Tuesday 5 June 1666

Up, and to the office, where all the morning, expecting every houre more newes of the fleete and the issue of yesterday’s fight, but nothing come. At noon, though I should have dined with my Lord Mayor and Aldermen at an entertainment of Commissioner Taylor’s, yet it being a time of expectation of the successe of the fleete, I did not go, but dined at home, and after dinner by water down to Deptford (and Woolwich, where I had not been since I lodged there, and methinks the place has grown natural to me), and thence down to Longreach, calling on all the ships in the way, seeing their condition for sayling, and what they want. Home about 11 of the clock, and so eat a bit and to bed, having received no manner of newes this day, but of The Rainbow’s being put in from the fleete, maimed as the other ships are, and some say that Sir W. Clerke is dead of his leg being cut off.

19 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"an entertainment of Commissioner Taylor's"

L&M say this was to celebrate the completion of the ship the *Loyal London,* whose building at Harwich Taylor had overseen.

Ruben  •  Link

Let's remember that Sir Clerke kept a diary like Pepys did and written the same way. War cut short his life and his dairy. Still, interesting to compare.

JWB  •  Link

"... thence down to Longreach, calling on all the ships in the way, seeing their condition for sayling, and what they want."

Perhaps here we should credit Mr. Pepys. According to Mahan, p131:

"The English, notwithstanding their heavy loss in the Four Days' Battle, were at sea again within two months, much to the surprise of the Dutch; "

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

It is difficult to imagine from these days: there was no other means of communication as by personal message and the fastest way was by horse and/or ship. I know it is a cliche, but I can feel Sam's frustration from not having the latest news about the fleet.

Ruben  •  Link

To Wim:
not having the latest news? Are you sure?
A man walking or running was slow.
But a ship or a horse were fast, very fast in Samuel's days.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Just seen at MIT, Cambridge MA USA in the Hart Nautical Museum lobby.
Model of Elizabethan Galleon ca 1580, scale 1/4" = 1'. Model of a typical English warship of the new "low charged" type introduced during the second half of the Sixteenth Century. This model was built based on information found in manuscripts bequeathed by SAMUEL PEPYS to Magdalene College, Cambridge England. Model by and gift of Prof J. R. Jack, 1934.
The model is a big one. It spans two Henrys, stem to stern, ie: stand at the display case with both arms outstretched. The span is thumb to nose to other thumb.

cgs  •  Link

Samuell the thinking man, not awaiting a request, but planning ahead.

Outside the box, not waiting for orders.
[never the answer "not my Job"

Harwich [where the earliest news would be]to London approx 80 miles or by Post haste 4hrs??

The fleet had the unmentioned mail boats that would speed information to shore bases.

cgs  •  Link

Answer: from Sam yesterday:
"took post about three this morning, and were here between eleven and twelve"
8 hrs
average gallop be 10 mph?
I be error in previous post sorry

Glyn  •  Link

Linguistic question: both Pepys yesterday and Evelyn today calls this: the fight.

I'm sure that nowadays we would call this the battle, to me "fight" seems less important and certainly not used when lives are lost. Has the word changed its meaning since the 1660s?

cgs  •  Link

an explanation:
Usage: Battle, Combat, Fight, Engagement. These words agree in denoting a close encounter between contending parties. Fight is a word of less dignity than the others. Except in poetry, it is more naturally applied to the encounter of a few individuals, and more commonly an accidental one; as, a street fight. A combat is a close encounter, whether between few or many, and is usually premeditated. A battle is commonly more general and prolonged. An engagement supposes large numbers on each side, engaged or intermingled in the conflict.

The OED Hard to decipher as meaning is to be left to the pros and cons of word decipherers.
Battle of the Bulge or fight to death of the enraged stomach.

language hat  •  Link

"Has the word changed its meaning since the 1660s?"

Yes. Back then it was used where we would use "battle": 1678 Butler, Hudibras (Part III Canto 1), "the ancient errant knights Won all their ladies hearts in fights." The phrase "in fight" meant "engaged in battle," as we can see from the Evelyn diary entry quoted by Terry Foreman on 3 June: "the Duke of Albemarle was still in fight."

Peter Bates  •  Link

In the light of the historical Anglo-Dutch conflict, I wonder if this is the point to note the contemporary disaster of England losing to Holland (The Netherlands) in a cricket match this week?

This may not have reached the headlines for our US colleagues. Think "US national baseball team loses to Denmark" and you'll get some idea of the surprise and embarrassment that even non-sporting types like me experienced in the UK.

On the other hand, let's rejoice that today we can suffer national defeat or victory in Europe with only pride being hurt, not lives being destroyed.

Pedro  •  Link

“Do I not like orange”…Graham Taylor

Well Peter, Lowestoft was considered an English victory, and the Four Days Battle a Dutch victory.

So lets hope it don’t go to penalties!

(English Humour)

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"some say that Sir W. Clerke is dead of his leg being cut off."

L&M: Clarke was Secretary ay War. He died this day.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Anyone who has had a loved one in battle knows how Pepys, Evelyn, James and Charles -- and the rest of country -- felt. Waiting and not knowing is the pits. My adopted son finishes 20 years in the Navy at the end of this month. There have been entries which I found much too close to today's truth for comfort. He's out in one piece, thank you God, sporting a very elegant tattoo.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Ruben (Or Phil, or anyone who knows): Are William Clerke’s diaries available to the public?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I thought homing pigeons had been used for message carrying since Roman times. Okay, not an in-depth report, but "send more gunpowder and canon balls ASAP" would seem reasonable.

In all my reading about the Civil Wars, I do not remember any mention of carrier pigeons.

"Charlemagne made pigeon-raising the exclusive privilege of nobility. The Rothschild fortune is said to have been seriously augmented by a pigeon bearing news of the British victory at Waterloo." There must have been some message carrying in between.

I can find notes about dovecotes being a big deal at country houses, probably for eggs and eating the birds, but nothing about racing or homing pigeons. Curious.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I differ with cgs' opinion on 6 Jun 2009
'Answer: from Sam yesterday:
'"took post about three this morning, and were here between eleven and twelve"
8 hrs average gallop be 10 mph?
'I be error in previous post sorry"

These men were both exhausted and injured. They may have ridden as fast as they could, but a healthy, rested human with nothing else on his mind could do it faster than 8 hours. Their report was verbal, not written, so there could be no replacements.

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