A new diary entry appears here at the end of each day.

Monday 30 September 1661

This morning up by moon-shine, at 5 o’clock, to White Hall, to meet Mr. Moore at the Privy Seal, but he not being come as appointed, I went into King Street to the Red Lyon to drink my morning draft, and there I heard of a fray between the two Embassadors of Spain and France; and that, this day, being the day of the entrance of an Embassador from Sweden, they intended to fight for the precedence! Our King, I heard, ordered that no Englishman should meddle in the business,1 but let them do what they would. And to that end all the soldiers in the town were in arms all the day long, and some of the train-bands in the City; and a great bustle through the City all the day. Then I to the Privy Seal, and there Mr. Moore and a gentleman being come with him, we took coach (which was the business I come for) to Chelsy, to my Lord Privy Seal, and there got him to seal the business. Here I saw by day-light two very fine pictures in the gallery, that a little while ago I saw by night; and did also go all over the house, and found it to be the prettiest contrived house that ever I saw in my life. So to coach back again; and at White Hall light, and saw the soldiers and people running up and down the streets. So I went to the Spanish Embassador’s and the French, and there saw great preparations on both sides; but the French made the most noise and vaunted most, the other made no stir almost at all; so that I was afraid the other would have had too great a conquest over them.

Then to the Wardrobe, and dined there, end then abroad and in Cheapside hear that the Spanish hath got the best of it, and killed three of the French coach-horses and several men, and is gone through the City next to our King’s coach; at which, it is strange to see how all the City did rejoice. And indeed we do naturally all love the Spanish, and hate the French.

But I, as I am in all things curious, presently got to the water-side, and there took oars to Westminster Palace, thinking to have seen them come in thither with all the coaches, but they being come and returned, I ran after them with my boy after me through all the dirt and the streets full of people; till at last, at the Mewes, I saw the Spanish coach go, with fifty drawn swords at least to guard it, and our soldiers shouting for joy. And so I followed the coach, and then met it at York House, where the embassador lies; and there it went in with great state. So then I went to the French house, where I observe still, that there is no men in the world of a more insolent spirit where they do well, nor before they begin a matter, and more abject if they do miscarry, than these people are; for they all look like dead men, and not a word among them, but shake their heads.

The truth is, the Spaniards were not only observed to fight most desperately, but also they did outwitt them; first in lining their own harness with chains of iron that they could not be cut, then in setting their coach in the most advantageous place, and to appoint men to guard every one of their horses, and others for to guard the coach, and others the coachmen. And, above all, in setting upon the French horses and killing them, for by that means the French were not able to stir.

There were several men slain of the French, and one or two of the Spaniards, and one Englishman by a bullet. Which is very observable, the French were at least four to one in number, and had near 100 case of pistols among them, and the Spaniards had not one gun among them; which is for their honour for ever, and the others’ disgrace.

So, having been very much daubed with dirt, I got a coach, and home where I vexed my wife in telling of her this story, and pleading for the Spaniards against the French.

So ends this month; myself and family in good condition of health, but my head full of my Lord’s and my own and the office business; where we are now very busy about the business of sending forces to Tangier, and the fleet to my Lord of Sandwich, who is now at Lisbon to bring over the Queen, who do now keep a Court as Queen of England.

The business of Argier hath of late troubled me, because my Lord hath not done what he went for, though he did as much as any man in the world could have done.

The want of money puts all things, and above all things the Navy, out of order; and yet I do not see that the King takes care to bring in any money, but thinks of new designs to lay out money.

  1. The Comte de Brienne insinuates, in his “Memoirs,” that Charles purposely abstained from interfering, in the belief that it was for his interest to let France and Spain quarrel, in order to further his own designs in the match with Portugal. Louis certainly held that opinion; and he afterwards instructed D’Estrades to solicit from the English court the punishment of those Londoners who had insulted his ambassador, and to demand the dismissal of De Batteville. Either no Londoner had interfered, or Louis’s demand had not in England the same force as in Spain; for no one was punished. The latter part of his request it was clearly not for Charles to entertain, much less enforce. — B.

Sunday 29 September 1661

(Lord’s day). To church in the morning, and so to dinner, and Sir W. Pen and daughter, and Mrs. Poole, his kinswoman, Captain Poole’s wife, came by appointment to dinner with us, and a good dinner we had for them, and were very merry, and so to church again, and then to Sir W. Pen’s and there supped, where his brother, a traveller, and one that speaks Spanish very well, and a merry man, supped with us, and what at dinner and supper I drink I know not how, of my own accord, so much wine, that I was even almost foxed, and my head aked all night; so home and to bed, without prayers, which I never did yet, since I came to the house, of a Sunday night: I being now so out of order that I durst not read prayers, for fear of being perceived by my servants in what case I was. So to bed.

Friday 27 September 1661

By coach to Whitehall with my wife (where she went to see Mrs. Pierce, who was this day churched, her month of childbed being out). I went to Mr. Montagu and other businesses, and at noon met my wife at the Wardrobe; and there dined, where we found Captain Country (my little Captain that I loved, who carried me to the Sound), come with some grapes and millons from my Lord at Lisbon, the first that ever I saw any, and my wife and I eat some, and took some home; but the grapes are rare things. Here we staid; and in the afternoon comes Mr. Edwd. Montagu (by appointment this morning) to talk with my Lady and me about the provisions fit to be bought, and sent to my Lord along with him. And told us, that we need not trouble ourselves how to buy them, for the King would pay for all, and that he would take care to get them: which put my Lady and me into a great deal of ease of mind. Here we staid and supped too, and, after my wife had put up some of the grapes in a basket for to be sent to the King, we took coach and home, where we found a hampire of millons sent to me also.

Wednesday 25 September 1661

By coach with Sir W. Pen to Covent Garden. By the way, upon my desire, he told me that I need not fear any reflection upon my Lord for their ill success at Argier, for more could not be done than was done. I went to my cozen, Thos. Pepys, there, and talked with him a good while about our country business, who is troubled at my uncle Thomas his folly, and so we parted; and then meeting Sir R. Slingsby in St. Martin’s Lane, he and I in his coach through the Mewes, which is the way that now all coaches are forced to go, because of a stop at Charing Cross, by reason of a drain there to clear the streets. To Whitehall, and there to Mr. Coventry, and talked with him, and thence to my Lord Crew’s and dined with him, where I was used with all imaginable kindness both from him and her. And I see that he is afraid that my Lord’s reputacon will a little suffer in common talk by this late success; but there is no help for it now.

The Queen of England (as she is now owned and called) I hear doth keep open Court, and distinct at Lisbon.

Hence, much against my nature and will, yet such is the power of the Devil over me I could not refuse it, to the Theatre, and saw “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” ill done. And that ended, with Sir W. Pen and Sir G. More to the tavern, and so home with him by coach, and after supper to prayers and to bed. In full quiet of mind as to thought, though full of business, blessed be God.

Tuesday 24 September 1661

We rose, and set forth, but found a most sad alteration in the road by reason of last night’s rains, they being now all dirty and washy, though not deep. So we rode easily through, and only drinking at Holloway, at the sign of a woman with cakes in one hand and a pot of ale in the other, which did give good occasion of mirth, resembling her to the maid that served us, we got home very timely and well, and finding there all well, and letters from sea, that speak of my Lord’s being well, and his action, though not considerable of any side, at Argier. I went straight to my Lady, and there sat and talked with her, and so home again, and after supper we to bed somewhat weary, hearing of nothing ill since my absence but my brother Tom, who is pretty well though again.

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