Friday 16 June 1665

Up and to the office, where I set hard to business, but was informed that the Duke of Yorke is come, and hath appointed us to attend him this afternoon. So after dinner, and doing some business at the office, I to White Hall, where the Court is full of the Duke and his courtiers returned from sea. All fat and lusty, and ruddy by being in the sun. I kissed his hands, and we waited all the afternoon. By and by saw Mr. Coventry, which rejoiced my very heart. Anon he and I, from all the rest of the company, walked into the Matted Gallery; where after many expressions of love, we fell to talk of business. Among other things, how my Lord Sandwich, both in his counsells and personal service, hath done most honourably and serviceably. Sir J. Lawson is come to Greenwich; but his wound in his knee yet very bad. Jonas Poole, in the Vantguard, did basely, so as to be, or will be, turned out of his ship. Captain Holmes1 expecting upon Sansum’s death to be made Rear-admirall to the Prince (but Harman is2 put in) hath delivered up to the Duke his commission, which the Duke took and tore. He, it seems, had bid the Prince, who first told him of Holmes’s intention, that he should dissuade him from it; for that he was resolved to take it if he offered it. Yet Holmes would do it, like a rash, proud coxcombe. But he is rich, and hath, it seems, sought an occasion of leaving the service. Several of our captains have done ill. The great ships are the ships do the business, they quite deadening the enemy. They run away upon sight of “The Prince.”3 It is strange to see how people do already slight Sir William Barkeley,4 my Lord FitzHarding’s brother, who, three months since, was the delight of the Court. Captain Smith of “The Mary” the Duke talks mightily of; and some great thing will be done for him. Strange to hear how the Dutch do relate, as the Duke says, that they are the conquerors; and bonefires are made in Dunkirke in their behalf; though a clearer victory can never be expected. Mr. Coventry thinks they cannot have lost less than 6000 men, and we not dead above 200, and wounded about 400; in all about 600. Thence home and to my office till past twelve, and then home to supper and to bed, my wife and mother not being yet come home from W. Hewer’s chamber, who treats my mother tonight. Captain Grovel the Duke told us this day, hath done the basest thing at Lowestoffe, in hearing of the guns, and could not (as others) be got out, but staid there; for which he will be tried; and is reckoned a prating coxcombe, and of no courage.

  1. Captain Robert Holmes (afterwards knighted). Sir William Coventry, in a letter to Lord Arlington (dated from “The Royal Charles,” Southwold Bay, June 13th), writes: “Capt. Holmes asked to be rear admiral of the white squadron in place of Sansum who was killed, but the Duke gave the place to Captain Harman, on which he delivered up his commission, which the Duke received, and put Captain Langhorne in his stead” (“Calendar of State Papers,” Domestic, 1664-65, p. 423).
  2. John Harman, afterwards knighted. He had served with great reputation in several naval fights, and was desperately wounded in 1673, while [sic. P.G.]
  3. “The Prince” was Lord Sandwich’s ship; the captain was Roger Cuttance. It was put up at Chatham for repair at this date.
  4. Sir William Berkeley, see note, vol. iii., p. 334. His behaviour after the death of his brother, Lord Falmouth, is severely commented on in “Poems on State Affairs,” vol. i., p. 29
    Berkeley had heard it soon, and thought not good To venture more of royal Harding’s blood; To be immortal he was not of age, And did e’en now the Indian Prize presage; And judged it safe and decent, cost what cost, To lose the day, since his dear brother’s lost. With his whole squadron straight away he bore, And, like good boy, promised to fight no more.
    — B.

21 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"John Harman, afterwards knighted. He had served with great reputation in several naval fights, and was desperately wounded in 1673, while in" command of a fleet as an admiral at the naval Battle of Texel or Battle of Kijkduin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Texel

Pedro   Link to this

“They run away upon sight of “The Prince.”3”

Wikipedia say for the Battle of Lowestoft…

Through such an action Montague's flagship was boarded and temporarily taken over by the crew of Oranje, commanded by captain Bastian Senten, who even raised the Dutch flag on the Prince Royal until Rupert himself on Royal James came to the rescue retaking the ship.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lowestoft

Sandwich and others make no mention of this in his Journal, hardly running away!

Where wikipedia have got this from is unclear, but I cannot find any other references in English.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Captain Grovel" would have been an appropriate nom de guerre for Captain Edward Grove.

Pedro   Link to this

Sandwich and others make no mention of this in his Journal,

This should read that Sandwich makes no mention in his Journal, and there is no mention from other sources that I have come across.

CGS   Link to this

Many a name has muddied the field but not so in this case
".... Captain Grovel the Duke told us this day, hath done the basest thing at Lowestoffe, ..."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Disgusting, that Groveling coward. Ah, if only I could've...been...uh..." Sam noting Coventry's stare.

"But kudos, Sir...William..." brightly.

***

"But isn't Mr. Coventry..."

"Sir William..." Sam corrects, sighing...

"...just the Duke's secretary, not a ship's officer? And you do secretarial work at the office."

"Administrative..." Sam, frowning...

"Whatever. And you could find plenty to do for His Grace at sea now that Sir William is too important to go. So you can go next time and come back a knight." Bess, brightly.

"Bess...Mr...Sir William...got his knighthood for unflinchingly standing next to the Duke when a man's head got blown off next to him. And our whole future depends on my survival, need I point out."

"Eh, can't make an omelet without cracking a few eggs, boy." Margaret notes. "Lord Sandwich could probably get them to take John Jr. on in your place...And the King'd be likely to settle a nice pension on us."

CGS   Link to this

grovel, v.
[Back-formation from GROVELLING adv., apprehended as a pr. pple.]

