Friday 29 March 1661

Up among my workmen with great pleasure.

Then to the office, where I found Sir W. Pen sent down yesterday to Chatham to get two great ships in readiness presently to go to the East Indies upon some design against the Dutch, we think, at Goa but it is a great secret yet.

Dined at home, came Mr. Shepley and Moore, and did business with both of them. After that to Sir W. Batten’s, where great store of company at dinner. Among others my schoolfellow, Mr. Christmas, where very merry, and hither came letters from above for the fitting of two other ships for the East Indies in all haste, and so we got orders presently for the Hampshire and Nonsuch. Then home and there put some papers in order, and not knowing what to do, the house being so dirty, I went to bed.

26 Annotations

First Reading

JWB  •  Link

Sandwich flyer?
Yesterday he borrowed 500 Pounds and today this East Indies adventure. Suppose he bought a stake? Dealing in plunder will be his downfall five years or so hence.

Emilio  •  Link

"in readiness presently to go to the East Indies"

This preliminary info from Sam is not quite what happens, according to an L&M footnote. The ships leave soon for the Mediterranean rather than the East Indies, and they don't engage the Dutch. Goa is a small province on the west coast of India and (at that time) a Portuguese possession.

Susan  •  Link

The Dutch and the Portugeuse were great maritime rivals in the east (problems over this still reverberate today - for example over East Timor) - presumably Portuagal was an ally of Britain, so were plans made for ships to go to Goa to defend it against predations by the Dutch??

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Two dinners for Sam?

Man, he's *really* blowing his Lenten fast: "Dined at home, came Mr. Shepley and Moore ... After that to Sir W. Batten's, where great store of company at dinner.” Or am I missing something?

dirk  •  Link


"[The islands were] ceded to Portugal by the Sultan of Gujarat in 1534. The Portuguese did little to develop them before the major island of the group was included in Catherine of Braganza's dowry when she married England's Charles II in 1661. The British Government took possession of all seven islands in 1665 but leased them three years later to the East India Company for a meagre annual rent of 10 pounds sterling."

A beautiful map (publ. 1572):…

Susan  •  Link

Um. I think Dirk has cut and pasted a section that is just about Mumbai, not Goa. It is Mumbai which is islands and which formed part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza. I don't think Goa ever came under British jurisdiction (lucky Goa??)

Susan  •  Link

"Two dinners?" I think in this diary entry Sam just turned up for the after dinner drinking. When they had large dinner parties they went on for a long time. Perhaps he went round there because he had heard Mr Christmas might be there.

vincent  •  Link

A History of Goa thru to its return to India: see time line and the early Portuguese era and the liberation dec 17 1961 entries:…

Xjy  •  Link

"not knowing what to do, the house being so dirty, I went to bed"
What's this? No servants to clean up? No wife? Sam too drunk to do anything but turn his back? Why so dirty today? The workmen -- but they've been there before -- the dinner he gave? Time for spring cleaning? Sam nonplussed and hiding under the blanket after all the excitement of the day (state secrets and all...)

Susan  •  Link

"house being so dirty"
I read that as everything being covered in plaster dust or sawdust and after shuffling some papers about, Sam gives up in clouds of dust and just goes to bed. If it was sawdust, he might also have been anxious about starting a fire - he would have been doing all this by candlelight. He's probably got the beginnings of "bottle flu" after his merry time earlier in the evening and it's all too much effort.

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

I don't think Goa ever came under British jurisdiction (lucky Goa??)..
Curiously enough they did! For a short time the Brits did land (around 1800) just long enough to free the tiny country from the Inquisition, indeed those lucky Goans are now conversing more and more in English as we speak!) but I am sure that Sam and his chums Shepley and Moore were discussing some business a lot closer to home than that!

