Friday 23 June 1665

Up and to White Hall to a Committee for Tangier, where his Royal Highness was. Our great design was to state to them the true condition of this Committee for want of money, the want whereof was so great as to need some sudden help, and it was with some content resolved to see it supplied and means proposed towards the doing of it. At this Committee, unknown to me, comes my Lord of Sandwich, who, it seems, come to towne last night. After the Committee was up, my Lord Sandwich did take me aside, and we walked an hour alone together in the robe-chamber, the door shut, telling me how much the Duke and Mr. Coventry did, both in the fleete and here, make of him, and that in some opposition to the Prince; and as a more private message, he told me that he hath been with them both when they have made sport of the Prince and laughed at him: yet that all the discourse of the towne, and the printed relation, should not give him one word of honour my Lord thinks mighty strange; he assuring me, that though by accident the Prince was in the van the beginning of the fight for the first pass, yet all the rest of the day my Lord was in the van, and continued so. That notwithstanding all this noise of the Prince, he had hardly a shot in his side nor a man killed, whereas he hath above 30 in her hull, and not one mast whole nor yard; but the most battered ship of the fleet, and lost most men, saving Captain Smith of “The Mary.” That the most the Duke did was almost out of gun-shot; but that, indeed, the Duke did come up to my Lord’s rescue after he had a great while fought with four of them. How poorly Sir John Lawson performed, notwithstanding all that was said of him; and how his ship turned out of the way, while Sir J. Lawson himself was upon the deck, to the endangering of the whole fleete. It therefore troubles my Lord that Mr. Coventry should not mention a word of him in his relation. I did, in answer, offer that I was sure the relation was not compiled by Mr. Coventry, but by L’Estrange, out of several letters, as I could witness; and that Mr. Coventry’s letter that he did give the Duke of Albemarle did give him as much right as the Prince, for I myself read it first and then copied it out, which I promised to show my Lord, with which he was somewhat satisfied. From that discourse my Lord did begin to tell me how much he was concerned to dispose of his children, and would have my advice and help; and propounded to match my Lady Jemimah to Sir G. Carteret’s eldest son, which I approved of, and did undertake the speaking with him about it as from myself, which my Lord liked. So parted, with my head full of care about this business. Thence home to the ‘Change, and so to dinner, and thence by coach to Mr. Povy’s. Thence by appointment with him and Creed to one Mr. Finch; one of the Commissioners for the Excise, to be informed about some things of the Excise, in order to our settling matters therein better for us for our Tangier business. I find him a very discreet, grave person. Thence well satisfied I and Creed to Mr. Fox at White Hall to speak with him about the same matter, and having some pretty satisfaction from him also, he and I took boat and to Fox Hall, where we spent two or three hours talking of several matters very soberly and contentfully to me, which, with the ayre and pleasure of the garden, was a great refreshment to me, and, ‘methinks, that which we ought to joy ourselves in. Thence back to White Hall, where we parted, and I to find my Lord to receive his farther direction about his proposal this morning. Wherein I did that I should first by another hand break my intentions to Sir G. Carteret. I pitched upon Dr. Clerke, which my Lord liked, and so I endeavoured but in vain to find him out to-night. So home by hackney-coach, which is become a very dangerous passage now-a-days, the sickness increasing mightily, and to bed.

17 Annotations

A. Hamilton   Link to this

"where we spent two or three hours talking of several matters very soberly and contentfully to me, which, with the ayre and pleasure of the garden, was a great refreshment to me, and, ‘methinks, that which we ought to joy ourselves in."

Better the air and pleasure of a garden than too much business with the passing flower.

When we have run our passion's heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat :
The gods who mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race.
Apollo hunted Daphne so,
Only that she might laurel grow,
And Pan did after Syrinx speed,
Not as a nymph, but for a reed.

CGS   Link to this

The above should help many to read all situations and acts of glory with "cgs" "cum salis grano" in large doses, as always, our leaders must be our heroes and receive mercy for being 'uman.

dirk   Link to this

Evelyn's diary

[I din'd with Sr Robt Paston since Earle of Yarmouth, and saw the Duke of Verneuille, base brother to the Q. Mother, a handsom old man, a greate hunter.] The Duke of Yorke told us, that his dog sought out absolutely the very securest place of all the vessel, when they were in fight: [In the afternoone I saw the pompous reception and audience of El Conde de Molino, the Spanish Ambassr, in the Banquetting-house, both their Ma[jes]ties sitting together under the canopy of state.]

-----
Editorial note:
The parts between square brackets come from another source, which sometimes gives more complete versions of Evelyn's diary entries, although occasionally it gets confused about the dates
http://books.google.com/books?id=vDsIAAAAQAAJ&p...
which is why both Terry and myself usually prefer the more trustworthy
http://www.geocities.com/Paris/LeftBank/1914/ed...
But in this case the extra contents seemed too interesting...

Mary   Link to this

"hackney coach, which is become a very dangerous passage nowadays...."

Perhaps more dangerous than Sam realises, if any upholstery harbours fleas.

Firenze   Link to this

The garden ayre is a reminder of how much London - particularly along the Thames - stank. And continued to do until Bazalgette in the 19th C.

