Monday 29 July 1667

Up, and with Sir W. Batten to St. James’s, to Sir W. Coventry’s chamber; where, among other things, he come to me, and told me that he had received my yesterday’s letters, and that we concurred very well in our notions; and that, as to my place which I had offered to resign of the Victualling, he had drawn up a letter at the same time for the Duke of York’s signing for the like places in general raised during this war; and that he had done me right to the Duke of York, to let him know that I had, of my own accord, offered to resign mine. The letter do bid us to do all things, particularizing several, for the laying up of the ships, and easing the King of charge; so that the war is now professedly over. By and by up to the Duke of York’s chamber; and there all the talk was about Jordan’s coming with so much indiscretion, with his four little frigates and sixteen fire-ships from Harwich, to annoy the enemy. His failures were of several sorts, I know not which the truest: that he come with so strong a gale of wind, that his grapplings would not hold; that he did come by their lee; whereas if he had come athwart their hawse, they would have held; that they did not stop a tide, and come up with a windward tide, and then they would not have come so fast. Now, there happened to be Captain Jenifer by, who commanded the Lily in this business, and thus says that, finding the Dutch not so many as they expected, they did not know but that there were more of them above, and so were not so earnest to the setting upon these; that they did do what they could to make the fire-ships fall in among the enemy; and, for their lives, neither Sir J. Jordan nor others could, by shooting several times at them, make them go in; and it seems they were commanded by some idle fellows, such as they could of a sudden gather up at Harwich; which is a sad consideration that, at such a time as this, where the saving the reputation of the whole nation lay at stake, and after so long a war, the King had not credit to gather a few able men to command these vessels. He says, that if they had come up slower, the enemy would, with their boats and their great sloops, which they have to row with a great many men, they would, and did, come and cut up several of our fireships, and would certainly have taken most of them, for they do come with a great provision of these boats on purpose, and to save their men, which is bravely done of them, though they did, on this very occasion, shew great fear, as they say, by some men leaping overboard out of a great ship, as these were all of them of sixty and seventy guns a-piece, which one of our fireships laid on board, though the fire did not take. But yet it is brave to see what care they do take to encourage their men to provide great stores of boats to save them, while we have not credit to find one boat for a ship. And, further, he told us that this new way used by Deane, and this Sir W. Coventry observed several times, of preparing of fire-ships, do not do the work; for the fire, not being strong and quick enough to flame up, so as to take the rigging and sails, lies smothering a great while, half an hour before it flames, in which time they can get her off safely, though, which is uncertain, and did fail in one or two this bout, it do serve to burn our own ships. But what a shame it is to consider how two of our ships’ companies did desert their ships for fear of being taken by their boats, our little frigates being forced to leave them, being chased by their greater! And one more company did set their ship on fire, and leave her; which afterwards a Feversham fisherman come up to, and put out the fire, and carried safe into Feversham, where she now is, which was observed by the Duke of York, and all the company with him, that it was only want of courage, and a general dismay and abjectness of spirit upon all our men; and others did observe our ill management, and God Almighty’s curse upon all that we have in hand, for never such an opportunity was of destroying so many good ships of theirs as we now had. But to see how negligent we were in this business, that our fleete of Jordan’s should not have any notice where Spragg was, nor Spragg of Jordan’s, so as to be able to meet and join in the business, and help one another; but Jordan, when he saw Spragg’s fleete above, did think them to be another part of the enemy’s fleete! While, on the other side, notwithstanding our people at Court made such a secret of Jordan’s design that nobody must know it, and even this Office itself must not know it; nor for my part I did not, though Sir W. Batten says by others’ discourse to him he had heard something of it; yet De Ruyter, or he that commanded this fleete, had notice of it, and told it to a fisherman of ours that he took and released on Thursday last, which was the day before our fleete came to him. But