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 36 of 46)
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title to Sayes Court.

3rd. I went to see the wonderful engine for weaving
silk stockings, said to have been the invention of an Oxford
scholar forty years since ; and I returned by Fromantil's,
the famous clock-maker, to see some pendules, Monsieur
Zulichem being with us.

This evening, I was with my Lord Brouncker, Sir Robert
Murray, Sir Patrick Neill, Monsieur Zulichem, and Bull
(all of them of our Society, and excellent mathematicians),
to show his Majesty, who was present, Saturn's annulus,
as some thought, but as Zulichem affirmed with his balteus
(as that learned gentleman had published), very near
eclipsed by the moon, near the Mons Porphyritis ; also,
Jupiter and satellites, through his Majesty's great telescope,
drawing thirty-five feet ; on which were divers discourses.

8th. His Majesty rode in state, with his imperial crown

* Viz. a Poem on his Majesty's Coronation, the 23rd of April, 1661, being
St. George's day.


on, and all the peers in their robes, in great pomp to the
parliament now newly chosen (the old one being dissolved) ;
and, that evening, declared in council his intention to marry
the Infanta of Portugal.

9th. At Sir Robert Murray' s, where I met Dr. Wallis,
Professor of Geometry in Oxford, where was discourse of
several mathematical subjects.

llth. My Wife presented to his Majesty the Madonna
she had copied in miniature from P. Oliver's painting,
after Raphael, which she wrought with extraordinary pains
and judgment. The King was infinitely pleased with it,
and caused it to be placed in his cabinet amongst his best

13th. I heard and saw such exercises at the election of
scholars at Westminster School to be sent to the Univer-
sity in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic, in themes and
extemporary verses, as wonderfully astonished me in such
youths, with such readiness and wit, some of them not
above twelve, or thirteen years of age. Pity it is, that
what they attain here so ripely, they either do not retain,
or do not improve more considerably when they come to
be men, though many of them do ; and no less is to be
blamed their odd pronouncing of Latin, so that out of
England none were able to understand, or endure it. The
examinants, or posers, were, Dr. Duport, Greek Professor
at Cambridge ; Dr. Fell, Dean of Christ-Church, Oxford ;
Dr. Pierson, Dr. Allestree, Dean of Westminster, and any
that would.

14th. His Majesty was pleased to discourse with me
concerning several particulars relating to our Society, and
the planet, Saturn, &c., as he sate at supper in the with-
drawing-room to his bed-chamber.

16th. I dined with Mr. Garmus, the resident from
Hamburgh, who continued his feast near nine whole
hours, according to the custom of his country, though
there was no great excess of drinking, no man being;
obliged to take more than he liked.

22nd. The Scotch Covenant was burnt by the common
hangman in divers places in London. Oh, prodigious
change !

29th. This was the first anniversary appointed by Act
of Parliament to be observed as a day of General Thanks-

1661.] JOHN EVELYN. 353

giving for the miraculous restoration of his Majesty : our
vicar preaching on Psalm cxviii. 24, requiring us to be
thankful and rejoice, as indeed we had cause.

4th June. Came Sir Charles Harbord, his Majesty's
surveyor, to take an account of what grounds I challenged
at Sayes Court.

27th. I saw the Portugal Ambassador at dinner with
bis Majesty in state, where was excellent music.

2nd July. I went to see the New Spring-Garden, at
Lambeth, a pretty contrived plantation.

19th. We tried our Diving-Bell, or engine, in the water-
dock at Deptford, in which our curator continued half an
hour under water; it was made of cast lead, let down
with a strong cable.

3rd August. Came my Lord Hatton, Comptroller of
his Majesty's household, to visit me.

9th. I tried several experiments on the sensitive plant
and humilis, which contracted with the least touch of the
sun through a burning-glass, though it rises and opens
only when it shines on it.

I first saw the famous Queen Pine* brought from Bar-
badoes, and presented to his Majesty ; but the first that
were ever seen in England were those sent to Cromwell
four years since.

I dined at Mr. Palmer's in Gray's Inn, whose curiosity
excelled in clocks and pendules, especially one that had
innumerable motions, and played nine or ten tunes on the
bells very finely, some of them set in parts ; which was
very harmonious. It was wound up but once in a quarter.
He had also good telescopes and mathematical instru-
ments, choice pictures, and other curiosities. Thence, we
went to that famous mountebank, Jo. Punteus.

