Friday 25 October 1667

Up, and all the morning close till two o’clock, till I had not time to eat my dinner, to make our answer ready for the Parliament this afternoon, to shew how Commissioner Pett was singly concerned in the executing of all orders from Chatham, and that we did properly lodge all orders with him. Thence with Sir W. Pen to the Parliament Committee, and there we all met, and did shew, my Lord Bruncker and I, our commissions under the Great Seal in behalf of all the rest, to shew them our duties, and there I had no more matters asked me, but were bid to withdraw, and did there wait, I all the afternoon till eight at night, while they were examining several about the business of Chatham again, and particularly my Lord Bruncker did meet with two or three blurs that he did not think of. One from Spragg, who says that “The Unity” was ordered up contrary to his order, by my Lord Bruncker and Commissioner Pett. Another by Crispin, the waterman, who said he was upon “The Charles;” and spoke to Lord Bruncker coming by in his boat, to know whether they should carry up “The Charles,” they being a great many naked men without armes, and he told them she was well as she was. Both these have little in them indeed, but yet both did stick close against him; and he is the weakest man in the world to make his defence, and so is like to have much fault laid on him therefrom. Spragg was in with them all the afternoon, and hath much fault laid on him for a man that minded his pleasure, and little else of his whole charge. I walked in the lobby, and there do hear from Mr. Chichly that they were (the Commissioners of the Ordnance) shrewdly put to it yesterday, being examined with all severity and were hardly used by them, much otherwise than we, and did go away with mighty blame; and I am told by every body that it is likely to stick mighty hard upon them: at which every body is glad, because of Duncomb’s pride, and their expecting to have the thanks of the House whereas they have deserved, as the Parliament apprehends, as bad as bad can be.

Here is great talk of an impeachment brought in against my Lord Mordaunt, and that another will be brought in against my Lord Chancellor in a few days.

Here I understand for certain that they have ordered that my Lord Arlington’s letters, and Secretary Morrice’s letters of intelligence, be consulted, about the business of the Dutch fleete’s coming abroad, which is a very high point, but this they have done, but in what particular manner I cannot justly say, whether it was not with the King’s leave first asked.

Here late, as I have said, and at last they broke up, and we had our commissions again, and I do hear how Birch is the high man that do examine and trouble every body with his questions, and they say that he do labour all he can to clear Pett, but it seems a witness has come in tonight, C. Millett, who do declare that he did deliver a message from the Duke of Albemarle time enough for him to carry up “The Charles,” and he neglected it, which will stick very hard, it seems, on him.

So Sir W. Pen and I in his coach home, and there to supper, a good supper, and so weary, and my eyes spent, to bed.

23 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

25th October, 1667. There were delivered to me two letters from the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, with the Decree of the Convocation, attested by the Public Notary, ordering four Doctors of Divinity and Law to acknowledge the obligation the University had to me for procuring the Marmora Arundeliana [… ], which was solemnly done by Dr. Barlow, Dr. Jenkins, Judge of the Admiralty, Dr. Lloyd, and Obadiah Walker, of University College, who having made a large compliment from the University, delivered me the decree fairly written:

Gesta venerabiH domo Convocationis Universitatis Oxon.; . . 17. 1667. Quo die retulit ad Senatum Academicum Dominus Vicecancellarius, quantum Universitas deberet singulari benevolentiae Johannis Evelini Armigeri, qui pro e& pietnte qua Almam Matrem prosequitur non solum Suasu et Concilio apud inclytum Heroem Henricum Howard, Ducis Norfolcue hzEredem, intercessit ut Universitati pretiosissimum eruditce antiquitatis thesnurum Marmora Arundeliana largiretur; sed egregius insuper in ijs colligcndis asservandisq ; navavit operam : Quapropter unanimi suffragio Venerabilis Domus decrctum est ut eidem publicee gratice per delegatos ad Honoratissimum Dominum Henricum Howard propediem mittendos, solemnittr reddantur.

Concordat superscripta cum originali collatione facta per me Ben.

Cooper Notarium Publicum et Regnarium Universitat. Oxon.


' We intend also a noble inscription, in which also honorable mention shall be made of yourselfe ; but Mr. Vice Chancellor commands me to tell you that that was not sufficient for your merits, but that if your occasions would permit you to come down at the Act (when we intend a dedication of our new Theater), some other testimonie should be given both of your owne worth and affection to this your old Mother; for we are all very sensible of this greate addition of learning and reputation to the University is due as well to your industrious care for the Universitie, and interest with my Lord Howard, as to his greate noblenesse and generositie of spirit.

