Wednesday 23 May 1660

The Doctor and I waked very merry, only my eye was very red and ill in the morning from yesterday’s hurt.

In the morning came infinity of people on board from the King to go along with him.

My Lord, Mr. Crew, and others, go on shore to meet the King as he comes off from shore, where Sir R. Stayner bringing His Majesty into the boat, I hear that His Majesty did with a great deal of affection kiss my Lord upon his first meeting.

The King, with the two Dukes and Queen of Bohemia, Princess Royal, and Prince of Orange, came on board, where I in their coming in kissed the King’s, Queen’s, and Princess’s hands, having done the other before. Infinite shooting off of the guns, and that in a disorder on purpose, which was better than if it had been otherwise.

All day nothing but Lords and persons of honour on board, that we were exceeding full.

Dined in a great deal of state, the Royall company by themselves in the coach, which was a blessed sight to see.

I dined with Dr. Clerke, Dr. Quarterman, and Mr. Darcy in my cabin.

This morning Mr. Lucy came on board, to whom and his company of the King’s Guard in another ship my Lord did give three dozen of bottles of wine. He made friends between Mr. Pierce and me.

After dinner the King and Duke altered the name of some of the ships, viz. the Nazeby into Charles; the Richard, James; the Speaker, Mary; the Dunbar (which was not in company with us), the Henry; Winsly, Happy Return; Wakefield, Richmond; Lambert; the Henrietta; Cheriton, the Speedwell; Bradford, the Success.

That done, the Queen, Princess Royal, and Prince of Orange, took leave of the King, and the Duke of York went on board the London, and the Duke of Gloucester, the Swiftsure. Which done, we weighed anchor, and with a fresh gale and most happy weather we set sail for England. All the afternoon the King walked here and there, up and down (quite contrary to what I thought him to have been), very active and stirring.

Upon the quarterdeck he fell into discourse of his escape from Worcester,1 where it made me ready to weep to hear the stories that he told of his difficulties that he had passed through, as his travelling four days and three nights on foot, every step up to his knees in dirt, with nothing but a green coat and a pair of country breeches on, and a pair of country shoes that made him so sore all over his feet, that he could scarce stir.

Yet he was forced to run away from a miller and other company, that took them for rogues.

His sitting at table at one place, where the master of the house, that had not seen him in eight years, did know him, but kept it private; when at the same table there was one that had been of his own regiment at Worcester, could not know him, but made him drink the King’s health, and said that the King was at least four fingers higher than he.

At another place he was by some servants of the house made to drink, that they might know him not to be a Roundhead, which they swore he was.

In another place at his inn, the master of the house,2 as the King was standing with his hands upon the back of a chair by the fire-side, kneeled down and kissed his hand, privately, saying, that he would not ask him who he was, but bid God bless him whither he was going. Then the difficulty of getting a boat to get into France, where he was fain to plot with the master thereof to keep his design from the four men and a boy (which was all his ship’s company), and so got to Fecamp in France.3

At Rouen he looked so poorly, that the people went into the rooms before he went away to see whether he had not stole something or other. In the evening I went up to my Lord to write letters for England, which we sent away with word of our coming, by Mr. Edw. Pickering. The King supped alone in the coach; after that I got a dish, and we four supped in my cabin, as at noon.

About bed-time my Lord Bartlett4 (who I had offered my service to before) sent for me to get him a bed, who with much ado I did get to bed to my Lord Middlesex in the great cabin below, but I was cruelly troubled before I could dispose of him, and quit myself of him.

So to my cabin again, where the company still was, and were talking more of the King’s difficulties; as how he was fain to eat a piece of bread and cheese out of a poor boy’s pocket; how, at a Catholique house, he was fain to lie in the priest’s hole a good while in the house for his privacy.

After that our company broke up, and the Doctor and I to bed. We have all the Lords Commissioners on board us, and many others. Under sail all night, and most glorious weather.

