Monday 24 October 1664

Up and in Sir J. Minnes’ coach (alone with Mrs. Turner as far as Paternoster Row, where I set her down) to St. James’s, and there did our business, and I had the good lucke to speak what pleased the Duke about our great contract in hand with Sir W. Warren against Sir W. Batten, wherein the Duke is very earnest for our contracting. Thence home to the office till noon, and then dined and to the ‘Change and off with Sir W. Warren for a while, consulting about managing his contract. Thence to a Committee at White Hall of Tangier, where I had the good lucke to speak something to very good purpose about the Mole at Tangier, which was well received even by Sir J. Lawson and Mr. Cholmely, the undertakers, against whose interest I spoke; that I believe I shall be valued for it. Thence into the galleries to talk with my Lord Sandwich; among other things, about the Prince’s writing up to tell us of the danger he and his fleete lie in at Portsmouth, of receiving affronts from the Dutch; which, my Lord said, he would never have done, had he lain there with one ship alone: nor is there any great reason for it, because of the sands. However, the fleete will be ordered to go and lay themselves up at the Cowes. Much beneath the prowesse of the Prince, I think, and the honour of the nation, at the first to be found to secure themselves. My Lord is well pleased to think, that, if the Duke and the Prince go, all the blame of any miscarriage will not light on him; and that if any thing goes well, he hopes he shall have the share of the glory, for the Prince is by no means well esteemed of by any body. Thence home, and though not very well yet up late about the Fishery business, wherein I hope to give an account how I find the Collections to have been managed, which I did finish to my great content, and so home to supper and to bed. This day the great O’Neale died; I believe, to the content of all the Protestant pretenders in Ireland.

13 Annotations

Australian Susan   Link to this

A busy purposeful, very characteristic day for Sam: five business meetings which all went well, including a very open and confidential chat with Sandwich showing how he trusts Sam: he is being very open here. And also much office work and finally, getting up to speed with the Fisheries. Sam may well declare that he went home "with great content" No doubt someone who knows about currents and so forth will be able to explain why the Fleet is safer lying up at Cowes, rather than on the other side of the Isle of Wight channel at Portsmouth. Just hiding? Is this why Sandwich makes the one ship comment?

Charlene   Link to this

According to the annotation, Daniel O'Neale's grave marker says that he died in 1663, but thepeerage.com concurs with Sam in that he died on this day.

Brian   Link to this

As Jack Aubrey might put it, 'tis disappointing to think that the Prince would be so shy . . .

Australian Susan   Link to this

Following on from Robert's flight of fancy regarding the identity of the unnamed sea person yesterday, I keep having visions of Capt Jack Sparrow mincing about the deck of an English warship and persuading the Prince he should definitely hide out at Cowes and not get anywhere near the dastardly Dutch.

Pedro   Link to this

On the 13th of October Sandwich had received orders to go to London with Lawson and on that day he was in Spithead.

A map may be of interest to show the positions of Cowes, Portsmouth and Spithead…

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/24/S...

IWlace   Link to this

This does not refer to the towns but to 'the Cowes' sandbanks, which narrowing the channel and close to Cowes castle, may have offered more protection than the open water near the mainland.
* Cowes and West Cowes were named after two sandbanks, one on each side of the River Medina estuary, and recorded in 1413 as Estcowe and Westcowe, which were named after a supposed likeless to cows (animals).
www.999cowes.com

Australian Susan   Link to this

So The Cowes are like The Downs: an area of sea. Having looked at the map (thanks, Pedro) it actually looks as though ships would be more concealed and safer inside Portsmouth Harbour, but not if being at Portsmouth actually refers to lying at anchor OFF Portsmouth - then being further up the channel between the I of W and the mainland would be more concealed.

djc   Link to this

Safer not to be stuck in harbour if the Dutch come raiding. The important considerations are the prevailing winds and currents, sandbanks etc and if in harbour the state of the tide. Being in harbour closes options.

jeannine   Link to this

“for the Prince is by no means well esteemed of by any body”

Sam is incorrect here. The King, for one, does esteem Rupert. In his book, “Prince Rupert”, Frank Kitson gives some additional background around this time. Although he doesn’t quote Sam’s exact entry today, he does summarize some information about Rupert as a person and his activity through October. He also adds one important note that isn’t tied to any date, but that definitely affects what is going on in Rupert’s fleet. {Slight spoilers may follow}

“It was eleven years and seven months since Rupert had returned to the mouth of the Loire at the end of his epic voyage. He was fit and relaxed and over the past four years had built up a secure position in the inner circle of those trusted by the King, which was essential for anyone aspiring to the chief command of the fleet at war. A century later, when the direction and administration of the navy was properly staffed and formalized, it would become possible to separate the functions of forming national policy from the exercise of command, but while these processes were in their infancy the commander of the fleet had to be someone who was fully acquainted with the King’s most innermost thinking and someone the King would trust to promote his ideas.