' I am, Sir, your most humble servant,


The Vice-Chancellor's letter to the same effect was too vainglorious to insert, with divers copies of verses that were also sent me. Their mentioning me in the inscription I totally declined, when I directed the titles of Mr. Howard, now made Lord, upon his Ambassage to Morocco. These four doctors, having made me this compliment, desired me to carry and introduce them to Mr. Howard, at Arundel House; which I did, Dr. Barlow (Provost of Queen's) after a short speech, delivering a larger letter of the University's thanks, which was written in Latin, expressing the great sense they had of the honor done them. After this compliment handsomely performed and as nobly received. Mr. Howard accompanied the doctors to their coach. That evening I supped with them.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ormond to Ossory
Written from: Kilkenny
Date: 25 October 1667

... A letter sent, by [ the hands of ] Sir Edward Massey to the King, was in return to one ... concerning the late Chancellor, and to free the Duke from any misapprehension that any thing that he had formerly written might proceed from fear of danger to himself. ... Other good is not expected from the letter, & so there is little pain as to what may come of it. ...

... Mentions a cause pending between Colonel Richard Talbot & Sir Robert Nugent ... some speeches lately made by Lord Orrery ... some matters relating to the Settlement of Ireland ... and the possibility of there being presently some reasons for the writer's visiting England, and also certain alternative propositions that may, in that event, have to be considered, in respect of the appointment of a Deputy or of Lords Justices, to administer this Government. ...

Ormond to Anglesey
Written from: Kilkenny
Date: 25 October 1667

... Contents himself abundantly that the judgment in Barker's case
[… ] is not found to be partial, corrupt, or irrational; and that the King, and so many of my Lords, have found reason to dismiss the appeal. What he may further do, will not take away that satisfaction. They are worse friends to the Adventurers, than ever the writer was, who would leave them to what they can get by the Acts passed in the last King's reign, with all the circumstances which attended the distribution upon [so in MS.] them; much less will Barker find his account by them. ...

Ormond to Ossory
Written from: Kilkenny
Date: 25 October 1667

Mr Barker has several ways to make friends. Some might well be friends to his cause. But the Duke is glad the judgment was not found to be either corrupt or irrational; and that the King took pains to understand the matter, which was intricate enough.

Has no fear of anything that can be laid to the writer's charge in reference to the Settlement of Ireland.…

Ruben  •  Link

May be it is time already to give back the "Marmora Arundeliana" to the Greeks, were they belong. As with the experiments commented yesterday, also in this matter mores have changed, specially since the II WW.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"my Lord Bruncker did meet with two or three blurs that he did not think of."

BLUR: innuendo, charge. (L&M Select Glossary)

Glyn  •  Link

I've been reading the links to all of the names mentioned above, and although they are no doubt scared by the parliamentary enquiry, they all seem to have survived with the exception of Pett.

Even at the time the people knew that he was being made a scapegoat for the people higher up - go to his link and scroll down to the magnificently sarcastic poem by Andrew Marvell which is almost up to Robert Gertz's standard (not quite though):…

I'm just glad that nothing like this happens any more.

Glyn  •  Link

One query about the final line of the poem, unless it's just an extract.

"That lost our fleet and did our flight prevent."

What does "prevent" mean in this context?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Spragg was in with them all the afternoon, and hath much fault laid on him for a man that minded his pleasure, and little else of his whole charge."

Sounds like a true member of the Stuart administration, though I suppose "I followed the King's example" would not be a very sound defense right now.

-"You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit man for the constable of the watch, therefore bear you the lantern." Contable Dogberry, "Much Ado About Nothing.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Constable...Sorry, valiant Dogberry.

And I'm probably being hard on him at that for of course his men did solve the crime in the play.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hmmn...When Parliament is closing in and even Sir Will Coventry seems lost and defensive, where can a simple, pure-souled, yet bold and dynamic CoA turn for advice?

“The Way to Grow Rich”, Hugh Aubry…
Chapter Fifty-seven.

“So...Ye Are Facing Thy Firstmost Parliamentry Inquiry?”

Ah. Thank God for you, sir. Sigh.

Thumbs down...Documentation...Fine, got that...I need...

Yes. "Possible solutions"

"First, security should be thy first and middlemost name. Bury thy profits in a dark and secret place and see that no records of such shall be such that shall see light of day."


"Keep thy friends, particularly witnesses if thou be directly involved in the matter of investigation, close...And thy friends. Secure thine enemies..."

Hmmn... "(Method left to reader)"


"Above all, gentle friend...Put the blame on someone else."

Hmmn. Next page...

"I repeat to thee: Put The Blame On Someone Else."

But what if...?

Ah... "All else failing..."