40 Annotations

First Reading

Colin Gravois  •  Link

Will be hard to top this day. Sam at his very best, made you feel you were there on board with him or would surely like to have been. He's really in he thick of things, taking the kings account, kissing hands, taking letters, dispatching letters, all the while a keen eye pealed, yet he's such a natural in his role and seemingly unaffected by all the hubbub; although by now I imagine he's itching for London and his old ways.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

Are there any confirming sources for the King's tale of the woes he experienced while escaping Britain at the end of the Civil War? Or are we expected to take them at face value because he's the King, as Sam evidently did. (He's the head of State! Why would he lie?)

john simmons  •  Link

Alan! How could you possibly question stories told at a mother's knee?! These are all tales you grow up with, by now it probably doesn't matter if true or no, but would be interesting to get the real skinny.
Footnote: For the Americans on this side of the pond, it would be interesting to know if the Sackville mentioned is part of the later Sackville-West crew, or if Howe is the progenator of the Gen. Howe who fought in our revolution.

helena murphy  •  Link

The best book dealing with the King's escape after the defeat at Worcester is "The Escape of Charles II After the Battle of Worcester" by Richard Ollard. Charles,who after his defeat was a hunted man with a price on his head could never have reached France in safety without the help of the Roman Catholic underground in England ,who were the professionals in this clandestine activity due to the harsh penal laws against them , which forced their priests into hiding.Many of them belonged to the landowning gentry but not all, for example the Penderal brothers were illiterate. They all held very strong royalist sympathies and Father Huddleston, a Benedictine,who aided him, was later to convert the King on his death bed to Roman Catholicism. The trauma and suffering of those six weeks may be compared in the present day to that of a fugitive on the run from a concentration or prisoner of war camp. The brave men and women who risked their lives for their King were amply rewarded by him after the Restoration for their examplary loyalty and courage. The experience and subsequent exile shaped Charles into a sad and sobre man in keeping with his supping alone in the coach on board The Royal Charles.

See also Charles II by Antonia Fraser for a further .account of the escape

david  •  Link

My big question: WHY do these people want a King? What's so special about royalty? Why didn't anyone want government by representation?

Steve Jones  •  Link

"For the King's own account of his escape dictated to Pepys…”
There is a (partial) account of the escape here

First post, but I’ve been on board since the beginning. This sight is very addictive - my day is not complete without it.

vincent  •  Link

"why king" beats anarchy: People need an authority.(it save 'aving to vote every four years (save money???) )They LOVE strong leaders and Love the pompt and circumstance that goes with it. It does brighten up a boring day. 'tis a weakness of 'uman nature; stops one from thinking as long as there is not too much pain attached . 'tis my thought from the scuppers:

helena murphy  •  Link

David, monarchy, whether absolute or constitutional has been around for a very long time. Was not Jesus, through Mary descended from the royal house of David? Perhaps it is its antiquity which gives it the mystique which it enjoys to this day. Is it not Lady Bracknell in Wilde's play who gives Ernest a bit of a hard time when she cannot quite get to grips with his family tree? The cult of the ancestor is an integral aspect of many cultures,
and in a monarchical system the good , the bad and the ugly are all accounted for , therefore one need never be taken by surprise. Future monarchs serve tough apprentiships for their future role. Elected representatives frequently disappoint, but today's monarchs stand above political bickering and sincerely carry the interests of their people in their hearts.

The Bishop  •  Link

In a representative government, men would work their way into the government and then try to manipulate it to their own financial benefit. This is what happened in ancient Athens, as the ancient historian Thucydides pointed out, and the failure of Athenian democracy was taken as proof that representative government could not work. Hobbes published a translation of Thucydides around this time.

While a bad King might pillage his people, bad Kings only turned up every few generations, and anyway their capacity for wasting money was still less than that of a multitude of elected men.

Also, the English monarchy had centuries of established tradition behind it, and was stable. All of the governments set up after the civil war had no tradition behind them, and so the goverment underwent a complete overhaul about once a year.

Laura K  •  Link

monarchy vs representative govts

Perhaps it would be more instructive if someone could tell us why people in SP's era wanted the monarchy restored, as opposed to our own opinions on monarchies. The annotator who goes by "The Bishop" gave us some of that. Can anyone enlighten further, with more specifics?

