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Monday, 24th December 1660

24th. In the morning to the office and Commissioner Pett (who seldom comes there) told me that he had lately presented a piece of plate (being a couple of flaggons) to Mr. Coventry, but he did not receive them, which also put me upon doing the same too; and so after dinner I went and chose a payre of candlesticks to be made ready for me at Alderman Backwell's. To the office again in the afternoon till night, and so home, and with the painters till 10 at night, making an end of my house and the arch before my door, and so this night I was rid of them and all other work, and my house was made ready against to-morrow being Christmas day. This day the Princess Royal died at Whitehall.

Tuesday, 24th December 1661

24th. Home all the morning and dined at home, and in the afternoon to the office. So home.

Wednesday, 24th December 1662

24th. Lay pleasantly, talking to my wife, till 8 o'clock, then up and to Sir W. Batten's to see him and Sir G. Carteret and Sir J. Minnes take coach towards the Pay at Chatham, which they did and I home, and took money in my pocket to pay many reckonings to-day in the town, as my bookseller's, and paid at another shop £4 10s. for "Stephens's Thesaurus Graecae Linguae," given to Paul's School: So to my brother's and shoemaker, and so to my Lord Crew's, and dined alone with him, and after dinner much discourse about matters. Upon the whole, I understand there are great factions at Court, and something he said that did imply a difference like to be between the King and the Duke, in case the Queen should not be with child. I understand, about this bastard.    James Crofts, son of Charles II. by Lucy Walter, created Duke of Monmouth in 1663, Duke of Buccleuch in 1673, when he took the name of Scott.

He says, also, that some great man will be aimed at when Parliament comes to sit again; I understand, the Chancellor: and that there is a bill will be brought in, that none that have been in arms for the Parliament shall be capable of office. And that the Court are weary of my Lord Albemarle and Chamberlin. He wishes that my Lord Sandwich had some good occasion to be abroad this summer which is coming on, and that my Lord Hinchingbroke were well married, and Sydney had some place at Court. He pities the poor ministers that are put out, to whom, he says, the King is beholden for his coming in, and that if any such thing had been foreseen he had never come in. After this, and much other discourse of the sea, and breeding young gentlemen to the sea, I went away, and homeward, met Mr. Creed at my bookseller's in Paul's Church-yard, who takes it ill my letter last night to Mr. Povy, wherein I accuse him of the neglect of the Tangier boats, in which I must confess I did not do altogether like a friend; but however it was truth, and I must own it to be so, though I fall wholly out with him for it. Thence home and to my office alone to do business, and read over half of Mr. Bland's discourse concerning Trade, which (he being no scholler and so knows not the rules of writing orderly) is very good. So home to supper and to bed, my wife not being well . . . . This evening Mr. Gauden sent me, against Christmas, a great chine of beef and three dozen of tongues. I did give 5s. to the man that brought it, and half-a-crown to the porters. This day also the parish-clerk brought the general bill of mortality, which cost me half-a-crown more.    The Bills of Mortality for London were first compiled by order of Thomas Cromwell about 1538, and the keeping of them was commenced by the Company of Parish Clerks in the great plague year of 1593. The bills were issued weekly from 1603. The charter of the Parish Clerks' Company (1611) directs that "each parish clerk shall bring to the Clerks' Hall weekly a note of all christenings and burials." Charles I. in 1636 granted permission to the Parish Clerks to have a printing press and employ a printer in their hall for the purpose of printing their weekly bills.

