September 1st. Up and at the office all the morning, and then dined at home. Got my new closet made mighty clean against to-morrow. Sir W. Pen and my wife and Mercer and I to “Polichinelly,” but were there horribly frighted to see Young Killigrew come in with a great many more young sparks; but we hid ourselves, so as we think they did not see us. By and by, they went away, and then we were at rest again; and so, the play being done, we to Islington, and there eat and drank and mighty merry; and so home singing, and, after a letter or two at the office, to bed.
2nd (Lord’s day). Some of our mayds sitting up late last night to get things ready against our feast to-day, Jane called us up about three in the morning, to tell us of a great fire they saw in the City. So I rose and slipped on my nightgowne, and went to her window, and thought it to be on the backside of Marke-lane at the farthest; but, being unused to such fires as followed, I thought it far enough off; and so went to bed again and to sleep. About seven rose again to dress myself, and there looked out at the window, and saw the fire not so much as it was and further off. So to my closett to set things to rights after yesterday’s cleaning. By and by Jane comes and tells me that she hears that above 300 houses have been burned down to-night by the fire we saw, and that it is now burning down all Fish-street, by London Bridge. So I made myself ready presently, and walked to the Tower, and there got up upon one of the high places, Sir J. Robinson’s little son going up with me; and there I did see the houses at that end of the bridge all on fire, and an infinite great fire on this and the other side the end of the bridge; which, among other people, did trouble me for poor little Michell and our Sarah on the bridge. So down, with my heart full of trouble, to the Lieutenant of the Tower, who tells me that it begun this morning in the King’s baker’s’ house in Pudding-lane, and that it hath burned St. Magnus’s Church and most part of Fish-street already. So I down to the water-side, and there got a boat and through bridge, and there saw a lamentable fire. Poor Michell’s house, as far as the Old Swan, already burned that way, and the fire running further, that in a very little time it got as far as the Steeleyard, while I was there. Everybody endeavouring to remove their goods, and flinging into the river or bringing them into lighters that layoff; poor people staying in their houses as long as till the very fire touched them, and then running into boats, or clambering from one pair of stairs by the water-side to another. And among other things, the poor pigeons, I perceive, were loth to leave their houses, but hovered about the windows and balconys till they were, some of them burned, their wings, and fell down. Having staid, and in an hour’s time seen the fire: rage every way, and nobody, to my sight, endeavouring to quench it, but to remove their goods, and leave all to the fire, and having seen it get as far as the Steele-yard, and the wind mighty high and driving it into the City; and every thing, after so long a drought, proving combustible, even the very stones of churches, and among other things the poor steeple by which pretty Mrs.————lives, and whereof my old school-fellow Elborough is parson, taken fire in the very top, an there burned till it fell down: I to White Hall (with a gentleman with me who desired to go off from the Tower, to see the fire, in my boat); to White Hall, and there up to the Kings closett in the Chappell, where people come about me, and did give them an account dismayed them all, and word was carried in to the King. So I was called for, and did tell the King and Duke of Yorke what I saw, and that unless his Majesty did command houses to be pulled down nothing could stop the fire. They seemed much troubled, and the King commanded me to go to my Lord Mayor—[Sir Thomas Bludworth. See June 30th, 1666.]—from him, and command him to spare no houses, but to pull down before the fire every way. The Duke of York bid me tell him that if he would have any more soldiers he shall; and so did my Lord Arlington afterwards, as a great secret.
[Sir William Coventry wrote to Lord Arlington on the evening of this day, “The Duke of York fears the want of workmen and tools to-morrow morning, and wishes the deputy lieutenants and justices of peace to summon the workmen with tools to be there by break of day. In some churches and chapels are great hooks for pulling down houses, which should be brought ready upon the place to-night against the morning” (“Calendar of State Papers,” 1666-66, p. 95).]
Here meeting, with Captain Cocke, I in his coach, which he lent me, and Creed with me to Paul’s, and there walked along Watlingstreet, as well as I could, every creature coming away loaden with goods to save, and here and there sicke people carried away in beds. Extraordinary good goods carried in carts and on backs. At last met my Lord Mayor in Canningstreet, like a man spent, with a handkercher about his neck. To the King’s message he cried, like a fainting woman, “Lord! what can I do? I am spent: people will not obey me. I have been pulling down houses; but the fire overtakes us faster than we can do it.” That he needed no more soldiers; and that, for himself, he must go and refresh himself, having been up all night. So he left me, and I him, and walked home, seeing people all almost distracted, and no manner of means used to quench the fire. The houses, too, so very thick thereabouts, and full of matter for burning, as pitch and tarr, in Thames-street; and warehouses of oyle, and wines, and brandy, and other things. Here I saw Mr. Isaake Houblon, the handsome man, prettily dressed and dirty, at his door at Dowgate, receiving some of his brothers’ things, whose houses were on fire; and, as he says, have been removed twice already; and he doubts (as it soon proved) that they must be in a little time removed from his house also, which was a sad consideration. And to see the churches all filling with goods by people who themselves should have been quietly there at this time. By this time it was about twelve o’clock; and so home, and there find my guests, which was Mr. Wood and his wife Barbary Sheldon, and also Mr. Moons: she mighty fine, and her husband; for aught I see, a likely man. But Mr. Moone’s design and mine, which was to look over my closett and please him with the sight thereof, which he hath long desired, was wholly disappointed; for we were in great trouble and disturbance at this fire, not knowing what to think of it. However, we had an extraordinary good dinner, and as merry, as at this time we could be. While at dinner Mrs. Batelier come to enquire after Mr. Woolfe and Stanes (who, it seems, are related to them), whose houses in Fish-street are all burned; and they in a sad condition. She would not stay in the fright. Soon as dined, I and Moone away, and walked, through the City, the streets full of nothing but people and horses and carts loaden with goods, ready to run over one another, and, removing goods from one burned house to another. They now removing out of Canning-streets (which received goods in the morning) into Lumbard-streets, and further; and among others I now saw my little goldsmith, Stokes, receiving some friend’s goods, whose house itself was burned the day after. We parted at Paul’s; he home, and I to Paul’s Wharf, where I had appointed a boat to attend me, and took in Mr. Carcasse and his brother, whom I met in the streets and carried them below and above bridge to and again to see the fire, which was now got further, both below and above and no likelihood of stopping it. Met with the King and Duke of York in their barge, and with them to Queenhith and there called Sir Richard Browne to them. Their order was only to pull down houses apace, and so below bridge the water-side; but little was or could be done, the fire coming upon them so fast. Good hopes there was of stopping it at the Three Cranes above, and at Buttolph’s Wharf below bridge, if care be used; but the wind carries it into the City so as we know not by the water-side what it do there. River full of lighters and boats taking in goods, and good goods swimming in the water, and only I observed that hardly one lighter or boat in three that had the goods of a house in, but there was a pair of Virginalls
[The virginal differed from the spinet in being square instead of triangular in form. The word pair was used in the obsolete sense of a set, as we read also of a pair of organs. The instrument is supposed to have obtained its name from young women, playing upon it.]
