter, and wife, perishing
with immense treasure.* One son, of about seventeen
years old, with his brother of one year old, were the only
ones saved. The young gentleman, about seventeen, was
a well-complexioned youth, not olive-coloured ; he spake

* This disastrous event is particularly noticed in Waller's poem on a War
with Spain. Fight at Sea, by General Montague, 1656.


Latin handsomely, was extremely well-bred, and born in
the Caraccas, 1000 miles south of the Equinoctial, near
the mountains of Potosij he had never been in Europe
before. The Governor was an ancient gentleman of great
courage, of the order of St. Jago, sore wounded in his arm,
and his ribs broken; he lost for his own share 100,000/.
sterling, which he seemed to bear with exceeding indiffer-
ence, and nothing dejected. After some discourse, I went
with them to Arundel- House, where they dined. They
were now going back into Spain, having obtained their
liberty from Cromwell. An example of human vicissitude !

14th. To London, where I found Mrs. Gary ; next day,
came Mr. Mordaunt (since Viscount Mordaunt), younger
son to the Countess of Peterborough, to see his mistress,
bringing with him two of my Lord of Dover's daughters :
so, after dinner, they all departed.

5th March. Dr. Rand, a learned physician, dedicated to
me his version of Gassendi's Vita Peiriskii.

25th. Dr. Taylor showed me his MS. of Cases of Con-
science, or Ductor dubitantium, now fitted for the Press.

The Protector, Oliver, now affecting kingship, is petitioned
to take the title on him by all his new-made sycophant
lords, &c. ; but dares not, for fear of the fanatics, not
thoroughly purged out of his rebel army.

21st April. Came Sir Thomas Hanmer, of Hanmer, in
Wales, to see me. I then waited on my Lord Hatton,
with whom I dined : at my return, I stepped into Bedlam,
where I saw several poor miserable creatures in chains ;
one of them was mad with making verses. I also visited
the Charter-house, formerly belonging to the Carthusians,
now an old neat fresh solitary college for decayed gentle-
men. It has a grove, bowling-green, garden, chapel, and
a hall where they eat in common. I likewise saw Christ-
church and Hospital, a very goodly Gothic building ; the
hall, school, and lodgings in great order for bringing up
many hundreds of poor children of both sexes; it is an
exemplary charity. There is a large picture at one end of
the hall, representing the governors, founders, and the

25th. I had a dangerous fall out of the coach in Covent
Garden, going to my brother's, but without harm; the
Lord be praised !


1st May. Divers soldiers were quartered at my house; but
I thank God went away the next day towards Flanders.

5th. I went with my cousin, George Tuke, to see Bay-
nard, in Surrey, a house of my brother Richard's, which he
would have hired. This is a very fair noble residence, built
in a park, and having one of the goodliest avenues of oaks
up to it that ever I saw; there is a pond* of 60 acres
near it ; the windows of the chief rooms are of very fine
painted glass. The situation is excessively dirty and

15th. Laurence, President of Oliver's Council, and some
other of his Court-Lords, came in the afternoon to see my
garden and plantations.

7th June. My fourth son was born, christened George,
(after my grandfather) ; Dr. Jeremy Taylor officiating in
the drawing-room.

18th. At Greenwich, I saw a sort of cat J brought from
the East Indies, shaped and snouted much like the Egyp-
tian racoon, in the body like a monkey, and so footed ; the
ears and tail like a cat, only the tail much longer, and the
skin variously ringed with black and white ; with the tail
it wound up its body like a serpent, and so got up into
trees, and with it would wrap its whole body round. Its
hair was woolly like a lamb ; it was exceedingly nimble,
gentle, and purred as does the cat.

16th July. On Dr. Jeremy Taylor's recommendation, I
went to Eltham, to help one Moody, a young man, to that
living, by my interest with the patron.

August 6th. I went to see Colonel Blount, who showed
me the application of the way-wiser to a coach, exactly
measuring the miles, and showing them by an index as we
went on. It had three circles, one pointing to the number
of rods, another to the miles, by 10 to 1000, with all the
subdivisions of quarters ; very pretty and useful.

10th. Our vicar, from John xviii. 36, declaimed against

* This pond belongs to Vachery in Cranley.

f It is in the lower part of the parish of Ewhurst, in Surrey, adjoining to
Rudgwick, in Sussex, in a deep clay soil. It was formerly the seat of Sir
Edward Bray, and afterwards belonged to the Earl of Onslow, who carried the
painted glass to his seat at Clandon.

