At the office all the morning. Dined at home alone. So abroad with Sir W. Pen. My wife and I to “Bartholomew Fayre,” with puppets which I had seen once before, and the play without puppets often, but though I love the play as much as ever I did, yet I do not like the puppets at all, but think it to be a lessening to it. Thence to the Greyhound in Fleet Street, and there drank some raspberry sack and eat some sasages, and so home very merry.
This day Holmes come to town; and we do expect hourly to hear what usage he hath from the Duke and the King about this late business of letting the Swedish Embassador go by him without striking his flag.1
- And that, too, in the river Thames itself. The right of obliging ships of all nations to lower topsails, and strike their flag to the English, whilst in the British seas, and even on the French coasts, had, up to this time, been rigidly enforced. When Sully was sent by Henry IV., in 1603, to congratulate James I. on his accession, and in a ship commanded by a vice-admiral of France, he was fired upon by the English Admiral Mansel, for daring to hoist the flag of France in the presence of that of England, although within sight of Calais. The French flag was lowered, and all Sully’s remonstrances could obtain no redress for the alleged injury. According to Rugge, Holmes had insisted upon the Swede’s lowering his flag, and had even fired a shot to enforce the observance of the usual tribute of respect, but the ambassador sent his secretary and another gentleman on board the English frigate, to assure the captain, upon the word and honour of an ambassador, that the king, by a verbal order, had given him leave and a dispensation in that particular, and upon this false representation he was allowed to proceed on his voyage without further question. This want of caution, and disobedience of orders, fell heavily on Holmes, who was imprisoned for two months, and not re-appointed to the same ship. Brahe afterwards made a proper submission for the fault he had committed, at his own court. His conduct reminds us of Sir Henry Wotton’s definition of an ambassador — that he is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country. A pun upon the term lieger — ambassador. — B. ↩