Michael Drayton.

Universal classics library (Volume 10) online

. (page 3 of 34)
Online LibraryMichael DraytonUniversal classics library (Volume 10) → online text (page 3 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


gentlemen took their several posts, some at one part, and
some at another (for now they began to bestir themselves,
and not till now, who hitherto had stood as men intoxi-
cated, with their hands across), and began to consider
that nothing was likely to put a stop but the blowing up
of so many houses as might make a wider gap than any
had yet been made by the ordinary method of pulling
them down with engines. This some stout seamen pro-
posed early enough to have saved near the whole city,
but this some tenacious and avaricious men, aldermen,
etc., would not permit, because their houses must have
been of the first. It was, therefore, now commended to
be practiced; and my concern being particularly for the
Hospital of St. Bartholomew, near Smithfield, where I had
many wounded and sick men, made me the more diligent
to promote it; nor was my care for the Savoy less. It
now pleased God, by abating the wind, and by the
industry of the people, when almost all was lost infusing
a new spirit into them, that the fury of it began sensibly
to abate about noon, so as it came no farther than the
Temple westward, nor than the entrance of Smithfield,
north: but continued aP this day and night so impetuous
toward Cripplegate and the Tower, as made us all de-
spair. It also broke out again in the temple; but the
courage of the multitude persisting, and many houses
being blown up, such gaps and desolations were soon made,
as, with the former three days' consumption, the back fire
did not so vehemently urge upon the rest as formerly.
There v/as yet no standing near the burning and glowing
ruins by near a furlong*s space.

The coal and wood wharfs, and magazines of oil, rosin,
etc., did infinite mischief, so as the invective which a little
before I had dedicated to his Majesty and published,*

*The Fumifugium.



i666 JOHN EVELYN 23

giving- warning what probably might be the issue of suf-
fering those shops to be in the city was looked upon as
a prophecy.

The poor inhabitants were dispersed about St. George's
Fields, and Moorfields, as far as Highgate, and several
miles in circle, some under tents, some under miserable
huts and hovels, many without a rag, or any necessary
utensils, bed or board, who from delicateness, riches, and
easy accommodations in stately and well-furnished houses,
were now reduced to extreme misery and poverty.

In this calamitous condition, I returned with a sad heart
to my house, blessing and adoring the distinguishing mercy
of God to me and mine, who, in the midst of all this ruin,
was like Lot, in my little Zoar, safe and sound.

6th September, 1666. Thursday. I represented to his
Majesty the case of the French prisoners at war in my
custody, and besought him that there might be still the
same care of watching at all places contiguous to unseized
houses. It is not indeed imaginable how extraordinary
the vigilance and activity of the King and the Duke was,
even laboring in person, and being present to command,
order, reward, or encourage workmen; by which he showed
his affection to his people, and gained theirs. Having,
then, disposed of some under cure at the Savoy, I returned
to Whitehall, where I dined at Mr. Offley's, the groom-
porter, who was my relation.

7th September, 1666. I went this morning on foot from
Whitehall as far as London Bridge, through the late Fleet
street, Ludgate hill by St. Paul's, Cheapside, Exchange,
Bishops-gate, Aldersgate, and out to Moorfields, thence
through Cornhill, etc., with extraordinary difficulty, clam-
bering over heaps of yet smoking rubbish, and frequently
mistaking where I was; the ground under my feet so hot,
that it even burnt the soles of my shoes. In the mean-
time, his Majesty got to the Tower by water, to demolish
the houses about the graff, which, being built entirely
about it, had they taken fire and attacked the White
Tower, where the magazine of powder lay, would undoubt-
edly not only have beaten down and destroyed all the
bridge, but sunk and torn the vessels in the river, and
rendered the demolition beyond all expression for several
miles about the country.

