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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

X. Memoir and Letter Writers

§ 5. His Later Life and Activities

Thus ended Evelyn’s travels abroad, which occupied nearly ten years of his life, and the account of which takes up more than a third of the diary. He now quietly settled with his wife in England. In January, 1653, he sealed the writings connected with his purchase from the commonwealth of Sayes court, for which he paid £3500. When the property was securely in his own possession (though, in 1672, the king would only renew the lease of the pastures for 99 years), Evelyn began to set out the oval garden, which, he says, was the beginning of all succeeding gardens, walks, groves, enclosures and plantations. Before he took it in hand, the place was nothing but an open field of one hundred acres, with scarcely a hedge in it, so that he had a fine scope for his skill in the art of horticulture.

There is little to record of his experiences during this comparatively quiet period of his life, besides the birth and death of some of his children, and the production of the children of his brain, a notice of which will be found in the bibliography. His eldest child Richard was born in 1652 and died in 1658. The father was very proud of his boy, who was so filled with the ardour of knowledge that, when he was told that Terence and Plautus were too difficult for him, “he wept for very grief and would hardly be pacified.” During these years, Evelyn was in the constant practice of sending abroad intelligence to Charles II; and he mentions, in his diary for 22 October, 1657, that he had contracted a friendship with the Dutch ambassador, whose information he found of great use in his correspondence with the king.