Up, and to the office betimes, and there all the morning very busy causing papers to be entered and sorted to put the office in order against the Parliament. At noon home to dinner, and then to the office again close all the afternoon upon the same occasion with great pleasure till late, and then with my wife and Mercer in the garden and sung, and then home and sung, and to supper with great content, and so to bed. The Duke of York is come back last night from Harwich, the news he brings I know not, nor hear anything to-day from Dover, whether the enemy have made any attempt there as was expected. This day our girle Mary, whom Payne helped us to, to be under his daughter, when she come to be our cook-mayde, did go away declaring that she must be where she might earn something one day, and spend it and play away the next. But a good civil wench, and one neither wife nor I did ever give angry word to, but she has this silly vanity that she must play.
A new diary entry appears here at the end of each day.
Up pretty betimes and to the office, where busy till office time, and then we sat, but nothing to do but receive clamours about money. This day my Lord Anglesey, our new Treasurer, come the first time to the Board, and there sat with us till noon; and I do perceive he is a very notable man, and understanding, and will do things regular, and understand them himself, not trust Fenn, as Sir G. Carteret did, and will solicit soundly for money, which I do fear was Sir G. Carteret’s fault, that he did not do that enough, considering the age we live in, that nothing will do but by solicitation, though never so good for the King or Kingdom, and a bad business well solicited shall, for peace sake, speed when a good one shall not. But I do confess that I do think it a very bold act of him to take upon himself the place of Treasurer of the Navy at this time, but when I consider that a regular accountant never ought to fear any thing nor have reason I then do cease to wonder. At noon home to dinner and to play on the flageolet with my wife, and then to the office, where very busy close at my office till late at night. At night walked and sang with my wife in the garden, and so home to supper and to bed. This evening news comes for certain that the Dutch are with their fleete before Dover, and that it is expected they will attempt something there. The business of the peace is quite dashed again, so as now it is doubtful whether the King will condescend to what the Dutch demand, it being so near the Parliament, it being a thing that will, it may be, recommend him to them when they shall find that the not having of a peace lies on his side by denying some of their demands.
This morning Captain Clerke (Robin Clerke) was at the table, now commands the Monmouth, and did when the enemy passed the chaine at Chatham the other day, who said publickly at the table that he did admire at the order when it was brought him for sinking of the Monmouth (to the endangering of the ship, and spoiling of all her provisions) when her number of men were upon her that he could have carried her up the River whither he pleased, and have been a guard to the rest, and could have sunk her at any time. He did carry some 100 barrels of powder out of the ship to save it after the orders come for the sinking her. He knew no reason at all, he declares, that could lead them to order the sinking her, nor the rest of the great ships that were sunk, but above all admires they would burn them on shore and sink them there, when it had been better to have sunk them long way in the middle of the River, for then they would not have burned them so low as now they did.
Up, and to my chamber, and by and by comes Greeting, and to my flageolett with him with a pretty deal of pleasure, and then to the office, where [Sir] W. Batten, [Sir] W. Pen and I met about putting men to work for the weighing of the ships in the River sunk. Then home again, and there heard Mr. Caesar play some very good things on the lute together with myself on the violl and Greeting on the viallin. Then with my wife abroad by coach, she to her tailor‘s, I to Westminster to Burges about my Tangier business, and thence to White Hall, where I spoke with Sir John Nicholas, who tells me that Mr. Coventry is come from Bredah, as was expected; but, contrary to expectation, brings with him two or three articles which do not please the King: as, to retrench the Act of Navigation, and then to ascertain what are contraband goods; and then that those exiled persons, who are or shall take refuge in their country, may be secure from any further prosecution. Whether these will be enough to break the peace upon, or no, he cannot tell; but I perceive the certainty of peace is blown over. So called on my wife and met Creed by the way, and they two and I to Charing Cross, there to see the great boy and girle that are lately come out of Ireland, the latter eight, the former but four years old, of most prodigious bigness for their age. I tried to weigh them in my arms, and find them twice as heavy as people almost twice their age; and yet I am apt to believe they are very young. Their father a little sorry fellow, and their mother an old Irish woman. They have had four children of this bigness, and four of ordinary growth, whereof two of each are dead. If, as my Lord Ormond certifies, it be true that they are no older, it is very monstrous. So home and to dinner with my wife and to pipe, and then I to the office, where busy all the afternoon till the evening, and then with my wife by coach abroad to Bow and Stratford, it being so dusty weather that there was little pleasure in it, and so home and to walk in the garden, and thither comes Pelling to us to talk, and so in and to supper, and then to bed. All the world being as I hear very much damped that their hopes of peace is become uncertain again.