Of the three professional qualifications thought to be needed by an admiral, Rupert possessed two in good measure, namely a knowledge of seamanship and of naval logistics. He was also an artillery expert who understood the scientific and practical problems of producing guns and gunpowder. Only in the matter of fleet tactics did he need more practical experience, and this he seemed well placed to acquire in the near future. Altogether his prospects of becoming as famous a commander at sea as he had once been on land seemed set fair.

But matters did not run as smoothly as he would have wished. His first problem was with his Chaplin, specially selected by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who became unhinged by life at sea. Instead of fulfilling his duties, he ran around the ship abusing the captain until Rupert ordered him in his cabin and told him to prepare himself to lead the prayers next morning. He was soon sent ashore, and in a letter to Bennet [Lord Arlington] written on 11 October Rupert reported that ‘the ship without the chaplain was a quiet place. God sent us another of better temper, he added; hitherto we have not troubled Him much with our prayers!’ Next day, thanks to favourable winds, Rupert was still in the Downs, and it was not until a week later that his ships arrived in Portsmouth, where they had to be stocked for the voyage to Africa.

Before Rupert had even left London a decision had been taken to set out another thirty-seven ships for the Duke of York to command., On 16 October, while Rupert was at sea, a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee put some radical proposals to the King. These were that Rupert’s voyage to West Africa should be held up for the time being and that once a sufficiently powerful fleet was assembled at Spithead, orders should be given to seize all Dutch ships in the Channel, which would be held to compensate for any injury that might be done by De Ruyter in West Africa. In addition, Allin who had taken some of Sandwich’s ships to replace Lawson’s squadron in the Mediterranean, should make peace with Algiers, sail for Tangier and try to seize the Dutch fleet returning from Smyrna. Once at Tangier Allin was to take any Dutch ships wherever he could find them and return to Portsmouth by the end of the year.

At some stage after leaving the Downs Rupert met with an accident. Whether he fell and knocked his head or whether, as has been suggested, some rigging gave way and he was struck by a block is not clear. Rupert himself did not initially think it was serious, but the injury stirred up his old wound [a bullet to the head, which will plague him for the rest of his life]. He evidently mentioned it in a letter to Will Legge, who told the Duke of York, as a result of which the Duke sent Choqueux post-haste to Portsmouth. Soon after his arrival Choqueux decided to carry out a minor operation on Rupert’s skull, assuring him that he would be up and about within a few days. {Spoiler} on 6 November Rupert wrote to the King saying that he had not been able to push forward the preparations for his departure to Africa as fast as he would have liked because Choqueux insisted that he lay up for a few more days but that he would soon be in good shape.” (p 149-151)

Pedro   Link to this

"Much beneath the prowesse of the Prince, I think, and the honour of the nation, at the first to be found to secure themselves."

There speaks a man who does not envy Penn’s forthcoming role.

Thanks Jeannine for the alternative view, it shows again that sometimes Sam records gossip from a circle that has its own vested interests, and draws conclusions that are false.

Rupert had faced many dangerous moments on the battlefield and has carried the flag during the interregnum for the King.

In 1647, commanding English troops in France, at the relief of La Bassee…

Sir Robert Holmes, who was then Page to Rupert… Holmes’s leg was shot in pieces just below the knee, and his horse killed under him where he lay upon the place, and Mortaigne was also shot in the hand, Holmes being left alone on the ground, and the enemy firing hard from the other side of the river, Rupert, seeing nobody would engage to bring him off, with a generosity peculiar to himself, went himself with Mortaigne (who by reason of a wound in his hand, could give him but little assistance), took him up behind him with great danger and difficulty, and so carried him off; not a man of the French volunteers coming to his assistance.

(Summary from Man of War by Ollard and the account found in Rupert’s papers.)

Terry F   Link to this

"Protestant pretenders"

This remark has recent relevance. L&M explain that these were English Cromwellian settlers in Ireland, who would surely have been gladdened by the death of a champion of their antagonists, the dispossessed royalists, and the the most influential Irishman of his time after James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde.

Here's a link to the Act of Settlement of 1662, that transferred most of the lands, ergo political and ecenomic power in Ireland from Catholics to Protestants. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_of_Settlement_...

Pedro   Link to this

James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde.

Many of his letters of this period can be seen in the Carte Papers formerly posted by Dirk and kept up by Terry himself.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

"I had the good lucke to speak what pleased the Duke about our great contract in hand with Sir W. Warren against Sir W. Batten"

I think worry about, and preparation for, this critical meeting on the Warren contract was the reason for Sam's short entries on the weekend. On the 18th the Duke had quizzed Sam in sarcastic tones about the contract, giving him reason, I think, for concern.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.