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

Monday 25 May 1663

Up, and my pill working a little I staid within most of the morning, and by and by the barber came and Sarah Kite my cozen, poor woman, came to see me and borrow 40s. of me, telling me she will pay it at Michaelmas again to me. I was glad it was no more, being indifferent whether she pays it me or no, but it will be a good excuse to lend her nor give her any more. So I did freely at first word do it, and give her a crown more freely to buy her child something, she being a good-natured and painful wretch, and one that I would do good for as far as I can that I might not be burdened.

My wife was not ready, and she coming early did not see her, and I was glad of it.

She gone, I up and then hear that my wife and her maid Ashwell had between them spilled the pot … upon the floor and stool and God knows what, and were mighty merry making of it clean. I took no great notice, but merrily.

Ashwell did by and by come to me with an errand from her mistress to desire money to buy a country suit for her against she goes as we talked last night, and so I did give her 4l., and believe it will cost me the best part of 4 more to fit her out, but with peace and honour I am willing to spare anything so as to be able to keep all ends together, and my power over her undisturbed.

So to my office and by and by home, where my wife and her master were dancing, and so I staid in my chamber till they had done, and sat down myself to try a little upon the Lyra viall, my hand being almost out, but easily brought to again. So by and by to dinner, and then carried my wife and Ashwell to St. James’s, and there they sat in the coach while I went in, and finding nobody there likely to meet with the Duke, but only Sir J. Minnes with my Lord Barkely (who speaks very kindly, and invites me with great compliments to come now and then and eat with him, which I am glad to hear, though I value not the thing, but it implies that my esteem do increase rather than fall), and so I staid not, but into the coach again, and taking up my wife’s taylor, it raining hard, they set me down, and who should our coachman be but Carleton the Vintner, that should have had Mrs. Sarah, at Westminster, my Lord Chancellor’s, and then to Paternoster Row . I staid there to speak with my Lord Sandwich, and in my staying, meeting Mr. Lewis Phillips of Brampton, he and afterwards others tell me that news came last night to Court, that the King of France is sick of the spotted fever, and that they are struck in again; and this afternoon my Lord Mandeville is gone from the King to make him a visit; which will be great news, and of great import through Europe.

By and by, out comes my Lord Sandwich, and he and I talked a great while about his business, of his accounts for his pay, and among other things he told me that this day a vote hath passed that the King’s grants of land to my Lord Monk and him should be made good; which pleases him very well.

He also tells me that things don’t go right in the House with Mr. Coventry; I suppose he means in the business of selling of places; but I am sorry for it. Thence by coach home, where I found Pembleton, and so I up to dance with them till the evening, when there came Mr. Alsopp, the King’s brewer, and Lanyon of Plymouth to see me. Mr. Alsopp tells me of a horse of his that lately, after four days’ pain, voided at his fundament four stones, bigger than that I was cut of, very heavy, and in the middle of each of them either a piece of iron or wood. The King has two of them in his closett, and a third the College of Physicians to keep for rarity, and by the King’s command he causes the turd of the horse to be every day searched to find more.

At night to see Sir W. Batten come home this day from Portsmouth. I met with some that say that the King of France is poisoned, but how true that is is not known. So home to supper and to bed pleasant.

Sunday 24 May 1663

(Lord’s day). Having taken one of Mr. Holliard’s pills last night it brought a stool or two this morning, and so forebore going to church this morning, but staid at home looking over my papers about Tom Trice’s business, and so at noon dined, and my wife telling me that there was a pretty lady come to church with Peg Pen to-day, I against my intention had a mind to go to church to see her, and did so, and she is pretty handsome. But over against our gallery I espied Pembleton, and saw him leer upon my wife all the sermon, I taking no notice of him, and my wife upon him, and I observed she made a curtsey to him at coming out without taking notice to me at all of it, which with the consideration of her being desirous these two last Lord’s days to go to church both forenoon and afternoon do really make me suspect something more than ordinary, though I am loth to think the worst, but yet it put and do still keep me at a great loss in my mind, and makes me curse the time that I consented to her dancing, and more my continuing it a second month, which was more than she desired, even after I had seen too much of her carriage with him. But I must have patience and get her into the country, or at least to make an end of her learning to dance as soon as I can. After sermon to Sir W. Pen’s, with Sir J. Minnes to do a little business to answer Mr. Coventry to-night. And so home and with my wife and Ashwell into the garden walking a great while, discoursing what this pretty wench should be by her garb and deportment; with respect to Mrs. Pen she may be her woman, but only that she sat in the pew with her, which I believe he would not let her do.

