Thursday 2 June 1664

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and then to the ’Change, where after some stay by coach with Sir J. Minnes and Mr. Coventry to St. James’s, and there dined with Mr. Coventry very finely, and so over the Parke to White Hall to a Committee of Tangier about providing provisions, money, and men for Tangier. At it all the afternoon, but it is strange to see how poorly and brokenly things are done of the greatest consequence, and how soon the memory of this great man is gone, or, at least, out of mind by the thoughts of who goes next, which is not yet knowne. My Lord of Oxford, Muskerry, and several others are discoursed of. It seems my Lord Tiviott’s design was to go a mile and half out of the towne, to cut down a wood in which the enemy did use to lie in ambush. He had sent several spyes; but all brought word that the way was clear, and so might be for any body’s discovery of an enemy before you are upon them. There they were all snapt, he and all his officers, and about 200 men, as they say; there being left now in the garrison but four captains. This happened the 3d of May last, being not before that day twelvemonth of his entering into his government there: but at his going out in the morning he said to some of his officers, “Gentlemen, let us look to ourselves, for it was this day three years that so many brave Englishmen were knocked on the head by the Moores, when Fines made his sally out.”

Here till almost night, and then home with Sir J. Minnes by coach, and so to my office a while, and home to supper and bed, being now in constant pain in my back, but whether it be only wind or what it is the Lord knows, but I fear the worst.

12 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

"it is strange to see how poorly and brokenly things are done of the greatest consequence, and how soon the memory of this great man [sc. Lord Teviot] is gone, or, at least, out of mind by the thoughts of who goes next"

Is the Tangier Commission perhaps a bit shaken? Pepys is. but his response is mixed: on task as far as restocking and restaffing are concerned, yet bewildered that the task itself requires NOT dwelling on Teviot's greatness just now.

Because Teviot's was not a post for a career military man -- and the military itself is, post-New Model Army, NOT organized -- there is not a natural "next in line"....

Dave  •  Link

Where are our American and Australian friends today? It looks like just me and you Terry. This Tangier story is going to run for a long time.


"Samuel Pepys letters and the Second Diary" Edited by R.G.Howarth covers his trip to Tangier in 1683.
As usual , it makes fascinating reading with some very interesting anecdotes, but he seems to have lost the zest of the first diary, maybe it is just old age creeping up, maybe his health is not so good, but I get a sense that he no longer has the inner energy or the curiosity of his youth, but a recommended read for any Pepysian.

Terry F  •  Link

Thanks for the recommendation, Dave. Other Pepys scholars also observed his lack of journaling zest ib later years.

SPOILER: In 1683 SP was 50 a widower, still childless and no longer on his way up, though Tangier was a novelty to him.

Our Canadian friends are also not with us, yet.

Pedro  •  Link

On June 2nd on the West African Coast, after taking of the Fort at Aga, Holmes writes in his journal...

".. the Dutchmen, being taken into mercy, inviting our people into their warehouse with the assurance of great quantity of treasure and riches they most treacherously with trains of powder (layed to that end) blow up above fourscore whites and Blacks, which so exasperated the Blacks that not withstanding all our endeavours to protect them (as our people did 7 or 8 with apparent danger of their own lives) the Blacks in just revenge of the Dutchmen's treachery fell upon them and cut off the heads of so many as they could arrest out of the hands of the English: One of our men having a Dutch habit contending earnestly for the rest of the Dutch was mistaken for a Dutchman and so suffered the same fate disaster."

Dutch accounts charged Holmes, predictably, of methods of barbarism...propaganda in the wars of nations. Holmes himself practised the same technique.

(Man of War by Ollard)

Australian Susan  •  Link

"there dined with Mr. Coventry very finely"

But no report of what was talked of! Frustrating. Maybe Minnes's presence inhibited matters or maybe Sam is so shocked about the Teviott news and what happened at the Tangier committee, he is no longer interested in what Coventry has to relate of Court, war, Royalty and Sandwich.

