Sunday 20 December 1668
(Lord’s day). Up, and with my wife to church, and then home, and there found W. Joyce come to dine with me, as troublesome a talking coxcombe as ever he was, and yet once in a year I like him well enough. In the afternoon my wife and W. Hewer and I to White Hall, where they set me down and staid till I had been with the Duke of York, with the rest of us of the Office, and did a little business, and then the Duke of York in good humour did fall to tell us many fine stories of the wars in Flanders, and how the Spaniards are the [best] disciplined foot in the world; will refuse no extraordinary service if commanded, but scorn to be paid for it, as in other countries, though at the same time they will beg in the streets: not a soldier will carry you a cloak-bag for money for the world, though he will beg a penny, and will do the thing, if commanded by his Commander. That, in the citadel of Antwerp, a soldier hath not a liberty of begging till he hath served three years. They will cry out against their King and Commanders and Generals, none like them in the world, and yet will not hear a stranger say a word of them but he will cut his throat. That, upon a time, some of the Commanders of their army exclaiming against their Generals, and particularly the Marquis de Caranen, the Confessor of the Marquis coming by and hearing them, he stops and gravely tells them that the three great trades of the world are, the lawyers, who govern the world; the churchmen, who enjoy the world; and a sort of fools whom they call souldiers, who make it their work to defend the world. He told us, too, that Turenne being now become a Catholique, he is likely to get over the head of Colbert, their interests being contrary; the latter to promote trade1 and the sea, which, says the Duke of York, is that that we have most cause to fear; and Turenne to employ the King and his forces by land, to encrease his conquests. Thence to the coach to my wife, and so home, and there with W. Hewer to my office and to do some business, and so set down my Journall for four or five days, and then home to supper and read a little, and to bed.
W. Hewer tells me to-day that he hears that the King of France hath declared in print, that he do intend this next summer to forbid his Commanders to strike —[Strike topsails]— to us, but that both we and the Dutch shall strike to him; and that he hath made his captains swear it already, that they will observe it: which is a great thing if he do it, as I know nothing to hinder him.