Thursday 31st May 2012
By Jeannine Kerwin
Dedicated to Phil Gyford and the community he created:
to friends made along the way and to those who have left us.
May 31, 1669 Diary Entry:
And thus ends all that I doubt I shall ever be able to do with my own eyes in the keeping of my journall, I being not able to do it any longer, having done now so long as to undo my eyes almost every time that I take a pen in my hand; and therefore, whatever comes of it, I must forbear; and therefore resolve from this time forward to have it kept by my people in long-hand, and must therefore be contented to set down no more than it is fit for them and all the world to know; or if there be anything (which cannot be much, now my amours to Deb are past, and my eyes hindering me in almost all other pleasures), I must endeavour to keep a margin in my book open, to add here and there a note in short-hand with my own hand. And so I betake myself to that course which is almost as much as to see myself go into my grave — for which, and all the discomforts that will accompany my being blind, the good God prepare me.
The “good God” had other plans for Pepys, and although Sam closed the Diary, God gave him another 34 years of life full of accomplishments, well earned promotions, political perils, and an assortment of interestingly diverse characters. Sam would find himself surviving the reigns of Charles II, James II and William III and would see James’s daughter Anne find her way to the throne. Along the way he would continue to excel in his naval accomplishments, assorted MP positions, his role in the establishment of the Royal Mathematical School at Christ’s Hospital, his Fellowship and role as President of the Royal Society, among the highlights. He would welcome new friends and bid sad farewells to many of those we came to know so well in his Diary. But, as the Diary ended, all of those things were in the future and Sam was more concerned with his immediate plans, his desire to share some pleasurable time with his wife Elizabeth.
Shortly after the Diary ended, Elizabeth and Sam traveled together to Paris with her brother Balty. In preparation for that trip Sam and his friend John Evelyn exchanged letters regarding Sam’s upcoming travels. In his letter to Sam dated 21 August 1669, John shared with Sam pages of wonderful “must see” locations and letters of introduction. A small excerpt is below and the full letter is located here (de la Bédoyère, Particular Friends, p.68):
Pray forget not to visit the Taille-Douce shops, and make Collection of what they have excellent, especially the Draughts of their Palaces, Churches, and Gardens, and the particulars you will have seen; they will greatly refresh you in your Study, and by the fire side, when you are many years return’d. Israel, Sylvestre, Morin, Chaveau, are great Masters, both for things of the kind extant, and Inventions extreamly pleasant. You will easily be acquainted with the best Painters, especially LeBrun, who is chief of them; and it would not be amiss to be present at their Acadamie, in which Monsieur du Bosse (a principal member) will conduct you. For the rest, I recommend you to God’s Almighty Protection; augure you in a happy journey, and kissing you Lady’s Hands remain,
Sir, Your most humble and obedient Servant J. Evelyn
Without Sam’s meticulous Diary, there is little known about their actual adventures, but as Diary enthusiasts can imagine, any adventure that included Balty must have been filled with tall tales, merriment and perhaps a few headaches for Sam. What is sadly known is that on the way home, while traveling through Flanders, Elizabeth became very ill with a fever. They arrived home in late October, as Elizabeth struggled with her illness. The severity of her situation obviously derailed the etiquette-aware Sam, as it was not until November 2, 1669 that Sam penned an apologetic letter to John Evelyn. In it he begged for forgiveness for not thanking him promptly and expressed his distress at Elizabeth’s dire situation. This letter to a close and personal friend captures the severity of Elizabeth’s illness and shows the emotional impact on Sam as he faced fears of her death (de la Bédoyère, Particular Friends, p.76):
SIR. I beg you to believe that I would not have been ten days returned into England without waiting on you, had it not pleased God to afflict mee by the sickness of my wife, who, from the first day of her coming back to London, hath layn under a fever so severe as at this hour to render her recoverie desperate; which affliction hath very much unfitted me for those acts of civilities and respect which, amongst the first of my friends, I should have paid to yourselfe, as he to whom singly I owe the much greater part of the satisfaction I have met with in my late voyage. Next to you, I have my acknowledgements to make to Sir Samuel Tuke, to whom (when in a condition of doing it) I shall beg your introducing me, for the owning of my obligations to him on the like behalfe. But, Sir, I beg you heartily to dispense with the ceremonie, till I am better qualified for paying it; and in the meane time receive the enclosed, which I should with much more satisfaction have delivered with my owne hand.
I am, Sir Your most obliged and obedient Servant. S. Pepys
I most humbly kiss you ladies hands, and pray my service may be presented to Sir Richard Browne [John Evelyn’s Father-in-law, the diplomatist]
As Elizabeth neared death, Sam made arrangements for Milles, the Rector of St Olave’s, to offer her a final sacrament. Although Elizabeth had professed her leanings towards Catholicism in the past (usually when angered by Sam), she received the Holy Sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England. She passed away shortly thereafter on November 10, 1669. The man who offered us so much of his personal insights in the Diary remains sadly silent to us during such a devastating loss. Perhaps he chose to leave behind only his memories of her life and not her death. Ardent followers of the Diary no doubt can feel his pain as we remember their story in the pages of Sam’s Diary. His entries, often filled with their arguments and jealousies, were also full of his loving reflections on Elizabeth’s beauty and her dedication to him. After their difficulties of late over Sam’s relationship with Deb Willet, Sam and Elizabeth seemed to be moving towards a closer relationship. Sam’s ‘poor wretch’ was gone and the void she left was never filled.
