Helen Evelyn.

The history of the Evelyn family, with a special memoir of William John Evelyn online

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cause have wee to lament him dead ! Such a friend was Sr
Sam Tuke, who retired out of this life on St. Paul's day
Jan. 25 at midnight, and has changed the scene to him and us,
and left occasion to all that knew him to bewayle the losse.
You need not to be made sensible by a character of a person
you knew so well, and you can enumerate virtues enough
to lament and shed some teares justly ; therefore spare me
the sorrow of repeating what effect it has wrought on such
a minde as mine, who think no missfortune worth regretting
besides the losse of those I love. Do not blame me if I
beleeve it allmost impossible to meet with a person so worthy
in himself e, and so disposed to esteeme me againe ; and
yet that is not the chief est cause of my affliction ! I might
wave much of my owne interest, had I not so many partners
that will suffer equally. These are the trialls which make
Christian philosophy usefull, not only by a resignation to the
Divine decree, but by that hope which encourages us to
expect a more lasting happinesse than any this world can give,


without which wee were extreamly wretched, since no fehcity
here has any duration. The greatest conquerors themselves
are subject to this unsteady state of human nature, therefore
well may I submitt, whose concerns are triviall in respect of
others. Yet this I conclude, that wee dye by degrees when
our friends go before us. But whilst I discourse thus with
you, I should consider what effects melancholy reflections
may have on a spleen etic person, one who needes not cherish
that temper. I will only add that I am now able to quitt
mj'^ chamber, which is more than I could do these 14 dayes,
and that I am, Sr,

" Your Servant,

M. Evelyn."

" To Mr. Bohun, Fellow of New College, Oxford

" Sr, — When I have assured you that my usuall indis-
position has treated me so severelly this winter that I have
had little leisure to think of any thing but the meanes of
gaineing health and ease, I am perswaded you will excuse
me if I have not decided in my thoughts which was the
greatest captaine, Caesar or Pompey ; whether Mr. De
Rosny were not a great politician, a brave soldier, and the
best servant that ever Prince had for capacity, fidelity and
steadinesse, a man strangely disinterested, infinitely fortun-
ate, and every way qualified to serve such a master as was
Henry the Great, who notwithstanding humane frailties, was
worthy to be faithfully dealt with, since he knew how to
judge and to reward. But why do we allwayes look back
into times past ? wee may not reproch our owne, since heere
is at this present a scene for galantrie and merit, and whilst
wee may hope, wee must not condemne. Should I tell you
how full of sorrow I have ben for the losse of Dr. Bretton,
[minister of Deptford ; he died in February 1672] you only
would blame me ; after death flattery ceases, therefore you
may beleeve there was some cause to lament when thousands
of weeping eyes witnessed the affliction their soules were in ;
one would have imagined every one in this parish had lost a
father, brother, or husband, so great was the bewailing ; and


in earnest it dos appeare there never was a better nor a more
worthy man. Such was his temper, prudence, charity, and
good conduct, that he gained the weeke and preserved the
wise. The sudenesse of his death was a surprise only to his
friends ; as for himselfe it might be looked upon as a deliver-
ance from paine, the effect of sicknesse, and I am allmost
perswaded God snatched him from us, least he might have
ben prevailed with by the number of petitions to have left
him still amongst us. If you suspect kindness in me makes
me speake too much. Doctor Parr ^ is a person against whome
you cannot object ; it was he who preached the funerall
sermon, and as an effect of truth as well as eloquence he
himselfe could not forbeare weeping in the pulpit. It was
his owne expression that there were three for whome he
infinitely greeved, the martyred King, my Lord Primate
(Archbishop Usher) and Doctor Bretton ; and as a confirma-
tion of the right that was done him in that oration, there was
not a drie eye nor a dissenting person. But of this no more.

"M. Evelyn.

" Sayes Court, 2 March 167 1-2."

" To Lady Tuke

"April 168$.

