HotFreeBooks.com
Sylva, Vol. 1 (of 2) - Or A Discourse of Forest Trees
by John Evelyn
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

{Transcriber's note:

The spelling and punctuation in the original are idiosyncratic and inconsistent. No changes have been made except as explicitly noted at the end of this etext.

Greek has been transliterated and surrounded with +: +Theos hylikos+. {oe} ligatures have been unpacked. The ounce sign is represented by {oz}.}



SYLVA: OR A DISCOURSE OF FOREST TREES & THE PROPAGATION OF TIMBER V O L U M E O N E



{Illustration: John Evelyn From the engraving by R. Nanteuil}



S Y L V A

OR A DISCOURSE OF FOREST TREES: BY JOHN EVELYN F.R.S. WITH AN ESSAY ON THE LIFE AND WORKS OF THE AUTHOR BY JOHN NISBET D.OEc.

A REPRINT OF THE FOURTH EDITION IN TWO VOLUMES

VOLUME ONE

LONDON: PUBLISHED BY ARTHUR DOUBLEDAY & COMPANY LIMITED AT 8 YORK BUILDINGS ADELPHI



CONTENTS.

VOLUME I.

Introduction page ix Title Page of 4th Edition " lxxiii To the King " lxxv To the Reader " lxxvii Advertisement " xcix Books published by the Author " ci Amico carissimo " cii Nobilissimo Viro " ciii EIS TEN TOU PATROS DENDROLOGIAN " cvi The Garden.—To J. Evelyn, Esq. " cvii

BOOK I.

CHAPTER I. Of the Earth, Soil, Seed, Air, and Water " 1 " II. Of the Seminary and of Transplanting " 12 " III. Of the Oak " 30 " IV. Of the Elm " 62 " V. Of the Beech " 75 " VI. Of the Horn-beam " 81 " VII. Of the Ash " 86 " VIII. Of the Chesnut " 94 " IX. Of the Wallnut " 101 " X. Of the Service, and black cherry-tree " 111 " XI. Of the Maple " 115 " XII. Of the Sycomor " 121 " XIII. Of the Lime-Tree " 122 " XIV. Of the Poplar, Aspen, and Abele " 128 " XV. Of the Quick-Beam " 134 " XVI. Of the Hasel " 136 " XVII. Of the Birch " 140 " XVIII. Of the Alder " 155 " XIX. Of the Withy, Sallow, Ozier, and Willow " 159 " XX. Of Fences, Quick-sets, &c. " 175

BOOK II.

CHAPTER I. Of the Mulberry " 203 " II. Of the Platanus, Lotus, Cornus, Acacia, &c. " 214 " III. Of the Fir, Pine, Pinaster, Pitch-tree, Larsh, and Subterranean trees " 220 " IV. Of the Cedar, Juniper, Cypress, Savine, Thuya, &c. " 253 " V. Of the Cork, Ilex, Alaternus, Celastrus, Ligustrum, Philyrea, Myrtil, Lentiscus, Olive, Granade, Syring, Jasmine and other Exoticks " 282 " VI. Of the Arbutus, Box, Yew, Holly, Pyracanth, Laurel, Bay, &c. " 293 " VII. Of the infirmities of trees, &c. " 314

VOLUME II.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER I. Of Copp'ces page 1 " II. Of Pruning " 8 " III. Of the Age, Stature, and Felling of Trees " 24 " IV. Of Timber, the Seasoning and Uses, and of Fuel " 80 " V. Aphorisms, or certain General Precepts of use to the foregoing Chapters " 130 " VI. Of the Laws and Statutes for the Preservation and Improvement of Woods and Forests " 138 " VII. The paraenesis and conclusion, containing some encouragements and proposals for the planting and improvement of his Majesty's forests, and other amunities for shade, and ornament " 157

BOOK IV.

An historical account of the sacredness and use of standing groves, &c. " 205

Renati Rapini " 269



INTRODUCTION.

I

Evelyn & his literary contemporaries Isaac Walton & Samuel Pepys.

Among the prose writers of the second half of the seventeenth century John Evelyn holds a very distinguished position. The age of the Restoration and the Revolution is indeed rich in many names that have won for themselves an enduring place in the history of English literature. South, Tillotson, and Barrow among theologians, Newton in mathematical science, Locke and Bentley in philosophy and classical learning, Clarendon and Burnet in history, L'Estrange, Butler, Marvell and Dryden in miscellaneous prose, and Temple as an essayist, have all made their mark by prose writings which will endure for all time. But the names which stand out most prominently in popular estimation as authors of great masterpieces in the prose of this period are certainly those of John Bunyan, John Evelyn, and Izaak Walton. And along with them Samuel Pepys is also well entitled to be ranked as a great contemporary writer, though he was at pains to try and ensure his being permitted to remain free from the publicity of authorship, for such time at least as the curious might allow his Diary to remain hidden in the cipher he employed.

With the great though untrained genius of Bunyan none of these other three celebrated prose authors of this time has anything in common. He stands apart from them in his fervently religious and romantic temperament, in his richness of representation and ingenuity of analogy, and in his forcible quaintness of style, as completely as he did in social status and in personal surroundings. In complete contrast to the romantic productions of the self-educated tinker of Bedford, the works of Walton and Evelyn were at any rate influenced by, though they can hardly be said to have been moulded upon, the style of the preceding age of old English prose writers ending with Milton. The influence of the latter is, indeed, plainly noticeable both in the diction and in the general sentiment of these two great masters of the pure, nervous English of their period.

It would serve no good purpose to make any attempt here to trace the points of resemblance between the works of Walton and Evelyn, and then to note their differences in style. Each has contributed a masterpiece towards our national literature, and it would be a mere waste of time to make comparisons between their chief productions. This much, however, may be remarked, that the conditions under which each worked were completely different from those surrounding the other. Izaak Walton, the author of many singularly interesting biographies, and of the quaint half-poetical Compleat Angler or the Contemplative Man's Recreation, the great classic "Discourse of Fish and Fishing," was a London tradesman, while his equally celebrated contemporary John Evelyn, author of Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest Trees, the classic of British Forestry, was a more highly cultured man, who wrote, in the leisure of official duties and amid the surroundings of easy refinement, many useful and tasteful works both in prose and poetry, ranging over a wide variety of subjects. Judging from the number of editions which appeared of their principal works, they were both held in great favour by the reading public, though on the whole the advantage in some respects lay with Evelyn. But during the present century the taste of the public, judged by this same rough and ready, practical standard, has undoubtedly awarded the prize of popularity to Izaac Walton.

So far as the circumstances of their early life were concerned there was greater similarity between Walton and Pepys, than between either of them and Evelyn. Born in the lower middle class, the son of a tailor in London, and himself afterwards a member of the Clothworkers' guild, Pepys was a true Londoner. His tastes were centred entirely in the town, and his pleasures were never sought either among woods or green fields, or by the banks of trout streams and rivers. His thoughts seem often tainted with the fumes of the wine-bowl and the reek of the tavern; and even when he swore off drink, as he frequently did, he soon relapsed into his customary habits. Educated in London and then at Cambridge, where his love of a too flowing bowl already got him into trouble more than once, he was imprudent enough to incur the responsibilities of matrimony at the early age of twenty-three, with a beautiful girl only fifteen years old. Trouble soon stared this rash and improvident young couple in the face, but they were spared the pangs of permanent poverty through the aid and influence of Sir Edward Montagu, afterwards Earl of Sandwich, who was a distant relative of Pepys. Acting probably as Montagu's secretary for some time, he was first appointed to a clerkship in the Army pay office, and then soon afterwards became clerk of the Acts of the Navy. Later on, like Evelyn, he held various more important posts under the Crown, as well as being greatly distinguished by promotion to non-official positions of the highest honour. His official career was a very brilliant one, and deservedly so from the integrity of his work, from his application, despite frequent immoderation in partaking of wine, and from his business-like methods of work. As Commissioner for the Affairs of Tangier and Treasurer, he visited Tangier officially. He twice became Secretary to the Admiralty, and was twice elected to represent Harwich in Parliament, after having previously sat for Castle Rising. He was also twice chosen as Master of the Trinity House, and was twice committed to prison, once on a charge of high treason, and the other time (1690) on the charge of being affected to King James II., upon whose flight from England Pepys had laid down his office and withdrawn himself into retirement. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1665, he attained the distinction of being its President in 1684. He was Master of the Clothworkers' Company, Treasurer and Vice-President of Christ's Hospital, and one of the Barons of the Cinque Ports. In 1699, four years before he succumbed to a long and painful disease borne with fortitude under the depression of reduced circumstances, he received the freedom of the City of London, principally for his services in connection with Christ's Hospital.

