Loyal London is in Ships.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 26 July 1665. 26 Jul 1665. Up, and after doing a little business, down to Deptford with Sir W. Batten (64), and there left him, and I to Greenwich to the Park, where I hear the King (35) and Duke (31) are come by water this morn from Hampton Court. They asked me several questions. The King (35) mightily pleased with his new buildings there. I followed them to Castle's (36) ship in building, and there, met Sir W. Batten (64), and thence to Sir G. Carteret's (55), where all the morning with them; they not having any but the Duke of Monmouth (16), and Sir W. Killigrew (59), and one gentleman, and a page more. Great variety of talk, and was often led to speak to the King (35) and Duke (31).
By and by they to dinner, and all to dinner and sat down to the King (35) saving myself, which, though I could not in modesty expect, yet, God forgive my pride! I was sorry I was there, that Sir W. Batten (64) should say that he could sit down where I could not, though he had twenty times more reason than I, but this was my pride and folly. I down and walked with Mr. Castle (36), who told me the design of Ford and Rider to oppose and do all the hurt they can to Captain Taylor in his new ship "The London", and how it comes, and that they are a couple of false persons, which I believe, and withal that he himself is a knave too.
He and I by and by to dinner mighty nobly, and the King (35) having dined, he come down, and I went in the barge with him, I sitting at the door.
Down to Woolwich (and there I just saw and kissed my wife, and saw some of her painting, which is very curious; and away again to the King (35)) and back again with him in the barge, hearing him and the Duke (31) talk, and seeing and observing their manner of discourse. And God forgive me! though I admire them with all the duty possible, yet the more a man considers and observes them, the less he finds of difference between them and other men, though (blessed be God!) they are both princes of great nobleness and spirits. The barge put me into another boat that come to our side, Mr. Holder with a bag of gold to the Duke (31), and so they away and I home to the office.
The Duke of Monmouth (16) is the most skittish leaping gallant that ever I saw, always in action, vaulting or leaping, or clambering.
Thence mighty full of the honour of this day, I took coach and to Kate Joyce's, but she not within, but spoke with Anthony, who tells me he likes well of my proposal for Pall to Harman (28), but I fear that less than £500 will not be taken, and that I shall not be able to give, though I did not say so to him. After a little other discourse and the sad news of the death of so many in the parish of the plague, forty last night, the bell always going, I back to the Exchange, where I went up and sat talking with my beauty, Mrs. Batelier, a great while, who is indeed one of the finest women I ever saw in my life. After buying some small matter, I home, and there to the office and saw Sir J. Minnes (66) now come from Portsmouth, I home to set my Journall for these four days in order, they being four days of as great content and honour and pleasure to me as ever I hope to live or desire, or think any body else can live. For methinks if a man would but reflect upon this, and think that all these things are ordered by God Almighty to make me contented, and even this very marriage now on foot is one of the things intended to find me content in, in my life and matter of mirth, methinks it should make one mightily more satisfied in the world than he is. This day poor Robin Shaw at Backewell's died, and Backewell himself now in Flanders. The King (35) himself asked about Shaw, and being told he was dead, said he was very sorry for it. The sicknesse is got into our parish this week, and is got, indeed, every where; so that I begin to think of setting things in order, which I pray God enable me to put both as to soul and body.
John Evelyn's Diary 08 June 1666. 08 Jun 1666. Dined with me Sir Alexander Fraser (56), prime physician to his Majesty (36); afterward, went on board his Majesty's (36) pleasure-boat, when I saw the London frigate launched, a most stately ship, built by the City to supply that which was burnt by accident some time since; the King (36), Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, being there with great banquet.
The Loyal London was built by Captain John Taylor Shipbuilder -1670. It was given to Charles II King England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 (36)by the City of London. Launched 10 Jun 1666.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 10 June 1666. 10 Jun 1666. Lord's Day. Up very betimes, and down the river to Deptford, and did a good deale of business in sending away and directing several things to the Fleete.
