Thursday 8 June 1665

About five o’clock my wife come home, it having lightened all night hard, and one great shower of rain. She come and lay upon the bed; I up and to the office, where all the morning. Alone at home to dinner, my wife, mother, and Mercer dining at W. Joyce’s; I giving her a caution to go round by the Half Moone to his house, because of the plague. I to my Lord Treasurer’s by appointment of Sir Thomas Ingram’s, to meet the Goldsmiths; where I met with the great news at last newly come, brought by Bab May from the Duke of Yorke, that we have totally routed the Dutch; that the Duke himself, the Prince, my Lord Sandwich, and Mr. Coventry are all well: which did put me into such joy, that I forgot almost all other thoughts. The particulars I shall set down by and by. By and by comes Alderman Maynell and Mr. Viner, and there my Lord Treasurer did intreat them to furnish me with money upon my tallys, Sir Philip Warwicke before my Lord declaring the King’s changing of the hand from Mr. Povy to me, whom he called a very sober person, and one whom the Lord Treasurer would owne in all things that I should concern myself with them in the business of money. They did at present declare they could not part with money at present. My Lord did press them very hard, and I hope upon their considering we shall get some of them.

Thence with great joy to the Cocke-pitt; where the Duke of Albemarle, like a man out of himself with content, new-told me all; and by and by comes a letter from Mr. Coventry’s own hand to him, which he never opened (which was a strange thing), but did give it me to open and read, and consider what was fit for our office to do in it, and leave the letter with Sir W. Clerke; which upon such a time and occasion was a strange piece of indifference, hardly pardonable. I copied out the letter, and did also take minutes out of Sir W. Clerke’s other letters; and the sum of the newes is:

Victory over the Dutch, June 3rd, 1665.

This day they engaged; the Dutch neglecting greatly the opportunity of the wind they had of us, by which they lost the benefit of their fire-ships.

The Earl of Falmouth, Muskerry, and Mr. Richard Boyle killed on board the Duke’s ship, the Royall Charles, with one shot: their blood and brains flying in the Duke’s face; and the head of Mr. Boyle striking down the Duke, as some say.

Earle of Marlborough, Portland, Rear-Admirall Sansum (to Prince Rupert) killed, and Capt. Kirby and Ableson. Sir John Lawson wounded on the knee; hath had some bones taken out, and is likely to be well again. Upon receiving the hurt, he sent to the Duke for another to command the Royall Oake. The Duke sent Jordan1 out of the St. George, who did brave things in her. Capt. Jer. Smith of the Mary was second to the Duke, and stepped between him and Captain Seaton of the Urania (76 guns and 400 men), who had sworn to board the Duke; killed him, 200 men, and took the ship; himself losing 99 men, and never an officer saved but himself and lieutenant. His master indeed is saved, with his leg cut off.

Admirall Opdam blown up, Trump killed, and said by Holmes; all the rest of their admiralls, as they say, but Everson (whom they dare not trust for his affection to the Prince of Orange), are killed: we having taken and sunk, as is believed, about 24 of their best ships; killed and taken near 8 or 10,000 men, and lost, we think, not above 700. A great[er] victory never known in the world. They are all fled, some 43 got into the Texell, and others elsewhere, and we in pursuit of the rest.

Thence, with my heart full of joy; home, and to my office a little; then to my Lady Pen’s, where they are all joyed and not a little puffed up at the good successe of their father;1 and good service indeed is said to have been done by him.

Had a great bonefire at the gate; and I with my Lady Pen’s people and others to Mrs. Turner’s great room, and then down into the streete. I did give the boys 4s. among them, and mighty merry. So home to bed, with my heart at great rest and quiett, saving that the consideration of the victory is too great for me presently to comprehend.

38 Annotations

First Reading

Sjoerd  •  Link

Three Tromps
It was not Tromp that was killed, but Kortenaer.
According to Wikipedia, Tromp was captured and escaped, which is true but it concerns the ship "Tromp". Which was named after the father of this Cornelius Tromp, Maarten Tromp.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...not a little puffed up at the good successe of their father;1 and good service indeed is said to have been done by him." Sam is generous in his relief at victory, even to his nemesis Penn.