J This was probably the animal called a Mocock (maucauco), well known
at present.

1S7.] JOHN EVELYN. 321

the folly of a sort of enthusiasts and desperate zealots,
called the Fifth-Monarchy-Men, pretending to set up the
kingdom of Christ with the sword. To this pass was
this age arrived when we had no King in Israel.

21st. Fell a most prodigious rain in London, and the
year was very sickly in the country.

1st September. I visited Sir Edmund Bowyer, at his
melancholy seat at Camberwell. He has a very pretty
grove of oaks, and hedges of yew in his garden, and a
handsome row of tall elms before his court.

15th. Going to London with some company, we stept
in to see a famous rope-dancer, called the Turk. * I saw
even to astonishment the agility with which he performed ;
he walked barefooted, taking hold by his toes only of a
rope almost perpendicular, and without so much as touch-
ing it with his hands; he danced blindfold on the high
rope, and with a boy of twelve years old tied to one of his
feet about twenty feet beneath him, dangling as he danced,
yet he moved as nimbly as if it had been but a feather.
Lastly, he stood on his head, on the top of a very high
mast, danced on a small rope that was very slack, and
finally flew down the perpendicular, on his breast, his
head foremost, his legs and arms extended, with divers
other activities. I saw the hairy woman, f twenty years
old, whom I had before seen when a child. She was born
at Augsburg, in Germany. Her very eye-brows were
combed upwards, and all her forehead as thick and even
as grows on any woman's head, neatly dressed; a very
long lock of hair out of each ear; she had also a most
prolix beard, and mustachios, with long locks growing on
the middle of her nose, like an Iceland dog exactly, the
colour of a bright brown, fine as well-dressed flax. She
was now married, and told me she had one child that was
not hairy, nor were any of her parents, or relations. She
was very well shaped, and played well on the harpsichord.

17th. To see Sir Robert Needham, at Lambeth, a
relation of mine ; and thence to John Tradescant's museum,

* Mr. Evelyn again mentions this person in his Numismata, under the
name of the Funamble Turk.

f- Barbara Vanbeck. There are two portraits of her, one a line engraving,
the other in mezzotinto, described by Mr. Granger in his Biography. There
is also another representation of her in some German Book of Natural



in which the chiefest rarities were, in my opinion, the
ancient Roman, Indian, and other nations' armour, shields,
and weapons ; some habits of curiously-coloured and
wrought feathers, one from the phenix wing, as tradition
goes. Other innumerable things there were, printed in
his catalogue by Mr. Ashmole, to whom after the death of
the widow they are bequeathed, and by him designed as a
gift to Oxford.*

19th October. I went to see divers gardens about Lon-
don : returning, I saw at Dr. Joyliffe's two Virginian
rattle-snakes alive, exceeding a yard in length, small heads,
slender tails, but in the middle nearly the size of my leg ;
when vexed, swiftly vibrating and shaking their tails, as
loud as a child's rattle : this, by the collision of certain
gristly skins curiously jointed, yet loose, and transparent
as parchment, by which they give warning : a providential
caution for other creatures to avoid them. The Doctor
tried their biting on rats and mice, which they immediately
killed: but their vigour must needs be much exhausted
here, in another climate, and kept only in a barrel of

22nd. To town, to visit the Holland Ambassador, with
whom I had now contracted much friendly correspondence,
useful to the intelligence I constantly gave his Majesty

26th November. I went to London, to a court of the
East India Company on its new union, in Merchant-
Taylors' Hall, where was much disorder by reason of the
Anabaptists, who would have the adventurers obliged only
by an engagement, without swearing, that they still might
pursue their private trade ; but it was carried against
them. Wednesday was fixed on for a General Court for
election of officers, after a sermon and prayers for good
success. The Stock resolved on was 800,000/.

27th. I took the oath at the East India House, sub-
scribing 500/.

2nd December. Dr. Eaynolds (since Bishop of Norwich)
preached before the company at St. Andrew Under-shaft,
on Nehemiah xiii. 31, showing, by the example of Nehe-
miah, all the perfections of a trusty person in public affairs,

* Where they now are in the Ashmolean Museum. See hereafter, under
July, 1678.

1657.] JOHN EVELYN. 323

with many good precepts apposite to the occasion, ending
with a prayer for God's blessing on the company and the

3rd. Mr. Gunning preached on John iii. 3, against the
Anabaptists, showing the effect and necessity of the sacra-
ment of baptism. This sect was now wonderfully spread.

