Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

How Pepys heard the news


Wednesday 12 June 1667:
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. . my mind is so sad and head full of this ill news that I cannot now set it down. A short visit here, my wife coming to me and so home, where all our hearts do now ake; for the newes is true, that the Dutch have broke the chaine and burned our ships, and particularly “The Royal Charles,” other particulars I know not, but most sad to be sure.

And, the truth is, I do fear so much that the whole kingdom is undone, that I do this night resolve to study with my father and wife what to do with the little that I have in money by me, for I give [up] all the rest that I have in the King’s hands, for Tangier, for lost.

So God help us! and God knows what disorders we may fall into, and whether any violence on this office, or perhaps some severity on our persons, as being reckoned by the silly people, or perhaps may, by policy of State, be thought fit to be condemned by the King and Duke of York, and so put to trouble; though, God knows! I have, in my own person, done my full duty, I am sure.

So having with much ado finished my business at the office, I home to consider with my father and wife of things, and then to supper and to bed with a heavy heart. The manner of my advising this night with my father was, I took him and my wife up to her chamber, and shut the door; and there told them the sad state of the times how we are like to be all undone; that I do fear some violence will be offered to this office, where all I have in the world is; and resolved upon sending it away — sometimes into the country — sometimes my father to lie in town, and have the gold with him at Sarah Giles’s, and with that resolution went to bed full of fear and fright, hardly slept all night.

Monthly summary for June 1667:
The Dutch begin relentless naval attacks and victories against the English (8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 18, 27), who lack the ships and power to keep them at bay. Without any funds to pay them, and long overdue outstanding debts owed them, the seamen will not go forth to fight the Dutch and many people fear that they will defect, as they may get paid by the Dutch (14, 23, 25).

During these attacks the King sups with Lady Castlemaine (21) which further ignites the fury of the people. Blame is passed out as Pett is made a scapegoat .  .

During this turmoil Sam fears for his life and his finances. He wisely sends Elizabeth and his father to the country to hide his money (12, 13, 14), but is angry with the lack of care taken in this task (19, 20). He makes his will, splitting his belongings equally between his father and Elizabeth (13). Sam turns down Lord Sandwich’s request for a loan (17); with the banks in such disarray, he wants to protect his belongings .  .


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