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 5 of 46)
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service for a young drinker, as then I was ; so that being
pretty well satisfied with the confusion of armies and
sieges (if such that of the United Provinces may be called,,
where their quarters and encampments are so admirably
regular, and orders so exactly observed, as few cities, the
best governed in time of peace, exceed it for all con-
veniences), I took my leave of the Leagure and Camerades;
and, on the 12th of August, I embarked on the Waal, in
company with three grave divines, who entertained us a
great part of our passage with a long dispute concerning
the lawfulness of church-music. We now sailed by Teil,.
where we landed some of our freight, and about five
o'clock we touched at a pretty town named Bommell, that
had divers English in garrison. It stands upon Contribu-
tion-land, which subjects the environs to the Spanish
incursions. We sailed also by an exceeding strong fort
called Lovestein,* famous for the escape of the learned
Hugo Grotius, who, being in durance as a capital offender,
as was the unhappy Barneveldt, by the stratagem of his
lady, was conveyed in a trunk supposed to be filled with
books only. We lay at Gorcum, a very strong and con-
siderable frontier.

13th. We arrived late at Rotterdam, where was their
annual mart or fair, so furnished with pictures, (especially
landscapes and drolleries, as they call those clownish repre-
sentations,) that I was amazed. Some of these I bought,
and sent into England. The reason of this store of pictures,
and their cheapness, proceeds from their want of land to
employ their stock, so that it is an ordinary thing to find
a common farmer lay out two or three thousand pounds
in this commodity. Their houses are full of them, and
they vend them at their fairs to very great gains. Here I
first saw an elephant, who was extremely well disciplined
and obedient. It was a beast of a monstrous size, yet as

* The appellation of ft well-known party in Holland.

1641.] JOHN EVELYN. 21

flexible and nimble in the joints, contrary to the vulgar
tradition, as could be imagined from so prodigious a bulk
and strange fabric; but I most of all admired the dexterity
and strength of its proboscis, on which it was able to sup-
port two or three men, and by which it took and reached
whatever was offered to it ; its teeth were but short, being
a female, and not old. I was also shown a pelican, or ono-
cratulas of Pliny, with its large gullets, in which he kept his
reserve of fish : the plumage was white, legs red, flat, and
film-footed : likewise a cock with four legs, two rumps
and vents ; also a hen which had two large spurs growing
out of her sides, penetrating the feathers of her wings.

17th . I passed again through Delft, and visited
the church in which was the monument of Prince William
of Nassau, the first of the Williams, and saviour (as they
call him) of their liberty, which cost him his life by a
vile assassination. It is a piece of rare art, consisting of
several figures, as big as the life, in copper. There is in the
same place a magnificent tomb of his son and successor,
Maurice. The Senate-house hath a very stately portico,
supported with choice columns of black marble, as I
remember, of one entire stone. Within, there hangs a
weighty vessel of wood, not unlike a butter-churn, which
the adventurous woman that hath two husbands at one
time is to wear on her shoulders, her head peeping out at
the top only, and so led about the town, as a penance for
her incontinence. From hence, we went the next day to
Hyswick, a stately country-house of the Prince of Orange,
for nothing more remarkable than the delicious walks
planted with lime trees, and the modern paintings within.

19th . We returned to the Hague, and went to
visit the Hoff, or Prince's Court, with the adjoining
gardens full of ornament, close walks, statues, marbles,
grots, fountains, and artificial music.* There is to this
palace a stately hall, not much inferior to ours of West-
minster, hung round with colours and other trophies taken
from the Spaniards; and the sides below are furnished
with shops.f Next day (the 20th) I returned to Delft,
thence to Rotterdam, the Hague, and Leyden, where

* As at Enstone, in Oxfordshire ; see afterwards.

f Westminster-hall used to be so in Term-time, and the sitting of Par-
liament, in the beginning of the reign of George III.