in it. Having seen as much as I could now, I away to White Hall by appointment, and there walked to St. James’s Parks, and there met my wife and Creed and Wood and his wife, and walked to my boat; and there upon the water again, and to the fire up and down, it still encreasing, and the wind great. So near the fire as we could for smoke; and all over the Thames, with one’s face in the wind, you were almost burned with a shower of firedrops. This is very true; so as houses were burned by these drops and flakes of fire, three or four, nay, five or six houses, one from another. When we could endure no more upon the water; we to a little ale-house on the Bankside, over against the ‘Three Cranes, and there staid till it was dark almost, and saw the fire grow; and, as it grew darker, appeared more and more, and in corners and upon steeples, and between churches and houses, as far as we could see up the hill of the City, in a most horrid malicious bloody flame, not like the fine flame of an ordinary fire. Barbary and her husband away before us. We staid till, it being darkish, we saw the fire as only one entire arch of fire from this to the other side the bridge, and in a bow up the hill for an arch of above a mile long: it made me weep to see it. The churches, houses, and all on fire and flaming at once; and a horrid noise the flames made, and the cracking of houses at their ruins. So home with a sad heart, and there find every body discoursing and lamenting the fire; and poor Tom Hater come with some few of his goods saved out of his house, which is burned upon Fish-streets Hall. I invited him to lie at my house, and did receive his goods, but was deceived in his lying there, the newes coming every moment of the growth of the fire; so as we were forced to begin to pack up our owne goods; and prepare for their removal; and did by moonshine (it being brave dry, and moon: shine, and warm weather) carry much of my goods into the garden, and Mr. Hater and I did remove my money and iron chests into my cellar, as thinking that the safest place. And got my bags of gold into my office, ready to carry away, and my chief papers of accounts also there, and my tallys into a box by themselves. So great was our fear, as Sir W. Batten hath carts come out of the country to fetch away his goods this night. We did put Mr. Hater, poor man, to bed a little; but he got but very little rest, so much noise being in my house, taking down of goods.
3rd. About four o’clock in the morning, my Lady Batten sent me a cart to carry away all my money, and plate, and best things, to Sir W. Rider’s at Bednall-greene. Which I did riding myself in my night-gowne in the cart; and, Lord! to see how the streets and the highways are crowded with people running and riding, and getting of carts at any rate to fetch away things. I find Sir W. Rider tired with being called up all night, and receiving things from several friends. His house full of goods, and much of Sir W. Batten’s and Sir W. Pen’s I am eased at my heart to have my treasure so well secured. Then home, with much ado to find a way, nor any sleep all this night to me nor my poor wife. But then and all this day she and I, and all my people labouring to get away the rest of our things, and did get Mr. Tooker to get me a lighter to take them in, and we did carry them (myself some) over Tower Hill, which was by this time full of people’s goods, bringing their goods thither; and down to the lighter, which lay at next quay, above the Tower Docke. And here was my neighbour’s wife, Mrs.———-,with her pretty child, and some few of her things, which I did willingly give way to be saved with mine; but there was no passing with any thing through the postern, the crowd was so great. The Duke of Yorke of this day by the office, and spoke to us, and did ride with his guard up and down the City, to keep all quiet (he being now Generall, and having the care of all). This day, Mercer being not at home, but against her mistress’s order gone to her mother’s, and my wife going thither to speak with W. Hewer, met her there, and was angry; and her mother saying that she was not a ‘prentice girl, to ask leave every time she goes abroad, my wife with good reason was angry, and, when she came home, bid her be gone again. And so she went away, which troubled me, but yet less than it would, because of the condition we are in, fear of coming into in a little time of being less able to keepe one in her quality. At night lay down a little upon a quilt of W. Hewer’s in the office, all my owne things being packed up or gone; and after me my poor wife did the like, we having fed upon the remains of yesterday’s dinner, having no fire nor dishes, nor any opportunity of dressing any thing.
4th. Up by break of day to get away the remainder of my things; which I did by a lighter at the Iron gate and my hands so few, that it was the afternoon before we could get them all away. Sir W. Pen and I to Tower-streete, and there met the fire burning three or four doors beyond Mr. Howell’s, whose goods, poor man, his trayes, and dishes, shovells, &c., were flung all along Tower-street in the kennels, and people working therewith from one end to the other; the fire coming on in that narrow streete, on both sides, with infinite fury. Sir W. Batten not knowing how to remove his wine, did dig a pit in the garden, and laid it in there; and I took the opportunity of laying all the papers of my office that I could not otherwise dispose of. And in the evening Sir W. Pen and I did dig another, and put our wine in it; and I my Parmazan cheese, as well as my wine and some other things. The Duke of Yorke was at the office this day, at Sir W. Pen’s; but I happened not to be within. This afternoon, sitting melancholy with Sir W. Pen in our garden, and thinking of the certain burning of this office, without extraordinary means, I did propose for the sending up of all our workmen from Woolwich and Deptford yards (none whereof yet appeared), and to write to Sir W. Coventry to have the Duke of Yorke’s permission to pull down houses, rather than lose this office, which would, much hinder, the King’s business. So Sir W. Pen he went down this night, in order to the sending them up to-morrow morning; and I wrote to Sir W. Coventry about the business, but received no answer. This night Mrs. Turner (who, poor woman, was removing her goods all this day, good goods into the garden, and knows not how to dispose of them), and her husband supped with my wife and I at night, in the office; upon a shoulder of mutton from the cook’s, without any napkin or any thing, in a sad manner, but were merry. Only now and then walking into the garden, and saw how horridly the sky looks, all on a fire in the night, was enough to put us out of our wits; and, indeed, it was extremely dreadful, for it looks just as if it was at us; and the whole heaven on fire. I after supper walked in the darke down to Tower-streete, and there saw it all on fire, at the Trinity House on that side, and the Dolphin Taverne on this side, which was very near us; and the fire with extraordinary vehemence. Now begins the practice of blowing up of houses in Tower-streete, those next the Tower, which at first did frighten people more than anything, but it stopped the fire where it was done, it bringing down the
[A copy of this letter, preserved among the Pepys MSS. in the author’s own handwriting, is subjoined:
“SIR, The fire is now very neere us as well on Tower Streete as Fanchurch Street side, and we little hope of our escape but by this remedy, to ye want whereof we doe certainly owe ye loss of ye City namely, ye pulling down of houses, in ye way of ye fire. This way Sir W. Pen and myself have so far concluded upon ye practising, that he is gone to Woolwich and Deptford to supply himself with men and necessarys in order to the doeing thereof, in case at his returne our condition be not bettered and that he meets with his R. Hs. approbation, which I had thus undertaken to learn of you. Pray please to let me have this night (at whatever hour it is) what his R. Hs. directions are in this particular; Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten having left us, we cannot add, though we are well assured of their, as well as all ye neighbourhood’s concurrence.
“Yr. obedient servnt. “S. P.
“Sir W. Coventry, “Septr. 4, 1666.”]
houses to the ground in the same places they stood, and then it was easy to quench what little fire was in it, though it kindled nothing almost. W. Newer this day went to see how his mother did, and comes late home, telling us how he hath been forced to remove her to Islington, her house in Pye-corner being burned; so that the fire is got so far that way, and all the Old Bayly, and was running down to Fleete-streete; and Paul’s is burned, and all Cheapside. I wrote to my father this night, but the post-house being burned, the letter could not go.
