Sunday 3 June 1666

(Lord’s-day; Whit-sunday). Up, and by water to White Hall, and there met with Mr. Coventry, who tells me the only news from the fleete is brought by Captain Elliott, of The Portland, which, by being run on board by The Guernsey, was disabled from staying abroad; so is come in to Aldbrough. That he saw one of the Dutch great ships blown up, and three on fire. That they begun to fight on Friday; and at his coming into port, he could make another ship of the King’s coming in, which he judged to be the Rupert: that he knows of no other hurt to our ships. With this good newes I home by water again, and to church in the sermon-time, and with great joy told it my fellows in the pew. So home after church time to dinner, and after dinner my father, wife, sister, and Mercer by water to Woolwich, while I walked by land, and saw the Exchange as full of people, and hath been all this noon as of any other day, only for newes. I to St. Margaret’s, Westminster, and there saw at church my pretty Betty Michell, and thence to the Abbey, and so to Mrs. Martin, and there did what ‘je voudrais avec her … So by and by he come in, and after some discourse with him I away to White Hall, and there met with this bad newes farther, that the Prince come to Dover but at ten o’clock last night, and there heard nothing of a fight; so that we are defeated of all our hopes of his helpe to the fleete. It is also reported by some Victuallers that the Duke of Albemarle and Holmes their flags were shot down, and both fain to come to anchor to renew their rigging and sails. A letter is also come this afternoon, from Harman in the Henery; which is she [that] was taken by Elliott for the Rupert; that being fallen into the body of the Dutch fleete, he made his way through them, was set on by three fire-ships one after another, got two of them off, and disabled the third; was set on fire himself; upon which many of his men leapt into the sea and perished; among others, the parson first. Have lost above 100 men, and a good many women (God knows what is become of Balty), and at last quenched his own fire and got to Aldbrough; being, as all say, the greatest hazard that ever any ship escaped, and as bravely managed by him. The mast of the third fire-ship fell into their ship on fire, and hurt Harman’s leg, which makes him lame now, but not dangerous. I to Sir G. Carteret, who told me there hath been great bad management in all this; that the King’s orders that went on Friday for calling back the Prince, were sent but by the ordinary post on Wednesday; and come to the Prince his hands but on Friday; and then, instead of sailing presently, he stays till four in the evening. And that which is worst of all, the Hampshire, laden with merchants’ money, come from the Straights, set out with or but just before the fleete, and was in the Downes by five in the clock yesterday morning; and the Prince with his fleete come to Dover but at ten of the clock at night. This is hard to answer, if it be true. This puts great astonishment into the King, and Duke, and Court, every body being out of countenance. So meeting Creed, he and I by coach to Hide Parke alone to talke of these things, and do blesse God that my Lord Sandwich was not here at this time to be concerned in a business like to be so misfortunate. It was a pleasant thing to consider how fearfull I was of being seen with Creed all this afternoon, for fear of people’s thinking that by our relation to my Lord Sandwich we should be making ill construction of the Prince’s failure. But, God knows, I am heartily sorry for the sake of the whole nation, though, if it were not for that, it would not be amisse to have these high blades find some checke to their presumption and their disparaging of as good men. Thence set him down in Covent Guarden and so home by the ‘Change, which is full of people still, and all talk highly of the failure of the Prince in not making more haste after his instructions did come, and of our managements here in not giving it sooner and with more care and oftener. Thence. After supper to bed.

22 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

”I to St. Margaret’s Westminster, and there saw at church my pretty Betty Michell. And thence to the Abbey, and so to Mrs. Martin and there did what je voudrais avec her, both devante and backward, which is also muy bon plazer. [and there I did what I wanted with her, both in front and backward, which is also very great pleasure]
[ Tr. Duncan Grey ]

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

3: Whitsonday: ... after sermon came newes, that the Duke of Albemarle was still in fight & all Saturday; & cap: Harmans ship (the Henrie) like to be burnt: Then a letter from Mr. Bertie that Pr: Rupert was come up with his Squadron (according to my former advice of his being loose & in the way) & put new courage into our fleete now in a manner yeilding ground; so as now we were chasing the chacers: That the D: of Alb: was slightly wounded, & the rest in greate danger ’til now; so having ben much wearied with my journey, I slip’d home, the Gunns still roaring very fiercely:

Michael Robinson  •  Link

The Four Day's Battle, Willem van de Velde Jr., Day 3

The surrender of the 'Royal Prince',
This drawing is a rapid panoramic sketch that … has every appearance of having been done at sea. It shows the surrender of the ‘Royal Prince’, the flagship of the white squadron under Admiral Sir George Ayscue, on 3 June. The ‘Royal Prince’ is shown ashore on the extreme right in port quarter view, with a galjoot under her stern. To the windward Cornelis Tromp flies his flag in Sweers’ ship ‘Gouda’, with the rest of the fleets (‘de onde vloet’) in the right background. Prince Rupert’s squadron can be seen coming up on the left horizon.