Interesting..." wife come home..." Not a thought for exhausted ole Mum or poor Will Hewer who'd had to put up with his charges all night long. But Sam was probably desperate for her comforting presence. Perhaps we can infer that he is generally much more dependent on her than the Diary will ever openly admit.

"...not to go round by the Half Moon..." The plague begins to intrude on daily life.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Whoops. To go round, not not to go round...Reading too fast early in the am.

JWB  •  Link

"' go round by the Half Moon…” The plague begins to intrude on daily life.'

Yes, it's like avoiding streets where you know buildings are undergoing asbestos abatement today.

JWB  •  Link

Chas II's letter

Do you suppose he pronounced any or all of those word ending "e's", like some Southern Bapstist preacher?

jeannine  •  Link

“though I have had as great a losse as ‘tis possible in a good frinde, poore C. Barckely

This refers to Sir Charles Berkeley, who Sam has mentioned before, usually without anything positive to say. Although a good friend to the King, he was not universally well liked. In his biography annotation there is a portion of a poem by Sir John Denham describing the activity on board that led to his death.

The Poet Sir John Denham presented in his "Directions to a painter concerning the Dutch War":

Falmouth was there, I know not what to act,
Some say, ‘twas to grow duke too by contract;
An untaught bullet, in his wanton scope,
Dashes him all to pieces, and his hope:
Such was his rise, such was his fall unpraised,
A chance shot sooner took him than chance raised;
His shattered head the fearless duke disdains,
And gave the last first proof that he had brains…

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Admirall Opdam

A moment of silence, please, for my late lamented brother-in-law's forebear.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the royal charter granted by Charles II. in 1680 to William Penn for the government of his American province, to be styled Pennsylvania, special reference is made to 'the memory and merits of Sir William Penn in divers services, and particularly his conduct, courage, and discretion under our dearest brother, James, Duke of York, in that signal battle and victory fought and obtained against the Dutch fleet commanded by Heer van Opdam in 1665'”

The charter and the reference therein (except for "Opdam" [q.v], spelled in a different way):…

Pedro  •  Link

Capt. Jer. Smith of the Mary was second to the Duke, and stepped between him and Captain Seaton of the Urania…...Trump killed”

Sam seem to be copying from various sources, but in his Memorials to his grandfather Granville Penn gives an account of the battle by L’Estrange, and believes it to be a copy of the letter from Coventry to Monck, and written on the 10th June 1665.

The fatalities on the Dutch side seem to be given by prisoners and most said Tromp, but for certain the news would have to come from Holland.

According to the Journal of Montagu Bastiaan Senten was commander of the Oranje with 75 guns and 450 men, and there is no mention of a Dutch ship called Urania.

Pedro  •  Link

Recent Activity.

Any news about its illness?

It is frustrating that any information found on past events and posted by annotators could be lost in the ether!

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn's diary today

"Came newes of his Highnesse Victory over the Enemie, & indeede it might have ben a compleate one, & at once ended the Warr, had it ben pursued: but the Cowardize of some, Tretchery, or both frustrated that: we had however bonfires, bells, & rejoicing in the Citty &c."

GrahamT  •  Link

Oranje vs Urania
Pedro, I was hoping one of our Dutch annotators would comment. From my imperfect knowledge of Dutch pronunciation, I believe the j is pronounced like English y, e.g. jacht - yacht, and the final e is voiced. To an English ear Oranje could sound like Urania, especially if we assume the initial U is pronounced uh - as in Urdu, not yu - as in urine.

Pedro  •  Link

Propaganda or just bragging?

In this case it is probably neither. Sam is copying from more than one source, the main being an account sent back by Coventyry from the battle itself.

We see that it contains the assumption that Tromp has been killed and has other inaccuracies. Granville Penn (p326) sites the letter as being reproduced by L’Estrange and in this it states that it “is concluded that we have destroyed 23 or 24 but a perfect accurate account will follow.”