(Lord’s day). Up, and to my chamber, there to settle some papers, and thither comes Mr. Moore to me and talked till church time of the news of the times about the peace and the bad consequences of it if it be not improved to good purpose of fitting ourselves for another war. He tells me he heard that the discontented Parliament-men are fearful that the next sitting the King will put for a general excise, by which to raise him money, and then to fling off the Parliament, and raise a land-army and keep them all down like slaves; and it is gotten among them, that Bab. May, the Privy-purse, hath been heard to say that 300l. a-year is enough for any country gentleman; which makes them mad, and they do talk of 6 or 800,000l. gone into the Privy-purse this war, when in King James’s time it arose but to 5,000l., and in King Charles’s but 10,000l. in a year. He tells me that a goldsmith in town told him that, being with some plate with my Lady Castlemayne lately, she directed her woman (the great beauty), “Wilson,” says she, “make a note for this, and for that, to the Privy-purse for money.” He tells me a little more of the baseness of the courses taken at Court in the case of Mr. Moyer, who is at liberty, and is to give 500l. for his liberty; but now the great ones are divided, who shall have the money, the Duke of Albemarle on one hand, and another Lord on the other; and that it is fain to be decided by having the person’s name put into the King’s warrant for his liberty, at whose intercession the King shall own that he is set at liberty; which is a most lamentable thing, that we do professedly own that we do these things, not for right and justice sake, but only to gratify this or that person about the King. God forgive us all!
Busy till noon, and then home to dinner, and Mr. Moore come and dined with us, and much more discourse at and after dinner of the same kind, and then, he gone, I to my office busy till the evening, and then with my wife and Jane over to Half-way house, a very good walk; and there drank, and in the cool of the evening back again, and sang with pleasure upon the water, and were mightily pleased in hearing a boatfull of Spaniards sing, and so home to supper and to bed. Jane of late mighty fine, by reason of a laced whiske her mistress hath given her, which makes her a very gracefull servant. But, above all, my wife and I were the most surprised in the beauty of a plain girle, which we met in the little lane going from Redriffe-stairs into the fields, one of the prettiest faces that we think we ever saw in our lives.
Up, and to the office, where some of us sat busy all the morning. At noon home to dinner, whither Creed come to dine with us and brings the first word I hear of the news of a peace, the King having letters come to him this noon signifying that it is concluded on, and that Mr. Coventry is upon his way coming over for the King’s satisfaction. The news was so good and sudden that I went with great joy to [Sir] W. Batten and then to [Sir] W. Pen to tell it them, and so home to dinner, mighty merry, and light at my heart only on this ground, that a continuing of the war must undo us, and so though peace may do the like if we do not make good use of it to reform ourselves and get up money, yet there is an opportunity for us to save ourselves. At least, for my own particular, we shall continue well till I can get my money into my hands, and then I will shift for myself. After dinner away, leaving Creed there, by coach to Westminster, where to the Swan and drank, and then to the Hall, and there talked a little with great joy of the peace, and then to Mrs. Martin’s, where I met with the good news que elle ne est con child, the fear of which she did give me the other day, had troubled me much. My joy in this made me send for wine, and thither come her sister and Mrs. Cragg, and I staid a good while there. But here happened the best instance of a woman’s falseness in the world, that her sister Doll, who went for a bottle of wine, did come home all blubbering and swearing against one Captain Vandener, a Dutchman of the Rhenish Wine House, that pulled her into a stable by the Dog tavern, and there did tumble her and toss her, calling him all the rogues and toads in the world, when she knows that elle hath suffered me to do any thing with her a hundred times. Thence with joyful heart to White Hall to ask Mr. Williamson the news, who told me that Mr. Coventry is coming over with a project of a peace; which, if the States agree to, and our King, when their Ministers on both sides have shewed it them, we shall agree, and that is all: but the King, I hear, do give it out plain that the peace is concluded. Thence by coach home, and there wrote a few letters, and then to consult with my wife about going to Epsum to-morrow, sometimes designing to go and then again not; and at last it grew late and I bethought myself of business to employ me at home tomorrow, and so I did not go. This afternoon I met with Mr. Rolt, who tells me that he is going Cornett under Collonel Ingoldsby, being his old acquaintance, and Ingoldsby hath a troop now from under the King, and I think it is a handsome way for him, but it was an ominous thing, methought, just as he was bidding me his last adieu, his nose fell a-bleeding, which ran in my mind a pretty while after. This afternoon Sir Alexander Frazier, who was of council for Sir J. Minnes, and had given him over for a dead man, said to me at White Hall: — “What,” says he, “Sir J. Minnes is dead.” I told him, “No! but that there is hopes of his life.” Methought he looked very sillily after it, and went his way. Late home to supper, a little troubled at my not going to Epsum to-morrow, as I had resolved, especially having the Duke of York and [Sir] W. Coventry out of town, but it was my own fault and at last my judgment to stay, and so to supper and to bed. This day, with great satisfaction, I hear that my Lady Jemimah is brought to bed, at Hinchingbroke, of a boy.
Up, and to the office, where Sir W. Batten, [Sir] W. Pen, [Sir] T. Harvy and I met upon Mr. Gawden’s accounts, and was at it all the morning. This morning Sir G. Carteret did come to us, and walked in the garden. It was to talk with me about some thing of my Lord Sandwich’s, but here he told us that the great seale is passed to my Lord Annesly [Anglesey] for Treasurer of the Navy: so that now he do no more belong to us: and I confess, for his sake, I am glad of it, and do believe the other will have little content in it. At noon I home to dinner with my wife, and after dinner to sing, and then to the office a little and Sir W. Batten’s, where I am vexed to hear that Nan Wright, now Mrs. Markham, Sir W. Pen’s mayde and whore, is come to sit in our pew at church, and did so while my Lady Batten was there. I confess I am very much vexed at it and ashamed. By and by out with [Sir] W. Pen to White Hall, where I staid not, but to the New Exchange to buy gloves and other little errands, and so home and to my office busy till night, and then walked in the garden with my wife, and then to supper and to sing, and so to bed. No news, but that the Dutch are gone clear from Harwich northward, and have given out they are going to Yarmouth.