At noon home to dinner, where my cozen Joyces, both of them, they and their wives and little Will, come by invitation to dinner to me, and I had a good dinner for them; but, Lord! how sicke was I of W. Joyce's company, both the impertinencies of it and his ill manners before me at my table to his wife, which I could hardly forbear taking notice of; but being at my table and for his wife's sake, I did, though I will prevent his giving me the like occasion again at my house I will warrant him.
After dinner I took leave and by water to White Hall, and there spent all the afternoon in the Gallery, till the Council was up, to speake with Sir W. Coventry (38). Walking here I met with Pierce the surgeon, who is lately come from the fleete, and tells me that all the commanders, officers, and even the common seamen do condemn every part of the late conduct of the Duke of Albemarle (57): both in his fighting at all, in his manner of fighting, running among them in his retreat, and running the ships on ground; so as nothing can be worse spoken of. That Holmes, Spragg, and Smith do all the business, and the old and wiser commanders nothing. So as Sir Thomas Teddiman (whom the King (36) and all the world speak well of) is mightily discontented, as being wholly slighted. He says we lost more after the Prince (46) come, than before too. The Prince was so maimed, as to be forced to be towed home. He says all the fleete confess their being chased home by the Dutch; and yet the body of the Dutch that did it, was not above forty sayle at most. And yet this put us into the fright, as to bring all our ships on ground. He says, however, that the Duke of Albemarle (57) is as high almost as ever, and pleases himself to think that he hath given the Dutch their bellies full, without sense of what he hath lost us; and talks how he knows now the way to beat them. But he says, that even Smith himself, one of his creatures, did himself condemn the late conduct from the beginning to the end.
He tells me further, how the Duke of Yorke (32) is wholly given up to his new mistresse, my Lady Denham (26), going at noon-day with all his gentlemen with him to visit her in Scotland Yard; she declaring she will not be his mistresse, as Mrs. Price (29), to go up and down the Privy-stairs, but will be owned publicly; and so she is. Mr. Bruncker (39), it seems, was the pimp to bring it about, and my Baroness Castlemaine's (25), who designs thereby to fortify herself by the Duke; there being a falling-out the other day between the King (36) and her: on this occasion, the Queene (56), in ordinary talke before the ladies in her drawing-room, did say to my Baroness Castlemaine's (25) that she feared the King (36) did take cold, by staying so late abroad at her house. She answered before them all, that he did not stay so late abroad with her, for he went betimes thence (though he do not before one, two, or three in the morning), but must stay somewhere else. The King (36) then coming in and overhearing, did whisper in the eare aside, and told her she was a bold impertinent woman, and bid her to be gone out of the Court, and not come again till he sent for, her; which she did presently, and went to a lodging in the Pell Mell, and kept there two or three days, and then sent to the King (36) to know whether she might send for her things away out of her house. The King (36) sent to her, she must first come and view them: and so she come, and the King (36) went to her, and all friends again. He tells me she did, in her anger, say she would be even with the King (36), and print his letters to her. So putting all together, we are and are like to be in a sad condition. We are endeavouring to raise money by borrowing it of the City; but I do not think the City will lend a farthing.
By and by the Council broke up, and I spoke with Sir W. Coventry (38) about business, with whom I doubt not in a little time to be mighty well, when I shall appear to mind my business again as I used to do, which by the grace of God I will do. Gone from him I endeavoured to find out Sir G. Carteret (56), and at last did at Mr. Ashburnham's (62), in the Old Palace Yarde, and thence he and I stepped out and walked an houre in the church-yarde, under Henry the Seventh's Chappell, he being lately come from the fleete; and tells me, as I hear from every body else, that the management in the late fight was bad from top to bottom. That several said this would not have been if my Lord Sandwich (40) had had the ordering of it. Nay, he tells me that certainly had my Lord Sandwich (40) had the misfortune to have done as they have done, the King (36) could not have saved him. There is, too, nothing but discontent among the officers; and all the old experienced men are slighted. He tells me to my question (but as a great secret), that the dividing of the fleete did proceed first from a proposition from the fleete, though agreed to hence. But he confesses it arose from want of due intelligence, which he confesses we do want. He do, however, call the fleete's retreat on Sunday a very honourable retreat, and that the Duke of Albemarle (57) did do well in it, and would have been well if he had done it sooner, rather than venture the loss of the fleete and crown, as he must have done if the Prince had not come. He was surprised when I told him I heard that the King (36) did intend to borrow some money of the City, and would know who had spoke of it to me; I told him Sir Ellis Layton this afternoon. He says it is a dangerous discourse; for that the City certainly will not be invited to do it, and then for the King (36) to ask it and be denied, will be the beginning of our sorrow. He seems to fear we shall all fall to pieces among ourselves.