Sam commissioned a monument of Elizabeth as “immortalised” at St. Olave’s (below) which captured her beauty and spirit. It was set at St. Olave’s to face the Navy pew, where it remains today. Although we don’t have the Diary to express Sam’s loss, we do have the Latin epitaph that Sam wrote as a farewell to his beloved wife.
A group translation by our annotators of her epitaph reads:
Somerset gave her cradle, Octob: 23, 1640,
Her Father of the glori-
ous house of St. Michel,
Her Mother of the noble
stock of the Cliffords,
Wife of Samuel Pepys (who serves the Royal Navy)
She was educated first in a convent, and then in a seminary of France.
She was distinguished by the excellence of both at once;
Gifted with beauty, accomplishments, tongues;
She bore no offspring, for she could not have borne her like.
At length, when she had bidden the world a gentle farewell,
(After a journey completed through, we may say, the lovelier sights of Europe)-
A returning pilgrim, she took her departure to wander through a grander world.
She died the 10th of November In the 29th year of her age,
In the 15th year of her marriage,
In the year of our Lord 1669.
A selection from a belated letter which Sam sent to Captain Elliot dated 3 March 1670, to thank him for supporting him in his unsuccessful election contest some 4 months later follows. It gives an indication of the extent of the ongoing emotional impact of Sam’s loss (de la Bédoyère, Letters of Samuel Pepys, p.84).
CAPTAIN ELLIOT, I beg you earnestly to believe that nothing but the sorrow and distraction I have been in by the death of my wife, increased by the suddenness with which it pleased God to surprise me with therewith, after a voyage so full of health and content, could have forced me to so long a neglect of my private concernments; this being, I do assure you, the very first day that my affliction, together with my daily attendance on other public occasions of his Majesty’s, has suffered me to apply myself to the considering any part of my private concernments; among which, that of my doing right to you is no small particular: and therefore, as your charity will, I hope, excuse me for my not doing it sooner, so I pray you to accept now, as late as it is, my hearty thanks for your multiplied kindness in my late affair at Aldborough…
Sam continued to support Elizabeth’s parents Alexandre and Dorothea St. Michel, her brother Balty and his family throughout his life. His unwavering devotion and loyalty to her memory is reflected in his generosity to her family.
Coinciding with her illness and subsequent death, Sam found himself being pulled into the defense of the Navy Office against the Brooke House Commission’s accusations of corruption and inefficiency. After he buried Elizabeth at St. Olave’s, he set out to successfully repudiate the claims against the Navy as well as those levied against him directly (accepting illegal fees). The Brooke House sittings went on for two months, as Sam awaited his fate.
Of his fellow officials at the Navy Board during the war, Batten was dead and Penn close to death — he died in September 1670. Coventry and Carteret had left the board in 1667, Pett had been pushed out, and Sir John Mennes was not held responsible for anything — he died February 1671. Only Brouncker and Pepys remained of the old guard to take the blame. Neither lost his job. (Tomalin, p.281)
Life in Sam’s personal circle moved on, as his sister Pall (married to John Jackson) delivered a son, whom she named Samuel. In 1670 Sam helped secure Balty a permanent position as a Muster-Master at Deal and helped his brother John to be appointed as Clerk to Trinity House (the seaman’s foundation). Shortly thereafter Sam was admitted as an Elder Brother at Trinity House and in 1676 become a Master. Sam once again began to enjoy the friendships he had with John Evelyn, Anthony Deane, and the Houblon family, who were merchants in the shipping and trade business, becoming closest to James (who would prove a true friend to the end). Around this time, Sam took in a housekeeper, Mary Skinner and the relationship developed into an affair. Sam would never marry her, but she would remain his faithful mistress, until his death. Of course, without his Diary, it’s hard to know how ‘faithful’ Sam was to her.
