Tuesday 3 October 1665

For Samuell Pepys Esqr

Sayes Court

3 October 16651

Sir,

I was in some doubt whither those Letters you commanded me to prepare, ariv’d timely enough to accompany yours to Court on Saturday-night2; For finding divers Chyrurgeons, and Sick-persons at my dores who had come from Several places with sad complaints that they could not procur quarters for them. I was forc’d to dispatch Warrants to the Connestables and other Officers to be ayding and assistant to my Deputyes, and some of these concernd me as far as Deale and Sandwich, where we are so overlayd, that they send them back upon us, and they perish in the returne; so that I had not a moments leasure to finish my letters, till it was neere 7 of the Clock; and I would be glad to know whither [any]3 came to your hands at all. Sir, I have had earnest intreaties from Severall of the Commanders (riding before Woolwich) to dispose of their Sick- and wounded-men on shore, but the Clearke of the Cheque4 there reproches our Chyrurgeon, and obstructs the effect of the Warrant I sent to the Connestable, upon a pretence, of bringing the Contagion amongst them; whiles in the meane time, I am sure, they suffer others to tipple in the Ale-houses; And Sir Theophilus Biddulph was with me to spare Greenewich, because of your sitting there, and Deptford in reguard of his Majesties Yard: I would be glad to know (Since Chatham, and Graves-End can hold no more,) and that I have peopld all the intermedial Villages, what I shall do with these miserable Creatures, who are not able to move? Though had halfe of these but bread to eate (I speake not here of the Prisoners, but our owne men) we should not have neere the multitudes, which are impos’d upon us. Sir, I do not tell you these stories out of any designs to engage or trouble you with other folkes buisinesse, as you have lately seem’d to impute it to me; because without monnye I could not feede two-thousand Prisoners; but to let you see, that it is not without reason I have made my Complaints nor at all my crime, if his Majesties Subjects perish for want of harbor. It was also tr[eat]ed as a failure in my Industry, that I had not receiv’d the Prisoners into my c[are]5 and assisted towards the raising the £5000 to be assign’d me; But upon my pa[rticular]6 applications to my Lord Broncker and Sir John Mennes (according to his Graces direction) a[bout?]7 my Yesterdays dispatching two very able Officers to take their names, receive them out of the8 respective prizes and shipps; there were none of those Vessells ready you were pleas’d to name, nor roome in them for a quarter of the number; so as my Martials return’d re infecta9, and could not fall downe with them to Graves End when I had also provided Guards to secure10 them: For this service Sir, I therefor yet attend your Commands, and am ready, when the Vessels are so; and more then so, to take them quite off your hands, and the Vessels too when I have touch’d the mony which must make them live; having since I saw you contracted with my Lord Culpeper (fourty miles from this place,) for Leeds-Castle, where I am repairing, and fitting things for their safty, that I may not seeme to be indiligent, because I am unhappy, and have no talent11 to rayse monnye, though I can tell where it may be had, when I know the Commodity: Sir, I have at this moment* [*which belong to all 4 Commissioners and not to my care alone.]12 Chelsey College, two Hospitals in London and Nine other townes, besides Villages, where I have Deputys, Physitians, Chyrurgeons, and Martials, who employ me with buisinesse sufficient to take up any one persons time, but to reply to their Letters, make them Warrants, send them Medicaments, Mates, Monye, if I had not the importunity of a thousand Clamors at my dores which neither lets me rest day nor night: Sir, in a Word, I have studied my Commission13, and the Instructions annex’d to them, and I hope shall be able to justifie every article, though I cannot compare my faces14 and abillities with others: Nor did I in the least obtrude the importunity which I am sensible15 the Prisoners have been to you; but upon his Grace’s certaine knowledge of our wants of monyes16 to feed them, and without any provocation of mine (more then what you heard of our poverty) he was pleased to Order what was so very necessary, and I have not I hope presum’d to any favour upon my own Score; for I no where find, by my Commission, that I was to provide monyes, but to dispense it when I had it, and to give a just accoumpt of its application which I am ready to do with joy: Nor have I yet been wanting in giving notice to the Greate-ones at Court, from post to post-day (long before this as having prospect sufficient of what is befallen us) in a style more zealous and peremptory, than perhaps becomes me; and as I continu’d to do this very morning in a letter I writ to my Lord High Chancellor17 which I sent by Sir Richard Browne; having alarm’d all the rest (not one excepted) with my continual representations of our miserys: And if (as I could tell you from a Person that best knowes in England) I should shew you from whence this neglect of us proceedes, it would not add a Cubite to your stature: Be assur’d Sir, from me, that I shall be most tender of adding to your trouble, (whose burthen I find is already so insupportable) and I hope I shall not be esteem’d remisse, when I also keepe within my owne Sphære. What has come collateraly on you (not through my fault) ought not be imputed to me; And I hope when you do know me well (as I am greatly ambitious of that honour) you will find I have taken too exact a measure of your reale merits, and personal Civilities to me, then to forfaite them by my impertinencies; as I beseech you to believe, that I have not in this paper exaggerated any thing of mine Owne Sufferings, to magnifie the poore Service I have hitherto don (as by little acts we are prone to do) but that you would looke on me as a plaine-Man, who desires to serve his Majestie (till he is pleas’d to release me) in the station I am assigned to the best of my abilities; and which I shall be sure to improve, if you still allow me a part of your Esteeme, who cannot eclipse the brightnesse of your Example from

Sir

Your most faithfull, and

most obedient Servant

JEvelyn

  1. MS: “Says-Court 3:Octo:-65”. P’s diary entry for the 5th gives a flavour of his approach to the problem, “…so away to Mr Evelings to discourse of our confounded business of prisoners and sick and wounded seamen, wherein he and we are so much put out of order.” (5 Oct 1665). Pepys was not so concerned about the subject that on his way to Evelyn’s he had overlooked the opportunity to “pass some time with Sarah”, moving on to visit Mrs Bagwell and “there did what I would con ella” (ibid). He and E then spent the rest of the evening discussing trees and gardens which contrasts markedly with the subject matter of the letters.
  2. Saturday, 30 September. See previous letter.
  3. MS torn but enough survives to make the reading fairly certain.
  4. MS: “Cheq”.
  5. MS torn.
  6. MS torn.
  7. MS torn.
  8. MS: “their”; “ir” struck out.
  9. “With the task unfinished”.
  10. Replaces “take” (struck out).
  11. Replaces “skill” (struck out).
  12. Note in the margin; the * is E’s.
  13. A copy of this, dated 8 June 1665 and endorsed by E, is amongst P’s papers, now Bod MS Rawl. A289, f.89.
  14. MS reading uncertain. Appears to read “faces”, perhaps using “face” as an analogy for the various offices E was having to perform.
  15. “Which I am sensible” is inserted.
  16. I.e. out of his own pocket.
  17. Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon. It is not extant, and E did not retain a copy.
  18. Replaces “I hope will”, struck out.

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