Samuel Pepys.

Diary of Samuel Pepys — Volume 55: July 1667 online

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Produced by David Widger









July 1st. Up betimes, about 9 o'clock, waked by a damned noise between a
sow gelder and a cow and a dog, nobody after we were up being able to tell
us what it was. After being ready we took coach, and, being very sleepy,
droused most part of the way to Gravesend, and there 'light, and down to
the new batterys, which are like to be very fine, and there did hear a
plain fellow cry out upon the folly of the King's officers above, to spend
so much money in works at Woolwich and Deptford, and sinking of good ships
loaden with goods, when, if half the charge had been laid out here, it
would have secured all that, and this place too, before now. And I think
it is not only true in this, but that the best of the actions of us all
are so silly, that the meanest people begin to see through them, and
contemn them. Besides, says he, they spoil the river by it. Then informed
ourselves where we might have some creame, and they guided us to one Goody
Best's, a little out of the towne towards London road, and thither we went
with the coach, and find it a mighty clean, plain house, and had a dish of
very good creame to our liking, and so away presently very merry, and fell
to reading of the several Advices to a Painter, which made us good sport,
and indeed are very witty, and Creed did also repeat to me some of the
substance of letters of old Burleigh in Queen Elizabeth's time, which he
hath of late read in the printed Cabbala, which is a very fine style at
this day and fit to be imitated. With this, and talking and laughing at
the folly of our masters in the management of things at this day, we got
home by noon, where all well, and then to dinner, and after dinner both of
us laid down upon the couch and chairs and to sleep, which I did for an
hour or two, and then to the office, where I am sorry to hear that Sir J.
Minnes is likely to die this night, or to-morrow, I forgot to set down
that we met this morning upon the road with Mrs. Williams going down to my
Lord Bruncker; we bowed without speaking one to another, but I am ashamed
at the folly of the man to have her down at this serious busy time, when
the town and country is full of people and full of censure, and against
him particularly. At Sir W. Batten's my Lady tells me that she hears for
certain that my Lord's maid of his lodging here do give out that Mrs.
Williams hath been fain of late to sell her best clothes and jewels to get
a little money upon, which is a sad condition. Thence to the office, and
did write to my Lord Bruncker to give me a little satisfaction about the
certainty of the chain's being broke, which I begin to doubt, and the more
from Sir W. Pen's discourse. It is worth while to read my letter to him
entered in my letter book. Home in the evening to supper, and so pretty
betimes, about 10 o'clock, to bed, and slept well. This day letters are
come that my sister is very ill.

2nd. Up, and put on my new silke camelott suit, made of my cloak, and
suit now made into a vest. So to the office, where W. Pen and myself, and
Sir T. Harvy met, the first time we have had a meeting since the coming of
the Dutch upon this coast. Our only business (for we have little else to
do, nobody being willing to trust us for anything) was to speak with the
owners of six merchantmen which we have been taking up this fortnight, and
are yet in no readiness, they not fitting their ships without money
advanced to them, we owing them for what their ships have earned the last
year. So every thing stands still for money, while we want money to pay
for some of the most necessary things that we promised ready money for in
the height of our wants, as grapnells, &c. At noon home to dinner, and
after dinner my wife and Jane (mighty fine the girle) to go to see Jane's
old mistress, who was to see her, and did see my wife the other day, and
it is pleasant to hear with what kindness her old mistress speaks of this
girle, and how she would still have her, and how the wench cried when she
told her that she must come to her old mistress my wife. They gone, I to
my chamber, and there dallied a little with my maid Nell . . . . and
so to the office where busy till night, and then comes Mrs. Turner, and
walks with me in the garden to talk with me about her husband's business,
and to tell me how she hears at the other end of the town how bad our
office is spoken of by the King and Prince and Duke of Albemarle, and that
there is not a good word said of any of us but of me; and me they all do
speak mightily of, which, whether true or no, I am mighty glad to hear,
but from all put together that I hear from other people, I am likely to
pass as well as anybody. So, she gone, comes my wife and to walk in the
garden, Sir J. Minnes being still ill and so keeping us from singing, and
by and by Sir W. Pen come and walked with us and gave us a bottle of
Syder, and so we home to supper and to bed. This day I am told that poor
Tooker is dead, a very painfull poor man as ever I knew.