immediately I mounted a waggon, which that night, late
as it was, brought us to Haerlem. About seven in the
morning, after I came to Amsterdam, where being pro-
vided with a lodging, the first thing I went to see was a
Synagogue of the Jews (being Saturday), whose ceremo-
nies, ornaments, lamps, law, and schools, afforded matter
for my contemplation. The women were secluded from
the men, being seated in galleries above, shut with lattices,
having their heads muffled with linen, after a fantastical
and somewhat extraordinary fashion ; the men, wearing a
large calico mantle, yellow coloured, over their hats, all
the while waving their bodies, whilst at their devotions.
From thence, I went to a place without the town, called
Overkirk, where they have a spacious field assigned them
to bury their dead, full of sepulchres with Hebraic inscrip-
tions, some of them stately and costly. Looking through
one of these monuments, where the stones were disjointed,
I perceived divers books and papers lie about a corpse ; for
it seems, when any learned Rabbi dies, they bury some of
his books with him. With the help of a stick, I raked out
several, written in Hebrew characters, but much impaired.
As we returned, we stepped in to see the Spin-house, a
kind of bridewell, where incorrigible and lewd women are
kept in discipline and labour, but all neat. We were
showed an hospital for poor travellers and pilgrims, built
by Queen Elizabeth of England ; and another maintained
by the city.

The State or Senate-house of this town, if the design be
perfected, will be one of the most costly and magnificent
pieces of architecture in Europe, especially for the materials
and the carvings. In the Doole is painted, on a very large
table, the bust of Marie de Medicis, supported by four royal
diadems, the work of one Vanderdall, who hath set his name
thereon, 1st September, 1638.

On Sunday, I heard an English sermon at the Presby-
terian congregation, where they had chalked upon a slate
the psalms that were to be sung, so that all the congre-
gation might see it without the bidding of a clerk. I was-
told, that after such an age no minister was permitted to
preach, but had his maintenance continued during life.

I purposely changed my lodgings, being desirous ta
converse with the sectaries that swarmed in this city, out

1641.] JOHN EVELYN. 23

of whose spawn came those almost innumerable broods in
England afterwards. It was at a Brownist's house, where
we had an extraordinary good table. There was in pension
with us my Lord Keeper, Finch, and one Sir J. Fotherbee.
Here I also found an English Carmelite, who was going
through Germany with an Irish gentleman. I now went
to see the Weese-house, a foundation like our Charter-
house, for the education of decayed persons, orphans, and
poor children, where they are taught several occupations.
The girls are so well brought up to housewifery, that men
of good worth, who seek that chiefly in a woman, fre-
quently take then 1 wives from this hospital. Thence to the
Hasp-house, where the lusty knaves are compelled to work;
and the rasping - of brasil and logwood for the dyers is very
hard labour. To the Dool-house, for madmen and fools.
But none did I so much admire, as an hospital for their
lame and decrepit soldiers and seamen, where the accom-
modations are very great, the building answerable; and,
indeed, for the like public charities the provisions are
admirable in this country, where, as no idle vagabonds are
suffered (as in England they are), there is hardly a child
of four or five years old, but they find some employment
for it.

It was on a Sunday morning that I went to the Bourse,
or Exchange, after their sermons were ended, to see the
Dog-market, which lasts till two in the afternoon, in this
place of convention of merchants from all parts of the
world : the building is not comparable to that of London,
built by that worthy citizen, Sir Thomas Gresham, yet in
one respect exceeding it, that vessels of considerable bur-
then ride at the very quay contiguous to it ; and indeed it
is by extraordinary industry that as well this city as gene-
rally all the towns of Holland, are so accommodated with
graffs, cuts, sluices, moles, and rivers, made by hand, that
nothing is more frequent, than to see a whole navy,
belonging to this mercantile people, riding at anchor
before their very doors; and yet their streets even, straight,
and well paved, the houses so uniform and planted with
lime trees, as nothing can be more beautiful.

The next day, we were entertained at a kind of tavern,
called the Briloft, appertaining to a rich Anabaptist, where,
in the upper rooms of the house, were divers pretty water-


works, rising 108 feet from the ground. Here were many
quaint devices, fountains, artificial music, noises of beasts,
and chirping of birds ; but what pleased me most was a
large pendant candlestick, branching into several sockets,
furnished all with ordinary candles to appearance, out of
the wicks spouting out streams of water, instead of flames.
This seemed then and was a rarity, before the philosophy
of compressed air made it intelligible. There was like-
wise a cylinder that entertained the company with a
variety of chimes, the hammers striking upon the brims of
porcelain dishes, suited to the tones and notes, without
cracking any of them. Many other water-works were