At my return, I was infinitely concerned to find that



24 DIARY OF LONDON

goodly Church, St. Paul's — now a sad ruin, and that
beautiful portico (for structure comparable to any in
Europe, as not long before repaired by the late King) now
rent in pieces, flakes of large stones split asunder, and
nothing remaining entire but the inscription in the archi-
trave showing by whom it was built, which had not one
letter of it defaced! It was astonishing to see what im-
mense stones the heat had in a manner calcined, so that all
the ornaments, columns, friezes, capitals, and projectures of
massy Portland stone, flew off, even to the very roof, where
a sheet of lead covering a great space (no less than six
acres by measure) was totally melted. The ruins of the
vaulted roof falling, broke into St. Faith's, which being-
filled with the magazines of books belonging to the Sta-
tioners, and carried thither for safety, they were all con-
sumed, burning for a week following. It is also observable
that the lead over the altar at the east end was untouched,
and among the divers monuments the body of one bishop
remained entire. Thus lay in ashes that most venerable
church, one of the most ancient pieces of early piety in
the Christian world, besides near one hundred more. The
lead, ironwork, bells, plate, etc., melted, the exquisitely
wrought Mercers' Chapel, the sumptuous Exchange, the
august fabric of Christ Church, all the rest of the Com-
panies' Halls, splendid buildings, arches, entries, all in dust;
the fountains dried up and ruined, while the very waters
remained boiling; the voragos of subterranean cellars,
wells, and dungeons, formerly warehouses, still burning in
stench and dark clouds of smoke; so that in five or six
miles traversing about I did not see one load of timber
unconsumed, nor many stones but what were calcined
white as snow.

The people, who now walked about the ruins, appeared
like men in some dismal desert, or rather, in some great
city laid waste by a cruel enemy; to which was added
the stench that came from some poor creatures' bodies,
beds, and other combustible goods. Sir Thomas Gresham's
statue, though fallen from its niche in the Royal Ex-
change, remained entire, when all those of the Kings since
the Conquest were broken to pieces. Also the standard
in Cornhill, and Queen Elizabeth's effigies, with some arms
on Ludgate, continued with but little detriment, while the
vast iron chains of the city streets, hinges, bars, and gates



i666 JOHN EVELYN 25

of prisons, were many of them melted and reduced to
cinders by the vehement heat. Nor was I yet able to pass
through any of the narrow streets, but kept the widest;
the ground and air, smoke and fiery vapor, continued so
intense, that my hair was almost singed, and my feet in-
sufferably surbated. The by-lanes and narrow streets
were quite filled up with rubbish; nor could one have
possibly known where he was, but by the ruins of some
Church, or Hall, that had some remarkable tower, or pin-
nacle remaining.

I then vv-ent towards Islington and Highgate, where one
might have seen 200,000 people of all ranks and degrees
dispersed, and lying along by their heaps of what they
could save from the fire, deploring their loss; and, though
ready to perish for hunger and destitution, yet not asking
one penny for relief, which to me appeared a stranger
sight than any I had yet beheld. His Majesty and Coun-
cil indeed took all imaginable care for their relief, by pro-
clamation for the country to come in, and refresh them
with provisions.

In the midst of all this calamity and confusion, there
was, I know not how, an alarm begun that the French
and Dutch, with whom we were now in hostility, were not
only landed, but even entering the city. There was, in
truth, some days before, great suspicion of those two
nations joining; and now that they had been the occasion
of firing the town. This report did so terrify, that on a
sudden there was such an uproar and tumult that they
ran from their goods, and, taking what weapons they could
come at, they could not be stopped from falling on some
of those nations whom they casually met, without sense
or reason. The clamor and peril grew so excessive, ths,t
it made the whole Court amazed, and they did with
infinite pains and great difficulty, reduce and appease the
people, sending troops of soldiers and guards, to cause
them to retire into the fields again, where they were
watched all this night. I left them pretty quiet, and
came home sufficiently weary and broken. Their spirits
thus a little calmed, and the affright abated, they now
began to repair into the suburbs about the city, where
such as had friends, or opportunity, got shelter for the
present: to which his Majesty's proclamation also invited
them.



26 DIARY OF LONDON

Still, the plague continuing in our parish, I could not,
without danger, adventure to our church.

loth September, 1666. I went again to the ruins; for it
was now no longer a city.

13 th Sep teniber^- ,l664u^ I presented his Majesty with a
survey of the ruins, and a plot for a new city, with a
discourse on it; whereupon, after dinner, his Majesty sent
for me into the Queen's bed-chamber, her Majesty and
the Duke only being present. They examined each par-
ticular, and discoursed on them for near an hour, seeming
to be extremely pleased with what I had so early thought
on. The Queen was now in her cavalier riding-habit,
hat and feather, and horseman's coat, going to take
the air.

1 6th September, 1666. I went to Greenwich Church,
where Mr. Plume preached very well from this text:
"Seeing, then, all these things shall be dissolved,'^ etc:
taking occasion from the late unparalleled conflagration to
remind us how we ought to walk more holy in all manner
of conversation.