From the hasty sketch drafted in the above outlines, it will be seen that throughout all Pepys' manhood the circumstances of his daily life and environment were much more similar to those of Evelyn than to those of Walton, who may well be ranked as their senior by almost one generation. Like Evelyn, Izaak Walton was rather the child of the country than a boy of the town. Born in Stafford in 1593, he only came to settle in London after he had attained early manhood. Thus, though a citizen exposing his linen drapery and mens' millinery for sale first in the Gresham Exchange on the Cornhill, then in Fleet Street, and latterly in Chancery Lane, the Bond Street of that time, he ever cherished a longing for more rural surroundings and a desire to exchange life in the city for residence in a smaller provincial town. On the civil war breaking out in Charles the Ist's time, he retired from business and went to live near his birth place, Stafford, where he had previously bought some land. Here the last forty years of his long life were spent in ease and recreation. When not angling or visiting friends, mostly brethren of the angle, he engaged in the light literary work of compiling biographies and in collecting material for the enrichment of his Compleat Angler. Published in 1653, this ran through five editions in 23 years, besides a reprint in 1664 of the third edition (1661).

In spite of the many similarities between Evelyn and Pepys as to university education, official position, political partisanship, and social and scientific status in London, there are yet such essential differences between what has been bequeathed to us by these two friends that comparison between them is almost impossible. They are both authors: but it was by chance rather than by design that Pepys ultimately acquired repute as an author, whereas Evelyn at once achieved the literary fame he desired and wrote for. Neither of the two works published by Pepys, The Portugal History (1677) and the Memories of the Royal Navy (1690), procured for him the gratification of revising them for a second edition, and it is indeed open to question if the Diary upon which his undying fame rests was ever intended by him to be published after his death. This is a point that is never likely to be settled satisfactorily. The fact of its having been written in cipher looks as if it had been compiled solely for private amusement, and not with any intention of posthumous publication; and this view is greatly strengthened by the unblushing and complete manner in which he lays aside the mask of outward propriety and records his too frequent quaffing of the wine-cup, his household bickerings, his improprieties with fair women, and his graver conjugal infidelities. The improprieties of other persons, and especially those of higher social rank than himself, might very intelligibly have been written in cipher intended to have been transcribed and printed after his death; but it would be at variance with human nature to believe that he could so unreservedly have reduced to writing all the faults and follies of his life had even posthumous publication of his Diary been contemplated by him at the time of writing it. For it is hardly capable of argument that, next to the instincts of self-preservation and of the maintenance of family ties, the desire to preserve outward appearances is undoubtedly one of the strongest of human feelings; and this great natural law, often the last remnant or the substitute of conscience, character, and self-respect, is even more fully operative in a highly civilised than in a savage or a semi-savage state of society. Of a truth, every human being is more or less of a Pharisee with regard to certain conventionalities of life. Complete disregard for the maintenance of some sort of standard of outward appearances is the absolute vanishing point of self-respect. Till that has been reached by any individual the hope of his reformation is not lost, though at the same time successful dissimulation makes the prospect of a turning point in a vicious career but remote. Still, "it is a long lane that has no turning." It is therefore most probable that the leaving behind of the key to the cipher was rather due to inadvertence than to intention and design. And if this view be correct, then Pepys' charming Diary was the purely natural outpouring of his mind without ever a thought being bestowed on authorship and ultimate publication.

With Evelyn's Diary, however, it was different. Although it was not published until 1818, and though it may never have been intended by its writer to have been given to the world in book form, yet it was very clearly intended to be an autobiographical legacy to his family. Hence it is no mere outpouring of the spirit upon pages meant only for the subsequent perusal of him who thus rendered in indelible characters his passing thoughts of the moment. And this being the case, comparison between the two Diaries would be just as unfair as it is unnecessary. The one is the fruit of unrestrained freedom and a mirthful mind, while the other is the product of cultured leisure and a refined literary method. When Evelyn was Commissioner for the maintenance of the Dutch prisoners (1664-70) he had frequent communications with Pepys, then of the Navy, and there are special references to him in Evelyn's memoirs. That an intimate friendship existed there is no doubt, and that they each held the other in great respect as a man of intellect, as well as of good business capacity, is equally clear. Thus, in June, 1669, he encouraged Pepys to be operated on 'when exceedingly afflicted with the stone;' and on 19 February, 1671, 'This day din'd with me Mr. Surveyor, Dr. Christopher Wren, and Mr. Pepys, Cleark 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.' This was a masterpiece of Grinling Gibbon's work, which Charles admired but did not purchase; so Gibbon not long after sold it for L80, though 'well worth L100, without the frame, to Sir George Viner.' Evelyn at this time got Wren, however, to promise faithfully to employ Gibbon to do the choir carving in the new St. Paul's Cathedral.

Each of their Diaries teems with reference to the other. Pepys asked Evelyn to sit to Kneller for his portrait which he desired for 'reasons I had (founded upon gratitude, affection, and esteeme) to covet that in effigie which I most truly value in the original.' This refers to the well-known portrait, now at Wotton, that has been copied and engraved.

It appears to have been begun in October, 1685, but it was not till July, 1689, that the commission was actually completed. The portrait exhibits the face of an elderly man distinctly of a high-strung and nervous temperament, though not quite to the extent of being 'sicklied oer with the pale caste of thought.' His right hand, too, which grasps his Sylva is one very characteristic of the nervous disposition. A bright, shrewd intellect, lofty thoughts, high motives, good resolves, and—last, tho' by no means least—a serene mind, the mens conscia recti which Pepys bluntly called 'a little conceitedness,' are all stamped upon his well-marked and not unshapely features. It is eminently the face of a philosopher, an enthusiast, a studious scholar, and a gentleman.

No one can ever know Evelyn so well as Pepys did; and here is his opinion of John Evelyn, expressed in the secret pages of his cipher Diary on November, 1665:—'In fine, a most excellent person he is, and must be allowed a little for a little conceitedness; but he may well be so, being a man so much above others.' And this just exactly bears out the rough general impression conveyed by the perusal of Evelyn's Diary and his other literary works. The long friendship of these two was only terminated by the death of Pepys on 26th May, 1703, not long before Evelyn had himself to depart from this life. 'This day died Mr. Sam. Pepys, a very courtly, 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..... He was universally belov'd, hospitable, generous, learned in many things, skilled in music, a very great cherisher of learned men of whom he had the conversation..... Mr. Pepys had been for near 40 yeares so much my particular friend, that Mr. Jackson sent me compleat mourning, desiring me to be one to hold up the pall at his magnificient obsequies, but my indisposition hinder'd me from doing him this last office.'

II

Evelyn's Childhood, Early Education, and Youth.

The essential facts of Evelyn's life, as he himself would have us know them, are set forth at full length in autobiographical form, chronologically arranged in what is always spoken of as his Diary, although evidently this was (much of it, at any rate) merely a subsequent personal compilation from an actual diary, kept in imitation of his father, from the age of 11 years onwards and down even to within one month of his death in 1706.

The second son and the fourth child of Richard Evelyn of Wotton in Surrey, and of his wife Eleanor, daughter of John Stansfield 'of an ancient honorable family (though now extinct) in Shropshire,' he was born at Wotton on 31st. October, 1620. His father, 'was of a sanguine complexion, mixed with a dash of choler; his haire inclining to light, which tho' exceeding thick became hoary by the time he was 30 years of age; it was somewhat curled towards the extremity; his beard, which he wore a little picked, as the mode was, of a brownish colour, and so continued to the last, save that it was somewhat mingled with grey haires about his cheekes: which, with his countenance, was cleare, and fresh colour'd, his eyes quick and piercing, an ample forehead, manly aspect; low of stature, but very strong. He was for his life so exact and temperate, that I have heard he had never been surprised by excesse, being ascetic and sparing. His wisdom was greate, and judgment most acute; of solid discourse, affable, humble and in nothing affected; of a thriving, neat, silent and methodical genius; discretely severe, yet liberal on all just occasions to his children, strangers, and servants; a lover of hospitality; of a singular and Christian moderation in all his actions; a Justice of the Peace and of the Quorum; he served his country as High Sheriff for Surrey and Sussex together. He was a studious decliner of honours and titles, being already in that esteem with his country that they could have added little to him besides their burden. He was a person of that rare conversation, that upon frequent recollection, and calling to mind passages of his life and discourse, I could never charge him with the least passion or inadvertence. His estate was esteem'd about L4,000 per ann. well wooded and full of timber.' As for his mother, 'She was of proper personage; of a brown complexion; her eyes and haire of a lovely black; of constitution inclyned to a religious melancholy, or pious sadnesse; of a rare memory and most exemplary life; for oeconomie and prudence esteemed one of the most conspicuous in her Country.'

