Tuesday 21 January 1661/62

To the finishing of the Treasurer’s accounts this morning, and then to dinner again, and were merry as yesterday, and so home, and then to the office till night, and then home to write letters, and to practise my composition of musique, and then to bed. We have heard nothing yet how far the fleet hath got toward Portugall, but the wind being changed again, we fear they are stopped, and may be beat back again to the coast of Ireland.

10 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro.  •  Link

"and may be beat back again to the coast of Ireland."

This seems a long way off course?

vicenzo  •  Link

"tis better than getting caught in the Bay of Biscay, some parts be not that friendly.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"We have heard nothing yet how far the fleet hath got toward Portugall..."

One wonders how they'd get word back, apart from the lucky passing of other ships bound for England or nearby France. Mailboats back and forth at predetermined times, perhaps?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sounds like a long day/evening alone, apart from maids, for Beth...

Australian Susan  •  Link

Passage of information
The fleet would have sailed in convoy and sailed slowly - smaller faster boats would be used to travel back from a fleet at anchor somewhere. Also, people would have kept the fleet under surveillance where possible from the land and sent information to London. Although Sam seems to get his news by walking up and down in public places and 'networking', others paid for the latest news, and where there is a market, people will supply it.
I know it is nearly 60 years before this time and it was very exceptional news, but the man who bought the news of Elizabeth's death to James in Scotland (in 3 days) made a fortune....

JWB  •  Link

Winter winds:
"During January and Febrary, particularly, dominant wind stress along the Iberian margin is northward-contrary to the annual mean..."http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.…

vicenzo  •  Link

Yesterday in the house of Lauds, was a nice message to all of Anglicans, behave, there is money in behaving, Rev. Mills must have got the word from his spirital Leader the Epus. of London.
"... Grants of Tithes Bill.
Hodie 2avice lecta est Billa, "An Act for enabling Grants of Tithes, and creating Tithes where none are payable in Kind, to be made to the Parsons and Vicars of the Churches within the Precincts whereof the Lands do lie."
ORDERED, That the Consideration of this Bill is committed to these Lords following:..."

From: British History Online
Source: House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 20 January 1662. Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11, ().
URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/…
Date: 22/01/2005

David A. Smith  •  Link

"beat back again to the coast of Ireland"
Think downhill and uphill.
Prevailing winds around England blow southwest to northeast, which makes London and the Thames downhill of the Atlantic. Heading outbound -- to Spain, Portugal, indeed anywhere but the Baltic Sea -- ships have to come into the narrow English Channel and push their way straight uphill. When they get room to maneuver -- past Land's End and the Lizard -- they can tack (NW and SE), like zigzagging up the hill, but even then, the wind can be so implacably set against them.
Meanwhile, anyone going the *other* way has an easy coast 'downhill,' so it's trivial to report the fleet's progress, or lack thereof.
Uphill-downhill also explains the 1588 Spanish Armada fiasco -- they came barreling downhill through the Channel, got their fleet beat up in the engagement, and with the Channel blocked (by the English), had to sail home *around Scotland* -- uphill, into the cold, a long way. More galleons were thus lost to Irish coastal wreckage than ever sunk by Sir Francis Drake.

vicenzo  •  Link

David A Smith: Nice summary of riding the winds.

Second Reading

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