Wednesday 4 July 1666

Up, and visited very betimes by Mr. Sheply, who is come to town upon business from Hinchingbrooke, where he left all well. I out and walked along with him as far as Fleet Streete, it being a fast day, the usual fast day for the plague, and few coaches to be had. Thanks be to God, the plague is, as I hear, encreased but two this week; but in the country in several places it rages mightily, and particularly in Colchester, where it hath long been, and is believed will quite depopulate the place. To St. James’s, and there did our usual business with the Duke, all of us, among other things, discoursing about the places where to build ten great ships; the King and Council have resolved on none to be under third-rates; but it is impossible to do it, unless we have more money towards the doing it than yet we have in any view. But, however, the shew must be made to the world. Thence to my Lord Bellasses to take my leave of him, he being going down to the North to look after the Militia there, for fear of an invasion. Thence home and dined, and then to the office, where busy all day, and in the evening Sir W. Pen come to me, and we walked together, and talked of the late fight. I find him very plain, that the whole conduct of the late fight was ill, and that that of truth’s all, and he tells me that it is not he, but two- thirds of the commanders of the whole fleete have told him so: they all saying, that they durst not oppose it at the Council of War, for fear of being called cowards, though it was wholly against their judgement to fight that day with the disproportion of force, and then we not being able to use one gun of our lower tier, which was a greater disproportion than the other. Besides, we might very well have staid in the Downs without fighting, or any where else, till the Prince could have come up to them; or at least till the weather was fair, that we might have the benefit of our whole force in the ships that we had. He says three things must [be] remedied, or else we shall be undone by this fleete. 1. That we must fight in a line, whereas we fight promiscuously, to our utter and demonstrable ruine; the Dutch fighting otherwise; and we, whenever we beat them. 2. We must not desert ships of our own in distress, as we did, for that makes a captain desperate, and he will fling away his ship, when there is no hopes left him of succour. 3. That ships, when they are a little shattered, must not take the liberty to come in of themselves, but refit themselves the best they can, and stay out — many of our ships coming in with very small disablenesses. He told me that our very commanders, nay, our very flag-officers, do stand in need of exercising among themselves, and discoursing the business of commanding a fleete; he telling me that even one of our flag- men in the fleete did not know which tacke lost the wind, or which kept it, in the last engagement. He says it was pure dismaying and fear that made them all run upon the Galloper, not having their wits about them; and that it was a miracle they were not all lost. He much inveighs upon my discoursing of Sir John Lawson’s saying heretofore, that sixty sail would do as much as one hundred; and says that he was a man of no counsel at all, but had got the confidence to say as the gallants did, and did propose to himself to make himself great by them, and saying as they did; but was no man of judgement in his business, but hath been out in the greatest points that have come before them. And then in the business of fore-castles, which he did oppose, all the world sees now the use of them for shelter of men. He did talk very rationally to me, insomuch that I took more pleasure this night in hearing him discourse, than I ever did in my life in any thing that he said. He gone I to the office again, and so after some business home to supper and to bed.

25 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

July 4: ...After Sermon I waited on my L: A: Bish: of Cant and B: of Winchester; where the Deane of Westminster spake to me about putting into my hands the disposal of 50 pounds which the Charitable people at Oxford had sent to be distributed among the sick & wounded seamen &c: since the battaile: Thence I went to my L: Chancellor to joy him of the Royal Highnesse second sonne now born at St. James’s, and to desire the use of the Star-chamber for our Commissioners to meete in, painters hall not being so convenient.

JKM  •  Link

This has to be a first for the Journal: Pepys has just admited to enjoying a conversation with "that rogue" Sir W. Pen!

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"He did talk very rationally to me, insomuch that I took more pleasure this night in hearing him discourse, than I ever did in my life in any thing that he said"

What a contrast to all the hard words and abuse of the past: wonders will never cease!

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"He says three things must [be] remedied, or else we shall be undone by this fleete"

L&M point out, in a footnote that "The fighting instructions of April 1665 (of which Penn was probably the author) [Penn had worked on the first codification of tactics in 1653 MR] insisted on the line ahead formation; those of 1666 had reminded commanders that they must not obey this general rule to the extent of neglecting chances of destroying the enemy. Pepys himself (through his attachment to Sandwich ) had a prejudice in favor of the tactics of 1665. Hence his warm (and quite unusual) agreement with Penn. But Penn, if correctly reported, was wrong. The fleet did fight in line in the Four Days Battle, and the Dutch (who won) did not."

