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was added the stench that came from some poor creatures bodies, beds, and other combustible goods. Sir Tho. Gresham's statue, though fallen from its niche in the Royal Exchange, remained entire, when all those of the kings since the Conquest were broken to pieces; also the standard in Cornhill, and queen Elizabeth's effigies, with some arms on Ludgate, continued with but little detriment, whilst the vast iron chains of the city streets, hinges, bars, and gates of prisons, were many of them melted and reduced to cinders by the vehement heat. Nor was I yet able to pass through any of the narrower streets, but kept the widest; the ground and air, smoke and fiery vapour, continued so intense that my hair was almost singed, and my feet insufferably surbated [bruised]. The bye lanes and narrower streets were quite filled up with rubbish, nor could one have possibly known where he was, but by the ruins of some church or hall, that had some remarkable tower or pinnacle remaining. I then went towards Islington and Highgate, where one might have seen 200,000 people of all ranks and degrees dispersed, and lying along by their heaps of what they could save from the fire, deploring their loss, and though ready to perish for hunger and destitution, yet not asking one penny for relief, which to me appeared a stranger sight than any 1 had yet beheld. His majesty and council indeed took all imaginable care for their relief, by proclamation for the country to come in, and refresh them with provisions. In the midst of all this calamity and confusion, there was, I know not how, an alarm begun that the French and Dutch, with whom we were now in hostility, were not only landed but even entering the city. There was, in truth some days before, great suspicion of those two nations joining; and now, that they had been the occasion of firing the town. This report did so terrify, that on a sudden there was such an uproar and tumult that they ran from their goods, and taking what weapons they could come at, they could not be stopped from falling on some of those nations whom they casually met, without sense or reason. The clamour and peril grew so excessive that it made the whole court amazed, and they did with infinite pains and great difficulty reduce and appease the people; sending troops of soldiers and guards to cause them to retire into the fields again, where they were watched all this night. I left them pretty quiet, and came home sufficiently weary and broken. Their spirits thus a little calmed, and the affright abated, they now began to repair into the suburbs about the city, where such as had friends or opportunity, got shelter for the present, to which his majesty's proclamation also invited them."
Mr. Evelyn looked upon these two calamities (and to these was added a third in the ill success of the Dutch war) as the visitations of an offended God upon the sins of the nation. Through the literary and scientific turn of the king, which made him desire the society of Evelyn, the latter had opportunities of seeing, and occasion for deploring the corrupt manners and profligacy of the court, "which ought to have been an example of virtue to the rest of the kingdom." As he rode with Mr. Pepys that year, their conversation turned upon " the vanity and vices of the court which made it a most contemptible thing;" and writing to another friend, he says, "God give the repentance of David to the sins of David; we have all added some weights to this burthen, ingratitude and luxury and the too, too soon oblivion of miracles." In an earlier part of his Diary he expresses a fear that "God's hand was against this ungrateful and vicious nation and court."
Under the immediate sense of these calamities, a day of
general humiliation was appointed to be kept "Oct. 10.
This day was ordered a general fast through the nation, to humble us on the late dreadful conflagration, added to the plague and war, the most dismal judgments that could be inflicted, but which indeed we highly deserved for our prodigious ingratitude, burning lusts, dissolute court, profane and abominable lives, under such dispensations of God's continued favour in restoring church, prince, and people, from our late intestine calamities, of which we were altogether unmindful, even to astonishment. This made me resolve to go to our parish assembly, where our Doctor preached on Luke xix. 41, piously applying it to the occasion. After which was a collection for the distressed losers in the late fire."
A letter which he wrote to his relative sir Samuel Tuke soon after the fire, has been preserved. The following extracts will be read with interest;—" I suppose I should have heard ere this from you of all your concernments, but impute your silence to some possible miscarriage of your letters, since the usual place of address is with the rest reduced to ashes, and made an heap of ruins. I would give you a more particular relation of this calamitous accident, but I should oppress you with sad stories, and I question not but they are come too soon amongst you at Paris, with all minuteness, and (were it possible) hyperboles. There is this yet of less deplorable in it,—That as it pleased God to order it, little effects of any great consequence have been lost
besides the houses; nor do we hear of so much as
one merchant that has failed. . . . The king and parliament are infinitely zealous for the rebuilding of our ruins; and I believe it will universally be the employment of the next spring. They are now busied with adjusting the claims of each proprietor, that so they may dispose things for the building after the noblest model. Everybody brings in his idea, amongst the rest I presented to his majesty my own conceptions, with a discourse annexed. It was the second that was seen, within two days after the conflagration; but Dr. Wren [afterwards sir Christopher] had got the start of me. Both of us did coincide so frequently, that his majesty was not displeased with it, and it caused divers alterations; and truly there was never a more glorious phoenix upon earth, if it do at last emerge out of these cinders, and as the design is laid, with the present fervour of the undertakers. But these things are as yet immature; and I pray God we may enjoy peace to encourage those fair dispositions. The miracle is, I have never in my life observed a more universal resignation, or less repining amongst sufferers, which makes me hope that God has yet thoughts of mercy towards us. Judgments do not always end where they begin, and therefore let none exult over our calamities; we know not whose turn it may be next. But, Sir, I forbear to entertain you longet on these sad reflections."
MISCELLANEOUS OCCURRENCES TILL THE DEATH OF KING
Truth is not local; God alike pervades
The principal incidents in Mr. Evelyn's life between the fire of London and the death of Charles the second may be related within a moderate compass.
The time which he could spare from his public avocations, was divided between his garden at Sayes Court, his literary friends, and his library. Constantly interrupted as he was by the morning visits of those whom his gardens or conversation attracted, he found it necessary to steal hours from his night's rest, in order to prosecute his studies. He says in a letter, written in 1668;—"I have treated mine eyes very ill, near these twenty years; during all which time I have rarely put them together, or composed them to sleep, before one at night, and sometimes much later; that I may in some sort redeem my losses by day, in which I am continually importuned with visits from my neighbours and acquaintance, or taken up by other impertinencies of my life in this place [Sayes Court]. I am plainly ashamed to tell you this, considering how little I have improved myself by it."
Of those whom he accounted his friends, it may be sufficient to say generally with one of his biographers, that they were "the greatest and most judicious men of