" How to expresse the sorrow for parting with so deare a
child is a difficult task. She was welcome to me from the
first moment God gave her, acceptable through the whole
course of her life by a thousand endearments, by the gifts
of nature, by acquired parts, by the tender love she ever
shew'd her father and me : a thred of piety accompanyed
all her actions, and now proves our greatest consolation.
The patience, resignation, humility of her carriage in so
severe and fatall a disease, discover'd more than an ordinary
assistance of the Divine goodness, never expressing feare of
death, or a desire to live, but for her friends sake. The
seaventh day of her illnesse she discoursed to me in par-
ticular as calmly as in health, desir'd to confesse and receive

^ Richard Parr, D.D., Vicar of Reigate and Camberwell. Died, November
2, 1691. The funeral sermon alluded to was printed in 1672. See Manning
and Bray's History of Surrey, vol. i. 9, 323.


the blessed Sacrament, which she perform'd with great
devotion, after which, tho' in her perfect senses to the last,
she never signified the least concerne for the world, prayed
often, and resigned her soule. — What shall I say ! She was
too great a blessing for me, who never deserved any thing,
much lesse such a Jewell. I am too well assured of yr Lps
kindnesse to doubt the part you take in this losse ; you have
ever shew'd yrselfe a friend in so many instances, that I pre-
sume upon yr compassion ; nothing but this just occasion
could have hindered me from wellcoming you to towne, and
rejoyceing with the best friend I have in the world — a friend
by merit and inclination, one I must esteeme as the wife of
so worthy a relation and so sincere a friend as Sr Sam:
(Tuke) was to me and mine. What is this world, when we
recall past things ! What are the charms that keep our minds
in suspence ! Without the conversation of those we love,
what is life worth ! How did I propose happinesse this
sum'er in the returne of yr Ld and my deare child — for she
was absent almost all this winter !

" She had much improved her selfe by the remarks she
had made of the world and all its vanities — What shall I add !
I could ever speake of her, and might I be just to her without
suspition of partiality, could tell you many things. The
papers which are found in her cabinet discover she profited
by her readying — such reflections, collections out of Scripture,
confessions, meditations, and pious notions, evidence her
time was not spent in the trifling way of most young women.
I acknowledge, as a Christian, I ought not to murmur, and I
should be infinitely sorry to incur God's further displeasure.
There are those yet remaining that challenge my care, and
for their sakes I endeavour to submitt all I can. I thank my
poore Cousin a thousand times for her kind concerne, and
wishe she may live to be the comfort you deserve in her, that
God will continue the blessing to both, and make you happy —
which is the prayer of her who is

" Yrs Most affectionately,

M. E."


" To HER Son John

" I haue received yr letter, and request for a supply of
mony ; but none of those you mention which were bare
effects of yr duty. If you were so desirous to answer our
expections as you pretend to be, you would give those tutors
and overseers you think so exact over you lesse trouble than
I feare they have with you. Much is to be wished in yor
behalfe : that yr temper were humble and tractable, yr
inclinations virtuous, and that from choice not compulsion
you make an honnest man. Whateuer object of vice comes
before you, should haue the same effect in yr mind of dislike
and aversion that drunkenesse had in the youth of Sparta
when their slaves were presented to them in that brutish
condition, not only from the deformity of such a sight, but
from a motive beyond theirs, the hope of a future happinesse,
which those rigorous heathens in morall virtue had little
prospect of, finding no reward for virtue but in virtue itselfe.
You are not too young to know that lying, defrauding,
swearing, disobedience to parents and persons in authority,
are offences to God and man : that debauchery is injurious
to growth, health, life, and indeed to the pleasures of life :
therefore now that you are turning from child to man en-
deavour to follow the best precepts, and chuse such wayes
as may render you worthy of praise and love. You are
assured of yr Father's care and my tendernesse : no mark
of it shall be wanting at anj'^ time to confirme it to you, with
this reserve only, that you strive to deserve kindnesse by a
sincere honest proceeding, and not flatter yrselfe that you
are good whilst you only appeare to be so. Fallacies will
only passe in schools. When you thoroughly weigh these
considerations, I hope you will apply them to your owne
advantage, as well as to our infinite satisfaction. I pray
dayly God would inspire you with his grace, and blesse you.

" I am,

Yr Louing mother,

M. Evelyn."


Mary outlived her husband three years. She died at her
house in Dover Street, London, February 9, 1709, aged seventy-
four, and was buried at Wotton, February 14. By her will,
dated February 9, 1708, she desired to be buried in a stone
coffinnearthatof "my dear husband, whose love andfriendship
I was happy in 58 years 9 months, but by God's Providence
left a disconsolate widow the 27 day of February, 1705, in
the 71st year of my age. His care of my education was such
as might become a father, a lover, a friend, for instruction,
tenderness, affection and fidelity to the last moment of his
life ; which obligation I mention with a gratitude to his
memory, ever dear to me ; and I must not omit to own the
sense I have of my Parents care and goodnesse, in placing
me in such worthy hands."