Thursday, 24th December 1663

24th. Up betimes; and though it was a most foggy morning, and cold, yet with a gally down to Eriffe, several times being at a loss whither we went. There I mustered two ships of the King's, lent by him to the Guiny Company, which are manned better than ours at far less wages. Thence on board two of the King's, one of them the "Leopard," Captain Beech, who I find an able and serious man. He received me civilly, and his wife was there, a very well bred and knowing woman, born at Antwerp, but speaks as good English as myself, and an ingenious woman. Here was also Sir G. Carteret's son, who I find a pretty, but very talking man, but good humour. Thence back again, entertaining myself upon my sliding rule with great content, and called at Woolwich, where Mr. Chr. Pett having an opportunity of being alone did tell me his mind about several things he thought I was offended with him in, and told me of my kindness to his assistant. I did give him such an answer as I thought was fit and left him well satisfied, he offering to do me all the service, either by draughts or modells that I should desire. Thence straight home, being very cold, but yet well, I thank God, and at home found my wife making mince pies, and by and by comes in Captain Ferrers to see us, and, among other talke, tells us of the goodness of the new play of "Henry VIII.," which makes me think    it
long till my time is out; but I hope before I go I shall set myself such a stint as I may not forget myself as I have hitherto done till I was forced for these months last past wholly to forbid myself the seeing of one. He gone I to my office and there late writing and reading, and so home to bed.

Saturday, 24th December 1664

24th. Having sat up all night to past two o'clock this morning, our porter, being appointed, comes and tells us that the bellman tells him that the star is seen upon Tower Hill; so I, that had been all night setting in order all my old papers in my chamber, did leave off all, and my boy and I to Tower Hill, it being a most fine, bright moonshine night, and a great frost; but no Comet to be seen. So after running once round the Hill, I and Tom, we home and then to bed. Rose about 9 o'clock and then to the office, where sitting all the morning. At noon to the 'Change, to the Coffee-house; and there heard Sir Richard Ford tell the whole story of our defeat at Guinny. Wherein our men are guilty of the most horrid cowardice and perfidiousness, as he says and tells it, that ever Englishmen were. Captain Raynolds, that was the only commander of any of the King's ships there, was shot at by De Ruyter, with a bloody flag flying. He, instead of opposing (which, indeed, had been to no purpose, but only to maintain honour), did poorly go on board himself, to ask what De Ruyter would have; and so yielded to whatever Ruyter would desire. The King and Duke are highly vexed at it, it seems, and the business deserves it. Thence home to dinner, and then abroad to buy some things, and among others to my bookseller's, and there saw several books I spoke for, which are finely bound and good books to my great content. So home and to my office, where late. This evening I being informed did look and saw the Comet, which is now, whether worn away or no I know not, but appears not with a tail, but only is larger and duller than any other star, and is come to rise betimes, and to make a great arch, and is gone quite to a new place in the heavens than it was before: but I hope in a clearer night something more will be seen. So home to bed.

Sunday, 24th December 1665

24th (Sunday). Up betimes, to my Lord Duke of Albemarle by water, and after some talke with him about business of the office with great content, and so back again and to dinner, my landlady and her daughters with me, and had mince-pies, and very merry at a mischance her young son had in tearing of his new coate quite down the outside of his sleeve in the whole cloth, one of the strangest mishaps that ever I saw in my life. Then to church, and placed myself in the Parson's pew under the pulpit, to hear Mrs. Chamberlain in the next pew sing, who is daughter to Sir James Bunch, of whom I have heard much, and indeed she sings very finely, and from church met with Sir W. Warren and he and I walked together talking about his and my businesses, getting of money as fairly as we can, and, having set him part of his way home, I walked to my Lord Bruncker, whom I heard was at Alderman Hooker's, hoping to see and salute Mrs. Lethulier, whom I did see in passing, but no opportunity of beginning acquaintance, but a very noble lady she is, however the silly alderman got her. Here we sat talking a great while, Sir The. Biddulph and Mr. Vaughan, a son-in-law of Alderman Hooker's. Hence with my Lord Bruncker home and sat a little with him and so home to bed.

