Royal Sovereign is in Ships.
John Evelyn's Diary 19 May 1641. 19 May 1641, we made a short excursion to Rochester, and having seen the cathedral, went to Chatham to see the Royal Sovereign, a glorious vessel of burden lately built there, being for defence and ornament, the richest that ever spread cloth before the wind. She carried an hundred brass cannon, and was 1200 tons; a rare sailer, the work of the famous Phineas Pett, inventor of the frigate-fashion of building, to this day practised. But what is to be deplored as to this vessel is, that it cost his Majesty (40) the affections of his subjects, perverted by the malcontent great ones, who took occasion to quarrel for his having raised a very slight tax for the building of this, and equipping the rest of the navy without an act of Parliament; though, by the suffrages of the major part of the Judges, the King (40) might legally do in times of imminent danger, of which his Majesty (40) was best apprised. But this not satisfying a jealous party, it was condemned as unprecedential, and not justifiable as to the Royal prerogative; and, accordingly, the Judges were removed out of their places, fined, and imprisoned.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 04 August 1662. 04 Aug 1662. Up by four o'clock in the morning and walked to the Dock, where Commissioner Pett (51) and I took barge and went to the guardships and mustered them, finding them but badly manned; thence to the Sovereign, which we found kept in good order and very clean, which pleased us well, but few of the officers on board.
Thence to the Charles, and were troubled to see her kept so neglectedly by the boatswain Clements, who I always took for a very good officer; it is a very brave ship.
Thence to Upnor Castle, and there went up to the top, where there is a fine prospect, but of very small force; so to the yard, and there mustered the whole ordinary, where great disorder by multitude of servants and old decrepid men, which must be remedied.
So to all the storehouses and viewed the stores of all sorts and the hemp, where we found Captain Cocke's (45) (which he came down to see along with me) very bad, and some others, and with much content (God forgive me) I did hear by the Clerk of the Ropeyard how it was by Sir W. Batten's (61) private letter that one parcel of Alderman Barker's' was received.
At two o'clock to dinner to the Hill-house, and after dinner dispatched many people's business, and then to the yard again, and looked over Mr. Gregory's and Barrow's houses to see the matter of difference between them concerning an alteration that Barrow would make, which I shall report to the board, but both their houses very pretty, and deserve to be so, being well kept.
Then to a trial of several sorts of hemp, but could not perform it here so well as at Woolwich, but we did do it pretty well.
So took barge at the dock and to Rochester, and there Captain Cocke (45) and I and our two men took coach about 8 at night and to Gravesend, where it was very dark before we got thither to the Swan; and there, meeting with Doncaster, an old waterman of mine above bridge, we eat a short supper, being very merry with the drolling, drunken coachman that brought us, and so took water. It being very dark, and the wind rising, and our waterman unacquainted with this part of the river, so that we presently cast upon the Essex shore, but got off again, and so, as well as we could, went on, but I in such fear that I could not sleep till we came to Erith, and there it begun to be calm, and the stars to shine, and so I began to take heart again, and the rest too, and so made shift to slumber a little. Above Woolwich we lost our way, and went back to Blackwall, and up and down, being guided by nothing but the barking of a dog, which we had observed in passing by Blackwall, and so, [Continued tomorrow]
Diary of Samuel Pepys 31 January 1663. 31 Jan 1663. Up and to my office, and there we sat till noon. I home to dinner, and there found my plate of the Soverayne with the table to it come from Mr. Christopher Pett (42), of which I am very glad.
So to dinner late, and not very good, only a rabbit not half roasted, which made me angry with my wife.
So to the office, and there till late, busy all the while.
In the evening examining my wife's letter intended to my Lady (38), and another to Mademoiselle; they were so false spelt that I was ashamed of them, and took occasion to fall out about them with my wife, and so she wrote none, at which, however, I was, sorry, because it was in answer to a letter of Madam about business. Late home to supper and to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 15 February 1663. 15 Feb 1663. Lord's Day. This morning my wife did wake me being frighted with the noise I made in my sleep, being a dream that one of our sea maisters did desire to see the St. John's Isle of my drawing, which methought I showed him, but methought he did handle it so hard that it put me to very horrid pain.... Which what a strange extravagant dream it was.
