Sunday 15 January 1664/65

(Lord’s day). Up, and after a little at my office to prepare a fresh draught of my vowes for the next yeare, I to church, where a most insipid young coxcomb preached. Then home to dinner, and after dinner to read in “Rushworth’s Collections” about the charge against the late Duke of Buckingham, in order to the fitting me to speak and understand the discourse anon before the King about the suffering the Turkey merchants to send out their fleete at this dangerous time, when we can neither spare them ships to go, nor men, nor King’s ships to convoy them. At four o’clock with Sir W. Pen in his coach to my Lord Chancellor’s, where by and by Mr. Coventry, Sir W. Pen, Sir J. Lawson, Sir G. Ascue, and myself were called in to the King, there being several of the Privy Council, and my Lord Chancellor lying at length upon a couch (of the goute I suppose); and there Sir W. Pen begun, and he had prepared heads in a paper, and spoke pretty well to purpose, but with so much leisure and gravity as was tiresome; besides, the things he said were but very poor to a man in his trade after a great consideration, but it was to purpose, indeed to dissuade the King from letting these Turkey ships to go out: saying (in short) the King having resolved to have 130 ships out by the spring, he must have above 20 of them merchantmen. Towards which, he in the whole River could find but 12 or 14, and of them the five ships taken up by these merchants were a part, and so could not be spared. That we should need 30,000 [sailors] to man these 130 ships, and of them in service we have not above 16,000; so we shall need 14,000 more. That these ships will with their convoys carry above 2,000 men, and those the best men that could be got; it being the men used to the Southward that are the best men for warr, though those bred in the North among the colliers are good for labour. That it will not be safe for the merchants, nor honourable for the King, to expose these rich ships with his convoy of six ships to go, it not being enough to secure them against the Dutch, who, without doubt, will have a great fleete in the Straights. This, Sir J. Lawson enlarged upon. Sir G. Ascue he chiefly spoke that the warr and trade could not be supported together, and, therefore, that trade must stand still to give way to them. This Mr. Coventry seconded, and showed how the medium of the men the King hath one year with another employed in his Navy since his coming, hath not been above 3,000 men, or at most 4,000 men; and now having occasion of 30,000, the remaining 26,000 must be found out of the trade of the nation. He showed how the cloaths, sending by these merchants to Turkey, are already bought and paid for to the workmen, and are as many as they would send these twelve months or more; so the poor do not suffer by their not going, but only the merchant, upon whose hands they lit dead; and so the inconvenience is the less. And yet for them he propounded, either the King should, if his Treasure would suffer it, buy them, and showed the losse would not be so great to him: or, dispense with the Act of Navigation, and let them be carried out by strangers; and ending that he doubted not but when the merchants saw there was no remedy, they would and could find ways of sending them abroad to their profit. All ended with a conviction (unless future discourse with the merchants should alter it) that it was not fit for them to go out, though the ships be loaded. The King in discourse did ask me two or three questions about my newes of Allen’s loss in the Streights, but I said nothing as to the business, nor am not much sorry for it, unless the King had spoke to me as he did to them, and then I could have said something to the purpose I think. So we withdrew, and the merchants were called in. Staying without, my Lord Fitz Harding come thither, and fell to discourse of Prince Rupert, and made nothing to say that his disease was the pox and that he must be fluxed, telling the horrible degree of the disease upon him with its breaking out on his head. But above all I observed how he observed from the Prince, that courage is not what men take it to be, a contempt of death; for, says he, how chagrined the Prince was the other day when he thought he should die, having no more mind to it than another man. But, says he, some men are more apt to think they shall escape than another man in fight, while another is doubtfull he shall be hit. But when the first man is sure he shall die, as now the Prince is, he is as much troubled and apprehensive of it as any man else; for, says he, since we told [him] that we believe he would overcome his disease, he is as merry, and swears and laughs and curses, and do all the things of a [man] in health, as ever he did in his life; which, methought, was a most extraordinary saying before a great many persons there of quality. So by and by with Sir W. Pen home again, and after supper to the office to finish my vows, and so to bed.

20 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam being dragged, grumbling, to a most reluctant admission that Penn knows his business.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

And alas for the poor merchantmen who probably thought they were about to make a safe getaway from the war...

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the charge against the late Duke of Buckingham"

What a bill of impeachment against Buckingham had said was far from obvious.

"It was the British practice that enshrined the notion of 'high crimes and misdemeanors' as going beyond common law to a broader sense of the betrayal of public trust. In some ways, the British system worked on a definition similar to that provided by former President Gerald R. Ford when he said as a Congressman in 1970 that 'an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.'

"The Duke of Buckingham, for instance, was impeached in 1626 on charges that included procuring 'titles of honor to his mother, brothers and kindred,' according to Professor Berger's study."