Apparently John Evelyn thought he had made a very judicious choice of his father and mother when he wrote 'Thus much in brief touching my parents; nor was it reasonable I should speake lesse to them to whom I owe so much.'

These passages, occurring in the first two pages of his Diary serve at once to illustrate a very characteristic feature of Evelyn's mind, and one that is everywhere discernible in his writings. He was a man with a highly cultured and a very well balanced mind, but he was somewhat inclined to exaggerate; and he certainly had the rather enviable gift of considering everything pertaining to him, or approved or advocated by him, as very superior indeed. All his eggs had two yolks, and all his geese were swans. What he liked, he loved; and what he did not like, he hated. There was no golden mean with him; he was either very optimistic or else intensely pessimistic. Hence, naturally, he gave hard knocks to those who differed from him in opinion, and particularly after the Restoration; for he was one of the most expressive among King Charles II's courtiers. Direct evidence of this special temperament was characteristic of Evelyn throughout all his life, and was of course particularly noticeable in his writings, as we shall subsequently see. It is therefore only to be expected that he prized his father's little estate of Wotton in Surrey as one of the finest in the kingdom. 'Wotton, the mansion house of my Father, left him by my Grandfather, (now my eldest Brother's), is situated in the most Southern part of the Shire, and though in a valley, yet really upon part of Lyth Hill one of the most eminent in England for the prodigious prospect to be seen from its summit, tho' of few observed. From it may be discerned 12 or 13 Counties, with part of the Sea on the Coast of Sussex, in a serene day. The house is large and ancient, suitable to those hospitable times, and so sweetly environed with those delicious streams and venerable woods, as in the judgment of Strangers as well as Englishmen it may be compared to one of the most tempting and pleasant Seats in the Nation, and most tempting for a great person and a wanton purse to render it conspicuous. It has rising grounds, meadows, woods, and water in abundance. The distance from London (is) little more than 20 miles, and yet (it is) so securely placed as if it were 100; three miles from Dorking, which serves it abundantly with provisions as well of land as sea; 6 from Guildford, 12 from Kingston. I will say nothing of the ayre, because the praeeminence is universally given to Surrey, the soil being dry and sandy: but I should speak much of the gardens, fountains, and groves that adorne it, were they not as generally knowne to be amongst the most natural, and (till this later and universal luxury of the whole nation, since abounding in such expenses) the most magnificent that England afforded, and which indeed gave one of the first examples to that elegancy since so much in vogue, and followed in the managing of their waters, and other ornaments of that nature. Let me add, the contiguity of five or six Mannors, the patronage of the livings about it, and, what is none of the least advantages, a good neighbourhood. All which conspire to render it fit for the present possessor, my worthy Brother, and his noble lady, whose constant liberality give them title both to the place and the affections of all that know them. Thus, with the poet,

Nescio qua natale solum dulcedine cunctos Ducit, et im' emores non sinit esse sui!'

This is a very good specimen of Evelyn's style, for it shews the optimistic quality which, along with refinement and a love of classical quotations, is ever present in his writings. Lythe Hill, from the summit of which the 'prodigious prospect' is so eminently belauded, attains a height of less than a thousand feet above the sea-level.

At the early age of four John Evelyn was initiated into the rudiments of education by one Frier, who taught children at the church porch of Wotton; but soon after that he was sent to Lewes in Sussex, to be with his grandfather Standsfield, while a plague was raging in London. There he remained, after Standsfield's death in 1627, till 1630, when he was sent to the free school at Southover near Lewes and kept there until he went up to Balliol College, Oxford, as a fellow-commoner in 1637, being then 16 years of age. It was his father's intention to have placed him at Eton 'but I was so terrefied at the report of the severe discipline there that I was sent back to Lewes, which perverseness of mine I have since a thousand times deplored.' In that same year (1637) Evelyn had the misfortune to lose his mother, then only in the 37th year of her age. Having been 'extremely remisse' in his studies at school, he made no great mark during his University career. His application was not assiduous, while his tutor, Bradshaw, whom he disliked, was negligent; and he appears to have been subject to frequent attacks of ague, disposing him to casual recreation rather than to close study. He had also apparently the desire to acquire a smattering of many different things rather than to study hard at a few special subjects. 'I began to look on the rudiments of musick, in which I afterwards arriv'd to some formal knowledge though to small perfection of hand, because I was so frequently diverted by inclinations to newer trifles.'

Completing his Oxford studies early in 1639, without taking any degree, he went into residence at the Middle Temple in April, and soon arrived at the conclusion that his 'being at the University in regard of these avocations, was of very small benefit.' Here he and his brother lodged in 'a very handsome apartment just over against the Halt Court, but four payre of stayres high, which gave us the advantage of fairer prospect, but did not much contribute to the love of that unpolish'd study, to which (I suppose,) my Father had design'd me!' While thus a law student, on 30th October, he saw 'his Majestie (coming from his Northern Expedition) ride in pomp, and a kind of ovation, with all the markes of a happy peace, restor'd to the affections of his people, being conducted through London with a most splendid cavalcade; and on 3rd November, following (a day never to be mentioned without a curse) to that long, ungratefull, foolish, and fatall Parliament, the beginning of all our sorrows for twenty years after, and the period of the most happy Monarch in the world: Quis talia fando!'

In the closing days of 1640 Evelyn lost his father, when he abandoned the study of the law and betook himself abroad in preference to being mixed up in the disorders of the time. His resolutions were 'to absent myselfe from this ill face of things at home, which gave umbrage to wiser than myselfe, that the medaill was reversing, and our calamities but yet in their infancy.' Shortly before that he had 'beheld on Tower Hill the fatal stroake which sever'd the wisest head in England from the shoulders of the Earl of Strafford.'

Landing at Flushing in July, 1641, Evelyn passed, accompanied by his tutor Mr. Caryll, through Midelbrogh, Der Veer, Dort, Rotterdam, and Delft, to the Hague, where he presented himself to the Queen of Bohemia's Court. Thence he went on to Leyden, Utrecht, Rynen, and Nimeguen, to where the Dutch army was encamped about Genep, a strong fortress on the Wahale river. Here he enrolled himself and served for a few days as a volunteer in the Queen's army 'according to the compliment,' being attached to the English company of Captain Apsley: and in this capacity he 'received many civilities.' Even when thus playing at soldering, he did not like the roughness of a soldier's life, 'for the sun piercing the canvass of the tent, it was, during the day, unsufferable, and at night not seldom infested with mists and fogs, which ascended from the river.' However, during the few days he took his fair share in the work. 'As the turn came about, I watched on a horne work neere our quarters, and trailed a pike, being the next morning relieved by a company of French. This was our continual duty till the Castle was re-fortified, and all danger of quitting that station secured.' Retracing his steps to Rotterdam, Delft, the Hague and Leyden, he also visited Haerlem, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels and various other towns before returning by way of Ostend, Dunkirk and Dover to Wotton, where he celebrated his 21st birthday.

Although his Diary does not contain any details on such matters as Pepys would have been free to record in his cipher, John Evelyn was probably rather a gay and pleasure-loving youth about this time. A suspicion of this seems justified by the fact that he 'was elected one of the Comptrolers of the Middle Temple-revellers, as the fashion of ye young Students and Gentlemen was, the Christmas being kept this year (1641) with great solemnity; but being desirous to passe it in the Country, I got leave to resign my staffe of office, and went with my brother Richard to Wotton.' From January till March he was back in London 'studying a little, but dancing and fooling more.'

III

Evelyn's Early Manhood, Continental Travels and Studies, Voluntary Exile, and Return to England 1647.

It was hardly possible that anyone situated as Evelyn was could hold aloof from the party strife when civil war broke out during the course of this year. And, of course, he was on the Royalist side. But he did not serve long with the troops. Here is his own record of that military service,—'Oct. 3rd. To Chichester, and hence the next day to see the siege of Portsmouth; for now was that bloody difference betweene the King and Parliament broken out, which ended in the fatal tragedy so many years after. It was on the day of its being render'd to Sir William Waller, which gave me an opportunity of taking my leave of Colonel Goring the Governor, now embarqueing for France. This day was fought that signal Battaile at Edgehill. Thence I went to Southampton and Winchester, where I visited the Castle, Schole, Church, and King Arthur's Round Table, but especially the Church, and its Saxon Kings' Monuments, which I esteemed a worthy antiquity. 12th. November, was the Battle of Braineford surprisingly fought, and to the greate consternation of the Citty had his Majesty (as twas believed he would) pursu'd his advantage. I came in with my horse and armes just at the retreate, but was not permitted to stay longer than the 15th. by reason of the Army's marching to Glocester, which would have left both me and my brother expos'd to ruine, without any advantage to his Majestie. Dec. 7th. I went from Wotton to London to see the so much celebrated line of com'unication, and on the 10th. returned to Wotton, nobody knowing of my having been in his Majestie's Army.'