25th. I went to- London with my wife, to celebrate
Christmas-day, Mr. Gunning preaching in Exeter chapel,
on Michah vii. 2. Sermon ended, as he was giving us
the Holy Sacrament, the chapel was surrounded with
soldiers, and all the communicants and assembly surprised
and kept prisoners by them, some in the house, others
carried away. It fell to my share to be confined to a
room in the house, where yet I was permitted to dine with
the master of it, the Countess of Dorset, Lady Hatton,
and some others of quality who invited me. In the after-
noon, came Colonel Whalley, Goffe, and others, from
Whitehall, to examine us one by one; some they com-
mitted to the Marshal, some to prison. "When I came
before them, they took my name and abode, examined me
why, contrary to the ordinance made, that none should
any longer observe the superstitious time of the Nativity
(so esteemed by them), I durst offend, and particularly be
at Common Prayers, which they told me was but the mass
in English, and particularly pray for Charles Stuart ; for
which we had no Scripture. I told them we did not pray
for Charles Stuart, but for all Christian Kings, Princes,
and Governors. They replied, in so doing we prayed for
the King of Spain, too, who was their enemy and a Papist,
with other frivolous and ensnaring questions, and much
threatening ; and, finding no colour to detain me, they
dismissed me with much pity of my ignorance. These
were men of high flight and above ordinances, and spake
spiteful things of our Lord's Nativity. As we went up to
receive the Sacrament, the miscreants held their muskets
against us, as if they would have shot us at the altar, but
yet suffering us to finish the office of Communion, as per-
haps not having instructions what to do, in case they
found us in that action. So I got home late the next day ;
blessed be God !

1657-8. 27th January. After six fits of a quartan ague,
with which it pleased God to visit him, died my dear son,

Y 2

I tfW


Bichard, to our inexpressible grief and affliction, five years
and three days old only, but at that tender age a prodigy
for wit and understanding; for beauty of body, a very
angel; for endowment of mind, of incredible and rare
hopes. To give only a little taste of them, and thereby
glory to God, who " out of the mouths of babes and infants
does sometimes perfect his praises," he had learned all his
catechism ; at two years and a half old, he could perfectly
read any of the English, Latin, French, or Gothic letters,
pronouncing the three first languages exactly. He had,
before the fifth year, or in that year, not only skill to read
most written hands, but to decline all the nouns, conjugate
the verbs regular, and most of the irregular ; learned out
" Puerilis," got by heart almost the entire vocabulary of
Latin and French primitives and words, could make con-
gruous syntax, turn English into Latin, and vice versa,
construe and prove what he read, and did the government
and use of relatives, verbs, substantives, ellipses, and many
figures and tropes, and made a considerable progress in
Comenius's Janua; began himself to write legibly, and
had a strong passion for Greek. The number of verses
he could recite was prodigious, and what he remembered
of the parts of plays, which he would also act ; and, when
seeing a Plautus in one's hand, he asked what book it was,
and, being told it was comedy, and too difficult for him,
he wept for sorrow. Strange was his apt and ingenious
application of fables and morals ; for he had read ^Esop ;
he had a wonderful disposition to mathematics, having by
heart divers propositions of Euclid that were read to him
in play, and he would make lines and demonstrate them.
AS to his piety, astonishing were his applications of Scrip-
ture upon occasion, and his sense of God ; he had learned
all his Catechism early, and understood the historical part
of the Bible and New Testament to a wonder, how Christ
came to redeem mankind, and how, comprehending these
necessaries himself, his godfathers were discharged of their

These and the like illuminations, far exceeding his age
and experience, considering the prettiness of his address
and behaviour, cannot but leave impressions in me at the
memory of him. When one told him how many days a
Quaker had fasted, he replied that was no wonder ; for

1658.] JOHN EVELYN. 325

Christ had said that man should not live by bread alone,
but by the Word of God. He would of himself select the
most pathetic psalms, and chapters out of Job, to read to
his maid during his sickness, telling her, when she pitied
him, that all God's children must suffer affliction. He
declaimed against the vanities of the world, before he had
seen any. Often he would desire those who came to see
him to pray by him, and a year before he fell sick, to kneel
and pray with him alone in some corner. How thankfully
would he receive admonition ! how soon be reconciled !
how indifferent, yet continually cheerful ! He would
give grave advice to his brother, John, bear with his im-
pertinences, and say he was but a child. If he heard of
or saw any new thing, he was unquiet till he was told how
it was made ; he brought to us all such difficulties as he
found in books, to be expounded. He had learned by
heart divers sentences in Latin and Greek which, on oc-
casion, he would produce even to wonder. He was all life,
all prettiness, far from morose, sullen, or childish in any
thing he said or did. The last time he had been at church,
(which was at Greenwich), I asked him, according to cus-
tom, what he remembered of the sermon; two good
things, Father, said he, bonum gratice and bonum gloria,
with a just account of what the preacher said.