Also, Vincent offered his thoughts on why "king beats anarchy". Interesting, but those are not the only choices.

vincent  •  Link

"government" : to misquote a French saying The people get the government they ask(deserve) for: At this Time Education was starting, Free schools, grammer schools were coming on line. The Bible appeared to have answers but So many different viewpoints, to answer the misery on the lower 50% of populace: So many were kicked off the land and were Masterless, no trade, nobody to look after their interests: They tried Parliamentary rule. What did they get? armed bandits unpayed soldiers , no money in the till of government: Unfortunately Richard C was inept: So many different personalities no organisation skills: Success of any endeavour needs a great coordinator and organiser:
It requires for a leader to bring to the the table many different skills to have a successful grouping like a nation. The answer is still being sought in today's world: This mix of dictator and democratic seems to work.

john simmons  •  Link

Question to The Bishop: This is way off base, but your mention of Thucydides and Athenian democracy raises a question that some of us have been trying to resolve for over a year. He is asked the question: "When will justice come to Athens?" He answers: "Justice will not come to Athens until those who are not injured are as indignant as those who are." Do you know the source/context of this would make some people very content to have an might send the answer on the side so as not to gum up the works further. Thanks
Note to Phil: you can remove this as soon as The Bishop speaks...thanks.

Michael L  •  Link

Keep in mind also that Cromwell in many ways was king in all but name, even down to to the dynastic habit of naming his son as successor to the reins of government. So it's not as if people necessarily were moving up by keeping a "Protector" around as opposed to a king. Moreover, the alternative to monarchy was not quite so simple as "representative government," but was, effectively, Puritain government, which made itself unpopular in some quarters through its rather heavy-handed reform of many popular English customs.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

The key seems to be king *and* Parliament, not one vs. the other.

As Michael points out, Cromwell was in most ways a king -- he was a strong leader who was able to effectively govern and keep his enemies at bay. His son was not able to do the same, and the ship of state became rudderless. Yes, absolute power can corrupt (absolutely!), but as others have pointed out, having an "executive" leading the country also has its advantages.

It seems to me that what made the English monarchy unique was that its powers were limited by Parliament (this concept was, of course, later reflected in the U.S. constitution's balance of power between the executive, legislative and judicial).

I'm simplifying greatly here, and of course, the pendulum swung back and forth between 1215 and 1688 (and you could legitimately argue that the struggle for power went beyond there), but I think that's why at this point people wanted a king. Pure republicanism didn't seem to be working, so they wanted a strong hand at the helm again ... as long as there were limits (as James II learned, the hard way).

Ann Garbett  •  Link

On the desirability of kingship vs. democracy it's worthwhile to look at the lines which the poet Dryden gave to the king in "Absolom and Achitophel," written about twenty years after these events. To the king (and evidently to Dryden), putting political power in the hands of the general public meant giving it to a mass of people who were least able to govern, capable of operating only on whim and sentiment, without understanding of the great issues of state. Dryden gives the king these words in the face of a possible rebellion led by the (illegitimate) Duke of Monmouth, who some thought might be a suitable successor to King Charles II, and Dryden's picture of democracy isn't a pretty one. It's hard sometimes to turn off our 20th (or 21st) century vision, but Dryden can help.

vincent  •  Link

"kingship vs. democracy" subject still in vogue: It depends who gives you your butter for your dailey bread and who steals it(butter): The proverbial silver spoon helps: to read up on the levellers et al: google up" putney debates" or……
The other debate is nuture vs nature on who should lead and who should follow which Aplha person: My thinking as long as every person can rise to their level of incompitance then the pressure is off: if stiffled You get an explossion when the pressure is enough to rumpture the thin skin of civilisation:

Waldo  •  Link

I'm sure there are some tracts written in defense of the monarchy that are on line somewhere. Does anyone know of some to recommend?

Glyn  •  Link

David, these people are trying to navigate their way to a viable Constitution without any form of a "roadmap" to guide them.

