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out, and for him to come back again, nor the Duke of Albemarle notice, that the Prince was sent for back again: to which he told me very particularly how careful he was the very same night that it was resolved to send for the Prince back, to cause orders to be writ, and waked the Duke, who was then in bed, to sign them; and that they went by express that very night, being the Wednesday night before the fight, which begun on the Friday; and that for sending them by the post express, and not by gentlemen on purpose, he made a sport of it, and said, I knew of none to send it with, but would at least have lost more time in fitting themselves out, than any diligence of theirs beyond that of the ordinary post would have recovered. I told him that this was not so much the towne talk, as the reason of dividing the fleete. To this he told me he ought not to say much; but did assure me, in general, that the proposition did first come from the feet;' and the resolution, not being prosecuted with orders so soon as the General thought fit, the General did send Sir Edward Spragge up on purpose for them; and that there was nothing in the whole business which was not done with the full consent and advice of the Duke of Albemarle. But he did adde, as the Catholiques call le secret de la Messe, that Sir Edward Spragge, who had, even in Sir Christopher's Mings's time, put in to be the great favourite of the Prince; but much more now had a mind to be the great man with him, and to that end had a mind to have the Prince at a distance from the Duke of Albemarle, that they might be doing something alone-did, as he be
See ante, p. 209.
lieved, put on this business of dividing the fleet, and that thence it came. He tells me, as to the business of intelligence, the want whereof the world did complain much of, that for that it was not his business; and, as he was, therefore, to have no share in the blame, so he would not meddle to lay it any where else. That De Ruyter was ordered by the States not to make it his business to come into much danger, but to preserve himself, as much as was fit, out of harm's way, to be able to direct the fleet. He do, I perceive, with some violence, forbear saying any thing to the reproach of the Duke of Albemarle ; but, contrarily, speaks much of his courage; but I do as plainly see that he do not like the Duke of Albemarle’s proceedings; but, contrarily, is displeased therewith. And he do plainly diminish the commanders put in by the Duke, and do lessen the miscarriages of any that have been removed by him. He concurs with me, that the next bout will be a fatal one to one side or other; because, if we be beaten, we shall not be able to set out our fleet again. He do confess with me, that the hearts of our seamen are much saddened; and for that reason, among others, wishes Sir Christopher Mings was alive, who might inspire courage and spirit into them. Speaking of Holmes, how great a man he is, and that he do for the present, and bath done all the voyage, kept himself in good order and within bounds; but, says he, a cat will be a cat still, and, some time or other, out his humours must break again. He do not disowne but that the dividing of the fleet, upon the presumptions that were then had, which, I suppose, was the French fleet being come this way, was a good resolution. Having had all this discourse, he and I back to Whitehall; and there I left him, being in a little doubt whether I had behaved myself in my discourse with the policy and circumspection which ought to be used to so great a courtier as he is, and so wise and factious a man, and by water home, and so, after supper, to bed.
25th. News from Sir W. Coventry, that the Dutch are certainly come out. All this day on the water entertained myself with the play of Commenius. Mrs. Pen carried us to two gardens at Hackny, which I every day grow more and more in love with, Mr. Drake's, one, where the garden is good, and house and the prospect admirable; the other my Lord Brooke's,2 where the gardens are much better, but the house not so good, nor the prospect good at all. But the gardens are excellent; and here I first saw oranges grow: some green, some half, some a quarter, and some full ripe, on the same tree; and one fruit of the same tree do come a year or two after the other. I pulled off a little one by stealth, the man being mightily curious of them, and eat it, and it was just as other little green small oranges are; as big as half the end of my little finger. Here were also great variety of other exotique plants, and
1 John Amos Comenius, a learned grammarian, born in Moravia in 1592: amongst other works, he published the play here mentioned, entitled “Schola Ludus seu Encyclopædia Viva (hoc est) Januæ Linguarum Praxis Scenica.” This curious book contains the details of eight dramatic pieces represented at the author's school at Patak, in 1654: see Biographie Universelle, vol. ix., p. 342. Comenius died at Amsterdam, in 1671.
2 Robert Greville, Lord Brooke, ob. 1676. Evelyn mentions this garden as Lady Brooke's. Brooke House, at Clapton, was lately a private madhouse.
several labyrinths, and a pretty aviary. This being the first day of my putting on my black stuff bombazin suit.
26th. In the morning come Mr. Chichly' to Sir W. Coventry, to tell him the ill success of the guns made for the Loyall London; which is, that in the trial every one of the great guns, the whole cannon of seven, as I take it, broke in pieces.
27th. To Sir W. Coventry's chamber, where I saw his father my Lord Coventry's picture hung up, done by Stone, who then brought it home. It is a good picture, drawn in his judge's robes, and the great seal by him. And, while it was hanging up, “ This,” says Sir W. Coventry, merrily, “is the use we make of our fathers.” But what I observed most from the discourse, was this of Sir W. Coventry, that he do look upon ourselves in a desperate condition. The issue of all standing upon this one point, that, by the next fight, if we beat, the Dutch will certainly be content to take eggs for their money, that was his expression; or, if we be beaten, we must be contented to make peace, and glad if we can have it without paying too dear for it. And withall we do rely wholly upon the Parliament's giving us more money the next sitting, or else we are undone. To Mr. Hales's, to pay for my father's picture, which cost me £10 the picture, and 258. the
· Thomas Chicheley, afterwards knighted and made a Privy Councillor and Commissioner of the Ordnance.
2 This portrait, if an original, must have been finished long before, for the Lord Keeper died in 1639, and Henry Stone, the painter, better known as Old Stone, in 1657: or possibly it was a copy made for Sir W. Coventry by Henry's brother, John Stone, who, according to Walpole, survived the Restoration, and was the last of his race.
frame. I did this afternoon visit my Lord Bellassis, who professes all imaginable satisfaction in me. My Lord is going down to his garrison to Hull, by the King's command, to put it in order for fear of an invasion: which course, I perceive, is taken upon the seacoasts round; for we have a real apprehension of the King of France's invading us.
28th. The Dutch are now known to be out, and we may expect them every hour upon our coast. But our fleet is in pretty good readiness for them.
29th. To the office; where I met with a letter from Dover, which tells me, and it come by express, that news is brought over by a gentleman from Callice, that the Dutch fleet, 130 sail, are come upon the French coast; and that the country is bringing in picke-axes, and shovells, and wheel-barrows into Callice; that there are 6000 men armed on head, back, and breast, Frenchmen, ready to go on board the Dutch fleet, and will be followed by 1200 more. That they pretend they are to come to Dover; and that thereupon the Governor of Dover Castle is getting the victuallers' provision out of the town into the Castle to secure it. But I do think this is a ridiculous conceit; but a little time will show.
30th. Mightily troubled all this morning with going to my Lord Mayor, Sir Thomas Bludworth, a silly? man, I think, and other places, about getting shipped some men that they have these two last nights pressed in the City out of the houses: the persons wholly unfit for sea, and many of them people of very good fashion, which is a shame to think of, and carried to Bridewell
As his conduct during the Great Fire fully proved.