then, that, that seems most to our disgrace, and which the Duke of York did take special and vehement notice of, is, that when the Dutch saw so many fire- ships provided for them, themselves lying, I think, about the Nore, they did with all their great ships, with a North-east wind, as I take it they said, but whatever it was, it was a wind that we should not have done it with, turn down to the Middle-ground; which the Duke of York observed, never was nor would have been undertaken by ourselves. And whereas some of the company answered, it was their great fear, not their choice that made them do it, the Duke of York answered, that it was, it may be, their fear and wisdom that made them do it; but yet their fear did not make them mistake, as we should have done, when we have had no fear upon us, and have run our ships on ground. And this brought it into my mind, that they managed their retreat down this difficult passage, with all their fear, better than we could do ourselves in the main sea, when the Duke of Albemarle run away from the Dutch, when the Prince was lost, and the Royal Charles and the other great ships come on ground upon the Galloper. Thus, in all things, in wisdom, courage, force, knowledge of our own streams, and success, the Dutch have the best of us, and do end the war with victory on their side. The Duke of York being ready, we into his closet, but, being in haste to go to the Parliament House, he could not stay. So we parted, and to Westminster Hall, where the Hall full of people to see the issue of the day, the King being come to speak to the House to-day. One thing extraordinary was, this day a man, a Quaker, came naked through the Hall, only very civilly tied about the privities to avoid scandal, and with a chafing-dish of fire and brimstone burning upon his head, did pass through the Hall, crying, “Repent! repent!” I up to the Painted Chamber, thinking to have got in to have heard the King’s speech, but upon second thoughts did not think it would be worth the crowd, and so went down again into the Hall and there walked with several, among others my Lord Rutherford, who is come out of Scotland, and I hope I may get some advantage by it in reference to the business of the interest of the great sum of money I paid him long since without interest. But I did not now move him in it. But presently comes down the House of Commons, the King having made then a very short and no pleasing speech to them at all, not at all giving them thanks for their readiness to come up to town at this busy time; but told them that he did think he should have had occasion for them, but had none, and therefore did dismiss them to look after their own occasions till October; and that he did wonder any should offer to bring in a suspicion that he intended to rule by an army, or otherwise than by the laws of the land, which he promised them he would do; and so bade them go home and settle the minds of the country in that particular; and only added, that he had made a peace which he did believe they would find reasonable, and a good peace, but did give them none of the particulars thereof. Thus they are dismissed again to their general great distaste, I believe the greatest that ever Parliament was, to see themselves so fooled, and the nation in certain condition of ruin, while the King, they see, is only governed by his lust, and women, and rogues about him. The Speaker, they found, was kept from coming in the morning to the House on purpose, till after the King was come to the House of Lords, for fear they should be doing anything in the House of Commons to the further dissatisfaction of the King and his courtiers. They do all give up the kingdom for lost that I speak to; and do hear what the King says, how he and the Duke of York do do what they can to get up an army, that they may need no more Parliaments: and how my Lady Castlemayne hath, before the late breach between her and the King, said to the King that he must rule by an army, or all would be lost, and that Bab. May hath given the like advice to the King, to crush the English gentlemen, saying that 300l. a-year was enough for any man but them that lived at Court. I am told that many petitions were provided for the Parliament, complaining of the wrongs they have received from the Court and courtiers, in city and country, if the Parliament had but sat: and I do perceive they all do resolve to have a good account of the money spent before ever they give a farthing more: and the whole kingdom is everywhere sensible of their being abused, insomuch that they forced their Parliament-men to come up to sit; and my cozen Roger told me that (but that was in mirth) he believed, if he had not come up, he should have had his house burned. The kingdom never in so troubled a condition in this world as now; nobody pleased with the peace, and yet nobody daring to wish for the continuance of the