-- " The World; Impeachment: What a Royal Pain," Alan Crowell, New York Times, February 7, 1999.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"he had prepared heads in a paper"
I take this to mean he had an outline of the talking points he wished to make.

Cf. OED "head", n.1, senses 13a and 27:

13. a. The top of a page or writing; hence, Something, as a title, written at the top of a page, section, etc.; a heading.
1586 A. Day Eng. Secretary To Rdr. (1625) Aiv, Peruse but the head of every page, and there you shall finde what in the same page is contained. 1659 Willsford Scales Comm. 58 Being stated (as in the head of the table). Ibid., Archit. 9 Contracted to heads in necessary particulars. 1685 Locke Comm.-Pl. Bk. Wks. 1812 III. 311 The heads of the class appear all at once, without the trouble of turning over a leaf. 1712 Addison Spect. No. 273 32 Without seeing his name at the head of it. a1854 E. Forbes Lit. Papers vii. (1855) 189 The heads of chapters are ornamented with artistic woodcuts. 1866 Brande & Cox Dict. Sc. etc. II. 101 In Printing+ The divisions and subdivisions of a work, when they are set in lines and chapters are also called heads.

27. One of the chief points of a discourse; the section of it pertaining to any such point; hence, a point, topic; a main division, section, chapter of a writing; a division of a subject, class, category.
(Partly arising from sense 13, and often associated with it, as in the phr. under this head.)
c1500 Melusine xxiv. 185 This gentylman thanne reherced to them fro hed to hed+all thauenture of theire vyage. 1573–80 Baret Alv. H271 Set this on my head in your booke, or write that you haue lent it, or deliuered it to me. 1607 Shakes. Timon iii. v. 28 As if they labour'd To bring Man-slaughter into forme, and set Quarrelling Vpon the head of Valour. 1632 J. Lee Short Surv. Aiij, The Contents or principall heads handled in this whole Discourse. 1652 Gataker Antinom. 5 We were acknowledged to agree in those two heds. 1725 De Foe Voy. round World (1840) 209 He made me many compliments upon that head. 1773 Goldsm. Stoops to Conq. ii. (Globe) 653/2 Make yourself easy on that head. 1838 Thirlwall Greece IV. xxxii. 241 The accusation comprised several heads. 1849 Macaulay Hist. Eng. I. 306 The expenditure under this head must have been small indeed. 1868 Helps Realmah xv. (1876) 411, I have very little to say upon this head. 1875 Jowett Plato III. 603 The heads of our yesterday's discussion.

andy  •  Link

A very interesting account of decison making at the highest level of State: at what cost should we send out our ships at this time of war, or is there an answer in a wider context: are there other things we can do as King to meet the nation's trading needs?

Result: "All ended with a conviction (unless future discourse with the merchants should alter it) that it was not fit for them to go out, though the ships be loaded." I wonder how the King bought off the merchants?

Capt.Petrus.S. Dorpmans  •  Link

15th. Jan.1665.
"...Then home to dinner; and after dinner to read in Rusworths Collections about the Charge against the Late Duke of Buckingham..."

The reference is probably to the charge made in the impeachment of the 1st. Duke of Buckingham (May 1628) that he had neglected the guard of the seas:

John Rushworth, Hist.Collections (1659-1701),i.307+,esp. pp.312 and 385.
Latham and Matthews Vol.VI.1665.
London:G.Bell and Sons Ltd. May 1974

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Interesting that no one thought to suggest they wait on the war until the fleet was up to strength in personnel. But I suppose it takes the mobilization of war to get the purse strings loosened enough to get the forces up and even in the case of Nazi Germany, it now seems the economy and armed forces were nowhere near fully mobilized for war on September 1, 1939. Still, one wonders if the Naval boys had had any figures as to how long mobilization had taken under Cromwell and might have based early (overly hopeful) estimates on that. Perhaps this is all part of the (all too usual) grim realization they now actually have a major war on their hands, not the picnic to be over and done with in a few months by modest forces some might have thought at the start.

I guess they can only hope the Dutch are no better organized. Even if they do get their sailors from the merchantmen it will surely take time to train them all as fighting sailors.

Capt.Petrus.S.Dorpmans  •  Link

"...when we can neither spare them ships to go, nor men nor King's ships to convoy them..."

The Levant Company's negotiations with the King for a convoy are summarised in HMC, finch, p.363. An escort of six ships was granted in early February.

Latham and Matthews Vol.VI.1665
London: G.Bell and Sons Ltd. May 1974.

Capt.Petrus.S. Dorpmans  •  Link

15th. Jan 1665.

"...and showed the loss would not be so great to him - or dispense with the act of Navigation, and let them carried out by strangers;..."

The Navigation Act of 1660 forbade the use of foreign ships in these circumstances, but could be evaded by exercise of the Royal prerogative of dispensation or suspension..."

