"This day, by the blessing of Almighty God, I have lived thirty-two years in the world, and am in the best degree of health at this minute that I have been almost in my life time, and at this time in the best condition of estate that ever I was in — the Lord make me thankfull. Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon to the ‘Change, where I hear the most horrid and astonishing newes that ever was yet told in my memory, that De Ruyter with his fleete in Guinny hath proceeded to the taking of whatever we have, forts, goods, ships, and men, and tied our men back to back, and thrown them all into the sea, even women and children also. " (Samuel Pepys, "Diary", 1664)
23 February 1633: Today, 380 years ago, Samuel Pepys was born in London. The Chief Secretary to the Admiralty during both King Charles II's and King James II's reign who did much to establish the professionalism of the Royal Navy would hardly be remembered outside of naval history books, had he not written his famous diary between 1660 and 1669.
The diary is both an invaluable microhistoric source for the Restoration period as well as simply fun to read, chronicling events that shaped London in the second half of the 17th century, the Great Fire, the plague, the Anglo-Dutch war, as well as famous personalities and his very own, sometimes rather juicy life.
And the story he relates on his 32nd birthday about the Dutch drowning British citizens off Guinea was just a rumour.