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

Tuesday 21 August 1666

Up, and to the office, where much business and Sir W. Coventry there, who of late hath wholly left us, most of our business being about money, to which we can give no answer, which makes him weary of coming to us. He made an experiment to-day, by taking up a heape of petitions that lay upon the table. They proved seventeen in number, and found them thus: one for money for reparation for clothes, four desired to have tickets made out to them, and the other twelve were for money. Dined at home, and sister Balty with us. My wife snappish because I denied her money to lay out this afternoon; however, good friends again, and by coach set them down at the New Exchange, and I to the Exchequer, and there find my business of my tallys in good forwardness. I passed down into the Hall, and there hear that Mr. Bowles, the grocer, after 4 or 5 days’ sickness, is dead, and this day buried. So away, and taking up my wife, went homewards. I ‘light and with Harman to my mercer’s in Lumbard Streete, and there agreed for, our purple serge for my closett, and so I away home. So home and late at the office, and then home, and there found Mr. Batelier and his sister Mary, and we sat chatting a great while, talking of witches and spirits, and he told me of his own knowledge, being with some others at Bourdeaux, making a bargain with another man at a taverne for some clarets, they did hire a fellow to thunder (which he had the art of doing upon a deale board) and to rain and hail, that is, make the noise of, so as did give them a pretence of undervaluing their merchants’ wines, by saying this thunder would spoil and turne them. Which was so reasonable to the merchant, that he did abate two pistolls per ton for the wine in belief of that, whereas, going out, there was no such thing. This Batelier did see and was the cause of to his profit, as is above said.

By and by broke up and to bed.

Monday 20 August 1666

Waked this morning, about six o’clock, with a violent knocking at Sir J. Minnes’s doore, to call up Mrs. Hammon, crying out that Sir J. Minnes is a-dying. He come home ill of an ague on Friday night. I saw him on Saturday, after his fit of the ague, and then was pretty lusty. Which troubles me mightily, for he is a very good, harmless, honest gentleman, though not fit for the business. But I much fear a worse may come, that may be more uneasy to me.

Up, and to Deptford by water, reading “Othello, Moore of Venice,” which I ever heretofore esteemed a mighty good play, but having so lately read “The Adventures of Five Houres,” it seems a mean thing.

Walked back, and so home, and then down to the Old Swan and drank at Betty Michell’s, and so to Westminster to the Exchequer about my quarter tallies, and so to Lumbard Streete to choose stuff to hang my new intended closet, and have chosen purple. So home to dinner, and all the afternoon till almost midnight upon my Tangier accounts, getting Tom Wilson to help me in writing as I read, and at night W. Hewer, and find myself most happy in the keeping of all my accounts, for that after all the changings and turnings necessary in such an account, I find myself right to a farthing in an account of 127,000l.. This afternoon I visited Sir J. Minnes, who, poor man, is much impatient by these few days’ sickness, and I fear indeed it will kill him.

Sunday 19 August 1666

(Lord’s day). Up and to my chamber, and there began to draw out fair and methodically my accounts of Tangier, in order to shew them to the Lords. But by and by comes by agreement Mr. Reeves, and after him Mr. Spong, and all day with them, both before and after dinner, till ten o’clock at night, upon opticke enquiries, he bringing me a frame he closes on, to see how the rays of light do cut one another, and in a darke room with smoake, which is very pretty. He did also bring a lanthorne with pictures in glasse, to make strange things appear on a wall, very pretty. We did also at night see Jupiter and his girdle and satellites, very fine, with my twelve-foote glasse, but could not Saturne, he being very dark. Spong and I had also several fine discourses upon the globes this afternoon, particularly why the fixed stars do not rise and set at the same houre all the yeare long, which he could not demonstrate, nor I neither, the reason of. So, it being late, after supper they away home.

But it vexed me to understand no more from Reeves and his glasses touching the nature and reason of the several refractions of the several figured glasses, he understanding the acting part, but not one bit the theory, nor can make any body understand it, which is a strange dullness, methinks.

I did not hear anything yesterday or at all to confirm either Sir Thos. Allen’s news of the 10 or 12 ships taken, nor of the disorder at Amsterdam upon the news of the burning of the ships, that he [De Witt] should be fled to the Prince of Orange, it being generally believed that he was gone to France before.

Saturday 18 August 1666

All the morning at my office; then to the Exchange (with my Lord Bruncker in his coach) at noon, but it was only to avoid Mr. Chr. Pett’s being invited by me to dinner. So home, calling at my little mercer’s in Lumbard Streete, who hath the pretty wench, like the old Queene, and there cheapened some stuffs to hang my roome, that I intend to turn into a closett. So home to dinner, and after dinner comes Creed to discourse with me about several things of Tangier concernments and accounts, among others starts the doubt, which I was formerly aware of, but did wink at it, whether or no Lanyon and his partners be not paid for more than they should be, which he presses, so that it did a little discompose me; but, however, I do think no harm will arise thereby. He gone, I to the office, and there very late, very busy, and so home to supper and to bed.