27th September, 1666. Dined at Sir William D'Oyly's,
with that worthy gentleman, Sir John Holland, of Suffolk.

loth October, 1666. This day was ordered a general
Fast through the Nation, to humble us on the late dread-
ful conflagration, added to the plague and war, the most
dismal judgments that could be inflicted; but which indeed
we highly deserved for our prodigious ingratitude, burning
lusts, dissolute court, profane and abominable lives, under
such dispensations of God's continued favor in restoring
Church, Prince, and People from our late intestine calam-
ities, of which we were altogether unmindful, even to
astonishment. This made me resolve to go to our parish
assembly, where our Doctor preached on Luke, xix, 41 :
piously applying it to the occasion. After which, was a
collection for the distressed losers in the late fire.

1 8th October, 1666. To Court. It being the first time
his Majesty put himself solemnly into the Eastern
fashion of vest, changing doublet, stiff collar, bands and
cloak, into a comely dress, after the Persian mode, with
girdles or straps, and shoestrings and garters into buckles,
of which some were set with precious stones* resolving

*This costume was shortly after abandoned, and laid aside; nor
does any existing portrait exhibit the King so accoutered.



i666 JOHN EVELYN 27

never to alter it, and to leave the French mode, which had
hitherto obtained to our great expense and reproach.
Upon which, divers courtiers and gentlemen gave his
Majesty gold by way of wager that he would not persist
in this resolution. I had sometime before presented an
invective against that unconstancy, and our so much
affecting the French fashion, to his Majesty; in which I
took occasion to describe the comeliness and usefulness of
the Persian clothing, in the very same manner his Majesty
now clad himself. This pamphlet I entitled " Tyranmis, or
the Mode,^^ and gave it to the King to read. I do not im-
pute to this discourse the change which soon happened,
but it was an identity that I could not but take
notice of.

This night was acted my Lord Broghill's tragedy, called
*•*■ Micstapha,^'* before their Majesties at Court, at which I was
present; very seldom going to the public theatres for many
reasons now, as they were abused to an atheistical liberty ;
foul and indecent women now (and never till now) per-
mitted to appear and act, who inflaming several young
noblemen and gallants, became their misses, and to some,
their wives. Witness the Earl of Oxford, Sir R. Howard,
Prince Rupert, the Earl of Dorset, and another greater
person than any of them, who fell into their snares, to
the reproach of their noble families, and ruin of both body
and soul.* I was invited by my Lord Chamberlain to see
this tragedy, exceedingly well written, though in my mind
I did not approve of any such pastime in a time of such
judgments and calamities.

2ist October, 1666. This season, after so long and
extraordinary a drought in August and September, as if
preparatory for the dreadful fire, was so very wet and
rainy as many feared an ensuing famine.

28th October, 1666. The pestilence, through God's
mercy, began now to abate considerably in our town.

30th October, 1666. To London to our office, and now
had I on the vest and surcoat, or tunic, as it was called,

* Among the principal offenders here aimed at were Mrs. Margaret
Hughes, Mrs. Eleanor Gwynne, Mrs. Davenport, Mrs. Uphill, Mrs.
Davis, and Mrs. Knight. Mrs. Davenport (Roxoiana) was « my Lord
Oxford's Miss ; » Mrs. Uphill was the actress alluded to in connection
with Sir R. Howard; Mrs. Hughes ensnared Prince Rupert; and the
last of the « misses » referred to by Evelyn was Nell Gwynne.



28 DIARY OF LONDON

after his Majesty had brought the whole court to it. It
was a comely and manly habit, too good to hold, it being
impossible for us in good earnest to leave the Monsieurs'
vanities long.

31st October, 1666. I heard the signal cause of my
Lord Cleveland pleaded before the House of Lords; and
was this day forty-six years of age, wonderfully protected
by the mercies of God, for which I render him immortal
thanks.

14th November, 1666. I went m.y winter circle through
my district, Rochester and other places, where I had men
quartered, and in custody.

15th November, 1666. To Leeds Castle.

1 6th November, 1666. I mustered the prisoners, being
about 600 Dutch and French, ordered their proportion of
bread to be augmented and provided clothes and fuel.
Monsieur Colbert, Ambassador at the Court of England,
this day sent money from, his master, the French King,
to every prisoner of that nation under my guard.

17th November, 1666. I returned to Chatham, my
chariot overturning on the steep of Bexley Hill, wounded
me in two places on the head; my son. Jack, being with
me, was like to have been worse cut by the glass; but I
thank God we both escaped without much hurt, though
not without exceeding danger.

1 8th November, 1666. At Rochester.

19th November, 1666. Returned home.

