Up about 5 o’clock and dressed ourselves, and to sayle again down to the Soveraigne at the buoy of the Nore, a noble ship, now rigged and fitted and manned; we did not stay long, but to enquire after her readinesse and thence to Sheernesse, where we walked up and down, laying out the ground to be taken in for a yard to lay provisions for cleaning and repairing of ships, and a most proper place it is for the purpose. Thence with great pleasure up the Meadeway, our yacht contending with Commissioner Pett’s, wherein he met us from Chatham, and he had the best of it. Here I come by, but had not tide enough to stop at Quinbrough, a with mighty pleasure spent the day in doing all and seeing these places, which I had never done before. So to the Hill house at Chatham and there dined, and after dinner spent some time discoursing of business. Among others arguing with the Commissioner about his proposing the laying out so much money upon Sheerenesse, unless it be to the slighting of Chatham yarde, for it is much a better place than Chatham, which however the King is not at present in purse to do, though it were to be wished he were. Thence in Commissioner Pett’s coach (leaving them there). I late in the darke to Gravesend, where great is the plague, and I troubled to stay there so long for the tide. At 10 at night, having supped, I took boat alone, and slept well all the way to the Tower docke about three o’clock in the morning. So knocked up my people, and to bed.
A new diary entry appears here at the end of each day.
Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon dined together upon some victuals I had prepared at Sir W. Batten’s upon the King’s charge, and after dinner, I having dispatched some business and set things in order at home, we down to the water and by boat to Greenwich to the Bezan yacht, where Sir W. Batten, Sir J. Minnes, my Lord Bruncker and myself, with some servants (among others Mr. Carcasse, my Lord’s clerk, a very civil gentleman), embarked in the yacht and down we went most pleasantly, and noble discourse I had with my Lord Bruncker, who is a most excellent person. Short of Gravesend it grew calme, and so we come to an anchor, and to supper mighty merry, and after it, being moonshine, we out of the cabbin to laugh and talk, and then, as we grew sleepy, went in and upon velvet cushions of the King’s that belong to the yacht fell to sleep, which we all did pretty well till 3 or 4 of the clock, having risen in the night to look for a new comet which is said to have lately shone, but we could see no such thing.
Up, and after doing some necessary business about my accounts at home, to the office, and there with Mr. Hater wrote letters, and I did deliver to him my last will, one part of it to deliver to my wife when I am dead.
Thence to the Exchange, where I have not been a great while. But, Lord! how sad a sight it is to see the streets empty of people, and very few upon the ‘Change. Jealous of every door that one sees shut up, lest it should be the plague; and about us two shops in three, if not more, generally shut up.
Mighty merry with Captain Cocke and Fenn at Sir G. Smith’s, and a brave dinner, but I think Cocke is the greatest epicure that is, eats and drinks with the greatest pleasure and liberty that ever man did.
Very contrary newes to-day upon the ‘Change, some that our fleete hath taken some of the Dutch East India ships, others that we did attaque it at Bergen and were repulsed, others that our fleete is in great danger after this attaque by meeting with the great body now gone out of Holland, almost 100 sayle of men of warr. Every body is at a great losse and nobody can tell.
Thence among the goldsmiths to get some money, and so home, settling some new money matters, and to my great joy have got home 500l. more of the money due to me, and got some more money to help Andrews first advanced.
This day I had the ill news from Dagenhams, that my poor lord of Hinchingbroke his indisposition is turned to the small-pox. Poor gentleman! that he should be come from France so soon to fall sick, and of that disease too, when he should be gone to see a fine lady, his mistresse. I am most heartily sorry for it.
So late setting papers to rights, and so home to bed.
Up by 4 o’clock and walked to Greenwich, where called at Captain Cocke’s and to his chamber, he being in bed, where something put my last night’s dream into my head, which I think is the best that ever was dreamt, which was that I had my Lady Castlemayne in my armes and was admitted to use all the dalliance I desired with her, and then dreamt that this could not be awake, but that it was only a dream; but that since it was a dream, and that I took so much real pleasure in it, what a happy thing it would be if when we are in our graves (as Shakespeere resembles it) we could dream, and dream but such dreams as this, that then we should not need to be so fearful of death, as we are this plague time.
Here I hear that news is brought Sir G. Carteret that my Lord Hinchingbrooke is not well, and so cannot meet us at Cranborne to-night. So I to Sir G. Carteret’s; and there was sorry with him for our disappointment. So we have put off our meeting there till Saturday next. Here I staid talking with Sir G. Carteret, he being mighty free with me in his business, and among other things hath ordered Rider and Cutler to put into my hands copper to the value of 5,000l. (which Sir G. Carteret’s share it seems come to in it), which is to raise part of the money he is to layout for a purchase for my Lady Jemimah.