[J. Hickes wrote to Williamson on September 3rd from the “Golden Lyon,” Red Cross Street Posthouse. Sir Philip [Frowde] and his lady fled from the [letter] office at midnight for: safety; stayed himself till 1 am. till his wife and childrens’ patience could stay, no longer, fearing lest they should be quite stopped up; the passage was so tedious they had much ado to get where they are. The Chester and Irish, mails have come-in; sends him his letters, knows not how to dispose of the business (“Calendar of State Papers,” 1666-67, p. 95).]
5th. I lay down in the office again upon W. Hewer’s, quilt, being mighty weary, and sore in my feet with going till I was hardly able to stand. About two in the morning my wife calls me up and tells me of new cryes of fire, it being come to Barkeing Church, which is the bottom of our lane. I up, and finding it so, resolved presently to take her away, and did, and took my gold, which was about L2350, W. Newer, and Jane, down by Proundy’s boat to Woolwich; but, Lord! what sad sight it was by moone-light to see, the whole City almost on fire, that you might see it plain at Woolwich, as if you were by it. There, when I come, I find the gates shut, but no guard kept at all, which troubled me, because of discourse now begun, that there is plot in it, and that the French had done it. I got the gates open, and to Mr. Shelden’s, where I locked up my gold, and charged, my wife and W. Newer never to leave the room without one of them in it, night, or day. So back again, by the way seeing my goods well in the lighters at Deptford, and watched well by people. Home; and whereas I expected to have seen our house on fire, it being now about seven o’clock, it was not. But to the fyre, and there find greater hopes than I expected; for my confidence of finding our Office on fire was such, that I durst not ask any body how it was with us, till I come and saw it not burned. But going to the fire, I find by the blowing up of houses, and the great helpe given by the workmen out of the King’s yards, sent up by Sir W. Pen, there is a good stop given to it, as well as at Marke-lane end as ours; it having only burned the dyall of Barking Church, and part of the porch, and was there quenched. I up to the top of Barking steeple, and there saw the saddest sight of desolation that I ever saw; every where great fires, oyle-cellars, and brimstone, and other things burning. I became afeard to stay there long, and therefore down again as fast as I could, the fire being spread as far as I could see it; and to Sir W. Pen’s, and there eat a piece of cold meat, having eaten nothing since Sunday, but the remains of Sunday’s dinner. Here I met with Mr. Young and Whistler; and having removed all my things, and received good hopes that the fire at our end; is stopped, they and I walked into the town, and find Fanchurch-streete, Gracious-streete; and Lumbard-streete all in dust. The Exchange a sad sight, nothing standing there, of all the statues or pillars, but Sir Thomas Gresham’s picture in the corner. Walked into Moorefields (our feet ready to burn, walking through the towne among the hot coles), and find that full of people, and poor wretches carrying their good there, and every body keeping his goods together by themselves (and a great blessing it is to them that it is fair weathe for them to keep abroad night and day); drank there, and paid two-pence for a plain penny loaf. Thence homeward, having passed through Cheapside and Newgate Market, all burned, and seen Anthony Joyce’s House in fire. And took up (which I keep by me) a piece of glasse of Mercers’ Chappell in the streete, where much more was, so melted and buckled with the heat of the fire like parchment. I also did see a poor cat taken out of a hole in the chimney, joyning to the wall of the Exchange; with, the hair all burned off the body, and yet alive. So home at night, and find there good hopes of saving our office; but great endeavours of watching all night, and having men ready; and so we lodged them in the office, and had drink and bread and cheese for them. And I lay down and slept a good night about midnight, though when I rose I heard that there had been a great alarme of French and Dutch being risen, which proved, nothing. But it is a strange thing to see how long this time did look since Sunday, having been always full of variety of actions, and little sleep, that it looked like a week or more, and I had forgot, almost the day of the week.
6th. Up about five o’clock, and where met Mr. Gawden at the gate of the office (I intending to go out, as I used, every now and then to-day, to see how the fire is) to call our men to Bishop’s-gate, where no fire had yet been near, and there is now one broke out which did give great grounds to people, and to me too, to think that there is some kind of plot
[The terrible disaster which overtook London was borne by the inhabitants of the city with great fortitude, but foreigners and Roman Catholics had a bad dime. As no cause for the outbreak of the fire could be traced, a general cry was raised that it owed its origin to a plot. In a letter from Thomas Waade to Williamson (dated “Whitby, Sept. 14th”) we read, “The destruction of London by fire is reported to be a hellish contrivance of the French, Hollanders, and fanatic party” (“Calendar of State Papers,” 1666-67, p. 124).]
in this (on which many by this time have been taken, and, it hath been dangerous for any stranger to walk in the streets), but I went with the men, and we did put it out in a little time; so that that was well again. It was pretty to see how hard the women did work in the cannells, sweeping of water; but then they would scold for drink, and be as drunk as devils. I saw good butts of sugar broke open in the street, and people go and take handsfull out, and put into beer, and drink it. And now all being pretty well, I took boat, and over to Southwarke, and took boat on the other side the bridge, and so to Westminster, thinking to shift myself, being all in dirt from top to bottom; but could not there find any place to buy a shirt or pair of gloves, Westminster Hall being full of people’s goods, those in Westminster having removed all their goods, and the Exchequer money put into vessels to carry to Nonsuch; but to the Swan, and there was trimmed; and then to White Hall, but saw nobody; and so home. A sad sight to see how the River looks: no houses nor church near it, to the Temple, where it stopped. At home, did go with Sir W. Batten, and our neighbour, Knightly (who, with one more, was the only man of any fashion left in all the neighbourhood thereabouts, they all removing their goods and leaving their houses to the mercy of the fire), to Sir R. Ford’s, and there dined in an earthen platter—a fried breast of mutton; a great many of us, but very merry, and indeed as good a meal, though as ugly a one, as ever I had in my life. Thence down to Deptford, and there with great satisfaction landed all my goods at Sir G. Carteret’s safe, and nothing missed I could see, or hurt. This being done to my great content, I home, and to Sir W. Batten’s, and there with Sir R. Ford, Mr. Knightly, and one Withers, a professed lying rogue, supped well, and mighty merry, and our fears over. From them to the office, and there slept with the office full of labourers, who talked, and slept, and walked all night long there. But strange it was to see Cloathworkers’ Hall on fire these three days and nights in one body of flame, it being the cellar full of oyle.
