Sam’s yearly vows, which include the usual restrictions on theatre visits (6, 7) are swiftly broken when he enjoys “The Numerous Lieutenant” (23) and is delighted to kiss the actress Nell Gwyn. Sam entertains and shows off his wonderful silver to his guests (4), although some realised that he may have acquired his flagons by dubious means (11).
Elizabeth talks to Sam’s sister Pall about a potential marriage to Will Hewer, only to get a polite “thanks, but no thanks” (16, 18) . Sam gets some hard-hitting news to his wallet, when the Poll Tax Bill passes (25). Sam hopes that the complex Bill may be too confusing to actually enforce.
Sir William Coventry resigns his post (8, 9) and his office is split (20, 25). The Duke of York is saddened at the rather sudden death of his mistress Lady Denham (7, 8) but forges on with his naval work. Under severe budget constraints, the Duke limits salary payments to only the top two Muster-Masters. Sam is happy and relieved that brother-in-law Balty is in the top slot and therefore will be paid (16). Court apprehensions about the French (2) continue along with gossip that in Spain, Lord Sandwich’s men are involved in a deadly altercation with the French Ambassador’s entourage (29, 30).
Prince Rupert becomes very ill and prepares to be trepanned (16, 28, 31). His illness, the budget constraints, and fears of the French add to Sam’s worries that “Nobody knows who commands the fleete next year, or, indeed, whether we shall have a fleete or no” (31).
Prince Rupert is trepanned and begins a slow recovery (2, 3, 5, 6, 11, 13). The loss of the St. Patrick (6, 17) adds to the Navy’s fiscal stress. Sam hears that Lord Sandwich has achieved peace with Spain (5) and has been ordered home to take control of the fleet (11, 12). Sam hears that peace may be possible as King Charles II enters into discussions regarding a potential Treaty with the Dutch (14). While Sam enjoys his side deal with Gawden (4), the Duke of York comes to understand that without any money there will be no fleet (17). On an optimistic note, the plans for the rebuilding of the city get underway (24, 28).
Sam has a very musical/theatrical month (12, 16, 18) with lots of theatre talk and entertainment. He digs deep in his pockets and buys Elizabeth a watch (9) and also pays for a special splurge on Betty Mitchell (5), as well as his yearly Valentine gifts (16, 27). Sam gets a shock when his brother John falls suddenly ill and is almost surprised to realise that he cares deeply for his brother (7, 8).
The King juggles the politics of the French and Dutch, which leaves the merchants in a quandary, swaying between war or peace, and uncertain whether it’s best to buy or sell (1, 3, 4, 6, 11, 15). The Duke of Buckingham is accused of the treasonable act of having the King’s nativity calculated and seems destined for the Tower (3, 6, 9, 11). Lord Sandwich has returned to favour with the King (17), while the Duke of Richmond is betrothed to the apple of the King’s eye, the lovely Mrs. Stewart (18, 20).
Sam meets a potential prospect for sister Pall (18). While Sam secures a Muster-Master position for Balty on Harman’s upcoming voyage to the West Indies (27, 29), he side steps taking Balty’s wife into his home while Balty is away. Sam’s brother John sends an alarming letter that both their mother and father are ill with Margaret close to death (20, 21). As her health declines further, Sam has a troublesome dream of his mother (25) and decides to skip his yearly stone feast (26) due to fears of her death. Then a letter arrives of her passing and Sam and Elizabeth weep as they read that Margaret’s last words are “God bless my poor Sam”. He prepares to have the “extended family” properly suited for mourning, and when he attends church in his new periwig and mourning attire he notes that he “made a great shew” (31).
Amidst anxieties over peace (7, 9, 11) and his naval work responsibilities, Sam enjoys a week’s worth of plays, only to hear the gossip that his people find him minding his pleasure too much these days (19), something Sam vows to quickly correct (20).
Sam pays for his mother’s mourning expenses (6) and is relieved that his father is on the mend (13). Sam gets Balty a position as Deputy Treasurer of the Fleete, which comes with a 1500l. salary, but in his wisdom, Sam puts the management of the money in Elizabeth’s hands to care for her financially challenged parents (3, 4). Sam isn’t so lucky in the financial area when the Collectors of the Poll money come to visit (5).