So to sleep again and lay long in bed, and then trimmed by the barber, and so sending Will to church, myself staid at home, hanging up in my green chamber my picture of the Soveraigne, and putting some things in order there.
So to dinner, to three more ducks and two teals, my wife and I Then to Church, where a dull sermon, and so home, and after walking about the house awhile discoursing with my wife, I to my office there to set down something and to prepare businesses for tomorrow, having in the morning read over my vows, which through sicknesse I could not do the last Lord's day, and not through forgetfulness or negligence, so that I hope it is no breach of my vow not to pay my forfeiture.
So home, and after prayers to bed, talking long with my wife and teaching her things in astronomy.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 12 July 1663. 12 Jul 1663. Lord's Day. Up, and meeting Tom Willson he asked my pardon again, which I easily did give him, telling him only that it was well I was not a woman with child, for it might have made me miscarry. With Sir J. Minnes (64) to church, where an indifferent good sermon. Here I saw Mrs. Becky Allen, who hath been married, and is this day churched, after her bearing a child. She is grown tall, but looks very white and thin, and I can find no occasion while I am here to come to have her company, which I desire and expected in my coming, but only coming out of the church I kissed her and her sister and mother-in-law.
So to dinner, Sir J. Minnes (64), Commissioner Pett (52), and I, &c., and after dinner walked in the garden, it being a very fine day, the best we have had this great while, if not this whole summer. To church again, and after that walked through the Rope-ground to the Dock, and there over and over the Dock and grounds about it, and storehouses, &c., with the officers of the Yard, and then to Commissioner Pett's (52) and had a good sullybub and other good things, and merry. Commissioner Pett (52) showed me alone his bodys as a secrett, which I found afterwards by discourse with Sir J. Minnes (64) that he had shown them him, wherein he seems to suppose great mystery in the nature of Lynes to be hid, but I do not understand it at all.
Thence walked to the Hill-house, being myself much dissatisfied, and more than I thought I should have been with Commissioner Pett (52), being, by what I saw since I came hither, convinced that he is not able to exercise the command in the Yard over the officers that he ought to do, or somebody else, if ever the service be well looked after there. Sat up and with Sir J. Minnes (64) talking, and he speaking his mind in slighting of the Commissioner, for which I wish there was not so much reason. For I do see he is but a man of words, though indeed he is the ablest man that we have to do service if he would or durst. Sir J. Minnes (64) being gone to bed, I took Mr. Whitfield, one of the clerks, and walked to the Dock about eleven at night, and there got a boat and a crew, and rowed down to the guard-ships, it being a most pleasant moonshine evening that ever I saw almost. The guard-ships were very ready to hail us, being no doubt commanded thereto by their Captain, who remembers how I surprised them the last time I was here. However, I found him ashore, but the ship in pretty good order, and the arms well fixed, charged, and primed.
Thence to the Soveraign, where I found no officers aboard, no arms fixed, nor any powder to prime their few guns, which were charged, without bullet though.
So to the London, where neither officers nor any body awake; I boarded her, and might have done what I would, and at last could find but three little boys; and so spent the whole night in visiting all the ships, in which I found, for the most part, neither an officer aboard, nor any men so much as awake, which I was grieved to find, specially so soon after a great Larum, as Commissioner Pett (52) brought us word that he [had] provided against, and put all in a posture of defence but a week ago, all which I am resolved to represent to the Duke.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 12 August 1665. 12 Aug 1665. So he gone, I down to Greenwich and sent away the Bezan, thinking to go with my wife to-night to come back again to-morrow night to the Soveraigne at the buoy off the Nore.
Coming back to Deptford, old Bagwell walked a little way with me, and would have me in to his daughter's, and there he being gone 'dehors, ego had my volunte de su hiza1'.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 13 August 1665. 13 Aug 1665. Lord's Day. Up betimes and to my chamber, it being a very wet day all day, and glad am I that we did not go by water to see "The Soveraigne"1 to-day, as I intended, clearing all matters in packing up my papers and books, and giving instructions in writing to my executors, thereby perfecting the whole business of my will, to my very great joy; so that I shall be in much better state of soul, I hope, if it should please the Lord to call me away this sickly time.