This is a drawing not made on the spot. Instead it is one of many sketches done for a painting by the Younger, of which there is an oil-on-canvas version in the Rijksmuseum (inventory no. SK-A-438). Alternatively it may be a sketch for the large grisaille work the Elder produced for Cardinal Leopold in 1672. The drawing has been worked over by a later hand, probably by Charles Gore.
Here, van de Velde has depicted a port quarter view of the 'Royal Prince' ashore on the Galloper, hauling down her flag. On her port bow is Tromp, with his flag flying in Sweers' ship, the 'Gouda'. Under her stern is van de Velde's galjoot. There are a number of other Dutch ships visible beyond. The jack and vanes of the 'Royal Prince' are incorrect additions by Charles Gore.

Glyn  •  Link

The Four Days’ Battle / Vierdaagse - Day Three (June 3rdnd )

See previous account for Days One and Two.

By the dawn of the third day Albermarle is in retreat but not routed with only 28 ships left from his initial 56. He assigns 15 of his most powerful ships to shield the remainder while the rest get away. By the afternoon Prince Rupert’s 20 ships are spotted on the horizon and the two English fleets begin to move together. This part of the sea has many shoals and at 5 o’clock the flagship of Admiral Sir George Ayscue, The Royal Prince, runs aground and surrenders to Tromp. De Ruyter orders it to be burned to prevent its recapture. “And so we lost the second best ship in England, having 90 brass pieces of ordnance and 800 men, which was a great grief to all the rest of the fleet”, an English sailor recounted.

By nightfall the English had a fleet of 52 ships (Albermarle, Prince Rupert’s fresh ships and reinforcements from England - thanks, Sam) against approximately 69 Dutch. Both sides work furiously overnight to get ready for the fourth day’s battle. (Based on the account in “The Command of the Ocean” by N.A.M. Rodger.)

Glyn  •  Link

And I should point out that although the English are outnumbered, they still have more large ships than the Dutch. Also the Dutch work less well together because of inter-Province rivalries and political disputes. The battle can still go either way.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... how fearfull I was of being seen with Creed all this afternoon, for fear of people’s thinking that by our relation to my Lord Sandwich we should be making ill construction of the Prince’s failure. ..."

Interesting the care SP believes he has to take about appearance and company, that if two are seen together they are assumed to be conspiring; he must have been privy to analogous constructions and gossip about others.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Have lost above 100 men, and a good many women (God knows what is become of Balty)..."

Interesting juxaposition... Though kind of Sam to think on poor Balty at such a time.

JWB  •  Link

"...Harman in the Henery..."

"Being in a short time completely disabled, one of the enemy's fire-ships grappled him on the starboard quarter; he was, however, freed by the almost incredible exertions of his lieutenant, who, [121]having in the midst of the flames loosed the grappling-irons, swung back on board his own ship unhurt. The Dutch, bent on the destruction of this unfortunate ship, sent a second which grappled her on the larboard side, and with greater success than the former; for the sails instantly taking fire, the crew were so terrified that nearly fifty of them jumped overboard. The admiral, Sir John Harman, seeing this confusion, ran with his sword drawn among those who remained, and threatened with instant death the first man who should attempt to quit the ship, or should not exert himself to quench the flames. The crew then returned to their duty and got the fire under; but the rigging being a good deal burned, one of the topsail yards fell and broke Sir John's leg. In the midst of this accumulated distress, a third fire-ship prepared to grapple him, but was sunk by the guns before she could effect her purpose. The Dutch vice-admiral, Evertzen, now bore down to him and offered quarter; but Sir John replied, 'No, no, it is not come to that yet,' and giving him a broadside, killed the Dutch commander; after which the other enemies sheered off."
Campbell: Lives of the Admirals. quoted in Mahan p121

Pedro  •  Link

“…Harman in the Henery…”

“but Sir John replied, ‘No, no, it is not come to that yet,’ and giving him a broadside, killed the Dutch commander; after which the other enemies sheered off.”

In the Life of Admiral De Ruyter, Blok says that De Ruyter had nearly put Harmon’s ship out of action, but he had managed to escape three fire ships that were threatening him. On refusing the quarter offered by Evertsen, Harmon fired a broadside in which Evertsen was killed. He then succeeded in breaking through the ring and taking his waterlogged ship back to Harwich.

