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earth near twenty feet high, with great stones entangled among the roots and rubbish; and this almost within sight of my dwelling (now no longer Wotton), sufficient to mortify and change my too great affection and application to this work, which, as I contentedly submit to, so I thank God for what are yet left standing: Nepotibus umbram.
THE GREAT FIRE
I WENT this morning on foot from Whitehall as far as London Bridge, through the late Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, by St. Paul's, Cheapside, Exchange, Bishopsgate, Aldersgate, and out to Moorfields, thence through Cornhill, etc., with extraordinary difficulty, clambering over heaps of yet smoking rubbish, and frequently mistaking where I was. The ground under my feet so hot that it even burnt the soles of my shoes. In the meantime His Majesty got to the Tower by water, to demolish the houses about the graff, which being built entirely about it, had they taken fire and attacked the White Tower, where the magazine of powder lay, would undoubtedly not only have beaten down and destroyed all the bridge, but sunk and torn the vessels in the river, and rendered the demolition beyond all expression for several miles about the country.
At return I was infinitely concerned to find that goodly Church St. Paul's now a sad ruin, and that beautiful portico (for structure comparable to any in Europe, as not long before repaired by the late king), now rent in pieces, flakes of vast stone split asunder, and nothing remaining entire but the inscription in the architrave, showing by whom it was built, which had not one letter of it defaced. It was astonishing to see what immense stones the heat had in a manner calcined, so that all the ornaments, columns, friezes, capitals, and projectures of massy Portland stone flew off, even to the very roof, where a sheet of lead covering a great space (no less than six acres by measure) was totally melted; the ruins of the vaulted roof falling broke into St. Faith's, which being filled with the magazines of books, belonging to the Stationers, and carried thither for safety, they were all consumed, burning for a week following.
It is also observable that the lead over the
altar at the east end was untouched, and among the divers monuments, the body of one bishop remained entire. Thus lay in ashes that most venerable Church, one of the most ancient pieces of early piety in the Christian world, besides near a hundred more. The lead, iron work, bells, plate, etc., melted, the exquisitely wrought Mercer's Chapel, the sumptuous Exchange, the august fabric of Christ Church, all the rest of the Companies' Halls, splendid buildings, arches, entries, all in dust; the fountains dried up and ruined, whilst the very waters remained boiling; the voragos of subterranean cellars, wells, and dungeons, formerly warehouses, still burning in stench and dark clouds of smoke, so that in five or six miles traversing about, I did not see one load of timber unconsumed, nor many stones, but that were calcined white as snow. The people who now walked about the ruins appeared like men in some dismal desert, or rather in some great city laid waste by a cruel enemy: to which was added the stench that came from some poor creatures' bodies, beds, and other combustible goods. Sir Thomas Gresham's statue, though fallen from its niche in the Royal Exchange, remained entire, when all those of the kings since the Conquest were broken to pieces; also the standard in Cornhill, and Queen Elizabeth's effigies, with some arms on Ludgate, continued with but little detriment, whilst the vast iron chains of the city streets, hinges, bars, and gates of prisons, were many of them melted and reduced to cinders by the vehement heat. Nor was I yet able to pass through any of the narrower streets, but kept the widest; the ground and air, smoke and fiery vapour, continued so intense that my hair was almost singed, and my feet unsufferably surbated. The bye-lanes and narrower streets were quite filled up with rubbish, nor could one have possibly known where he was, but by the ruins of some Church or Hall, that had some remarkable tower or pinnacle remaining. I then went towards Islington and Highgate, where one might have seen 200,000 people of all ranks and degrees dispersed and lying along by their heaps of what they could save from the fire, deploring their loss, and though ready to perish for hunger and destitution, yet not asking one penny for relief, which to me appeared a stranger sight than any I had yet beheld. His Majesty and Council indeed took all imaginable care for their relief by proclamation for the country to come in and refresh them with
provisions. In the midst of all this calamity and confusion there was, I know not how, an alarm begun that the French and Dutch with whom we were now in hostility, were not only landed but even entering the city. There was, in truth, some days before, great suspicion of these two nations joining; and now, that they had been the occasion of firing the town. This report did so terrify, that on a sudden there was such an uproar and tumult that they ran from their goods, and taking what weapons they could come at, they could not be stopped from falling on some of those nations when they casually met, without sense or reason. The clamour and peril grew so excessive that it made the whole Court amazed, and they did with infinite pains and great difficulty reduce and appease the people, sending troops of soldiers and guards to cause them to retire into the fields again, where they were watched all this night. I left them pretty quiet, and came home sufficiently weary and broken. Their spirits thus a little calmed, and the affright abated, they now began to repair into the suburbs about the city, where such as had friends or opportunity got shelter for the present, to which His Majesty's proclamation also invited them.
