Monday 18 September 1665

By break of day we come to within sight of the fleete, which was a very fine thing to behold, being above 100 ships, great and small; with the flag-ships of each squadron, distinguished by their several flags on their main, fore, or mizen masts. Among others, the Soveraigne, Charles, and Prince; in the last of which my Lord Sandwich was. When we called by her side his Lordshipp was not stirring, so we come to anchor a little below his ship, thinking to have rowed on board him, but the wind and tide was so strong against us that we could not get up to him, no, though rowed by a boat of the Prince’s that come to us to tow us up; at last however he brought us within a little way, and then they flung out a rope to us from the Prince and so come on board, but with great trouble and tune and patience, it being very cold; we find my Lord newly up in his night-gown very well. He received us kindly; telling us the state of the fleet, lacking provisions, having no beer at all, nor have had most of them these three weeks or month, and but few days’ dry provisions. And indeed he tells us that he believes no fleete was ever set to sea in so ill condition of provision, as this was when it went out last. He did inform us in the business of Bergen,1 so as to let us see how the judgment of the world is not to be depended on in things they know not; it being a place just wide enough, and not so much hardly, for ships to go through to it, the yardarmes sticking in the very rocks. He do not, upon his best enquiry, find reason to except against any part of the management of the business by Teddiman; he having staid treating no longer than during the night, whiles he was fitting himself to fight, bringing his ship a-breast, and not a quarter of an hour longer (as is said); nor could more ships have been brought to play, as is thought. Nor could men be landed, there being 10,000 men effectively always in armes of the Danes; nor, says he, could we expect more from the Dane than he did, it being impossible to set fire on the ships but it must burn the towne. But that wherein the Dane did amisse is, that he did assist them, the Dutch, all the while, while he was treating with us, while he should have been neutrall to us both. But, however, he did demand but the treaty of us; which is, that we should not come with more than five ships. A flag of truce is said, and confessed by my Lord, that he believes it was hung out; but while they did hang it out, they did shoot at us; so that it was not either seen perhaps, or fit to cease upon sight of it, while they continued actually in action against us. But the main thing my Lord wonders at, and condemns the Dane for, is, that the blockhead, who is so much in debt to the Hollander, having now a treasure more by much than all his Crowne was worth, and that which would for ever have beggared the Hollanders, should not take this time to break with the Hollander, and, thereby paid his debt which must have been forgiven him, and got the greatest treasure into his hands that ever was together in the world. By and by my Lord took me aside to discourse of his private matters, who was very free with me touching the ill condition of the fleete that it hath been in, and the good fortune that he hath had, and nothing else that these prizes are to be imputed to. He also talked with me about Mr. Coventry’s dealing with him in sending Sir W. Pen away before him, which was not fair nor kind; but that he hath mastered and cajoled Sir W. Pen, that he hath been able to do, nothing in the fleete, but been obedient to him; but withal tells me he is a man that is but of very mean parts, and a fellow not to be lived with, so false and base he is; which I know well enough to be very true, and did, as I had formerly done, give my Lord my knowledge of him. By and by was called a Council of Warr on board, when come Sir W. Pen there, and Sir Christopher Mings, Sir Edward Spragg, Sir Jos. Jordan, Sir Thomas Teddiman, and Sir Roger Cuttance, and so the necessity of the fleete for victuals, clothes, and money was discoursed, but by the discourse there of all but my Lord, that is to say, the counterfeit grave nonsense of Sir W. Pen and the poor mean discourse of the rest, methinks I saw how the government and management of the greatest business of the three nations is committed to very ordinary heads, saving my Lord, and in effect is only upon him, who is able to do what he pleases with them, they not having the meanest degree of reason to be able to oppose anything that he says, and so I fear it is ordered but like all the rest of the King’s publique affayres. The council being up they most of them went away, only Sir W. Pen who staid to dine there and did so, but the wind being high the ship (though the motion of it was hardly discernible to the eye) did make me sick, so as I could not eat any thing almost. After dinner Cocke did pray me to helpe him to 500l. of W. How, who is deputy Treasurer, wherein my Lord Bruncker and I am to be concerned and I did aske it my Lord, and he did consent to have us furnished with 500l., and I did get it paid to Sir Roger Cuttance and Mr. Pierce in part for above 1000l. worth of goods, Mace, Nutmegs, Cynamon, and Cloves, and he tells us we may hope to get 1500l. by it, which God send! Great spoil, I hear, there hath been of the two East India ships, and that yet they will come in to the King very rich: so that I hope this journey will be worth 100l. to me.2 After having paid this money, we took leave of my Lord and so to our Yacht again, having seen many of my friends there. Among others I hear that W. Howe will grow very rich by this last business and grows very proud and insolent by it; but it is what I ever expected. I hear by every body how much my poor Lord of Sandwich was concerned for me during my silence a while, lest I had been dead of the plague in this sickly time. No sooner come into the yacht, though overjoyed with the good work we have done to-day, but I was overcome with sea sickness so that I begun to spue soundly, and so continued a good while, till at last I went into the cabbin and shutting my eyes my trouble did cease that I fell asleep, which continued till we come into Chatham river where the water was smooth, and then I rose and was very well, and the tide coming to be against us we did land before we come to Chatham and walked a mile, having very good discourse by the way, it being dark and it beginning to rain just as we got thither. At Commissioner Pett’s we did eat and drink very well and very merry we were, and about 10 at night, it being moonshine and very cold, we set out, his coach carrying us, and so all night travelled to Greenwich, we sometimes sleeping a little and then talking and laughing by the way, and with much pleasure, but that it was very horrible cold, that I was afeard of an ague. A pretty passage was that the coach stood of a sudden and the coachman come down and the horses stirring, he cried, Hold! which waked me, and the coach[man] standing at the boote to [do] something or other and crying, Hold! I did wake of a sudden and not knowing who he was, nor thinking of the coachman between sleeping and waking I did take up the heart to take him by the shoulder, thinking verily he had been a thief. But when I waked I found my cowardly heart to discover a fear within me and that I should never have done it if I had been awake.