At night to read, being weary with this day's great work, and then after supper to bed, to rise betimes to-morrow, and to bed with a mind as free as to the business of the world as if I were not worth £100 in the whole world, every thing being evened under my hand in my books and papers, and upon the whole I find myself worth, besides Brampton estate, the sum of £2164, for which the Lord be praised!
Note 1. "The Sovereign of the Seas" was built at Woolwich in 1637 of timber which had been stripped of its bark while growing in the spring, and not felled till the second autumn afterwards; and it is observed by Dr. Plot ("Phil. Trans". for 1691), in his discourse on the most seasonable time for felling timber, written by the advice of Pepys, that after forty-seven years, "all the ancient timber then remaining in her, it was no easy matter to drive a nail into it" ("Quarterly Review", vol. viii., p. 35). B.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 18 August 1665. 18 Aug 1665. Up about 5 o'clock and dressed ourselves, and to sayle again down to the Soveraigne at the buoy of the Nore, a noble ship, now rigged and fitted and manned; we did not stay long, but to enquire after her readinesse and thence to Sheernesse, where we walked up and down, laying out the ground to be taken in for a yard to lay provisions for cleaning and repairing of ships, and a most proper place it is for the purpose.
Thence with great pleasure up the Meadeway, our yacht contending with Commissioner Pett's (55), wherein he met us from Chatham, and he had the best of it. Here I come by, but had not tide enough to stop at Quinbrough, a with mighty pleasure spent the day in doing all and seeing these places, which I had never done before.
So to the Hill house at Chatham and there dined, and after dinner spent some time discoursing of business. Among others arguing with the Commissioner about his proposing the laying out so much money upon Sheerenesse, unless it be to the slighting of Chatham yarde, for it is much a better place than Chatham, which however the King (35) is not at present in purse to do, though it were to be wished he were.
At 10 at night, having supped, I took boat alone, and slept well all the way to the Tower docke about three o'clock in the morning. So knocked up my people, and to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 19 August 1665. 19 Aug 1665. Slept till 8 o'clock, and then up and met with letters from the King (35) and Lord Arlington (47), for the removal of our office to Greenwich. I also wrote letters, and made myself ready to go to Sir G. Carteret (55), at Windsor; and having borrowed a horse of Mr. Blackbrough, sent him to wait for me at the Duke of Albemarle's (56) door: when, on a sudden, a letter comes to us from the Duke of Albemarle (56), to tell us that the fleete is all come back to Solebay, and are presently to be dispatched back again. Whereupon I presently by water to the Duke of Albemarle (56) to know what news; and there I saw a letter from my Lord Sandwich (40) to the Duke of Albemarle (56), and also from Sir W. Coventry (37) and Teddiman; how my Lord having commanded Teddiman with twenty-two ships1.
Our fleete is come home to our great grief with not above five weeks' dry, and six days' wet provisions: however, must out again; and the Duke (31) hath ordered the Soveraigne, and all other ships ready, to go out to the fleete to strengthen them. This news troubles us all, but cannot be helped. Having read all this news, and received commands of the Duke with great content, he giving me the words which to my great joy he hath several times said to me, that his greatest reliance is upon me. And my Lord Craven (57) also did come out to talk with me, and told me that I am in mighty esteem with the Duke, for which I bless God.
Home, and having given my fellow-officers an account hereof, to Chatham, and wrote other letters, I by water to Charing-Cross, to the post-house, and there the people tell me they are shut up; and so I went to the new post-house, and there got a guide and horses to Hounslow, where I was mightily taken with a little girle, the daughter of the master of the house (Betty Gysby), which, if she lives, will make a great beauty. Here I met with a fine fellow who, while I staid for my horses, did enquire newes, but I could not make him remember Bergen in Norway, in 6 or 7 times telling, so ignorant he was.
So to Stanes, and there by this time it was dark night, and got a guide who lost his way in the forest, till by help of the moone (which recompenses me for all the pains I ever took about studying of her motions,) I led my guide into the way back again; and so we made a man rise that kept a gate, and so he carried us to Cranborne. Where in the dark I perceive an old house new building with a great deal of rubbish, and was fain to go up a ladder to Sir G. Carteret's (55) chamber. And there in his bed I sat down, and told him all my bad newes, which troubled him mightily; but yet we were very merry, and made the best of it; and being myself weary did take leave, and after having spoken with Mr. Fenn in bed, I to bed in my Lady's chamber that she uses to lie in, and where the Duchesse of York, that now is, was born.
