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^667                             JOHN EVELYN

11 th May, 1667. To London; dined with the Duke of
Newcastle, and sat discoursing with her Grace in her bed-
chamber after dinner, till my Lord Marquis of Dorchester,
with other company came in, when I went away.

3oth May, 1667. To London, to wait on the Duchess of
Newcastle (who was a mighty pretender to learning,
poetry, and philosophy, and had in both published divers
books) to the Royal Society, whither she came in great
pomp, and being received by our Lord President at the
door of our meeting-room, the mace, etc., carried before
him, had several experiments shown to her. I conducted
her Grace to her coach, and returned home.

ist June, 1667. I went to Greenwich, where his Majesty
was trying divers grenadoes shot out of cannon at the
Castlehill, from the house in the park; they broke not till
they hit the mark, the forged ones broke not at all, but
the cast ones very well. The inventor was a German there
present. At the same time, a ring was shown to the
King, pretended to be a projection of mercury, and mal-
leable, and said by the gentlemen to be fixed by the juice
of a plant.

8th June, 1667. To London, alarmed by the Dutch,
who were fallen on our fleet at Chatham, by a most
audacious enterprise, entering the very river with part of
their fleet, doing us not only disgrace, but incredible mis-
chief in burning several of our best men-of-war lying at
anchor and moored there, and all this through our unac-
countable negligence in not setting out our fleet in due
time. This alarm caused me, fearing the enemy might
venture up the Thames even to London (which they
might have done with ease, and fired all the vessels in
the river, too), to send away my best goods, plate, etc.,
from my house to another place. The alarm was so great
that it put both country and city into fear, panic, and
consternation, such as I hope I shall never see more;
everybody was flying, none knew why or whither. Now,
there were land forces dispatched with the Duke of Albe-
marle, Lord Middleton, Prince Rupert, and the Duke, to
hinder the Dutch coming to Chatham, fortifying Upnor
Castle, and laying chains and bombs; but the resolute
enemy broke through all, and set fire on our ships, and
retreated in spite, stopping up the Thames, the rest of the
fleet lying before the mouth of it.e.and the