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

'Lord Belasses.....going down to the North'
Strange expression, surely one goes up to the North. Should this be the Nore, where the Thames estuary joins the North Sea?

Lawrence  •  Link

Lord Belasses is Governor of Hull so I guess he's going north to defend against any Dutch or French invasion?

JWB  •  Link

"Lord Bellasses...he being going down to the North..."

Water, beautiful or not (Bellasses= Norman Fr. bel-eau), runs down hill.

Mary  •  Link

down to the north.

Time was when one always went up to London and down to other parts of the country. These days one may well go down the the West Country and to various other more-or-less rural areas but always up north. The effect of the industrial revolution, perhaps, and the increased financial importance of the northern counties?

cgs  •  Link

down to the north. i.e down from the kings eare he being needed back on the moors to make sure their be no red herrings at Grimsby.
Lord Bellasses
Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire 1660–1673

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... he being going down to the North to look after the Militia there, for fear of an invasion."

Hull it is for Bellasses:
"My Lord is going down to his garrison to Hull, by the King’s command, to put it in order for fear of an invasion which course I perceive is taken upon the sea-coasts round; for we have a real apprehension of the King of France’s invading us."

cgs  •  Link

'ull is in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is located 25 miles (40 km) from the North Sea on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary.
important port for Samuell masts.

cgs  •  Link

up & down , is more to do with pecking order than direction of the compass.

'Me posh' cozens always said 'down to the country' where we were playing 'bumkins' although we be to the north of the Capitol.
As for us weed pullers it be 'up to town' where the king be. We might even say 'up to the City' when we went posh.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

cgs, I wonder what gives when one goes down in a golden gown?

James James
Morrison Morrison
Weatherby George Dupree
Took great care of his mother
Though he was only three.
James James said to his mother
Mother he said, said he:
You mustn't go down to the end of the town if you don't go down with me.
James James Morrison's Mother
Put on a golden gown.
James James Morrison's Mother
Went to the end of the town
James James Morrison's Mother
Said to herself, said she:
I can go right down to the end of the town and be back in time for tea!

When We Were Very Young (1924)-- A.A. Milne

A. Hamilton  •  Link

An excellent entry

Penn may have been wrong about the English failing to form a line, but he was surely right that the sailing conditions were unfavorable to the English, who already with fewer ships lost the use of their lower tier of guns. Here Penn is talking about what he knows and showing his command of the issues of sea battles between sailing ships. No wonder Pepys is respectful.

I am particularly taken with Sam's comment, "But, however, the shew must be made to the world." Saddam Hussein said as much to his FBI interrogators before his execution in explaining why he kept pretending to have Weapons of Mass Destruction. And John Lewis Gaddis. in his essay on the Cuban missile crisis, uses Soviet sources to show that Krushchev also knowingly pretended to have more nulcear-tipped missiles at his disposal than he did.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Admirable maturity in our hero today regarding his nemesis Penn. Would the High Command now apparently bent on calling for the construction of superships it can't afford to build instead of properly outfitting those at hand show the same.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Thanks for all the up and down comments. Just shows, we all have our own centres of gravity.

tonyt  •  Link

Hull - 'important port for Samuells masts'. Is there any evidence for this? The masts were needed in the South of England and the only practical way to transport them was by water so ships carrying masts from the Baltic area would have had the Thames Estuary as their destination #though they might have called in at East Coast ports on the way#. Did any masts come from forests in Yorkshire or Nottinghamshire #in which case they might well have passed through Hull#?

cgs  •  Link

RE: Masts: Hull would one of the ports that would trade with the Baltic, and it was a nice safe haven from the marauding bad guys that prey upon shipping and of course bad weather. True most of the ship [navy ] building be in Tems and south coast, but there be other more important ships that had to be masted i.e. coal, fishing and general local trade, as the German sea be the super highway of the day.
Salis cum gratis
the orignal line was lifted from wiki

cgs  •  Link

errata Salis cum gratis s/b Salis cum grano

Freudian slip; no thanks

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"in the business of fore-castles, which he did oppose, all the world sees now the use of them for shelter of men"

L&M note there was a perennial dispute about whether to use the fo'c'les for armour (Penn) or maneuverability (Lawson in the Jamaica expedition?).

Australian Susan  •  Link

Proper name for Hull is Kingston-upon-Hull . The football club (soccer) is Hull Kingston Rovers.

FrankG  •  Link

Kingston-upon-Hull has three (main) football clubs. One "soccer" and two Rugby League. The Rugby clubs are Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers. The "soccer" club is called Hull City.

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