A new diary entry appears here at the end of each day.

Tuesday 17 January 1664/65

Up and walked to Mr. Povy’s by appointment, where I found him and Creed busy about fitting things for the Committee, and thence we to my Lord Ashly’s, where to see how simply, beyond all patience, Povy did again, by his many words and no understanding, confound himself and his business, to his disgrace, and rendering every body doubtfull of his being either a foole or knave, is very wonderfull. We broke up all dissatisfied, and referred the business to a meeting of Mr. Sherwin and others to settle, but here it was mighty strange methought to find myself sit herein Committee with my hat on, while Mr. Sherwin stood bare as a clerke, with his hat off to his Lord Ashly and the rest, but I thank God I think myself never a whit the better man for all that.

Thence with Creed to the ‘Change and Coffee-house, and so home, where a brave dinner, by having a brace of pheasants and very merry about Povy’s folly.

So anon to the office, and there sitting very late, and then after a little time at Sir W. Batten’s, where I am mighty great and could if I thought it fit continue so, I to the office again, and there very late, and so home to the sorting of some of my books, and so to bed, the weather becoming pretty warm, and I think and hope the frost will break.

Monday 16 January 1664/65

Up and with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen to White Hall, where we did our business with the Duke. Thence I to Westminster Hall and walked up and down. Among others Ned Pickering met me and tells me how active my Lord is at sea, and that my Lord Hinchingbroke is now at Rome, and, by all report, a very noble and hopefull gentleman.

Thence to Mr. Povy’s, and there met Creed, and dined well after his old manner of plenty and curiosity. But I sat in pain to think whether he would begin with me again after dinner with his enquiry after my bill, but he did not, but fell into other discourse, at which I was glad, but was vexed this morning meeting of Creed at some bye questions that he demanded of me about some such thing, which made me fear he meant that very matter, but I perceive he did not.

Thence to visit my Lady Sandwich and so to a Tangier Committee, where a great company of the new Commissioners, Lords, that in behalfe of my Lord Bellasses are very loud and busy and call for Povy’s accounts, but it was a most sorrowful thing to see how he answered to questions so little to the purpose, but to his owne wrong. All the while I sensible how I am concerned in my bill of 100l. and somewhat more. So great a trouble is fear, though in a case that at the worst will bear enquiry.

My Lord Barkeley was very violent against Povy. But my Lord Ashly, I observe, is a most clear man in matters of accounts, and most ingeniously did discourse and explain all matters. We broke up, leaving the thing to a Committee of which I am one. Povy, Creed, and I staid discoursing, I much troubled in mind seemingly for the business, but indeed only on my own behalf, though I have no great reason for it, but so painfull a thing is fear.

So after considering how to order business, Povy and I walked together as far as the New Exchange and so parted, and I by coach home. To the office a while, then to supper and to bed.

This afternoon Secretary Bennet read to the Duke of Yorke his letters, which say that Allen1 has met with the Dutch Smyrna fleet at Cales, —[The old form of the name Cadiz.]— and sunk one and taken three. How true or what these ships are time will show, but it is good newes and the newes of our ships being lost is doubted at dales and Malaga. God send it false!

Sunday 15 January 1664/65

(Lord’s day). Up, and after a little at my office to prepare a fresh draught of my vowes for the next yeare, I to church, where a most insipid young coxcomb preached. Then home to dinner, and after dinner to read in “Rushworth’s Collections” about the charge against the late Duke of Buckingham, in order to the fitting me to speak and understand the discourse anon before the King about the suffering the Turkey merchants to send out their fleete at this dangerous time, when we can neither spare them ships to go, nor men, nor King’s ships to convoy them.

At four o’clock with Sir W. Pen in his coach to my Lord Chancellor’s, where by and by Mr. Coventry, Sir W. Pen, Sir J. Lawson, Sir G. Ascue, and myself were called in to the King, there being several of the Privy Council, and my Lord Chancellor lying at length upon a couch (of the goute I suppose); and there Sir W. Pen begun, and he had prepared heads in a paper, and spoke pretty well to purpose, but with so much leisure and gravity as was tiresome; besides, the things he said were but very poor to a man in his trade after a great consideration, but it was to purpose, indeed to dissuade the King from letting these Turkey ships to go out: saying (in short) the King having resolved to have 130 ships out by the spring, he must have above 20 of them merchantmen. Towards which, he in the whole River could find but 12 or 14, and of them the five ships taken up by these merchants were a part, and so could not be spared. That we should need 30,000 [sailors] to man these 130 ships, and of them in service we have not above 16,000; so we shall need 14,000 more. That these ships will with their convoys carry above 2,000 men, and those the best men that could be got; it being the men used to the Southward that are the best men for warr, though those bred in the North among the colliers are good for labour. That it will not be safe for the merchants, nor honourable for the King, to expose these rich ships with his convoy of six ships to go, it not being enough to secure them against the Dutch, who, without doubt, will have a great fleete in the Straights. This, Sir J. Lawson enlarged upon. Sir G. Ascue he chiefly spoke that the warr and trade could not be supported together, and, therefore, that trade must stand still to give way to them.

This Mr. Coventry seconded, and showed how the medium of the men the King hath one year with another employed in his Navy since his coming, hath not been above 3,000 men, or at most 4,000 men; and now having occasion of 30,000, the remaining 26,000 must be found out of the trade of the nation.

He showed how the cloaths, sending by these merchants to Turkey, are already bought and paid for to the workmen, and are as many as they would send these twelve months or more; so the poor do not suffer by their not going, but only the merchant, upon whose hands they lit dead; and so the inconvenience is the less. And yet for them he propounded, either the King should, if his Treasure would suffer it, buy them, and showed the losse would not be so great to him: or, dispense with the Act of Navigation, and let them be carried out by strangers; and ending that he doubted not but when the merchants saw there was no remedy, they would and could find ways of sending them abroad to their profit.

