The Diary of John Evelyn Volume II Part 45

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13th June, 1703. Rains have been great and continual, and now, near midsummer, cold and wet.

11th July, 1703. I went to Addiscombe, sixteen miles from Wotton, to see my son-in-law's new house, the outside, to the coving, being such excellent brickwork, based with Portland stone, with the pilasters, windows, and within, that I pronounced it in all the points of good and solid architecture to be one of the very best gentlemen's houses in Surrey, when finished. I returned to Wotton in the evening, though weary.

25th July, 1703. The last week in this month an uncommon long-continued rain, and the Sunday following, thunder and lightning.

12th August, 1703. The new Commission for Greenwich hospital was sealed and opened, at which my son-in-law, Draper, was present, to whom I resigned my office of Treasurer. From August 1696, there had been expended in building 89,364 14s. 8d.

31st October, 1703. This day, being eighty-three years of age, upon examining what concerned me, more particularly the past year, with the great mercies of God preserving me, and in the same measure making my infirmities tolerable, I gave God most hearty and humble thanks, beseeching him to confirm to me the pardon of my sins past, and to prepare me for a better life by the virtue of his grace and mercy, for the sake of my blessed Savior.

21st November, 1703. The wet and uncomfortable weather staying us from church this morning, our Doctor officiated in my family; at which were present above twenty domestics. He made an excellent discourse on 1 Cor.

xv., v. 55, 56, of the vanity of this world and uncertainty of life, and the inexpressible happiness and satisfaction of a holy life, with pertinent inferences to prepare us for death and a future state. I gave him thanks, and told him I took it kindly as my funeral sermon.

[Sidenote: LONDON]

26-7th November, 1703. The effects of the hurricane and tempest of wind, rain, and lightning, through all the nation, especially London, were very dismal. Many houses demolished, and people killed. As to my own losses, the subversion of woods and timber, both ornamental and valuable, through my whole estate, and about my house the woods crowning the garden mount, the growing along the park meadow, the damage to my own dwelling, farms, and outhouses, is almost tragical, not to be paralleled, with anything happening in our age. I am not able to describe it; but submit to the pleasure of Almighty God.

7th December, 1703. I removed to Dover Street, where I found all well; but houses, trees, garden, etc., at Sayes Court, suffered very much.

31st December, 1703. I made up my accounts, paid wages, gave rewards and New Year's gifts, according to custom.

January, 1703-04. The King of Spain[95] landing at Portsmouth, came to Windsor, where he was magnificently entertained by the Queen, and behaved himself so nobly, that everybody was taken with his graceful deportment. After two days, having presented the great ladies, and others, with valuable jewels, he went back to Portsmouth, and immediately embarked for Spain.

[Footnote 95: Charles III., afterward Emperor of Germany, by the title of Charles VI.]

16th January, 1704. The Lord Treasurer gave my grandson the office of Treasurer of the Stamp Duties, with a salary of 300 a year.

30th January, 1704. The fast on the Martyrdom of King Charles I. was observed with more than usual solemnity.

May, 1704. Dr. Bathurst, President of Trinity College, Oxford, now died,[96] I think the oldest acquaintance now left me in the world. He was eighty-six years of age, stark blind, deaf, and memory lost, after having been a person of admirable parts and learning. This is a serious alarm to me. God grant that I may profit by it! He built a very handsome chapel to the college, and his own tomb. He gave a legacy of money, and a third part of his library, to his nephew, Dr. Bohun, who went hence to his funeral.

[Footnote 96: There is a very good Life of him, with his portrait prefixed, by Thomas Warton, Fellow of Trinity College, and Poetry Professor at Oxford.]

[Sidenote: LONDON]

7th September, 1704. This day was celebrated the thanksgiving for the late great victory,[97] with the utmost pomp and splendor by the Queen, Court, great Officers, Lords Mayor, Sheriffs, Companies, etc. The streets were scaffolded from Temple Bar, where the Lord Mayor presented her Majesty with a sword, which she returned. Every company was ranged under its banners, the city militia without the rails, which were all hung with cloth suitable to the color of the banner. The Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen were in their scarlet robes, with caparisoned horses; the Knight Marshal on horseback; the Foot-Guards; the Queen in a rich coach with eight horses, none with her but the Duchess of Marlborough in a very plain garment, the Queen full of jewels. Music and trumpets at every city company. The great officers of the Crown, Nobility, and Bishops, all in coaches with six horses, besides innumerable servants, went to St. Paul's, where the Dean preached. After this, the Queen went back in the same order to St. James's. The city companies feasted all the Nobility and Bishops, and illuminated at night. Music for the church and anthems composed by the best masters.

