1665/66. January 3rd. I to the Duke of Albemarle and back again: and at the Duke’s with great joy I received the good news of the decrease of the plague this week to 70, and but 253 in all; which is the least Bill hath been known these twenty years in the City. Through the want of people in London, is it that must make it so low below the ordinary number for Bills.

5th. I with my Lord Brouncker and Mrs Williams by coach with four horses to London, to my Lord’s house in Covent-Garden. But, Lord! what staring to see a nobleman’s coach come to town. And porters every where bow to us; and such begging of beggars! And delightful it is to see the town full of people again; and shops begin to open, though in many places seven or eight together, and more, all shut; but yet the town is full, compared with what it used to be. I mean the City end: for Covent-Garden and Westminster are yet very empty of people, no Court nor gentry being there. Reading a discourse about the River of Thames, the reason of its being choked up in several places with shelfes: which is plain is by the encroachments made upon the River, and running out of causeways into the River at every wood-wharfe; which was not heretofore when Westminster Hall and White Hall were built, and Redriffe Church, which now are sometimes overflown with water.

7th. The town talks of my Lord Craven being to come into Sir G. Carteret’s place; but sure it cannot be true. But I do fear those two families, his and my Lord Sandwich’s, are quite broken. And I must now stand upon my own legs.

9th. Pierce tells me how great a difference hath been between the Duke and Duchesse, he suspecting her to be naught with Mr Sidney. But some way or other the matter is made up; but he was banished the Court, and the Duke for many days did not speak to the Duchesse at all. He tells me that my Lord Sandwich is lost there at Court, though the King is particularly his friend. But people do speak every where slightly of him; which is a sad story to me, but I hope it may be better again. And that Sir G. Carteret is neglected, and hath great enemies at work against him. That matters must needs go bad, while all the town, and every boy in the street, openly cries, ‘The King cannot go away till my Lady Castlemaine be ready to come along with him;’ she being lately put to bed. And that he visits her and Mrs Stewart every morning before he eats his breakfast.

10th. The plague is encreased this week from seventy to eighty-nine. We have also great fear of our Hambrough fleet, of their meeting with the Dutch; as also have certain news, that by storms Sir Jer. Smith’s fleet is scattered, and three of them come without masts back to Plymouth.

13th. Home with his Lordship to Mrs Williams’s, in Covent-Garden, to dinner, (the first time I ever was there,) and there met Captain Cocke; and pretty merry, though not perfectly so, because of the fear that there is of a great encrease again of the plague this week. And again my Lord Brouncker do tell us, that he hath it from Sir John Baber,1 who is related to my Lord Craven, that my Lord Craven do look after Sir G. Carteret’s place, and do reckon himself sure of it.

16th. Mightily troubled at the news of the plague’s being encreased, and was much the saddest news that the plague hath brought me from the beginning of it; because of the lateness of the year, and the fear, we may with reason have, of its continuing with us the next summer. The total being now 375, and the plague 158.

17th. I rode to Dagenhams in the dark. It was my Lord Crewe’s desire that I should come, and chiefly to discourse with me of my Lord Sandwich’s matters; and therein to persuade, what I had done already, that my Lord should sue out a pardon for his business of the prizes, as also for Bergen, and all he hath done this year past, before he begins his Embassy to Spain. For it is to be feared that the Parliament will fly out against him and particular men, the next Session. He is glad also that my Lord is clear of his sea-imployment, though sorry as I am, only in the manner of its bringing about.

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