They've tried the divine rule of Kings, under Charles I: the king is the representative of God, and while people can make petitions to him, basically it's up to him. That's the position still for Louis XIV of France (the most powerful nation in the world).

Then they swung the other way, and had various forms of democracy. Arguably, the Commonwealth was the first modern democracy in the world (allowing the poor to vote, etc). That might seem best to us, since we live in democracies; but in the primitive nature of the times it raised problems of its own.

Now the English are reaching for a compromise. They are about to swing back to a middle position: the King will be Head of State but Parliament will have its own powers to counterbalance him.

In Pepys' lifetime, the Parliament will bring in its own Bill of Rights, which will form part of the basis for the American Consitution.

All the background scenes of Cavaliers and Roundheads, ships in the channel and local customs is very interesting: but the crucial thing here are people trying to find out a way to govern themselves with justice and a lack of malice to the people who were on the other side of the battlefield.

They won't achieve that completely, but all-in-all they will do a pretty good job. I doubt if current politicians could have done any better.

Russ  •  Link

Glyn, I think you are mistaking the results with intents. My understanding is that Parliament did not have a plan to put a curb on the monarchy by 1660, that this came about as result of practical decisions made over the next few decades. Also, the Commonwealth never allowed poor people to vote.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Kingship vs Democracy from an interested friend
There is much debate on monarchy versus other forms of government on this page but isn't the truly interesting question why Pepys says that it made him ready to weep "to hear the stories that he told of his difficulties that he had passed through, as his travelling four days and three nights on foot, every step up to his knees in dirt, with nothing but a green coat and a pair of country breeches on, and a pair of country shoes that made him so sore all over his feet, that he could scarce stir", when this would appear to be merely a bad but ordinary sort of trip for most of the English people?

The real question is why a person who is hailed as being strong enough to command a country/people is considered too delicate to wade through the mud.

Nix  •  Link

It's not that he's too delicate --

The monarchist would say he's too noble.

Jackie  •  Link

The issue of Charles' escape is that he had to borrow clothes urgently. People can go a long way in badly-fitting clothes, but try walking even a mile in badly fitting shoes that you've borrowed off somebody - worn out shoes selected to make you look poor and I think that even the toughest of us will have serious problems.

Charles could not have disguised himself as a peasant wearing his own boots, which were undoubtedly well-fitting and in which he oculd probably have walked for hours.

The other issue which he came up against was that the nobility simply weren't taught (or expected to know) what life was like for ordinary folk - it was part of their mystique and training. Charles had to try to fit in and he had to do it with no experience at all.

jeannine  •  Link

Sandwich's Journal Entry Today

"Wednesday. In the morning the General went in his barge close to the shore-side at Schevelinge, where was prepared a Dutch vessel to carry His Majesty on board the Naseby, and about ten of the clock in the morning the King's most sacred Majesty came to the shore-side and boarded the said vessel, but before she was launched from the shore his Majesty went off her into the Rear Admiral's boat and came presently on board the General's barge, as did also the Dukes of York and Gloucester, the Princess Royal, the Queen of Bohemia and the Prince of Orange, and so were rowed from the Naseby, which ship they boarded about eleven of the clock in the morning.
There were upon the shore at Schevelinge many troops of horse and foot of the States, and about forty pieces of ordnance, all which saluted the King and a vast multitude of people were spectators, supposed to be one hundred thousand at least.
The ships saluted the King with all their guns twice over before he came on board and once over after he came on board, and once more at the going off of the Princess Royal, the Queen of Bohemia and the Prince of Orange, which was about three of the clock in the afternoon, immediately after which the fleet set sail bound for Dover.
This day his Majesty was pleased to change the name of the Naseby into the Charles and new-named divers other ships;the Richard was named the Royal James. His Royal Highness and the Duke of York embarked in the London when we set sail, as did the Duke of Gloucester into the Swiftsure.
Monsiour Obdam, the Hollands Admiral, came aboard the Naseby, but stayed not to go off with the Princes of Orange, and went away before dinner into another boat by himself."

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Was not Jesus, through Mary descended from the royal house of David?"