Thence he and I to Sir J. Minnes’s by invitation, where Sir W. Batten and my Lady, and my Lord Bruncker, and all of us dined upon a venison pasty and other good meat, but nothing well dressed. But my pleasure lay in getting some bills signed by Sir G. Carteret, and promise of present payment from Mr. Fenn, which do rejoice my heart, it being one of the heaviest things I had upon me, that so much of the little I have should lie (viz. near 1000l.) in the King’s hands. Here very merry and (Sir G. Carteret being gone presently after dinner) to Captain Cocke’s, and there merry, and so broke up and I by water to the Duke of Albemarle, with whom I spoke a great deale in private, they being designed to send a fleete of ships privately to the Streights. No news yet from our fleete, which is much wondered at, but the Duke says for certain guns have been heard to the northward very much.
It was dark before I could get home, and so land at Church-yard stairs, where, to my great trouble, I met a dead corps of the plague, in the narrow ally just bringing down a little pair of stairs. But I thank God I was not much disturbed at it. However, I shall beware of being late abroad again.
Up, and my mind being at mighty ease from the dispatch of my business so much yesterday, I down to Deptford to Sir G. Carteret, where with him a great while, and a great deale of private talke concerning my Lord Sandwich’s and his matters, and chiefly of the latter, I giving him great deale of advice about the necessity of his having caution concerning Fenn, and the many ways there are of his being abused by any man in his place, and why he should not bring his son in to look after his business, and more, to be a Commissioner of the Navy, which he listened to and liked, and told me how much the King was his good Master, and was sure not to deny him that or any thing else greater than that, and I find him a very cunning man, whatever at other times he seems to be, and among other things he told me he was not for the fanfaroone to make a show with a great title, as he might have had long since, but the main thing to get an estate; and another thing, speaking of minding of business, “By God,” says he, “I will and have already almost brought it to that pass, that the King shall not be able to whip a cat, but I must be at the tayle of it.” Meaning so necessary he is, and the King and my Lord Treasurer and all do confess it; which, while I mind my business, is my own case in this office of the Navy, and I hope shall be more, if God give me life and health.
Thence by agreement to Sir J. Minnes’s lodgings, where I found my Lord Bruncker, and so by water to the ferry, and there took Sir W. Batten’s coach that was sent for us, and to Sir W. Batten’s, where very merry, good cheer, and up and down the garden with great content to me, and, after dinner, beat Captain Cocke at billiards, won about 8s. of him and my Lord Bruncker. So in the evening after, much pleasure back again and I by water to Woolwich, where supped with my wife, and then to bed betimes, because of rising to-morrow at four of the clock in order to the going out with Sir G. Carteret toward Cranborne to my Lord Hinchingbrooke in his way to Court. This night I did present my wife with the dyamond ring, awhile since given me by Mr. ——, Dicke Vines’s brother, for helping him to be a purser, valued at about 10l., the first thing of that nature I did ever give her. Great fears we have that the plague will be a great Bill this weeke.
(Lord’s day). Up betimes and to my chamber, it being a very wet day all day, and glad am I that we did not go by water to see “The Soveraigne” to-day, as I intended, clearing all matters in packing up my papers and books, and giving instructions in writing to my executors, thereby perfecting the whole business of my will, to my very great joy; so that I shall be in much better state of soul, I hope, if it should please the Lord to call me away this sickly time. At night to read, being weary with this day’s great work, and then after supper to bed, to rise betimes to-morrow, and to bed with a mind as free as to the business of the world as if I were not worth 100l. in the whole world, every thing being evened under my hand in my books and papers, and upon the whole I find myself worth, besides Brampton estate, the sum of 2164l., for which the Lord be praised!
The office now not sitting, but only hereafter on Thursdays at the office, I within all the morning about my papers and setting things still in order, and also much time in settling matters with Dr. Twisden. At noon am sent for by Sir G. Carteret, to meet him and my Lord Hinchingbroke at Deptford, but my Lord did not come thither, he having crossed the river at Gravesend to Dagenhams, whither I dare not follow him, they being afeard of me; but Sir G. Carteret says, he is a most sweet youth in every circumstance. Sir G. Carteret being in haste of going to the Duke of Albemarle and the Archbishop, he was pettish, and so I could not fasten any discourse, but take another time. So he gone, I down to Greenwich and sent away the Bezan, thinking to go with my wife to-night to come back again to-morrow night to the Soveraigne at the buoy off the Nore. Coming back to Deptford, old Bagwell walked a little way with me, and would have me in to his daughter’s, and there he being gone ‘dehors, ego had my volunte de su hiza’. Eat and drank and away home, and after a little at the office to my chamber to put more things still in order, and late to bed.
The people die so, that now it seems they are fain to carry the dead to be buried by day-light, the nights not sufficing to do it in. And my Lord Mayor commands people to be within at nine at night all, as they say, that the sick may have liberty to go abroad for ayre. There is one also dead out of one of our ships at Deptford, which troubles us mightily; the Providence fire-ship, which was just fitted to go to sea. But they tell me to-day no more sick on board. And this day W. Bodham tells me that one is dead at Woolwich, not far from the Rope-yard. I am told, too, that a wife of one of the groomes at Court is dead at Salsbury; so that the King and Queene are speedily to be all gone to Milton. God preserve us!