II. Lord Sandwich and the Third Dutch War
With the death of his beloved daughter Paulina in February 1669, Lord Sandwich left London and returned to Hinchingbrooke where he spent two months grieving among his family. To paraphrase Ollard (Cromwell’s Earl, p.248), since Sandwich’s return from abroad his eldest son and heir Ned had married the loveable daughter of Lady Burlington, bringing great joy to the family. There were four boys of school age or younger. Of the daughters, the family was pleased when Anne married Sir Richard Edgecumbe in January 1671. During that month Sydney, Sandwich’s favorite son, retuned from his grand European tour. After Sandwich’s death Sydney would marry the great heiress Anne Wortley. Of the marriage between Philip Carteret and Jemimah, which Sam helped orchestrate and so well recorded, there were three grandchildren added to the family: “George was born in 1667, Philip in 1669 and Edward in 1671. The birth of this last child cost Jemimah her life. She was buried at Hawnes Church on 21st November, and her baby was christened a week later.” (Balleine, p.162).
had been wounded slightly in the arm and thigh. His companions urged him to jump and swim for it but his bulk and general unwieldiness disinclined him. Perhaps the constricting formality of his clothes he had put on, the caparison of a commander leading his men into battle, further inhibited him. When his body was found in the water thirty miles away near a fortnight later he was still wearing his Garter ribbon. He had still been on board when everyone else who could stand had left the ship but the corpse showed no sign of scorching or singeing. The recognition that had been denied him in life was granted in death. [The King] gave orders that he should be buried at Westminster Abbey with the magnificence of a great public occasion.” (Ollard, Cromwell’s Earl, p.262).
John Evelyn, upon the loss of his esteemed friend, recorded his thoughts in his Diary entry of May 31, 1772:
My L: Sandwich was prudent as well as Valiant, & allways govern’d his affairs with successe, and little losse, he was for deliberation & reason… Thus this gallant Person perish’d … & deplorable was the losse, of one of the best accomplish[ed] persons, not onely of this Nation but of any other: He was learned in Mathematics, in Musique, in Sea affaires, in Political: Had ben divers Embassies, was of a sweet obliging temper, Sober, Chast, infinitly ingenious & a true noble man, an ornament to the Court & his Prince, nor has he left any that approach his many Virtues behind him … I am yet heartily griev’d at this mightly losse, nor do I call it to my thoughts without emotion.
Although the friendship between Lord Sandwich and Sam had cooled over the years, perhaps due to a combination of Sam’s independent rising in stature and lingering resentment of Sam’s “great letter of reproof”, Sam walked as a banner-bearer in the funeral processions, but Lord Sandwich did not mention him in his will.
Another loss of life aboard the Royal James, was Sandwich’s son-in-law Philip Carteret (husband of the late Jemimah) who was Sandwich’s Lieutenant on the ship. Upon his death, the three children of the Carteret-Sandwich union were now orphaned. Sir George Carteret and Lady Carteret moved to Hawes (Philip’s residence) and lived there with their grandchildren for the rest of their lives. Lady Sandwich left Hinchingbrooke, her home of thirty years, and went to live with her daughter Anne, where she died two years later.
III. Secretary of the “New” Admiralty
1672 brought the death of Elizabeth’s father, Alexandre St Michel and Sam’s Uncle Wight. Shortly thereafter Mary Mercer, Elizabeth’s Diary companion was gone. A loss of a different nature was brought about by the fire at the Navy offices in early 1673. Sam’s house was burnt to the ground, but somehow he saved the six volumes of his Diary, if little else. The home he enjoyed for so many years of the Diary, where he rose in his career, built up his proud possessions, shared times with friends, and which held memories of his wife, was now gone.
The year did bring some good news as Pall gave birth to her son John Jackson. Sam became involved in the establishment of the Royal Mathematical School at Christ’s Hospital, and was soon after appointed Governor of the hospital. After the fire, the Navy moved him to Winchester Street. With the introduction of the Test Act, which excluded Catholics from office, James II was forced to resign as the Lord High Admiral of the Navy. The King replaced the Duke’s position with a group of Admiralty Commissioners. Pepys was appointed Secretary of the Admiralty and in 1674 moved to the Admiralty Office at Derby House. His old position as Clerk of the Acts was split between his brother John and Tom Hayter. Pepys asserted his role and used his exceptional public speaking abilities to present an account of the navy and to secure the £600,000 needed for thirty new ships. His major accomplishment was his proposal that
no one should be appointed as lieutenant until he had served for three years, received a certificate from his captain and passed an examination in navigation and seamanship at the Navy Office… Pepys had made history at a stroke, bringing about a revolution in the way the navy was run, fired by his belief that education and intelligence were more useful to the nation than family background and money; and that however courageous ‘gentlemen’ captains might be, the service needed to be professionalized. (Tomalin, p.297).
The King apparently agreed with Sam’s thoughts on the necessity of education in naval affairs and also granted his later request of funds for a mathematical endowment for Christ’s Hospital School where boys could be properly prepared for the navy.
Sam’s accomplishments and positions increased as he was elected MP for Castle Rising, Norfolk, appointed a Governor of Christ’s Hospital, elected a Master of Trinity House and soon after elected a Master of the Clothworkers Company. Amidst all of this good news, Sam was to suffer unexpected sadness at the loss of his brother John, who died in the spring of 1677. Shortly thereafter, Sam’s old amour of the Diary, Deb Willet, who had married and remained in London, died. There is correspondence to show that while she was alive, Sam assisted her husband, a theology graduate, to obtain a position as a ship’s chaplain. It is not known if Sam continued any type of sexual or other relationship with Deb, but it seems quite plausible.