Still, the plague continuing in our parish, I could not without danger adventure to our church. (From The Diary.)
ILL GOVERNMENT OF THE NAVY
7th March 1689/90.-I dined with Mr. Pepys, late secretary to the Admiralty, where that excellent shipwright and seaman (for so he had been, and also a commissioner of the Navy), Sir Anthy. Deane. Amongst other discourse, and deploring the sad condition of our Navy, as now governed by unexperienced men since this Revolution, he mentioned what exceeding advantage we of this nation had by being the first who built frigates, the first of which ever built was that vessel which was afterwards called The Constant Warwick, and was the work of Pett of Chatham, for a trial of making a vessel that would sail swiftly; it was built with low decks, the guns lying near the water, and was so light and swift of sailing, that in a short time he told us
she had, ere the Dutch war was ended, taken as much money from privateers as would have laden her; and that more such being built did in a year or two scour the Channel from those of Dunkirk and others which had exceedingly infested it. He added that it would be the best and only infallible expedient to be masters of the sea, and able to destroy the greatest navy of any enemy, if instead of building huge great ships and second and third rates, they would leave off building such high decks, which were for nothing but to gratify gentlemen commanders, who must have all their effeminate accommodations, and for pomp; that it would be the ruin of our fleets if such persons were continued in command, they neither having experience nor being capable of learning, because they would not submit to the fatigue and inconvenience which those who were bred seamen would undergo, in those so otherwise useful swift frigates. These, being to encounter the greatest ships, would be able to protect, set on, and bring off, those who should manage the fire-ships; and the prince who should first store himself with numbers of such fireships would, through the help and countenance of such frigates, be able to ruin the greatest force of such vast ships as could be sent to sea, by the dexterity of working those light swift ships to guard the fire-ships. He concluded there would shortly be no other method of sea-fight, and that great ships and men of war, however stored with guns and men, must submit to those who should encounter them with far less number. He represented to us the dreadful effect of these fire-ships; that he continually observed in our late maritime war with the Dutch, that when an enemy's fire-ship approached, the most valiant commander and common sailors were in such consternation, that though then of all times, there was most need of the guns, bombs, etc. to keep the mischief off, they grew pale and astonished, as if of a quite other mean soul; that they slunk about, forsook their guns and work as if in despair, every one looking about to see which way they might get out of their ship, though sure to be drowned if they did so. This he said was likely to prove hereafter the method of sea-fight, likely to be the misfortune of England if they continued to put gentlemen commanders over experienced seamen, on account of their ignorance, effeminacy, and insolence. (From the Same.)
MR. SAMUEL PEPYS
26th May 1703.-This day died Mr. Sam. Pepys, a very worthy, industrious, and curious person, none in England exceeding him in knowledge of the Navy, in which he had passed through all the most considerable offices (clerk of the Acts, and secretary of the Admiralty), all which he performed with great integrity. When King James II. went out of England, he laid down his office, and would serve no more, but withdrawing himself from all public affairs, he lived at Clapham with his partner Mr. Hewer, formerly his clerk, in a very noble house and sweet place, where he enjoyed the fruit of his labours in great prosperity. He was universally beloved, hospitable, generous, learned in many things, skilled in music, a very great cherisher of learned men of whom he had the conversation. His library and collection of other curiosities were of the most considerable, the models of ships especially. Besides what he published of an account of the Navy, as he found and left it, he had for divers years under his hand the History of the Navy, or Navalia as he called it; but how far advanced, and what will follow of his, is left, I suppose, to his sister's son Mr. Jackson, a young gentleman whom Mr. Pepys had educated in all sorts of useful learning, sending him to travel abroad, from whence he returned with extraordinary accomplishments, and worthy to be heir. Mr. Pepys had been for near forty years so much my particular friend, that Mr. Jackson sent me complete mourning, desiring me to be one to hold up the pall at his magnificent obsequies, but my indisposition hindered me from doing him this last office. (From the Same.)
A FUNERAL SERMON
6th Jan. 1691/92.-At the funeral of Mr. Boyle at St. Martin's, Dr. Burnet, Bp. of Salisbury, preached on Eccles. ii. 26. He concluded with an eulogy due to the deceased, who made God and religion the scope of all his excellent talents in the knowledge of nature, and who had arrived to so high a