(Lord’s day). Up, and with [Sir] W. Batten, by coach; he set me down at my Lord Bruncker’s (his feud there not suffering him to ‘light himself), and I with my Lord by and by when ready to White Hall, and by and by up to the Duke of York, and there presented our great letter and other papers, and among the rest my report of the victualling, which is good, I think, and will continue my pretence to the place, which I am still afeard Sir W. Coventry’s employment may extinguish. We have discharged ourselves in this letter fully from blame in the bad success of the Navy, if money do not come soon to us, and so my heart is at pretty good rest in this point. Having done here, Sir W. Batten and I home by coach, and though the sermon at our church was begun, yet he would ‘light to go home and eat a slice of roast beef off the spit, and did, and then he and I to church in the middle of the sermon. My Lady Pen there saluted me with great content to tell me that her daughter and husband are still in bed, as if the silly woman thought it a great matter of honour, and did, going out of the church, ask me whether we did not make a great show at Court today, with all our favours in our hats. After sermon home, and alone with my wife dined. Among other things my wife told me how ill a report our Mercer hath got by her keeping of company, so that she will not send for her to dine with us or be with us as heretofore; and, what is more strange, tells me that little Mis. Tooker hath got a clap as young as she is, being brought up loosely by her mother … In the afternoon away to White Hall by water, and took a turn or two in the Park, and then back to White Hall, and there meeting my Lord Arlington, he, by I know not what kindness, offered to carry me along with him to my Lord Treasurer’s, whither, I told him, I was going. I believe he had a mind to discourse of some Navy businesses, but Sir Thomas Clifford coming into the coach to us, we were prevented; which I was sorry for, for I had a mind to begin an acquaintance with him. He speaks well, and hath pretty slight superficial parts, I believe. He, in our going, talked much of the plain habit of the Spaniards; how the King and Lords themselves wear but a cloak of Colchester bayze, and the ladies mantles, in cold weather, of white flannell: and that the endeavours frequently of setting up the manufacture of making these stuffs there have only been prevented by the Inquisition: the English and Dutchmen that have been sent for to work, being taken with a Psalmbook or Testament, and so clapped up, and the house pulled down by the Inquisitors; and the greatest Lord in Spayne dare not say a word against it, if the word Inquisition be but mentioned. At my Lord Treasurer’s ‘light and parted with them, they going into Council, and I walked with Captain Cocke, who takes mighty notice of the differences growing in our office between Lord Bruncker and [Sir] W. Batten, and among others also, and I fear it may do us hurt, but I will keep out of them. By and by comes Sir S. Fox, and he and I walked and talked together on many things, but chiefly want of money, and the straits the King brings himself and affairs into for want of it. Captain Cocke did tell me what I must not forget: that the answer of the Dutch, refusing The Hague for a place of treaty, and proposing the Boysse, Bredah, Bergen-op-Zoome, or Mastricht, was seemingly stopped by the Swede’s Embassador (though he did show it to the King, but the King would take no notice of it, nor does not) from being delivered to the King; and he hath wrote to desire them to consider better of it: so that, though we know their refusal of the place, yet they know not that we know it, nor is the King obliged to show his sense of the affront. That the Dutch are in very great straits, so as to be said to be not able to set out their fleete this year. By and by comes Sir Robert Viner and my Lord Mayor to ask the King’s directions about measuring out the streets according to the new Act for building of the City, wherein the King is to be pleased.1 But he says that the way proposed in Parliament, by Colonel Birch, would have been the best, to have chosen some persons in trust, and sold the whole ground, and let it be sold again by them, with preference to the old owner, which would have certainly caused the City to be built where these Trustees pleased; whereas now, great differences will be, and the streets built by fits, and not entire till all differences be decided. This, as he tells it, I think would have been the best way. I enquired about the Frenchman that was said to fire the City, and was hanged for it, by his own confession, that he was hired for it by a Frenchman of Roane, and that he did with a stick reach in a fire-ball in at a window of the house: whereas the master of the house, who is the King’s baker, and his son, and daughter, do all swear there was no such window, and that the fire did not begin thereabouts. Yet the fellow, who, though a mopish besotted fellow, did not speak like a madman, did swear that he did fire it: and did not this like a madman; for, being tried on purpose, and landed with his keeper at the Tower Wharf, he could carry the keeper to the very house. Asking Sir R. Viner what he thought was the cause of the fire, he tells me, that the baker, son, and his daughter, did all swear again and again, that their oven was drawn by ten o’clock at night; that, having occasion to light a candle about twelve, there was not so much fire in the bakehouse as to light a match for a candle, so that they were fain to go into another place to light it; that about two in the morning they felt themselves almost choked with smoke, and rising, did find the fire coming upstairs; so they rose to save themselves; but that, at that time, the bavins were not on fire in the yard. So that they are, as they swear, in absolute ignorance how this fire should come; which is a strange thing, that so horrid an effect should have so mean and uncertain a beginning. By and by called in to the King and Cabinet, and there had a few insipid words about money for Tangier, but to no purpose. Thence away walked to my boat at White Hall, and so home and to supper, and then to talk with W. Hewer about business of the differences at present among the people of our office, and so to my journall and to bed. This night going through bridge by water, my waterman told me how the mistress of the Beare tavern, at the bridge-foot, did lately fling herself into the Thames, and drowned herself; which did trouble me the more, when they tell me it was she that did live at the White Horse tavern in Lumbard Streete, which was a most beautiful woman, as most I have seen. It seems she hath had long melancholy upon her, and hath endeavoured to make away with herself often.
- See Sir Christopher Wren’s “Proposals for rebuilding the City of London after the great fire, with an engraved Plan of the principal Streets and Public Buildings,” in Elmes’s “Memoirs of Sir Christopher Wren,” Appendix, p.61. The originals are in All Souls’ College Library, Oxford. — B. ↩