IV. Perils of the Popish Plots
The changing political scene and the rise of anti-Catholic activities began to turn against Sam. Throughout Charles II’s reign, a political plot worked against James, the Duke of York and a number of other Papists in high places (including Queen Catherine). The plots were intended to discredit Catholics who were close to the King, with the hope to gain control of the succession of the Crown.
In 1678, these clandestine plans would prove “personal” (Heath, p.xiii) and involve Sam, with the hopes to reflect poorly upon his patron, James, the Duke of York. This activity was part of the overall Popish Plots. During this time, the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, a well known Protestant magistrate, opened a huge opportunity for the conspirators to blame the Papists for his death. Helen Heath explains that the original plan may have been to implicate Sam in the murder of Godfrey. Luckily, Sam was away at the time of the murder so the conspirators went after his clerk, Samuel Atkins. The evidence proved so false that the boy was released.
As the political players shifted, Sam was no longer wanted as MP at Castle Rising, but was elected along with Anthony Deane as MP at Harwich (Tomalin, p.311). The Admiralty Commission was dissolved and a new one appointed with people who were not favorably disposed towards Sam. In a political move, the King sent his brother the Duke of York abroad, which did not bode well for Sam, who was to become the next target.
Hooligans, who were believed to have been bribed by those working on the behalf of Lord Shaftesbury, were pulled together to bring false charges against Sam and Deane which included providing information to the French (treason), piracy, and in Pepys’ case, being a Catholic. Sam’s accuser on the treason charges was Colonel John Scott. The piracy charge (more directed toward Deane) was brought by Captain Moore and the accusations of being a Catholic came from a former servant of Sam’s, John James. As Sam was sent to the Tower, he resigned as the Secretary of the Admiralty and the Treasurer of Tangier.
As a response to the accusations of Catholicism, Balty penned a letter, with the intent of “proving” that the charges of Popery in Sam’s home were false and misleading. Although the readers of the Diary will all know that Elizabeth had a leaning towards Catholicism, the letter provided Sam with an endorsement and allows readers to hear the incredibly melodramatic “voice” of Balty at his best.
Sam, who has been a faithful servant to King Charles, was left without any public support from the King he served so well. Charles, who was solely interested in maintaining the throne, had to let the proceedings carry out without intervention. Charles only intervened with an uncharacteristic and vehement support when his neglected Queen Catherine was falsely accused of involvement in an attempted murder plot against him. Charles publicly defended her and as her letters reveal (Davidson, p.456) Charles went so far as to secure a secret getaway to France if it appeared that the opposing forces would try to imprison her.
For Sam, now in prison, there was no such royal support and a desperate need to clear his name. From behind the Tower walls, Sam realised he needed to manage his own defence. From his cell, Sam was left to rely on his network of friends, professional and political contacts (many of whom had to work undercover so as not to be associated with an accused traitor), and someone who could infiltrate the world of the slippery Colonel Scott. There was a need for “spy” work to be done in France in order to discredit and prove his accuser, Colonel Scott a liar. To his credit, and, most likely to the amazement of many Diary readers, Balty rose magnificently to the occasion and herein proved his greatest service to Sam. In spite of all his flaws and failures he went to France to pursue “a sort of double life between the wealthy merchants of Pepys’ acquaintance, on the one hand, and the rogues and vagabonds who consorted with the nefarious Colonel Scott on the other” (Heath, p.xxv). Balty enjoyed an ‘all expenses paid’ vacation and Sam had his French spy, looking for credible enemies of Scott (there were plenty) who would come forth to speak out and discredit him.
As 1679 progressed, Sam’s friends, among them James Houblon, put up bail. Sam left the Tower and went to live with Will Hewer, who was already providing housing for Balty’s wife and children while Balty was in France. As evidence against John Scott began to pile up, he went abroad. John James, who was ill and perhaps wanted to die with a clear conscience, gave a statement that he had been paid to bring false statements against Sam. Without any concrete evidence against him, by June of the next year all proceedings against Sam were finally dropped.
Sam’s moment of relief was not long enjoyed, as his brother-in-law John Jackson and then his father died by the end of the year, leaving Sam estates to settle, a house to care for and a widowed sister with two sons who would no doubt need his oversight. Sam found schooling for Pall’s sons, he secured a position for Balty in Tangier and set his wife Esther and children to live in Brampton. Sam remained in London, living with his friend Will Hewer, who by now had amassed significant money from his dealing in trade. Hewer, whose fortunes would grow substantially over the years, continued to graciously welcome Sam and his circle into his homes.
In 1681, upon the death of her husband Tom Edwards, Sam’s beloved Jane returned to his service in order to support her two children. Sam took good care to get her eldest son and his godson (also named Samuel) a place in Christ’s Church to study mathematics. Jane married but was soon widowed again. As a statement of his devotion to his old friend, in 1690 Sam “settled an annuity of £15 a year on her” (Tomalin, p.244).
