Samuel Pepys & John Evelyn

The Complete Diary


evelyn by KnellerSamuel Pepys (1633-1703) and John Evelyn (1620-1706) were contemporaneous diarists, and each mentions the other.

Here are the extracts from Evelyn's diaries published by Project Gutenberg which refer to Samuel Pepys. Though Evelyn's diaries cover the period 1641 to 1697 (and some later) I can find no reference to Pepys earlier than 1669 - which is the last year of Pepys' own diary (1660-1669).

There is a letter from Pepys to Evelyn here.

Pepys refers to Evelyn on the following dates:

May 1st 1665
October 4th 1665
October 24th 1665
October 25th 1665
November 3rd 1665
November 5th 1665
November 6th 1665
November 24th 1665
September 23rd 1668
Though they naturally witnessed similar events (see the descriptions of The Great Fire) there seems to be no example of them appearing in each other's diaries on the same date.

10th June, 1669. Came my Lord Cornbury, Sir William Pulteney, and others to visit me. I went this evening to London, to carry Mr. Pepys to my brother Richard, now exceedingly afflicted with the stone, who had been successfully cut, and carried the stone as big as a tennis ball to show him, and encourage his resolution to go through the operation.

19th February, 1671. This day dined with me Mr. Surveyor, Dr. Christopher Wren, and Mr. Pepys, Clerk of the Acts, two extraordinary, ingenious, and knowing persons, and other friends. I carried them to see the piece of carving which I had recommended to the King.

21st August, 1674. In one of the meadows at the foot of the long Terrace below the Castle [Windsor], works were thrown up to show the King a representation of the city of Maestricht, newly taken by the French. Bastians, bulwarks, ramparts, palisadoes, graffs, horn-works, counter-scarps, etc., were constructed. It was attacked by the Duke of Monmouth (newly come from the real siege) and the Duke of York, with a little army, to show their skill in tactics. On Saturday night they made their approaches, opened trenches, raised batteries, took the counter-scarp and ravelin, after a stout defense; great guns fired on both sides, grenadoes shot, mines sprung, parties sent out, attempts of raising the siege, prisoners taken, parleys; and, in short, all the circumstances of a formal siege, to appearance, and, what is most strange all without disorder, or ill accident, to the great satisfaction of a thousand spectators. Being night, it made a formidable show. The siege being over, I went with Mr. Pepys back to London, where we arrived about three in the morning.

22d May, 1676. Trinity Monday. A chaplain of my Lord Ossory's preached, after which we took barge to Trinity House in London. Mr. Pepys (Secretary of the Admiralty) succeeded my Lord as Master.

26th August, 1676. I dined at the Admiralty with Secretary Pepys, and supped at the Lord Chamberlain's. Here was Captain Baker, who had been lately on the attempt of the Northwest passage. He reported prodigious depth of ice, blue as a sapphire, and as transparent. The thick mists were their chief impediment, and cause of their return.

4th June, 1679. I dined with Mr. Pepys in the Tower, he having been committed by the House of Commons for misdemeanors in the Admiralty when he was secretary; I believe he was unjustly charged. Here I saluted my Lords Stafford and Petre, who were committed for the Popish plot.

3d July, 1679. Sending a piece of venison to Mr. Pepys, still a prisoner, I went and dined with him.

28th January, 1682. Mr. Pepys, late Secretary to the Admiralty, showed me a large folio containing the whole mechanic part and art of building royal ships and men-of-war, made by Sir Anthony Dean, being so accurate a piece from the very keel to the lead block, rigging, guns, victualing, manning, and even to every individual pin and nail, in a method so astonishing and curious, with a draught, both geometrical and in perspective, and several sections, that I do not think the world can show the like. I esteem this book as an extraordinary jewel.

2d March, 1682. Ash Wednesday. I went to church: our vicar preached on Proverbs, showing what care and vigilance was required for the keeping of the heart upright. The Holy Communion followed, on which I gave God thanks for his gracious dealing with me in my late sickness, and affording me this blessed opportunity of praising him in the congregation, and receiving the cup of salvation with new and serious resolutions.

