Pepys writes “My Lord almost transported with joy that he had done all this without any the least blur or obstruction in the world, that could give an offence to any, and with the great honour he thought it would be to him.” As the annotators went about their discussion of the entry, one notation in particular provided a most thoughtful glimpse into the question of the more personal side of Lord Sandwich. Mary wrote, “This is the first truly personal glimpse that we have had of Mountagu, whose presentation is normally very deferential and leads the reader to assume that he is much older and more ‘mature’ than Sam. It reminds us that there is very little age difference between Sam and his master; there is a matter of only 7 or 8 years between them.”
While Sam’s diary captures a uniquely diverse and expansive view of 17th century life, Claire Tomalin’s biography of Pepys explains that Sandwich’s journals “were largely official and impersonal and altogether different from what Pepys” wrote in his diary. (p.81). She further explains that as a “high official serving the state, [he] had good reason to keep records of … [his] … meetings and travel” (p.78) and the style of his affords more of a formal approach in the manner of his writing.
R. C. Anderson, who edited the Journals of the Earl of Sandwich (herein the Journal) covering the period of 1659-1665, tells us that
All of his Journal that relates to his activities as a naval commander is contained in a single volume, which covers the period 12th March 1658/9 to 13th September 1665, when he returned to the Nore from the final short, but successful, cruise of that year in the North Sea. His journal as second in command of the fleet in 1672 probably perished with him in the Royal James; at any rate, it is not preserved at Hinchingbrooke with the rest of his papers.
During the years 1659-1665 his work afloat was varied and important; including, as it did, the expedition to the Sound, the Restoration, the operations against Algiers, the acquisition of Tangier, the home-coming of the new Queen, [historical spoilers follow] the mobilisation of 1664, the battle of Lowestoft, the failure at Bergen, and the capture of the Dutch East-Indiamen in 1665. The list is a long one, covering nearly the whole of the more important work of the Navy for those years, and in every case save one Sandwich was the leading figure.
For the most part his journal is in his own writing. Even where this is not the case, notably in the first section relating to the voyage to Denmark, there are frequent additions and corrections by his own hand. One of the most noticeable things about it is the evidence that he took far more interest in the purely nautical side of his profession than one would expect of a young ‘gentleman admiral’….. [and] there is abundance of evidence that Sandwich did his own navigation while at sea and spent a great deal of time in harbour in surveying work.
Anderson also points out that that what is missing (which is found in abundance in Sam’s diary) is anything “of a personal nature.” A case in point is that the Index to the Journal contains 10 pages of named ships and only 8 rather minor references to Sam. Sandwich’s journal and his personal life were two separate entities and rarely did his journal provide insight into him as ‘a person’. That being said, perhaps a few entries prior to 1663, capture a glimpse of his sense of excitement, wonder and interest in the world around him. The three Journal sections below include the Restoration of Charles II, the preparations of Queen Catherine for her trip to England, and a bullfight that perhaps comes the “closest” in writing style to any of Sam’s diary entries. A short introduction will be given to each to putting entry into perspective followed by the entry in Sandwich’s own words.
I. The King
For the final stages of the Restoration, Mountagu (not yet Lord Sandwich) returned from his ‘retirement’ at Hinchingbrooke and was reappointed General of the fleet together with Monk. While Monk maintained order ashore, Mountagu embarked to prepare the fleet for its coming duty of bringing back the King. Although Mountagu is making history with this voyage, his entries records the details of the day without any indication of crediting himself for pulling this off. On May 23 1660, the King finally set foot upon Mountagu’s ship the Naseby. The entry reads:
23rd. Wednesday. In the morning the General went in his barge close to the shore-side at Schevelinge, where was prepared a Dutch vessel to carry His Majesty on board the Naseby, and about ten of the clock in the morning the King’s most sacred Majesty came to the shore-side and boarded the said vessel, but before she was launched from the shore his Majesty went off her into the Rear Admiral’s boat and came presently on board the General’s barge, as did also the Dukes of York and Gloucester, the Princess Royal, the Queen of Bohemia and the Prince of Orange, and so were rowed from the Naseby, which ship they boarded about eleven of the clock in the morning.
There were upon the shore at Schevelinge many troops of horse and foot of the States, and about forty pieces of ordnance, all which saluted the King and a vast multitude of people were spectators, supposed to be one hundred thousand at least. The ships saluted the King with all their guns twice over before he came on board and once over after he came on board, and once more at the going off of the Princess Royal, the Queen of Bohemia and the Prince of Orange, which was about three of the clock in the afternoon, immediately after which the fleet set sail bound for Dover.
This day his Majesty was pleased to change the name of the Naseby into the Charles and new-named divers other ships; the Richard was named the Royal James. His Royal Highness and the Duke of York embarked in the London when we set sail, as did the Duke of Gloucester into the Swiftsure.