Now, Sam found himself unemployed. He spent the next years rather out of the public eye, but did attend the King and Duke of York in Newcastle, where he recorded the King’s great escape from the Battle of Worcester. He also attended the Duke of York on several occasions.
V. Return to Public Service
In 1683 the King sent Sam on an undisclosed trip accompanying Lord Dartmouth. Sam was able to take Will Hewer and they departed, only later to find that the secret purpose was to evacuate Tangier and destroy everything that remained behind. As that operation progressed Sam and Will took a side trip to Spain, which was miserable weather wise, but which added some rarities for his library. Sam received his first pay in years and was given £1000. More important he was given an entrée back into the navy. In 1684 the King determined that he would take the role Lord High Admiral and would be assisted by the Duke of York. In June Sam was given a new position created for him by the King as the Secretary of the Affairs of the Admiralty.
That year, Sam, who had been a member of the Royal Society since 1665, was elected as President, a role that he maintained for two years. Although not a scientist by nature, Sam’s administrative talents were a welcome contribution. The Royal Society was an excellent place for Sam to indulge his curiosity, enjoy interesting conversations and mix with such prominent scientists of the day such as Sir Issac Newton, Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke and Christopher Wren). During his presidency, Newton’s Principia Mathematica was published and its title page included Pepys’ name.
King Charles II died in 1685 and was succeeded by his brother James. Sam attended the Duke of York’s coronation as King James II as a Baron of the Cinque Ports. Sam maintained his Secretary position for James II. He was reelected MP for Harwich and appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Huntingdonshire. By July he was appointed a Master at Trinity House for a second time (Ollard’s Chronology from Pepys, p.378).
In January 1686, Sam presented James II with a review of the navy which criticised those who had run it in his absence. He requested and was granted a “Special Commission” to make well managed and necessary ship repairs. The Commission would sit for three years. Sam drafted the terms of the Commission and handpicked its Commissioners who included those he knew he could rely on (Anthony Deane, Will Hewer and rather surprisingly Balty). The Special Commission first sat in March 1686. John Ehrman’s quote (Ollard, Pepys: A Biography, p.311) details the rebuilding of the fleet:
The outstanding work of the Commission, however, lay in its programme of repair. Its success rested upon three distinct achievements. First, the repairs were fully and efficiently carried out; secondly, they did not exceed the original estimate of their cost; and thirdly, they were completed in less than the original estimate of time required. All of these facts were later questioned, but all were finally established by the Parliament inquiry of 1691-2, in its election of a defence of their work from Deane and Hewer, the two men principally concerned, and in the detailed acknowledgement of its validity by the Parliamentary Commissioners themselves.
Altogether the Special Commission repaired 69 ships and rebuilt twenty. It also built the three fourth-rates promised, and a hoy and two lighters. By the time it came to a close, only four ships remained and their repairs not completed, and four more with their repairs not begun. In addition to the work on these 96 ships, a further 29 were repaired which had been at sea when the Commission was inaugurated, and had not been included in the original programme. Pepys’s intentions were therefore more than fulfilled in the number of vessels which were tackled.
Meanwhile, Tomalin (p.337-8) offers a wonderful account of the status of Sam’s personal circle during this time, as paraphrased here. Sam succeeded in getting Balty installed in the former Treasurer’s House in Deptford. “This was the high point of Balty’s career, and at the end of 1686 Pepys urged him to take responsibility for his own future, warning him that he himself had lost strength and was suffering from a new kidney stone and ulcer.”
At this point, his wife Esther who was pregnant with their seventh child, died in childbirth. Balty had neither the skills not inclination to manage his financial future and would continue to rely on Sam. Sam’s sister Pall remained in Brampton and of her two sons, Samuel, who was a less than a stellar learner, was sent to sea at age fifteen. The younger son John Jackson, who showed promise, was entered a pensioner at Magdalene. From all indications, John was aware that he needed to work hard and was capable of doing so.
Of his ‘extended family’, Sam saw Jane [Birch] Edward’s son “presented to the king and the lord mayor along with other boys of the mathematics department”. Of the next generation of children (Balty’s and Pall’s), John Jackson was emerging in Sam’s eyes as the most promising.
On a sad note, the year brought the loss of two old friends, first Sam’s respected and dignified friend William Coventry and later, a friend of an altogether totally different ilk, the ‘pleasurable’ Betty Martin.
The Special Commission was dissolved ahead of schedule in October of 1688, due to its considerable success. Although Sam had intended these upgrades in support of James II, in November William of Orange landed in Torbay and by December James II had fled. As can be expected William’s reign brought a quick purge of those loyal to James II. Sam lost his MP role for Harwich and resigned as Secretary of the Admiralty and from his Trinity House position. Deane and Hewer also resigned their naval positions, while Balty was dismissed.