  1. Lord Sandwich was not so successful in convincing other people as to the propriety of his conduct at Bergen as he was with Pepys.
  2. There is a shorthand journal of proceedings relating to Pepys’s purchase of some East India prize goods among the Rawlinson MSS. in the Bodleian Library.

21 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"with great trouble and time and patience" -- so transcribe L&M.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"He received us kindly; telling us the state of the fleet, lacking provisions, having no beer at all, nor have had most of them these three weeks or month, and but few days’ dry provisions. And indeed he tells us that he believes no fleete was ever set to sea in so ill condition of provision, as this was when it went out last."

All very well my Lord, but the boys haven't come all this way to do their jobs properly.

"After dinner Cocke did pray me to helpe him to 500l. of W. How, who is deputy Treasurer, wherein my Lord Bruncker and I am to be concerned and I did aske it my Lord, and he did consent to have us furnished with 500l., and I did get it paid to Sir Roger Cuttance and Mr. Pierce in part for above 1000l. worth of goods, Mace, Nutmegs, Cynamon, and Cloves, and he tells us we may hope to get 1500l. by it, which God send! Great spoil, I hear, there hath been of the two East India ships, and that yet they will come in to the King very rich: so that I hope this journey will be worth 100l. to me."

Only 100? Pepys, if you're going to steal...er, purchase the goods from the King and Nation, steal, er purchase, big.

Of course it might be nice if you ordered some of those goods sold to feed and clothe the men who made the capture possible.

***

"But the main thing my Lord wonders at, and condemns the Dane for, is, that the blockhead, who is so much in debt to the Hollander, having now a treasure more by much than all his Crowne was worth, and that which would for ever have beggared the Hollanders, should not take this time to break with the Hollander, and, thereby paid his debt which must have been forgiven him, and got the greatest treasure into his hands that ever was together in the world."