Up, and, in vain expecting Sir R. Ford’s calling on me, I took coach and to the Sessions-house, where I have a mind to hear Bazill Fielding’s case —[See May 9th, 1667]— tried; and so got up to the Bench, my Lord Chief-Justice Keeling being Judge. Here I stood bare, not challenging, though I might well enough, to be covered. But here were several fine trials; among others, several brought in for making it their trade to set houses on fire merely to get plunder; and all proved by the two little boys spoken of yesterday by Sir R. Ford, who did give so good account of particulars that I never heard children in my life. And I confess, though I was unsatisfied with the force given to such little boys, to take away men’s lives, yet, when I was told that my Lord Chief-Justice did declare that there was no law against taking the oath of children above twelve years old, and then heard from Sir R. Ford the good account which the boys had given of their understanding the nature and consequence of an oath, and now my own observation of the sobriety and readiness of their answers, further than of any man of any rank that come to give witness this day, though some men of years and learning, I was a little amazed, and fully satisfied that they ought to have as much credit as the rest. They proved against several, their consulting several times at a bawdy-house in Moore-Fields, called the Russia House, among many other rogueries, of setting houses on fire, that they might gather the goods that were flung into the streets; and it is worth considering how unsafe it is to have children play up and down this lewd town. For these two boys, one is my Lady Montagu’s (I know not what Lady Montagu) son, and the other of good condition, were playing in Moore-Fields, and one rogue, Gabriel Holmes, did come to them and teach them to drink, and then to bring him plate and clothes from their fathers’ houses, and carry him into their houses, and leaving open the doors for him, and at last were made of their conspiracy, and were at the very burning of this house in Aldersgate Street, on Easter Sunday at night last, and did gather up goods, as they had resolved before and this Gabriel Holmes did advise to have had two houses set on fire, one after another, that, while they were quenching of one, they might be burning another. And it is pretty that G. Holmes did tell his fellows, and these boys swore it, that he did set fire to a box of linen in the Sheriffe, Sir Joseph Shelden’s house, while he was attending the fire in Aldersgate Street, and the Sheriffe himself said that there was a fire in his house, in a box of linen, at the same time, but cannot conceive how this fellow should do it. The boys did swear against one of them, that he had made it his part to pull the plug out of the engine while it was a-playing; and it really was so. And goods they did carry away, and the manner of the setting the house on fire was, that Holmes did get to a cockpit; where, it seems, there was a publick cockpit, and set fire to the straw in it, and hath a fire-ball at the end of the straw, which did take fire, and so it prevailed, and burned the house; and, among other things they carried away, he took six of the cocks that were at the cockpit; and afterwards the boys told us how they had one dressed, by the same token it was so hard they could not eat it. But that which was most remarkable was the impudence of this Holmes, who hath been arraigned often, and still got away; and on this business was taken and broke loose just at Newgate Gate; and was last night luckily taken about Bow, who got loose, and run into the river, and hid himself in the rushes; and they pursued him with a dog, and the dog got him and held him till he was taken. But the impudence of this fellow was such, that he denied he ever saw the boys before, or ever knew the Russia House, or that the people knew him; and by and by the mistress of the Russia House was called in, being indicted, at the same time, about another thing; and she denied that the fellow was of her acquaintance, when it was pretty to see how the little boys did presently fall upon her, and ask her how she durst say so, when she was always with them when they met at her house, and particularly when she come in in her smock before a dozen of them, at which the Court laughed, and put the woman away. Well, this fellow Holmes was found guilty of the act of burning the house, and other things, that he stood indicted for. And then there were other good cases, as of a woman that come to serve a gentlewoman, and in three days run away, betimes in the morning, with a great deal of plate and rings, and other good things. It was time very well spent to be here. Here I saw how favourable the judge was to a young gentleman that struck one of the officers, for not making him room: told him he had endangered the loss of his hand, but that he hoped he had not struck him, and would suppose that he had not struck him. About that the Court rose, and I to dinner with my Lord Mayor and Sheriffs; where a good dinner and good discourse; the judge being there. There was also tried this morning Fielding, which I thought had been Bazilll — but it proved the other, and Bazill was killed; that killed his brother, who was found guilty of murder, and nobody pitied him. The judge seems to be a worthy man, and able: and do intend, for these rogues that burned this house to be hung in some conspicuous place in the town, for an example. After dinner to the Court again, where I heard some more causes, but with so much trouble because of the hot weather that I had no pleasure in it. Anon the Court rose, and I walked to Fleet streete for my belt at the beltmaker’s, and so home and to the office, wrote some letters, and then home to supper and to bed.