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5th June. I went this morning to London, where came several particulars of the fight.
6th. Came Sir Daniel Harvey from the General, and related the dreadful encounter, on which his Majesty commanded me to despatch an extraordinary physician and more chirurgeons. It was on the solemn Fast-day when the news came; his Majesty being in the chapel made a sudden stop to hear the relation, which being with much advantage on our side, his Majesty commanded that public thanks should immediately be given as for a victory. The Dean of the chapel going down to give notice of it to the other Dean officiating ; and notice was likewise sent to St. Paul's and Westminster-Abbey. But this was no sooner over, than news came that our loss was very great both in ships and men; that the Prince frigate was burnt, and as noble a vessel of 90 brass guns lost; and the taking of Sir
George Ayscue, and exceeding shattering of both fleets; so
as both being obstinate, both parted rather for want of ammunition and tackle than courage; our General retreating like a lion; which exceedingly abated of our former joy. There was, however, orders given for bonfires and bells; but, God knows, it was rather a deliverance than a triumph. So much it pleased God to humble our late over-confidence that nothing could withstand the Duke of Albemarle, who, in good truth, made too forward a reckoning of his success now, because he had once beaten the Dutch in another quarrel; and being ambitious to outdo the Earl of Sandwich, whom he had prejudicated as deficient in courage.
7th. I sent more chirurgeons, linen, medicaments, &c., to the several ports in my district.
8th. Dined with me Sir Alexander Fraser, prime physician to his Majesty; afterwards, went on board his Majesty's pleasure-boat, when I saw the London frigate launched, a most stately ship, built by the City to supply that which was burnt by accident some time since; the King, Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, being there with great banquet. 11th. Trinity Monday, after a sermon, applied to the remeeting of the Corporation of the Trinity-House, after the late raging and wasting pestilence: I dined with them in their new room in Deptford, the first time since it was rebuilt.
15th June. I went to Chatham.—16th. In the Jemmy yacht (an incomparable sailer) to sea, arrived by noon at the fleet at the Buoy at the Nore, dined with Prince Rupert and the General. 17th. Came his Majesty, the Duke, and many Noblemen. After Council, we went to prayers. My business being despatched, I returned to Chatham, having lain but one night in the Royal Charles; we had a tempestuous sea. I went on shore at Sheerness, where they were building an arsenal for the fleet, and designing a royal fort with a receptacle for great ships to ride at anchor; but here I beheld the sad spectacle, more than half that gallant bulwark of the kingdom miserably shattered, hardly a vessel entire, but appearing rather so many wrecks and hulls, so cruelly had the Dutch mangled us. The loss of the Prince, that gallant vessel, had been a loss to be universally deplored, none knowing for what reason we first engaged in this ungrateful war; we lost besides nine or ten more, and near 600 men slain and 1100 wounded, 2000 prisoners; to balance which, perhaps we might destroy eighteen or twenty of the enemy's ships, and 700 or 800 poor men. 18th. Weary of this sad sight, I returned home. 2nd July. Came Sir John Duncomb' and Mr. Thomas Chicheley,” both Privy Councillors and Commissioners of His Majesty's Ordnance, to visit me, and let me know that his Majesty had in Council, nominated me to be one of the Commissioners for regulating the farming and making of saltpetre through the whole kingdom, and that we were to sit in the Tower the next day. When they were gone, came to see me Sir John Cotton, bein to the famous antiquary, Sir Robert Cotton : a pretended great Grecian, but had by no means the parts, or genius of his grandfather. 3rd. I went to sit with the Commissioners at the Tower, where our commission being read, we made some progress * “Duncomb was a judicious man, but very haughty, and apt to raise enemies against himself. . He was an able Parliament-man, but could not go into all the designs of the Court; for he had a sense of religion, and a zeal for the liberty of his country.”—Bishop Burmet's Hist. of his own Times. *Afterwards knighted. Pepys mentions him as one of the Masters of in business, our Secretary being Sir George Wharton, that famous mathematician who wrote the yearly Almanack during his Majesty's troubles. Thence, to Painters' Hall, to our other commission, and dined at my Lord Mayor's. 4th July. The solemn Fast-day. Dr. Meggot preached an excellent discourse before the King on the terrors of God’s judgments. After sermon, Iwaited on my Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Winchester, where the Dean of Westminster spoke to me about putting into my hands the disposal of fifty pounds, which the charitable people of Oxford had sent to be distributed among the sick and wounded seamen since the battle. Hence, I went to the Lord Chancellor's to joy him of his Royal Highness's second son, now born at St. James's ; and to desire the use of the Star-chamber for our Commissioners to meet in, Painters’ Hall not being so convenient. 12th. We sat the first time in the Star-chamber. There was now added to our commission Sir George Downing" (one that had been a great . . . against his Majesty, but now insinuated into his favour; and, from a pedagogue and fanatic preacher, not worth a groat, had become excessively rich), to inspect the hospitals and treat about prisons. 14th. Sat at the Tower with Sir J. Duncomb and Lord Berkeley, to sign deputations for undertakers to furnish their proportions of saltpetre. 17th. To London, to prepare for the next engagement of the fleets, now gotten to sea again. 22nd. Our parish still infected with the contagion. 25th. The fleets engaged. ... I dined at Lord Berkeley's, at St. James's, where dined my Lady Harrietta Hyde, Lord Arlington, and Sir John Duncomb. 29th. The pestilence now fresh increasing in our parish, I forbore going to church. In the afternoon came tidings * Secretary to the Treasury, and Commissioner of the Customs. He had been recently made a baronet, and was now a zealous courtier; though, during the Commonwealth, as Cromwell's Resident in Holland, he had been no less zealous a republican. He subsequently went to Holland as Ambassador from the King. To him belongs the credit of having engaged Pepys about the year 1659, as one of the clerks in a department of the Exchequer then under his management.
the Ordnance. He was also, as Evelyn tells us, a Member of the Privy Council.