The day before he died, he called to me ; and, in a more
serious manner than usual, told me that for all I loved him
so dearly, I should give my house, land, and all my fine
things, to his brother Jack, he should have none of them;
and, next morning, when he found himself ill, and that I
persuaded him to keep his hands in bed, he demanded
whether he might pray to God with his hands unjoined;
and a little after, whilst in great agony, whether he should
not offend God by using his holy name so often calling for
ease. What shall I say of his frequent pathetical ejacula-
tions uttered of himself: "Sweet Jesus save me, deliver
me, pardon my sins, let thine angels receive me ! " So
early knowledge, so much piety and perfection ! But
thus God, having dressed up a saint fit for himself, would
not longer permit him with us, unworthy of the future
fruits of this incomparable hopeful blossom. Such a child
I never saw : for such a child I bless God, in whose bosom
he is ! May I and mine become as this little child, who


now follows the child Jesus that Lamb of God in a white
robe, whithersoever he goes; even so, Lord Jesus, fiat
voluntas tua I Thou gavest him to us, Thou hast taken
him from us, blessed be the name of the Lord ! That I
had any thing acceptable to Thee was from thy grace
alone, since from me he had nothing but sin, but that
Thou hast pardoned ! blessed be my God for ever, Amen!

In my opinion, he was suffocated by the women and
maids that tended him, and covered him too hot with
blankets as he lay in a cradle, near an excessive hot fire in
a close room. I suffered him to be opened, when they
found that he was what is vulgarly called liver-grown. I
caused his body to be coffined in lead, and reposited on
the 30th at eight o'clock that night in the church at Dept-
ford, accompanied with divers of my relations and neigh-
bours, among whom I distributed rings with this motto :
Dominus abstulit ; intending, God willing, to have him
transported with my own body to be interred in our dor-
mitory in Wotton Church, in my dear native county of
Surrey, and to lay my bones and mingle my dust with my
fathers, if God be gracious to me, and make me as fit for
Him as this blessed child was. The Lord Jesus sanctify
this and all other my afflictions, Amen !*

Here ends the joy of my life, and for which I go even
mourning to the grave.

15th February. The afflicting hand of God being still
upon us, it pleased Him also to take away from us this
morning my youngest Son, George, now seven weeks lan-
guishing at nurse, breeding teeth, and ending in a dropsy.
God's holy will be done! He was buried in Deptford
church, the 17th following.

25th. Came Dr. Jeremy Taylor, and my brothers, with
other friends, to visit and condole with us.

7th March. To London, to hear Dr. Taylor in a private
house on Luke xiii. 23, 24. After the sermon, followed
the blessed Communion, of which I participated. In the
afternoon, Dr. Gunning, at Exeter House, expounding part
of the Creed.

In the Preface to his Translation of the "Golden Book of St. Chrysostom,
concerning the Education of Children,' ' is likewise given a very interesting
account of this amiable and promising child. See Mr. Evelyn's " Miscella-
neous Writings," 4to. 1825,*p. 105.

1658.] JOHN EVELYN. 327

This had been the severest winter that any man alive
had known in England. The crows' feet were frozen to
their prey. Islands of ice inclosed both fish and fowl
frozen, and some persons in their boats.

15th May, was a public fast, to avert an epidemical
sickness, very mortal this spring.

20th. I went to see a coach-race in Hyde Park, and col-
lationed in Spring Garden.

23rd. Dr. Manton, the famous Presbyterian, preached
at Covent Garden, on Matthew vi. 10, showing what the
kingdom of God was, how pray for it, &c.

There was now a collection for persecuted and seques-
tered Ministers of the Church of England, whereof divers
are in prison. A sad day ! The Church now in dens and
caves of the earth.

31st. I went to visit my Lady Peterborough, whose son,
Mr. Mordaunt, prisoner in the Tower, was now on his
trial, and acquitted but by one voice; but that holy
martyr, Dr. Hewer, was condemned to die, without law,
jury, or justice, but by a mock Council of State, as they
called it. A dangerous, treacherous time !