Came to see and congratulate my recovery, Sir John Lowther, Mr. Herbert, Mr. Pepys, Sir Anthony Deane, and Mr. Hill.

20th July, 1685. The Trinity Company met this day, which should have been on the Monday after Trinity, but was put off by reason of the Royal Charter being so large, that it could not be ready before. Some immunities were superadded. Mr. Pepys, Secretary to the Admiralty, was a second time chosen Master. There were present the Duke of Grafton, Lord Dartmouth, Master of the Ordnance, the Commissioners of the Navy, and Brethren of the Corporation. We went to church, according to custom, and then took barge to the Trinity House, in London, where we had a great dinner, above eighty at one table.

15th September, 1685. I accompanied Mr. Pepys to Portsmouth, whither his Majesty was going the first time since his coming to the Crown, to see in what state the fortifications were. ...

2d October, 1685. Having a letter sent me by Mr. Pepys with this expression at the foot of it, "I have something to show you that I may not have another time," and that I would not fail to dine with him. I accordingly went. After dinner, he had me and Mr. Houblon (a rich and considerable merchant, whose father had fled out of Flanders on the persecution of the Duke of Alva) into a private room, and told us that being lately alone with his Majesty, and upon some occasion of speaking concerning my late Lord Arlington dying a Roman Catholic, who had all along seemed to profess himself a Protestant, taken all the tests, etc., till the day (I think) of his death, his Majesty said that as to his inclinations he had known them long wavering, but from fear of losing his places, he did not think it convenient to declare himself. There are, says the King, those who believe the Church of Rome gives dispensations for going to church, and many like things, but that is not so; for if that might have been had, he himself had most reason to make use of it. Indeed, he said, as to SOME MATRIMONIAL CASES, THERE ARE NOW AND THEN DISPENSATIONS, but hardly in any cases else.

This familiar discourse encouraged Mr. Pepys to beg of his Majesty, if he might ask it without offense, and for that his Majesty could not but observe how it was whispered among many whether his late Majesty had been reconciled to the Church of Rome; he again humbly besought his Majesty to pardon his presumption, if he had touched upon a thing which did not befit him to look into. The King ingenuously told him that he both was and died a Roman Catholic, and that he had not long since declared that it was upon some politic and state reasons, best known to himself (meaning the King his brother), but that he was of that persuasion: he bid him follow him into his closet, where opening a cabinet, he showed him two papers, containing about a quarter of a sheet, on both sides written, in the late King's own hand, several arguments opposite to the doctrine of the Church of England, charging her with heresy, novelty, and the fanaticism of other Protestants, the chief whereof was, as I remember, our refusing to acknowledge the primacy and infallibility of the Church of Rome; how impossible it was that so many ages should never dispute it, till of late; how unlikely our Savior would leave his Church without a visible Head and guide to resort to, during his absence; with the like usual topic; so well penned as to the discourse as did by no means seem to me to have been put together by the late King yet written all with his own hand, blotted and interlined, so as, if indeed it was not given him by some priest, they might be such arguments and reasons as had been inculcated from time to time, and here recollected; and, in the conclusion, showing his looking on the Protestant religion (and by name the Church of England) to be without foundation, and consequently false and unsafe. When his Majesty had shown him these originals, he was pleased to lend him the copies of these two papers, attested at the bottom in four or five lines under his own hand.

These were the papers I saw and read. This nice and curious passage I thought fit to set down. Though all the arguments and objections were altogether weak, and have a thousand times been answered by our divines; they are such as their priests insinuate among their proselytes, as if nothing were Catholic but the Church of Rome, no salvation out of that, no reformation sufferable, bottoming all their errors on St. Peter's successors' unerring dictatorship, but proving nothing with any reason, or taking notice of any objection which could be made against it. Here all was taken for granted, and upon it a resolution and preference implied.