This evening we hear that Sir Christopher Mings (40) is dead of his late wounds; and Sir W. Coventry (38) did commend him to me in a most extraordinary manner. But this day, after three days' trial in vain, and the hazard of the spoiling of the ship in lying till next spring, besides the disgrace of it, newes is brought that the Loyall London is launched at Deptford. Having talked thus much with Sir G. Carteret (56) we parted there, and I home by water, taking in my boat with me young Michell and my Betty his wife, meeting them accidentally going to look a boat. I set them down at the Old Swan and myself, went through bridge to the Tower, and so home, and after supper to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 25 June 1666. 25 Jun 1666. Up, and all the morning at my Tangier accounts, which the chopping and changing of my tallys make mighty troublesome; but, however, I did end them with great satisfaction to myself.
At noon, without staying to eat my dinner, I down by water to Deptford, and there coming find Sir W. Batten (65) and Sir Jeremy Smith (whom the dispatch of the Loyall London detained) at dinner at Greenwich at the Beare Taverne, and thither I to them and there dined with them. Very good company of strangers there was, but I took no great pleasure among them, being desirous to be back again. So got them to rise as soon as I could, having told them the newes Sir W. Coventry (38) just now wrote me to tell them, which is, that the Dutch are certainly come out. I did much business at Deptford, and so home, by an old poor man, a sculler, having no oares to be got, and all this day on the water entertained myself with the play of Commenius, and being come home did go out to Aldgate, there to be overtaken by Mrs. Margot Pen (15) in her father's coach, and my wife and Mercer with her, and Mrs. Pen (15) carried us to two gardens at Hackny, (which I every day grow more and more in love with,) Mr. Drake's one, where the garden is good, and house and the prospect admirable; the other my Lord Brooke's (27), where the gardens are much better, but the house not so good, nor the prospect good at all. But the gardens are excellent; and here I first saw oranges grow: some green, some half, some a quarter, and some full ripe, on the same tree, and one fruit of the same tree do come a year or two after the other. I pulled off a little one by stealth (the man being mighty curious of them) and eat it, and it was just as other little green small oranges are; as big as half the end of my little finger. Here were also great variety of other exotique plants, and several labarinths, and a pretty aviary. Having done there with very great pleasure we away back again, and called at the Taverne in Hackny by the church, and there drank and eate, and so in the Goole of the evening home. This being the first day of my putting on my black stuff bombazin suit, and I hope to feel no inconvenience by it, the weather being extremely hot.
So home and to bed, and this night the first night of my lying without a waistcoat, which I hope I shall very well endure.
So to bed. This morning I did with great pleasure hear Mr. Caesar play some good things on his lute, while he come to teach my boy Tom, and I did give him 40s. for his encouragement.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 26 June 1666. 26 Jun 1666. Up and to my office betimes, and there all the morning, very busy to get out the fleete, the Dutch being now for certain out, and we shall not, we thinke, be much behindhand with them.
At noon to the 'Change about business, and so home to dinner, and after dinner to the setting my Journall to rights, and so to the office again, where all the afternoon full of business, and there till night, that my eyes were sore, that I could not write no longer. Then into the garden, then my wife and Mercer and my Lady Pen (42) and her daughter (15) with us, and here we sung in the darke very finely half an houre, and so home to supper and to bed. This afternoon, after a long drowth, we had a good shower of rain, but it will not signify much if no more come.
This day in the morning come Mr. Chichly (52) to Sir W. Coventry (38), to tell him the ill successe of the guns made for the Loyall London; which is, that in the trial every one of the great guns, the whole cannon of seven (as I take it), broke in pieces, which is a strange mishap, and that which will give more occasion to people's discourse of the King's business being done ill.
