Saturday 4 June 1664
Up and to St. James’s by coach, after a good deal of talk before I went forth with J. Noble, who tells me that he will secure us against Cave, that though he knows, and can prove it, yet nobody else can prove it, to be Tom’s child; that the bond was made by one Hudson, a scrivener, next to the Fountaine taverne, in the Old Bayly; that the children were born, and christened, and entered in the parish-book of St. Sepulchre’s, by the name of Anne and Elizabeth Taylor and he will give us security against Cave if we pay him the money. And then up to the Duke, and was with him giving him an account how matters go, and of the necessity there is of a power to presse seamen, without which we cannot really raise men for this fleete of twelve sayle, besides that it will assert the King’s power of pressing, which at present is somewhat doubted, and will make the Dutch believe that we are in earnest. Thence by water to the office, where we sat till almost two o’clock. This morning Captain Ferrer came to the office to tell me that my Lord hath given him a promise of Young’s place in the Wardrobe, and hearing that I pretend a promise to it he comes to ask my consent, which I denied him, and told him my Lord may do what he pleases with his promise to me, but my father’s condition is not so as that I should let it go if my Lord will stand to his word, and so I sent him going, myself being troubled a little at it.
After office I with Mr. Coventry by water to St. James’s and dined with him, and had excellent discourse from him. So to the Committee for Tangier all afternoon, where still the same confused doings, and my Lord Fitz-Harding now added to the Committee; which will signify much. It grieves me to see how brokenly things are ordered.
So by coach home, and at my office late, and so to supper and to bed, my body by plenty of breaking of wind being just now pretty well again, having had a constant akeing in my back these 5 or 6 days.
Mr. Coventry discoursing this noon about Sir W. Batten (what a sad fellow he is!) told me how the King told him the other day how Sir W. Batten, being in the ship with him and Prince Rupert when they expected to fight with Warwick, did walk up and down sweating with a napkin under his throat to dry up his sweat; and that Prince Rupert being a most jealous man, and particularly of Batten, do walk up and down swearing bloodily to the King, that Batten had a mind to betray them to-day, and that the napkin was a signal; “but, by God,” says he, “if things go ill, the first thing I will do is to shoot him.”
He discoursed largely and bravely to me concerning the different sort of valours, the active and passive valour. For the latter, he brought as an instance General Blake; who, in the defending of Taunton and Lime for the Parliament, did through his stubborn sort of valour defend it the most ‘opiniastrement’ that ever any man did any thing; and yet never was the man that ever made any attaque by land or sea, but rather avoyded it on all, even fair occasions. On the other side, Prince Rupert, the boldest attaquer in the world for personal courage; and yet, in the defending of Bristol, no man ever did anything worse, he wanting the patience and seasoned head to consult and advise for defence, and to bear with the evils of a siege. The like he says is said of my Lord Tiviott, who was the boldest adventurer of his person in the world, and from a mean man in few years was come to this greatness of command and repute only by the death of all his officers, he many times having the luck of being the only survivor of them all, by venturing upon services for the King of France that nobody else would; and yet no man upon a defence, he being all fury and no judgment in a fight.
He tells me above all of the Duke of Yorke, that he is more himself and more of judgement is at hand in him in the middle of a desperate service, than at other times, as appeared in the business of Dunkirke, wherein no man ever did braver things, or was in hotter service in the close of that day, being surrounded with enemies; and then, contrary to the advice of all about him, his counsel carried himself and the rest through them safe, by advising that he might make his passage with but a dozen with him; “For,” says he, “the enemy cannot move after me so fast with a great body, and with a small one we shall be enough to deal with them;” and though he is a man naturally martiall to the highest degree, yet a man that never in his life talks one word of himself or service of his owne, but only that he saw such or such a thing, and lays it down for a maxime that a Hector can have no courage. He told me also, as a great instance of some men, that the Prince of Condo’s excellence is, that there not being a more furious man in the world, danger in fight never disturbs him more than just to make him civill, and to command in words of great obligation to his officers and men; but without any the least disturbance in his judgment or spirit.