Never mind the jolly commodity of the plague (as Sir P Sydney has it) - just the warmer weather would make the place intolerable.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...it was with some content resolved to see it supplied and means proposed towards the doing of it."

Many a slip twix the cup and the lip, Sam. I'd wait to see the cash.

***
So Lord Sandwich is nervous about his position, fearful his service is being deliberately downplayed, increasingly aware that the Stuarts are pushing him slowly and politely off the stage. I wonder if the ghosts of Cromwell and his dead comrades have begun to haunt...Even as he tries to bind himself tighter to the regime though a marriage alliance with Carteret. Interesting that he's turning to Sam as the good friend he can trust-the balance is shifting and Sam is now "my good cousin and friend Samuel", less and less "my servant Pepys".

I'll bet Sam was delirious with joy, despite his restrained manner in the entry. To have such a matter as the Carteret-Montagu alliance entrusted to him... No greater proof that he has moved up.

Michael McCollough   Link to this

"...and lost most men..." I wonder if anyone's made the connection between metrics like this and having to kidnap people to serve in the navy?

Jesse   Link to this

"not give him one word of honour"

I think "mighty strange" is more irritation than being nervous or fearful, and that due recognition of his honor is more important than position on the royal stage. An impressive list of warfare metrics (e.g. shots per hull) are provided as evidence. Casualties sustained are of course a sad figure, though as we've seen they were not limited to those impressed.

Having (with some fortune?) returned from serious conflict it's no surprise that Lord Sandwich is "much ... concerned to dispose of his children" and a Carteret-Montagu alliance would play nicely for his familiy on the royal stage (thanks for pointing this out).

Maurie Beck   Link to this

The human tide fleeing the sickness in London will rise throughout the summer. Can you imagine a pandemic with a death rate over 30% spreading across the world today?

JWB   Link to this

"...the sickness increasing mightily..."

From "The General Bill of Mortality":

Week ending Jun 20 total=611,plague=168
Week ending Jun 27 total=684,plague=268

http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.HOUGH:1267658

Pedro   Link to this

“So Lord Sandwich is nervous about his position, fearful his service is being deliberately downplayed, increasingly aware that the Stuarts are pushing him slowly and politely off the stage.”

I agree that Sandy is worried, but at this stage I believe that the pushing would be done by the Duke and others, and not the King. Charles, at this point, recognises that Sandwich is one of his best men at a time of war, and the loss of Lawson is a blow.

On the 14th the added note says…

Charles II.’s letter of thanks to Lord Sandwich, dated “Whitehall, June 9th, 1665,” written entirely in the king’s hand, is printed in Ellis’s “Original Letters,” 1st series, vol. iii., p. 327. ↩

Sandwich having a dig at poor Lawson shows the intense rivalry between the officers and the Duke is expecting to lead the English to resounding victory over the Dutch. It would be useful to him to have Sandy’s role downplayed.

Pedro   Link to this

“I did, in answer, offer that I was sure the relation was not compiled by Mr. Coventry, but by L’Estrange, out of several letters, as I could witness;”

In his Memorials to Sir William Penn his grandson Granville Penn gives what he terms the “Second Narrative” of the battle by L’Estrange and adds that it is no other than Coventry’s letter to Monck, mentioned by Pepys, but without its epistolary form. He says that this is shown by the French translation of the letter in “Vie de Ruyter” 1677 where the epistolary form, with Coventry’s subscription, is preserved.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... yet that all the discourse of the towne, and the printed relation, should not give him one word of honour my Lord thinks mighty strange;"

What's been published as news so far is only a small collation of a few participant accounts which are notoriously unreliable. Presumably the skill of compiling 'after action reports' and / or more formal histories from interviews had not developed as yet. Curious that neither Sandwich, nor SP on his behalf, if so concerned about reputation does not think of preparing his own account or getting another to prepare an ‘unbiased’ account from his recollection, and putting this into circulation in manuscript.

Spoiler -- Rodger observes of the ‘Four days battle,’ 1666: “Having the incomparable witness of Willem van de Velde the elder, who accompanied the Dutch fleet in a galliot and sketched every phase of the battle, we know more about the detail of this battle than of many in the twentieth century ..."
Command of the Ocean, p 73.

Pedro   Link to this

“Sandwich…if so concerned about reputation does not think of preparing his own account.”

Just to add that Sandwich writes a detailed account of the battle in his Journal, and would therefore have the basis to do so.

Nix   Link to this

Pandemic -- Maurie, the city of a million where I live was thrown into a tizzie this spring over 21 cases of measles!

Ruben   Link to this

“…the sickness increasing mightily…”

calling the plague "sickness"...how euphemistic...

cgs   Link to this

Since 1660's we have found many ways to avoid, eliminate the causes people or properly repair them facing death, then death was accepted as a way of life {?}.
{ of course there be doctors but they did not have the modern tools or the require knowledge}
The majority of those living to-day in the western society in reasonable circumstances and collecting payments for surviving, would not be here to comment as so many that have survived would never have due to the number of opportunities to fall by the wayside.
So attitudes have changed.
This period of time, many inquiring minds came to the fore and started the process to find reasons for these failures to live a long life.
Before Copernicus it was accepted by most that it be the way life was.

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