Friday 17 August 1666

Up and betimes with Captain Erwin down by water to Woolwich, I walking alone from Greenwich thither, making an end of the “Adventures of Five Hours,” which when all is done is the best play that ever I read in my life. Being come thither I did some business there and at the Rope Yarde, and had a piece of bride-cake sent me by Mrs. Barbary into the boate after me, she being here at her uncle’s, with her husband, Mr. Wood’s son, the mast-maker, and mighty nobly married, they say, she was, very fine, and he very rich, a strange fortune for so odd a looked mayde, though her hands and body be good, and nature very good, I think.

Back with Captain Erwin, discoursing about the East Indys, where he hath often been. And among other things he tells me how the King of Syam seldom goes out without thirty or forty thousand people with him, and not a word spoke, nor a hum or cough in the whole company to be heard. He tells me the punishment frequently there for malefactors is cutting off the crowne of their head, which they do very dexterously, leaving their brains bare, which kills them presently. He told me what I remember he hath once done heretofore: that every body is to lie flat down at the coming by of the King, and nobody to look upon him upon pain of death. And that he and his fellows, being strangers, were invited to see the sport of taking of a wild elephant, and they did only kneel, and look toward the King. Their druggerman did desire them to fall down, for otherwise he should suffer for their contempt of the King. The sport being ended, a messenger comes from the King, which the druggerman thought had been to have taken away his life; but it was to enquire how the strangers liked the sport. The druggerman answered that they did cry it up to be the best that ever they saw, and that they never heard of any Prince so great in every thing as this King. The messenger being gone back, Erwin and his company asked their druggerman what he had said, which he told them. “But why,” say they, “would you say that without our leave, it being not true?” — “It is no matter for that,” says he, “I must have said it, or have been hanged, for our King do not live by meat, nor drink, but by having great lyes told him.”

In our way back we come by a little vessel that come into the river this morning, and says he left the fleete in Sole Bay, and that he hath not heard (he belonging to Sir W. Jenings, in the fleete) of any such prizes taken as the ten or twelve I inquired about, and said by Sir W. Batten yesterday to be taken, so I fear it is not true.

So to Westminster, and there, to my great content, did receive my 2000l. of Mr. Spicer’s telling, which I was to receive of Colvill, and brought it home with me [to] my house by water, and there I find one of my new presses for my books brought home, which pleases me mightily. As, also, do my wife’s progresse upon her head that she is making.

So to dinner, and thence abroad with my wife, leaving her at Unthanke’s ; I to White Hall, waiting at the Council door till it rose, and there spoke with Sir W. Coventry, who and I do much fear our Victuallers, they having missed the fleete in their going. But Sir W. Coventry says it is not our fault, but theirs, if they have not left ships to secure them. This he spoke in a chagrin sort of way, methought. After a little more discourse of several businesses, I away homeward, having in the gallery the good fortune to see Mrs. Stewart, who is grown a little too tall, but is a woman of most excellent features.

The narrative of the late expedition in burning the ships is in print, and makes it a great thing, and I hope it is so.

So took up my wife and home, there I to the office, and thence with Sympson the joyner home to put together the press he hath brought me for my books this day, which pleases me exceedingly. Then to Sir W. Batten’s, where Sir Richard Ford did very understandingly, methought, give us an account of the originall of the Hollands Bank, and the nature of it, and how they do never give any interest at all to any person that brings in their money, though what is brought in upon the public faith interest is given by the State for.

The unsafe condition of a Bank under a Monarch, and the little safety to a Monarch to have any; or Corporation alone (as London in answer to Amsterdam) to have so great a wealth or credit, it is, that makes it hard to have a Bank here. And as to the former, he did tell us how it sticks in the memory of most merchants how the late King (when by the war between Holland and France and Spayne all the bullion of Spayne was brought hither, one-third of it to be coyned; and indeed it was found advantageous to the merchant to coyne most of it), was persuaded in a strait by my Lord Cottington to seize upon the money in the Tower, which, though in a few days the merchants concerned did prevail to get it released, yet the thing will never be forgot.

So home to supper and to bed, understanding this evening, since I come home, that our Victuallers are all come in to the fleete, which is good newes.

Sir John Minnes come home tonight not well, from Chatham, where he hath been at a pay, holding it at Upnor Castle, because of the plague so much in the towne of Chatham. He hath, they say, got an ague, being so much on the water.