This night Mary my cookemayde, that hath been with us about three months, but find herself not able to do my worke, so is gone with great kindnesse away, and another (Luce) come, very ugly and plaine, but may be a good servant for all that.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 10 March 1667. 10 Mar 1667. Lord's Day. Having my cold still grown more upon me, so as I am not able to speak, I lay in bed till noon, and then up and to my chamber with a good fire, and there spent an hour on Morly's Introduction to Musique, a very good but unmethodical book.
Then to dinner, my wife and I, and then all the afternoon alone in my chamber preparing a letter for Commissioner Taylor to the City about getting his accounts for The Loyal London1, by him built for them, stated and discharged, they owing him still about £4000.
Towards the evening comes Mr. Spong to see me, whose discourse about several things I proposed to him was very good, better than I have had with any body a good while. He gone, I to my business again, and anon comes my Lady Pen (43) and her son-in law (26) and daughter (16), and there we talked all the evening away, and then to supper; and after supper comes Sir W. Pen (45), and there we talked together, and then broke up, and so to bed. He tells me that our Mr. Turner has seen the proclamation against the Duke of Buckingham (39), and that therefore it is true what we heard last night. Yesterday and to-day I have been troubled with a hoarseness through cold that I could not almost speak.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 11 March 1667. 11 Mar 1667. Up, and with my cold still upon me and hoarseness, but I was forced to rise and to the office, where all the morning busy, and among other things Sir W. Warren come to me, to whom of late I have been very strange, partly from my indifference how more than heretofore to get money, but most from my finding that he is become great with my Lord Bruncker (47), and so I dare not trust him as I used to do, for I will not be inward with him that is open to another.
By and by comes Sir H. Cholmly (34) to me about Tangier business, and then talking of news he tells me how yesterday the King (36) did publiquely talk of the King of France's (28) dealing with all the Princes of Christendome. As to the States of Holland, he [the King of France (28)] hath advised them, on good grounds, to refuse to treat with us at the Hague, because of having opportunity of spies, by reason of our interest in the House of Orange; and then, it being a town in one particular province, it would not be fit to have it, but in a town wherein the provinces have equal interest, as at Mastricht, and other places named. That he advises them to offer no terms, nor accept of any, without his privity and consent, according to agreement; and tells them, if not so, he hath in his power to be even with them, the King (36) of England being come to offer him any terms he pleases; and that my Lord St. Albans (61) is now at Paris, Plenipotentiary, to make what peace he pleases; and so he can make it, and exclude them, the Dutch, if he sees fit. A copy of this letter of the King of France's (28) the Spanish Ambassador here gets, and comes and tells all to our King; which our King denies, and says the King of France (28) only uses his power of saying anything. At the same time, the King of France (28) writes to the Emperor, that he is resolved to do all things to express affection to the Emperor, having it now in his power to make what peace he pleases between the King of England (36) and him, and the States of the United Provinces; and, therefore, that he would not have him to concern himself in a friendship with us; and assures him that, on that regard, he will not offer anything to his disturbance, in his interest in Flanders, or elsewhere. He writes, at the same time, to Spayne, to tell him that he wonders to hear of a league almost ended between the Crown of Spayne and England, by my Lord Sandwich (41), and all without his privity, while he was making a peace upon what terms he pleased with England: that he is a great lover of the Crown of Spayne, and would take the King (36) and his affairs, during his minority, into his protection, nor would offer to set his foot in Flanders, or any where else, to disturb him; and, therefore, would not have him to trouble himself to make peace with any body; only he hath a desire to offer an exchange, which he thinks may be of moment to both sides: that is, that he [France] will enstate the King of Spayne (5) in the Kingdom of Portugall, and he and the Dutch will put him into possession of Lisbon; and, that being done, he [France] may have Flanders: and this, they say; do mightily take in Spayne, which is sensible of the fruitless expence Flanders, so far off, gives them; and how much better it would be for them to be master of Portugall; and the King of France (28) offers, for security herein, that the King (36) of England shall be bond for him, and that he will countersecure the King of England (36) with Amsterdam; and, it seems, hath assured our King, that if he will make a league with him, he will make a peace exclusive to the Hollander. These