war, it being plain that nothing do nor can thrive under us. Here I saw old good Mr. Vaughan, and several of the great men of the Commons, and some of them old men, that are come 200 miles, and more, to attend this session- of Parliament; and have been at great charge and disappointments in their other private business; and now all to no purpose, neither to serve their country, content themselves, nor receive any thanks from the King. It is verily expected by many of them that the King will continue the prorogation in October, so as, if it be possible, never to have [this] Parliament more. My Lord Bristoll took his place in the House of Lords this day, but not in his robes; and when the King come in, he withdrew but my Lord of Buckingham was there as brisk as ever, and sat in his robes; which is a monstrous thing, that a man proclaimed against, and put in the Tower, and all, and released without any trial, and yet not restored to his places: But, above all, I saw my Lord Mordaunt as merry as the best, that it seems hath done such further indignities to Mr. Taylor since the last sitting of Parliament as would hang [him], if there were nothing else, would the King do what were fit for him; but nothing of that is now likely to be. After having spent an hour or two in the hall, my cozen Roger and I and Creed to the Old Exchange, where I find all the merchants sad at this peace and breaking up of the Parliament, as men despairing of any good to the nation, which is a grievous consideration; and so home, and there cozen Roger and Creed to dinner with me, and very merry:— but among other things they told me of the strange, bold sermon of Dr. Creeton yesterday, before the King; how he preached against the sins of the Court, and particularly against adultery, over and over instancing how for that single sin in David, the whole nation was undone; and of our negligence in having our castles without ammunition and powder when the Dutch come upon us; and how we have no courage now a-days, but let our ships be taken out of our harbour. Here Creed did tell us the story of the dwell last night, in Coventgarden, between Sir H. Bellasses and Tom Porter. It is worth remembering the silliness of the quarrell, and is a kind of emblem of the general complexion of this whole kingdom at present. They two it seems dined yesterday at Sir Robert Carr’s, where it seems people do drink high, all that come. It happened that these two, the greatest friends in the world, were talking together: and Sir H. Bellasses talked a little louder than ordinary to Tom Porter, giving of him some advice. Some of the company standing by said, “What! are they quarrelling, that they talk so high?” Sir H. Bellasses hearing it, said, “No!” says he: “I would have you know that I never quarrel, but I strike; and take that as a rule of mine!” — “How?” says Tom Porter, “strike! I would I could see the man in England that durst give me a blow!” with that Sir H. Bellasses did give him a box of the eare; and so they were going to fight there, but were hindered. And by and by Tom Porter went out; and meeting Dryden the poet, told him of the business, and that he was resolved to fight Sir H. Bellasses presently; for he knew, if he did not, they should be made friends to-morrow, and then the blow would rest upon him; which he would prevent, and desired Dryden to let him have his boy to bring him notice which way Sir H. Bellasses goes. By and by he is informed that Sir H. Bellasses’s coach was coming: so Tom Porter went down out of the Coffee- house where he stayed for the tidings, and stopped the coach, and bade Sir H. Bellasses come out. “Why,” says H. Bellasses, “you will not hurt me coming out, will you?” — “No,” says Tom Porter. So out he went, and both drew: and H. Bellasses having drawn and flung away his scabbard, Tom Porter asked him whether he was ready? The other answering him he was, they fell to fight, some of their acquaintance by. They wounded one another, and H. Bellasses so much that it is feared he will die: and finding himself severely wounded, he called to Tom Porter, and kissed him, and bade him shift for himself; “for,” says he, “Tom, thou hast hurt me; but I will make shift to stand upon my legs till thou mayest withdraw, and the world not take notice of you, for I would not have thee troubled for what thou hast done.” And so whether he did fly or no I cannot tell: but Tom Porter shewed H. Bellasses that he was wounded too: and they are both ill, but H. Bellasses to fear of life. And this is a fine example; and H. Bellasses a Parliament-man too, and both of them most extraordinary friends! Among other discourse, my cozen Roger told us a thing certain, that the Archbishop of Canterbury; that now is, do keep a wench, and that he is as very a wencher as can be; and tells us it is a thing publickly known that Sir Charles Sidley had got away one of the Archbishop’s