For propaganda and bragging we will have to consult the Intelligencer.

Pedro  •  Link

Oranje vs Urania

Paul, you are probably right as Wikipedia says…

“Through such an action Montague's flagship was boarded and temporarily taken over by the crew of Oranje, commanded by captain Bastian Senten, who even raised the Dutch flag on the Prince Royal until Rupert himself on Royal James came to the rescue retaking the ship.”

However the above account seems strange as it is not mentioned in this way by Sandwich, more later!

Pedro  •  Link

Oranje vs Urania

Sorry Graham, don't know how Paul came into my head!

dirk  •  Link

Dutch pronunciation

Graham & Pedro, as you may know, Dutch is my native language - and I wouldn't even have dreamt of describing the pronunciation of "Oranje" the way you did ;-) BUT "Urania" turns out to be a fair phonetic description (provided the first "a" sound is pronounced as in "hat" and not as in "late").

So the confusion Oranje/Urania is probably what happened here.

Clement  •  Link

"taken and destroyed...24 of their best ships"

versus actual number taken and destroyed of 17 (8+9 per Dirk's link), not so far off for an initial approximation the day after the battle.

dirk  •  Link

"we having taken and sunk, as is believed, about 24 of their best ships; killed and taken near 8 or 10,000 men"

Clement, you're absolutely right of course. I was to hasty, and should have read Sam's text more carefully. I herewith withdraw my earlier remark ;-|

dirk  •  Link

Some letters of condolence from the Carte Papers (Bodleian Library), in this case about a Lord Muskery.

In spite of some of the (inevitable?) standard phrasing of the letters, I find them rather touching, particularly the Duke's concern for his sister Clancarty.…

Duke of Ormond to Lady Thurles

Written from: Whitehall
Date: 9 June 1665

It has pleased God, in the late fight betwixt us and and the Dutch to give the King a great victory, and her Ladyship and all that are come from her a great loss, in the death of the writer's nephew Muskery, who was killed close by the Duke of York, with a great shot, which also took away the Earl of Falmouth and Mr Richard Boyle ...

"I was desired", adds the Duke, "to give my sister Clancarty notice of this misfortune ... but I conceive it will be needful that your Ladyship should send for her ... to give some stop to her grief, which the solitude she is in may too much nourish" ...


Duke of Ormond to Lady Clancarty

Written from: Whitehall
Date: 9 June 1665

"It is not the length or the words of a preamble that can abate the bitterness of the matter. I shall therefore, without the affliction of circumstances, tell you it falls to my share to inform you that your son Muskery was killed in the late conflict ... That your son is generally lamented & well spoken may aggravate your sense of such a loss ... It must be the work of some time, but principally of pious reflection upon the submission due from us to the good pleasure of God, to give consolation proportionable to such an affliction" ...

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the Duke of Albemarle..., new-told me all; and by and by comes a letter from Mr. Coventry’s own hand to him, which he...did give it me to open and read, and consider what was fit for our office to do in it, and leave the letter with Sir W. Clerke; which upon such a time and occasion was a strange piece of indifference, hardly pardonable. I copied out the letter, and did also take minutes out of Sir W. Clerke’s other letters "

MR. COVENTRY TO THE DUKE OF ALBEMARLE [transcribed by Pepys, to which he annexed]


The life, journals and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, &c. Volume I, pp. 85ff., 93f.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Sir John Lawson wounded on the knee; hath had some bones taken out, and is likely to be well again."

L&M: Gangrene, however, set in and he died at Greenwich on 24 June.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

'we having taken and sunk, as is believed, about 24 of their best ships; killed and taken near 8 or 10,000 men, and lost, we think, not above 700."