Pedro.  •  Link

Goans are now conversing more and more in English as we speak!
I think the increase in spoken English in Goa is more to do with American influence.(lucky Goa??)
Business Line .
"Even GE, the biggest success story in the business here, say recruitment agents, has exhausted New Delhi and is now pounding the streets of Goa looking for English speakers."


Rich Merne  •  Link

"house being so dirty", 'workmen in, bottle flu', "I went to bed", I think it'd be coy to deny that we've all been there.

vincent  •  Link

Yep the time line does mention the intrusion into Goa. The Goans made note of the The English arrivin' in 1797 and leavin' in 1813 meanwhile inquision continued until 1812, So wot was the British there for ?

Pedro.  •  Link

English in Goa.
Quick look on Portugese site says:
1797 to 1813 Napoleon was planning to occupy Goa with the help of the Sultan Tipu. The English offered help to the portuguese forces. Various forts are captured by the English

dirk  •  Link


Re - Susan

Mea culpa - you're right. Goa was not part of Catherine of Braganza's dowry.
I should have checked more carefully before posting.

"Mea culpa": transl. My guilt.

Susan  •  Link

Dirk - the site you found was interesting: I think you just got the wrong section. Vincent's find of the website on Goa is fascinating too. One wonders how much Sam knew then about these places he's mentioning. He gets to visit Tangier much later. Incidently, I am so old I belong to the generation when a public exam pass in Latin was a compulsory part of the entrance procedure for Oxford University, so I knew what mea culpa meant! (and often have to say it myself!)

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

Susan - I think Dirk was translating because some people who read this board did not learn Latin at school and don't always know what these phrases mean.

Pedro  •  Link

"to Chatham to get two great ships in readiness presently to go to the East Indies upon some design against the Dutch, we think, at Goa but it is a great secret yet."

"Mumbai which is islands and which formed part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza. I don't think Goa ever came under British jurisdiction (lucky Goa??)"

From British Foreign Policy 1660-1672 (Feiling) it seems that Fanshawe was to arrange the surrender of Bombay to the English fleet and ask that Bassein should go with it, to press for the implementation of facilities to our factories in India and suggest that Goa should be given to England to save it from the Dutch.

Second Reading

Dick Wilson  •  Link

I would have assumed, that had the King or Duke wished to dispatch two vessels upon His Majesty's Secret Service, that the entire Navy Board would have been consulted, and fully informed from the outset. I presume that the admiralty would prepare the sailing orders for the Captains, select the captains, and the ships. But the Board should know full details, so they can provide follow-on forces, replacements, supply ships, whatever the mission requires. This procedure does not bode well, for this or future operations.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"in readiness presently to go to the East Indies upon some design against the Dutch, we think, at Goa but it is a great secret yet."

These formed part of a fleet sent to the Mediterranean under Sandwich:… and… The suggestion of actions against the Dutch (three years in advance of the outbreak of hostilities) is interesting, but inaccurate. Goa was Portuguese. (L&M footnote)

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"29th March, 1661. Dr. Heylin (author of the "Geography") preached at the Abbey, on Cant. v. 25, concerning friendship and charity; he was, I think, at this time quite dark, and so had been for some years."

The Diary of John Evelyn (Vol 1)…

He's 63, so I wonder why Evelyn calls him "dark"? As a Royalist, I think he would be quite "light" now his friends are back in power. Maybe Evelyn means "quiet" -- considering how Heylyn was treated, I'm not surprised. But he's been writing an important book, which will be published next year.…

The word canticle is Latin in origin and simply means “little song.” In Latin versions of the Bible, the Song of Solomon (also expressed as the Song of Songs based on the opening verse) is called Canticle of Canticles.
Canticles are biblical. They are songs derived from biblical texts other than the book of Psalms. Canticles are non-rhythmic songs and are either spoken, chanted, or sung in liturgical worship services. For the most part, canticles are said at Lauds, or morning prayer services. Denominations that incorporate canticles include Roman Catholic, Anglican, Episcopal, and Eastern Orthodox churches.
None of their examples involve a v.25.…

Here endeth my background knowledge of the basis of Dr. Heylyn's sermon. Ideas anyone?

