Saturday 17 February 1665/66

[Navy Office]1

17 February 16662

Sir

To tell you a litle more perticularly then I could in the middle of much businesse this morning my proceeding towards the advancement of your soe laudable designe of publique Infirmarys I did the very next meeting after your Honouring me with a coppy of your Project offer it to my Fellow-Officers, whoe concurred instantly with me in the haveing it presented as the vote of this Board that your sayd proposition should be layd before his Royal Highness3 as a matter worthy his Royal Highness’s recomending to his Majesty and to be put in present execution.

This I did in the name and presence of our whole board to his Royal Highness at my Lord Treasurers4 on Wednesday last5, giveing him for memory sake the Following abstract of your proposall, vizt

Mr Evelyns Infirmary for 500 men

£
1st to be built and furnished for1400
2 to be mayntayned at the Monthly Charge of471
3 the like number of men stand the King monthley
(as it is now mannaged)
840
4 Which saves the King monthly in each 500 Men370
Which is Yearely4817

And reimburses the King his £1400 in 15 weekes.

Besides these additional Conveniencys:-

  1. … The present unavoydable neglect of Sick men, through the distance of thyre Quarters, will be6 remooved.
  2. … They will be kept from Intemperance and consequently from thyr frequent relapses
  3. … Accounts will be more regularly kept
  4. … The Building will dureing peace serve for a worke house or other Uses.
  5. … The Clamours of landladys etc to the reproch of the service will be taken away.
  6. … Lastly, the Seamen will more regularly be entred and discharged and (if recovered) with more certainty be secured for further service.

You will forgive me if I omitted any of the considerable advantages intended to his Majesty in this proposall. But these were enough to move his Royal Highness to promise the reminding7 of his Majesty about it which he did with great sence of the vallue of it, and comanded us to speake with you about the method of proceeding towards the doeing it, and how we might cast to have another erected about Harwich

If it thwart noe occasions of yours it might be usefull that you would let us see you heere on Tuesday morning about 10 where we shall be all together and perhaps may determine on some thing to offer to his Royal Highness the next day, when (in course) we attend him. my good will to further what you have with soe much paynes and Goodness intended will excuse the length of the Trouble I now give you whoe am8

Your most affectionat and most Humble Servant

SP

Source: NMM Letter-Book 8, 369. Used by permission of the National Maritime Museum. The letter probably crossed with E’s of the same date.

  1. No place, but in the diary P records he was busy there in the morning.
  2. MS: “17 Febry 65”, for 1665/6, at foot of letter which is in sequence following letters of December 1665.
  3. The Duke of York.
  4. Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton.
  5. Pepys’s diary, 14 February 1666.
  6. MS: “wilbe”; “will be” is substituted here and later in this letter.
  7. Amended from “recomending” or vice-versa.
  8. E’s diary for 20 February (Tuesday): “To the Commissioners of the Navy, who having seene the project of the Infirmary, encouragd the worke, and were very earnest it should be set about speedily: but I saw no mony, though a very moderate expense, would have saved thousands to his Majestie and ben much more commodious for the cure and quartering our sick and wounded, than the dispersing of them into private houses, where many more Chir[ur]giones, and tenders were necessary, and the people tempted to debaucherie etc:’.

    P’s diary for 20 February: “…to the office… Mr Evelyn’s proposition about public infirmarys was read and agreed on, he being there. And at noon I took him home to dinner, being desirous of keeping my acquaintance with him; and a most excellent-humourd man I still find him, and mighty knowing”.

    On 13 March E “went to Chattham to take order and view a place design’d to take an Infirmarie” (diary). He then sent P an estimate in the letter of 26 March.

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