Sir Kenelm Digby presented every one of us his Dis-
course of the Vegetation of Plants; and Mr. Henshaw,
his History of Salt-Petre and Gunpowder. I assisted
him to procure his place of French Secretaiy to the King,
which he purchased of Sir Henry De Vic.

* An excellent print in the line manner, 13 inches by 12, was engraved, in
1823, by Robert Grave, from the picture at Strawberry-Hill, of King Charles
II., receiving this species of fruit from Rose, his gardener, who is presenting
it on his knees, at Dawney Court, Buckinghamshire, the seat of the celebrated
Duchess of Cleveland. See hereafter, under 1668, August.


I went to that famous physician, Sir Fr. Prujean, who
showed me his laboratory, his work-house for turning, and
other mechanics ; also many excellent pictures, especially
the Magdalen of Caracci ; and some incomparable pay sages
done in distemper ; he played to me likewise on the poly-
thore, an instrument having something of the harp, lute,
and theorbo; by none known in England, nor described
by any author, nor used, but by this skilful and learned

15th. I went to Tunbridge- Wells, my wife being there
for the benefit of her health. Walking about the solitudes,
I greatly admired the extravagant turnings, insinuations,
and growth of certain birch-trees among the rocks.

13th September. I presented my " Fumifugium," *
dedicated to his Majesty, who was pleased that I should
publish it by his special commands, being much gratified
with it.

18th. This day was read our petition to his Majesty for
his royal grant, authorizing our Society to meet as a cor-
poration, with several privileges.

An exceeding sickly, wet autumn.

1st October. I sailed this morning with his Majesty in
one of his yachts (or pleasure-boats), vessels not known
among us till the Dutch East India Company presented
that curious piece to the King ; being very excellent sailing
vessels. It was on a wager between his other new pleasure-
boat, built frigate-like, and one of the Duke of York's ;
the wager 100/. ; the race from Greenwich to Gravesend
and back. The King lost it going, the wind being
contrary, but saved stakes in returning. There were
divers noble persons and lords on board, his Majesty some-
times steering himself. His barge and kitchen boat
attended. I brake fast this morning with the King at
return in his smaller vessel, he being pleased to take me
and only four more, who were noblemen, with him ; but
dined in his yacht, where we all eat together with his
Majesty. In this passage he was pleased to discourse to
me about my book inveighing against the nuisance of
the smoke of London, and proposing expedients how, by

* This pamphlet having become scarce, was reprinted for Messrs. White,
in Fleet Street, in 4to, in 1772, and is incorporated in Evelyn's " Miscellaneous
Writings," edited by W. Upcott, of the London Institution, in 1825, 4to.

1661.] JOHN EVELYN. 355

removing those particulars I mentioned,* it might be re-
formed; commanding me to prepare a Bill against the
next session of Parliament, being, as he said, resolved to
have something done in it. Then he discoursed to me of
the improvement of gardens and buildings, now very rare
in England comparatively to other countries. He then
commanded me to draw up the matter of fact happening
at the bloody encounter which then had newly happened
between the French and Spanish Ambassadors near the
Tower, contending for precedency, at the reception of the
Swedish Ambassador ; giving me order to consult Sir
William Compton, Master of the Ordnance, to inform me
of what he knew of it, and with his favourite, Sir Charles
Berkeley, f captain of the Duke's life-guard, then present
with his troop and three foot-companies ; with some other
reflections and instructions, to be prepared with a declara-
tion to take off the reports which went about of his
Majesty's partiality in the affairs, and of his officers' and
spectators' rudeness whilst the conflict lasted. So I came
home that night, and went next morning to London,
where from the officers of the Tower, Sir William Compton,
Sir Charles Berkeley, and others who were attending at
this meeting of the Ambassadors three days before, having
collected what I could, I drew up a Narrative in vindica-
tion of his Majesty, and the carriage of his officers and

On Thursday, his Majesty sent one of the pages of the
back stairs for me to wait on him with my papers, in his
cabinet, where was present only Sir Henry Bennett J
(Privy-Purse), when beginning to read to his Majesty
what I had drawn up, by the time I had read half a page,
came in Mr. Secretary Morice with a large paper, desiring
to speak with his Majesty, who told him he was now very
busy, and therefore ordered him to come again some other
time ; the Secretary replied that what he had in his hand
was of extraordinary importance. So the King rose up,
and, commanding me to stay, went aside to a corner of the
room with the Secretary; after a while, the Secretary

* In the Fumifugium, before mentioned.