3rd. Up, and within most of the morning, my tailor's boy coming to alter
something in my new suit I put on yesterday. Then to the office and did
business, and then (my wife being a little ill of those in bed) I to Sir
W. Batten's and dined, and there comes in Sir Richard Ford, tells us how
he hath been at the Sessions-house, and there it is plain that there is a
combination of rogues in the town, that do make it their business to set
houses on fire, and that one house they did set on fire in Aldersgate
Streete last Easter; and that this is proved by two young men, whom one of
them debauched by degrees to steal their fathers' plate and clothes, and
at last to be of their company; and they had their places to take up what
goods were flung into the streets out of the windows, when the houses were
on fire; and this is like to be proved to a great number of rogues,
whereof five are already found, and some found guilty this day. One of
these boys is the son of a Montagu, of my Lord Manchester's family; but
whose son he could not tell me. This is a strange thing methinks, but I
am glad that it is proved so true and discovered. So home, and to enter
my Journall of my late journey to this hour, and then to the office, where
to do a little business, and then by water to White Hall (calling at
Michell's in my way, but the rogue would not invite me in, I having a mind
para voir his wife), and there to the Council-chamber, to deliver a letter
to their Lordships about the state of the six merchantmen which we have
been so long fitting out. When I come, the King and the whole table full
of Lords were hearing of a pitifull cause of a complaint of an old man,
with a great grey beard, against his son, for not allowing him something
to live on; and at last come to the ordering the son to allow his father
L10 a year. This cause lasted them near two hours; which, methinks, at
this time to be the work of the Council-board of England, is a scandalous
thing, and methought Sir W. Coventry to me did own as much. Here I find
all the newes is the enemy's landing 3,000 men near Harwich,

[Richard Browne, writing to Williamson from Aldeburgh, on July 2nd,
says: "The Dutch fleet of 80 sail has anchored in the bay; they were
expected to land, but they tacked about, and stood first northward
and then southward, close by Orford lighthouse, and have now passed
the Ness towards Harwich; they have fired no guns, but made false
fires" ("Calendar of State Papers," 1667, p. 258).]

and attacking Landguard Fort, and being beat off thence with our great
guns, killing some of their men, and they leaving their ladders behind
them; but we had no Horse in the way on Suffolk side, otherwise we might
have galled their Foot. The Duke of York is gone down thither this day,
while the General sat sleeping this afternoon at the Council-table. The
news so much talked of this Exchange, of a peace, I find by Sir Richard
Browne arises from a letter the Swedes' agent hath received from Bredah
and shewed at Court to-day, that they are come very near it, but I do not
find anybody here relying upon it. This cause being over, the Trinity
House men, whom I did not expect to meet, were called in, and there Sir W.
Pen made a formal speech in answer to a question of the King's, whether
the lying of the sunk ships in the river would spoil the river. But, Lord!
how gingerly he answered it, and with a deal of do that he did not know
whether it would be safe as to the enemy to have them taken up, but that
doubtless it would be better for the river to have them taken up.
Methought the Council found them answer like fools, and it ended in
bidding them think more of it, and bring their answer in writing. Thence
I to Westminster Hall, and there hear how they talk against the present
management of things, and against Sir W. Coventry for his bringing in of
new commanders and casting out the old seamen, which I did endeavour to
rectify Mrs. Michell and them in, letting them know that he hath opposed
it all his life the most of any man in England. After a deal of this
tittle tattle, I to Mrs. Martin's, and there she was gone in before, but
when I come, contrary to my expectation, I find her all in trouble, and
what was it for but that I have got her with child . . . . and is in
exceeding grief, and swears that the child is mine, which I do not
believe, but yet do comfort her that either it cannot be so, or if it be
that I will take care to send for her husband, though I do hardly see how
I can be sure of that, the ship being at sea, and as far as Scotland, but
however I must do it, and shall find some way or other of doing it, though
it do trouble me not a little. Thence, not pleased, away to White Hall to
Mr. Williamson, and by and by my Lord Arlington about Mr. Lanyon's
business, and it is pretty to see how Mr. Williamson did altogether excuse
himself that my business was not done when I come to my Lord and told him
my business; "Why," says my Lord, "it hath been done, and the King signed
it several days ago," and so it was and was in Mr. Williamson's hands,
which made us both laugh, and I in innocent mirth, I remember, said, it is
pretty to see in what a condition we are that all our matters now-a-days
are undone, we know not how, and done we know not when. He laughed at it,
but I have since reflected on it, and find it a severe speech as it might
be taken by a chief minister of state, as indeed Mr. Williamson is, for he
is indeed the Secretary. But we fell to other pleasant talk, and a fine
gentleman he is, and so gave him L5 for his fee, and away home, and to Sir
W. Batten's to talk a little, and then to the office to do a little
business, and so home to supper and read myself asleep, and then to bed.