During the first half of 1643 Evelyn employed himself entirely in rural occupations, visiting the garden and vineyard of Hatfield and similar places. From time to time, however, he made many journeys to and from London. What he sometimes saw there gave him much food for ample reflection. 'May 2nd. I went from Wotton to London, where I saw the furious and zelous people demolish that stately Crosse in Cheapside. On the 4th. I returned with no little regrett for the confusion that threatened us. Resolving to possess myself in some quiet if it might be, in a time of so great jealosy, I built by my Brother's permission a study, made a fishpond, an island, and some other solitudes and retirements, at Wotton, which gave the first occasion of improving them to those water-works and gardens which afterwards succeeded them, and became at that tyme the most famous of England.' But, willy nilly, he was bound to become dragged into action on the King's behalf. 'July 12th. I sent my black manege horse and furniture with a friend to his Majestie then at Oxford. 23rd. The Covenant being pressed, I absented myselfe; but finding it impossible to evade the doing very unhandsome things, and which had been a greate cause of my perpetual motions hitherto between Wotton and London, Oct. 2nd. I obtayned a lycence of his Majestie, dated at Oxford and sign'd by the King, to travell againe.' Accordingly, on 7th. November, he took boat at the Tower wharf for Sittingbourne, 'being only a payre of oares, expos'd to a hideous storm, thence posting to Dover accompanied by an Oxford friend, Mr. Thicknesse, and crossing the Channel to Calais.'

Proceeding by Boulogne, Monstreuil, Abbeville, Beauvais, Beaumont, and St. Denys to Paris, of which he gives a very interesting account, he threw himself into the social life of that gay capital. His first step was to make his duty to Sir Richard Browne, afterwards his father-in-law, then in charge of British affairs pending the arrival of the Earl of Norwich, who came immediately after that as Ambassador Extraordinary. That Evelyn's purse was fairly well lined the Parisian passages in his Diary distinctly show. He appears to have taken part in many gay excursions and junkettings, though he sometimes reckoned the cost. 'At an inn in this village (St. Germains en Lay) is an host who treats all the greate persons in princely lodgings for furniture and plate, but they pay well for it, as I have don. Indeede the entertainment is very splendid, and not unreasonable, considering the excellent manner of dressing their meate, and of the service. Here are many debauches and excessive revellings, as being out of all noise and observance.' Wherever he visited the royal gardens and villas, or those of the great nobles and other magnates, he writes rapturously of what he saw. Sometimes, though, his joyous optimism rather leads one to doubt the quality of his taste, as when, writing of Richelieu's villa at Ruell, he says 'This leads to the Citroniere, which is a noble conserve of all those rarities; and at the end of it is the Arch of Constantine, painted on a wall in oyle, as large as the real one at Rome, so well don that even a man skilled in painting may mistake it for stone and sculpture. The skie and hills which seem to be between the arches are so naturall that swallows and other birds, thinking to fly through, have dashed themselves against the wall. I was infinitely taken with this agreeable cheate.' But he was certainly gradually acquiring the materials which were afterwards to be so well used by him in his great works on gardening. After a tour made in Normandy with Sir John Cotton, a Cambridgeshire knight, he quitted Paris in April, 1644. Marching across by Chartres and Estamps to Orleans, the party of which he formed one had an encounter with brigands, 'for no sooner were we entred two or three leagues into ye Forest of Orleans (which extends itself many miles), but the company behind us were set on by rogues, who, shooting from ye hedges and frequent covert, slew fowre upon the spot... I had greate cause to give God thankes for this escape.' Taking boat, he went down the Loire to St. Dieu, and thence rode to Blois and on to Tours, where he stayed till the autumn. 'Here I took a master of the language and studied the tongue very diligently, recreating myself sometimes at the maill, and sometymes about the towne.' Here, too, he paid his duty to the Queen of England, 'having newly arrived, and going for Paris.' In the latter part of September, still accompanied by his friend Thicknesse, he left Tours and 'travelled towards the more southerne part of France, minding now to shape my course so as I might winter in Italy.' Journeying southward, partly by road and partly by river, he visited Lyons, Avignon, and Marseilles, whither he wended his way deliciously 'thro' a country sweetely declining to the South and Mediterranean coasts, full of vineyards and olive-yards, orange-trees, myrtils, pomegranads, and the like sweete plantations, to which belong pleasantly-situated villas ...... as if they were so many heapes of snow dropp'd out of the clouds amongst these perennial greenes.' Taking mules to Cannes, he went by sea to Genoa 'having procur'd a bill of health (without which there is no admission at any towne in Italy).' On reaching 'Mongus, now cal'd Monaco' on the route, 'we were hastened away, having no time permitted us by our avaricious master to go up and see this strong and considerable place.'

On Oct. 16th., after 'much ado and greate perill' he landed on Italian soil. He was fully prepared to have the most delicious pleasure in this classical land, having already, even during the stormy weather off the coast, 'smelt the peculiar joys of Italy in the perfumes of orange, citron, and jassmine flowers for divers leagues seaward.'

It would be pleasant to ramble through Italy in Evelyn's company, and to share with him the many enjoyments recorded in his Diary: but space forbids. From Genoa he went to Leghorn and Pisa, from Pisa to Florence, thence to Sienna, and on to Rome. 'I came to Rome on the 4th November, 1644, about 5 at night, and being perplexed for a convenient lodging, wandered up and down on horseback, till at last one conducted us to Monsieur Petits, a Frenchman, near the Piazza Spagnola. Here I alighted, and having bargained with my host for 20 crownes a moneth, I caused a good fire to be made in my chamber and went to bed, being so very wet. The next morning (for I was resolved to spend no time idly here) I got acquainted with several persons who had long lived at Rome.'

Evelyn's description of the interesting sights he saw in Rome is so good that it might well be perused in place of modern guide-books by those visiting the city. There is a delightful attractiveness about it, in which these up-to-date works are sometimes wanting. But even his youthful energy began to tire, and his keen appetite to become sated with continuous sightseeing. After more than six months of it 'we now determined to desist from visiting any more curiosities, except what should happen to come in our way, when my companion Mr. Henshaw or myself should go out to take the aire.' Then, however, as now for some people, the crowning event of a visit to Rome was to receive the Papal blessing. This Evelyn desired and obtained, although the event is not recorded in his diary with any great enthusiasm. 'May, 4th. Having seen the entrie of ye ambassador of Lucca, I went to the Vatican, where, by favour of our Cardinal Protector, Frair Barberini, I was admitted into the consistorie, heard the ambassador make his ovation in Latine to the Pope, sitting on an elevated state or throne, and changing two pontifical miters; after which I was presented to kisse his toe, that is, his embroder'd slipper, two Cardinals holding up his vest and surplice, and then being sufficiently bless'd with his thumb and two fingers for that day, I return'd home to dinner.'

He quitted Rome about the middle of May after a sojourn there of seven months, which had occasioned him so small an outlay that he remarked thereon in his Diary. 'The bills of exchange I took up from my first entering Italy till I went from Rome amounted but to 616 ducanti di banco, though I purchas'd many books, pictures, and curiosities.' Going northwards by Sienna, Leghorn, Lucca, Florence, Bologna, and Ferrara, he reached Venice early in June. Arriving 'extreamly weary and beaten' with the journey, he went and enjoyed the new luxury of a Turkish bath. 'This bath did so open my pores that it cost me one of the greatest colds I ever had in my life, for want of necessary caution in keeping myselfe warme for some time after; for coming out, I immediately began to visit the famous places of the city; and travellers who come in to Italy do nothing but run up and down to see sights.'

Evelyn had the good fortune to see Venice en fete, and in those days that must have been a sight well worth seeing. He saw the Doge espouse the Adriatic by casting a gold ring into it on Ascension day with very great pomp and ceremony. 'It was now Ascension Weeke, and the greate mart or faire of ye whole yeare was kept, every body at liberty and jollie. The noblemen stalking with their ladys on choppines; these are high-heel'd shoes, particularly affected by these proude dames, or, as some say, invented to keepe them at home, it being very difficult to walke with them; whence one being asked how he liked the Venetian dames, replied, they were mezzo carne, mezzo ligno, half flesh, half wood, and he would have none of them. The truth is, their garb is very odd, as seeming always in masquerade; their other habits also totaly different from all nations.'