+ Afterwards Earl of Falmouth, who was killed by the side of the Duke of
York, in the first Dutch war.

t Afterwards Secretary of State, Earl of Arlington, and Lord Chamberlain.
A A 2


being despatched, his Majesty returning to me at the
table, a letter was brought him from Madame out of
France ; this he read and then bid me proceed from where
I left off. This I did till I had ended all the narrative, to
his Majesty's great satisfaction ; and, after I had inserted
one or two more clauses, in which his Majesty instructed
me, commanded that it should that night be sent to the
Post-house, directed to the Lord Ambassador at Paris
(the Earl of St. Alban's) and then at leisure to prepare
him a copy, which he would publish.* This I did, and
immediately sent my papers to the Secretary of State,
with his Majesty's express command of despatching them
that night for France. Before I went out of the King's
closet, he called me back to show me some ivory statues,
and other curiosities that I had not seen before.

3rd. Next evening, being in the withdrawing-room
adjoining the bedchamber, his Majesty espying me came
to me from a great crowd of noblemen standing near the
fire, and asked me if I had done ; and told me he feared
it might be a little too sharp, on second thoughts ; for he
had that morning spoken with the French Ambassador,
who it seems had palliated the matter, and was very tame ;
and therefore directed me where I should soften a period
or two, before it was published (as afterwards it was).f
This night also he spake to me to give him a sight of what
was sent, and to bring it to him in his bed-chamber;
which I did, and received it again from him at dinner,
next day. By Saturday, having finished it with all his
Majesty's notes, the King being gone abroad, I sent the
papers to Sir Henry Bennett (Privy Purse and a great
favourite), and slipped home, being myself much indisposed
and harassed with going about, and sitting up to write.

19th. I went to London, to visit my Lord of Bristol,
having been with Sir John Denham (his Majesty's sur-
veyor) to consult with him about the placing of his palace
at Greenwich, which I would have had built between the
river and the Queen's house, so as a large square cut should

The Narrative is reprinted hereafter.

t Notwithstanding this positive assertion, it is very extraordinary that it
has never been inserted in any Library, or Auction Catalogue, that a gentle-
man of the greatest research (Mr. Bindley) ever saw. Perhaps it was

1661.] JOHN EVELYN. 357

have let in the Thames like a bay ; but Sir John was for
setting it on piles at the very brink of the water, which I
did not assent to ; and so came away, knowing Sir John
to be a better poet than architect, though he had Mr. Webb
(Inigo Jones's man) to assist him.*

29th. I saw the Lord May or f pass in his water triumph
to Westminster, being the first solemnity of this nature
after twenty years.

2nd November. Came Sir Henry Bennett, since Lord
Arlington, to visit me, and to acquaint me that his Majesty
would do me the honour to come and see my garden ; but,
it being then late, it was deferred.

3rd. One Mr. Breton J preached his probation-sermon
at our parish-church, and indeed made a most excellent
discourse on John i. 29, of God's free grace to penitents,
so that I could not but recommend him to the patron.

10th. In the afternoon, preached at the Abbey Dr.
Basire, that great traveller, or rather French Apostle, who
had been planting the Church of England in divers parts
of the Levant and Asia. He showed that the Church of
England was, for purity of doctrine, substance, decency,
and beauty, the most perfect under Heaven ; that England
was the very land of Goshen.

llth. I was so idle as to go to see a play called " Love
and Honour." Dined at Arundel House ; and that
evening discoursed with his Majesty about shipping, in
which he was exceeding skilful.

1 5th. I dined with the Duke of Ormond, who told me
there were no moles in Ireland, nor any rats till of late, and
that but in one county ; but it was a mistake that spiders
would not live there, only they were not poisonous. Also,
that they frequently took salmon with dogs.

16th. I presented my Translation of " Naudaeus con-
cerning Libraries" to my Lord Chancellor; but it was
miserably false printed.

* See p. 361.

f Sir John Frederick. The pageant for this day was called " London's
Triumph, at the Charges of the Grocers' Company. By John Tatham." See
the Gentleman's Magazine, xciv. ii. 517.

J He obtained the living.

A Tragi-Comedy, by Sir William Davenant ; the performance appears to
have been in the morning.


1 7th. Dr. Creighton, a Scot, author of the " Florentine
Council," and a most eloquent man and admirable Grecian,
preached on Cant. vi. 13, celebrating the return and
restoration of the Church and King.

20th. At the Royal Society, Sir William Petty proposed
divers things for the improvement of shipping ; a versatile
keel that should be on hinges, and concerning sheathing
ships with thin lead.*

24th. This night his Majesty fell into discourse with me
concerning bees, &c.