The Reiser's, or Emperor's Graft, which is an ample
and long street, appearing like a city in a forest ; the lime
trees planted just before each house, and at the margin of
that goodly aqueduct so curiously wharfed with Klincard
brick, which likewise paves the streets, than which nothing
can be more useful and neat. This part of Amsterdam is
built and gained upon the main sea, supported by piles at
an immense charge, and fitted for the most busy concourse
of traffickers and people of commerce beyond any place, or
mart, in the world. Nor must I forget the port of entrance
into and issue of this town, composed of very magnificent
pieces of architecture, some of the ancient and best man-
ner ; as are divers churches.

The turrets, or steeples, are adorned after a particular
manner and invention ; the chimes of bells are so rarely
managed, that being curious to know whether the motion
was from any engine, I went up to that of St. Nicholas,
where I found one who played all sorts of compositions
from the tablature before him, as if he had fingered an
organ; for so were the hammers fastened with wires to
several keys put into a frame twenty feet below the bells,
upon which (by help of a wooden instrument, not much
unlike a weaver's shuttle, that guarded his hand) he struck
on the keys and played to admiration: all this while,
through the clattering of the wires, din of the too nearly
sounding bells, and noise that his wooden gloves made, the
confusion was so great, that it was impossible for the
musician, or any that stood near him, to hear any thing
himself; yet, to those at a distance, and especially in the

1641.] JOHN EVELYN. 25

streets, the harmony and the time were the most exact and

The south church is richly paved with black and white
marble, the west is a new fabric ; and generally all the
churches in Holland are furnished with organs, lamps, and
monuments, carefully preserved from the fury and impiety
of popular reformers, whose zeal has foolishly transported
them in other places rather to act like madmen than

Upon St. Bartholomew's day, I went amongst the book-
sellers, and visited the famous Hondius and Bleaw's shop,
to buy some maps, atlases, and other works of that kind.
At another shop, I furnished myself with some shells and
Indian curiosities ; and so, towards the end of August, I
returned again to Haerlem by the river, ten miles in
length, straight as a line, and of competent breadth for
ships to sail by one another. They showed us a cottage
where, they told us, dwelt a woman who had been married
to her twenty-fifth husband, and being now a widow, was
prohibited to marry in future ; yet it could not be proved
that she had ever made away with any of her husbands,
though the suspicion had brought her divers times to

Haerlem is a very delicate town, and hath one of the
fairest churches of the Gothic design I had ever seen.
There hang in the steeple, which is very high, two silver
bells, said to have been brought from Damietta, in Egypt,
by an Earl of Holland, in memory of whose success they
are rung out every evening. In the nave, hang the
goodliest branches of brass for tapers that I have seen,
esteemed of great value for the curiosity of the work-
manship ; also a fair pair of organs, which I could not
find they made use of in divine service, or so much as to
assist them in singing psalms, but only for show, and
to recreate the people before and after their devotions,
whilst the burgomasters were walking and conferring
about their affairs. Near the west window hang two
models of ships, completely equipped, in memory of that
invention of saws under their keels, with which they cut
through the chain of booms, which barred the port of
Damietta. Having visited this church, the fish-market,
and made some inquiry about the printing-house, the


invention whereof is said to have been in this town, I
returned to Ley den.

At Leyden, I was carried up to the castle, or Pyrgus,
built on a very steep artificial mount, cast up (as reported)
by Hengist the Saxon, on his return out of England,
as a place to retire to, in case of any sudden inundations.

The churches are many and fair ; in one of them lies
buried the learned and illustrious Joseph Scaliger, with-
out any extraordinary inscription, Avho, having left the
world a monument of his worth more lasting than mar-
ble, needed nothing more than his own name; which I
think is all engraven on his sepulchre. He left his library
to this University.

28th . I went to see the college and schools,

which are nothing extraordinary, and was complimented
with a matricula by the maynificus Professor, who first in
Latin demanded of me where my lodging in the town was,
my name, age, birth, and to what Faculty I addicted myself;
then, recording my answers in a book, he administered an
oath to me that I should observe the statutes and orders
of the University whilst I stayed, and then delivered me
a ticket, by virtue whereof I was made excise-free; for
all which worthy privileges, and the pains of writing, he
accepted of a rix-dollar.