23d November, 1666. At London, I heard an extraor-
dinary case before a Committee of the whole House of
Commons, in the Commons' House of Parliament, between
one Captain Taylor and my Lord Viscount Mordaunt,
where, after the lawyers had pleaded and the witnesses
been examined, such foul and dishonorable things were
produced against his Lordship, of tyranny during his
government of Windsor Castle, of which he was Constable,
incontinence, and suborning witnesses ( of which last, one
Sir Richard Breames was most concerned), that I was ex-
ceedingly interested for his Lordship, who was my special
friend, and husband of the most virtuous lady in the world.
We sat till near ten at night, and yet but half the counsel
had done on behalf of the plaintiff. The question then
was put for bringing in of lights to sit longer. This lasted
so long before it was determined, and raised such a con-



1666-67 JOHN EVELYN 29

fused noise among- the members, that a stranger would
have been astonished at it. I admire that there is not a
rationale to regulate such trifling accidents, which consume
much time, and is a reproach to the gravity of so great an
assembly of sober men.

27th November, 1666. Sir Hugh Pollard, Comptroller
of the Household, died at Whitehall, and his Majesty con-
ferred the white staff on my brother Commissioner for
sick and wounded. Sir Thomas Clifford, a bold young gen-
tleman, of a small fortune in Devon, but advanced by
Lord Arlington, Secretary of State, to the great astonish-
ment of all the Court. This gentleman was somewhat
related to me by the marriage of his mother to my nearest
kinsman, Gregory Coale, and was ever my noble friend, a
valiant and daring person, but by no means fit for a sup-
ple and flattering- courtier.

28th November, 1666. Went to see Clarendon House,
now almost finished, a goodly pile to see, but had many
defects as to the architecture, yet placed most gracefully.
After this, I waited on the Lord Chancellor, who v/as now
at Berkshire House, since the burning of London.

2d December, 1666. Dined with me Monsieur Kiviet, a
Dutch gentleman-pensioner of Rotterdam, who came over
for protection, being of the Prince of Orange's party, now
not welcome in Holland. The King knighted him for some
merit in the Prince's behalf. He should, if caught, have
been beheaded with Monsieur Buat, and was brother-in-law
to Van Tromp, the sea-general. With him came Mr.
Gabriel Sylvius, and Mr. Williamson, secretary to Lord
Arlington; M. Kiviet came to examine whether the soil
about the river of Thames would be proper to make clinker
bricks, and to treat with me about some accommodation
in order to it.

9th January, 1666-67. To the Royal Society, which since
the sad conflagration were invited by Mr. Howard to sit
at Arundel- House in the Strand, who at my instigation
likewise bestowed on the Society that noble library which
his grandfather especially, and his ancestors had collected.
This gentleman had so little inclination to books, that it
was the preservation of them from embezzlement.

24th January, 1667. Visited my Lord Clarendon, and
presented my son, John, to him, now preparing to go to
Oxford, of wliich his Lordship was Chancellor. This even-



3© DIARY OF LONDON

inj;j I heard rare Italian voices, two eunuchs and one
woman, in his Majesty's green chamber, next his
cabinet.

29th January, 1667. To London, in order to my son's
Oxford journey, who, being verj'- early entered both in
Latin and Greek, and prompt to learn beyond most of his
age, I was persuaded to trust him under the tutorage of
Mr. Bohun, Fellow of New College, who had been his
preceptor in my house some years before ; but, at Oxford,
under the inspection of Dr. Bathurst, President of Trinity
College, where I placed him, not as yet thirteen years
old. He was newly out of long coats.*

15th February, 1667. My little book, in answer to Sir
George Mackenzie on Solitude, was now published, entitled
" Public Employment, and an active Life with its Appan-
ages, preferred to Solitude. *^f

i8th February, 1667. I was present at a magnificent
ball, or masque, in the theatre at the Court, where their
Majesties and all the great lords and ladies danced, in-
finitely gallant, the men in their richly embroidered, most
becoming vests.

19th February, 1667. I saw a comedy acted at Court.
In the afternoon, I witnessed a wrestling match for ^1,000
in St. James's Park, before his Majesty, a vast assemblage
of lords and other spectators, between the western and
northern men, Mr. Secretary Morice and Lord Gerard
being the judges. The western men won. Many great
sums were betted.

