Saturday 2 June 1666
Up, and to the office, where certain newes is brought us of a letter come to the King this morning from the Duke of Albemarle, dated yesterday at eleven o’clock, as they were sailing to the Gunfleete, that they were in sight of the Dutch fleete, and were fitting themselves to fight them; so that they are, ere this, certainly engaged; besides, several do averr they heard the guns all yesterday in the afternoon. This put us at the Board into a tosse.
Presently come orders for our sending away to the fleete a recruite of 200 soldiers. So I rose from the table, and to the Victualling office, and thence upon the River among several vessels, to consider of the sending them away; and lastly, down to Greenwich, and there appointed two yachts to be ready for them; and did order the soldiers to march to Blackewall. Having set all things in order against the next flood, I went on shore with Captain Erwin at Greenwich, and into the Parke, and there we could hear the guns from the fleete most plainly. Thence he and I to the King’s Head and there bespoke a dish of steaks for our dinner about four o’clock. While that was doing, we walked to the water-side, and there seeing the King and Duke come down in their barge to Greenwich-house, I to them, and did give them an account [of] what I was doing. They went up to the Parke to hear the guns of the fleete go off. All our hopes now are that Prince Rupert with his fleete is coming back and will be with the fleete this even: a message being sent to him to that purpose on Wednesday last; and a return is come from him this morning, that he did intend to sail from St. Ellen’s point about four in the afternoon on Wednesday [Friday], which was yesterday; which gives us great hopes, the wind being very fair, that he is with them this even, and the fresh going off of the guns makes us believe the same.
After dinner, having nothing else to do till flood, I went and saw Mrs. Daniel, to whom I did not tell that the fleets were engaged, because of her husband, who is in the R. Charles. Very pleasant with her half an hour, and so away and down to Blackewall, and there saw the soldiers (who were by this time gotten most of them drunk) shipped off. But, Lord! to see how the poor fellows kissed their wives and sweethearts in that simple manner at their going off, and shouted, and let off their guns, was strange sport.
In the evening come up the River the Katharine yacht, Captain Fazeby, who hath brought over my Lord of Aylesbury and Sir Thomas Liddall (with a very pretty daughter, and in a pretty travelling-dress) from Flanders, who saw the Dutch fleete on Thursday, and ran from them; but from that houre to this hath not heard one gun, nor any newes of any fight.
Having put the soldiers on board, I home and wrote what I had to write by the post, and so home to supper and to bed, it being late.