Thursday 7 June 1666

Up betimes, and to my office about business (Sir W. Coventry having sent me word that he is gone down to the fleete to see how matters stand, and to be back again speedily); and with the same expectation of congratulating ourselves with the victory that I had yesterday. But my Lord Bruncker and Sir T. H. that come from Court, tell me quite contrary newes, which astonishes me: that is to say, that we are beaten, lost many ships and good commanders; have not taken one ship of the enemy’s; and so can only report ourselves a victory; nor is it certain that we were left masters of the field. But, above all, that The Prince run on shore upon the Galloper, and there stuck; was endeavoured to be fetched off by the Dutch, but could not; and so they burned her; and Sir G. Ascue is taken prisoner, and carried into Holland. This newes do much trouble me, and the thoughts of the ill consequences of it, and the pride and presumption that brought us to it. At noon to the ‘Change, and there find the discourse of towne, and their countenances much changed; but yet not very plain. So home to dinner all alone, my father and people being gone all to Woolwich to see the launching of the new ship The Greenwich, built by Chr. Pett. I left alone with little Mrs. Tooker, whom I kept with me in my chamber all the afternoon, and did what I would with her. By and by comes Mr. Wayth to me; and discoursing of our ill successe, he tells me plainly from Captain Page’s own mouth (who hath lost his arm in the fight), that the Dutch did pursue us two hours before they left us, and then they suffered us to go on homewards, and they retreated towards their coast: which is very sad newes. Then to my office and anon to White Hall, late, to the Duke of York to see what commands he hath and to pray a meeting to-morrow for Tangier in behalf of Mr. Yeabsly, which I did do and do find the Duke much damped in his discourse, touching the late fight, and all the Court talk sadly of it. The Duke did give me several letters he had received from the fleete, and Sir W. Coventry and Sir W. Pen, who are gone down thither, for me to pick out some works to be done for the setting out the fleete again; and so I took them home with me, and was drawing out an abstract of them till midnight. And as to newes, I do find great reason to think that we are beaten in every respect, and that we are the losers. The Prince upon the Galloper, where both the Royall Charles and Royall Katharine had come twice aground, but got off. The Essex carried into Holland; the Swiftsure missing (Sir William Barkeley) ever since the beginning of the fight. Captains Bacon, Tearne, Wood, Mootham, Whitty, and Coppin, slayne. The Duke of Albemarle writes, that he never fought with worse officers in his life, not above twenty of them behaving themselves like men. Sir William Clerke lost his leg; and in two days died. The Loyall George, Seven Oakes, and Swiftsure, are still missing, having never, as the Generall writes himself, engaged with them. It was as great an alteration to find myself required to write a sad letter instead of a triumphant one to my Lady Sandwich this night, as ever on any occasion I had in my life. So late home and to bed.

18 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

John Evelyn's Diary

June 7 I sent more Chirurgions, linnen, medicaments &c: to the severall ports in my District: din’d at my Lord Cornburies,
[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Hyde,_2nd_Ea... ] returned home with my Wife:

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/LeftBank/1914/ed...

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"The Loyall George, Seven Oakes, and Swiftsure, are still missing, ..."

Willem van de Velde, Jr.,
"The four captured men-of-war - 'Swiftsure,' 'Seven Oaks, 'Loyal George,'and 'Convertine'- brought into the Goereese Gat after the Four Day Battle at Sea, 11-14 June 1666:"
http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/collectie/zoeken/asse...

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"And as to newes, I do find great reason to think that we are beaten in every respect, and that we are the losers. "

Jan Saenredam
Allegorie op de Nederlandse overwinningen op zee tijdens de Tweede Engelse Oorlog, 1666. Triomfwagen met de Nederlandse zeehelden Cornelis Tromp en Michiel de Ruyter. ...
http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/collectie/zoeken/asse...

Gerbrand van den Eeckhout
Journael, of pertinent Verhael, Van alles datter tusschen de twee Machtige Oorloghs-Vlooten Namelijck van Hollant en Engelant... Nederlants Vreugt over de Heltdadige VICTORIE ...
Amsterdam: Marcus Doornick, 1666
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_th...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...thoughts of the ill consequences of it..."

"What do we do now? The Dutch have whipped us and Louis is sure join in any invasion."

"What Hugh Aubry would advise: 'put the blame on someone else'." hands over copy of Aubry.