In Venice Evelyn made arrangements for visiting the Holy Land and parts of Syria, Egypt, and Turkey; but they fell through owing to the vessel, in which he would have sailed, being requisitioned to carry provisions to Candia, then under attack from the Turks. Forced to abandon this project, he remained in Venice 'being resolved to spend some moneths here in study, especially physic and anatomie, of both which there was now the most famous professors in Europe.' But in the autumn Mr. Thicknesse, 'my dear friend, and till now my constant fellow traveller,' was obliged to return to England on private affairs; so Evelyn was left alone in Venice. Very shortly after that he had an illness which seems to have at one time threatened a fatal termination. 'Using to drink my wine cool'd with snow and ice, as the manner here is, I was so afflicted with the angina and soare-throat, that it had almost cost me my life. After all the remedies Cavalier Veslingius, cheife professor here, could apply, old Salvatico (that famous physician) being call'd made me be cupp'd and scarified in the back in foure places, which began to give me breath, and consequently life, for I was in ye utmost danger: but God being mercifull to me, I was after a fortnight abroad againe; when changing my lodging I went over against Pozzo Pinto, where I bought for winter provisions 3000 weight of excellent grapes, and pressed my owne wine, which proved incomparable liquor.' Its goodness, indeed, seems to have been the death of it. 'Oct. 31st. Being my birth-day, the nuns of St. Catherine's sent me flowers of silk-work. We were very studious all this winter till Christmas, when on twelfth day we invited all the English and Scotts in towne to feast, which sunk our excellent wine considerably.' In explanation of this passage, it needs to be said that he had soon again changed his lodging and gone to reside with three English friends 'neere St. Catherine's over against the monasterie of nunnes, where we hired the whole house and lived very nobly. Here I learned to play on ye theorbo, taught by Sig. Dominico Bassano.'

After 'the folly and madnesse of the Carnevall' was over, Evelyn left Venice for Padua in January, 1646, but went back in March to take leave of his friends there, and at Easter set out on his return journey to England in company with the poet Waller, who had been glad to go abroad after being much worried by the Puritan party. They travelled by way of Vicenza, Verona, Brescia, Milan, the Lago Maggiore, the Simplon Pass, Sion, and St. Maurice to Geneva. Here again Evelyn became sick nigh unto death, from small-pox contracted at Beveretta, the night before reaching Geneva. 'Being extremely weary and complaining of my head, and finding little accommodation in the house, I caus'd one of our hostesses daughters to be removed out of her bed and went immediately into it whilst it was yet warme, being so heavy with pain and drowsinesse that I would not stay to have the sheets chang'd; but I shortly after payd dearly for my impatience, falling sick of the small-pox so soon as I came to Geneva, for by the smell of frankincense and ye tale of ye good woman told me of her daughter having had an ague, I afterwards concluded she had been newly recovered of the small-pox.' Becoming very ill he was bled of the physician 'a very learned old man..... He afterwards acknowledg'd that he should not have bled me had he suspected ye small-pox, which brake out a day after.' As nurse he had a Swiss matron afflicted with goitre, 'whose monstrous throat, when I sometimes awak'd out of unquiet slumbers, would affright me.' But again he was spared for the work he was destined to do. 'By God's mercy after five weeks keeping my chamber I went abroad.'

Leaving Geneva on the 5th July 1646, Evelyn's party went by way of Lyons, La Charite, and Orleans to Paris, arriving 'rejoic'd that after so many disasters and accidents in a tedious peregrination, I was gotten so neere home, and here I resolv'd to rest myselfe before I went further. It was now October, and the onely time that in my whole life I spent most idly, tempted from my more profitable recesses; but I soon recover'd my better resolutions and fell to my study, learning the High Dutch and Spanish tongues, and now and then refreshing my danceing, and such exercises as I had long omitted, and which are not in much reputation amongst the sober Italians.'

During the course of the following winter and spring he saw much of 'Sir Richard Browne, his Majesty's Resident at the Court of France, and with whose lady and family I had contracted a greate friendship (and particularly set my affections on a daughter).' To this young girl, Mary, the only child of Sir Richard Browne by a daughter of Sir John Pretyman, he was married on 27th June, 1647, by Dr. Earle, chaplain to the young Charles, then Prince of Wales, who was holding his court at St. Germains. In October he returned by Rouen, Dieppe, and Calais, and 'got safe to Dover, for which I heartily put up my thanks to God who had conducted me safe to my owne country, and been mercifull to me through so many aberrations' during a period extending over four years. He returned alone, 'leaving my wife, yet very young, under the care of an excellent lady and prudent mother.' Indeed, she was a mere child, being then not more than twelve years of age, and her father was only Evelyn's senior by fifteen years.

IV

Evelyn's Attitude during the Commonwealth 1647-1660.

Arrived at Wotton, he at once went to kiss his Majesty's hand at Hampton Court and convey tidings from Paris, King Charles 'being now in the power of those execrable villains who not long after murder'd him.' Thence he betook himself to Sayes Court, near Deptford in Kent, the estate belonging to his father-in-law, where he 'had a lodging and some bookes.' It was here that he was living when his first literary work was published, Of Liberty and Servitude, a translation from the French of Le Vayer, in January, 1649, though the dedication of it to his brother George bears date 25th January, 1647. He was very near getting into trouble about the preface to this, because in his own copy he noted that 'I was like to be call'd in question by the Rebells for this booke, being published a few days before his Majesty's decollation.' Although he took no prominent part in politics at this particular time, yet he could hardly help playing with the fire. Thus, on 11th December, 'I got privately into the council of ye rebell army at Whitehall, where I heard horrid villanies.' Having money in hand, either from savings during the four years' sojourn abroad, where his expenses (including all purchases of objects of art and vertu) did not amount to more than L300 a year, or else from his child-wife's dowry, he dabbled in land speculation with the fairly satisfactory result that on the whole he does not appear to have lost much by it.

On 17th January, 1649, he 'heard the rebell Peters incite the rebell powers met in the Painted Chamber to destroy his Majesty, and saw that archtraytor Bradshaw, who not long after condemn'd him.' But his loyalty kept him from being present at the death-scene. 'The villanie of the rebells proceeding now so far as to trie, condemne and murder our excellent King on the 30th of this month, struck me with such horror that I kept the day of his martyrdom a fast, and would not be present at that execrable wickednesse, receiving the sad account of it from my Brother George and Mr. Owen, who came to visite me this afternoone, and recounted all the circumstances.'

While he 'went through a course of chymestrie at Sayes Court,' and otherwise engaged in study and in the examination of works of art, he became disquieted about the condition of affairs in Paris. Communications with his wife appear to have been very few and far between, although with his father-in-law he 'kept up a political correspondence' in cipher 'with no small danger of being discovered.' In April he touched 'suddaine resolutions' of going to France, before he received the news that Conde's siege of Paris had ended by peace being concluded. The immediate carrying out of this intention was hindered by a rush of blood to the brain. 'I fell dangerously ill of my head: was blistered and let blood behind ye ears and forehead: on the 23rd. began to have ease by using the fumes of a cammomile on embers applied to my eares after all the physicians had don their best.' On 17th June, however, he 'got a passe from the rebell Bradshaw, then in greate power,' and on 12th July went via Gravesend to Dover and Calais, arriving at Paris on 1st. August. Curiously enough his Diary makes no mention of the child-wife, from whom he had 'been absent.... about a yeare and a halfe,' save that on 'Sept. 7th. Went with my Wife and dear cosin to St. Germains, and kissed the Queene-mother's hand.' He remained in Paris till the end of June, 1650, when he made a flying visit to England, and again obtained a pass from Bradshaw to proceed to France. On 30th August, he was back again in Paris, where he stayed till his final return to England in February 1652. His life in Paris at this time was that of a cultured dilletante. He studied, or at any rate dabbled in, chemistry, philosophy, theology, and music; and he found amusement in examining gardens and collections of all sorts of virtuosities and antiquities. He had 'much discourse of chymical matters' with Sir Kenelm Digby; 'but the truth is, Sir Kenelm was an arrant mountebank.' Here, too, he wrote his second literary composition, The State of France, as it stood in the IXth yeer of this present monarch Lewis XIIII, which was published in England in 1652. Apart from these occupations, his time was chiefly spent in the pleasures and amusements common to the court of France and to the throng of exiles from Britain who formed the Court of the uncrowned monarch, Charles II.

Evelyn longed for settlement in England, because he saw that the Royalist cause was hopelessly lost for the time being. His father-in-law's estate of Sayes Court had been seized and sold by the rebels, but 'by the advice and endeavour of my friends I was advis'd to reside in it, and compound with the soldiers. This I was besides authoriz'd by his Majesty to do, and encourag'd with promise that what was in lease from the Crowne, if ever it pleased God to restore him, he would secure to us in fee-ferme.{xxxi:1} I had also addresses and cyfers to correspond with his Majesty and Ministers abroad: upon all which inducements I was persuaded to settle henceforth in England, having now run about the world, most part out of my owne country, neere ten yeares. I therefore now likewise meditated sending over for my Wife, whom as yet I had left at Paris.' She arrived on 11th. June with her Mother; and as small-pox was then raging in and about London they sojourned for some time at Tunbridge Wells, drinking the waters. About the end of that month Evelyn went to Sayes Court to prepare for their reception, but was waylaid by footpads near Bromley and came near meeting his death from them. Fortunately, however, 'did God deliver me from these villains, and not onely so, but restor'd what they tooke, as twice before he had graciously don, both at sea and land;... for which, and many signal preservations, I am extreamly oblig'd to give thanks to God my Saviour.'