So home, and read to my wife a fable or two in Ogleby’s AEsop, and so to supper, and then to prayers and to bed. My wife this evening discoursing of making clothes for the country, which I seem against, pleading lack of money, but I am glad of it in some respects because of getting her out of the way from this fellow, and my own liberty to look after my business more than of late I have done. So to prayers and to bed.

This morning it seems Susan, who I think is distracted, or however is since she went from me taught to drink, and so gets out of doors 2 or 3 times a day without leave to the alehouse, did go before 5 o’clock to-day, making Griffin rise in his shirt to let her out to the alehouse, she said to warm herself, but her mistress, falling out with her about it, turned her out of doors this morning, and so she is gone like an idle slut. I took a pill also this night.

Saturday 23 May 1663

Waked this morning between four and five by my blackbird, which whistles as well as ever I heard any; only it is the beginning of many tunes very well, but there leaves them, and goes no further. So up and to my office, where we sat, and among other things I had a fray with Sir J. Minnes in defence of my Will in a business where the old coxcomb would have put a foot upon him, which was only in Jack Davis and in him a downright piece of knavery in procuring a double ticket and getting the wrong one paid as well as the second was to the true party. But it appeared clear enough to the board that Will was true in it. Home to dinner, and after dinner by water to the Temple, and there took my Lyra Viall book bound up with blank paper for new lessons. Thence to Greatorex’s, and there seeing Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Pen go by coach I went in to them and to White Hall; where, in the Matted Gallery, Mr. Coventry was, who told us how the Parliament have required of Sir G. Carteret and him an account what money shall be necessary to be settled upon the Navy for the ordinary charge, which they intend to report 200,000l. per annum. And how to allott this we met this afternoon, and took their papers for our perusal, and so we parted. Only there was walking in the gallery some of the Barbary company, and there we saw a draught of the arms of the company, which the King is of, and so is called the Royall Company, which is, in a field argent an elephant proper, with a canton on which England and France is quartered, supported by two Moors. The crest an anchor winged, I think it is, and the motto too tedious: “Regio floret, patrocinio commercium, commercioque Regnum.”

Thence back by water to Greatorex’s, and there he showed me his varnish which he had invented, which appears every whit as good, upon a stick which he hath done, as the Indian, though it did not do very well upon my paper ruled with musique lines, for it sunk and did not shine. Thence home by water, and after a dance with Pembleton to my office and wrote by the post to Sir W. Batten at Portsmouth to send for him up against next Wednesday, being our triall day against Field at Guildhall, in which God give us good end. So home: to supper and to bed.

Friday 22 May 1663

Up pretty betimes, and shall, I hope, come to myself and business again, after a small playing the truant, for I find that my interest and profit do grow daily, for which God be praised and keep me to my duty.

To my office, and anon one tells me that Rundall, the house-carpenter of Deptford, hath sent me a fine blackbird, which I went to see. He tells me he was offered 20s. for him as he came along, he do so whistle.

So to my office, and busy all the morning, among other things, learning to understand the course of the tides, and I think I do now do it.

At noon Mr. Creed comes to me, and he and I to the Exchange, where I had much discourse with several merchants, and so home with him to dinner, and then by water to Greenwich, and calling at the little alehouse at the end of the town to wrap a rag about my little left toe, being new sore with walking, we walked pleasantly to Woolwich, in our way hearing the nightingales sing. So to Woolwich yard, and after doing many things there, among others preparing myself for a dispute against Sir W. Pen in the business of Bowyer’s, wherein he is guilty of some corruption to the King’s wrong, we walked back again without drinking, which I never do because I would not make my coming troublesome to any, nor would become obliged too much to any. In our going back we were overtook by Mr. Steventon, a purser, and uncle to my clerk Will, who told me how he was abused in the passing of his accounts by Sir J. Minnes to the degree that I am ashamed to hear it, and resolve to retrieve the matter if I can though the poor man has given it over. And however am pleased enough to see that others do see his folly and dotage as well as myself, though I believe in my mind the man in general means well.