1. intr. To lie prone or with the face downwards; to move with the body prostrate upon the ground; to grovel in the dust or dirt (fig.): to humble oneself, perform an act of humiliation.
1593 SHAKES. 2 Hen. VI, I. ii. 9 Gaze on, and grouell on thy face. 1634 SIR T. HERBERT Trav. 8 [Idols] They ceremoniously kneele and bow unto, groveling then upon the Earth, they throw dust on their faces. 1671 MILTON Samson 141 Old warriors turn'd Their plated backs under his heel, Or groveling soil'd their crested helmets in the dust.
b. fig.
1605 ....
1655 MOUFET & BENNET Health's Improv. (1746) 378 Through surfeiting we live groveling and groping after base Delights, as Hogs do for Acorns.

Show pronunciation* Show spellings* Hide etymology* Hide quotations* Show date charts*

[ME. grovelynge, north. grufelynge, f. GROOF, GRUFE + -LING2. After the verb GROVEL had come into general use the adv. began to be restricted to uses in which it could be apprehended as the pres. pple. used predicatively.]


grovelling, groveling, adv. Face downward; in or to a prone or prostrate position.
.....1665 MANLEY Grotius' Low C. Warres 886 A Bullet..broke and tore off his left Thigh, and threw him groveling.

Captain Grovel,

so how named the man?

CGS   Link to this

battle of Lowestoft battle order;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lowestof...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"so how named the man?"

Use cursor. Read answer.

Pedro   Link to this

“Yet Holmes would do it, like a rash, proud coxcombe. But he is rich,
and hath, it seems, sought an occasion of leaving the service.”

Ollard in his biography of Holmes says that Prince Rupert had recommended Holmes to the post and…

“Both explanations, though mutually contradictory, are unflattering. Of the two the first seems more probable.”

There were few officers of the Restoration Navy who combined such experience of independent command with such a reputation as a fighter.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... the Duke and his courtiers returned from sea. All fat ..."

I assume they did not eat the Navy Board's standard issue victuals.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Heaven...

"Anon he and I, from all the rest of the company, walked into the Matted Gallery; where after many expressions of love, we fell to talk of business."

Bess archly eyeing Sam, Sam frowning...

"Come on...17th century where one didn't have to deal with latter-day nonsense over expressions of devoted friendship and affection."

"You were making fun of Eleanor Roosevelt's expressions toward Lorena Hickok in her letters the other day."

"All right, fine...I was unfair."

"Good boy. Of course you're lucky no one points out that I seem to have quite an eye for pretty ladies...Always eagerly agreeing with you about some court girl's beauty, at least according to you and your Diary."

"Bess...I never thought for an instant...Say, where are you going all dressed up like that?"

"Dinner with Betty Pierce. Don't wait up." grin.

Bradford   Link to this

"By and by saw Mr. Coventry, which rejoiced my very heart. Anon he and I, from all the rest of the company, walked into the Matted Gallery; where after many expressions of love, we fell to talk of business."

Who wouldn't like to overhear exactly how conversational schmoozing, 1665-style, sounded? (How easy would it be for us moderns to understand their accents, pronunciations, &c.? Cue subtitles.)

Wim van der Meij   Link to this

- The taking of the Prince Royal-
The Dutch VOC site has this on the 'Oranje': http://www.vocsite.nl/schepen/detail.html?id=10773
There is no mention that the Oranje had taken the 'Prince'. The Oranje was a trade ship of 76 cannon and was hired to sail with the fleet. She was an exception in so far as she put up a good fight. The VOC site reports that the Oranje fought hard to ensure a retreat for the rest of the Dutch fleet, being shot to pieces and finally taken by the English.

dirk   Link to this

Evelyn's diary (cont'd from yesterday's entry):

"[16] & gave his Majestie an account of my journey to the Coasts, under my inspection: I also waited on his R: Highness now come triumphant from the fleete; goten in to repaire: See the whole history of this Conflict in my Hist: of the Dutch Warr:"

Albatross   Link to this

The world was certainly a different place back then. I mean, here you have high-born members of the Court who one day are strolling around the Exchange advising Pepys on the management of Tangiers. Then they are expected to board ships and sail forth and oversee deadly battle with the Dutch. When in battle, they are aware that, barring death, they will sail back to port, return to court, and will be expected to have comported themselves bravely. And those who did not might be tried and hung. The impact of peer-pressure and career ambitions in such a circumstance is interesting to consider.

Picture if you will that the U.S. Congress is in session one day passing laws. Then comes news of trouble in Iraq or Afghanistan. So your local Senator boards a tank, and your local Representatives fall in behind him or her in armored personnel carriers, and surrounded by troops carry out a battle in the Mideast.

After which the survivors return to Congress, where a day is spent discussing the battles, after which they are expected to resume work on legislation.

How different a place the world is today.

CGS   Link to this

I'll grovel as I failed to note the extra letter on the Grove.

Pedro   Link to this

"Several of our captains have done ill."

Old rivalries surface even in a considered victory.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Albatross, a great comment. I loved the image of the Congress in fierce battle.

Sjoerd   Link to this

Thanks for the picture, Albatross.

a different place ?

I just now Googled "McCain" +"service record" and found 25400 "hits".

Voters are still looking for military accomplishment in their leaders it seems...or maybe only Republican U.S. voters, maybe ;-))

Australian Susan   Link to this

"...military accomplishment in their leaders..."

George II was the last British monarch to lead troops into battle.

But military service still expected of current Roayl family (cf Princes Charles, William and Harry and in a previous generation the Dukes of Gloucester and Kent).

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