7th. Up by five o’clock; and, blessed be God! find all well, and by water to Paul’s Wharfe. Walked thence, and saw, all the towne burned, and a miserable sight of Paul’s church; with all the roofs fallen, and the body of the quire fallen into St. Fayth’s; Paul’s school also, Ludgate, and Fleet-street, my father’s house, and the church, and a good part of the Temple the like. So to Creed’s lodging, near the New Exchange, and there find him laid down upon a bed; the house all unfurnished, there being fears of the fire’s coming to them. There borrowed a shirt of him, and washed. To Sir W. Coventry, at St. James’s, who lay without curtains, having removed all his goods; as the King at White Hall, and every body had done, and was doing. He hopes we shall have no publique distractions upon this fire, which is what every body fears, because of the talke of the French having a hand in it. And it is a proper time for discontents; but all men’s minds are full of care to protect themselves, and save their goods: the militia is in armes every where. Our fleetes, he tells me, have been in sight one of another, and most unhappily by fowle weather were parted, to our great losse, as in reason they do conclude; the Dutch being come out only to make a shew, and please their people; but in very bad condition as to stores; victuals, and men. They are at Bullen; and our fleete come to St. Ellen’s. We have got nothing, but have lost one ship, but he knows not what. Thence to the Swan, and there drank: and so home, and find all well. My Lord Bruncker, at Sir W. Batten’s, and tells us the Generall is sent for up, to come to advise with the King about business at this juncture, and to keep all quiet; which is great honour to him, but I am sure is but a piece of dissimulation. So home, and did give orders for my house to be made clean; and then down to Woolwich, and there find all well: Dined, and Mrs. Markham come to see my wife. So I up again, and calling at Deptford for some things of W. Hewer’s, he being with me, and then home and spent the evening with Sir R. Ford, Mr. Knightly, and Sir W. Pen at Sir W. Batten’s: This day our Merchants first met at Gresham College, which, by proclamation, is to be their Exchange. Strange to hear what is bid for houses all up and down here; a friend of Sir W. Rider’s: having L150 for what he used to let for L40 per annum. Much dispute where the Custome-house shall be thereby the growth of the City again to be foreseen. My Lord Treasurer, they say, and others; would have it at the other end of the towne. I home late to Sir W. Pen’s, who did give me a bed; but without curtains or hangings, all being down. So here I went the first time into a naked bed, only my drawers on; and did sleep pretty well: but still hath sleeping and waking had a fear of fire in my heart, that I took little rest. People do all the world over cry out of the simplicity of my Lord Mayor in generall; and more particularly in this business of the fire, laying it all upon’ him. A proclamation
[On September 5th proclamation was made “ordering that for supply of the distressed people left destitute by the late dreadful and dismal fire.... great proportions of bread be brought daily, not only to the former markets, but to those lately ordained; that all churches, chapels, schools, and public buildings are to be open to receive the goods of those who know not how to dispose of them.” On September 6th, proclamation ordered “that as the markets are burned down, markets be held in Bishopsgate Street, Tower Hill, Smithfield, and Leadenhall Street” (“Calendar of State Papers,” 1666-67, pp. 100, 104).]
is come out for markets to be kept at Leadenhall and Mileendgreene, and several other places about the towne; and Tower-hill, and all churches to be set open to receive poor people.
8th. Up and with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen by water to White Hall and they to St. James’s. I stopped with Sir G. Carteret to desire him to go with us, and to enquire after money. But the first he cannot do, and the other as little, or says, “when we can get any, or what shall we do for it?” He, it seems, is employed in the correspondence between the City and the King every day, in settling of things. I find him full of trouble, to think how things will go. I left him, and to St. James’s, where we met first at Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, and there did what business we can, without any books. Our discourse, as every thing else, was confused. The fleete is at Portsmouth, there staying a wind to carry them to the Downes, or towards Bullen, where they say the Dutch fleete is gone, and stays. We concluded upon private meetings for a while, not having any money to satisfy any people that may come to us. I bought two eeles upon the Thames, cost me six shillings. Thence with Sir W. Batten to the Cock-pit, whither the Duke of Albemarle is come. It seems the King holds him so necessary at this time, that he hath sent for him, and will keep him here. Indeed, his interest in the City, being acquainted, and his care in keeping things quiet, is reckoned that wherein he will be very serviceable. We to him; he is courted in appearance by every body. He very kind to us; I perceive he lays by all business of the fleete at present, and minds the City, and is now hastening to Gresham College, to discourse with the Aldermen. Sir W. Batten and I home (where met by my brother John, come to town to see how things are with us), and then presently he with me to Gresham College; where infinity of people, partly through novelty to see the new place, and partly to find out and hear what is become one man of another. I met with many people undone, and more that have extraordinary great losses. People speaking their thoughts variously about the beginning of the fire, and the rebuilding; of the City. Then to Sir W. Batten’s, and took my brothet with me, and there dined with a great company of neighbours; and much good discourse; among others, of the low spirits of some rich men in the City, in sparing any encouragement to the poor people that wrought for the saving their houses. Among others, Alderman Starling, a very rich man, without; children, the fire at next door to him in our lane, after our men had saved his house, did give 2s. 6d. among thirty of them, and did quarrel with some that would remove the rubbish out of the way of the fire, saying that they come to steal. Sir W. Coventry told me of another this morning, in Holborne, which he shewed the King that when it was offered to stop the fire near his house for such a reward that came but to 2s. 6d. a man among the neighbours he would, give but 18d. Thence to Bednall Green by coach, my brother with me, and saw all well there, and fetched away my journall book to enter for five days past, and then back to the office where I find Bagwell’s wife, and her husband come home. Agreed to come to their house to-morrow, I sending him away to his ship to-day. To the office and late writing letters, and then to Sir W. Pen’s, my brother lying with me, and Sir W. Pen gone down to rest himself at Woolwich. But I was much frighted and kept awake in my bed, by some noise I heard a great while below stairs; and the boys not coming up to me when I knocked. It was by their discovery of people stealing of some neighbours’ wine that lay in vessels in the streets. So to sleep; and all well all night.
9th (Sunday). Up and was trimmed, and sent my brother to Woolwich to my wife, to dine with her. I to church, where our parson made a melancholy but good sermon; and many and most in the church cried, specially the women. The church mighty full; but few of fashion, and most strangers. I walked to Bednall Green, and there dined well, but a bad venison pasty at Sir W. Rider’s. Good people they are, and good discourse; and his daughter, Middleton, a fine woman, discreet. Thence home, and to church again, and there preached Dean Harding; but, methinks, a bad, poor sermon, though proper for the time; nor eloquent, in saying at this time that the City is reduced from a large folio to a decimotertio. So to my office, there to write down my journall, and take leave of my brother, whom I sent back this afternoon, though rainy; which it hath not done a good while before. But I had no room or convenience for him here till my house is fitted; but I was very kind to him, and do take very well of him his journey. I did give him 40s. for his pocket, and so, he being gone, and, it presently rayning, I was troubled for him, though it is good for the fyre. Anon to Sir W. Pen’s to bed, and made my boy Tom to read me asleep.
10th. All the morning clearing our cellars, and breaking in pieces all my old lumber, to make room, and to prevent fire. And then to Sir W. Batten’s, and dined; and there hear that Sir W. Rider says that the towne is full of the report of the wealth that is in his house, and would be glad that his friends would provide for the safety of their goods there. This made me get a cart; and thither, and there brought my money all away. Took a hackney-coach myself (the hackney-coaches now standing at Allgate). Much wealth indeed there is at his house. Blessed be God, I got all mine well thence, and lodged it in my office; but vexed to have all the world see it. And with Sir W. Batten, who would have taken away my hands before they were stowed. But by and by comes brother Balty from sea, which I was glad of; and so got him, and Mr. Tooker, and the boy, to watch with them all in the office all night, while I upon Jane’s coming went down to my wife, calling at Deptford, intending to see Bagwell, but did not ‘ouvrir la porte comme je’ did expect. So down late to Woolwich, and there find my wife out of humour and indifferent, as she uses upon her having much liberty abroad.