wenches from him, and the Archbishop sent to him to let him know that she was his kinswoman, and did wonder that he would offer any dishonour to one related to him. To which Sir Charles Sidley is said to answer, “A pox take his Grace! pray tell his Grace that I believe he finds himself too old, and is afraid that I should outdo him among his girls, and spoil his trade.” But he makes no more of doubt to say that the Archbishop is a wencher, and known to be so, which is one of the most astonishing things that I have heard of, unless it be, what for certain he says is true, that my Lady Castlemayne hath made a Bishop lately, namely, — her uncle, Dr. Glenham, who, I think they say, is Bishop of Carlisle; a drunken, swearing rascal, and a scandal to the Church; and do now pretend to be Bishop of Lincoln, in competition with Dr. Raynbow, who is reckoned as worthy a man as most in the Church for piety and learning: which are things so scandalous to consider, that no man can doubt but we must be undone that hears of them. After dinner comes W. How and a son of Mr. Pagett’s to see me, with whom I drank, but could not stay, and so by coach with cozen Roger (who before his going did acquaint me in private with an offer made of his marrying of Mrs. Elizabeth Wiles, whom I know; a kinswoman of Mr. Honiwood’s, an ugly old maid, but a good housewife; and is said to have 2500l. to her portion; but if I can find that she hath but 2000l., which he prays me to examine, he says he will have her, she being one he hath long known intimately, and a good housewife, and discreet woman; though I am against it in my heart, she being not handsome at all) and it hath been the very bad fortune of the Pepyses that ever I knew, never to marry an handsome woman, excepting Ned Pepys and Creed, set the former down at the Temple resolving to go to Cambridge to-morrow, and Creed and I to White Hall to the Treasury chamber there to attend, but in vain, only here, looking out of the window into the garden, I saw the King (whom I have not had any desire to see since the Dutch come upon the coast first to Sheerness, for shame that I should see him, or he me, methinks, after such a dishonour) come upon the garden; with him two or three idle Lords; and instantly after him, in another walk, my Lady Castlemayne, led by Bab. May: at which I was surprised, having but newly heard the stories of the King and her being parted for ever. So I took Mr. Povy, who was there, aside, and he told me all, how imperious this woman is, and hectors the King to whatever she will. It seems she is with child, and the King says he did not get it: with that she made a slighting “puh” with her mouth, and went out of the house, and never come in again till the King went to Sir Daniel Harvy’s to pray her; and so she is come to-day, when one would think his mind should be full of some other cares, having but this morning broken up such a Parliament, with so much discontent, and so many wants upon him, and but yesterday heard such a sermon against adultery. But it seems she hath told the King, that whoever did get it, he should own it; and the bottom of the quarrel is this:— She is fallen in love with young Jermin who hath of late lain with her oftener than the King, and is now going to marry my Lady Falmouth; the King he is mad at her entertaining Jermin, and she is mad at Jermin’s going to marry from her: so they are all mad; and thus the kingdom is governed! and they say it is labouring to make breaches between the Duke of Richmond and his lady that the King may get her to him. But he tells me for certain that nothing is more sure than that the King, and Duke of York, and the Chancellor, are desirous and labouring all they can to get an army, whatever the King says to the Parliament; and he believes that they are at last resolved to stand and fall all three together: so that he says match of the Duke of York with the Chancellor’s daughter hath undone the nation. He tells me also that the King hath not greater enemies in the world than those of his own family; for there is not an officer in the house almost but curses him for letting them starve, and there is not a farthing of money to be raised for the buying them bread. Having done talking with him I to Westminster Hall, and there talked and wandered up and down till the evening to no purpose, there and to the Swan, and so till the evening, and so home, and there to walk in the garden with my wife, telling her of my losing 300l. a year by my place that I am to part with, which do a little trouble me, but we must live with somewhat more thrift, and so home to supper and to play on the flageolet, which do do very prettily, and so to bed. Many guns were heard this afternoon, it seems, at White Hall and in the Temple garden very plain; but what it should be nobody knows, unless the Dutch be driving our ships up the river. To-morrow we shall know.