L&M: Pepys's 'facts' and figures here are the same as those printed in the official accounts, being derived from the same sources. He gives Coventry's better version on 16 June:…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I copied out the letter, and did also take minutes out of Sir W. Clerke’s other letters"

Pepys's copy and his notes of the rtest of the information (all in a.h.) are in Rawl. A 195a, ff. 225-6. Clarke was Secretary at War and Albemarle's right-hand man. One of the official accounts seems to be based on the same information: L'Estrange's Second narrative of the signal victory (10 June; printed in Penn, ii. 322-5; and the newspapers (e.g. The Intelligencer, `12 June, pp. 439-40).
(L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" Admirall Opdam blown up, Trump killed, and said by Holmes; all the rest of their admiralls, as they say, but Everson (whom they dare not trust for his affection to the Prince of Orange), are killed"

Obdam, Cortenaeer and Stellingwerf were killed, but no other flag-officers. Tromp survived to cover the retreat. Jan evertsen was suspect because hostile to de Witt;s republican party, then in power. He was soon afterwards dismissed: CSPClar., v. 491, 495. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"we having taken and sunk, as is believed, about 24 of their best ships; killed and taken near 8 or 10,000 men, and lost, we think, not above 700."

Dr Andersen (Sandwich, p. lvi) calculates the Dutch losses at 17 ships and c. 5000 men. Clowes (ii. 264) suggests that English losses in killed were c. 250 and in prisoners not more than 200. (L&M note)

Jon  •  Link

I am surprised that Coventry is with the fleet. As secretary to the admiralty I would have thought his skills were better used ashore overseeing the logistics of victuals and ordnance. It does suggest that his role was more akin to that of the Duke of York's private secretary.
It also suggests that there was considerable confidence in Pepys and his team to oversee the logistics.

LKvM  •  Link

I am in Amsterdam at present and spent the morning at the National Maritime Museum. The collection of paintings, some of them enormous, of famous battles in the Age of Fighting Sail is truly awe-inspiring, as is the full-size replica of an East Indiaman that a visitor can marvel at and wander through. All of it reminds of Pepys. Highly recommended.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... there was considerable confidence in Pepys and his team to oversee the logistics." Don't forget, Gen. Monck, Duke of Albemarle also was there, overseeing their performance. I think that was an excellent choice; if things failed, Monck was a Parliamentarian and expendable. If things succeeded, it was a credit to Charles II's decision to integrate the two sides into one fighting force. He was a cautious general, used to giving orders and thinking about great quantities of logistics.

Terry Foreman  •  Link


Giving the first account of our fight with the Dutch. Seven leagues from the Texel, bearing E.S.E. Wind at W.S.W.

My Lord, June 4, 1665; 8 o'clock p. m.

My last to your Grace was from Solebay, giving you an account of our having sight of the Dutch fleet. Since that, on the 3rd instant, we engaged them at half-an-hour past three in the morning. And whereas they might have had the wind of us two days together, it pleased God yesterday to give it us,* and we kept it all day.

They made one board towards the English shore, (which was the first pass,) with intent to get the wind upon the next tack, which they endeavoured; but finding his Royal Highness's and the Earl of Sandwich's* squadrons to windward, beyond what they could weather, they bore up to leeward of Prince Rupert, who stood in closer to them in the pass. After that, they stood on their course towards their own shore, without tacking, but without any appearance of running, till, our fleet bearing up closer to them, they began to grow weary of it.

At last Opdam's ship blew up, which contributed not a little to the expediting the victory which it pleased God to give us. We followed it, till it was dark, with continual firing upon them by some ships or other; and burned (with our fire-ships) seven of their great ships, they being fallen foul one of another. Two which we had taken we fired, also ten great ships; because they either clog us in the pursuit, or be in danger of being retaken by some of their straggling ships, of which we saw six or seven coming, as we thought. By this means we continued the pursuit with the main of the fleet, and kept so near all night as that we fell upon them again early in the morning; they continuing to run in several parts. Some plied away (as we judge) for the Maze, who I think are not followed by any, being few, and gotten in too far off to be fetched up. The rest were pursued, part by Prince Rupert and his squadron, and part by his Royal Highness's and Lord Sandwich's squadron, which both met at the Texel this morning, where the Dutch ships could not get in, the tide being contrary; but they stood in so near the shore, that we durst not adventure in with the great ships, and shattered in our masts, sails, and rigging as we are, lest we should not be able to bear sail to get off upon a shift of wind.