6th March, 1667. I proposed to my Lord Chancellor,
Monsieur Kiviet's imdertaking to wharf the whole river of
Thames, or quay, from the Temple to the Tower, as far as
the fire destroyed, with brick, without piles, both lasting
and ornamental. — Great frosts, snow and winds, prodigious

* In illustration of the garb which succeeded the out of
which lads of twelve or thirteen were thus suffered to emerge, it may
be mentioned that there hung, some years ago, and perhaps may hang
still, upon the walls of the Swan Inn at Leatherhead in Surrey, a
picture of four children, dates of birth between 1640 and 1650, of whom
a lad of about the age of young Evelyn is represented in a coat reach-
ing to his ankles.

t Reprinted in « Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 501-509. In a letter to
Cowley, 12th March, 1666, Evelyn apologises for having written against
that life which he had joined with Mr. Cowley in so much admiring,
assuring him he neither was nor could be serious in avowing such a
preference.



166; JOHN EVELYN 31

at the vernal equinox ; indeed it had been a year of prodi-
gies in this nation, plague, war, fire, rain, tempest and comet.

14th March, 1667. Saw "The Virgin Queen, *^* a play-
written by Mr. Dryden.

2 2d March, 1667. Dined at Mr, Secretary Morice's, who
showed me his library, which was a well chosen collecr
tion. This afternoon, I had audience of his Majesty, con-
cerning the proposal I had made of building the quay.

26th March, 1667. Sir John Kiviet dined with me.
We went to search for brick-earth, in order to a great
undertaking.

4th April, 1667. The cold so intense, that there was
hardly a leaf on a tree.

1 8th April, 1667. I went to make court to the Duke
and Duchess of Newcastle, at their house in Clerkenwell,
being newly come out of the north. They received me
with great kindness, and I was much pleased with the
extraordinary fanciful habit, garb, and discourse of the
Duchess.

22d April, 1667. Saw the surriptuous supper in the
banqueting-house at Whitehall, on the eve of St. George's
day, where were all the companions of the Order of the
Garter,

23d April, 1667. In the morning, his Majesty went to
chapel with the Knights of the Garter, all in their habits
and robes, ushered by the heralds; after the first service,
they went in procession, the youngest first, the Sovereign
last, with the Prelate of the Order and Dean, who had
about his neck the book of the Statutes of the Order; and
then the Chancellor of the Order (old Sir Henry de Vic),
who wore the purse about his neck; then the Heralds
and Garter King-at-Arms, Clarencieux, Black Rod. But
before the Prelate and Dean of Windsor went the gentle-
men of the chapel and choristers, singing as they marched;
behind them two doctors of music in damask robes; this
procession was about the courts at Whitehall, Then,
returning to their stalls and seats in the chapel, placed
under each knight's coat-armor and titles, the second

* The Virgin Queen which Evelyn saw was Dryden's Maiden Queen.
Pepys saw it on the night of its first production (twelve day's before
Evelyn's visit); and was charmed by Nell Gwyune's Florimell. « So
great a performance of a comical part was never, I believe, in the world
before. »



32 DIARY OF LONDON

service began. Then, the King ofTcred at the altar, an
anthem was sung; then, the rest of the Knights offered,
and histly proeecded to the banqueting-house to a great
feast. The King sat on an elevated throne at the upper
end at a table alone; the Knights at a table on the right
hand, reaching all the length of the room; over against
them a cupboard of rich gilded plate; at the lower end,
the music; on the balusters above, wind music, trumpets,
and kettle-drums. The King was served by the lords and
pensioners who brought up the dishes. About the middle
of the dinner, the Knights drank the King's health, then
the King, theirs, when the trumpets and music played and
sounded, the guns going off at the Tower. At the Ban-
quet, came in the Queen, and stood by the King's left
hand, but did not sit. Then was the bancjueting-stuff
flung about the room profusely. In truth, the crowd was
so great, that though I stayed all the supper the day
before, I now stayed no longer than this sport began, for
fear of disorder. The cheer was extraordinary, each
Knight having forty dishes to his mess, piled up five or
six high; the room hung with the richest tapestry.

25th April, 1667. Visited again the Duke of Newcastle,
with whom I had been acquainted long before in France,
where the Duchess had obligation to my wife's mother for
her marriage there; she was sister to Lord Lucas, and
maid of honor then to the Queen- Mother; married in our
chapel at Paris. My wife being with me, the Duke and
Duchess both would needs bring her to the very Court.

26th April, 1667. My Lord Chancellor showed me all
his newly finished and furnished palace and library; then,
w^e Vv^ent to take the air in Hyde- Park.

27th April, 1667. I had a great deal of discourse with



Online LibraryMichael DraytonUniversal classics library (Volume 10) → online text (page 3 of 34)