4th. Up, and, in vain expecting Sir R. Ford's calling on me, I took coach
and to the Sessions-house, where I have a mind to hear Bazill Fielding's
case - [See May 9th, 1667] - tried; and so got up to the Bench, my Lord
Chief-Justice Keeling being Judge. Here I stood bare, not challenging,
though I might well enough, to be covered. But here were several fine
trials; among others, several brought in for making it their trade to set
houses on fire merely to get plunder; and all proved by the two little
boys spoken of yesterday by Sir R. Ford, who did give so good account of
particulars that I never heard children in my life. And I confess, though
I was unsatisfied with the force given to such little boys, to take away
men's lives, yet, when I was told that my Lord Chief-Justice did declare
that there was no law against taking the oath of children above twelve
years old, and then heard from Sir R. Ford the good account which the boys
had given of their understanding the nature and consequence of an oath,
and now my own observation of the sobriety and readiness of their answers,
further than of any man of any rank that come to give witness this day,
though some men of years and learning, I was a little amazed, and fully
satisfied that they ought to have as much credit as the rest. They proved
against several, their consulting several times at a bawdy-house in
Moore-Fields, called the Russia House, among many other rogueries, of
setting houses on fire, that they might gather the goods that were flung
into the streets; and it is worth considering how unsafe it is to have
children play up and down this lewd town. For these two boys, one is my
Lady Montagu's (I know not what Lady Montagu) son, and the other of good
condition, were playing in Moore-Fields, and one rogue, Gabriel Holmes,
did come to them and teach them to drink, and then to bring him plate and
clothes from their fathers' houses, and carry him into their houses, and
leaving open the doors for him, and at last were made of their conspiracy,
and were at the very burning of this house in Aldersgate Street, on Easter
Sunday at night last, and did gather up goods, as they had resolved before
and this Gabriel Holmes did advise to have had two houses set on fire, one
after another, that, while they were quenching of one, they might be
burning another. And it is pretty that G. Holmes did tell his fellows,
and these boys swore it, that he did set fire to a box of linen in the
Sheriffe, Sir Joseph Shelden's' house, while he was attending the fire in
Aldersgate Street, and the Sheriffe himself said that there was a fire in
his house, in a box of linen, at the same time, but cannot conceive how
this fellow should do it. The boys did swear against one of them, that he
had made it his part to pull the plug out of the engine while it was
a-playing; and it really was so. And goods they did carry away, and the
manner of the setting the house on fire was, that Holmes did get to a
cockpit; where, it seems, there was a publick cockpit, and set fire to the
straw in it, and hath a fire-ball at the end of the straw, which did take
fire, and so it prevailed, and burned the house; and, among other things
they carried away, he took six of the cocks that were at the cockpit; and
afterwards the boys told us how they had one dressed, by the same token it
was so hard they could not eat it. But that which was most remarkable was
the impudence of this Holmes, who hath been arraigned often, and still got
away; and on this business was taken and broke loose just at Newgate Gate;
and was last night luckily taken about Bow, who got loose, and run into
the river, and hid himself in the rushes; and they pursued him with a dog,
and the dog got him and held him till he was taken. But the impudence of
this fellow was such, that he denied he ever saw the boys before, or ever
knew the Russia House, or that the people knew him; and by and by the
mistress of the Russia House was called in, being indicted, at the same
time, about another thing; and she denied that the fellow was of her
acquaintance, when it was pretty to see how the little boys did presently
fall upon her, and ask her how she durst say so, when she was always with
them when they met at her house, and particularly when she come in in her
smock before a dozen of them, at which the Court laughed, and put the
woman away. Well, this fellow Holmes was found guilty of the act of
burning the house, and other things, that he stood indicted for. And then
there were other good cases, as of a woman that come to serve a
gentlewoman, and in three days run away, betimes in the morning, with a
great deal of plate and rings, and other good things. It was time very
well spent to be here. Here I saw how favourable the judge was to a young
gentleman that struck one of the officers, for not making him room: told
him he had endangered the loss of his hand, but that he hoped he had not
struck him, and would suppose that he had not struck him. About that the
Court rose, and I to dinner with my Lord Mayor and Sheriffs; where a good
dinner and good discourse; the judge being there. There was also tried
this morning Fielding, which I thought had been Bazilll - but it proved the
other, and Bazill was killed; that killed his brother, who was found
guilty of murder, and nobody pitied him. The judge seems to be a worthy
man, and able: and do intend, for these rogues that burned this house to
be hung in some conspicuous place in the town, for an example. After
dinner to the Court again, where I heard some more causes, but with so
much trouble because of the hot weather that I had no pleasure in it.
Anon the Court rose, and I walked to Fleet streete for my belt at the
beltmaker's, and so home and to the office, wrote some letters, and then
home to supper and to bed.