26th. I saw Hamlet Prince of Denmark played ; but now
the old plays began to disgust this refined age, since his
Majesty's being so long abroad.

28th. I dined at Chiffinch's house-warming, in St.
James's Park ; he was his Majesty's closet-keeper, and had
his new house full of good pictures, &c. There dined with
us Russell, Popish Bishop of Cape Verd, who was sent out
to negotiate his Majesty's match with the Infanta of
Portugal, after the Ambassador was returned.

29th. I dined at the Countess of Peterborough's, and
went that evening to Parson's Green with my Lord
Mordaunt, with whom I stayed that night.

1st December. I took leave of my Lord Peterborough,
going now to Tangier, which was to be delivered to the
English on the match with Portugal.

3rd. By universal suffrage of our philosophic assembly,
an order was made and registered, that I should receive
their public thanks for the honourable mention I made of
them by the name of Royal Society, in my Epistle dedica-
tory to the Lord Chancellor, before my Traduction of
Naudseus. Too great an honour for a trifle.

4th. I had much discourse with the Duke of York, con-
cerning strange cures he affirmed of a woman who swallowed
a whole ear of barley, which worked out at her side. I
told him of the knife swallowed f, and the pins.

I took leave of the Bishop of Cape Verd, now going in
the fleet to bring over our new Queen.

* Of which see more hereafter.

f This refers to the Dutchman, p. 26, and to an extraordinary case, con-
tained in a " miraculous cure of the Prussian Swallow Knife, &c., by Dan.
Lakin, P. C." quarto, London, 1642, with a woodcut representing the object
himself, and the size of the knife.

1662.] JOHN EVELYN. 359

7th. I dined at Arundel House, the day when the great
contest in Parliament was concerning the restoring the
Duke of Norfolk ; however, it was carried for him. I also
presented my little trifle of Sumptuary Laws, entitled
" Tyrannus " [or " The Mode."]

14th. I saw otter-hunting with the King, and killed one.

16th. I saw a French Comedy acted at Whitehall.

20th. The Bishop of Gloucester* preached at the Abbey,
at the funeral of the Bishop of Hereford, brother to the
Duke of Albemarle. It was a decent solemnity. There
was a silver mitre, with episcopal robes, borne by the
herald before the hearse, which was followed by the Duke
his brother, and all the Bishops, with divers noblemen.

23rd. I heard an Italian play and sing to the guitar with
extraordinary skill before the Duke.

1661-2. 1st January. I went to London, invited to the
solemn foolery of the Prince de la Grange, at Lincoln's
Inn, where came the King, Duke, &c. It began with a
grand masque, and a formal pleading before the mock
Princes, Grandees, Nobles, and Knights of the Sun. He
had his Lord Chancellor, Chamberlain, Treasurer, and other
Royal Officers, gloriously clad and attended. It ended in
a magnificent banquet. One Mr. Lort was the young
spark who maintained the pageantry.

6th. This evening, according to custom, his Majesty
opened the revels of that night by throwing the dice him-
self in the privy-chamber, where was a table set on
purpose, and lost his 100/. (The year before he won 1500/.)
The ladies also played very deep. I came away when the
Duke of Ormond had won about 1000/., and left them
still at passage, cards, &c. At other tables, both there and
at the Groom-porter's, observing the wicked folly and
monstrous excess of passion amongst some losers ; sorry
am I that such a wretched custom as play to that excess
should be countenanced in a Court, which ought to be an
example of virtue to the rest of the kingdom.

9th. I saw acted The Third Part of the Siege of
Rhodes." In this acted the fair and famous comedian
called Roxalana from the part she performed ; and I think
it was the last, she being taken to be the Earl of Oxford's

* Dr. William Nicholson.


Miss (as at this time they began to call lewd women). It
was in recitative music.

10th. Being called into his Majesty's closet when Mr.
Cooper, the rare limner, was crayoning of the King's face
and head, to make the stamps for the new milled money now
contriving, I had the honour to hold the candle whilst it
was doing, he choosing the night and candle-light for the
better finding out the shadows. During this, his Majesty
discoursed with me on several things relating to painting
and graving.

llth. I dined at Arundel House, where I heard excellent
music performed by the ablest masters, both French and
English, on theorbos, viols, organs, and voices, as an exer-
cise against the coming of the Queen, purposely composed
for her chapel. Afterwards, my Lord Aubigny (her Majesty's
Almoner to be) showed us his elegant lodging, and his
wheel-chair for ease and motion, with divers other curi-
osities ; especially a kind of artificial glass, or porcelain,
adorned with relievos of paste, hard and beautiful. Lord
Aubigny (brother to the Duke of Lennox) was a person of
good sense, but wholly abandoned to ease and effeminacy.