I was heartily sorry to see all this, though it was no other than was to be suspected, by his late Majesty's too great indifference, neglect, and course of life, that he had been perverted, and for secular respects only professed to be of another belief, and thereby giving great advantage to our adversaries, both the Court and generally the youth and great persons of the nation becoming dissolute and highly profane. God was incensed to make his reign very troublesome and unprosperous, by wars, plagues, fires, loss of reputation by an universal neglect of the public for the love of a voluptuous and sensual life, which a vicious Court had brought into credit. I think of it with sorrow and pity, when I consider how good and debonair a nature that unhappy Prince was; what opportunities he had to have made himself the most renowned King that ever swayed the British scepter, had he been firm to that Church for which his martyred and blessed father suffered; and had he been grateful to Almighty God, who so miraculously restored him, with so excellent a religion; had he endeavored to own and propagate it as he should have done, not only for the good of his kingdom, but of all the Reformed Churches in christendom, now weakened and near ruined through our remissness and suffering them to be supplanted, persecuted, and destroyed, as in France, which we took no notice of. The consequence of this, time will show, and I wish it may proceed no further. The emissaries and instruments of the Church of Rome will never rest till they have crushed the Church of England, as knowing that alone to be able to cope with them, and that they can never answer her fairly, but lie abundantly open to the irresistible force of her arguments, antiquity and purity of her doctrine, so that albeit it may move God, for the punishment of a nation so unworthy, to eclipse again the profession of her here, and darkness and superstition prevail, I am most confident the doctrine of the Church of England will never be extinguished, but remain visible, if not eminent, to the consummation of the world. I have innumerable reasons that confirm me in this opinion, which I forbear to mention here.

In the meantime, as to the discourse of his Majesty with Mr. Pepys, and those papers, as I do exceedingly prefer his Majesty's free and ingenuous profession of what his own religion is, beyond concealment upon any politic accounts, so I think him of a most sincere and honest nature, one on whose word one may rely, and that he makes a conscience of what he promises, to perform it. In this confidence, I hope that the Church of England may yet subsist, and when it shall please God to open his eyes and turn his heart (for that is peculiarly in the Lord's hands) to flourish also. In all events, whatever does become of the Church of England, it is certainly, of all the Christian professions on the earth, the most primitive, apostolical, and excellent.

13th December, 1685. Dr. Patrick, Dean of Peterborough, preached at Whitehall, before the Princess of Denmark, who, since his Majesty came to the Crown, always sat in the King's closet, and had the same bowings and ceremonies applied to the place where she was, as his Majesty had when there in person.

Dining at Mr. Pepys's, Dr. Slayer showed us an experiment of a wonderful nature, pouring first a very cold liquor into a glass, and superfusing on it another, to appearance cold and clear liquor also; it first produced a white cloud, then boiling, divers coruscations and actual flames of fire mingled with the liquor, which being a little shaken together, fixed divers suns and stars of real fire, perfectly globular, on the sides of the glass, and which there stuck like so many constellations, burning most vehemently, and resembling stars and heavenly bodies, and that for a long space. It seemed to exhibit a theory of the eduction of light out of the chaos, and the fixing or gathering of the universal light into luminous bodies. This matter, or phosphorus, was made out of human blood and urine, elucidating the vital flame, or heat in animal bodies. A very noble experiment!

19th April, 1687. I heard the famous singer, Cifaccio, esteemed the best in Europe. Indeed, his holding out and delicateness in extending and loosing a note with incomparable softness and sweetness, was admirable; for the rest I found him a mere wanton, effeminate child, very coy, and proudly conceited, to my apprehension. He touched the harpsichord to his voice rarely well. This was before a select number of particular persons whom Mr. Pepys invited to his house; and this was obtained by particular favor and much difficulty, the Signor much disdaining to show his talent to any but princes.

