Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Blackburne is annotated for the entry of Feb 18 1659/60 as Robert Blackborne, "Admiralty official". See: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/02/18/#c2001A "Robert Blackborne" shows up a couple times in Google as being Secretary of the East India Company in the 1690's, once in correspondence with Newton, but I have no idea if this is the same gent.
Companion entry:The leading naval official under the Commonwealth. After an apprenticeship as a clerk working with the parliamentary Commissioners of the Navy from 1643, he was made secretary of the Admiralty and Navy Commissioners in 1652, and held the post concurrently with that of secretary to the Customs Commissioners until the Restoration. His strong Puritan views seem to have prevented his continuing in office, though Pepys often consulted him. His most valuable service to Pepys perhaps was to introduce his nephew Will Hewer [Pepys' life-long friend] to him in 1660. By then he was living in the parish of St Bartholomew-the-Less, by the Exchange, and was, possibly, still employed in the customs service....
Blackborne's clerk: James Southerne
This admiralty clerk is working for Blackborne early in 1660, but is working for William Coventry (Pepys mentions it on 25 June 1660) after Coventry begins working with the navy. Pepys mentions Southerne ("Southorne") only occasionally in the diary.
His wife is here: http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/1160/
He is also the uncle of Will Hewer: http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/1082/
Reading all of Blackburnes entrees: One gets a strong feeling that SP and he did enjoy each others company, and Blackburne appears to go to great lengths to give SP good advice and was the first to put letters of standing behind SP's name. Going back over some of the dailies, with all these wonderfull annotations, it does increase the understanding of all the events.
Robert Blackborne is identified on the Web (without attribution) as a Fifth Monarchist.
Robert Blackburne was Secretary to the Admiralty with a salary of £250 a year until the appointment of the Duke of York as Lord High Admiral in July 1660. ---Wheatley, 1896.
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