Hmmn...

"But Barbara...I'm the King. And my brother's head of the Navy. Not to mention Monke, the only man I could blame besides Rupert, who is family, after all, is too popular."

"Well, what about that little fellow who's always strutting about like he owns the Navy. The one you said Sandwich put in the Naval Office with no experience whatsoever."

"Pepys...?"

Hmmn...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Actually so far Jamie's calm, "damped", yet active demeanor, setting Sam immediately to work on preparations for the fleet's comeback, rates favorably against Monck's immediate attempt to find fault with his subordinates.

***

Alas, Miss Tooker... We can hope he was not up to much.

Don McCahill   Link to this

> The Duke of Albemarle writes, that he never fought with worse officers in his life, not above twenty of them behaving themselves like men.

Sounds like a bit of spin-doctoring going on here. It wasn't the commander, it was the men.

Nate   Link to this

"The Duke of Albemarle writes, that he never fought with worse officers in his life, not above twenty of them behaving themselves like men."

At this time AFAIK Navy commissions were bought and sold, not the best system to find and promote competent officers.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"Navy commissions were bought and sold, ..."

In the Restoration Navy commissions were neither bought nor sold and there was no such thing as a permanent rank or 'seniority,' appointments were for for voyages or seasons. For a full discussion of the workings of this system and changes through the later C17th. see NAM Rodger 'Command of the Ocean,' London / NY: 2004/5 pp. 112 - 125.

cgs   Link to this

Duke of A be "rite", it takes a goode fight to weed out the con artists with glib tongues before you get a winning combination. The beginning of every war has the weeding out of incompetent idiots,before get a pattern on target.

Jean in MD   Link to this

And in the midst of the realization of defeat and the speedy placing of blame, Samuel still found time for an interval with "little Mrs. Tooker," stuck in a room with him all afternoon. Ugh.

Glyn   Link to this

" to write a sad letter instead of a triumphant one to my Lady Sandwich this night" It has been part of his duties to his patrons throughout the Diary to write to the Sandiwiches to keep them up-to-date with the political news. Presumably Pepys is also writing to Lord Sandwich, or Lady Sandwich will pass on his news in one of her own letters.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Glyn, methinks Lord Sandwich is receiving news by courier in Madrid, and the letter to Lady Sandwich will add personal color, taking special note of persons and ships that would have been (again) under Sandwich's command and are therefore dear to the family's heart.

Nix   Link to this

Moncke's statement calls to mind the lament of baseball manager Rocky Bridges: "I managed good, but boy did they play bad."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Managed_Good,_Bu...

Pedro   Link to this

Intelligence

On the 25th of May Sandwich met the Duke of Medina who gave the news that the French fleet commanded by the Duke of Beaufort was gone to the English Channel to join the Dutch. It was similar intelligence, reported from other sources, which led Charles to detach a large part of the English fleet under Rupert to watch Beaufort’s movements, and thus led to Monck’s fighting the Dutch on disastrously unequal terms…Sandwich new nothing of the division of the fleet or the reasons for it…A study (A Distant Storm: The Four Days Battle, Fox) suggests very strongly that it was the fear that Beaufort would embark troops from a French Atlantic port for a descent on Ireland, and only secondarily the prevention of reinforcing De Ruyter, that prompted the much criticized decision…

(Cromwell’s Earl by Ollard)

cgs   Link to this

." It wasn’t the commander, it was the men."
Men can only be as good as the Commander commands.
Port or starboard ,'Tis Commander Orders that the tars follow , else it be the cat of nine tails or a bit of keel hauling, other 'wise' it be the whole nine yards on the gibbet.

Pedro   Link to this

” It wasn’t the commander, it was the men.”

Lions led by Donkeys!

cgs   Link to this

or be it lions led by degrees of jackals, donkeys only brae and they need a two by four , along it is not rotting or an ass to lead the whey.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"The Duke of Albemarle writes [capping last night's letter to Coventry, which Pepys has surely read, by such words as], that he never fought with worse officers [than now] in his life, not above twenty of them behaving 'themselves like men. "

DUKE OF ALBEMARLE TO SIR W. COVENTRY.

Royal Charles, Gun Fleet, June 6, 1666.

The life, journals and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, &c. Volume I, pp. 108ff.
http://books.google.com/books?id=gBc6AAAAcAAJ&p...

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.