11th. Lay there, and up betimes, and by water with my gold, and laid it with the rest in my office, where I find all well and safe. So with Sir W. Batten to the New Exchange by water and to my Lord Bruncker’s house, where Sir W. Coventry and Sir G. Carteret met. Little business before us but want of money. Broke up, and I home by coach round the town. Dined at home, Balty and myself putting up my papers in m closet in the office. He away, I down to Deptford and there spoke with Bagwell and agreed upon to-morrow, and come home in the rain by water. In the evening at Sir W. Pen’s; with my wife, at supper, he in a mad, ridiculous, drunken humour; and it seems there have been some late distances between his lady and him, as my [wife] tells me. After supper, I home, and with Mr. Hater, Gibson, and Tom alone, got all my chests and money into the further cellar with much pains, but great content to me when done. So very late and weary, to bed.
12th. Up, and with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen to St. James’s by water, and there did our usual business with the Duke of Yorke. Thence I to Westminster, and there, spoke with Michell and Howlett, who tell me how their poor young ones are going to Shadwell’s. The latter told me of the unkindness of the young man to his wife, which is now over, and I have promised to appear a counsellor to him. I am glad she is like to be so near us again. Thence to Martin, and there did ‘tout ce que je voudrais avec’ her, and drank, and away by water home and to dinner, Balty and his wife there. After dinner I took him down with me to Deptford, and there by the Bezan loaded above half my goods and sent them away. So we back home, and then I found occasion to return in the dark and to Bagwell, and there... did do all that I desired, but though I did intend ‘pour avoir demeurais con elle’ to-day last night, yet when I had done ‘ce que je voudrais I did hate both elle and la cose’, and taking occasion from the occasion of ‘su marido’s return... did me lever’, and so away home late to Sir W. Pen’s (Batty and his wife lying at my house), and there in the same simple humour I found Sir W. Pen, and so late to bed. 13th. Up, and down to Tower Wharfe; and there, with Batty and labourers from Deptford, did get my goods housed well at home. So down to Deptford again to fetch the rest, and there eat a bit of dinner at the Globe, with the master of the Bezan with me, while the labourers went to dinner. Here I hear that this poor towne do bury still of the plague seven or eight in a day. So to Sir G. Carteret’s to work, and there did to my content ship off into the Bezan all the rest of my goods, saving my pictures and fine things, that I will bring home in wherrys when the house is fit to receive them: and so home, and unload them by carts and hands before night, to my exceeding satisfaction: and so after supper to bed in my house, the first time I have lain there; and lay with my wife in my old closett upon the ground, and Batty and his wife in the best chamber, upon the ground also.
14th. Up, and to work, having carpenters come to helpe in setting up bedsteads and hangings; and at that trade my people and I all the morning, till pressed by publique business to leave them against my will in the afternoon: and yet I was troubled in being at home, to see all my goods lie up and down the house in a bad condition, and strange workmen going to and fro might take what they would almost. All the afternoon busy; and Sir W. Coventry come to me, and found me, as God would have it, in my office, and people about me setting my papers to rights; and there discoursed about getting an account ready against the Parliament, and thereby did create me infinite of business, and to be done on a sudden; which troubled me: but, however, he being gone, I about it late, and to good purpose. And so home, having this day also got my wine out of the ground again, and set in my cellar; but with great pain to keep the porters that carried it in from observing the money-chests there. So to bed as last night, only my wife and I upon a bedstead with curtains in that which was Mercer’s chamber, and Balty and his wife (who are here and do us good service), where we lay last night. This day, poor Tom Pepys, the turner, was with me, and Kate, Joyce, to bespeake places; one for himself, the other for her husband. She tells me he hath lost L140 per annum, but have seven houses left.
15th. All the morning at the office, Harman being come to my great satisfaction to put up my beds and hangings, so I am at rest, and followed my business all day. Dined with Sir W. Batten, mighty busy about this account, and while my people were busy, wrote near thirty letters and orders with my owne hand. At it till eleven at night; and it is strange to see how clear my head was, being eased of all the matter of all these letters; whereas one would think that I should have been dazed. I never did observe so much of myself in my life. In the evening there comes to me Captain Cocke, and walked a good while in the garden. He says he hath computed that the rents of houses lost by this fire in the City comes to L600,000 per annum; that this will make the Parliament, more quiet than otherwise they would have been, and give the King a more ready supply; that the supply must be by excise, as it is in Holland; that the Parliament will see it necessary to carry on the warr; that the late storm hindered our beating the Dutch fleete, who were gone out only to satisfy the people, having no business to do but to avoid us; that the French, as late in the yeare as it is, are coming; that the Dutch are really in bad condition, but that this unhappinesse of ours do give them heart; that there was a late difference between my Lord Arlington and Sir W. Coventry about neglect in the last to send away an express of the other’s in time; that it come before the King, and the Duke of Yorke concerned himself in it; but this fire hath stopped it. The Dutch fleete is not gone home, but rather to the North, and so dangerous to our Gottenburgh fleete. That the Parliament is likely to fall foul upon some persons; and, among others, on the Vice-chamberlaine, though we both believe with little ground. That certainly never so great a loss as this was borne so well by citizens in the world; he believing that not one merchant upon the ‘Change will break upon it. That he do not apprehend there will be any disturbances in State upon it; for that all men are busy in looking after their owne business to save themselves. He gone, I to finish my letters, and home to bed; and find to my infinite joy many rooms clean; and myself and wife lie in our own chamber again. But much terrified in the nights now-a-days with dreams of fire, and falling down of houses.
16th (Lord’s day). Lay with much pleasure in bed talking with my wife about Mr. Hater’s lying here and W. Hewer also, if Mrs. Mercer leaves her house. To the office, whither also all my people about this account, and there busy all the morning. At noon, with my wife, against her will, all undressed and dirty, dined at Sir W. Pen’s, where was all the company of our families in towne; but, Lord! so sorry a dinner: venison baked in pans, that the dinner I have had for his lady alone hath been worth four of it. Thence, after dinner, displeased with our entertainment, to my office again, and there till almost midnight and my people with me, and then home, my head mightily akeing about our accounts.