MartinVT  •  Link

"he was, I think, at this time quite dark, and so had been for some years"

To me this means that he appeared, in Evelyn's perception, to be somber, unjoyful, serious — but not necessarily negative. Just not cracking any smiles. Despite improvements in their environment and doing productive work as Heylyn was doing, some people just get that way for reasons that are not publicly apparent.

Regarding Canticle v. 25, there appear to have been multiple different collections of canticles based on biblical texts, as you note. For example this one (not certain of the date):…, which has a number 25 on a different subject. The collection referenced by Heylyn may have had 1 Corinthians 13 as v.25, including the line ""And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." But I'm not finding a specific collection either that includes that text as part of a canticle, let alone canticle #25.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

To answer the esteemed Dick Wilson from ten years ago, it's likely not that the Navy Board doesn't know about the big secret expedition, as they assuredly must, it's that Sam is still only the guy in charge of the biscuits, and they don't (yet) tell him everything.

Just to make it worse, half of Europe has known about it for some time. Even England cannot completly hide readying such a fleet. We've known about it from the Venetian ambassador (who, admittedly, knows everything) since March 25 (new style, n.s., March 14 for Sam), when he reported (at…) that "ten powerful ships of war are being prepared here with great energy to put to sea as soon as possible, though their destination is so far hidden from all". A routine pyrate-bashing in the Med was one theory then, tho' "others think that the squadron is destined for the East Indies", to help Portugal against the Dutch, who are indeed besieging Goa, "for as the chancellor has received great presents from the minister of Braganza, he is bound to respond in some way".

"Presents" intended of course to sway the king toward marrying into Portugal, the great affair of the moment, and the reason why this expedition is so sensitive: If a Portuguese bride, then not a Spaniard, and so Spain would expect England to take Portugal's side in its war against Spain, and as we had occasion to report lately, this would mean war with Spain. So many eyes are watching the Chatham yard right now.

In his next dispatch on April 1 (n.s., March 21) ambassador Giavarina adds the critical intelligence that "hey are having the ships sheathed with [copper] plates, as is usual with those going to the Indies to preserve them from the worms which riddle ships in those waters, which are not found in the Mediterranean", implying "strong indications that [the fleet] will spread its sails towards the East Indies". Four days letter, he adds that "they have decided to add a number of inferior ships, but strong and well armed for war, to make twenty in all".

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

In Sam's defence, he's known about the sheathing for longer than Giavarina, writing on February 28 (at…) that "this month ends with two great secrets under dispute", one thereof being "what the meaning of this fleet is which we are now sheathing to set out for the southward"; but he may not have know about the worms-not-being-in-the-Med, and gave equal weight to the Turkish and East Indys scenarios. Presumably any southward-bound sailor would know, but a lot of Sam's naval education so far has been in the northern seas.

The Dutch, in any case, are starting to fret. Giavarina on April 8 (n.s.) notes that "the Dutch also have decided to arm a greater number of ships than those already advised, to keep a good squadron not far from these shores to be on the spot and watch the intentions of England". Their diplomats in London are being stonewalled, and may have picked up, as Venice did, that "the Council of Trade here studies to deprive them of the herring fishery on these coasts". And one should never take his herrings from a Dutchman!

So, it's all about herrings? On April 14 (n.s., April 3 in England) the French Gazette will report from The Hague that "the Fleet of the Oriental Company [the VOC, Holland's India company], intended to reinforce that which has undertaken the Siege of Goa, has left to join it". And, just in case, "two other Squadrons, are readying to set sail, one, of 18 warships, for the Mediterranean, under Vice-Admiral Rüiter; & the other, of 24, to cruise on the [Barbary] Coasts, & there fight the Pirates".

War with Spain *and* with the Dutch? That will take some biscuits.

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