1664/65. January 2nd. To my Lord Brouncker’s, by appointment, in the Piazza, in Covent-Garden; where I occasioned much mirth with a ballet1 I brought with me, made from the seamen at sea to their ladies in town; saying Sir W. Pen, Sir G. Ascue, and Sir J. Lawson made them. Here a most noble French dinner and banquet. The street full of footballs, it being a great frost.

4th. To my Lord of Oxford’s, but his Lordship was in bed at past ten o’clock: and, Lord help us! so rude a dirty family I never saw in my life.

9th. I saw the Royal Society bring their new book, wherein is nobly writ their charter and laws, and comes to be signed by the Duke as a Fellow; and all the Fellows’ hands are to be entered there, and lie as a monument; and the King hath put his with the word Founder. Holmes was this day sent to the Tower, but I perceive it is made matter of jest only; but if the Dutch should be our masters, it may come to be of earnest to him, to be given over to them for a sacrifice, as Sir W. Rawly was. To a Tangier committee, where I was accosted and most highly complimented by my Lord Bellasses, our new governor, beyond my expectation; and I may make good use of it. Our patent is renewed, and he and my Lord Barkeley, and Sir Thomas Ingram2 put in as commissioners.

11th. This evening, by a letter from Plymouth, I hear that two of our ships, the Leopard and another, in the Straights, are lost by running aground; and that three more had like to have been so, but got off, whereof Captain Allen one: and that a Dutch fleet are gone thither; and if they should meet with our lame ships, God knows what would become of them. This I reckon most sad news; God make us sensible of it!

12th. Spoke with a Frenchman who was taken, but released, by a Dutch man-of-war of thirty-six guns, (with seven more of the King’s or greater ships), off the North Foreland, by Margett. Which is a strange attempt, that they should come to our teeth; but the wind being easterly, the wind that should bring our force from Ports-mouth, will carry them away home.

13th. Yesterday’s news confirmed, though a little different; but a couple of ships in the Straights we have lost, and the Dutch have been in Margaret Road.3

14th. To the King’s house, there to see Vulpone,4 a most excellent play: the best I think I ever saw, and well acted.

15th. With Sir W. Pen in his coach to my Lord Chancellor’s, where by and by Mr Coventry, Sir W. Pen, Sir J. Lawson, Sir G. Ascue, and myself were called in to the King, there being several of the Privy Council, and my Lord Chancellor lying at length upon a couch (of the goute I suppose); and there Sir W. Pen spoke pretty well to dissuade the King from letting the Turkey ships go out: saying (in short) the King having resolved to have 130 ships out by the spring, he must have above 20 of them merchantmen. Towards which, he in the whole River could find but 12 or 14 and of them the five ships taken up by these merchants were a part, and so could not be spared. That we should need 30,000 sailors to man these 130 ships, and of them in service we have not above 16,000: so that we shall need 14,000 more. That these ships will with their convoys carry about 2000 men, and those the best men that could be got; it being the men used to the Southward that are the best men of warr, though those bred in the North among the colliers are good for labour. That it will not be safe for the merchants, nor honourable for the King, to expose these rich ships with his convoy of six ships to go, it not being enough to secure them against the Dutch, who, without doubt, will have a great fleet in the Straights. This, Sir J. Lawson enlarged upon. Sir G. Ascue chiefly spoke that the warr and trade could not be supported together. Mr Coventry showed how the medium of the men the King hath one year with another employed in his Navy since his coming, hath not been above 3000 men, or at most 4000 men; and now having occasion

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