17th. Up betimes, and shaved myself after a week’s growth, but, Lord! how ugly I was yesterday and how fine to-day! By water, seeing the City all the way, a sad sight indeed, much fire being still in. To Sir W. Coventry, and there read over my yesterday’s work: being a collection of the particulars of the excess of charge created by a war, with good content. Sir W. Coventry was in great pain lest the French fleete should be passed by our fleete, who had notice of them on Saturday, and were preparing to go meet them; but their minds altered, and judged them merchant-men, when the same day the Success, Captain Ball, made their whole fleete, and come to Brighthelmstone, and thence at five o’clock afternoon, Saturday, wrote Sir W. Coventry newes thereof; so that we do much fear our missing them. Here come in and talked with him Sir Thomas Clifford, who appears a very fine gentleman, and much set by at Court for his activity in going to sea, and stoutness everywhere, and stirring up and down. Thence by coach over the ruines, down Fleete Streete and Cheapside to Broad Streete to Sir G. Carteret, where Sir W. Batten (and Sir J. Minnes, whom I had not seen a long time before, being his first coming abroad) and Lord Bruncker passing his accounts. Thence home a little to look after my people at work and back to Sir G. Carteret’s to dinner; and thence, after some discourse; with him upon our publique accounts, I back home, and all the day with Harman and his people finishing the hangings and beds in my house, and the hangings will be as good as ever, and particularly in my new closet. They gone and I weary, my wife and I, and Balty and his wife, who come hither to-day to helpe us, to a barrel of oysters I sent from the river today, and so to bed.
18th. Strange with what freedom and quantity I pissed this night, which I know not what to impute to but my oysters, unless the coldness of the night should cause it, for it was a sad rainy and tempestuous night. Soon as up I begun to have some pain in my bladder and belly, as usual, which made me go to dinner betimes, to fill my belly, and that did ease me, so as I did my business in the afternoon, in forwarding the settling of my house, very well. Betimes to bed, my wife also being all this day ill in the same manner. Troubled at my wife’s haire coming off so much. This day the Parliament met, and adjourned till Friday, when the King will be with them.
19th. Up, and with Sir W. Pen by coach to St. James’s, and there did our usual business before the Duke of Yorke; which signified little, our business being only complaints of lack of money. Here I saw a bastard of the late King of Sweden’s come to kiss his hands; a mighty modish French-like gentleman. Thence to White Hall, with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen, to Wilkes’s; and there did hear the many profane stories of Sir Henry Wood damning the parsons for so much spending the wine at the sacrament, cursing that ever they took the cup to themselves, and then another story that he valued not all the world’s curses, for two pence he shall get at any time the prayers of some poor body that is worth a 1000 of all their curses; Lord Norwich drawing a tooth at a health. Another time, he and Pinchbacke and Dr. Goffe, now a religious man, Pinchbacke did begin a frolick to drink out of a glass with a toad in it that he had taken up going out to shit, he did it without harm. Goffe, who knew sacke would kill the toad, called for sacke; and when he saw it dead, says he, “I will have a quick toad, and will not drink from a dead toad.”
[“They swallow their own contradictions as easily as a hector can drink a frog in a glass of wine.”—Benlivoglio and Urania, book v., p. 92, 3rd edit.—B.]
By that means, no other being to be found, he escaped the health. Thence home, and dined, and to Deptford and got all my pictures put into wherries, and my other fine things, and landed them all very well, and brought them home, and got Sympson to set them all up to-night; and he gone, I and the boy to finish and set up my books, and everything else in my house, till two o’clock; in the morning, and then to bed; but mightily troubled, and even in my sleep, at my missing four or five of my biggest books. Speed’s Chronicle and Maps, and the two parts of Waggoner, and a book of cards, which I suppose I have put up with too much care, that I have forgot where they are; for sure they are not stole. Two little pictures of sea and ships and a little gilt frame belonging to my plate of the River, I want; but my books do heartily trouble me. Most of my gilt frames are hurt, which also troubles me, but most my books. This day I put on two shirts, the first time this year, and do grow well upon it; so that my disease is nothing but wind.
20th. Up, much troubled about my books, but cannot, imagine where they should be. Up, to the setting my closet to rights, and Sir W. Coventry takes me at it, which did not displease me. He and I to discourse about our accounts, and the bringing them to the Parliament, and with much content to see him rely so well on my part. He and I together to Broad Streete to the Vice-Chamberlain, and there discoursed a while and parted. My Lady Carteret come to town, but I did not see her. He tells me how the fleete is come into the Downes. Nothing done, nor French fleete seen: we drove all from our anchors. But he says newes is come that De Ruyter is dead, or very near it, of a hurt in his mouth, upon the discharge of one of his own guns; which put him into a fever, and he likely to die, if not already dead. We parted, and I home to dinner, and after dinner to the setting things in order, and all my people busy about the same work. In the afternoon, out by coach, my wife with me, which we have not done several weeks now, through all the ruines, to shew her them, which frets her much, and is a sad sight indeed. Set her down at her brother’s, and thence I to Westminster Hall, and there staid a little while, and called her home. She did give me an account of great differences between her mother and Balty’s wife. The old woman charges her with going abroad and staying out late, and painting in the absence of her husband, and I know not what; and they grow proud, both he and she, and do not help their father and mother out of what I help them to, which I do not like, nor my wife. So home, and to the office, to even my journall, and then home, and very late up with Jane setting my books in perfect order in my closet, but am mightily troubled for my great books that I miss, and I am troubled the more for fear there should be more missing than what I find, though by the room they take on the shelves I do not find any reason to think it. So to bed.
21st. Up, and mightily pleased with the setting of my books the last night in order, and that which did please me most of all is that W. Hewer tells me that upon enquiry he do find that Sir W. Pen hath a hamper more than his own, which he took for a hamper of bottles of wine, and are books in it. I was impatient to see it, but they were carried into a wine-cellar, and the boy is abroad with him at the House, where the Parliament met to-day, and the King to be with them. At noon after dinner I sent for Harry, and he tells me it is so, and brought me by and by my hamper of books to my great joy, with the same books I missed, and three more great ones, and no more. I did give him 5s. for his pains, And so home with great joy, and to the setting of some off them right, but could not finish it, but away by coach to the other end of the town, leaving my wife at the ‘Change, but neither come time enough to the Council to speak with the Duke of Yorke, nor with Sir G. Carteret, and so called my wife, and paid for some things she bought, and so home, and there after a little doing at the office about our accounts, which now draw near the time they should be ready, the House having ordered Sir G. Carteret, upon his offering them, to bring them in on Saturday next, I home, and there, with great pleasure, very late new setting all my books; and now I am in as good condition as I desire to be in all worldly respects. The Lord of Heaven make me thankfull, and continue me therein! So to bed. This day I had new stairs of main timber put t my cellar going into the yard.