In the year 1666 the second edition of John Evelyn's
Kalendarium Hortense, or the Gardiner's Almanack, had been
published and dedicated to his friend Abraham Cowley the
poet. This called forth from Cowley a poem entitled " The
Garden," addressed to Evelyn. In the first verse Mary Evelyn
is mentioned in very flattering terms. It is printed in
Evelyn s Miscellaneous Writings, edited by William Upcott
in 1825. The original manuscript in the handwriting of
Abraham Cowley was given to William Upcott by Lady
Evelyn, who died in 1817 and w^as the widow of Sir
Frederick Evelyn.

By Abraham Cowley

Happy art Thou whom God does bless
Wth ye full choice of thine own happinesse •
And happier yet, becaus thou'rt blest
Wth prudence how to choos the best !
In Books and Gardens thou hast plac'd aright

(Things wch thou well dost understand.
And both dost make wth thy laborious hand)
Thy noble, innocent delight :
And in thy virtuous Wife, where thou again dost meet
Both pleasures more refin'd and sweet :
The fairest garden in her looks,
And in her mind the wisest books.


Oh who would change theis soft, yet soHd joys.
For empty shows and senceless noise,
And all wch rank Ambition breeds,
Wch seem such beauteous flowers, and arc such poisonous weeds ?


(P.C.C. 32 Lane)

" The 9th day of February 1708, I Mary Evelyn Widow
of John Evelyn late of Wotton in Co. Surrey Esquire being
weake in Body but of perfect memory . . . Do make and
ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and sence
following First and Especially I recommend my immortall
Soul into the hands of Almighty God. . . .

" My Body to be deposited in the Parish Church of Wotton
aforesaid in a Stone Coffin and sett near that of my dear
Husband whose love and Friendshipp I was happy in fifty-
eight yeares nine Monthes but by God's Providence left a
Disconsolate Widow the Seaven and twentyeth day of
February 1705 in the seventy first year of my age. His care
of my Education was such as might become a Father a Lover
a Friend and Husband for Instruction Tenderness Affection
and Fidelity to the last moment of his Life which Obligation
I mention with due Gratitude to his Memory ever dear to me
And I must not omitt to own the sense I have of my Parents
care (sic) and Goodness in placing me in such worthy hands
As to my personall Estate I Give devise bequeath and dispose
of the same as f olloweth : Imprimus I will and direct that the
Charges of my Funerall which I desire may be only decent
and all such just debts as shall be oweing and unpaid at my
Death shall be paid and satisfyed by my Executor hereinafter
named with all convenient speed after my decease Item I
Give to the Poor of the Parish of Wotton the sume of 5''
Item I give to the poor of the Parish of Deptford £5 Item I
give and bequeath to my daughter Martha Evelyn the Lease
of my House in Dover Streete I give her alsoe the Goods and
Furniture in the said House belonging to me at my Death as
Beds Hangings Pictures Cabinetts Chaires Stooles Tables
Pewter Brass either in Kitchen Parlours or Chambers Table


Linnen also Sheets and Kitchen Linnen Looking Glasses
China the choice of what pieces of Plate may be usefull out
of my little stock the Stairs Clock all to use during her Life
then to returne to my Grandson John Evelyn I give her
my Ring given me by my Lady Stonehouse at her Death also
my Ebony Toylett Box and Toylett Looking Glass with a
narrow Border and what remaines in the drawers of the
Black Cabinett when things are disposed of being particularly
expressed I give her my share in the new Coach and a browne
Leather purse with 7 pieces of Gold I desire her to dispose of
my small Wardrobe according to the Particulars mentioned
in a Letter directed to her Item I give to my son William
Draper Esquire 20 Guineas to bestow in a Ring or Piece of
Plate which he pleases I give to my Daughter Susanna
Draper an Orang Colour Silk Purse with 22 pieces of Gold
the particular Coins sett doune in a paper in my own hand
in the Purse Also a pair of Enamel Pendants with red drops
I give my Grandson Draper a Purse with six Dozen of Silver
Counters French Coin I give Susan Draper a Bracelett of
Moucca stones sett in Gold in a Tortoise Shell Box alsoe a
Gold Box for sweets enamelled with a Turquoise Stone sett
in the Lidd I give my Goddaughter Evelyn Draper a Moucca
stone Bracelet sett in Gold in a Tortoise Shell Box Alsoe a
Mantle of Angaria Goats Haire to lay on a Bed I give Sarah
Draper 10 halfe Guineas in a purse to buy her a Ring Item
I give my Grandson John Evelyn a chased two ear'd Cupp
Cover and Salver Alsoe a chased little Sugar Dish I give
him what plate remains when my daughter Evelyn has chose
for her use which is to returne to him after her death I
give him a Crimson and Gold Purse with 51 pieces of Gold
Coins sett doune in a paper in my hand in the Purse accom-
panied with the Blessing of increase as it was given me Alsoe
a nett purse with 129 Silver Coins as appears in a Note of
Particulars in the Purse Alsoe a Tortoise Shell Box with a
Gold Medall of Andrea Doria in a Box and 36 Medalls and
Coins Silver and Silver Gilt Alsoe my Wedding Ring and a
little Gold Ring with a Toad stone my Fathers Alsoe a
Sardonix Scale engraved with my Arms only finely sett
Alsoe an Onix Seal with both Coats engraved sett in Gold