27th January, 1689. I dined at the Admiralty, where was brought in a child not twelve years old, the son of one Dr. Clench, of the most prodigious maturity of knowledge, for I cannot call it altogether memory, but something more extraordinary. Mr. Pepys and myself examined him, not in any method, but with promiscuous questions, which required judgment and discernment to answer so readily and pertinently. There was not anything in chronology, history, geography, the several systems of astronomy, courses of the stars, longitude, latitude, doctrine of the spheres, courses and sources of rivers, creeks, harbors, eminent cities, boundaries and bearings of countries, not only in Europe, but in any other part of the earth, which he did not readily resolve and demonstrate his knowledge of, readily drawing out with a pen anything he would describe. He was able not only to repeat the most famous things which are left us in any of the Greek or Roman histories, monarchies, republics, wars, colonies, exploits by sea and land, but all the sacred stories of the Old and New Testament; the succession of all the monarchies, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, with all the lower Emperors, Popes, Heresiarchs, and Councils, what they were called about, what they determined, or in the controversy about Easter, the tenets of the Gnostics, Sabellians, Arians, Nestorians; the difference between St. Cyprian and Stephen about re-baptism, the schisms. We leaped from that to other things totally different, to Olympic years, and synchronisms; we asked him questions which could not be resolved without considerable meditation and judgment, nay of some particulars of the Civil Laws, of the Digest and Code. He gave a stupendous account of both natural and moral philosophy, and even in metaphysics.

Having thus exhausted ourselves rather than this wonderful child, or angel rather, for he was as beautiful and lovely in countenance as in knowledge, we concluded with asking him if, in all he had read or heard of, he had ever met with anything which was like this expedition of the Prince of Orange, with so small a force to obtain three great kingdoms without any contest. After a little thought, he told us that he knew of nothing which did more resemble it than the coming of Constantine the Great out of Britain, through France and Italy, so tedious a march, to meet Maxentius, whom he overthrew at Pons Milvius with very little conflict, and at the very gates of Rome, which he entered and was received with triumph, and obtained the empire, not of three kingdoms only, but of all the then known world. He was perfect in the Latin authors, spoke French naturally, and gave us a description of France, Italy, Savoy, Spain, ancient and modernly divided; as also of ancient Greece, Scythia, and northern countries and tracts: we left questioning further. He did this without any set or formal repetitions, as one who had learned things without book, but as if he minded other things, going about the room, and toying with a parrot there, and as he was at dinner (tanquam aliua agens, as it were) seeming to be full of play, of a lively, sprightly temper, always smiling, and exceedingly pleasant, without the least levity, rudeness, or childishness.

His father assured us he never imposed anything to charge his memory by causing him to get things by heart, not even the rules of grammar; but his tutor (who was a Frenchman) read to him, first in French, then in Latin; that he usually played among other boys four or five hours every day, and that he was as earnest at his play as at his study. He was perfect in arithmetic, and now newly entered into Greek. In sum (horresco referens), I had read of divers forward and precocious youths, and some I have known, but I never did either hear or read of anything like to this sweet child, if it be right to call him child who has more knowledge than most men in the world. I counseled his father not to set his heart too much on this jewel,

"Immodicis brevis est ætas, et rara senectus,"

as I myself learned by sad experience in my most dear child Richard, many years since, who, dying before he was six years old, was both in shape and countenance and pregnancy of learning, next to a prodigy.

8th July, 1689. I sat for my picture to Mr. Kneller, for Mr. Pepys, late Secretary to the Admiralty, holding my "Sylva" in my right hand. It was on his long and earnest request, and is placed in his library. Kneller never painted in a more masterly manner.

Evelyn by Kneller

7th March, 1690. I dined with Mr. Pepys, late Secretary to the Admiralty, where was that excellent shipwright and seaman (for so he had been, and also a Commission of the Navy), Sir Anthony Deane. Among other discourse, and deploring the sad condition of our navy, as now governed by inexperienced 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 afterward 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 fire ships, 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 seafight; 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 seafight, 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.

10th June, 1690. Mr. Pepys read to me his Remonstrance, showing with what malice and injustice he was suspected with Sir Anthony Deane about the timber, of which the thirty ships were built by a late Act of Parliament, with the exceeding danger which the fleet would shortly be in, by reason of the tyranny and incompetency of those who now managed the Admiralty and affairs of the Navy, of which he gave an accurate state, and showed his great ability.