Sam’s dear Betty Mitchell delivers a healthy baby girl (23, 26). John Evelyn defends the virtue of Frances Stewart, who recently married the Duke of Richmond (26), and shares his thoughts on other Court gossip. Lord Sandwich’s family, always in bad financial straits (27) has some potential good news, with the hopeful return of Sandwich and the potential 10,000l. portion for the match between Lord Hinchingbroke and Lord Burlington’s daughter (29).
Life transitions as Betty Mitchell’s daughter, Elizabeth, is christened (5) and the Duke of York loses one son to illness while the other struggles to stay alive (14, 23, 25, 27). The Lord Treasurer also passes away, leaving questions as to who will replace him (16). Lord Hinchingbrooke’s business of marriage to Lord Burlington’s daughter is concluded with the lady very pleased to hear the news (9, 15). Sam’s household also changes, with a lying Barker and a drunken Luce let go (12, 13, 18) and two new arrivals to take their place (21).
Sam is angered at Elizabeth for her trendy white locks (11, 12) and her second mourning attire (29), and they exchange words. Sam’s father arrives and Sam continues to worry about his health (14, 22, 23, 26).
While the Navy continues to struggle about how to pay their creditors (6, 8), Sam finds himself flush enough in his own finances to start planning to get a coach of his own and a stable to house it in (8, 11, 21). He enjoys a great gossip session with Mrs. Turner, who dishes on the Lord Brouncker, his whore Mrs. Williams and “the most false fellow” Sir W. Pen (21).
The Dutch begin relentless naval attacks and victories against the English (8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 18, 27), who lack the ships and power to keep them at bay. Without any funds to pay them, and long overdue outstanding debts owed them, the seamen will not go forth to fight the Dutch and many people fear that they will defect, as they may get paid by the Dutch (14, 23, 25). During these attacks the King sups with Lady Castlemaine (21) which further ignites the fury of the people. Blame is passed out as Pett is made a scapegoat (19), Sir George Carteret swaps his Treasurer of the Navy job with Lord Anglesey and takes his position of Treasurer of Ireland (26). Sir William Coventry fears that he, along with the Lord Chancellor, Lord Arlington and the Vice Chamberlain are also at risk (29).
During this turmoil Sam fears for his life and his finances. He wisely sends Elizabeth and his father to the country to hide his money (12, 13, 14), but is angry with the lack of care taken in this task (19, 20). He makes his will, splitting his belongings equally between his father and Elizabeth (13). Sam turns down Lord Sandwich’s request for a loan (17); with the banks in such disarray, he wants to protect his belongings.
There are two very sad, young losses this month with the death of Betty Mitchell’s new daughter, Elizabeth (11, 15, 18) and the Duke of York’s son, the Duke of Cambridge (6, 9, 22).
The Dutch attacks and political fallout continue, with the people turning against the management of the Navy. As many shift in and out of favor, Sam is the “only happy man of the Navy” as not one bad word has been spoken about him (2, 3, 12). While Lady Castlemaine and the King argue about the paternity of the child she is carrying (27, 29), stories of the King’s lingering love for Frances Stewart continue (17), and court factions are ongoing (27). Sir George Carteret passes the Seal to Lord Anglesey. Sam resigns his victualling position (29), and loses the 300l. a year that goes with it. Peace finally is confirmed, leaving the people upset as they wonder what price their lackluster and highly disrespected King, has paid for it (11, 12, 13, 19, 29).
Betty Mitchell tells Sam she is pregnant and he fears it is his child (3). Three days later, when Betty finds she is not with child, Sam celebrates by buying wine for all (6). Later in the month he sprains his ankle and is in pain for several days (14, 15, 16, 17). On a happy note, Lady Jemimah gives birth to a son (6).
Sam nervously waits for an official peace announcement and, like many, expresses his concern that he’s not sure if he is glad or sorry about the peace; although it’s necessary, the terms for it are not favorable (14, 16, 19, 22, 24). Sam continues his work on the large general accounts of expenses and debts of the Navy (4). Amid a growing anxiety over the economic instability, John Evelyn and Mr. Burges share a common concern that many are collecting their money either to have it in hand, or to get it out of the country and into safe keeping (8, 9).