5th. Up, and to the office, where Sir W. Batten, [Sir] W. Pen, [Sir] T.
Harvy and I met upon Mr. Gawden's accounts, and was at it all the morning.
This morning Sir G. Carteret did come to us, and walked in the garden. It
was to talk with me about some thing of my Lord Sandwich's, but here he
told us that the great seale is passed to my Lord Annesly [Anglesey] for
Treasurer of the Navy: so that now he do no more belong to us: and I
confess, for his sake, I am glad of it, and do believe the other will have
little content in it. At noon I home to dinner with my wife, and after
dinner to sing, and then to the office a little and Sir W. Batten's, where
I am vexed to hear that Nan Wright, now Mrs. Markham, Sir W. Pen's mayde
and whore, is come to sit in our pew at church, and did so while my Lady
Batten was there. I confess I am very much vexed at it and ashamed. By
and by out with [Sir] W. Pen to White Hall, where I staid not, but to the
New Exchange to buy gloves and other little errands, and so home and to my
office busy till night, and then walked in the garden with my wife, and
then to supper and to sing, and so to bed. No news, but that the Dutch are
gone clear from Harwich northward, and have given out they are going to

6th. Up, and to the office, where some of us sat busy all the morning. At
noon home to dinner, whither Creed come to dine with us and brings the
first word I hear of the news of a peace, the King having letters come to
him this noon signifying that it is concluded on, and that Mr. Coventry is
upon his way coming over for the King's satisfaction. The news was so
good and sudden that I went with great joy to [Sir] W. Batten and then to
[Sir] W. Pen to tell it them, and so home to dinner, mighty merry, and
light at my heart only on this ground, that a continuing of the war must
undo us, and so though peace may do the like if we do not make good use of
it to reform ourselves and get up money, yet there is an opportunity for
us to save ourselves. At least, for my own particular, we shall continue
well till I can get my money into my hands, and then I will shift for
myself. After dinner away, leaving Creed there, by coach to Westminster,
where to the Swan and drank, and then to the Hall, and there talked a
little with great joy of the peace, and then to Mrs. Martin's, where I met
with the good news que elle ne est con child, the fear of which she did
give me the other day, had troubled me much. My joy in this made me send
for wine, and thither come her sister and Mrs. Cragg, and I staid a good
while there. But here happened the best instance of a woman's falseness
in the world, that her sister Doll, who went for a bottle of wine, did
come home all blubbering and swearing against one Captain Vandener, a
Dutchman of the Rhenish Wine House, that pulled her into a stable by the
Dog tavern, and there did tumble her and toss her, calling him all the
rogues and toads in the world, when she knows that elle hath suffered me
to do any thing with her a hundred times. Thence with joyful heart to
White Hall to ask Mr. Williamson the news, who told me that Mr. Coventry
is coming over with a project of a peace; which, if the States agree to,
and our King, when their Ministers on both sides have shewed it them, we
shall agree, and that is all: but the King, I hear, do give it out plain
that the peace is concluded. Thence by coach home, and there wrote a few
letters, and then to consult with my wife about going to Epsum to-morrow,
sometimes designing to go and then again not; and at last it grew late and
I bethought myself of business to employ me at home tomorrow, and so I did
not go. This afternoon I met with Mr. Rolt, who tells me that he is going