22nd. To my closet, and had it new washed, and now my house is so clean as I never saw it, or any other house in my life, and every thing in as good condition as ever before the fire; but with, I believe, about L20 cost one way or other besides about L20 charge in removing my goods, and do not find that I have lost any thing but two little pictures of ship and sea, and a little gold frame for one of my sea-cards. My glazier, indeed, is so full of worke that I cannot get him to come to perfect my house. To the office, and there busy now for good and all about my accounts. My Lord Brunck come thither, thinking to find an office, but we have not yet met. He do now give me a watch, a plain one, in the roome of my former watch with many motions which I did give him. If it goes well, I care not for the difference in worth, though believe there is above L5. He and I to Sir G. Carteret to discourse about his account, but Mr. Waith not being there nothing could be done, and therefore I home again, and busy all day. In the afternoon comes Anthony Joyce to see me, and with tears told me his losse, but yet that he had something left that he can live well upon, and I doubt it not. But he would buy some place that he could have and yet keepe his trade where he is settled in St. Jones’s. He gone, I to the office again, and then to Sir G. Carteret, and there found Mr. Wayth, but, Lord! how fretfully Sir G. Carteret do discourse with Mr. Wayth about his accounts, like a man that understands them not one word. I held my tongue and let him go on like a passionate foole. In the afternoon I paid for the two lighters that carried my goods to Deptford, and they cost me L8. Till past midnight at our accounts, and have brought them to a good issue, so as to be ready to meet Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Coventry to-morrow, but must work to-morrow, which Mr. T. Hater had no mind to, it being the Lord’s day, but, being told the necessity, submitted, poor man! This night writ for brother John to come to towne. Among other reasons, my estate lying in money, I am afeard of any sudden miscarriage. So to bed mightily contented in dispatching so much business, and find my house in the best condition that ever I knew it. Home to bed.
23rd (Lord’s day). Up, and after being trimmed, all the morning at the office with my people about me till about one o’clock, and then home, and my people with me, and Mr. Wayth and I eat a bit of victuals in my old closet, now my little dining-room, which makes a pretty room, and my house being so clean makes me mightily pleased, but only I do lacke Mercer or somebody in the house to sing with. Soon as eat a bit Mr. Wayth and I by water to White Hall, and there at Sir G. Carteret’s lodgings Sir W. Coventry met, and we did debate the whole business of our accounts to the Parliament; where it appears to us that the charge of the war from September 1st, 1664, to this Michaelmas, will have been but L3,200,000, and we have paid in that time somewhat about L2,200,000; so that we owe above L900,000: but our method of accounting, though it cannot, I believe, be far wide from the mark, yet will not abide a strict examination if the Parliament should be troublesome. Here happened a pretty question of Sir W. Coventry, whether this account of ours will not put my Lord Treasurer to a difficulty to tell what is become of all the money the Parliament have ‘give’ in this time for the war, which hath amounted to about L4,000,000, which nobody there could answer; but I perceive they did doubt what his answer could be. Having done, and taken from Sir W. Coventry the minutes of a letter to my Lord Treasurer, Wayth and I back again to the office, and thence back down to the water with my wife and landed him in Southwarke, and my wife and I for pleasure to Fox-hall, and there eat and drank, and so back home, and I to the office till midnight drawing the letter we are to send with our accounts to my Lord Treasurer, and that being done to my mind, I home to bed.
24th. Up, and with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen to St. James’s, and there with Sir W. Coventry read and all approved of my letter, and then home, and after dinner, Mr. Hater and Gibson dining with me, to the office, and there very late new moulding my accounts and writing fair my letter, which I did against the evening, and then by coach left my wife at her brother’s, and I to St. James’s, and up and down to look [for] Sir W. Coventry; and at last found him and Sir G. Carteret with the Lord Treasurer at White Hall, consulting how to make up my Lord Treasurer’s general account, as well as that of the Navy particularly. Here brought the letter, but found that Sir G. Carteret had altered his account since he did give me the abstract of it: so all my letter must be writ over again, to put in his last abstract. So to Sir G. Carteret’s lodgings, to speak a little about the alteration; and there looking over the book that Sir G. Carteret intends to deliver to the Parliament of his payments since September 1st, 1664, and there I find my name the very second for flags, which I had bought for the Navy, of calico; once, about 500 and odd pounds, which vexed me mightily. At last, I concluded of scraping out my name and putting in Mr. Tooker’s, which eased me; though the price was such as I should have had glory by. Here I saw my Lady Carteret lately come to towne, who, good lady! is mighty kind, and I must make much of her, for she is a most excellent woman. So took up my wife and away home, and there to bed, and
25th. Up betimes, with all my people to get the letter writ over, and other things done, which I did, and by coach to Lord Bruncker’s, and got his hand to it; and then to the Parliament House and got it signed by the rest, and then delivered it at the House-door to Sir Philip Warwicke; Sir G. Carteret being gone into the House with his book of accounts under his arme, to present to the House. I had brought my wife to White Hall, and leaving her with Mrs. Michell, where she sat in her shop and had burnt wine sent for her, I walked in the Hall, and among others with Ned Picketing, who continues still a lying, bragging coxcombe, telling me that my Lord Sandwich may thank himself for all his misfortune; for not suffering him and two or three good honest fellows more to take them by the throats that spoke ill of him, and told me how basely Lionell Walden hath carried himself towards my Lord; by speaking slightly of him, which I shall remember. Thence took my wife home to dinner, and then to the office, where Mr. Hater all the day putting in order and entering in a book all the measures that this account of the Navy hath been made up by, and late at night to Mrs. Turner’s, where she had got my wife and Lady Pen and Pegg, and supped, and after, supper and the rest of the company by design gone, Mrs. Turner and her husband did lay their case to me about their lodgings, Sir J. Minnes being now gone wholly to his owne, and now, they being empty, they doubt Sir T. Harvy or Lord Bruncker may look after the lodgings. I did give them the best advice, poor people, that I could, and would do them any kindnesse, though it is strange that now they should have ne’er a friend of Sir W. Batten or Sir W. Pen to trust to but me, that they have disobliged. So home to bed, and all night still mightily troubled in my sleepe, with fire and houses pulling down.
26th. Up, and with Sir J. Minnes to St. James’s, where every body going to the House, I away by coach to White Hall, and after a few turns, and hearing that our accounts come into the House but to-day, being hindered yesterday by other business, I away by coach home, taking up my wife and calling at Bennet’s, our late mercer, who is come into Covent Garden to a fine house looking down upon the Exchange; and I perceive many Londoners every day come; and Mr. Pierce hath let his wife’s closett, and the little blind bed chamber, and a garret to a silke man for L50 fine, and L30 per annum, and L40 per annum more for dieting the master and two prentices. So home, not agreeing for silk for a petticoat for her which she desired, but home to dinner and then back to White Hall, leaving my wife by the way to buy her petticoat of Bennet, and I to White Hall waiting all day on the Duke of Yorke to move the King for getting Lanyon some money at Plymouth out of some oyle prizes brought in thither, but could get nothing done, but here Mr. Dugdale I hear the great loss of books in St. Paul’s Church-yarde, and at their Hall also, which they value about L150,000; some booksellers being wholly undone, among others, they say, my poor Kirton. And Mr. Crumlu all his books and household stuff burned; they trusting St. Fayth’s, and the roof of the church falling, broke the arch down into the lower church, and so all the goods burned. A very great loss. His father hath lost above L1000 in books; one book newly printed, a Discourse, it seems, of Courts. Here I had the hap to see my Lady Denham: and at night went into the dining-room and saw several fine ladies; among others, Castlemayne, but chiefly Denham again; and the Duke of Yorke taking her aside and talking to her in the sight of all the world, all alone; which was strange, and what also I did not like. Here I met with good Mr. Evelyn, who cries out against it, and calls it bitchering,—[This word was apparently of Evelyn’s own making.]—for the Duke of Yorke talks a little to her, and then she goes away, and then he follows her again like a dog. He observes that none of the nobility come out of the country at all to help the King, or comfort him, or prevent commotions at this fire; but do as if the King were nobody; nor ne’er a priest comes to give the King and Court good council, or to comfort the poor people that suffer; but all is dead, nothing of good in any of their minds: he bemoans it, and says he fears more ruin hangs over our heads. Thence away by coach, and called away my wife at Unthanke’s, where she tells me she hath bought a gowne of 15s. per yard; the same, before her face, my Lady Castlemayne this day bought also, which I seemed vexed for, though I do not grudge it her, but to incline her to have Mercer again, which I believe I shall do, but the girle, I hear, has no mind to come to us again, which vexes me. Being come home, I to Sir W. Batten, and there hear our business was tendered to the House to-day, and a Committee of the whole House chosen to examine our accounts, and a great many Hotspurs enquiring into it, and likely to give us much trouble and blame, and perhaps (which I am afeard of) will find faults enow to demand better officers. This I truly fear. Away with Sir W. Pen, who was there, and he and I walked in the garden by moonlight, and he proposes his and my looking out into Scotland about timber, and to use Pett there; for timber will be a good commodity this time of building the City; and I like the motion, and doubt not that we may do good in it. We did also discourse about our Privateer, and hope well of that also, without much hazard, as, if God blesses us, I hope we shall do pretty well toward getting a penny. I was mightily pleased with our discourse, and so parted, and to the office to finish my journall for three or four days, and so home to supper, and to bed. Our fleete abroad, and the Dutch too, for all we know; the weather very bad; and under the command of an unlucky man, I fear. God bless him, and the fleete under him!