I received of Sir Peter Ball, the Queen's Attorney, a
draught of an Act against the nuisance of the smoke of
London, to be reformed by removing several trades which
are the cause of it, and endanger the health of the King
and his people. It was to have been offered to the Parlia-
ment, as his Majesty commanded.

12th. AtSt. James's chapel preached, or rather harangued,
the famous orator, Monsieur Morus,* in French. There
were present the King, Duke, French Ambassador, Lord
Aubigny, Earl of Bristol, and a world of Roman Catholics,
drawn thither to hear this eloquent Protestant.

15th. There was a general fast through the whole
nation, and now celebrated in London, to avert God's heavy
judgments on this land. Great rain had fallen without any
frost, or seasonable cold, not only in England, but in
Sweden, and the most northern parts, being here near as
warm as at Midsummer in some years.

This solemn fast was held for the House of Commons at

* Probably, the famous Alexander Morus (the antagonist of Milton) who
was here in 1662. He was a very eloquent and much-admired preacher.

1662.] JOHN EVELYN. 3d

St. Margaret's. Dr. Reeves, Dean of Windsor, preached
on Joshua, vii. 12, showing how the neglect of exacting
justice on offenders (by which he insinuated such of the
old King's murderers as were yet reprieved and in the
Tower) was a main cause of God's punishing a land. He
brought in that of the Gibeonites, as well as Achan and
others, concluding with an eulogy of the Parliament for
their loyalty in restoring the Bishops and Clergy, and
vindicating the Church from sacrilege.

16th. Having notice of the Duke of York's intention to
visit my poor habitation and garden this day, I returned,
when he was pleased to do me that honour of his own
accord, and to stay some time viewing such things as I
had to entertain his curiosity. Afterwards, he caused me
to dine with him at the Treasurer of the Navy's house,
and to sit with him covered at the same table. There
were his Highness, the Duke of Ormoiid, and several
Lords. Then they viewed some of my grounds .about a
project for a receptacle for ships to be moored in, which
was laid aside as a fancy of Sir Nicholas Crisp. After this,
I accompanied the Duke to an East India vessel that
lay at Blackwall, where we had entertainment of several
curiosities. Amongst other spirituous drinks, as punch,
&c., they gave us Canary that had been carried to and
brought from the Indies, which was indeed incomparably
good. I returned to London with his Highness. This night
was acted before his Majesty " The Widow," a lewd play.

18th. I came home to be private a little, not at all
affecting the life and hurry of Court.

24th. His Majesty entertained me with his intentions
of building his Palace of Greenwich, and quite demolish-
ing the old one ; on which I declared my thoughts.

25th. I dined with the Trinity-Company at their house,
that Corporation being by charter fixed at Deptford.

3rd February. I went to Chelsea, to see Sir Arthur
Gorges' house.

llth. I saw a comedy acted before the Duchess of York
at the Cockpit. The King was not at it.

17th. I went with my Lord of Bristol to see his house
at Wimbledon,* newly bought of the Queen-Mother, to

It devolved afterwards to Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, who built a


help contrive the garden after the modern. It is a deli-
cious place for prospect and the thickets, but the soil cold
and weeping clay. Returned that evening with Sir Henry

This night was huried in Westminster- Abbey the Queen
of Bohemia,* after all her sorrows and afflictions being
come to die in the arms of her nephew, the King : also
this night and the next day fell such a storm of hail,
thunder, and lightning, as never was seen the like in any
man's memory, especially the tempest of wind, being south-
west, which subverted, besides huge trees, many houses,
innumerable chimneys (amongst others that of my parlour
at Sayes Court), and made such havoc at land and sea,
that several perished on both. Divers lamentable fires
were also kindled at this time ; so exceedingly was God's
hand against this ungrateful and vicious nation and Court.

20th. I returned home to repair my house, miserably
shattered by the late tempest.

24th March. I returned home with my whole family,
which had been most part of the winter, since October, at
London, in lodgings near the Abbey of Westminster.

6th ApriL Being of the Vestry, in the afternoon we
ordered that the communion-table should be set (as usual)

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 36 of 46)