18 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

29th July, 1667. I went to Gravesend; the Dutch fleet still at anchor before the river, where I saw five of his Majesty's men-at-war encounter above twenty of the Dutch, in the bottom of the Hope, chasing them with many broadsides given and returned toward the buoy of the Nore [ ], where the .body of their fleet lay, which lasted till about midnight. One of their ships was fired, supposed by themselves, she being run on ground. Having seen this bold action, and their braving us so far up the river, I went home the next day, not without indignation at our negligence, and the nation's reproach. It is well known who of the Commissioners of the Treasury gave advice that the charge of setting forth a fleet this year might be spared, Sir W. C. (William Coventry) by name.

Bradford  •  Link

"it hath been the very bad fortune of the Pepyses that ever I knew, never to marry an handsome woman, excepting Ned Pepys":

Samuel, Samuel, look within thine own household!

"we must live with somewhat more thrift": an end to the coach house and coach?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"One thing extraordinary was, this day a man, a Quaker, came naked through the Hall, only very civilly tied about the privities to avoid scandal, and with a chafing-dish of fire and brimstone burning upon his head, did pass through the Hall, crying, “Repent! repent!”"

Damned 60's radicals...

The more things change...


So Sam does talk about money with Bess...Interesting.

Insider gossip on the workings of the administration...

You almost wish they had sinister motives; at least there'd be someone doing something with a little thought.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

It makes me dizzy to read all these comings and goings.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...though I am against it in my heart, she being not handsome at all) and it hath been the very bad fortune of the Pepyses that ever I knew, never to marry an handsome woman, excepting Ned Pepys..."

Well, for their part they all probably freak at the idea of Sam marrying a penniless beauty.

Take care, Ned. That's all I'll say...Take care.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...Creed did tell us the story of the dwell last night, in Coventgarden, between Sir H. Bellasses and Tom Porter. It is worth remembering the silliness of the quarrell, and is a kind of emblem of the general complexion of this whole kingdom at present."

New meaning to the words "drunken lout"...Though it goes far to explain why Sam dodges Belasyse's "help" and maybe why Sam continues to enjoy Creed's company while utterly distrusting him.

In fairness to our boy it does illustrate also how much he's done to make a secure little world for Bess at their place, relatively safe from the worst goings on about them. Given he actually does give her a considerable degree of freedom and is reasonably generous with the purse strings, if rather patriarchal about finances, one has to acknowledge but for his somewhat dangerous philandering (who knows where and with whom Doll Lane, Mrs. Burroughs, etc have been) and those bursts of bullying...And the occasional neglect, which he does work on at times to rectify...He's not exactly the Homer Simpson of husbands but he could be a lot worse.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Andrew Marvell's version of Parliament today

The Speaker, summoned, to the Lords repairs,
Nor gave the Commons leave to say their prayers,
But like his prisoners to the bar them led,
Where mute they stand to hear their sentence read.
Trembling with joy and fear, Hyde them prorogues,
And had almost mistook and called them rogues.

Last Instructions to a Painter
London, 4 September 1667

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam stares at the scene spread before him…

A strange man, of goodly appearance…In his home…In his wife’s closet…

Bess looking about as guilty as he could ever imagine her to look…


She at writing table, apparently writing…Still fully clothed…

“Sam’l…Mr. Marvell, who’s stopped by on business.”

“Sir…” icily…

Wait…Marvell? “Marvell, the libeler? The rogue attacking the government?”

“I prefer…’The poet’, sir…”

“How dare you, sir? How come you to be in my house, with my wife, with me away but for the need to recover some papers?”

“Sam’l…Mr. Marvell was just looking over my latest…He’s been very kind.”

“Latest? Latest what? Undergarments?”

“Sam’l!” “Sir, you are too harsh!”

“I am too harsh, sir?!! You rogue, you cad…What are you writing there, Bess?” eyes sheet.


Reads…“…’And had almost mistook and called them rogues.’”

Uh-oh…Bess sighs. Sam staring…

Lord, this could be worse than if I’d caught them in bed naked.

“Mrs. Pepys has a considerable talent for satire, Mr. Pepys.” Marvell smiles.

Oh, no…Tis worse…

“Bess? You…?”

“I did leave a clue in the title “Instructions to a Painter’…” Bess notes.

“Actually I wanted to call it ‘…from a Painter’ but I figured that was too obvious.”

“You wrote these? Bess?!”

“Marvelous pieces, eh?” Marvell beams. “And of course considerable credit goes to you, Mr. Pepys.”


“Technical expertise and intelligence, dearest.” Bess notes. “You really deserve an acknowledgement.”

“Oh, no…No…”

“I mean spiritually, Sam’l.. I’m not an idiot.”

“Bess, are you aware what the repercussions could be if anyone learns the truth…?”

Mental image of Admiral Sir Will Penn chuckling evilly while reading…

“Sam’l…No one will find out I wrote it.”