27th. A very furious blowing night all the night; and my mind still mightily perplexed with dreams, and burning the rest of the town, and waking in much pain for the fleete. Up, and with my wife by coach as far as the Temple, and there she to the mercer’s again, and I to look out Penny, my tailor, to speak for a cloak and cassock for my brother, who is coming to town; and I will have him in a canonical dress, that he may be the fitter to go abroad with me. I then to the Exchequer, and there, among other things, spoke to Mr. Falconbridge about his girle I heard sing at Nonsuch, and took him and some other ‘Chequer men to the Sun Taverne, and there spent 2s. 6d. upon them, and he sent for the girle, and she hath a pretty way of singing, but hath almost forgot for want of practice. She is poor in clothes, and not bred to any carriage, but will be soon taught all, and if Mercer do not come again, I think we may have her upon better terms, and breed her to what we please. Thence to Sir W. Coventry’s, and there dined with him and Sir W. Batten, the Lieutenant of the Tower, and Mr. Thin, a pretty gentleman, going to Gottenburgh. Having dined, Sir W. Coventry, Sir W. Batten, and I walked into his closet to consider of some things more to be done in a list to be given to the Parliament of all our ships, and time of entry and discharge. Sir W. Coventry seems to think they will soon be weary of the business, and fall quietly into the giving the King what is fit. This he hopes. Thence I by coach home to the office, and there intending a meeting, but nobody being there but myself and Sir J. Minnes, who is worse than nothing, I did not answer any body, but kept to my business in the office till night, and then Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen to me, and thence to Sir W. Batten’s, and eat a barrel of oysters I did give them, and so home, and to bed. I have this evening discoursed with W. Hewer about Mercer, I having a mind to have her again; and I am vexed to hear him say that she hath no mind to come again, though her mother hath. No newes of the fleete yet, but that they went by Dover on the 25th towards the Gunfleete, but whether the Dutch be yet abroad, or no, we hear not. De Ruyter is not dead, but like to do well. Most think that the gross of the French fleete are gone home again.
28th. Lay long in bed, and am come to agreement with my wife to have Mercer again, on condition she may learn this winter two months to dance, and she promises me she will endeavour to learn to sing, and all this I am willing enough to. So up, and by and by the glazier comes to finish the windows of my house, which pleases me, and the bookbinder to gild the backs of my books. I got the glass of my book-presses to be done presently, which did mightily content me, and to setting my study in a little better order; and so to my office to my people, busy about our Parliament accounts; and so to dinner, and then at them again close. At night comes Sir W. Pen, and he and I a turn in the garden, and he broke to me a proposition of his and my joining in a design of fetching timber and deals from Scotland, by the help of Mr. Pett upon the place; which, while London is building, will yield good money. I approve it. We judged a third man, that is knowing, is necessary, and concluded on Sir W. Warren, and sent for him to come to us to-morrow morning. I full of this all night, and the project of our man of war; but he and, I both dissatisfied with Sir W. Batten’s proposing his son to be Lieutenant, which we, neither of us, like. He gone, I discoursed with W. Hewer about Mercer, having a great mind she should come to us again, and instructed him what to say to her mother about it. And so home, to supper, and to bed.
29th. A little meeting at the office by Sir W. Batten, Sir W. Pen, and myself, being the first since the fire. We rose soon, and comes Sir W. Warren, by our desire, and with Sir W. Pen and I talked of our Scotch motion, which Sir W. Warren did seem to be stumbled at, and did give no ready answer, but proposed some thing previous to it, which he knows would find us work, or writing to Mr. Pett to be informed how matters go there as to cost and ways of providing sawyers or saw-mills. We were parted without coming to any good resolution in it, I discerning plainly that Sir W. Warren had no mind to it, but that he was surprised at our motion. He gone, I to some office business, and then home to dinner, and then to office again, and then got done by night the lists that are to be presented to the Parliament Committee of the ships, number of men, and time employed since the war, and then I with it (leaving my wife at Unthanke’s) to St. James’s, where Sir W. Coventry staid for me, and I perused our lists, and find to our great joy that wages, victuals, wear and tear, cast by the medium of the men, will come to above 3,000,000; and that the extraordinaries, which all the world will allow us, will arise to more than will justify the expence we have declared to have been at since the war, viz., L320,000, he and I being both mightily satisfied, he saying to me, that if God send us over this rub we must take another course for a better Comptroller. So parted, and I to my wife [at Unthanke’s], who staid for the finishing her new best gowne (the best that ever I made her coloured tabby, flowered, and so took it and her home; and then I to my people, and having cut them out a little more work than they expected, viz., the writing over the lists in new method, I home to bed, being in good humour, and glad of the end we have brought this matter to.
30th (Lord’s day). Up, and to church, where I have not been a good while: and there the church infinitely thronged with strangers since the fire come into our parish; but not one handsome face in all of them, as if, indeed, there was a curse, as Bishop Fuller heretofore said, upon our parish. Here I saw Mercer come into the church, which I had a mind to, but she avoided looking up, which vexed me. A pretty good sermon, and then home, and comes Balty and dined with us. A good dinner; and then to have my haire cut against winter close to my head, and then to church again. A sorry sermon, and away home. [Sir] W. Pen and I to walk to talk about several businesses, and then home; and my wife and I to read in Fuller’s Church History, and so to supper and to bed. This month ends with my mind full of business and concernment how this office will speed with the Parliament, which begins to be mighty severe in the examining our accounts, and the expence of the Navy this war.