The day before was wet and stormy, but this was one of the most serene and calm days that had been all the year.

[Footnote 97: Over the French and Bavarians, at Blenheim, 13th August, 1704.]

October, 1704. The year has been very plentiful.

31st October, 1704. Being my birthday and the 84th year of my life, after particular reflections on my concerns and passages of the year, I set some considerable time of this day apart, to recollect and examine my state and condition, giving God thanks, and acknowledging his infinite mercies to me and mine, begging his blessing, and imploring his protection for the year following.

December, 1704. Lord Clarendon presented me with the three volumes of his father's "History of the Rebellion."

My Lord of Canterbury wrote to me for suffrage for Mr. Clarke's continuance this year in the Boyle Lecture, which I willingly gave for his excellent performance of this year.

9th February, 1704. I went to wait on my Lord Treasurer, where was the victorious Duke of Marlborough, who came to me and took me by the hand with extraordinary familiarity and civility, as formerly he was used to do, without any alteration of his good-nature. He had a most rich George in a sardonyx set with diamonds of very great value; for the rest, very plain. I had not seen him for some years, and believed he might have forgotten me.

21st February, 1704. Remarkable fine weather. Agues and smallpox much in every place.

11th March, 1704. An exceedingly dry season. Great loss by fire, burning the outhouses and famous stable of the Earl of Nottingham, at Burleigh [Rutlandshire], full of rich goods and furniture, by the carelessness of a servant. A little before, the same happened at Lord Pembroke's, at Wilton. The old Countess of Northumberland, Dowager of Algernon Percy, Admiral of the fleet to King Charles I., died in the 83d year of her age. She was sister to the Earl of Suffolk, and left a great estate, her jointure to descend to the Duke of Somerset.

May, 1704. The Bailiff of Westminster hanged himself. He had an ill report.

On the death of the Emperor, there was no mourning worn at Court, because there was none at the Imperial Court on the death of King William.

18th May, 1704. I went to see Sir John Chardin, at Turnham Green, the gardens being very fine, and exceedingly well planted with fruit.

20th May, 1704. Most extravagant expense to debauch and corrupt votes for Parliament members. I sent my grandson with his party of my freeholders to vote for Mr. Harvey, of Combe.

4th January, 1704-05. I dined at Lambeth with the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. King, a sharp and ready man in politics, as well as very learned.

June, 1705. The season very dry and hot. I went to see Dr. Dickinson the famous chemist. We had long conversation about the philosopher's elixir, which he believed attainable, and had seen projection himself by one who went under the name of Mundanus, who sometimes came along among the adepts, but was unknown as to his country, or abode; of this the doctor had written a treatise in Latin, full of very astonishing relations. He is a very learned person, formerly a Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, in which city he practiced physic, but has now altogether given it over, and lives retired, being very old and infirm, yet continuing chemistry.

I went to Greenwich hospital, where they now began to take in wounded and worn-out seamen, who are exceedingly well provided for. The buildings now going on are very magnificent.

[Sidenote: LONDON]

October, 1705. Mr. Cowper made Lord Keeper. Observing how uncertain great officers are of continuing long in their places, he would not accept it, unless 2,000 a year were given him in reversion when he was put out, in consideration of his loss of practice. His predecessors, how little time soever they had the Seal, usually got 100,000 and made themselves Barons. A new Secretary of State. Lord Abington, Lieutenant of the Tower, displaced, and General Churchill, brother to the Duke of Marlborough, put in. An indication of great unsteadiness somewhere, but thus the crafty Whig party (as called) begin to change the face of the Court, in opposition to the High Churchmen, which was another distinction of a party from the Low Churchmen. The Parliament chose one Mr. Smith, Speaker. There had never been so great an assembly of members on the first day of sitting, being more than 450. The votes both of the old, as well as the new, fell to those called Low Churchmen, contrary to all expectation.

31st October, 1705. I am this day arrived to the 85th year of my age.

Lord teach me so to number my days to come, that I may apply them to wisdom!

1st January, 1705-06. Making up my accounts for the past year, paid bills, wages, and New Year's gifts, according to custom. Though much indisposed and in so advanced a stage, I went to our chapel [in London]

to give God public thanks, beseeching Almighty God to assist me and my family the ensuing year, if he should yet continue my pilgrimage here, and bring me at last to a better life with him in his heavenly kingdom.

Divers of our friends and relations dined with us this day.

27th January, 1706. My indisposition increasing, I was exceedingly ill this whole week.

3d February, 1706. Notes of the sermons at the chapel in the morning and afternoon, written with his own hand, conclude this Diary.[98]

[Footnote 98: Mr. Evelyn died on the 27th of this month.]


The Diary of John Evelyn Volume II Part 45

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