So to sleep; being very well, but weary, and the better by having carried with me a bottle of strong water; whereof now and then a sip did me good.
Note 1. A news letter of August 19th (Salisbury), gives the following account of this affair:—"The Earl of Sandwich being on the Norway coast, ordered Sir Thomas Teddeman with 20 ships to attack 50 Dutch merchant ships in Bergen harbour; six convoyers had so placed themselves that only four or five of the ships could be reached at once. The Governor of Bergen fired on our ships, and placed 100 pieces of ordnance and two regiments of foot on the rocks to attack them, but they got clear without the loss of a ship, only 500 men killed or wounded, five or six captains among them. The fleet has gone to Sole Bay to repair losses and be ready to encounter the Dutch fleet, which is gone northward" (Calendar of State Papers, 1664-65, pp. 526, 527). Medals were struck in Holland, the inscription in Dutch on one of these is thus translated: "Thus we arrest the pride of the English, who extend their piracy even against their friends, and who insulting the forts of Norway, violate the rights of the harbours of King Frederick; but, for the reward of their audacity, see their vessels destroyed by the balls of the Dutch" (Hawkins's "Medallic Illustrations of the History of Great Britain and Ireland", ed. Franks and Grueber, 1885, vol. i., p. 508). Sir Gilbert Talbot's "True Narrative of the Earl of Sandwich's Attempt upon Bergen with the English Fleet on the 3rd of August, 1665, and the Cause of his Miscarriage thereupon", is in the British Museum (Harl. MS., No. 6859). It is printed in "Archaeologia", vol. xxii., p. 33. The Earl of Rochester also gave an account of the action in a letter to his mother (Wordsworth's "Ecclesiastical Biography", fourth edition, vol. iv., p. 611). Sir John Denham (50), in his "Advice to a Painter", gives a long satirical account of the affair. A coloured drawing of the attack upon Bergen, on vellum, showing the range of the ships engaged, is in the British Museum. Shortly after the Bergen affair forty of the Dutch merchant vessels, on their way to Holland, fell into the hands of the English, and in Penn's "Memorials of Sir William Pen (44)", vol. ii., p. 364, is a list of the prizes taken on the 3rd and 4th September. The troubles connected with these prizes and the disgrace into which Lord Sandwich (40) fell are fully set forth in subsequent pages of the Diary. Evelyn writes in his Diary (November 27th, 1665): "There was no small suspicion of my Lord Sandwich (40) having permitted divers commanders who were at ye taking of ye East India prizes to break bulk and take to themselves jewels, silkes, &c., tho' I believe some whom I could name fill'd their pockets, my Lo. Sandwich himself had the least share. However, he underwent the blame, and it created him enemies, and prepossess'd ye Lo. Generall (Duke of Albemarle (56)), for he spake to me of it with much zeale and concerne, and I believe laid load enough on Lo. Sandwich at Oxford". (of which but fifteen could get thither, and of those fifteen but eight or nine could come up to play) to go to Bergen; where, after several messages to and fro from the Governor of the Castle, urging that Teddiman ought not to come thither with more than five ships, and desiring time to think of it, all the while he suffering the Dutch ships to land their guns to their best advantage; Teddiman on the second pretence, began to play at the Dutch ships, (wherof ten East India-men,) and in three hours' time (the town and castle, without any provocation, playing on our ships,) they did cut all our cables, so as the wind being off the land, did force us to go out, and rendered our fire-ships useless; without doing any thing, but what hurt of course our guns must have done them: we having lost five commanders, besides Mr. Edward Montagu (30), and Mr. Windham. This Mr. Windham had entered into a formal engagement with the Earl of Rochester, "not without ceremonies of religion, that if either of them died, he should appear, and give the other notice of the future state, if there was any". He was probably one of the brothers of Sir William Wyndham, Bart. See Wordsworth's "Ecclesiastical Biography", fourth. edition, vol. iv., p. 615. B.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 31 August 1665. 31 Aug 1665. Up and, after putting several things in order to my removal, to Woolwich; the plague having a great encrease this week, beyond all expectation of almost 2,000, making the general Bill 7,000, odd 100; and the plague above 6,000.