Cornett under Collonel Ingoldsby, being his old acquaintance, and
Ingoldsby hath a troop now from under the King, and I think it is a
handsome way for him, but it was an ominous thing, methought, just as he
was bidding me his last adieu, his nose fell a-bleeding, which ran in my
mind a pretty while after. This afternoon Sir Alexander Frazier, who was
of council for Sir J. Minnes, and had given him over for a dead man, said
to me at White Hall: - "What," says he, "Sir J. Minnes is dead." I told
him, "No! but that there is hopes of his life." Methought he looked very
sillily after it, and went his way. Late home to supper, a little
troubled at my not going to Epsum to-morrow, as I had resolved, especially
having the Duke of York and [Sir] W. Coventry out of town, but it was my
own fault and at last my judgment to stay, and so to supper and to bed.
This day, with great satisfaction, I hear that my Lady Jemimah is brought
to bed, at Hinchingbroke, of a boy.

7th (Lord's day). Up, and to my chamber, there to settle some papers, and
thither comes Mr. Moore to me and talked till church time of the news of
the times about the peace and the bad consequences of it if it be not
improved to good purpose of fitting ourselves for another war. He tells
me he heard that the discontented Parliament-men are fearful that the next
sitting the King will put for a general excise, by which to raise him
money, and then to fling off the Parliament, and raise a land-army and
keep them all down like slaves; and it is gotten among them, that Bab.
May, the Privy-purse, hath been heard to say that L300 a-year is enough
for any country gentleman; which makes them mad, and they do talk of 6 or
L800,000 gone into the Privy-purse this war, when in King James's time it
arose but to L5,000, and in King Charles's but L10,000 in a year. He tells
me that a goldsmith in town told him that, being with some plate with my
Lady Castlemayne lately, she directed her woman (the great beauty),
"Wilson," says she, "make a note for this, and for that, to the
Privy-purse for money." He tells me a little more of the baseness of the
courses taken at Court in the case of Mr. Moyer, who is at liberty, and is
to give L500 for his liberty; but now the great ones are divided, who
shall have the money, the Duke of Albemarle on one hand, and another Lord
on the other; and that it is fain to be decided by having the person's
name put into the King's warrant for his liberty, at whose intercession
the King shall own that he is set at liberty; which is a most lamentable
thing, that we do professedly own that we do these things, not for right
and justice sake, but only to gratify this or that person about the King.
God forgive us all! Busy till noon, and then home to dinner, and Mr.
Moore come and dined with us, and much more discourse at and after dinner
of the same kind, and then, he gone, I to my office busy till the evening,
and then with my wife and Jane over to Half-way house, a very good walk;
and there drank, and in the cool of the evening back again, and sang with
pleasure upon the water, and were mightily pleased in hearing a boatfull
of Spaniards sing, and so home to supper and to bed. Jane of late mighty
fine, by reason of a laced whiske her mistress hath given her, which makes
her a very gracefull servant. But, above all, my wife and I were the most
surprised in the beauty of a plain girle, which we met in the little lane
going from Redriffe-stairs into the fields, one of the prettiest faces
that we think we ever saw in our lives.

8th. Up, and to my chamber, and by and by comes Greeting, and to my

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