All ended with a conviction (unless future discourse with the merchants should alter it) that it was not fit for them to go out, though the ships be loaded.

The King in discourse did ask me two or three questions about my newes of Allen’s loss in the Streights, but I said nothing as to the business, nor am not much sorry for it, unless the King had spoke to me as he did to them, and then I could have said something to the purpose I think. So we withdrew, and the merchants were called in.

Staying without, my Lord Fitz Harding come thither, and fell to discourse of Prince Rupert, and made nothing to say that his disease was the pox and that he must be fluxed, telling the horrible degree of the disease upon him with its breaking out on his head. But above all I observed how he observed from the Prince, that courage is not what men take it to be, a contempt of death; for, says he, how chagrined the Prince was the other day when he thought he should die, having no more mind to it than another man. But, says he, some men are more apt to think they shall escape than another man in fight, while another is doubtfull he shall be hit. But when the first man is sure he shall die, as now the Prince is, he is as much troubled and apprehensive of it as any man else; for, says he, since we told [him] that we believe he would overcome his disease, he is as merry, and swears and laughs and curses, and do all the things of a [man] in health, as ever he did in his life; which, methought, was a most extraordinary saying before a great many persons there of quality. So by and by with Sir W. Pen home again, and after supper to the office to finish my vows, and so to bed.

Saturday 14 January 1664/65

Up and to White Hall, where long waited in the Duke’s chamber for a Committee intended for Tangier, but none met, and so I home and to the office, where we met a little, and then to the ‘Change, where our late ill newes confirmed in loss of two ships in the Straights, but are now the Phoenix and Nonsuch! Home to dinner, thence with my wife to the King’s house, there to see “Vulpone,” a most excellent play; the best I think I ever saw, and well acted. So with Sir W. Pen home in his coach, and then to the office. So home, to supper, and bed, resolving by the grace of God from this day to fall hard to my business again, after some weeke or fortnight’s neglect.

Friday 13 January 1664/65

Up betimes and walked to my Lord Bellasses’s lodgings in Lincolne’s Inne Fieldes, and there he received and discoursed with me in the most respectfull manner that could be, telling me what a character of my judgment, and care, and love to Tangier he had received of me, that he desired my advice and my constant correspondence, which he much valued, and in my courtship, in which, though I understand his designe very well, and that it is only a piece of courtship, yet it is a comfort to me that I am become so considerable as to have him need to say that to me, which, if I did not do something in the world, would never have been. Here well satisfied I to Sir Ph. Warwicke, and there did some business with him; thence to Jervas’s and there spent a little idle time with him, his wife, Jane, and a sweetheart of hers. So to the Hall awhile and thence to the Exchange, where yesterday’s newes confirmed, though in a little different manner; but a couple of ships in the Straights we have lost, and the Dutch have been in Margaret [Margate] Road. Thence home to dinner and so abroad and alone to the King’s house, to a play, “The Traytor,” where, unfortunately, I met with Sir W. Pen, so that I must be forced to confess it to my wife, which troubles me. Thence walked home, being ill-satisfied with the present actings of the House, and prefer the other House before this infinitely.

To my Lady Batten’s, where I find Pegg Pen, the first time that ever I saw her to wear spots. Here very merry, Sir W. Batten being looked for to-night, but is not yet come from Harwich. So home to supper and to bed.

Thursday 12 January 1664/65

Up, and to White Hall about getting a privy seal for felling of the King’s timber for the navy, and to the Lords’ House to speak with my Lord Privy Seale about it, and so to the ‘Change, where to my last night’s ill news I met more. Spoke with a Frenchman who was taken, but released, by a Dutch man-of-war of thirty-six guns (with seven more of the like or greater ships), off the North Foreland, by Margett. Which is a strange attempt, that they should come to our teeth; but the wind being easterly, the wind that should bring our force from Portsmouth, will carry them away home. God preserve us against them, and pardon our making them in our discourse so contemptible an enemy! So home and to dinner, where Mr. Hollyard with us dined.

So to the office, and there late till 11 at night and more, and then home to supper and to bed.

Wednesday 11 January 1664/65

Up, and very angry with my boy for lying long a bed and forgetting his lute. To my office all the morning. At noon to the ‘Change, and so home to dinner. After dinner to Gresham College to my Lord Brunker and Commissioner Pett, taking Mr. Castle with me there to discourse over his draught of a ship he is to build for us. Where I first found reason to apprehend Commissioner Pett to be a man of an ability extraordinary in any thing, for I found he did turn and wind Castle like a chicken in his business, and that most pertinently and mister-like, and great pleasure it was to me to hear them discourse, I, of late having studied something thereof, and my Lord Brunker is a very able person also himself in this sort of business, as owning himself to be a master in the business of all lines and Conicall Sections: Thence home, where very late at my office doing business to my content, though [God] knows with what ado it was that when I was out I could get myself to come home to my business, or when I was there though late would stay there from going abroad again. To supper and to bed.

This evening, by a letter from Plymouth, I hear that two of our ships, the Leopard and another, in the Straights, are lost by running aground; and that three more had like to have been so, but got off, whereof Captain Allen one: and that a Dutch fleete are gone thither; which if they should meet with our lame ships, God knows what would become of them. This I reckon most sad newes; God make us sensible of it! This night, when I come home, I was much troubled to hear my poor canary bird, that I have kept these three or four years, is dead.

Continue reading Tuesday 10 January 1664/65