things are almost romantique, but yet true, as Sir H. Cholmly (34) tells me the King (36) himself did relate it all yesterday; and it seems as if the King of France (28) did think other Princes fit for nothing but to make sport for him: but simple Princes they are, that are forced to suffer this from him. So at noon with Sir W. Pen (45) by coach to the Sun in Leadenhall Streete, where Sir R. Ford (53), Sir W. Batten (66), and Commissioner Taylor (whose feast it was) were, and we dined and had a very good dinner. Among other discourses Sir R. Ford (53) did tell me that he do verily believe that the city will in few years be built again in all the greatest streets, and answered the objections I did give to it. Here we had the proclamation this day come out against the Duke of Buckingham (39), commanding him to come in to one of the Secretaries, or to the Lieutenant of the Tower (52). A silly, vain man to bring himself to this: and there be many hard circumstances in the proclamation of the causes of this proceeding of the King's, which speak great displeasure of the King's, and crimes of his. Then to discourse of the business of the day, that is, to see Commissioner Taylor's accounts for his ship he built, The Loyall London, and it is pretty to see how dully this old fellow makes his demands, and yet plaguy wise sayings will come from the man sometimes, and also how Sir R. Ford (53) and Sir W. Batten (66) did with seeming reliance advise him what to do, and how to come prepared to answer objections to the Common Council.
Thence away to the office, where late busy, and then home to supper, mightily pleased with my wife's trill, and so to bed. This night Mr. Carcasse did come to me again to desire favour, and that I would mediate that he might be restored, but I did give him no kind answer at all, but was very angry, and I confess a good deal of it from my Lord Bruncker's (47) simplicity and passion.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 13 June 1667. 13 Jun 1667. No sooner up but hear the sad newes confirmed of the Royall Charles being taken by them, and now in fitting by them—which Pett (56) should have carried up higher by our several orders, and deserves, therefore, to be hanged for not doing it—and turning several others; and that another fleete is come up into the Hope.
Upon which newes the King (37) and Duke of York (33) have been below [Below London Bridge.] since four o'clock in the morning, to command the sinking of ships at Barking-Creeke, and other places, to stop their coming up higher: which put me into such a fear, that I presently resolved of my father's and wife's going into the country; and, at two hours' warning, they did go by the coach this day, with about £1300 in gold in their night-bag. Pray God give them good passage, and good care to hide it when they come home! but my heart is full of fear.
They gone, I continued in fright and fear what to do with the rest. W. Hewer (25) hath been at the banker's, and hath got £500 out of Backewell's hands of his own money; but they are so called upon that they will be all broke, hundreds coming to them for money: and their answer is, "It is payable at twenty days—when the days are out, we will pay you"; and those that are not so, they make tell over their money, and make their bags false, on purpose to give cause to retell it, and so spend time. I cannot have my 200 pieces of gold again for silver, all being bought up last night that were to be had, and sold for 24 and 25s. a-piece. So I must keep the silver by me, which sometimes I think to fling into the house of office, and then again know not how I shall come by it, if we be made to leave the office. Every minute some one or other calls for this or that order; and so I forced to be at the office, most of the day, about the fire-ships which are to be suddenly fitted out: and it's a most strange thing that we hear nothing from any of my brethren at Chatham; so that we are wholly in the dark, various being the reports of what is done there; insomuch that I sent Mr. Clapham express thither to see how matters go: I did, about noon, resolve to send Mr. Gibson away after my wife with another 1000 pieces, under colour of an express to Sir Jeremy Smith; who is, as I hear, with some ships at Newcastle; which I did really send to him, and may, possibly, prove of good use to the King (37); for it is possible, in the hurry of business, they may not think of it at Court, and the charge of an express is not considerable to the King (37).
So though I intend Gibson no further than to Huntingdon I direct him to send the packet forward. My business the most of the afternoon is listening to every body that comes to the office, what news? which is variously related, some better, some worse, but nothing certain. The King (37) and Duke of York (33) up and down all the day here and there: some time on Tower Hill, where the City militia was; where the King (37) did make a speech to them, that they should venture themselves no further than he would himself. I also sent, my mind being in pain, Saunders after my wife and father, to overtake them at their night's lodgings, to see how matters go with them.