Not quite, helena murphy: "The genealogy of Jesus is described in two passages of the Gospels: Luke 3:23–38 and Matthew 1:1–17. Matthew's genealogy commences with Abraham and then from King David's son Solomon follows the legal line of the kings through Jeconiah, the king whose descendants were cursed, to Joseph, legal father of Jesus. Luke gives a different genealogy going back to Adam, through a minor son of David, Nathan and again to Joseph."

Bill  •  Link

It's only a little simplistic to say that in Pepys' time, as in antiquity, the best history was a good story with a moral. And what better story than a hero wandering in the (sometimes figurative) wilderness, overcoming adversity and betrayal, and returning tiumphant in the end. Think Moses or Heracles or Odysseus or Elizabeth I or Charles II! No wonder that today's entry is even more alive than usual.

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Bill, an English example would be Alfred the Great, letting the cakes burn. A hundred years after these events, many Americans equated Democracy with Anarchy, and either opposed independence or stayed out of the fight -- the latter being fully one third of the population. Surprisingly, during the American Revolution, the most loyal Americans were those most closely related to the Jacobin rebellion a generation earlier.
As to Civil Wars, it is a matter of great importance, how they end. This one, and the American Civil War ended with minimum violence. More commonly, Civil Wars end in a Bloody Assize. Too often Civil wars are waged for the purpose of exterminating the opposition, and, eventually, one side prevails and slaughters the losers. We can read the history of the Restoration, with relief, as an example of the way things ought to be done.

Bill  •  Link

If some equated "Democracy with Anarchy" don't forget that we have four states who decided to be called "commonwealth" instead. Wonder where they got that idea?

Gerald Berg  •  Link

A decade late but Waldo ask for some tracts in defense of Monarchy. Not exactly what was requested but I would suggest Isaiah Berlin's collection of essays AGAINST THE CURRENT which outlines various writers ideas on what he came to call the Counter-Enlightenment. At any rate, the list of writers discussed there pretty well covers the field.

Gillian Bagwell  •  Link

In the run-up to the release of my novel "The Darling Strumpet" in 2011 (based on the life of Nell Gwynn), I wrote a series of articles on the events in London of the months of 1660, beginning with May:…

My second book, "The September Queen" (U.K. title "The King's Mistress" is the first fictional account of the story of Jane Lane, who helped Charles escape after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. This is the story that Charles told Pepys aboard the newly-christened Royal Charles, as recorded in today’s entry.

History is indebted to Sam, who invested a great deal of time and care to ensure that the story of Charles’s escape after the Battle of Worcester was preserved for posterity. In September 1680, Sam spent two three-hour sessions with Charles at Newmarket, using his famous shorthand to take down Charles’s account of his odyssey, which Sam later edited with his characteristic skill and flair. He also collected all the other contemporary accounts of others who helped Charles during his six weeks on the run, giving us an enthralling -- and sometimes almost minute-by-minute --account of what Charles did, said, wore, and ate as he desperately tried to get safely out of England, where Cromwell's army was hunting for him. It’s a very complete picture of an amazing piece of history from the point of view of the people who participated in it.

When I was researching my book, I followed some of the route of Charles's escape and travels with Jane, and blogged about it. Lots of pictures of Worcester, Boscobel and Moseley Old Hall and their priest holes, and other places along the way.

I also wrote short articles on "The Royal Miracle," as Charles's escape came to be known. Here's the link to the piece on History in an Hour:…

If you want to read more about Charles’s escape (it was an enormously formative event for him and he told the story over and over for the rest of his life), I can recommend Charles II’s Escape from Worcester, edited by William Matthews, which presents Pepys’s transcription of Charles’s account and his edited version side by side, as well as other contemporary accounts; The Escape of Charles II After the Battle of Worcester by Richard Ollard; A. M. Broadley’s 1912 The Royal Miracle: A Collection of Rare Tracts, Broadsides, Letters, Prints, & Ballads Concerning the Wanderings of Charles II After the Battle of Worcester, which also chronicles the delightfully daffy 1911 reenactment of the events; both the 1897 and 1908 editions of The Flight of the King by Allan Fea, as well as his After Worcester Fight; The Boscobel Tracts, a collection of contemporary accounts edited by J. Hughes and published in 1857; The Wanderings of Charles II in Staffordshire and Shropshire by H.P. Kingston; and Jean Gordon Hughes’s A King in the Oak Tree.