Balty married Margaret Darling, a widow with two children of her own.He now had 9-10 (sources vary) children to provide for and had no job, savings, or pension. On Balty’s behalf, Sam wrote several letters, which led to the King’s letter to the Commissioner of the Navy, requesting that they examine the case of Balty’s service and find employment for him. This request was unsuccessful. During this time, there appears to have been a falling out between Sam and Balty, for which most biographers conjecture was due to an argument over the position of Sam’s housekeeper, Mary Skinner. This letter from Balty to Sam perhaps caused or further widened the breach between them. (Heath, p.223-4):
Deptford, May 28, 1689
After my late haveing groaned under Sume trubles (on my private Account) which at this unfortunate juncture of time have prooved extreame heavy and Grivious to me; I understand that by the malicious inventive ill Offices of a female Beast, which you keepe, I am like allsoe to lye under your Anger and disgrace (to me more insuportable than the former) but I hope, and humble pray, (though she tould me impudently, and arogantly, you Scorned to see me) that with your Generous Usuall goodness, wisdome, manhood, and former kindness you will not damn him Unheard who Shoulde Joy to hazard (as in duty bound) his dearest Bludd for your Service. The meane while, returning your honour my most humble and harty thanks for the Petition you sent me, and for all other your many favours I remaine
Your Ever Dutifull and most faithfull humble Servant B ST MICHEL
From this time on Balty was not welcome. Recorded letters to date seem to indicate that Sam stopped writing to Balty. From Balty’s letters he was soon reduced to begging: “if you have any Spare Cast-off Morning Gowne, Peruiques, and Some like Cast off large Cloake-Coate, which things you could Spare without the least inconveniency to you, if you woold Spare them to your Afflicted Servant they woold be very welcome and with Milions of thanks…” (Heath, p.229). Although it’s not clear what allowances Sam may have made for Balty over the continuing years, what is known is that Sam continued (although unsuccessfully) to write letters on Balty’s behalf with the intent to have his old age officially provided for.
Sam had two short imprisonments during the French invasion scares of 1689 and 1690. In November of 1689, Pall died and was buried at Brampton. Sam “had a memorial stone put up in the aisle of Brampton Church — it can still be seen there” (Tomalin, p.347). Sam also let out Brampton. In December of 1690 Sam published his Memoirs of the Royal Navy 1679-88.
VI. Sam’s Last Chapter
With retirement, Sam turned his focus to the things he truly treasured: wonderful conversations with friends, collecting his notes for a (never published) History of the Navy and working on his beloved library. Pall’s youngest son, John Jackson, whom Sam had a sincere affection for, had finished his time at Magdalene college and now moved into Sam’s home in the York Buildings to be his personal clerk, copying manuscripts and assisting with the library. There is an indication that the relationship between John and Mary Skinner was not always smooth (perhaps mistrust between them), so one can assume that retirement did not bring Sam total household peace.
In September of 1693, Sam had an unsettling experience while on the way to Chelsea. Sam, his lady friends and John, were robbed by two masked men. Although they were quite frightened, they were not harmed. Two of the robbers were caught, tried and hanged.
By 1694, Sam saw John elected to the Royal Society. Pall’s oldest son, Samuel, had returned from his ship duties and managed the Brampton estate. Coinciding with these events, Sam began to face several periods of illness and traveled back and forth to the country (Will Clapham’s estate) where he would find rest and recovery. Will, Sam’s devoted lifelong friend, always made sure he was warmly welcomed and cared for. Will kept actively involved in his trade business, becoming Director of the old East India Company from 1698-1703.
Sam continued to correspond and enjoy the company of friends as he was able. He put his energies into planning John’s “Grand Tour” of Europe. The intent of a young man’s tour of this type was to broaden their education and provide introductions to prominent people. In the case of this trip, John was also given the task of collecting books for Sam’s growing library, which would eventually include more than three thousand volumes. Sam’s friend James Houblon was instrumental at providing itineraries, guides, and introductions for John’s adventures.
John departed in 1699. Sam, whose fondness for John had grown, missed him dearly. While Sam filled his time having a desk and bookcase built for his library, the two corresponded frequently. Sam, who may have been reminiscing of the past, sent a rather touching note to John in regards to the Dowager Queen Catherine of Braganza. In 1700, while John was in Portugal, Sam asked him to “wait on Lady Tuke, and if the honour of kissing the hand of the Queen-Dowager were offered him, to be sure to present to that royal lady, whom he [Sam] held in great honour, his profoundest duty.” (Davidson, p.481).
Sam’s dear friend James Houblon, whose wife Sarah had recently died, sadly joined her. Of this significant loss, Sam wrote “one of the longest and well as most approved friends till now left me in the world” (Tomalin, p.362). In 1701, there was another loss, for which Sam may have had a private smile, knowing he outlived his rival of the Diary, John Creed.
In June of 1701, Sam, who had spent his retirement traveling back and forth between London and Clapham, permanently moved to Clapham. Sam was very ill and wrote to John requesting his return. John arrived back in August and was put in charge of Sam’s library.