“I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about your friend Marvell being seen here. The world might think I supplied him with information. Even that I wrote the bloody thing…After all, who’d believe a woman could write so well. You, sir…” frown at Marvell…

“Will stay here until dark and then leave in one of my wife’s dresses.”


“Or become a permanent resident of my house of office in the cellar…Tom!! Bring my sword!!” calls.

Bess rolls eyes. “Stay Mr. Marvell, we’ll find a way to get you out. Besides, I want your advice on another project. A wholly new work.”

“What new work?” Sam, apprehensive.

“Your diary. I want to revise it. I don’t mean to criticize, sweet, but it is rather flat.”


“Just a record of your comings and goings…I mean look what you wrote about the Great Fire. ‘My maid Jane informed me of a fire burning 300 homes. I heard it wasn’t looking too bad so I went back to bed. Later it burned London down to the ground but our dinner went off fairly well.”

“It says everything succinctly.”

“Sam’l, the facts are there but it needs a certain something to bring it to life…Just let me tweak it a bit. And I’ll give you girlfriends…” coy smile.


“I think a few shopgirls…A barmaid or two…A few employees’ wives to suggest your position and reflect the social mores of our era… Sweetheart?”

“Mrs. Pepys?! I never…”

“I know that…And you know that…And I’m grateful, but Sam’l the reading public wants sex.”

“Sounds good to me…” Marvell nods.

“Pressure my employees’ wives for sexual favors?!”

“Didn’t you ever want to…In fantasy?” Bess, slyly… “ There are a lot of pretty young ladies with husbands working for you now. What about that Mrs. Bagwell…?”


“It happens…Lots…” she notes. “Consider it a reflection of our times…Something to give future generations an honest view of…”

“Me as a philandering sexual beast?!”

“I can vouch for the..Beast…” grin. “Sam’l…Who cares as long I know you’re faithful. Besides, it’s just an experiment for us to play with…I won’t be publishing it. Only one who’ll ever read it besides us will probably be some musty old archivist.”

Oh…Marvell, bit downcast. Shame.

It had potential.

Hmmn…Sam frowns…


“Lots of girlfriends? Maybe an actress…Like Mrs. Knipp?”

“Well, let’s not go too far off into fantasy, honey.”


“Why Mrs. Knipp?”


Terry Foreman  •  Link

" Jordan’s their lee; whereas if he had come athwart their hawse, they would have held;"

Jordan was said to have come up from downwind of the enemy, but could have hooked them fast had he approached from the side of the bow where are found the holes through which pass the cable or rope used in mooring or towing a ship:

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"it seems they were commanded by some idle fellows, such as they could of a sudden gather up at Harwich"

William Howe of the virgin was later shot, and three other commanders ignominiously dis missed (L&M footnote).

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"he told us that this new way used by Deane, and this Sir W. Coventry observed several times, of preparing of fire-ships, do not do the work; for the fire, not being strong and quick enough to flame up"

Anthony Deane used simply broom and resin, 'with a few shavings and brimstone', without any fireballs to prime the train: Rawl. A195a, f. 264v. He sent his own account of the fireships' action to Pepys, 1 August. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the strange, bold sermon of Dr. Creeton yesterday, before the King; how he preached against the sins of the Court, and particularly against adultery, over and over instancing how for that single sin in David,"

For King David's adultery see 2 Samuel 11, King James Version…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the dwell last night, in Coventgarden"

L&M read "the duell last night, etc."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"my cozen Roger told us a thing certain, that the Archbishop of Canterbury; that now is, do keep a wench, and that he is as very a wencher as can be;"

L&M note this and other slanders about Sheldon -- a bachelor -- wre current among critics of the government, such as Roger Pepys; they were probably put about by Buckingham and Lady Castlemaine. Marvell relished the scandals, in his Last Instructions :

Grave Primate Sheldon (much in preaching there)
Blames the last session and this more does fear:
With [Katherine] Boynton or with [Mrs Charles] Middleton 'twere sweet,
But with a Parliament abohors to meet

and remarking in The Loyal Scot

'Tis necessary Lambeth never wed,
Indifferent to have a wench in bed;

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