On 24th July, 1652, Mrs. Evelyn presented her husband with their first child, their son, John, who predeceased his father in 1698. He now busied himself in acquiring full possession of his father-in-law's and the rebels' interests in Sayes Court, which he effected at a cost of L3,500 early in 1653.

Then he began gardening and planting on a large scale, transforming the almost bare fields around the house into fine specimens of the art of horticulture, as then practised. Sayes Court was afterwards the temporary residence of Peter the Great, who committed great havoc in the gardens and hedges during his rough orgies. Here Evelyn lived quietly till the time of the Restoration, spending his days in gardening and in cultivating the acquaintance of men of cultured tastes like his own, with occasional journeys to different parts of England. Thus he visited Windsor, Marlborough, Bath, Oxford, Salisbury, Devizes, Gloucester, Worcester, Warwick, Leicester, Doncaster, York, Cambridge, and many other places, so that he probably saw a great deal more of England than the majority of men in his position. Thus, too, he learned much about the country and about all branches of rural economy. He had not yet seriously given himself to literature, although his third work was published in 1656, An Essay on the First Book of T. Lucretius Cerus de Rerum Natura. Interpreted and made English Verse.

In January, 1658, heavy sorrow fell upon Evelyn by the death of his younger son, an infant prodigy, and a sad and wonderful example of a young brain being terribly overtaxed. 'After six fits of a quartan ague with which it pleased God to visite him, died my dear Son Richard, to our inexpressible grief and affliction, 5 yeares and 3 days old onely, but at that tender age a prodigy for witt and understanding; for beauty of body a very angel; for endowment of mind of incredible and rare hopes. To give onely a little taste of them, and thereby glory to God, he had learn'd all this catechisme who out of the mouths of babes and infants does sometimes perfect his praises: at 2 years and a halfe old he could perfectly read any of ye English, Latine, French, or Gothic letters, pronouncing the first three languages exactly. He had before the 5th yeare, or in that yeare, not onely skill to reade most written hands, but to decline all the nouns, conjugate the verbs regular, and most of ye irregular; learn'd out "Puerilis," got by heart almost ye entire vocabularie of Latine and French primitives and words, could make congruous syntax, turne English into Latine, and vice versa, construe and prove what he read, and did the government and use of relatives, verbs, substantives, elipses, and many figures and tropes, and made a considerable progress in Comenius's Janua; began himselfe to write legibly, and had a stronge passion for Greeke. The number of verses he could recite was prodigious, and what he remembered of the parts of playes, which he would also act; and when seeing a Plautus in one's hand, he ask'd what booke it was, and being told it was comedy, and too difficult for him, he wept for sorrow. Strange was his apt and ingenious application of fables and morals, for he had read AEsop; he had a wonderful disposition to mathematics, having by heart divers propositions of Euclid that were read to him in play, and he would make lines and demonstrate them. As to his piety, astonishing were his applications of Scripture upon occasion, and thus early, he understood ye historical part of ye Bible and New Testament to a wonder, how Christ came to redeeme mankind, and how comprehending these necessarys himselfe, his godfathers were discharg'd of their promise. These and like illuminations, far exceeding his age and experience, considering the prettinesse of his adresse and behaviour, cannot but leave impressions in me at the memory of him. When one told him how many days a Quaker had fasted, he replied that was no wonder, for Christ had said that man should not live by bread alone, but by ye Word of God. He would of himselfe select ye most pathetic psalms, and chapters out of Job, to reade to his mayde during his sicknesse, telling her when she pitied him, that all God's children must suffer affliction. He declaim'd against ye vanities of the world before he had seene any...... How thankfully would he receive admonition, how soone be reconciled! how indifferent, yet continually chereful! He would give grave advice to his Brother John, beare with his impertinencies, and say he was but a child!' Even allowing for Evelyn's tendency to exaggeration, this is surely one of the very saddest stories about a child of tender years, reared in a wrong manner, that has ever been written in the English language. This loss was no doubt the occasion of his writing his fourth work, The Golden Book of St. John Chrysostom, concerning the Education of Children. Translated out of the Greek, which was published in September, 1658. A further relief from grief was also found in the translation of The French Gardiner: instructing how to cultivate all sorts of Fruit-trees and Herbs for the Garden; together with directions to dry and conserve them in their natural; six times printed in France and once in Holland. An accomplished piece, first written by N. de Bonnefons, and now transplanted into English by Philocepos.

It must have gratified his royalist feelings when, on 22 Oct. 1658, he 'saw ye superb funerall of ye Protector.' He remarks that 'it was the joyfullest funerall I ever saw, for there were none that cried but dogs, which the soldiers hooted away with a barbarous noise, drinking and taking tobacco in the streets as they went.' Not long after this, on 25 April 1659, he notices 'a wonderfull and suddaine change in ye face of ye publiq: ye new Protector Richard slighted, several pretenders and parties strive for the government: all anarchy and confusion; Lord have mercy on us!' For six months things drifted on, till on 11 Oct. 'the Armie now turn'd out the Parliament. We had now no government in the nation; all in confusion; no magistrate either own'd or pretended, but ye soldiers, and they not agreed. God almighty have mercy on and settle us!'

Evelyn apparently now thought the time ripe for him to venture; hence, during 1659, he published A Character of England as it was lately presented in a Letter to a Noble Man of France, and also An Apology for the Royal Party, written in a Letter to a person of the late Council of State, by a Lover of Peace and of his Country. With a Touch at the Pretended "Plea for the Army." Of the latter he remarks in his Diary: 'Nov. 7th. was publish'd my bold "Apoligie for the King" in this time of danger, when it was capital to speake or write in favour of him. It was twice printed, so universaly it took.' Encouraged by the success of this work, he began to intrigue with Colonel Morley, Lieutenant of the Tower, and Fay, Governor of Portsmouth, in the interest of the exiled Charles; but Morley shrank from declaring for the King, and General Monk returning from Scotland to London, broke down the gates of the city, 'marches to White-hall, dissipates that nest of robbers, and convenes the old Parliament, the Rump Parliament (so called as retaining some few rotten members of ye other) being dissolv'd; and for joy whereoff were many thousands of rumps roasted publiqly in ye streets at the bonfires this night, with ringing of bells and universal jubilee. This was the first good omen.'

From the February till the April following thereon Evelyn was confined to bed with ague and its after effects, but found strength to write and publish a pamphlet, The late News from Brussels unmasked, and His Majesty vindicated from the base calumny and scandal therein fixed on him, 'in defence of his Majesty, against a wicked forg'd paper, pretended to be sent from Bruxells to defame his Majesties person and vertues, and render him odious, now when everybody was in hope and expectation of the General and Parliament recalling him, and establishing ye government on its antient and right basis.' Early in May came the tidings that the King's application for restoration had been accepted and acknowledged by the Parliament 'after a most bloudy and unreasonable rebellion of neare 20 years,' and before the end of the month Evelyn was an eye-witness of the triumphal entry of the new king into his capital. '29th. This day his Majestie Charles the Second came to London after a sad and long exile and calamitous suffering both of the King and Church, being 17 years. This was also his birthday, and with a triumph of above 20,000 horse and foote, brandishing their swords and shouting with inexpressible joy; the wayes strew'd with flowers, the bells ringing, the streets hung with tapissry, fountaines running with wine; the Maior, Aldermen, and all the Companies in their liveries, chaines of gold, and banners; Lords and Nobles clad in cloth of silver, gold, and velvet; the windowes and balconies all set with ladies; trumpets, music, and myriads of people flocking, even so far as from Rochester, so as they were seven houres in passing the citty, even from 2 in ye afternoone till 9 at night. I stood in the Strand and beheld it, and bless'd God. And all this was don without one drop of bloud shed, and by that very army which rebell'd against him; but it was ye Lord's doing, for such a restoration was never mention'd in any history antient or modern, since the returne of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity; nor so joyfull a day and so bright ever seene in this nation, this hapning when to expect or effect it was past all human policy.'

Despite his dilettantism and dabbling in science, philosophy and letters, Evelyn had for years past felt the desirability of having some sort of fixed employment. Previous to this, during 1659, he had communicated to the Hon. Robert Boyle, son of the Earl of Cork, a scheme for founding a philosophic and mathematical college or fraternity, and had even arranged with his wife that they should live asunder, in two separate apartments. The Restoration, however, put a stop to this scheme, which then evolved itself, soon afterwards, into the foundation of the Royal Society, Boyle and Evelyn being two of the most prominent original Fellows.

