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San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Lightly edited from “Rupert, Prince Palatine” -- by EVA SCOTT

Rupert's admirers thought that "the good prince" had not received his due in the official reports of the Four Day action. His secretary, James Hayes, wrote to Henry Bennet, Lord Arlington's secretary to expostulate. "Give me leave to suggest that, since in the Dutch Gazette those lying words speak dishonorably of the Prince, it will offer an occasion of a word or two in yours, more to his merit; in whom I did indeed discover so extraordinary courage, conduct and presence of mind in the midst of all the showers of cannon bullet, that higher I think cannot be imagined of any man that ever fought. I observed him with astonishment all that day."[37]
[37] Dom. State Papers. Chas. II. 159. f. 3. Hayes, 15 June, 1666.

This letter produced the following note, added to the official gazette: "The writer of this letter could not think fit to mingle in his relations any expressions of His Royal Highness's personal behavior, because it was prepared for his own sight. But it is most certain that never any Prince, or it may be truly said, any private person, was, in an action of war, exposed to more danger from the beginning to the end of it. His conduct and presence of mind equaling his fearless courage, and carrying him to change his ship three times, setting up his Royal standard in each of them, to animate his own men and brave the enemy."[38]
[38] Dom. State Papers, Chas. II. Vol. 159. 3 (1).

For this tribute secretary James Hayes returned grateful thanks. "You have done right to a brave Prince, whose worth will endure praise, though I find his ears are too modest to hear his own."[39]
[39] Dom. State Papers, Chas. II. 159. 55. Hayes, June 21, 1666.

Rupert was far more engaged with his smoldering wrath against the Commissioners of the Navy, than in considering what the Dutch Gazette did, or did not say, say about him. A month earlier he had written to Charles II that "unless some course" were taken with the victualler -- viz. Pepys -- the whole fleet would be ruined.[40]
[40] Dom. State Papers, Chas. II. 156. 100. 22 May, 1666.

Now, when the fleet came into refit, the first thing Rupert did on meeting Charles II, was to reiterate his complaints. "Which," wrote Pepys, "I am troubled at, and do fear may in violence break out upon this office some time or other, and we shall not be able to carry on the business."[41]
[41] Pepys. June 20, 1666.

But Rupert's time on shore was short, and the victualling storm was deferred.
By July 22, 1666 the fleet was again at sea.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.