Up, and within most of the morning, my tailor’s boy coming to alter something in my new suit I put on yesterday. Then to the office and did business, and then (my wife being a little ill of those in bed) I to Sir W. Batten’s and dined, and there comes in Sir Richard Ford, tells us how he hath been at the Sessions-house, and there it is plain that there is a combination of rogues in the town, that do make it their business to set houses on fire, and that one house they did set on fire in Aldersgate Streete last Easter; and that this is proved by two young men, whom one of them debauched by degrees to steal their fathers’ plate and clothes, and at last to be of their company; and they had their places to take up what goods were flung into the streets out of the windows, when the houses were on fire; and this is like to be proved to a great number of rogues, whereof five are already found, and some found guilty this day. One of these boys is the son of a Montagu, of my Lord Manchester’s family; but whose son he could not tell me. This is a strange thing methinks, but I am glad that it is proved so true and discovered. So home, and to enter my Journall of my late journey to this hour, and then to the office, where to do a little business, and then by water to White Hall (calling at Michell’s in my way, but the rogue would not invite me in, I having a mind para voir his wife), and there to the Council- chamber, to deliver a letter to their Lordships about the state of the six merchantmen which we have been so long fitting out. When I come, the King and the whole table full of Lords were hearing of a pitifull cause of a complaint of an old man, with a great grey beard, against his son, for not allowing him something to live on; and at last come to the ordering the son to allow his father 10l. a year. This cause lasted them near two hours; which, methinks, at this time to be the work of the Council-board of England, is a scandalous thing, and methought Sir W. Coventry to me did own as much. Here I find all the newes is the enemy’s landing 3,000 men near Harwich,1 and attacking Landguard Fort, and being beat off thence with our great guns, killing some of their men, and they leaving their ladders behind them; but we had no Horse in the way on Suffolk side, otherwise we might have galled their Foot. The Duke of York is gone down thither this day, while the General sat sleeping this afternoon at the Council-table. The news so much talked of this Exchange, of a peace, I find by Sir Richard Browne arises from a letter the Swedes’ agent hath received from Bredah and shewed at Court to-day, that they are come very near it, but I do not find anybody here relying upon it. This cause being over, the Trinity House men, whom I did not expect to meet, were called in, and there Sir W. Pen made a formal speech in answer to a question of the King’s, whether the lying of the sunk ships in the river would spoil the river. But, Lord! how gingerly he answered it, and with a deal of do that he did not know whether it would be safe as to the enemy to have them taken up, but that doubtless it would be better for the river to have them taken up. Methought the Council found them answer like fools, and it ended in bidding them think more of it, and bring their answer in writing. Thence I to Westminster Hall, and there hear how they talk against the present management of things, and against Sir W. Coventry for his bringing in of new commanders and casting out the old seamen, which I did endeavour to rectify Mr. Michell and them in, letting them know that he hath opposed it all his life the most of any man in England. After a deal of this tittle tattle, I to Mrs. Martin’s, and there she was gone in before, but when I come, contrary to my expectation, I find her all in trouble, and what was it for but that I have got her with child … and is in exceeding grief, and swears that the child is mine, which I do not believe, but yet do comfort her that either it cannot be so, or if it be that I will take care to send for her husband, though I do hardly see how I can be sure of that, the ship being at sea, and as far as Scotland, but however I must do it, and shall find some way or other of doing it, though it do trouble me not a little. Thence, not pleased, away to White Hall to Mr. Williamson, and by and by my Lord Arlington about Mr. Lanyon’s business, and it is pretty to see how Mr. Williamson did altogether excuse himself that my business was not done when I come to my Lord and told him my business; “Why,” says my Lord, “it hath been done, and the King signed it several days ago,” and so it was and was in Mr. Williamson’s hands, which made us both laugh, and I in innocent mirth, I remember, said, it is pretty to see in what a condition we are that all our matters now-a-days are undone, we know not how, and done we know not when. He laughed at it, but I have since reflected on it, and find it a severe speech as it might be taken by a chief minister of state, as indeed Mr. Williamson is, for he is indeed the Secretary. But we fell to other pleasant talk, and a fine gentleman he is, and so gave him 5l. for his fee, and away home, and to Sir W. Batten’s to talk a little, and then to the office to do a little business, and so home to supper and read myself asleep, and then to bed.
- Richard Browne, writing to Williamson from Aldeburgh, on July 2nd, says: “The Dutch fleet of 80 sail has anchored in the bay; they were expected to land, but they tacked about, and stood first northward and then southward, close by Orford lighthouse, and have now passed the Ness towards Harwich; they have fired no guns, but made false fires” (“Calendar of State Papers,” 1667, p. 258). ↩