Monday, 24th December 1666

24th. Up, and to the office, where Lord Bruncker,    Sir
J. Mimics,    Sir
W. Yen, and myself met, and there I did use my notes I took on Saturday night about tickets, and did come to a good settlement in the business of that office, if it be kept to, this morning being a meeting on purpose. At noon to prevent my Lord Bruncker's dining here I walked as if upon business with him, it being frost and dry, as far as Paul's, and so back again through the City by Guildhall, observing the ruines thereabouts, till I did truly lose myself, and so home to dinner. I do truly find that I have overwrought my eyes, so that now they are become weak and apt to be tired, and all excess of light makes them sore, so that now to the candlelight I am forced to sit by, adding, the snow upon the ground all day, my eyes are very bad, and will be worse if not helped, so my Lord Bruncker do advise as a certain cure to use greene spectacles, which I will do. So to dinner, where Mercer with us, and very merry. After dinner she goes and fetches a little son of Mr. Backeworth's, the wittiest child and of the most spirit that ever I saw in my life for discourse of all kind, and so ready and to the purpose, not above four years old. Thence to Sir Robert Viner's, and there paid for the plate I have bought to the value of £94, with the £100 Captain Cocke did give me to that purpose, and received the rest in money. I this evening did buy me a pair of green spectacles, to see whether they will help my eyes or no. So to the 'Change, and went to the Upper 'Change, which is almost as good as the old one; only shops are but on one side. Then home to the office, and did business till my eyes began to be bad, and so home to supper. My people busy making mince pies, and so to bed. No newes yet of our Gottenburgh fleete; which makes    us
have some fears, it being of mighty concernment to have our supply of masts safe. I met with Mr. Cade to-night, my stationer; and he tells me that he hears for certain that the Queene-Mother is about and hath near finished a peace with France, which, as a Presbyterian, he do not like, but seems to fear it will be a means to introduce Popery.

Tuesday, 24th December 1667

24th. Up, and all the morning at the office, and at noon with my clerks to dinner, and then to the office again, busy at the office till six at night, and then by coach to St. James's, it being about six at night; my design being to see the ceremonys, this night being the eve of Christmas, at the Queen's chapel. But it being not begun I to Westminster Hall, and there staid and walked, and then to the Swan, and there drank and talked, and did banter a little Frank, and so to White Hall, and sent my coach round, I through the Park to chapel, where I got in up almost to the rail, and with a great deal of patience staid from nine at night to two in the morning, in a very great crowd; and there expected, but found nothing extraordinary, there being nothing but a high masse. The Queen was there, and some ladies. But, Lord! what an odde thing it was for me to be in a crowd of people, here a footman, there a beggar, here a fine lady, there a zealous poor papist, and here a Protestant, two or three together, come to see the shew. I was afeard of my pocket being picked very much . . . . Their musique very good indeed, but their service I confess too frivolous, that there can be no zeal go along with it, and I do find by them themselves that they do run over their beads with one hand, and point and play and talk and make signs with the other in the midst of their masse. But all things very rich and beautiful; and I see the papists have the wit, most of them, to bring cushions to kneel on, which I wanted, and was mightily troubled to kneel. All being done, and I sorry for my coming, missing of what I expected; which was, to have had a child born and dressed there, and a great deal of do: but we broke up, and nothing like it done: and there I left people receiving the Sacrament: and the Queen gone, and ladies; only my Lady Castlemayne, who looked prettily in her night-clothes, and so took my coach, which waited, and away through Covent Garden, to set down two gentlemen and a lady, who come thither to see also, and did make mighty mirth in their talk of the folly of this religion. And so I stopped, having set them down and drank some burnt wine at the Rose Tavern door, while the constables come, and two or three Bellmen went by,

Thursday, 24th December 1668

24th. A cold day. Up, and to the Office, where all the morning alone at the Office, nobody meeting, being the eve of Christmas. At noon home to dinner, and then to the Office busy, all the afternoon, and at night home to supper, and it being now very cold, and in hopes of a frost, I begin this night to put on a waistcoat, it being the first winter in my whole memory that ever I staid till this day before I did so. So to bed in mighty good humour with my wife, but sad, in one thing, and that is for my poor eyes.