Here was now the famous Dan. Heinsius, whom I so
longed to see, as well as the no less famous printer,
Elzevir's printing-house and shop, renowned for the
politeness of the character and editions of what he has
published through Europe. Hence to the physic-garden,
well stored with exotic plants, if the catalogue presented
to me by the gardener be a faithful register.

But, amongst all the rarities of this place, I was much
pleased with a sight of their anatomy-school, theatre, and
repository adjoining, which is well furnished with natural
curiosities ; skeletons from the whale and elephant to the
fly and spider, which last is a very delicate piece of art;
to see how the bones (if I may so call them of so tender
an insect) could be separated from the mucilaginous parts
of that minute animal. Amongst a great variety of other
things, I was shown the knife newly taken out pf a
jlrunken Dutchman's guts, by an incision in his side, after
it had slipped from his fingers into his stomach. The

1641.] JOHN EVELYN. 27

pictures of the chirurgeon and his patient, both living,
were there.

There is without the town a fair Mall, curiously planted.

Returning to my lodging, I was shewed the statue, cut
in stone, of the happy monk, whom they report to have
been the first inventor of typography, set over the door ;
but this is much controverted by others who strive for
the glory of it, besides John Guttemburgh.

I was brought acquainted Avith a Burgundian Jew, who
had married an apostate Kentish woman. I asked him
divers questions ; he told me, amongst other things, that
the World should never end, that our souls transmigrated,
and that even those of the most holy persons did penance
in the bodies of brutes after death, and so he interpreted
the banishment and savage life of Nebuchadnezzar ; that
all the Jews should rise again, and be led to Jerusalem ;
that the Romans only were the occasion of our Saviour's
death, whom he affirmed (as the Turks do) to be a great
prophet, but not the Messiah. He shewed me several
books of their devotion, which he had translated into
English, for the instruction of his wife; he told me that
when the Messiah came, all the ships, barks, and vessels
of Holland should, by the power of certain strange whirl-
winds, be loosed from their anchors, and transported in a
moment to all the desolate ports and havens throughout
the world, wherever the dispersion was, to convey their
brethren and tribes to the Holy City; with other such
like stuff. He was a merry drunken fellow, but would by
no means handle any money (for something I purchased
of him), it being Saturday ; but desired me to leave it in
the window, meaning to receive it on Sunday morning.

1st September. I went to Delft and Rotterdam, and
two days after back to the Hague, to bespeak a suit of
horseman's armour, which I caused to be made to fit me.
I now rode out of town to see the monument of the woman,
pretended to have been a Countess of Holland, reported
to have had as many children at one birth, as there are
days in the year. The basins were hung up in which they
were baptized, together with a large description of the
matter-of-fact in a frame of carved work, in the church of
Lysdun, a desolate place. As I returned, I diverted to
see one of the prince's Palaces, called the Hoff Van


Hounslers Dyck, a very fair cloistered and quadrangular
building. The gallery is prettily painted with several
huntings, and at one end a Gordian knot, with rustical
instruments so artificially represented, as to deceive an
accurate eye to distinguish it from actual relievo. The
ceiling of the staircase is painted with the Rape of Gany-
mede, and other pendent figures, the work of F. Coven-
berg, of whose hand I bought an excellent drollery, which
I afterwards parted with to my brother George of Wotton,
where it now hangs.* To this palace join a fair garden
and park, curiously planted with limes.

8th. Returned to Rotterdam, through Delftshaven and
Sedan, where were at that time Colonel Goring's winter-
quarters. This town has heretofore been very much
talked of for witches.

10th. I took waggon for Dort, to be present at the re-
ception of the Queen-mother, Marie de Medicis, Dowager
of France, widow of Henry the Great, and mother to the
French King, Louis XIII. and the Queen of England,
whence she newly arrived, tossed to and fro by the various
fortune of her life. From this city, she designed for
Cologne, conducted by the Earl of Arundel and the Herr
Van Bredrod. At this interview, I saw the Princess of
Orange, and the lady her daughter, afterwards married to
the House of Brandenburgh. There was little remarkable
in this reception befitting the greatness of her person;
but an universal discontent, which accompanied that
unlucky woman wherever she went.