Terry Foreman  •  Link

If we had had a few fireships left,* we might have done very good service upon them, as I conceive; but they are all now gone in, that is, about forty-two or forty-three ships. Some others went away towards the fleet as we judge, who (I think) were not pursued by any, or at least not by anything considerable, so that I believe they will escape. By some of the prisoners we learn that almost all their flag-officers are killed, Opdam, Tromp, and Cortenaer; and others tell us Stellingworth and Schram; so that, till De Ruyter come home, they have nobody to command a fleet but Everson, to which the Hollanders will not willingly submit.

The victory hath not been obtained without considerable loss on our part, though no ships lost unless the Charity, which we think was taken early in the morning; but most of our ships are shattered, and will require considerable repairs in their masts, sails, and rigging. We have lost several commanders that we know of already; as, the Earl of Marlborough, Rear-admiral Sansom, Captain Kirby of the Breda, and some say Captain Ableson of the Guinea. What more we hear of, time must tell us, the fleet being not all come together as yet. But, above all, we lament the loss of the Earl of Falmouth, who, together with Lord Muskerry and Mr. Boyle, were killed with one shot. My Lord Portland, who was a volunteer with the Earl of Marlborough, is also killed.

Sir. J. Lawson is wounded on the knee with a piece of iron; some bones have been taken out, and we all hope (this day) there is no danger.* When he was hurt, he sent to his Royal Highness to send some commander to command the ship; which his Royal Highness supplied, commanding Captain Jordan to leave the St. George, and to go on board the Royal Oak, who immediately brought her into service again, and did very gallantly with her.

We cannot learn any good reason why the Dutch did not engage us while they had the wind, which certainly was a very great folly. They had a great fleet, and very great and brave ships, better than were expected to have been found; but it pleased God to give us the wind, (by keeping which, their fire-ships, they so much relied on, became ineffectual,) and to blow up their admiral, which so disabled those that were near him, that I believe it contributed very much to the victory. I hope the consequences of it will be greater than we yet imagine, though, by former experiences, we must not expect that they will yield thus. Therefore, I beseech your Grace to give order for the preparing all manner of supplies for a shattered fleet; and because I believe Harwich and the river of Thames may not be sufficient for that, for the despatch of all we may need, it is offered to your Grace that some part of our recruits of stores may come from Portsmouth. Your Grace shall very suddenly have an account to what place the fleet will come.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In the mean time be pleased to order the preparing and loading of what is ready, that so no time be lost. Be pleased to order the officers of the Ordnance also to load with all possible diligence what stores they can of all sorts, for we have spent a vast quantity of ammunition; some ships all their stores. If they would also send good store of clerks from their office to survey the stores remaining on board so soon as we come to the English coast, it would, doubtless, prevent a great deal of embezzlement. That which adds to this happy victory is the safety of his Royal Highness's person.*

I am, my lord, Your Grace's most humble and obedient servant,

W. Coventry t

By discourse his Royal Highness hath had this day with some of the commanders, I judge the Downs the most probable place for our first arrival on the English coast, or at least for our continuing any time; but of that your Grace shall have a farther account. The want of hospital-ships is now very inconvenient. Our fire-ships are burned, except one, which is disabled. If we had five or six prepared, they would be of great use. If we had had many this morning, I believe we might have put all the remainder of their fleet on shore. There is a prize (taken by Captain Smith), which would be very fit.

Terry Foreman  •  Link


* Afterwards "Sir William Coventry, the Duke's secretary, a very industrious man in business, very capable, and much in his favour by reason of his great ability." See "Life of James II. collected out of memoirs, writ of his own hand, from the original Stuart MSS. in Carlton House. By Rev. J. S. Clarke," (1816,) ii. 398.

t " On the morning of the 30th of May, his Royal Highness ordered the signal for sailing again; but with all his endeavours he could not, till the 1st of June, reach Southwold Bay. He came to an anchor there, and about one o'clock in the afternoon the Dutch appeared to windward.