and my Table Clock Item I give my Granddaughter Anne
Evelyn my Japan Cabinett and Frame all the China that
stands upon it and the three large China Basons under it
alsoe the great China Jarr Alsoe a Japan lacre Card box
shap'd like a Fann in it two Dozen of Mill'd Queen Elizabeth
sixpences in a nett Purse Alsoe what small china miniature
Pictures or little Curiosities are in the Cabinet an approved
Bloudstone some unsett Moucca Stones alsoe a Feather
Mantle to lay on a Bed in a black and white Chint Cover Alsoe
a Chest of Drawers and Dressing Box in the dineing room at
Wotton Item I give my Granddaughter Elizabeth Evelyn
a silver chased round Box with 17 pieces of Gold Coins and
13 Silver Coins besides one Vigo Medall of the Queenes in
Silver Alsoe a sett of Japan Boxes trays salvers Looking
glass all fitted to a Wainscott Case lin'd Alsoe an Indian
Baskett and Frame Alsoe a Gold and silk floured Gawse
Upper Toilet with a silk Fringe I give her a white flourished
upper Toilett upon Muslin and the Toylet to set about the
Table and one for the Baskett all of a sort Also a stitched
white India Bed Gowne Wastcoate and Table Toilett all of
the same sort of stitching in scales I give her a white
stitch's Indian Quilt for a Bed a colour'd flower'd Indian
Quilt for a Bed a White Fur Mantle to lay on a Bed Alsoe a
suite of Holland Napkins wrought and three Table Cloaths
I give my Goddaughter Frances Glanville a Metie Gold purse
with 10 pieces of Gold the particulars in a note in my hand
in the purse I give Mrs. Mary Fowler my sable muff and
Tippett I give my Goddaughter Anne Sherwood 5 pounds
I give Mr. Strickland 10 pounds I give Mr. Bedingfield 5
pounds I desire if Mrs. Bruskell is with me at my Death
she may have 10 pounds I desire Jean Hinge may have 10
pounds I give Mrs. Billingsley 2 guineas I give Mrs.
Alexander 2 guineas I desire those Servants who have no
Legacies exprest may have halfe a yeares Wages over and
above what is due to them And I doe hereby make declare
nominate and appoint the said John Evelyn my Grandson
whole and sole Executor of this my Will and I doe give and
devise to him my said Grandson All the rest and residue of
my Personall Estate undisposed of by this my Will And


lastly Revoking all former Wills I do hereby make and declare
this to be my last Will comprized in five sheets of paper. In
Witness whereof I have hereunto sett my Hand and Scale
the day and Yeare above written Mary Evelyn.

Witnesses, Ann Strickland.

Mary Founes."

" Proved 26 February 1708."


John Evelyn had eight children, five sons and three
daughters, but of the sons four died in infancy and only one
lived to succeed his father. The names of the children were —
Richard, the eldest son, born at Sayes Court, August 24, 1652 ;
John Stansfield, second son, born at Sayes Court, October
11, 1653, died there January 25, 1654, and buried in St.
Nicholas, Deptford ; John, third son, born at Sayes Court,
January 19, 1655 ; George, fourth son, born at Sayes Court,
June 7, 1657, died February 15, 1658, and buried at St.
Nicholas, Deptford ; Richard, fifth son, born at Sayes Court,
January 10, 1644, died March 26, 1664, and buried at St.
Nicholas, Deptford ; Mary, eldest daughter, born at Wotton,
September 30, 1665 ; Elizabeth, second daughter, born at
Sayes Court, September 14, 1667 ; and Susanna, the youngest
child, born at Sayes Court, May 20, 1669.