Thurday 16 August 1666

Up, having slept well, and after entering my journal, to the office, where all the morning, but of late Sir W. Coventry hath not come to us, he being discouraged from the little we have to do but to answer the clamours of people for money. At noon home, and there dined with me my Lady Pen only and W. Hewer at a haunch of venison boiled, where pretty merry, only my wife vexed me a little about demanding money to go with my Lady Pen to the Exchange to lay out. I to the office, where all the afternoon and very busy and doing much business; but here I had a most eminent experience of the evil of being behindhand in business. I was the most backward to begin any thing, and would fain have framed to myself an occasion of going abroad, and should, I doubt, have done it, but some business coming in, one after another, kept me there, and I fell to the ridding away of a great deale of business, and when my hand was in it was so pleasing a sight to [see] my papers disposed of, and letters answered, which troubled my book and table, that I could have continued there with delight all night long, and did till called away by my Lady Pen and Pegg and my wife to their house to eat with them; and there I went, and exceeding merry, there being Nan Wright, now Mrs. Markham, and sits at table with my Lady. So mighty merry, home and to bed.

This day Sir W. Batten did show us at the table a letter from Sir T. Allen, which says that we have taken ten or twelve ships (since the late great expedition of burning their ships and towne), laden with hempe, flax, tarr, deales, &c. This was good newes; but by and by comes in Sir G. Carteret, and he asked us with full mouth what we would give for good newes. Says Sir W. Batten, “I have better than you, for a wager.” They laid sixpence, and we that were by were to give sixpence to him that told the best newes. So Sir W. Batten told his of the ten or twelve ships Sir G. Carteret did then tell us that upon the newes of the burning of the ships and towne the common people a Amsterdam did besiege De Witt’s house, and he was force to flee to the Prince of Orange, who is gone to Cleve to the marriage of his sister. This we concluded all the best newest and my Lord Bruncker and myself did give Sir G. Carteret our sixpence a-piece, which he did give Mr. Smith to give the poor. Thus we made ourselves mighty merry.

Wednesday 15 August 1666

Mighty sleepy; slept till past eight of the clock, and was called up by a letter from Sir W. Coventry, which, among other things, tells me how we have burned one hundred and sixty ships of the enemy within the Fly.1 I up, and with all possible haste, and in pain for fear of coming late, it being our day of attending the Duke of Yorke, to St. James’s, where they are full of the particulars; how they are generally good merchant ships, some of them laden and supposed rich ships. We spent five fire-ships upon them. We landed on the Schelling (Sir Philip Howard with some men, and Holmes, I think; with others, about 1000 in all), and burned a town; and so come away. By and by the Duke of Yorke with his books showed us the very place and manner, and that it was not our design or expectation to have done this, but only to have landed on the Fly, and burned some of their store; but being come in, we spied those ships, and with our long boats, one by one, fired them, our ships running all aground, it being so shoal water. We were led to this by, it seems, a renegado captain of the Hollanders, who found himself ill used by De Ruyter for his good service, and so come over to us, and hath done us good service; so that now we trust him, and he himself did go on this expedition. The service is very great, and our joys as great for it. All this will make the Duke of Albemarle in repute again, I doubt, though there is nothing of his in this. But, Lord! to see what successe do, whether with or without reason, and making a man seem wise, notwithstanding never so late demonstration of the profoundest folly in the world.

Thence walked over the Parke with Sir W. Coventry, in our way talking of the unhappy state of our office; and I took an opportunity to let him know, that though the backwardnesses of all our matters of the office may be well imputed to the known want of money, yet, perhaps, there might be personal and particular failings; and that I did, therefore, depend still upon his promise of telling me whenever he finds any ground to believe any defect or neglect on my part, which he promised me still to do; and that there was none he saw, nor, indeed, says he, is there room now-a-days to find fault with any particular man, while we are in this condition for money. This, methought, did not so well please me; but, however, I am glad I have said this, thereby giving myself good grounds to believe that at this time he did not want an occasion to have said what he pleased to me, if he had had anything in his mind, which by his late distance and silence I have feared. But then again I am to consider he is grown a very great man, much greater than he was, and so must keep more distance; and, next, that the condition of our office will not afford me occasion of shewing myself so active and deserving as heretofore; and, lastly, the muchness of his business cannot suffer him to mind it, or give him leisure to reflect on anything, or shew the freedom and kindnesse that he used to do. But I think I have done something considerable to my satisfaction in doing this; and that if I do but my duty remarkably from this time forward, and not neglect it, as I have of late done, and minded my pleasures, I may be as well as ever I was.

Thence to the Exchequer, but did nothing, they being all gone from their offices; and so to the Old Exchange, where the towne full of the good newes, but I did not stay to tell or hear any, but home, my head akeing and drowsy, and to dinner, and then lay down upon the couch, thinking to get a little rest, but could not. So down the river, reading “The Adventures of Five Houres,” which the more I read the more I admire. So down below Greenwich, but the wind and tide being against us, I back again to Deptford, and did a little business there, and thence walked to Redriffe; and so home, and to the office a while. In the evening comes W. Batelier and his sister, and my wife, and fair Mrs. Turner into the garden, and there we walked, and then with my Lady Pen and Pegg in a-doors, and eat and were merry, and so pretty late broke up, and to bed. The guns of the Tower going off, and there being bonefires also in the street for this late good successe.

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