In August 1701, Sam wrote his will, leaving Hewer as executor and providing him £500. He noted his annuity to Jane and left Brampton to his nephew Samuel. Shortly thereafter, Sam angrily discovered that Samuel had married without his consult or consent, a choice that would later cost him dearly.
In 1702 the massive task of relocating Sam’s library to Clapham was successfully completed. Sam was now surrounded by the people he most loved; John, Mary and Will, along with the collection he cherished. He would live out his remaining days with his Diary close by.
Sam outlived William III, and Queen Anne was crowned. By 1703, it appeared that Sam knew he was not long for this world. He turned his attentions to take care of those he loved and those he still felt an obligation towards. The last letter Sam wrote was to Sir George Rooke, Commander in Chief of the Fleete, where he made a last plea for a pension for Balty. It is not known if the two ever reconciled or if Balty visited Sam in his last days.
As he was nearing the end, Sam made dramatic changes to his will with two major codicils. The first codicil took away Brampton from Samuel and gave it to John. Sam then settled on a £40 annuity a year for Samuel. The major part of Sam’s estate went to John. Sam’s library was put into Trust and John and Will Hewer would have joint responsibility for it. Upon John’s death, the library was to be left for posterity. The collection was to remain intact and go to a university, preferably the library of Magdalene, with the stipulation that the
collection must be kept entire and separate, in a room to be chosen by Jackson in the new building, no one allowed to remove any books except the master, and he only as far as to his lodge. [Sam] proposed a system of annual visitation by Trinity to check that his instructions were being obeyed in perpetuity, giving them the right to the library if they found any infringement by Magdalene” (Tomalin, p.367).
The second codicil acknowledged his companion, Mary Skinner:
Whereas I hold myself obliged on this occasion to leave behind me the most full and lasting acknowledgement of my esteem respect and gratitude to the Excellent Lady Mrs. Mary Skyner for the many important Effects of her Steddy friendship and Assistances during the whole course of my life, within the last thirty three years; I doe give and devise unto the said Mrs. Mary Skyner One Annuity or yearly payment of Two hundred pounds of lawful money of England for and during the terms of her natural Life. (Tomalin, p.367-8)
A smaller codicil provided £50 of plate for Mary, Will and John, and left pictures to Mary. Sam also had an estimated £28,000 due to him from the Crown which was never to be paid, and therefore never dispersed per the directives he set forth.
On May 14th John Evelyn, Sam’s last remaining friend of his intimate circle, now 82, visited Sam for the last time. John was recovering from a broken leg. This friendship, so wonderfully recorded in the letters between them through the years, remained solid until the end.
As death neared, Sam was constantly cared for by Will, Mary and John. On Monday, May 26th Dr. Hickes, who would also conduct Sam’s funeral, arrived to give Sam his final sacraments. He later wrote to his friend Charlett (Ollard, Pepys: A Biography, p.368):
The greatness of his behaviour, in his long and sharp tryall before his death, was in every respect answerable to his great life; and I believe no man ever went out of this world with greater contempt of it, or a more lively faith in every thing that was revealed of the world to come. I administered the Holy Sacrament twice in his illness to him, and had administered it a third time, but for a sudden fit of illness that happened at the appointed time of administering of it. Twice I gave him the absolution of the Church, which he desired, and received with all reverence and comfort; and I never attended any sick or dying person that dyed with some much Christian greatnesse of mind, or a more lively sense of immortality, or so much fortitude and patience, in so long and sharp a tryall, or greater resignation to the will, which he most devoutly acknowledged to be the wisdom of God; and I doubt not but he is now a very blessed spirit, according to his motto, ‘Mens cujusque is est quisque’.
Perhaps there is no one better than John Evelyn to leave behind a touching eulogy for a life so fully lived. Evelyn’s May 26, 1703 Diary entry on the death of his friend Samuel Pepys (Bastable, p.266):
May 26th. This day died Mr. Sam. Pepys, a very worthy, industrious and curious person, none in England exceeding him in knowledge of the navy, in which he had passed thro’ all the most considerable offices, Clerk of the Acts and Secretary of the Admiralty, all which he perform’d with great integrity. When K. James II went out of England, he laid down his office, and would serve no more, but withdrawing himselfe from all public affaires, he liv’d at Clapham with his partner Mr. Hewer, formerly his clerk, in a very noble house and sweete place, where he enjoy’d the fruits of his labours in greate prosperity. He was universally belov’d, hospitable, generous, learned in many things, skill’d in music, a very greate cherisher of learned men of whom he had the conversation. His library and collection of other curiosities were of the most considerable, the models of ships especially. Beside what he publish’d of an account of the Navy, as he found and left it, he had for divers yeares under his hand the History of the Navy, or Navalia as he call’d it; but how far advanc’d, and what will follow of his, is left, I suppose, to his sister’s son Mr. Jackson, a young gentleman whom Mr. Pepys had educated in all sorts of usefull learning, sending him to travel abroad, from whence he return’s with extraordinary accomplishments, and worthy to be heir. Mr. Pepys had been for neere 40 years so much my particular friend, that Mr. Jackson sent me compleat mourning, desiring me to be one to hold up the pall at his magnificent obsequies, but in my indisposition hinder’d me from doing him this last office.