eileen d.  •  Link

(phil, feel free to delete! but since you let the original off-topic question stand I thought I'd answer it. thanks.)

john simmons, re: your question about the justice quote, referenced above by The Bishop. Check Loeb's 1914 ed. "Plutarch, The Parallel Lives" chapter: Life of Solon (page 455, section 18.5)

'Being asked, namely, what city was best to live in, "That city," he [Solon] replied, "in which those who are not wronged, no less than those who are wronged, exert themselves to punish the wrongdoers."'

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I've read Gillian Bagwell's book, and greatly enjoyed it. Gillian is an American, and while she has the story factually straight, and correctly portrays the places and dangers, she turned Jane Lane into something of a Victorian suffragette. Knowing that, please enjoy "The September Queen"/"The King's Mistress" -- Jane was one of many women "liberated" by the Civil Wars and had wonderful adventures. (Have you noticed women fill in for the men during wars, but when the men come home, everyone promptly forgets that things were going fine without them? We need more books on the adventures of Stuart era women. Gillian made a good try.)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


"There was, in a manner, no night between Tuesday and Wednesday, particularly for those who, finding no nook or hole to put their heads because the houses were not able to contain the people who flocked thither from all parts of the neighboring country, for the most part were constrained to walk the streets [of The Hague]."

At 2 a.m. the drums beat to assemble the soldiers and citizens; Charles II rose early l to receive the States of Holland.

1 And dressed in a plain-stuff suit, with a plume of red feathers.

A procession of Dutch and English on horseback went from The Hague to Schevening, Charles II riding bareheaded and dressed in black or purple in the middle of the three foremost horsemen.

Charles II was met by Admiral Edward Montagu, Stayner, Crew, and others, and greeted Montagu with a kiss, and entered his shallop with all his relatives, while the Royal Standard was hoisted, and the sailors shouted and threw their caps and doublets into the air.

At 11 o'clock the royal party boarded the Naseby, newly decked with silken flags, scarlet coverings, and the like, and dined in the coach.' 2

2 For the whole voyage, etc., cf. Dryden, Astraa Jfedux, 11. 216 sqq.

After dinner Charles II changed the names of the ships in the fleet, as that of the Naseby to the Royal Charles.


That done, Queen Mother Henrietta Maria, the Princess Royal, and Prince William of Orange took leave of Charles II, and James, Duke of York went on board the London, and Henry, Duke of Gloucester on the Swiftsure.

"Which done, we weighed anchor, and with a fresh gale and most happy weather we set sail for England. All the afternoon the King walked here and there, up and down (quite contrary to what I thought him to have been) very active and stirring. Upon the quarter-deck he fell into discourse of his escape from Worcester."

Charles II supped alone in the coach.

On the way, the royal fleet came to Rotterdam, and Charles II's ship was visited by the Burgomaster, amid salutes of gun, the whole harbor being decorated with English colors. Charles stood amidships in a wig and dark clothes, bareheaded, to receive the Burgomaster.
I wonder why Pepys doesn’t mention stopping at Rottendam? And Charles in a wig? – but bareheaded? Maybe that means he didn’t wear a hat.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Yet he was forced to run away from a miller and other company, that took them for rogues."

L&M: At Evelin Mill, near Madeley, Salop.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"His sitting at table at one place, where the master of the house,"

L&M: George Norton of Abbotsleigh, near Bristol.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"At another place...."

L&M: Thomas Symonds's house at Hambledon, Hants.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"In another place at his inn,...."

L&M: The George at Brighton.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Then the difficulty of getting a boat ...."

L&M: The Surprise, a coal-brig. The master (Nicholas Tettersell) had recognised him. They sailed from Shoreham.

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