12th. I went towards Bois-le-Duc, where we arrived on
the 16th, at the time when the new citadel was advancing
with innumerable hands, and incomparable inventions for
draining off the waters out of the fens and morasses about
it, being by buckets, mills, cochleas, pumps, and the like ;
in which the Hollanders are the most expert in Europe.
Here were now sixteen companies and nine troops of
horse. They were also cutting a new river, to pass from
the town to a castle not far from it. Here we split our
skiff, falling foul upon another through negligence of the
master, who was fain to run aground, to our no little
hazard. At our arrival, a soldier conveyed us to the

* It is still there.

1641.] JOHN EVELYN. 9

Governor, where our names were taken, and our persons
examined very strictly.

17th. I was permitted to walk the round and view the
works, and to visit a convent of religious women of the
order of St. Clara, who by the capitulation were allowed
to enjoy their monastery and maintenance undisturbed, at
the surrender of the town twelve years since, where we
had a collation and very civil entertainment. They had
a neat chapel, in which the heart of the Duke of Cleves,
their founder, lies inhumed under a plate of brass.
Within the cloister is a garden, and in the middle of it
an overgrown lime-tree, out of whose stem, near the
root, issue five upright and exceeding tall suckers, or
bolls, the like whereof for evenness and height I had not

The chief church of this city is curiously carved within
and without, furnished with a pair of organs, and a most
magnificent font of copper.

18th. I went to see that most impregnable town and
fort of Hysdune, where I was exceedingly obliged to one
Colonel Crombe, the lieutenant-governor, who would needs
make me accept the honour of being captain of the watch,
and to give the word this night. The fortification is very
irregular, but esteemed one of the most considerable for
strength and situation in the Netherlands. We departed
towards Gorcum. Here Sir Kenelm Digby, travelling
towards Cologne, met us.

The next morning, the 19th, we arrived at Dort, passing
by the Decoys, where they catch innumerable quantities
of fowl. ,

22nd. I went again to Rotterdam to receive a pass
which I expected from Brussels, securing me through
Brabant and Flanders, designing to go into England
through those countries. The Cardinal Infante, brother
to the king of Spain, was then governor. By this pass,
having obtained another from the Prince of Orange, upon
the 24th of September I departed through Dort ; but met
with very bad tempestuous weather, being several times
driven back, and obliged to lie at anchor off Keele, other
vessels lying there waiting better weather. The 25th and
26th we made other essays ; but were again repulsed to the
harbour, where lay sixty vessels waiting to sail.^ But, 011


the 27th we, impatient of the time and inhospitableness of
the place, sailed again with a contrary and impetuous wind
and a terrible sea, in great jeopardy ; for we had much
ado to keep ourselves above water, the billows breaking
desperately on our vessel : we were driven into William-
stadt, a place garrisoned by the English, where the Go-
vernor had a fair house. The works, and especially the
counterscarp, are curiously hedged with quick, and planted
with a stately row of limes on the rampart. The church
is of a round structure, with a cupola, and the town
belongs entirely to the Prince of Orange, as does that of
Breda, and some other places.

28th. Failing of an appointment, I was constrained to
return to Dort for a bill of exchange ; but it was the 1st
of October ere I could get back. At Keele, I numbered
141 vessels, who durst not yet venture out ; but, animated
by the master of a stout barque, after a small encounter
of weather, we arrived by four that evening at Steen-
bergen. In the passage we sailed over a sea called the
Plaats, an exceeding dangerous water, by reason of two
contrary tides which meet there very impetuously.
Here, because of the many shelves, we were forced to
tide it along the Channel ; but, ere we could gain the
place, the ebb was so far spent, that we were compelled
to foot it at least two long miles, through a most pelting
shower of rain.

2nd October. With a gentleman of the Rhyngraves,
I went in a cart, or tumbrel (for it was no better ; no other
accommodation could be procured) of two wheels and
one horse, to Bergen-op-Zoom, meeting by the way divers
parties of his Highness's army now retiring towards their
winter quarters ; the convoy skiffs riding by thousands
along the harbour. The fort was heretofore built by the

The next morning, I embarked for Lillo, having refused
a convoy of horse which was offered me. The tide being

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 5 of 46)