The following account of Evelyn's eldest son Richard, who
died at the age of six (January 27, 1658), is taken from The
Golden Book of St. John Chrysosiom, concerning the Education
of Children, which was translated from the Greek by John
Evelyn and published in 1659. It was written by him as a
consolation for the loss of his son, who was an extraordinarily
promising boy, and it was dedicated to his two brothers
George and Richard, who had both lost children of their own.

" I cannot, with St. Augustine, say of my son, as he of
his, Annorum erat fere quindecim, and ingenio proeveniebai


multos graves and doctos viros. But this I can truly affirm ;
he was Httle above five years old, and he did excel many
that I have known of fifteene. Tarn brevi spatio tempora
multa compleverat. He was taught to pray as soon as he could
speak, and he was taught to read as soon as he could pray.
At three years old he read any character or letter whatso-
ever used in our printed books, and, within a little time after,
any tolerable writing hand, and had gotten (by heart) before
he was five years of age seven or eight hundred Latine and
Greek words, as I have since calculated out of his ovofMuaKov,
together with their genders and declensions. I entered
him then upon the verbs, which in four months time he did
perfectly conjugate, together with most of the irregulars
excepted in our grammar. These he conquered with
incredible delight, and intelligence of their use. But it
is more strange to consider, that when from then I thought
to set him to the nouns, he had in that interim (by himself)
learned both the declensions and their examples, their
exceptions, adjectives, comparisons, pronouns, without any
knowledge or precept of mine, insomuch as I stood amazed
at his sedulity and memory. This engaged me to bring
him a Sententiae Pueriles, and a Cato, and of late Comenius ;
the short sentences of which two first, and the more soHd
ones of the last, he learned to construe and parse, as fast as
one could well teach and attend him : for he became not
onely dextrous in the ordinary rules by frequent recourse to
them (for indeed I never obliged him to get any of them by
heart as a task, by that same carnificine puerorum) upon
occasions, but did at this age also easily comprehend both i
the meaning and the use of the relative, and ellipsis, and
defects of verbs and nouns unexpressed. But to repeat here
all that I could justly affirm concerning his promptitude in
this nature, were altogether prodigious, so that truly I have
been sometimes even constrained to cry out with the father,
as of another Adeodatus, horrori mihi est hoc ingenium.
For so insatiable were his desires of knowledge, that I well
remember upon a time hearing one discourse of Terence
and Plautus, and being told (upon his enquiring concerning
these authors) that the books were too difficult for him, he


wept for very grief, and would hardly be pacified ; but thus
it is reported of Thucydides, when these noble Muses were
recited in his hearing, from whence was predicted the great-
ness of his genius. To tell you how exactly he read French,
how much of it he spake and understood, were to let you
onely know that his mother did instruct him without any
confusion to the rest. Thus he learned a catechism and
many prayers, and read divers things in that language.
More to be admired was the liveliness of his judgment, that
being much affected with the diagramms in Euclid, he did
with so great facility interpret to me many of the common
postulata and definitions, which he would readily repeate in
Latine and apply it. And he was in one hour onely taught
to play the first half of a thorough basse, to one of our Church
psalmes, upon the organ. Let no man think that we did
hereby crowd his spirit too full of notions. Those things
which we force upon other children were strangely natural
to him ; for as he very seldome affected their toyes, to such
things were his usual recreations as the gravest man might
not be ashamed to divert himself withal. These were
especially the Apologues of JEsop, most of which he could so
readily recount, with divers other stories, as you would
admire from whence he produced them ; but he was never
without some book or other in his hand. Pictures did afford
him infinite pleasure ; above all, a pen and ink, with which
he now began to form his letters. Thus he often delighted
himself in reciting of poems and sentences, some whereof he
had in Greek, fragments of comedies, divers verses out of
Herbert, and, amongst the psalmes, his beloved and often
repeated Ecce quam honum : and indeed he had an ear so
curiously framed to sounds, that he would never misse
infallibly to have told you what language it was you did
read by the accent only, were it Latin, Greek, French,
Italian, or Dutch. To all I might add, the incomparable
sweetness of his countenance and eyes, the clean fabric of
his body and pretty addresses : how easily he forgot in-
juries, when at any time I would break and crosse his
passions, by sometimes interrupting his enjoyments, in the
midst of some sweet or other delicious things which allured


him, that I might thereby render him the more indifferent
to all things, though these he seldom quitted without re-
wards and advantage. But above all, extremely con-
spicuous was his affection to his younger brother, with

Online LibraryHelen EvelynThe history of the Evelyn family, with a special memoir of William John Evelyn → online text (page 9 of 47)