I dunno...Maybe the sanctity of treaties or some such nonsense. Sextus Pompey or Prince Hamlet was probably in charge that day.

***

CGS   Link to this

"Wot" discipline, not rummaging the prizes for glass of ale, crackers and mouse cheese?, My Gosh,
"...lacking provisions, having no beer at all, nor have had most of them these three weeks or month, and but few days’ dry provisions...."

The lads can tell yee stories of how there be a scrounger in every watch, if only some lad in the scupers could write their version of life without weevils and beer.

Glyn   Link to this

Unfortunately not, Robert Gertz. The Danish king had intended to break his alliance with the Dutch and get his hands on the loot but his message to the Danish commander at Bergen arrived too late.

Some historians believe that it was the need to create and sustain the Navy that kickstarted the Industrial Revolution in England, I'm amazed at the organization and resources that went into sustaining this huge fleet. Surely Pepys must have had some pride in the fact that the Navy Office was responsible for getting this fleet to sea, even if the sailors were as usual complaining that they were inadequately provisioned.

By the way, the reason that Sandwich is complaining about having no beer for a month isn't because they're drunkards. It's very weak (perhaps only 2 percent alcohol) and the only sterilised liquid that the men have available to drink. If they have to drink rainwater or water in barrels instead, they are likely to fall sick from a number of things. But once you open a barrel of beer to the air it will turn to vinegar in about 3 or 4 days so they had problems replenishing it.

tg   Link to this

"But when I waked I found my cowardly heart to discover a fear within me and that I should never have done it if I had been awake."
Interesting psychological insight that Sam recounts here, it obviously made an impact on him. When startled into consciousness by the shouting of the coachman, Sam immediately thought he was a thief and was ready to "take him by the shoulder" to protect his life and assets. Upon fully wakening, however, he realizes that his "cowardly heart" had caused him to overreact, something he would not have done if he was properly awake.

Araucaria   Link to this

tg: I at first interpreted that sequence to mean that he would have been more cowardly when full awake and wouldn't have had the nerve to confront a thief. It's a little hard to parse.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Young Pompey fails to follow the Sandwich principle. From "Antohy and Cleopatra"...by Sir John's favorite author.

MENAS.
No, Pompey, I have kept me from the cup.
Thou art, if thou dar'st be, the earthly Jove:
Whate'er the ocean pales or sky inclips
Is thine, if thou wilt have't.

SEXTUS POMPEY.
Show me which way.

MENAS.
These three world-sharers, these competitors,
Are in thy vessel: let me cut the cable;
And when we are put off, fall to their throats:
All then is thine.

POMPEY.
Ah, this thou shouldst have done,
And not have spoke on't! In me 'tis villainy:
In thee't had been good service. Thou must know
'Tis not my profit that does lead mine honour:
Mine honour it. Repent that e'er thy tongue
Hath so betray'd thine act: being done unknown,
I should have found it afterwards well done;
But must condemn it now. Desist, and drink.

MENAS.
[Aside.] For this,
I'll never follow thy pall'd fortunes more.
Who seeks, and will not take when once 'tis offer'd,
Shall never find it more."

I imagine the Danish king said something similar to his Bergen commander...The good ole Mission Impossible "The secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions." but as Glyn notes, alas too late.

Or as Fearless Leader once said on "Rocky and Bullwinkle", "You fool...Laws are for the honest people."

Pedro   Link to this

“Lord Sandwich was not so successful in convincing other people as to the propriety of his conduct at Bergen as he was with Pepys.”

This statement could cause confusion as Sandwich did not actually go to Bergen. Teddiman was sent there with a part of the Fleet by Sandwich on the belief, as Glyn points out, that the King of Denmark would break his alliance with the Dutch.