Took boat at Greenwich and to Deptford, where I did the same thing, and found Davis, the storekeeper, a knave, and shuffling in the business of Bewpers, being of the party with Young and Whistler to abuse the King, but I hope I shall be even with them. So walked to Redriffe, drinking at the Half-way house, and so walked and by water to White Hall, all our way by water coming and going reading a little book said to be writ by a person of Quality concerning English gentry to be preferred before titular honours, but the most silly nonsense, no sense nor grammar, yet in as good words that ever I saw in all my life, but from beginning to end you met not with one entire and regular sentence.

At White Hall Sir G. Carteret was out of the way, and so returned back presently, and home by water and to bed.

Thursday 21 May 1663

Up, but cannot get up so early as I was wont, nor my mind to business as it should be and used to be before this dancing. However, to my office, where most of the morning talking of Captain Cox of Chatham about his and the whole yard’s difference against Mr. Barrow the storekeeper, wherein I told him my mind clearly, that he would be upheld against the design of any to ruin him, he being we all believed, but Sir W. Batten his mortal enemy, as good a servant as any the King has in the yard.

After much good advice and other talk I home and danced with Pembleton, and then the barber trimmed me, and so to dinner, my wife and I having high words about her dancing to that degree that I did enter and make a vow to myself not to oppose her or say anything to dispraise or correct her therein as long as her month lasts, in pain of 2s. 6d. for every time, which, if God pleases, I will observe, for this roguish business has brought us more disquiett than anything [that] has happened a great while.

After dinner to my office, where late, and then home; and Pembleton being there again, we fell to dance a country dance or two, and so to supper and bed. But being at supper my wife did say something that caused me to oppose her in, she used the word devil, which vexed me, and among other things I said I would not have her to use that word, upon which she took me up most scornfully, which, before Ashwell and the rest of the world, I know not now-a-days how to check, as I would heretofore, for less than that would have made me strike her. So that I fear without great discretion I shall go near to lose too my command over her, and nothing do it more than giving her this occasion of dancing and other pleasures, whereby her mind is taken up from her business and finds other sweets besides pleasing of me, and so makes her that she begins not at all to take pleasure in me or study to please me as heretofore. But if this month of her dancing were but out (as my first was this night, and I paid off Pembleton for myself) I shall hope with a little pains to bring her to her old wont. This day Susan that lived with me lately being out of service, and I doubt a simple wench, my wife do take her for a little time to try her at least till she goes into the country, which I am yet doubtful whether it will be best for me to send her or no, for fear of her running off in her liberty before I have brought her to her right temper again.

Wednesday 20 May 1663

Up and to my office, and anon home and to see my wife dancing with Pembleton about noon, and I to the Trinity House to dinner and after dinner home, and there met Pembleton, who I perceive has dined with my wife, which she takes no notice of, but whether that proceeds out of design, or fear to displease me I know not, but it put me into a great disorder again, that I could mind nothing but vexing, but however I continued my resolution of going down by water to Woolwich, took my wife and Ashwell; and going out met Mr. Howe come to see me, whose horse we caused to be set up, and took him with us. The tide against us, so I went ashore at Greenwich before, and did my business at the yard about putting things in order as to their proceeding to build the new yacht ordered to be built by Christopher Pett,1 and so to Woolwich town, where at an alehouse I found them ready to attend my coming, and so took boat again, it being cold, and I sweating, with my walk, which was very pleasant along the green corne and pease, and most of the way sang, he and I, and eat some cold meat we had, and with great pleasure home, and so he took horse again, and Pembleton coming, we danced a country dance or two and so broke up and to bed, my mind restless and like to be so while she learns to dance. God forgive my folly.

Tuesday 19 May 1663

Up pretty betimes, but yet I observe how my dancing and lying a morning or two longer than ordinary for my cold do make me hard to rise as I used to do, or look after my business as I am wont.