For his character, of which Evelyn speaks as we see, and Pepys leaves a somewhat doubtful impression, see Lord Clarendon's Life.
of our victory over the Dutch, sinking some, and driving others aground, and into their ports. 1st August. I went to Dr. Keffler, who married the daughter of the famous chymist, Drebbell, inventor of the bodied scarlet. I went to see his iron ovens, made portable (formerly) for the Prince of Orange's army: supped at the Rhenish Wine-House with divers Scots gentlemen. 6th. Dined with Mr. Povey, and then went with him to see a country house he had bought near Brentford; returning by Kensington; which house stands to a very graceful avenue of trees, but it is an ordinary building, especially one part. 8th. Dined at Sir Stephen Fox’s” with several friends and, on the 10th, with Mr. Odart, Secretary of the Latin tongue. 17th. Dined with the Lord Chancellor, whom I intreated to visit the Hospital of the Savoy, and reduce it (after the great abuse that had been continued) to its original institution for the benefit of the poor, which he
promised to do. 25th. Waited on Sir William D'Oyly, now recovered, as t were, miraculously. In the afternoon, visited the Savoy Hospital, where I stayed to see the miserably dismembered and wounded men dressed, and gave some necessary orders. Then to my Lord Chancellor, who had, with the Bishop of London and others in the commission, chosen me one of the three surveyors of the repairs of Paul's, and to consider of a model for the new building, or, if it might be, repairing of the steeple, which was most decayed. 26th August. The contagion still continuing, we had the Church-service at home. 27th. I went to St. Paul’s church, where, with Dr. Wren, Mr. Pratt, Mr. May, Mr. Thomas Chicheley, Mr. Slingsby, the Bishop of London, the Dean of St. Paul's,” and several expert workmen, we went about to survey the general decays of that ancient and venerable church, and to set down in writing the particulars of what was fit to be done, with the charge thereof, giving our opinion from article to article. Finding the main building to recede outwards, it was the opinion of Chicheley and Mr. Pratt that it had been so built ab origine for an effect in perspective, in regard of the height; but I was, with Dr. Wren, quite of another judgment, and so we entered it; we plumbed the uprights in several places. When we came to the steeple, it was deliberated whether it were not well enough to repair it only on its old foundation, with reservation to the four pillars; this Mr. Chicheley and Mr. Pratt were also for, but we totally rejected it, and persisted that it required a new foundation, not only in regard of the necessity, but for that the shape of what stood was very mean, and we had a mind to build it with a noble cupola, a form of church-building not as yet known in England, but of wonderful grace. For this purpose, we offered to bring in a plan and estimate, which, after much contest, was at last assented to, and that we should nominate a committee of able workmen to examine the present foundation. This concluded, we drew all up in writing, and so went with my Lord Bishop to the Dean's. .
* Cornelius Van Drebbell, born at Alkmaar, in Holland, in 1572; but in the reign of Charles I. settled in London, where he died in 1634. He was famous for other discoveries in science besides that mentioned by Evelyn—the most important of which was the thermometer. He also made improvements in microscopes and telescopes; and though, like many of his scientific contemporaries, something of an empiric, possessed a considerable knowledge of chemistry and of different branches of natural philosophy.
* This country house, situated near Hounslow, was called the Priory. There were three brothers of this name; sons of Justinian Povey, Auditor-General to Queen Anne of Denmark. The one mentioned by Evelyn was Thomas Povey, a Member of Parliament, Treasurer to the Commissioners for the affairs of Tangier, and Surveyor-General of the Victualling Department, in which offices he was succeeded by Pepys. He had previously held office under Cromwell, and was Treasurer and Receiver-General of the rents and revenues of the Duke of York. Pepys of course mentions him frequently.
* One of the most celebrated statesmen of the period comprised in the Diary. He was knighted in 1665, made Clerk of the Green Cloth, and Paymaster of the Forces by Charles II. He lost the favour of his sucsessor by opposing the bill for a standing army, but was again employed n the reign of Queen Anne. Evelyn gives an interesting account of him at p. 156 of this volume. He was father of the first Earl of lchester, and of the first Baron Holland. He projected Chelsea Colege—the honour of which has generally been attributed to Nell Gwynne. He also founded a new church and a set of alms-houses at his seat, Tarley, in Wilts. He was born in 1627, and died in 1716.
" He held the office of Master of the Mint. Other members of the family were employed about the Court. Arthur, son of Sir Guildford, was knighted, and subsequently made a baronet; and Sir Robert Slingsby was Comptroller of the Navy—a man much respected by Pepys.
* Dr. Sancroft, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury.