Monday 17 September 1666

Up betimes, and shaved myself after a week’s growth, but, Lord! how ugly I was yesterday and how fine to-day! By water, seeing the City all the way, a sad sight indeed, much fire being still in. To Sir W. Coventry, and there read over my yesterday’s work: being a collection of the particulars of the excess of charge created by a war, with good content. Sir W. Coventry was in great pain lest the French fleete should be passed by our fleete, who had notice of them on Saturday, and were preparing to go meet them; but their minds altered, and judged them merchant-men, when the same day the Success, Captain Ball, made their whole fleete, and come to Brighthelmstone, and thence at five o’clock afternoon, Saturday, wrote Sir W. Coventry newes thereof; so that we do much fear our missing them. Here come in and talked with him Sir Thomas Clifford, who appears a very fine gentleman, and much set by at Court for his activity in going to sea, and stoutness everywhere, and stirring up and down. Thence by coach over the ruines, down Fleete Streete and Cheapside to Broad Streete to Sir G. Carteret, where Sir W. Batten (and Sir J. Minnes, whom I had not seen a long time before, being his first coming abroad) and Lord Bruncker passing his accounts. Thence home a little to look after my people at work and back to Sir G. Carteret’s to dinner; and thence, after some discourse; with him upon our publique accounts, I back home, and all the day with Harman and his people finishing the hangings and beds in my house, and the hangings will be as good as ever, and particularly in my new closet. They gone and I weary, my wife and I, and Balty and his wife, who come hither to-day to helpe us, to a barrel of oysters I sent from the river today, and so to bed.

7 Annotations

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"and how fine to-day"
Mirror mirror on the wall....

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Sir W. Coventry was in great pain lest the French fleete should be passed by our fleete, who had notice of them on Saturday, and were preparing to go meet them; but their minds altered, and judged them merchant-men..."

Presumably they were misjudged as English merchant-men? I would think France being at war now, French merchant ships would be considered easy, valuable prizes and eagerly sought.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Or has the advent of the Fire propelled Sam and us into a parallel universe where this stupid war is being fought strictly for noble purposes (Ummn, like bringing democracy? (stop chuckling there) "But Sire, we're a vaguely constitutional monarchy." "No, damnit, we're an technocratic autocracy!" Coventry insists. "Fine, we're bringing Constitutional Monarchy or Technocratic Autocracy to a benighted Republic. Whatever..." Charles sighs.) and such tawdry stuff as gain through prizes is rejected?

Phoenix   Link to this

Calendar of State Papers:
"...31 merchant ships from the Straits and 4 from Guinea have passed, and probably joined the English fleet before coming to the Isle of Wight. It was at first supposed to be the Duke of Beaufort's fleet."

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"such tawdry stuff as gain through prizes is rejected?"

Nice timing, RG. Turned out, L&M say, that last year (1665) Clifford was rewarded with a prize-ship for, i.a., having prevented the embezzlement of prizes.

(To be fair, he also provided Arlington, the Secretary of State, with valuable intelligence, and organized the relief of the wounded in the west country.)

Ric Jerrom   Link to this

Sir Thomas Clifford " who appears a very fine gentleman, and much set by at court for his activity in going to sea, and stoutness everywhere, and stirring up and down..." methinks Samuel is hitting a strong vein of irony here: a tad envious perhaps, or just able to spot a jackanapes or bullshitter?

language hat   Link to this

As I said before when somebody suggested Sam was being ironic, I have seen no evidence that he ever uses that (today heavily overworked) mode of discourse. Sam is one of the most straightforward writers I know; if he likes something, it is the best he has seen in his life, and if he doesn't, he doesn't spare the opprobrium. The knowing wink is not his style.

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