Robert Gertz   Link to this

Spoiler-

Knowing what is about to befall Lord Sandwich, it is interesting that he now seems to have fractured ties with Coventry and Penn, perhaps deliberate moves on their parts(perhaps even, on instruction?)? A fine military leader who moved from army to navy seamlessly but he seems woefully naive when it comes to political infighting- no network of alliances with other powerful members of the adminstration not previously with the King like Monk or with Stuart stalwarts like Coventry; he's antagonized or removed many of the old Cromwellian captains to please Charles so his navy powerbase must be severely weakened, Pepys and his own staff now really all he can count on (and Pepys' moving steadily away from him, note Sandwich's mention of hearing nothing from him, once his top political monitor, in months); in short, putting all his eggs in Charles' and Jamie's obligation to him.

And nobody likes to be obliged...Especially to a former enemy. He may still command respect but Sandwich sure looks vulnerable.

C.J.Darby   Link to this

"I begun to spue soundly" lovely phrase for a disagreeable sensation. No stabilisers on the yacht obviously.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"No stabilisers on the yacht obviously."

Is Pepys the stabiliser, his spue's impulse countering the yacht's roll?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Is Pepys the stabiliser..."

Cheaper and green...Literally.

Wim van der Meij   Link to this

One of the peculiar thing about seasickness is the fact that, as soon as you get off the ship, the sickness is gone. Sam is showing this: ... walked a mile, having good discourse - etc.

dave h   Link to this

Pepys had very good "emotional insight" which was one of the diaries most endearing features,aside from its historical aspects.

Pedro   Link to this

"Maybe the sanctity of treaties or some such nonsense."

I think we can discount this as far as the Danes concerned. Sir Gilbert Talbot had been sent to Denmark in September of 64 and his demands meant that the Danes would have to break their treaty with Holland. For this they required an English squadron of 15 ships in the Sound, and among other things, subsidies during and after the war. The Danes played for time but after the Battle of Lowestoft the Danish King agreed to half the spoils.

News of this may not have filtered down to the Governor of Bergen, but he knew that he could, as Sandwich points out, remain neutral.

SPOILER? On the 18th of 0ctober an arrangement was made between the Danes and the English whereby the Danes would receive £100,000 a year during the war and 12 ships for 5 years in the Sound.

(info from British Foreign Policy 1660-1676 by Feiling)

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...that the blockhead..."

Sept 20, 2008...Hordes of angry Danes who have had enough with their country being kicked around these last few decide to show they can go insane too and pillage and destroy all Pepysian and Montagu sites in England while waving portraits of their beloved Frederick III.

Pedro   Link to this

"I hear by every body how much my poor Lord of Sandwich was concerned for me during my silence a while, lest I had been dead of the plague in this sickly time."

As Sam goes up in the world, it will be interesting to see how he responds to Sandwich going down.

dirk   Link to this

Lord Berkeley of Stratton to the Duke of Ormond (Dublin)

Written from: York
Date: 18 September 1665

Since the success gained by Lord Sandwich against the enemy, already reported to the Lord Lieutenant by the writer, the same Commander, by a "good fortune, held to be of no less importance, in all respects, than the former", has captured all the ships of another squadron, which had separated from the first. ...

-----

Not quite clear what this refers to...

dirk   Link to this

From the Carte Papers, Bodleian Library (as was the above annotation)
http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects...

Sir William Coventry to Sandwich

Written from: York
Date: 18 September 1665

Congratulates his Lordship upon his second encounter with part of the Dutch fleet, and upon his safe arrival in Southwold Bay. With reference to his Lordship's desire for the election of Mr Carteret as Burgess for Sandwich, states that H.R.H. the Lord Admiral was, before Lord Sandwich's letter came, engaged to Captain Strode, Lieutenant of Dover Castle. Conveys the Duke's assent to certain promotions, consequent on "the late loss of Commanders."...

dirk   Link to this

John Evelyn's diary today:

"I was forc’d to go to Lond: & take orders from my Lord Gen: what I should do with them, they being more than I had places fit to receive & guard, he made me dine with them, & then we consulted about it:"

dirk   Link to this

Evelyn's diary: see also yesterday's annotation (Terry)

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/09/17/#c25...

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