24th June, 1690. Dined with Mr. Pepys, who the next day was sent to the Gatehouse,74 and several great persons to the Tower, on suspicion of being affected to King James; among them was the Earl of Clarendon, the Queen's uncle. King William having vanquished King James in Ireland, there was much public rejoicing. It seems the Irish in King James's army would not stand, but the English-Irish and French made great resistance. Schomberg was slain, and Dr. Walker, who so bravely defended Londonderry. King William received a slight wound by the grazing of a cannon bullet on his shoulder, which he endured with very little interruption of his pursuit. Hamilton, who broke his word about Tyrconnel, was taken. It is reported that King James is gone back to France. Drogheda and Dublin surrendered, and if King William be returning, we may say of him as Cæsar said, "Veni, vidi, vici." But to alloy much of this, the French fleet rides in our channel, ours not daring to interpose, and the enemy threatening to land.

30th July, 1690. I dined with Mr. Pepys, now suffered to return to his house, on account of indisposition.

15th August, 1690. I was desired to be one of the bail of the Earl of Clarendon, for his release from the Tower, with divers noblemen. The Bishop of St. Asaph expounds his prophecies to me and Mr. Pepys, etc. The troops from Blackheath march to Portsmouth. That sweet and hopeful youth, Sir Charles Tuke, died of the wounds he received in the fight of the Boyne, to the great sorrow of all his friends, being (I think) the last male of that family, to which my wife is related. A more virtuous young gentleman I never knew; he was learned for his age, having had the advantage of the choicest breeding abroad, both as to arts and arms; he had traveled much, but was so unhappy as to fall in the side of his unfortunate King.

The unseasonable and most tempestuous weather happening, the naval expedition is hindered, and the extremity of wet causes the siege of Limerick to be raised, King William returned to England. Lord Sidney left Governor of what is conquered in Ireland, which is near three parts [in four].

23d November, 1690. Carried Mr. Pepys's memorials to Lord Godolphin, now resuming the commission of the Treasury, to the wonder of all his friends.

11th July, 1691. I dined with Mr. Pepys, where was Dr. Cumberland, the new Bishop of Norwich, Dr. Lloyd having been put out for not acknowledging the Government. Cumberland is a very learned, excellent man.

25th July, 1692. To Mr. Hewer's at Clapham, where he has an excellent, useful, and capacious house on the Common, built by Sir Den. Gauden, and by him sold to Mr. Hewer, who got a very considerable estate in the Navy, in which, from being Mr. Pepys's clerk, he came to be one of the principal officers, but was put out of all employment on the Revolution, as were all the best officers, on suspicion of being no friends to the change; such were put in their places, as were most shamefully ignorant and unfit. Mr. Hewer lives very handsomely and friendly to everybody. Our fleet was now sailing on their long pretense of a descent on the French coast; but, after having sailed one hundred leagues, returned, the admiral and officers disagreeing as to the place where they were to land, and the time of year being so far spent,—to the great dishonor of those at the helm, who concerted their matters so indiscreetly, or, as some thought, designedly.

30th May, 1698. I dined at Mr. Pepys's, where I heard the rare voice of Mr. Pule, who was lately come from Italy, reputed the most excellent singer we had ever had. He sung several compositions of the late Dr. Purcell.

6th August, 1698. I dined with Pepys, where was Captain Dampier, who had been a famous buccaneer, had brought hither the painted Prince Job, and printed a relation of his very strange adventure, and his observations. He was now going abroad again by the King's encouragement, who furnished a ship of 290 tons. He seemed a more modest man than one would imagine by the relation of the crew he had assorted with. He brought a map of his observations of the course of the winds in the South Sea, and assured us that the maps hitherto extant were all false as to the Pacific Sea, which he makes on the south of the line, that on the north end running by the coast of Peru being extremely tempestuous.

23d September, 1700. I went to visit Mr. Pepys at Clapham, where he has a very noble and wonderfully well-furnished house, especially with Indian and Chinese curiosities. The offices and gardens well accommodated for pleasure and retirement.

26th May, 1703. This day died Mr. Samuel 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 labors 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.