"Their fleet consisted of one hundred and thirteen ships of war, of all rates, divided into seven squadrons, eleven fire-ships and seven yachts; the whole commanded by Opdam, who (though a man of quality and personal courage) was no great seaman. The two fleets did not yet make up to one another, for the English require some time to put themselves in order of battle; and, besides, they expected the return of some of their great ships, gone but that very morning to make up their complement of men out of a great fleet of colliers, then passing by, and bound for London.

"The next day, the Dutch were not to be seen till about ten in the morning; when the Duke, having a fresh gale, stood towards them with thirty of his best sailors, but thought fit to keep at about two leagues' distance till all his fleet should be joined, and put in order; which being done, he advanced forwards, so that, a little before the close of the evening, both fleets were got within two little leagues of one another.

"About two of the clock next morning, the Dutch were discovered lighting their matches, and consequently preparing themselves for the fight. They had the same order of battle as the English, all upon a line. As the day broke, there arose with it a little fresh gale at S.W. which was a very proper one for the approaching engagement; towards the better success of which, the Duke, with great care and labour, made a shift to get the wind. The white squadron had the van, and Sir Christopher Mings, who fired the first shot, led it; whilst the Dutch were led on by three flag-ships. About three in the morning, the dispute began briskly on both sides." Life of James II. ii. 406408.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

* Pepys says, "the Dutch lost the benefit of their fire-ships by neglecting greatly the opportunity of the wind."

* Of whose services, on this occasion, I copied the following royal acknowledgment from the original in the British Museum (Ayscough, 1519, No. 97) :

"My Lord Sandwich, Whitehall, June 9, 1665.

"Though you have already done me very eminent service, yet the great part you have had in this happy victory which it hath pleased God to send us, adds very much to the former obligations I have to you. I send this bearer, my Lord Hawley, on purpose to let you know more particularly my sense of it; and will say no more myself till I see you, that I may take you in my arms, and give you other testimonies how truly I am

"Your affectionate friend,

"Charles R."

"For the Earl of Sandwich."

+ "The Duke, finding himself within musket-shot of Opdam, ordered his master-gunner to give him a salute, in the usual form, gun after gun, and to lay all the guns himself, but to begin with those of the lower tier. The gunner so well executed his office, that, at the third shot, Opdam and his ship blew up. At which terrible sight the enemy's fleet all gave way.” Life of James II. &c. ii. 413.

* "We had, in all, but four fire-ships belonging to the fleet." Life of James II. &c. ii. 418.

t " Vieland, an island in the German sea." Crutwell.

* His wound, however, proved mortal. Pepys says, "June 25. To Greenwich by water, thinking to have visited Sir J. Lawson; where when I come, I find that he died this morning, and indeed the nation hath a great loss."

"Sir John Lawson, the son of a poor man at Hull, rose," says Granger, "by regular gradations to an admiral. He was in all the actions under Blake, who saw and did justice to his merit. A man of excellent sense, he made the justest observations on naval affairs; though he retained much of the bluntness and roughness of the tarpaulin. The Algerines, who had erected piracy into a system of government, were compelled by him to submit to a more disadvantageous peace than they had ever made with any of the states of Christendom. Though in his heart a republican, he readily closed with the design of restoring the king." Biog. Hist. (1775,) iii. 386.

* "Which had been in no small peril; as he stood beside the Earls of Falmouth and Muskerry, and Mr. Boyle, killed with one shot." See supra, p. 90.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

letter I took myself, the Duke giving it me, before he himself had read it, to read and copy."

Pepys further describes the Duke of Albemarle "like a man out of himself at the great news. By and by comes a letter from Mr. Coventry, which he never opened; a strange piece of indifference, on such a time and occasion, hardly possible."

Evelyn, after noticing his visit "to the Royal Society to refresh among the philosophers," thus refers to the subject of this letter.

"1665, June 8. Came news of his Highness's victory, which indeed might have been a complete one, and at once ended the war, had it been pursued; but the cowardice of some, or treachery, or both, frustrated that. We had, however, bonfires, bells, and rejoicing in the city. "Memoirs, (1827,) ii. 241.

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