(Lord’s day). Up about three o’clock, and Creed and I got ourselves ready, and took coach at our gate, it being very fine weather, and the cool of the morning, and with much pleasure, without any stop, got to Rochester about ten of the clock, all the way having mighty pleasant talk of the fate that is over all we do, that it seems as if we were designed in every thing, by land by sea, to undo ourselves. At the foot of Rochester bridge, at the landing-place, I met my Lord Bruncker and my Lord Douglas, and all the officers of the soldiers in the town, waiting there for the Duke of York, whom they heard was coming thither this day; by and by comes my Lord Middleton, the first time I remember to have seen him, well mounted, who had been to meet him, but come back without him; he seems a fine soldier, and so every body says he is; and a man, like my Lord Teviott, and indeed most of the Scotch gentry, as I observe, of few words. After staying here by the water-side and seeing the boats come up from Chatham, with them that rowed with bandeleeres about their shoulders, and muskets in their boats, they being the workmen of the Yard, who have promised to redeem their credit, lost by their deserting the service when the Dutch were there, my Lord Bruncker went with Lord Middleton to his inne, the Crowne, to dinner, which I took unkindly, but he was slightly invited. So I and Creed down by boat to Chatham-yard (our watermen having their bandeleeres about them all the way), and to Commissioner Pett’s house, where my Lord Bruncker told me that I should meet with his dinner two dishes of meat, but did not, but however by the help of Mr. Wiles had some beer and ale brought me, and a good piece of roast beef from somebody’s table, and eat well at two, and after dinner into the garden to shew Creed, and I must confess it must needs be thought a sorrowful thing for a man that hath taken so much pains to make a place neat to lose it as Commissioner Pett must now this. Thence to see the batteries made; which, indeed, are very fine, and guns placed so as one would think the River should be very secure. I was glad, as also it was new to me, to see so many fortifications as I have of late seen, and so up to the top of the Hill, there to look, and could see towards Sheerenesse, to spy the Dutch fleete, but could make [out] none but one vessel, they being all gone. But here I was told, that, in all the late attempt, there was but one man that they knew killed on shore: and that was a man that had laid himself upon his belly upon one of the hills, on the other side of the River, to see the action; and a bullet come, took the ground away just under his belly, and ripped up his belly, and so was killed. Thence back to the docke, and in my way saw how they are fain to take the deals of the rope-house to supply other occasions, and how sillily the country troopers look, that stand upon the passes there; and, methinks, as if they were more willing to run away than to fight, and it is said that the country soldiers did first run at Sheerenesse, but that then my Lord Douglas’s men did run also; but it is excused that there was no defence for them towards the sea, that so the very beach did fly in their faces as the bullets come, and annoyed them, they having, after all this preparation of the officers of the ordnance, only done something towards the land, and nothing at all towards the sea. The people here everywhere do speak very badly of Sir Edward Spragge, as not behaving himself as he should have done in that business, going away with the first, and that old Captain Pyne, who, I am here told, and no sooner, is Master-Gunner of England, was the last that staid there. Thence by barge, it raining hard, down to the chaine; and in our way did see the sad wrackes of the poor “Royall Oake,” “James,” and “London;”1 and several other of our ships by us sunk, and several of the enemy’s, whereof three men-of-war that they could not get off, and so burned. We did also see several dead bodies lie by the side of the water. I do not see that Upnor Castle hath received any hurt by them, though they played long against it; and they themselves shot till they had hardly a gun left upon the carriages, so badly provided they were: they have now made two batteries on that side, which will be very good, and do good service. So to the chaine, and there saw it fast at the end on Upnor side of the River; very fast, and borne up upon the several stages across the River; and where it is broke nobody can tell me. I went on shore on Upnor side to look upon the end of the chaine; and caused the link to be measured, and it was six inches and one-fourth in circumference. They have burned the Crane House that was to hawl it taught. It seems very remarkable to me, and of great honour to the Dutch, that those of them that did go on shore to Gillingham, though they went in fear of their lives, and were some of them killed; and, notwithstanding their provocation at Schelling, yet killed none of our people nor plundered their houses, but did take some things of easy carriage, and left the rest, and not a house burned; and, which is to our eternal disgrace, that what my Lord Douglas’s men, who come after them, found there, they plundered and took all away; and the watermen that carried us did further tell us, that our own soldiers are far more terrible to those people of the country-towns than the Dutch themselves. We were told at the batteries, upon my seeing of the field- guns that were there, that, had they come a day sooner, they had been able to have saved all; but they had no orders, and lay lingering upon the way, and did not come forward for want of direction. Commissioner Pett’s house