V

Evelyn's Career after the Restoration. (1660-1685).

Evelyn was about forty years of age when the Restoration changed the whole prospects of his still long life. He had been a devoted Royalist, though it can not be denied that his zeal in this respect was ever tempered with a vast amount of caution and prudence. In addition to what interest he had earned by his own actions, he had the far more powerful influence of his father-in-law who had, like Charles himself, been exiled for nineteen years. Mrs. Evelyn was promised the appointment of lady of the jewels to the future Queen, which she never received; and Evelyn might have had the honour of knighthood of the Bath, but declined it. He was present at the Coronation in Westminster Abbey on St. George's Day, 1661, and had prepared and printed a Panegyric poem on the occasion, a screed of bombastic doggerel in fulsome praise of the King. He was a frequent visitor at the Court, and loved to sun himself in the royal presence. One of the finest examples of this feature of Evelyn's character is his Fumifugium, published in 1661, which will be more particularly referred to later on, a work which marks the real commencement of his literary career.

In 1661, also, Evelyn wrote a pamphlet entitled Tyrannus or the Mode, an invective against 'our so much affecting the French' in dress, and he was pleased with the idea that afterwards, in 1666, a change in costume then adopted by the King and court was due to this cause. He, too, donned and went to office in 'the vest and surcoat and tunic as 'twas call'd, after his Majesty had brought the whole Court to it. It was a comely and manly habit, too good to hold, it being impossible for us in good earnest to leave ye Monsieurs vanities long.'

At length employment, at first unpaid, in the public service fell to Evelyn in May, 1662, when along with 'divers gentlemen of quality,' he was appointed one of the Commissioners 'for reforming the buildings, wayes, streetes, and incumbrances, and regulating the hackney coaches in the Citty of London.' About this same time he was also on the Commission appointed 'about Charitable uses, and particularly to enquire how the Citty had dispos'd of the revenues of Gressham College,' and in the original grant of the Charter of the Royal Society he was nominated by the King to be on its Council. Among the other Commissions upon which he shortly sat were those on Sewers, and on the regulation of the Mint at the Tower; but it was not till 27 Oct. 1664 that he received a paid appointment as one of the four Commissioners for the care of the sick and wounded prisoners to be made in the war declared against Holland. For this the remuneration was 'a Salary L1,200 a year amongst us, besides extraordinaries for our care and attention in time of station, each of us being appointed to a particular district, mine falling out to be Kent and Sussex.'

Before this, however, an event had occurred which must have given intense gratification to Evelyn, when on 30th April, 1663, 'Came his Majesty to honour my poore villa with his presence, viewing the gardens and even every roome of the house, and was pleas'd to take a small refreshment. There were with him the Duke of Richmond, E. of St. Albans, Lord Lauderdale, and several persons of Quality.'

The year 1664 was a busy one for Evelyn, as he then brought out his two great masterpieces Sylva and the Kalendarium Hortense, of which more anon, as well as the translation of a French work on Architecture. His official duties in connection with the maintainance of the Dutch prisoners also became so heavy that the charges came to L1,000 a week. The Savoy Hospital was filled with them, and a privy seal grant of L20,000 was made to carry on the work; but the expenses increasing reached L7,000 a week, and Evelyn had hard work to get money from the treasury. Harassed with anxieties of this sort, he frequently went 'to ye Royal Society to refreshe among ye philosophers' where he found solace in serving along with Dryden, Waller, and others on a Committee for the improvement of the English language.

In the following year the dreadful plague broke out, when he and one other Commissioner were left to deal with the task of providing for the sick and wounded prisoners. From 1,000 deaths in a week in the middle of July, the mortality increased to near 10,000 by the beginning of September, so he sent his wife and family to his brother at Wotton, and remained at work, 'being resolved to stay at my house myselfe; and to looke after my charge, trusting in the providence and goodnesse of God.' Prisoners poured in in larger numbers than he could receive and guard in fit places, and he was continually forced to importune for money lest the prisoners should starve. It was then, perhaps, that Evelyn was thrown most in contact with his intimate friend Pepys, for both of them remained steadfast when others had fled. And they had their reward in coming safely through their trial of faithfulness to official duty. 'Now blessed be God,' he writes on 31 Dec. 1665, 'for his extraordinary mercies and preservation of me this yeare, when thousands and ten thousands perish'd and were swept away on each side of me.'

This hard work was a source of loss to Evelyn, as from time to time he advanced monies of his own to supply provisions for the needy committed to his care: and subsequent petitions for reinbursement were only partially successful. But he was rewarded by the sunny warmth of that royal favour which cost nothing, because when the King returned from Oxford to Hampton Court and Evelyn went to wait upon his Majesty there at the end of January, 1666, he duly records how 'he ran towards me, and in a most gracious manner gave me his hand to kisse, with many thanks for my care and faithfulnesse in his service in a time of such greate danger, when every body fled their employments.' Poor Evelyn seems to have been rather easily duped in this sort of way. 'Then the Duke (of Albemarle) came towards me and embrac'd me with much kindnesse, telling me if he had thought my danger would have been so greate, he would not have suffer'd his Majesty to employ me in that station.' And so on, 'after which I got home, not being very well in health.' It certainly was such ridiculously insincere treatment that it might well have caused immediate sickening in one of robust health.

It was, forsooth, only in very minor matters that Evelyn profited by the royal favour or by his courtiership. In April, 1666, Charles informed him that he must now be sworn for a Justice of the Peace, ('the office in the world I had most industriously avoided, in regard of the perpetual trouble thereoff in these numerous parishes'), and he only escaped this infliction by humbly desiring to be excused from fresh duties inconsistent with the other service he was engaged in. So excused he was, by royal favour, for which he 'rendered his Majesty many thanks.' And on that same day he declined re-election to the Council of the Royal Society for the following year on 'earnest suite' of other affairs; for he had to be consistent in such different matters that would have engaged a portion of his time.

Besides his work in connection with prisoners and the Mint he was shortly afterwards nominated one of the Commissioners for regulating the farming and making of saltpetre and gunpowder throughout Britain, an appointment which was all the more appropriate from the fact that his grandfather, George Evelyn of Long Ditton and Wotton (1530-1603), had been the first to introduce the manufacture of gunpowder into England, when he established mills on both of his properties. He was also appointed one of the three Surveyors of the repairs of St. Paul's Cathedral, 'and to consider of a model for the new building, or, if it might be, repairing of the steeple, which was most decay'd.'

With hands and head fully occupied with business affairs he found time for other work of a useful nature, while still having plenty of leisure for social duties and enjoyments. In this respect he forms a good example of the well-known truth that it is always the busiest men who can spare most time for matters lying outside of their special grooves of work. Thus in September, 1665, he drew up a scheme for erecting an infirmary at Chatham, in which he was supported by his friend Pepys, then a high official in the Navy Department and like himself a shrewd man of business and method, and therefore finding time for other than purely routine official work; while in August, 1666, he entreated the Lord Chancellor 'to visite the Hospital of the Savoy, and reduce it (after ye greate abuse that had been continu'd) to its original institution for ye benefit of the poore, which he promis'd to do.'

But nothing came from either of these schemes, for on 2nd. Sept. 'this fatal night about ten, began the deplorable fire neere Fish Streete in London.' It raged by day and by night,—'(if I may call that night which was light as day for 10 miles round about, after a dreadful manner).' Nothing could be done to stay its progress, and the citizens were awe-stricken and paralyzed by fear. 'The conflagration was so universal, and the people so astonish'd, that from the beginning, I know not by what despondency or fate, they hardly stirr'd to quench it, so that there was nothing heard or seene but crying out and lamentation, running about like distracted creatures without at all attempting to save even their goods; such a strange consternation there was upon them, so as it burned both in breadth and length, the churches, publics halls, Exchange, hospitals, monuments, and ornaments, leaping after a prodigious manner, from house to house and streete to streete, at great distances one from ye other; for ye heate with a long set of faire and warm weather had even ignited the aire and prepar'd the materials to conceive the fire, which devour'd after an incredible manner houses, furniture, and every thing. Here we saw the Thames cover'd with goods floating, all the barges and boats laden with what some had time and courage to save, as, on ye other, ye carts etc., carrying out to the fields, which for many miles were strew'd with moveables of all sorts, and tents erecting to shelter both people and what goods they could get away. Oh the miserable and calamitous spectacle! such as happly the world had not seene since the foundation of it, nor be outdon till the universal conflagration thereof. All the skie was of a fiery aspect, like the top of a burning oven, and the light seene above 40 miles round about for many nights. God grant mine eyes may never behold the like, who now saw above 10,000 houses all in one flame; the noise and cracking and thunder of the impetuous flames, ye shreiking of women and children, the hurry of people, the fall of towers, houses, and churches, was like an hideous storme, and the aire all about so hot and inflam'd that at the last one was not able to approach it, so that they were forc'd to stand and let ye flames burn on, which they did for neere two miles in lengh and one in breadh. The clowds also of smoke were dismall and reach'd upon computation neer 50 miles in length. Thus I left it this afternoone burning, a resemblance of Sodom, or the last day. It forcibly call'd to my mind that passage—non enim hic habemus stabilem civitatem: the ruines resembling the picture of Troy. London was, but is no more! Thus I returned.'