Mid-month Sam returns to seeing plays with a wild vengeance, racking up about thirteen this month. He declares that his belly is “full with plays, that I do intend to bind myself to see no
more till Michaelmas” (24), yet he’s back to the theatre 2 days later. Elizabeth has had her fill of Sam’s theatre antics with her well justified jealousy of his relationship with Mrs. Knipp (2).
The political fallout continues and divides many. The King goes after the seal of Lord Clarendon (father-in-law to the Duke of York, who supports him). By month end the King prevails and the Chancellor is sadly out of his position.
Political fallout continues with the departure of the Chancellor (2). Sir Coventry leaves the Duke of York’s service and is replaced by Mr. Wren (2, 4, 8) but Sam is upset to lose a man that he admired and sadly starts the transition period to Mr. Wren (10, 17).
Sam continues to sort through gossip versus facts this month. Truths include an Act of Council which called for the removal of all Papists from their offices (8), and peace with Spain (27). False rumours include the King setting Monmouth up for the Crown (14), Lady Castlemaine departing to Paris (5), and the barren Queen being sent to a nunnery (5, 16). Good news befalls the Duke of York as his wife gives birth to a son, Edgar (14).
Sam’s eyes cause him a great pain and he relies on his family to read to him (22). He is pleased by Elizabeth’s talents on the flageolet (11, 12) and disguises his pleasure at the arrival of Elizabeth’s new companion, the pretty Deb Willet (27, 30).
Sir W. Batten falls ill which trouble Sam “partly out of kindness, he being a good neighbour and partly because of the money he owes me, upon our bargain of the late prize” (3, 4). The next day, Batten is dead.
Sam doesn’t stay around for the funeral but gathers up the ladies and heads off to Brampton to collect the gold that his father buried last June (7, 8, 9). He visits “my Lady” to hear the news of her family and discusses his family concerns with his father (9, 10). He begins the “great work to dig up my gold” which turns out to be a near nightmare (10, 11). Sam returns home with the gold and hears the news that Parliament has met.
Sam is pulled into several different examinations into the war. A committee to look into the miscarriages into the conduct of the entire war is created (17) and Sam finds himself losing sleep over the headaches of the payment of seamen via tickets.
Political pundits, Parliament, and the Committees reviewing war-related issues “attack” the Naval Office and Sam’s goal is to keep himself clean during the turmoil. Sir W. Coventry’s conduct is criticized by the Narratives of the Duke of Albemarle and Prince Rupert (1, 4) and Sam fears what may befall Lord Sandwich (1, 3, 6, 13). The King’s political pals work to impeach the Lord Chancellor (4, 9, 12, 15, 21).
Roger Pepys tips Sam off that “the Committee is mighty full of the business of buying and selling of tickets”, but believes that they have found someone else to blame, so Sam may be safe (13). Prince Rupert’s people, who are investigating the prize-good related activities, pull Poundy, the waterman, to bear witness against Sam (15). Sam receives an order to bring all the books to the Committee lead by Brookes (19), but he is careful to review them before he delivers them (20), so that he can prepare his defense (24).
Sam’s eyes continue to bother him and he visits the spectacle-maker (4). Sam replies to a letter from his father letter detailing what he will provide to a new potential husband for Pall (19). Sam once again vows to cut back on his play going (13), and a noise in the night reads like a comedy as Sam and his “extended family” fear that a thief is afoot (29).
As Parliament continues to argue about what charges to bring against the Lord Chancellor (2), the wise Chancellor escapes (3). In retaliation, the Lords move to formally banish him (13). Sam is nervous as the committees established to look into the finances and administrations of the war have no members that understand the working of a naval operation (8). Sir W. Coventry, in his wisdom, cautions Sam that when he goes before Parliament he should “say little, and let them get out what they can by force” (3).
Sam begrudgingly helps out with Lord Sandwich’s bill of exchange (13, 18). Sam discusses Pall’s proposed match (21) with his wife Elizabeth who has endured a swollen face and horrible tooth ache for several days (21, 22, 23). Christmas Day is spent quietly at home. Sam ends the year with his usual worries for the nation and his more personal worries of where he will end up standing in his Office when the Committee of Parliament examines the Navy matters (31).