I down by appointment to Greenwich, to our office, where I did some business, and there dined with our company and Sir W. Boreman, and Sir The. Biddulph, at Mr. Boreman's, where a good venison pasty, and after a good merry dinner I to my office, and there late writing letters, and then to Woolwich by water, where pleasant with my wife and people, and after supper to bed.
Thus this month ends with great sadness upon the publick, through the greatness of the plague every where through the Kingdom almost. Every day sadder and sadder news of its encrease. In the City died this week 7,496 and of them 6,102 of the plague. But it is feared that the true number of the dead, this week is near 10,000; partly from the poor that cannot be taken notice of, through the greatness of the number, and partly from the Quakers and others that will not have any bell ring for them.
Our fleete gone out to find the Dutch, we having about 100 sail in our fleete, and in them the Soveraigne one; so that it is a better fleete than the former with the Duke (31) was. All our fear is that the Dutch should be got in before them; which would be a very great sorrow to the publick, and to me particularly, for my Lord Sandwich's (40) sake. A great deal of money being spent, and the Kingdom not in a condition to spare, nor a parliament without much difficulty to meet to give more. And to that; to have it said, what hath been done by our late fleetes? As to myself I am very well, only in fear of the plague, and as much of an ague by being forced to go early and late to Woolwich, and my family to lie there continually. My late gettings have been very great to my great content, and am likely to have yet a few more profitable jobbs in a little while; for which Tangier, and Sir W. Warren I am wholly obliged to.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 18 September 1665. 18 Sep 1665. By break of day we come to within sight of the fleete, which was a very fine thing to behold, being above 100 ships, great and small; with the flag-ships of each squadron, distinguished by their several flags on their main, fore, or mizen masts. Among others, the Soveraigne, Charles, and Prince; in the last of which my Lord Sandwich (40) was. When we called by her side his Lordshipp was not stirring, so we come to anchor a little below his ship, thinking to have rowed on board him, but the wind and tide was so strong against us that we could not get up to him, no, though rowed by a boat of the Prince's that come to us to tow us up; at last however he brought us within a little way, and then they flung out a rope to us from the Prince and so come on board, but with great trouble and tune and patience, it being very cold; we find my Lord newly up in his night-gown very well. He received us kindly; telling us the state of the fleet, lacking provisions, having no beer at all, nor have had most of them these three weeks or month, and but few days' dry provisions. And indeed he tells us that he believes no fleete was ever set to sea in so ill condition of provision, as this was when it went out last. He did inform us in the business of Bergen1, so as to let us see how the judgment of the world is not to be depended on in things they know not; it being a place just wide enough, and not so much hardly, for ships to go through to it, the yardarmes sticking in the very rocks. He do not, upon his best enquiry, find reason to except against any part of the management of the business by Teddiman; he having staid treating no longer than during the night, whiles he was fitting himself to fight, bringing his ship a-breast, and not a quarter of an hour longer (as is said); nor could more ships have been brought to play, as is thought. Nor could men be landed, there being 10,000 men effectively always in armes of the Danes; nor, says he, could we expect more from the Dane than he did, it being impossible to set fire on the ships but it must burn the towne. But that wherein the Dane did amisse is, that he did assist them, the Dutch, all the while, while he was treating with us, while he should have been neutrall to us both. But, however, he did demand but the treaty of us; which is, that we should not come with more than five ships. A flag of truce is said, and confessed by my Lord, that he believes it was hung out; but while they did hang it out, they did shoot at us; so that it was not either seen perhaps, or fit to cease upon sight of it, while they continued actually in action against us. But the main thing my Lord wonders at, and condemns the Dane for, is, that the blockhead (56), who is so much in debt to the Hollander, having now a treasure more by much than all his Crowne was worth, and that which would for ever have beggared the Hollanders, should not take this time to break with the Hollander, and, thereby paid his debt which must have been forgiven him, and got the greatest treasure into his hands that ever was together in the world.