In the evening, I sent for my cousin Sarah [Gyles] and her husband, who come; and I did deliver them my chest of writings about Brampton, and my brother Tom's (33) papers, and my journalls, which I value much; and did send my two silver flaggons to Kate Joyce's: that so, being scattered what I have, something might be saved. I have also made a girdle, by which, with some trouble, I do carry about me £300 in gold about my body, that I may not be without something in case I should be surprised: for I think, in any nation but our's, people that appear (for we are not indeed so) so faulty as we, would have their throats cut.
In the evening comes Mr. Pelling, and several others, to the office, and tell me that never were people so dejected as they are in the City all over at this day; and do talk most loudly, even treason; as, that we are bought and sold—that we are betrayed by the Papists, and others, about the King (37); cry out that the office of the Ordnance hath been so backward as no powder to have been at Chatham nor Upnor Castle till such a time, and the carriages all broken; that Legg is a Papist; that Upnor, the old good castle built by Queen Elizabeth, should be lately slighted; that the ships at Chatham should not be carried up higher. They look upon us as lost, and remove their families and rich goods in the City; and do think verily that the French, being come down with his army to Dunkirke, it is to invade us, and that we shall be invaded. Mr. Clerke (44), the solicitor, comes to me about business, and tells me that he hears that the King (37) hath chosen Mr. Pierpont (59) and Vaughan (63) of the West, Privy-councillors; that my Chancellor (58) was affronted in the Hall this day, by people telling him of his Dunkirke house; and that there are regiments ordered to be got together, whereof to be commanders my Lord Fairfax (55), Ingoldsby (49), Bethell, Norton, and Birch (51), and other Presbyterians; and that Dr. Bates will have liberty to preach. Now, whether this be true or not, I know not; but do think that nothing but this will unite us together.
Late at night comes Mr. Hudson, the cooper, my neighbour, and tells me that he come from Chatham this evening at five o'clock, and saw this afternoon "The Royal James", "Oake", and "London", burnt by the enemy with their fire-ships: that two or three men-of-war come up with them, and made no more of Upnor's shooting, than of a fly; that those ships lay below Upnor Castle, but therein, I conceive, he is in an error; that the Dutch are fitting out "The Royall Charles"; that we shot so far as from the Yard thither, so that the shot did no good, for the bullets grazed on the water; that Upnor played hard with their guns at first, but slowly afterwards, either from the men being beat off, or their powder spent. But we hear that the fleete in the Hope is not come up any higher the last flood; and Sir W. Batten (66) tells me that ships are provided to sink in the River, about Woolwich, that will prevent their coming up higher if they should attempt it. I made my will also this day, and did give all I had equally between my father and wife, and left copies of it in each of Mr. Hater and W. Hewer's (25) hands, who both witnessed the will, and so to supper and then to bed, and slept pretty well, but yet often waking.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 30 June 1667. 30 Jun 1667. Lord's Day. Up about three o'clock, and Creed and I got ourselves ready, and took coach at our gate, it being very fine weather, and the cool of the morning, and with much pleasure, without any stop, got to Rochester about ten of the clock, all the way having mighty pleasant talk of the fate that is over all we do, that it seems as if we were designed in every thing, by land by sea, to undo ourselves.
At the foot of Rochester bridge, at the landing-place, I met my Lord Bruncker (47) and my Lord Douglas (21), and all the officers of the soldiers in the town, waiting there for the Duke of York (33), whom they heard was coming thither this day; by and by comes my Lord_Middleton (59), the first time I remember to have seen him, well mounted, who had been to meet him, but come back without him; he seems a fine soldier, and so every body says he is; and a man, like my Lord Teviott, and indeed most of the Scotch gentry, as I observe, of few words. After staying here by the water-side and seeing the boats come up from Chatham, with them that rowed with bandeleeres about their shoulders, and muskets in their boats, they being the workmen of the Yard, who have promised to redeem their credit, lost by their deserting the service when the Dutch were there, my Lord Bruncker (47) went with Lord Middleton to his inne, the Crowne, to dinner, which I took unkindly, but he was slightly invited.