Monsiour Obdam, the Hollands Admiral, came aboard the Naseby, but stayed not to go off with the Princes of Orange, and went away before dinner into another boat by himself.
It is interesting to note that the King paid Mountagu a gracious compliment for his services for “when the long awaited moment came for the King to re-enter his kingdom, he had refused the splendid craft specially adorned for the occasion, preferring to go ashore in Mountagu’s own barge” (Ollard p.86).
II. The Bull
After the Restoration, Sandwich is sent to begin the arrangements for the royal wedding and secure Catherine’s dowry. “Sandwich was assigned a role part naval, part military, part diplomatic. He was to take the fleet to Lisbon to secure the very considerable cash payment which was part of the deal, go on to secure the occupation of Tangier which was another part which might well be frustrated by the direct action of either the Dutch or Spaniards, and finally return to Lisbon in order to bring the new Queen of England home with him. In the interstices of this complicated mission he was to show the flag and impose, if he could, new treaties on the Barbary corsair bases of Algiers, Tripoli, Tetuan and Sallee (Ollard p.98). Ollard goes on to comment that in this entry Sandwich will reveal “more of a talent of a fashion correspondent than of a sports reporter” and proves that ‘he was certainly a mathematick admiral. How many observers would have counted the 74 lackeys? And he had an eye for color and texture”. Queen Catherine’s Portuguese biographer, Casimiro also details the activities as translated by Pedro under the Mountagu link. On September 30, 1661, during this unusual break from highly stressful days full of politics, military planning and diplomacy, Sandwich captures the activities and spirit of the day.
30th. Monday. A Barnstable ship from Newfoundland came in to us once more was come in the day before.
This day I went to Lisbon to see the Huego de Toro [editor’s note: phonetic spelling of “juego de toro” — a bullfight] which was in a square place before the King’s palace, built on the 2 other sides with scaffolds 3 stories high hung with tapestry and carpets rich according to the quality of the noblemen and others to whom they belonged; a place railed in the middle to shelter footmen, and a tree scaffolded for trumpets. The beginning was a water cart, the men and horses and cart all trapped and covered with green tissue, came in to water the place and lay the dust. Then divers persons clad antiquely, some with guitars, other with drums and fiddles, dancing and tumbling in several sets and companies. Then there was an officer of the city mounted on a very good horse and rich saddle waited under the King’s window for his commands. He was attended by several, 10 or more with pied coats and 6 green coats with sharp forks and about 6 yellow coats. The pied coats, as soon as by the King’s command a bull was let out, struck him with darts and played at him to make him run at them and then escaped him by throwing off their cloaks on his horns. The men with forks likewise provoked him and when he ran at them then they exposed their forks to him at once and stopped his career. The yellow coats, when the bull was to be killed, went and seized on him, one first throwing himself between his horns and then the rest falling in and cutting his ham-strings; and then killed him. Presently whereupon there came in 6 horses all clothed and trapped with green tissue and the coachmen and postillion also and so seized a rope to the bull’s horns and galloped away with him out of the quadrangle.
After 3 or 4 bulls were tired and killed by the footmen then was another let out and the Conde de Sarzedas came in upon a fine well ranged horse very richly equipped, having 74 lackeys came in before the horse, half in red liveries with silver lace and half in green with silver lace. He marched up straight to the King’s window and there went up towards it and backed his horse astern 3 times to the King of Portugal and the like to the Queen of England. Then turned to seek out the bull on a grave pace, and when he ran at him he neglectly took a lance out of his footman’s hand and struck him between the horns upon the nape of his neck and broke his lance, and in like manner encountered every bull that came out, he going out 3 or 4 times to mount fresh horses very richly equipped. They killed in all 13 bulls that afternoon after one of the clock. When all was killed that ought to be, then the Conde went up again and made his respect to the King and the Queen as before and went away. Then the antiques danced again and so at sunset the company departed.
III. The Queen
Sandwich’s journey to Portugal included the stressful realisation that much of Catherine’s promised dowry had been used in the ongoing Portuguese war against Spain. This put Sandwich in the terrifically uncomfortable spot of having the “decide” if he would take Catherine with less than the promised dowry and proceed with the deal with Portugal, or abandon the wedding altogether. The decision is made in favour of the Portuguese and the loading of the boats begins. On March 19, 1662 Sandwich records the following.
19th. Wednesday. In the morning we began to put sugars on board. And about noon I went to visit the Marquis of Marialva [Portugues Jew who negotiated the financial side of the marriage] and complained to him concerning the bills of exchange accounted in the schedule as part of the Queen’s portion. The which I had also insisted upon with the Conde da Ponte as being clearly besides the treaty, which expresses it to be in money, jewels, sugars or other merchandises.