Pedro  •  Link

"Because Teviot's was not a post for a career military man -- and the military itself is, post-New Model Army, NOT organized -- there is not a natural "next in line"...."

Terry this is from The Army of Charles II by Childs

Duty in Tangier was unpopular with officers. It was far from England, leave difficult to obtain, death never far distant, and for political animals the service was disastrous, removing them from England for long periods. None of the Governors or Deputy-Governors were heavily involved in English or Irish politics, and very few, if any, of the inferior officers. Tangier attracted the more adventurous man or professional soldier, who could find no place in English society.

Peterborough was the first captain-general of Tangier forces. His own regiment was raised amongst the disbanded officers of the New Model Army. A regiment went directly from Dunkirk to Tangier, and two smaller ones under Fitzgerald and Farrel that had served in the King's army of exiled Royalists in Flanders (mostly Irish and Scots).

Sir Tobias Bridge stepped in as temporary Governor, a man who had the infamous distinction of having been one of Cromwell's major generals.

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Thanks Pedro:

Terry F  •  Link

Very helpful, Pedro. The story Childs tells of how the rara avis, Henry Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough, came to have command at Tangier and a regiment there instances the non-standing of the army at the time AND how difficult it would be to provide for continuity in command and manpower for the English settlement there; Sir Tobias Bridge was not Peterborough and had not raised the regiment.

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

This is still the time when a man of substance raised his own militia, an out growth of rounding up the lay abouts on thy estate and set them up to fight, but as many the landed ones had already removed excess bodies to the emerging towns to create a new class of masterless ones, it be a little more difficult to collect the required number of people, so the tippling places were mined.

tonyt  •  Link

On this day, Charles II wrote a short letter to his sister, Princess Henriette Maria ('Minette') who was married to Philippe, Duc d'Orleans, younger brother of Louis XIV.

The first paragraph comments on the bearer of the letter (apparently Philibert, Comte de Gramont) who 'I am afraid comes very light to you, for though his [English] wife is loaded, I fear his purse is as empty, having lost very near five thousand pounds within these three months'.

The other two paragraphs are given below in full:

'You will hear of the misfortune I have had at Tangier. We are not very certain that the Governor is dead, but I am very much afraid that those barbarous people have given him no quarter, whosoever he is taken. And what becomes of him God knows.

Sir George Downing is come out of Holland, and I shall now be very busy upon that matter. The States keep a great bragging and noise, but I believe, when it comes to it, they will look twice before they leap. I never saw so great an appetite to a war as is in both this town and country, especially in the Parliament men, who, I am confident, would pawn their estates to maintain a war. But all this shall not govern me, for I will look merely what is just and best for the honour and good of England, and will be steady in what I resolve. And, if I be forced to a war, I shall be ready with as good ships and men as ever was seen, and leave the success to God. I am just now going to dine at Somerset House with the Queen, and 'tis twelve o'clock, so I can say no more but that I am yours.'

Charles would have been well aware - perhaps even intended - that these comments might be passed on to Louis XIV so they do not necessarily reflect all of his real thinking on the prospect of a Dutch war.

[Source : 'The King My Brother' by C R Hartmann (1954). The original letter is preserved in Paris.]

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"There they were all snapt, he and all his officers, and about 200 men, as they say"

The correct figure would be nearer 400. (Per L&M footnote)

Usually initial casualty figures for Tangier and elsewhere have been inflated.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: 'There they were all snapt . . '

'snap, v. < Middle Dutch . .
. . II. 5. a. trans. To catch, capture, or seize quickly, suddenly, or by surprise. Common in the 17th c.; now chiefly dial., or spec. in Cricket.
. . c1645   I. Tullie Narr. Siege of Carlisle (1840) 6   They..failed in snapping Col. Graye's small regement of horse at Stanwick . . '

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.