So I and Creed down by boat to Chatham-yard (our watermen having their bandeleeres about them all the way), and to Commissioner Pett's (56) house, where my Lord Bruncker (47) told me that I should meet with his dinner two dishes of meat, but did not, but however by the help of Mr. Wiles had some beer and ale brought me, and a good piece of roast beef from somebody's table, and eat well at two, and after dinner into the garden to shew Creed, and I must confess it must needs be thought a sorrowful thing for a man that hath taken so much pains to make a place neat to lose it as Commissioner Pett (56) must now this.
Thence to see the batteries made; which, indeed, are very fine, and guns placed so as one would think the River should be very secure. I was glad, as also it was new to me, to see so many fortifications as I have of late seen, and so up to the top of the Hill, there to look, and could see towards Sheerenesse, to spy the Dutch fleete, but could make [out] none but one vessel, they being all gone. But here I was told, that, in all the late attempt, there was but one man that they knew killed on shore: and that was a man that had laid himself upon his belly upon one of the hills, on the other side of the River, to see the action; and a bullet come, took the ground away just under his belly, and ripped up his belly, and so was killed.
Thence back to the docke, and in my way saw how they are fain to take the deals of the rope-house to supply other occasions, and how sillily the country troopers look, that stand upon the passes there; and, methinks, as if they were more willing to run away than to fight, and it is said that the country soldiers did first run at Sheerenesse, but that then my Lord Douglas's (21) men did run also; but it is excused that there was no defence for them towards the sea, that so the very beach did fly in their faces as the bullets come, and annoyed them, they having, after all this preparation of the officers of the ordnance, only done something towards the land, and nothing at all towards the sea. The people here everywhere do speak very badly of Sir Edward Spragge (47), as not behaving himself as he should have done in that business, going away with the first, and that old Captain Pyne, who, I am here told, and no sooner, is Master-Gunner of England, was the last that staid there.
Thence by barge, it raining hard, down to the chaine; and in our way did see the sad wrackes of the poor "Royall Oake", "James", and "London"1 and several other of our ships by us sunk, and several of the enemy's, whereof three men-of-war that they could not get off, and so burned. We did also see several dead bodies lie by the side of the water. I do not see that Upnor Castle hath received any hurt by them, though they played long against it; and they themselves shot till they had hardly a gun left upon the carriages, so badly provided they were: they have now made two batteries on that side, which will be very good, and do good service.
So to the chaine, and there saw it fast at the end on Upnor side of the River; very fast, and borne up upon the several stages across the River; and where it is broke nobody can tell me. I went on shore on Upnor side to look upon the end of the chaine; and caused the link to be measured, and it was six inches and one-fourth in circumference. They have burned the Crane House that was to hawl it taught. It seems very remarkable to me, and of great honour to the Dutch, that those of them that did go on shore to Gillingham, though they went in fear of their lives, and were some of them killed; and, notwithstanding their provocation at Schelling, yet killed none of our people nor plundered their houses, but did take some things of easy carriage, and left the rest, and not a house burned; and, which is to our eternal disgrace, that what my Lord Douglas's (21) men, who come after them, found there, they plundered and took all away; and the watermen that carried us did further tell us, that our own soldiers are far more terrible to those people of the country-towns than the Dutch themselves. We were told at the batteries, upon my seeing of the field-guns that were there, that, had they come a day sooner, they had been able to have saved all; but they had no orders, and lay lingering upon the way, and did not come forward for want of direction. Commissioner Pett's (56) house was all unfurnished, he having carried away all his goods. I met with no satisfaction whereabouts the chaine was broke, but do confess I met with nobody that I could well expect to have satisfaction [from], it being Sunday; and the officers of the Yard most of them abroad, or at the Hill house, at the pay of the Chest, which they did make use of to day to do part in.