This afternoon I went to wait upon the Queen of England to see whether she had any commands for me and to present the compliments of my Lord Chancellor and my Lord Treasurer unto her Majesty, which her Majesty received with very gracious expressions for them, and afterwards she told me that she did very earnestly recommend unto my care the schedule of the portion delivered me the day before by the Conde da Ponte. That her Majesty had overcome almost impossibilities to hasten her voyage and that I must put myself to mastering some difficulties also, and that I should consider the poverty of the Portugal nation caused by the oppression of their enemies.
Her Majesty also told me that it was probable that the enemies of Portugal would send a fleet to invade the river Tagus as soon as this fleet should be sailed for England, and therefore wished me to send for Sir John Lawson to come to Lisbon to assist them; and assured me that both the King and the Duke of York would take it well at my hands.
To all I returned her Majesty answer: That no person should be more careful to master all kind of difficulties in this service than myself and that I would consider what squadron of the fleet could be here soonest and accordingly wait upon her Majesty and give her Majesty further satisfaction.
Finally the day of the departure (April 13, 1662) has arrived and Sandwich records the formal ceremony for Catherine to take leave of her homeland and begin the journey to England.
13th. Sunday. About ten oclock in the morning I went ashore at the Terero de Paso and there was met by Don Lucas, Master of Ceremonies, and in the King’s coach conducted to the Palace where I met the King, Queen of England, Q. Regent and Dom Pedro the Infante coming out of the Presence Chamber. The Earls of Portugal walk with the King covered and in that respect the Q. of England commanded me to put on my hat, which I obeyed. The King etc went along together to the head of the stairs that descend into the court and the two Queens took leave with that decency and constancy that was admirable to see. After that the Q. of England went into her coach, next before which went the coach of respect empty, and then my coach and then the Nobles of Portugal according to their dignity. The streets of the city of Lisbon were all adorned with rich carpets and hangings at the windows and pageants made in their manner to demonstrate as much joy as could be; and the regiments of train-bands and guards that were in the city drawn out. When the Queen came to the great cathedral church, we all alighted and went before her into the church, myself placed next to Dom Pedro, the King leading the Queen of England by the hand. When we came into the church near the door, the priests brought a Cross under a rich canopy supported by 6 priests, which the K., Q. and D.Pd. kissed kneeling upon cushions. When they came to the Choir, the King and Queen took their seat to hear Mass and the Conde de Ponte, now Marquis de Sande, and the Visconde de … [blank in Journal] and another Don went with me to a room purposely prepared for me to repose in until the Mass was celebrated. After Mass I came down to the Choir again and took my place before the Queen, and so we went into the coaches another way of the city to a new bridge built at the end of the King’s yard purposely for the Queen to take water at, all hanged richly and floored with carpets, where the Queen descended and embarked with the King and Dom Pedro in the King’s barge, and so went aboard the Royal Charles, where as soon as they were entered the Henry (Sir John Mennes, Vice-Admiral) fired 61 guns, the James Rear Admiral, 59 (Capt. Clerck commander) and all the rest of the fleet proportionally. After some hours discourse the King went ashore and I by the Queen’s command went along with him. The ships all fired again, the Vice Admiral 41, the Rear Admiral 39 and the rest proportionally.
At night the ships showed out lights at every port-hole and in their tops and yards, and fired rockets and squibs, very handsome to see in the night-time.
In closing, Sandwich records the wedding ceremony of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza. The significance here (spoiler) is that in the future, this actual ceremony will come into question as factions in the court of Charles II will plot to get rid of Catherine by declaring that the exchange of marriage vows did not take place. Leaving those issues in the future, the May 21, 1662 entry reads:
21st. Wednesday. In the afternoon the King and Queen came into the presence chamber upon the throne and the contract formerly made with the Portugal Ambassador was read in English by Sir John Nicholas, in Portuguese by the Portugal Secretary, de Saire; and after which the King took the Queen by the hand and (as I think) said the words of matrimony appointed in the common prayer, the Queen also declaring her consent. Then the Bishop of London stood forth and made the declaration of matrimony in the common prayer and did pronounce them man and wife in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
The above entries are among the most “animated” of those found in Sandwich’s Journal prior to 1663, yet give a glimpse into his eye for detail, appreciation of ceremony and different cultural experiences (which will serve him well in his future). The majority of the Journal tracks naval issues and activities of the ships while at sea. There is included a sketch in his hand of the Disposition of the English fleet off Algiers. Unlike Sam, Sandwich’s entries reveal very little of the personal side of his life. The Journal for 1662 ends a week later with the State reception of the King and Queen at Hampton Court. There are no entries for 1663 and the Journal takes up again in 1664.
Books consulted and/or quoted
- Anderson, R. C. (editor): Journal of the Earl of Sandwich 1659-1665, Navy Records Society, 1928. (Note: all Journal entries provided are from this book)
- Ollard, Richard: Cromwell’s Earl, HarperCollins, 1994.
- Tomalin, Claire: Samuel Pepys The Unequalled Self, Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.