To my chamber to make an end of my papers to my father to be sent by the post to-night, and taking copies of them, which was a great work, but I did it this morning, and so to my office, and thence with Sir John Minnes to the Tower; and by Mr. Slingsby, and Mr. Howard, Controller of the Mint, we were shown the method of making this new money, from the beginning to the end, which is so pretty that I did take a note of every part of it and set them down by themselves for my remembrance hereafter. That being done it was dinner time, and so the Controller would have us dine with him and his company, the King giving them a dinner every day. And very merry and good discourse about the business we have been upon, and after dinner went to the Assay Office and there saw the manner of assaying of gold and silver, and how silver melted down with gold do part, just being put into aqua-fortis, the silver turning into water, and the gold lying whole in the very form it was put in, mixed of gold and silver, which is a miracle; and to see no silver at all but turned into water, which they can bring again into itself out of the water. —[Not water — a solution of Silver Oxide. D.W.]—

And here I was made thoroughly to understand the business of the fineness and coarseness of metals, and have put down my lessons with my other observations therein.

At table among other discourse they told us of two cheats, the best I ever heard. One, of a labourer discovered to convey away the bits of silver cut out pence by swallowing them down into his belly, and so they could not find him out, though, of course, they searched all the labourers; but, having reason to doubt him, they did, by threats and promises, get him to confess, and did find 7l. of it in his house at one time.

The other of one that got a way of coyning money as good and passable and large as the true money is, and yet saved fifty per cent. to himself, which was by getting moulds made to stamp groats like old groats, which is done so well, and I did beg two of them which I keep for rarities, that there is not better in the world, and is as good, nay, better than those that commonly go, which was the only thing that they could find out to doubt them by, besides the number that the party do go to put off, and then coming to the Comptroller of the Mint, he could not, I say, find out any other thing to raise any doubt upon, but only their being so truly round or near it, though I should never have doubted the thing neither. He was neither hanged nor burned, —[No! They probably copied his technique. D.W.]— the cheat was thought so ingenious, and being the first time they could ever trap him in it, and so little hurt to any man in it, the money being as good as commonly goes.

Thence to the office till the evening, we sat, and then by water (taking Pembleton with us), over the water to the Halfway House, where we played at ninepins, and there my damned jealousy took fire, he and my wife being of a side and I seeing of him take her by the hand in play, though I now believe he did [it] only in passing and sport. Thence home and being 10 o’clock was forced to land beyond the Custom House, and so walked home and to my office, and having dispatched my great letters by the post to my father, of which I keep copies to show by me and for my future understanding, I went home to supper and bed, being late.

The most observables in the making of money which I observed to-day, is the steps of their doing it.

  1. Before they do anything they assay the bullion, which is done, if it be gold, by taking an equal weight of that and of silver, of each a small weight, which they reckon to be six ounces or half a pound troy; this they wrap up in within lead.

    If it be silver, they put such a quantity of that alone and wrap it up in lead, and then putting them into little earthen cupps made of stuff like tobacco pipes, and put them into a burning hot furnace, where, after a while, the whole body is melted, and at last the lead in both is sunk into the body of the cupp, which carries away all the copper or dross with it, and left the pure gold and silver embodyed together, of that which hath both been put into the cupp together, and the silver alone in these where it was put alone in the leaden case. And to part the silver and the gold in the first experiment, they put the mixed body into a glass of aqua-fortis, which separates them by spitting out the silver into such small parts that you cannot tell what it becomes, but turns into the very water and leaves the gold at the bottom clear of itself, with the silver wholly spit out, and yet the gold in the form that it was doubled together in when it was a mixed body of gold and silver, which is a great mystery; and after all this is done to get the silver together out of the water is as strange.

    But the nature of the assay is thus: the piece of gold that goes into the furnace twelve ounces, if it comes out again eleven ounces, and the piece of silver which goes in twelve and comes out again eleven and two pennyweight, are just of the alloy of the standard of England. If it comes out, either of them, either the gold above eleven, as very fine will sometimes within very little of what it went in, or the silver above eleven and two pennyweight, as that also will sometimes come out eleven and ten penny weight or more, they are so much above the goodness of the standard, and so they know what proportion of worse gold and silver to put to such a quantity of the bullion to bring it to the exact standard. And on the contrary, [if] it comes out lighter, then such a weight is beneath the standard, and so requires such a proportion of fine metal to be put to the bullion to bring it to the standard, and this is the difference of good and bad, better and worse than the standard, and also the difference of standards, that of Seville being the best and that of Mexico worst, and I think they said none but Seville is better than ours.