DiPhi  •  Link

"Have lost above 100 men, and a good many women..."

Can someone enlighten me as to what women would have been aboard these ships as they headed into battle?

Pedro  •  Link

The Four Days’ Battle / Vierdaagse - Day Three (June 3rdnd )

Glyn…Life of Admiral De Ruyter by Blok adds…

Forty English ships were still in sight doing their best to run away, as De Ruyter wrote in his report, but at noon appeared Prince Rupert. Albermarle immediately turned wsw along and even over the Galloper, and in this course several of his ships ran aground, among them Albermarle himself, Ayscue, and Tyddiman. The first and last were refloated, but Ayscue’s ship remained fast…

As Albermarle and Prince Rupert were now united De Ruyter set fire to the Royal Prince much to the indignation of Tromp who wanted it as a prize.

Jesse  •  Link

“…Harman in the Henery…”

Wow. An amazing test of character and demonstrations of bravery and leadership. I suppose my sincere admiration conflicts with the more modern notion of the barbarity of it all.

Phoenix  •  Link

From what I understand there is a fair tradition of women on English ships. They could have been wives of officers, mistress's, servants, and, inevitably, prostitutes. In the next century there are accounts of women carrying ammunition during battle and helping the ship's surgeon.

Mary  •  Link

Not only in English ships; in the army too.

As late as the 19th century many women (wives and others) accompanied the menfolk to the Crimea. Officers' wives contrived to live a relatively 'civilised' life for much of the time whilst there, but conditions for the womenfolk of other ranks were desperately hard.

language hat  •  Link

So when did the "no women on board ship" thing get started? Or is that just a modern misunderstanding?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"In a letter dated 19 April 1666 to Samuel Pepys, at that time clerk of the acts, Admiral John Mennes, comptroller or the British Royal Navy, complained that the ships of the navy "are pestered with women." "There are," wrote Mennes, "as many petticoats as breeches" on board, and, he added, the women remain in the vessels "for weeks together."

*Female Tars: Women Aboard Ship in the Age of Sail*. Suzanne J. Stark, Ch. 1, "Prostitutes and Seamen's Wives on Board in Port," p. 5. Ch. 2 is "Women of the Lower Deck at Sea;" Ch. 3 is "Women in Disguise in Naval Crews."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"As early as 1587 the printed regulations forbade women on board ship and the threat of severe punishment was proposed for those who contravened the order. However from then on written sources hint that the rule was ignored, and that for the next 250 years women were glimpsed on board but only as shadowy figures flitting around below decks.

"There is, however, a clear distinction to be made between those who visited the ship to further their trade, the oldest profession in the world, who left when the ship sailed and those who were there when the ship sailed, often with the collusion of the ship's officers. Of those living aboard the ship, they appeared to represent the social classes in that there were the women who served the needs of men and others who served the officers. Most of the contemporary references to this situation are drawn from various ribald songs which have survived from the time. Furtiveness was their watch word as they existed in a gloomy half-light between decks. What we lack is a first-hand account, so far as we know, no women recorded their exploits of life at sea."
Nelson and His Navy - Women under Canvas

Mary  •  Link

"as many petticoats as breeches"

All these women needed to be fed and watered, of course. An interesting addition to Sam's problems with victualling the fleet and an opportunity for the pursers to make a little extra by means of side-contracts?

cgs  •  Link

don't sea don't tell.

cgs  •  Link

How does one lower the testosterone levels? sulfur in the diet?

Buggery was a flogging offense, not so for fornication that be a religious offense and the parson not available to administer the punishment.

A happy ship be a satisfied ship.

Food, water, hammock and grog were needed but the spirit has to be satisfied too.

Morals are a guide line but only for situations that be in balance.

So as situations do not match the perfection expected then do a Nelson, no freedom of the Press or inquiring minds to undo the reality of "wot goes onbelow decks on in the crows nest"

cgs  •  Link

Women in the service of their Majesties ; It is on record that one General of the Army was discovered to be female at the time of her burial, when she be dressed for full regalia.

cgs  •  Link

History has three major aspects; winners version, losers version [as according to the first historian ] and the biggest portion, the unknown version[s] [including the female aspect].

'Tis why this Peppees Time be so interesting as there be many versions written, the royal version and and all the other versions according to the differing thinking ranging from those that be in power to those that be digging for the truth.

Re: the union of the two major human sides, only the accepted view be spoken of in the accepted recordings, but the underground press of tall tales has many other strange versions that only now be written about, but has existed prior to Biblical times.

Bad grammar was never accepted thus rarely documented along with other deviations of the 'omo erectus/sapiens.

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