was all unfurnished, he having carried away all his goods. I met with no satisfaction whereabouts the chaine was broke, but do confess I met with nobody that I could well expect to have satisfaction [from], it being Sunday; and the officers of the Yard most of them abroad, or at the Hill house, at the pay of the Chest, which they did make use of to day to do part in. Several complaints, I hear, of the Monmouth’s coming away too soon from the chaine, where she was placed with the two guard-ships to secure it; and Captain Robert Clerke, my friend, is blamed for so doing there, but I hear nothing of him at London about it; but Captain Brookes’s running aground with the “Sancta Maria,” which was one of the three ships that were ordered to be sunk to have dammed up the River at the chaine, is mightily cried against, and with reason, he being the chief man to approve of the abilities of other men, and the other two slips did get safe thither and he run aground; but yet I do hear that though he be blameable, yet if she had been there, she nor two more to them three would have been able to have commanded the river all over. I find that here, as it hath been in our river, fire- ships, when fitted, have been sunk afterwards, and particularly those here at the Mussle, where they did no good at all. Our great ships that were run aground and sunk are all well raised but the “Vanguard,” which they go about to raise to-morrow. “The Henery,” being let loose to drive up the river of herself, did run up as high as the bridge, and broke down some of the rails of the bridge, and so back again with the tide, and up again, and then berthed himself so well as no pilot could ever have done better; and Punnet says he would not, for his life, have undertaken to have done it, with all his skill. I find it is true that the Dutch did heele “The Charles” to get her down, and yet run aground twice or thrice, and yet got her safe away, and have her, with a great many good guns in her, which none of our pilots would ever have undertaken. It is very considerable the quantity of goods, which the making of these platforms and batterys do take out of the King’s stores: so that we shall have little left there, and, God knows! no credit to buy any; besides, the taking away and spending of (it is possible) several goods that would have been either rejected or abatement made for them before used. It is a strange thing to see that, while my Lords Douglas and Middleton do ride up and down upon single horses, my Lord Bruncker do go up and down with his hackney-coach and six horses at the King’s charge, which will do, for all this time, and the time that he is likely to stay, must amount to a great deal. But I do not see that he hath any command over the seamen, he being affronted by three or four seamen before my very face, which he took sillily, methought; and is not able to do so much good as a good boatswain in this business. My Lord Bruncker, I perceive, do endeavour to speak well of Commissioner Pett, saying that he did exercise great care and pains while he was there, but do not undertake to answer for his not carrying up of the great ships. Back again to Rochester, and there walked to the Cathedral as they were beginning of the service, but would not be seen to stay to church there, besides had no mind, but rather to go to our inne, the White Hart, where we drank and were fain (the towne being so full of soldiers) to have a bed corded for us to lie in, I being unwilling to lie at the Hill house for one night, being desirous to be near our coach to be gone betimes to-morrow morning. Here in the streets, I did hear the Scotch march beat by the drums before the soldiers, which is very odde. Thence to the Castle, and viewed it with Creed, and had good satisfaction from him that showed it us touching the history of it. Then into the fields, a fine walk, and there saw Sir Francis Clerke’s house, which is a pretty seat, and then back to our inne and bespoke supper, and so back to the fields and into the Cherry garden, where we had them fresh gathered, and here met with a young, plain, silly shopkeeper, and his wife, a pretty young woman, the man’s name Hawkins, and I did kiss her, and we talked (and the woman of the house is a very talking bawdy jade), and eat cherries together, and then to walk in the fields till it was late, and did kiss her, and I believe had I had a fit time and place I might have done what I would with her. Walked back and left them at their house near our inne, and then to our inne, where, I hear, my Lord Bruncker hath sent for me to speak with me before I go: so I took his coach, which stands there with two horses, and to him and to his bedside, where he was in bed, and hath a watchman with a halbert at his door; and to him, and did talk a little, and find him a very weak man for this business that he is upon; and do pity the King’s service, that is no better handled, and his folly to call away Pett before we could have found a better man to have staid in his stead; so took leave of him, and with Creed back again, it being now about 10 at night, and to our inne to supper, and then to bed, being both sleepy, but could get no sheets to our bed, only linen to our mouths, and so to sleep, merrily talking of Hawkins and his wife, and troubled that Creed did see so much of my dalliance, though very little.
- “The bottom of the `Royal James’ is got afloat, and those of the ` Loyal London’ and `Royal Oak’ soon will be so. Many men are at work to put Sheerness in a posture of defence, and a boom is being fitted over the river by Upnor Castle, which with the good fortifications will leave nothing to fear.” — Calendar of State Papers, 1667, p. 285. ↩