For days the conflagration raged, although the whole situation might probably have been saved if the advice of seamen, then as now amongst the bravest and most practical of Britain's sons, had been followed. When the court suburb of Whitehall began to be threatened,—'but oh, the confusion there was then at the Court!'—the gentlemen, 'who hitherto had stood as men intoxicated, with their hands acrosse,.... began to consider that nothing was likely to put a stop but the blowing up of so many houses as might make a wider gap than any had yet been made by the ordinary method of pulling them downe with engines; this some stout seamen propros'd early enough to have sav'd neere ye whole citty, but this some tenacious and avaritious men, aldermen, etc., would not permitt, because their houses must have been of the first.' At length, however, the fire died out, the houseless citizens finding refuge in tents and miserable huts and hovels hastily erected about St. George's fields and Moorfields as far as Highgate. But Evelyn's abode had remained untouched. From reviewing the now poverty-striken people 'in this calamitous condition I return'd with a sad heart to my house, blessing and adoring the distinguishing mercy of God to me and mine, who in the midst of all this ruine was like Lot, in my little Zoar, safe and sound.'

The plague and the fire were held to be the visitation of God's anger, and Evelyn evidently thought the heavy punishment richly merited. 'Oct. 10th. This day was order'd a generall fast thro' the Nation, to humble us on ye late dreadfull conflagration, added to the plague and warr, the most dismall judgments that could be inflicted, but whiche indeed we highly deserv'd for our prodigious ingratitude, burning lusts, dissolute Court, profane and abominable lives, under such dispensations of God's continu'd favour in restoring Church, Prince, and People from our late intestine calamities, of which we were altogether unmindfull, even to astonishment.'

Like Wren and Hooke, Evelyn submitted a scheme for the rebuilding of London upon an improved plan, but the new city was formed mainly upon the old lines.

Meanwhile the Dutch fleet was lying off the mouth of the Thames. Though England then happily produced all the food she required, yet the city became 'exceedingly distress'd for want of fuell' because of the traffic up and down the estuary being interrupted. Hence Evelyn was appointed one of a Committee to search the environs of London and find if any peat or turf were fit for use. Experiments were made with houllies or briquettes of charcoal dust and loam in the Dutch manner, and Evelyn shewed to many proof of his 'new fuell, which was very glowing and without smoke or ill smell'. But the process never caught on, and was abandoned as giving no promise of commercial success.

Evelyn's account against the Treasury now amounted to above L34,000, and he continued to urge for payment of it, or for the settlement of unpaid portions of it, as late as 1702, about three years before his death. Whether this straitened his means or not, he was at any rate eager to make money by speculation. So in 1667 he joined Sir John Kiviet, a Dutch Orangeman who had come over to England for protection and had been knighted by King Charles, in a scheme for making bricks on a large scale. Perhaps as a sort of advertisement of this commercial enterprise he subscribed 50,000 bricks towards building a college for the Royal Society. It was a big scheme, including the embankment of the river from the Tower to the Temple, and if successful it would have brought much gain to the partners.

Evelyn says nothing about the ultimate results of his undertaking, but Pepys furnishes the necessary clue in his diary for September, 1668—'23d. At noon comes Mr Evelyn to me, about some business with the office, and there in discourse tell me of his loss, to the value of L500, which he hath met with in a late attempt of making of bricks upon an adventure with others, by which he presumed to have got a great deal of money; so that I see the most ingenious man may sometimes be mistaken'. Kiviet a year or two later on had a fresh scheme for draining marshy lands 'with the hopes of a rich harvest of hemp and cole seed', but Evelyn took no share in this new adventure.

In July 1669 his University, Oxford, bestowed upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law, but he had still no permanent official appointment, his Commissionerships now being completed. Early in May 1670 he went 'to London concerning the office of Latine Secretary to his Majesty, a place of more honor than dignitie and profit, the revertion of which he had promised me', though the promise was not fulfilled.

Early in 1669, it had been proposed to Evelyn by Lord Arlington that he should write a history of the Dutch War, but he declined. Towards the middle of the following year, however, pressure was brought on him to undertake the work. 'After dinner Lord (Arlington) communicated to me his Majesty's desire that I would engage to write the History of our late War with the Hollanders, which I had hitherto declin'd; this I found was ill-taken, and that I should disoblige his Majesty, who had made choice of me to do him this service, and if I would undertake it, I should have all the assistance the Secretary's office and others could give me, with other encouragements, which I could not decently refuse'. This work was never completed, so much as was written by way of introduction being subsequently published in 1674 as Navigation and Commerce, their Original and Progress.

Evelyn was, however, not to have much longer to wait for regular official employment, as on 28 February, 1671, 'The Treasurer acquainted me that his Majesty was graciously pleas'd to nominate me one of the Council of Forraine Plantations, and give me a salary of L500 per ann. to encourage me'. He was pleased with his appointment in connection with our Colonies, 'a considerable honour, the others in the Council being chiefly Noblemen, and Officers of State'. In the following year the scope of this department was increased by adding the Council of Trade to its duties. He at once went to thank the Treasurer and Lord Arlington, Secretary of State, whose favour he possessed though he 'cultivated neither of their friendships by any meane submissions'. And he failed not, of course, to kiss the King's hand on being made one of that newly established Council. But Royalist though he was, he could not be blind to the profligacy of the Court and of the King, to whose Majesty his works were so grandiloquently dedicated.

On one occasion after submitting progress of his History to the King, he says 'thence walk'd with him thro' St. James's Parke to the garden, where I both saw and heard a very familiar discourse between... and Mrs. Nellie as they cal'd an impudent comedian, she looking out of her garden on a terrace at the top of the wall, and... standing on ye greene walke under it. I was heartily sorry at the scene. Thence the King walked to the Dutchess of Cleaveland, another lady of pleasure, and curse of our nation'. Evelyn is usually so strict about any reference to the proprieties that it is hard to understand why this particular interview between King Charles and Nell Gwynne should be mentioned so circumstantially. As for the Court, when it went abroad, say to Newmarket, one might have 'found ye jolly blades racing, dauncing, feasting, and revelling, more resembling a luxurious and abandon'd rout, than a Christian Court.'

Early in 1672 his father-in-law, Sir Richard Browne, resigned office as Clerk of the Council, a place which his Majesty had years before promised to Evelyn; but he was induced to give up this lien on renewal of the lease of Sayes Court for 99 years, although the King's written engagement to grant the estate in fee-farme is still extant at Wotton. In 1673 Browne became Master of the Trinity House, and Evelyn was sworn in as a younger Brother, having in the previous autumn been chosen Secretary to the Royal Society: and two months later his son John, now 18 years of age, was also made a younger brother of Trinity House. Evelyn's life seems now to have glided on very quietly. Much of his time was taken up with the colonial and commercial work controlled by the Council of Plantations and Trade, though he still found leisure for literary work, scientific recreation, and other affairs. His mind apparently about this time became greatly attracted towards religious subjects, and it seems more than probable that this may (in part, at any rate) have been due to a very strong though purely platonic attachment he now formed to Miss Blagg, one of the Queen's Maids of Honour, who married Mr. Sydney, afterwards Lord Godolphin, in 1675 and died in childbed in 1678 at the early age of twenty five. His Life of Mrs Godolphin, never published till 1847, was 'design'd to consecrate her worthy life to posterity.' In February 1680 his son John, now 23 years of age and imitating his father's literary beginning as a translator, was married to Martha Spencer, step-daughter of Sir John Stonehouse. That Evelyn was now fairly well off is evident from the terms of the jointure and marriage contracts then made. 'The lady was to bring L5,000 in consideration of a settlement of L500 a yeare present maintainence, which was likewise to be her jointure, and L500 a yeare after myne and my Wife's decease. But with God's blessing it will be at the least L1000 a yeare more in a few yeares.' Always of business habits, Evelyn particularly records how, in the following month, he went 'To London, to receive L3,000 of my daughter-in-law's portion, which was paid in gold.'

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     Next Part
Home - Random Browse