2nd June. An extraordinary storm of hail and rain,
the season as cold as winter, the wind northerly near six

3rd. A large whale was taken betwixt my land abutting
on the Thames and Greenwich, which drew an infinite
concourse to see it, by water, horse, coach, and on foot,
from London, and all parts. It appeared first below Green-
wich at low water, for at high water it would have destroyed
all the boats, but lying now in shallow water encompassed
with boats, after a long conflict, it was killed with a harp-
ing iron, struck in the head, out of which spouted blood
and water by two tunnels; and, after a horrid groan, it ran
quite on shore, and died. Its length was fifty-eight feet,
height sixteen; black- skinned, like coach-leather, very
small eyes, great tail, only two small fins, a peaked snout,
and a mouth so wide, that divers men might have stood
upright in it; no teeth, but sucked the slime only as
through a grate of that bone which we call whale-bone ;
the throat yet so narrow, as would not have admitted the
least of fishes. The extremes of the cetaceous bones hang
downwards from the upper jaw, and are hairy towards the


ends and bottom within side : all of it prodigious ; but in
nothing more wonderful than that an animal of so great
a bulk should be nourished only by slime through those

8th. That excellent preacher and holy man, Dr. Hewer,
was martyred for having intelligence with his Majesty,*
through the Lord Marquis of Ormond.

9th. I went to see the Earl of Northumberland's pic-
tures, whereof that of the Venetian Senators f was one of
the best of Titian's, and another of Andrea del Sarto,
viz. a Madonna, Christ, St. John, and an Old Woman; a
St. Catharine of Da Vinci, with divers portraits of Van-
dyck; a Nativity of Georgioni; the last of our blessed
Kings (Charles I.), and the Duke of York, by Lely, a
Rosary, by the famous Jesuits of Brussels, and several
more. This was in Suffolk House : the new front towards
the gardens is tolerable, were it not drowned by a too-
massy and clumsy pair of stairs of stone, without any neat

10th. I went to see the Medical Garden, at Westminster,
well stored with plants, under Morgan, a very skilful

26th. To Eltham, to visit honest Mr. Owen.

3rd July. To London, and dined with Mr. Henshaw,
Mr. Dorell, and Mr. Ashmole, founder of the Oxford
repository of rarities, with divers doctors of physic and

15th. Came to see my Lord Kilmurry and Lady, Sir
Robert Needham, Mr. Offley, and two daughters of my
Lord Willoughby, of Parham.

3rd August. Went to Sir John Evelyn, at Godstone.
The place is excellent, but might be improved by turning
some offices of the house, and removing the garden. Th&
house being a noble fabric, though not comparable to
what was first built by my uncle, who was master of all
the powder-mills.

5th. We went to Squirriesf to visit my Cousin Leech,

He was Minister of St. Gregory's, London, and was beheaded on Tower<-

) The Cornaro family, still one of the grand ornaments of Northumberland-
House. There is a fine print of it engraved by Baron.

J At Westerham, in Kent.

1658.] JOHN EVELYN. 329

daughter to Sir John ; a pretty, finely wooded, well
watered seat, the stables good, the house old, but con-
venient. 6th. Returned to Wotton.

10th. I dined at Mr. Carew Raleigh's, at Horsley, son
to the famous Sir Walter.

14th. We went to Durdans [at Epsom] to a challenged
match at bowls for 10/., which we won.

18th, To Sir Ambrose Browne, at Betch worth Castle, in
that tempestuous wind which threw down my greatest
trees at Sayes Court, and did so much mischief all over
England. It continued the whole night ; and, till three in
the afternoon of the next day, in the south-west, and
destroyed all our winter fruit.

3rd September. Died that arch-rebel, Oliver Cromwell,
called Protector.

16th. Was published my " Translation of St. Chrysos-
tom on Education of Children," which I dedicated to both
my brothers, to comfort them on the loss of their children.

21st. My Lord Berkeley, of Berkeley Castle, invited
me to dinner.

26th. Mr. King preached at Ashted, on Proverbs xv.
24 j a Quaker would have disputed with him. In the
afternoon, we heard Dr. Racket (since Bishop of Litch-
field) at Cheam, where the family of the Lumleys lie buried.

27th. To Beddington, that ancient seat of the Carews,
a fine old hall, but a scambling house, famous for the first
orange-gardens in England, being now overgrown trees,

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 33 of 46)