By and by my Lord took me aside to discourse of his private matters, who was very free with me touching the ill condition of the fleete that it hath been in, and the good fortune that he hath had, and nothing else that these prizes are to be imputed to. He also talked with me about Mr. Coventry's (37) dealing with him in sending Sir W. Pen (44) away before him, which was not fair nor kind; but that he hath mastered and cajoled Sir W. Pen (44), that he hath been able to do, nothing in the fleete, but been obedient to him; but withal tells me he is a man that is but of very mean parts, and a fellow not to be lived with, so false and base he is; which I know well enough to be very true, and did, as I had formerly done, give my Lord my knowledge of him.
By and by was called a Council of Warr on board, when come Sir W. Pen (44) there, and Sir Christopher Mings (39), Sir Edward Spragg (45), Sir Jos. Jordan, Sir Thomas Teddiman, and Sir Roger Cuttance, and so the necessity of the fleete for victuals, clothes, and money was discoursed, but by the discourse there of all but my Lord, that is to say, the counterfeit grave nonsense of Sir W. Pen (44) and the poor mean discourse of the rest, methinks I saw how the government and management of the greatest business of the three nations is committed to very ordinary heads, saving my Lord, and in effect is only upon him, who is able to do what he pleases with them, they not having the meanest degree of reason to be able to oppose anything that he says, and so I fear it is ordered but like all the rest of the King's publique affayres.
The council being up they most of them went away, only Sir W. Pen (44) who staid to dine there and did so, but the wind being high the ship (though the motion of it was hardly discernible to the eye) did make me sick, so as I could not eat any thing almost.
After dinner Cocke (48) did pray me to helpe him to £500 of W. How, who is deputy Treasurer, wherein my Lord Bruncker (45) and I am to be concerned and I did aske it my Lord, and he did consent to have us furnished with £500, and I did get it paid to Sir Roger Cuttance and Mr. Pierce in part for above £1000 worth of goods, Mace, Nutmegs, Cynamon, and Cloves, and he tells us we may hope to get £1500 by it, which God send! Great spoil, I hear, there hath been of the two East India ships, and that yet they will come in to the King (35) very rich: so that I hope this journey will be worth £100 to me2.
After having paid this money, we took leave of my Lord and so to our Yacht again, having seen many of my friends there. Among others I hear that W. Howe will grow very rich by this last business and grows very proud and insolent by it; but it is what I ever expected. I hear by every body how much my poor Lord of Sandwich was concerned for me during my silence a while, lest I had been dead of the plague in this sickly time. No sooner come into the yacht, though overjoyed with the good work we have done to-day, but I was overcome with sea sickness so that I begun to spue soundly, and so continued a good while, till at last I went into the cabbin and shutting my eyes my trouble did cease that I fell asleep, which continued till we come into Chatham river where the water was smooth, and then I rose and was very well, and the tide coming to be against us we did land before we come to Chatham and walked a mile, having very good discourse by the way, it being dark and it beginning to rain just as we got thither. At Commissioner Pett's (55) we did eat and drink very well and very merry we were, and about 10 at night, it being moonshine and very cold, we set out, his coach carrying us, and so all night travelled to Greenwich, we sometimes sleeping a little and then talking and laughing by the way, and with much pleasure, but that it was very horrible cold, that I was afeard of an ague.
A pretty passage was that the coach stood of a sudden and the coachman come down and the horses stirring, he cried, Hold! which waked me, and the coach[man] standing at the boote to [do] something or other and crying, Hold! I did wake of a sudden and not knowing who he was, nor thinking of the coachman between sleeping and waking I did take up the heart to take him by the shoulder, thinking verily he had been a thief. But when I waked I found my cowardly heart to discover a fear within me and that I should never have done it if I had been awake.
Note 2. There is a shorthand journal of proceedings relating to Pepys's purchase of some East India prize goods among the Rawlinson MSS. in the Bodleian Library.
John Evelyn's Diary 02 February 1696. 02 Feb 1696. An extraordinary wet season, though temperate as to cold. The "Royal Sovereign" man-of-war burned at Chatham. It was built in 1637, and having given occasion to the levy of ship money was perhaps the cause of all the after troubles to this day. An Earthquake in Dorsetshire by Portland, or rather a sinking of the ground suddenly for a large space, near the quarries of stone, hindering the conveyance of that material for the finishing St. Paul's.