Latham and Matthews Vol.VI.1665.
London: G.Bell and Sons Ltd. May.1974.

Capt.Petrus.S.Dorpmans  •  Link


"... Staying without, my Lord Fitzharding came thither and fell to discourse of Prince Rupert, and made nothing to say that his disease was the pox..."

This was the diagnosis favoured by Rupert's enemies. Denham in his "Directions to a painter" (1667) wrote of it as caused by some "treach"ous Jael". But Rupert was suffering from an old war wound received in Flanders and recently aggravated by the fall of a block on board ship in November 1664, for which he underwent three operations in 1664-7:
CSPD 1664-5, p.56: CSPVen. 1664-6, p.63,n;
E.Warburton, Mem.Rupert (1849),iii.486-7.

He now recovered in time to take part in the spring campaign.

Latham and Matthews Vol.VI.1665
London; G.Bell and Sons Ltd. May 1974.

Capt. Petrus.S. Dorpmans  •  Link


"...Then home to dinner, and after dinner to read in
"Rushworth's Collections"..."

Rushworth's "Historical Collections of private passages in state," &c., first appeared in 1659. Rushworth was born 1607, and died 1690. The reference is to the duk's expedition to the Isle of Rhé.

Henry.B.Wheatly Vol.I Random House.New York.February, 1893.

JWB  •  Link

"...Dutch are no better organized..."

From Herman's "To Rule the Waves": "In truth, there was no Dutch navy. Five separate admiralties...were responsible for arming and maintaining its own fleet, appointing its own admirals and officers...Unity of command was hard to come by. No wonder that the...Estate General, preferred to let their Indies companies maintain private fleets and do the fighting themselves." p147 paperback

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the warr and trade could not be supported together"

No "guns and butter"? Wait 340 years for a US attempt to violate this POV.


Dorpmans, you failed to read what Phil Gyford and others posted clearly about copyright infringement.

Pedro  •  Link

Granville Penn, Penn's grandson, in his Memorials to Sir William Penn quotes Clarendon's view of the meeting.

"In all conferences with these men Mr. Coventry's presence and attendance was necessary, both to reduce all things into writing which were agreed upon, and to be able to put the Duke in mind of what he has to do. Lawson was the man whose judgment the Duke had the best esteem; he was in truth, of a man of that breeding, (for he was a perfect tarpaulin), a very extraordinary person. He understood his profession incomparably well; spoke clearly and pertinently, but not pertinaciously enough when he was contradicted, Ascue was a gentleman, but kept ill company too long, which had blunted his understanding, if it had ever been sharp: he was of few words, yet spoke to the purpose, and to be easily understood, Penn, who had much the worse understanding, had a great mind to appear better bred, and to speak like a gentleman; he had got many words, which he used at adventure: he was a formal mean, and spoke very leisurely but much, and left the matter more intricate and perplexed than he found it. He was entirely governed by Coventry, who still learned enough of him to offer anything rationally in debate; or to cross what was not agreeable to his own fancy, by which he was still swayed by the pride and perverseness of will"

Pedro  •  Link

“to my Lord Chancellor’s, where by and by Mr. Coventry, Sir W. Pen, Sir J. Lawson, Sir G. Ascue, and myself were called in to the King,”

From Clarendon’s description he seems to have overlooked Pepys…

“but I said nothing as to the business, nor am not much sorry for it, unless the King had spoke to me as he did to them, and then I could have said something to the purpose I think.”

cgs  •  Link

another source of the Admirals P,B,L under Cromwellian ship fighting, and the Dutch
page 40
Battles of the British Navy
By Joseph Allen


Australian Susan  •  Link

Clarendon's recollections of the meeting (thank you, Pedro for posting this), especially about Sir WP's delivery seems to accord with Sam's - fascinating to have this other account of the event. Clarendon was also quite insightful about Coventry's role and by describing Coventry's skills and attributes, we can see why this man seemed so attractive to Sam as mentor and role model : they are working with the same tool kit. (I nearly wrote "playing with the same toy box", but changed my mind, but maybe there is something in that phraseology which is appropriate too!)

jeannine  •  Link

“Journals of the Earl of Sandwich” edited by R.C. Anderson

15th. Sunday. About 8 oclock at night the Blazing Star observed by one of the mates, distant from South point Trianguli 14º 12’, Whale’s Mouth 20º 30’, South Wing of Pegasus 23º 30’. No stream discernable and the star itself as dim as one of the 4th magnitude.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"[he] spoke very leisurely but much, and left the matter more intricate and perplexed than he found it."
A wonderful description, which applies very neatly to a number of people I've known.

Brian  •  Link

I believe that the link for Lord Fitzharding is misdirected, it should go to Sir Charles Berkeley.

FItzharding's comments on courage are thought-provoking given what will happen to him later this year.

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