Several complaints, I hear, of the Monmouth's coming away too soon from the chaine, where she was placed with the two guard-ships to secure it; and Captain Robert Clerke, my friend, is blamed for so doing there, but I hear nothing of him at London about it; but Captain Brookes's running aground with the "Sancta Maria", which was one of the three ships that were ordered to be sunk to have dammed up the River at the chaine, is mightily cried against, and with reason, he being the chief man to approve of the abilities of other men, and the other two slips did get safe thither and he run aground; but yet I do hear that though he be blameable, yet if she had been there, she nor two more to them three would have been able to have commanded the river all over. I find that here, as it hath been in our river, fire-ships, when fitted, have been sunk afterwards, and particularly those here at the Mussle, where they did no good at all. Our great ships that were run aground and sunk are all well raised but the "Vanguard", which they go about to raise to-morrow. "the Henery", being let loose to drive up the river of herself, did run up as high as the bridge, and broke down some of the rails of the bridge, and so back again with the tide, and up again, and then berthed himself so well as no pilot could ever have done better; and Punnet says he would not, for his life, have undertaken to have done it, with all his skill. I find it is true that the Dutch did heele "The Charles" to get her down, and yet run aground twice or thrice, and yet got her safe away, and have her, with a great many good guns in her, which none of our pilots would ever have undertaken. It is very considerable the quantity of goods, which the making of these platforms and batterys do take out of the King's stores: so that we shall have little left there, and, God knows! no credit to buy any; besides, the taking away and spending of (it is possible) several goods that would have been either rejected or abatement made for them before used. It is a strange thing to see that, while my Lords Douglas and Middleton do ride up and down upon single horses, my Lord Bruncker (47) do go up and down with his Hackney-coach and six horses at the King's charge, which will do, for all this time, and the time that he is likely to stay, must amount to a great deal. But I do not see that he hath any command over the seamen, he being affronted by three or four seamen before my very face, which he took sillily, methought; and is not able to do so much good as a good boatswain in this business. My Lord Bruncker (47), I perceive, do endeavour to speak well of Commissioner Pett (56), saying that he did exercise great care and pains while he was there, but do not undertake to answer for his not carrying up of the great ships. Back again to Rochester, and there walked to the Cathedral as they were beginning of the service, but would not be seen to stay to church there, besides had no mind, but rather to go to our inne, the White Hart, where we drank and were fain (the towne being so full of soldiers) to have a bed corded for us to lie in, I being unwilling to lie at the Hill house for one night, being desirous to be near our coach to be gone betimes to-morrow morning. Here in the streets, I did hear the Scotch march beat by the drums before the soldiers, which is very odde.
Thence to the Castle, and viewed it with Creed, and had good satisfaction from him that showed it us touching the history of it. Then into the fields, a fine walk, and there saw Sir Francis Clerke's house, which is a pretty seat, and then back to our inne and bespoke supper, and so back to the fields and into the Cherry garden, where we had them fresh gathered, and here met with a young, plain, silly shopkeeper, and his wife, a pretty young woman, the man's name Hawkins, and I did kiss her, and we talked (and the woman of the house is a very talking bawdy jade), and eat cherries together, and then to walk in the fields till it was late, and did kiss her, and I believe had I had a fit time and place I might have done what I would with her. Walked back and left them at their house near our inne, and then to our inne, where, I hear, my Lord Bruncker (47) hath sent for me to speak with me before I go: so I took his coach, which stands there with two horses, and to him and to his bedside, where he was in bed, and hath a watchman with a halbert at his door; and to him, and did talk a little, and find him a very weak man for this business that he is upon; and do pity the King's service, that is no better handled, and his folly to call away Pett before we could have found a better man to have staid in his stead; so took leave of him, and with Creed back again, it being now about 10 at night, and to our inne to supper, and then to bed, being both sleepy, but could get no sheets to our bed, only linen to our mouths, and so to sleep, merrily talking of Hawkins and his wife, and troubled that Creed did see so much of my dalliance, though very little.
Note 1. "The bottom of 'The Royal James' is got afloat, and those of the 'Loyal London' and 'Royal Oak' soon will be so. Many men are at work to put Sheerness in a posture of defence, and a boom is being fitted over the river by Upnor Castle, which with the good fortifications will leave nothing to fear".—Calendar of State Papers, 1667, p. 285.