  2. They melt it into long plates, which, if the mould do take ayre, then the plate is not of an equal heaviness in every part of it, as it often falls out.

  3. They draw these plates between rollers to bring them to an even thickness all along and every plate of the same thickness, and it is very strange how the drawing it twice easily between the rollers will make it as hot as fire, yet cannot touch it. —[Many principles of Physics had not yet then been deliniated. D.W.]—

  4. They bring it to another pair of rollers, which they call adjusting it, which bring it to a greater exactness in its thickness than the first could be.

  5. They cut them into round pieces, which they do with the greatest ease, speed, and exactness in the world.

  6. They weigh these, and where they find any to be too heavy they file them, which they call sizeing them; or light, they lay them by, which is very seldom, but they are of a most exact weight, but however, in the melting, all parts by some accident not being close alike, now and then a difference will be, and, this filing being done, there shall not be any imaginable difference almost between the weight of forty of these against another forty chosen by chance out of all their heaps.

  7. These round pieces having been cut out of the plates, which in passing the rollers are bent, they are sometimes a little crooked or swelling out or sinking in, and therefore they have a way of clapping 100 or 2 together into an engine, which with a screw presses them so hard that they come out as flat as is possible.

  8. They blanch them.

  9. They mark the letters on the edges, which is kept as the great secret by Blondeau, who was not in the way, and so I did not speak with him to-day.1

  10. They mill them, that is, put on the marks on both sides at once with great exactness and speed, and then the money is perfect.

    The mill is after this manner: one of the dyes, which has one side of the piece cut, is fastened to a thing fixed below, and the other dye (and they tell me a payre of dyes will last the marking of 10,000l. before it be worn out, they and all other their tools being made of hardened steel, and the Dutchman who makes them is an admirable artist, and has so much by the pound for every pound that is coyned to find a constant supply of dyes) to an engine above, which is moveable by a screw, which is pulled by men; and then a piece being clapped by one sitting below between the two dyes, when they meet the impression is set, and then the man with his finger strikes off the piece and claps another in, and then the other men they pull again and that is marked, and then another and another with great speed.

They say that this way is more charge to the King than the old way, but it is neater, freer from clipping or counterfeiting, the putting of the words upon the edges being not to be done (though counterfeited) without an engine of the charge and noise that no counterfeit will be at or venture upon, and it employs as many men as the old and speedier.

They now coyne between 16l. and 24,000l. in a week.

At dinner they did discourse very finely to us of the probability that there is a vast deal of money hid in the land, from this:—

That in King Charles’s time there was near ten millions of money coyned, besides what was then in being of King James’s and Queene Elizabeth’s, of which there is a good deal at this day in being.

Next, that there was but 750,000l. coyned of the Harp and Crosse money, and of this there was 500,000l. brought in upon its being called in. And from very good arguments they find that there cannot be less of it in Ireland and Scotland than 100,000l.; so that there is but 150,000l. missing; and of that, suppose that there should be not above 650,000 still remaining, either melted down, hid, or lost, or hoarded up in England, there will then be but 100,000l. left to be thought to have been transported.

Now, if 750,000l. in twelve years’ time lost but a 100,000l. in danger of being transported, then within thirty-five years’ time will have lost but 3,888,880l. and odd pounds; and as there is 650,000l. remaining after twelve years’ time in England, so after thirty-five years’ time, which was within this two years, there ought in proportion to have been resting 6,111,120l. or thereabouts, beside King James’s and Queen Elizabeth’s money.

Now that most of this must be hid is evident, as they reckon, because of the dearth of money immediately upon the calling-in of the State’s money, which was 500,000l. that came in; and yet there was not any money to be had in this City, which they say to their own observation and knowledge was so. And therefore, though I can say nothing in it myself, I do not dispute it.

Continue reading Monday 18 May 1663