"Change thy name and move to Spainish America on the first boat out. It be a land of opportunity. And remember to bring my Spainish translation, available at a bookseller near ye."

Background Lurker  •  Link

"May be it is time already to give back the “Marmora Arundeliana” to the Greeks"

But Ruben, everyone knows that when the English play marbles, it's for keepsies.

Jesse  •  Link

"all he can to clear Pett"

Reminder that Pett's wikipedia link has some more on this. The latter-day issue seems to be were there enough men to move the ship(s) far enough out of harms way. A "great many men" points at manpower - not sure what the "naked w/o armes" has to do w/moving the boat(s).

Bryan M  •  Link

"they being a great many naked men without armes"

My reading is that Crispin told Bruncker that there were a large number of men, unarmed and without armour and so, not much use in a battle against the Dutch, who could be usefully engaged in moving the Royal Charles upriver.

Phoenix  •  Link

Glyn, I think the clue to his use of 'prevent' lies in his use of 'flight'. Marvell could be using 'flight' in the sense of quick movement but, being Marvell, it is entirely likely that he is using it in the sense of fleeing. That is to say that Pett's reach and incompetence was so vast and inclusive that it even prevented an English flight. Or, more politely, retreat. An insinuated insult to the true incompetents.

And I'm sure Robert has lowered his eyes and dipped his head in meek embarrassment.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Over the good Dogberry, perhaps.

As to flight I would guess Marvel means to suggest it's ridiculous to believe Pett's actions prevented the fleet's removal.

classicist  •  Link

In the seventeenth century 'prevent' could still carry its Latin meaning 'to go before'. I'd read the poem as sneering that Pett's sending away one boat stampeded everyone else into flight.

Christopher Squire  •  Link

Glyn: DNB has: ' . . He was accused, in detail, of having neglected or disobeyed orders from the duke of York, the duke of Albemarle, and the navy commissioners:
to moor the Royal Charles in a place of safety,
to block the channel of the Medway by sinking a vessel inside the chain,
to provide boats for the defence of the river, and
to see that the officers and seamen were on board their ships.'

Wikipedia has a long entry at:… but I didn't find anything in it that answers the question.

Christopher Squire  •  Link

Glyn: OED has 14 distinct meanings for 'prevent'; here are 3 possibles:

' . . 2. trans. (in causative use). To hasten, bring about, . . Obs
. . 1654 R. WHITLOCK 230 Such as are of this nature, prevent the Worlds Doome, and their own, not staying for the general Conflagration, but beginning it.
a1683 J. OLDHAM Sunday Thoughts in Wks. (1686) 59 Fear is like to prevent and do the work of my Distemper.'

' . . 4. a. trans. To act in anticipation of, or in preparation for (a future event . .
1633 G. HERBERT Temple: Sacred Poems 165 Thus we prevent the last great day, And judge our selves.'

'9. trans.
    a. To preclude the occurrence of (an anticipated event, state, etc.); to render (an intended, possible, or likely action or event) impractical or impossible by anticipatory action; to put a stop to.
  In early use a sense of anticipating or acting in advance is often prominent; later, the emphasis is usually on the sense of hindering, thwarting, or stopping.
. . 1669 S. STURMY Penalties & Forfeitures in Mariners Mag. n ij b, If all concerned had..knowledge of what they should know, they might prevent this loss and damage.'

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Given that Marvell was a general critic of the administration, it's interesting he makes such a strong defense for Pett. I wonder if more than a simple desire for justice in the case moved him. If not, Pett's lucky to have such an impartial and committed man on his side...Though redemption for the poor Commissioner may come posthumously.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Executive privilege raises its head

"Here I understand for certain that they have ordered that my Lord Arlington’s letters, and Secretary Morrice’s letters of intelligence, be consulted, about the business of the Dutch fleete’s coming abroad, which is a very high point, but this they have done, but in what particular manner I cannot justly say, whether it was not with the King’s leave first asked."

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In Commons Lord Mordaunt's Impeachment…

A Petition of Wm. Taylour Esquire; and Articles of Impeachment against the Lord Mordaunt and others; was read. a committee appointed but, say L&M, no further action was taken.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"they have ordered that my Lord Arlington’s letters, and Secretary Morrice’s letters of intelligence, be consulted, about the business of the Dutch fleete’s coming abroad, which is a very high point, but this they have done, but in what particular manner I cannot justly say, whether it was not with the King’s leave first asked. "

L&M note this concerned June 1666 , when the English fleet was caught divided.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

L&M further note the King's leave had been obtained for the production of these papers. Even so it was an infraction of the prerogative and of official secrecy to have then brought before a parliamentary committee.

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