Sam’s funeral took place on the evening of June 4th. Per Sam’s directive he was to be buried alongside his wife, Elizabeth. Sam was
buried in front of the altar at St Olave’s … Elizabeth’s bust looked down on a gathering of representatives of almost every stage and facet of her husband’s career. Balty was there, supported by one of his daughters. The second Earl of Sandwich and his brother the Dean of Durham sat next to them. A host of Pepys’s relations and connections echo the pages of the Diary. His doctors, his banker his book-binder, his lawyer: the Clapham household, the Hewer clan, the President and many of the Fellows of the Royal Society, the Dean of Christ’s Church and the Master of Trinity, even the venerable Dr. Wallis swelled the crowd. The Board of the Admiralty were there in force and both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, though it was the non-juror Hickes who took the service. As in life, so at the commendation of his soul to God there was room for the people who had loved and served him as well as for the famous and the talented. (Ollard, Pepys: A Biography, p.369).
VII. Final Farewells
After Sam’s death, John Jackson moved to the Hewer household and took formal responsibility for the library. Per Sam’s request, he contacted and then visited Magdalene to select the rooms for the library. “During 1705 the catalogue was completed, the last bookcases installed, and the whole of Pepys collection, including his model shops, portraits and some of his furniture, put on display in Clapham” (Tomalin, p.372).
Sam’s friend John Evelyn outlived Sam by three years, spending his final years with his wife Mary at his house in Dover Street, London. He was buried at Wotten Church, where his wife joined him three years later.
In 1712, John Jackson married Will Hewer’s niece, Ann Edgerly. Will provided Ann with £3000 as her marriage portion. No doubt as Will smiled from earth at this union, Sam most surely smiled from above. The bond between Will and Sam was now cemented by marriage and their legacy of friendship lived on through the couple’s many children.
After Sam’s death, Mary left Clapham and established herself in comfortable lodgings. She remained close to her sister and foster-sister. She died in her early sixties in 1715. John Jackson was the executor of her will and she left most of the items that Sam had given her to John and his family.
For all of the adventures Balty provided throughout Sam’s Diary, little is known of his life or his family after Sam’s death. Sadly, the last traces of Balty were petitions to the Cabinet in 1710, looking for their support (work or a pension). The man who had put Sam through perhaps the longest and most stressful test of family obligation ever recorded is best eulogised in one sentence from Ollard, “If Balthasar St. Michel had not existed only Dickens could have invented him” (Pepys: A Biography, p. 71).
Will Hewer continued in his trade business, and twice was the Deputy Chairman of the old East India Company. Will ceased to hold office in 1712. Will, who never married, lived until 1715. His memorial is in Clapham Church in the gallery which he had built. His books were sold by auction in 1730 (Lantham, p.184). Upon his death most of his property passed to his godson Hewer Edgerly, who was the son of his cousin Ann. The one condition Will requested was that he changed his surname to Hewer. His godson obliged and was further known as Edgerly Hewer.
Will provided Edgerly Hewer’s sister Ann (John’s wife) with a dying bequest of £1000. John Jackson remained at Clapham and by all indications enjoyed raising his family. He died in 1724, at age fifty-one. Among his seven children, his daughter Frances, who inherited both the Pepys and the Hewer fortunes, founded the present Pepys Cockerell family” (Heath, p.xxxi).
In July of 1724, the library, including the six volumes of the Diary, left Clapham and made its way to Magdalene, where it resides today.
Books and article consulted and/or quoted
- Astin, Marjorie: Mrs Pepys Her Book, 1929
- Balleine, G.R.: All for the King, 1976
- Bastable, Jonathan: Voices from the World of Samuel Pepys, 2007
- Davidson, Lillias Campbell: Catherine of Bragança, 1908
- De la Bédoyère, Guy: The Letters of Samuel Pepys, 2006
- De la Bédoyère, Guy: Particular Friends: The Correspondence of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, 1997
- Evelyn, John: The Diary of John Evelyn
- Heath, Helen Truesdell: The Letters of Samuel Pepys and his Family Circle, 1955
- Howarth, R.G.: Letters and the Second Diary of Samuel Pepys, 1933
- Hunt, Percival: Samuel Pepys in the Diary, 1958
- Knighton. C.S.: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Samuel Pepys, 2004-6
- Lantham, Robert: The Diary of Samuel Pepys: Companion, 1995
- Long, James & Long, Ben: The Plot Against Pepys, 2007
- Ollard, Richard: Cromwell’s Earl, 1994
- Ollard, Richard: Pepys: A Biography, 1974
- Tanner, J.R.: Further Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, 1929
- Tomalin, Claire: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, 2003
- Wheatley, Henry B.: Samuel Pepys And The World He Lived In, 1880
Further ‘In-Depth Articles’ by Jeannine Kerwin:
- A Voice For Elizabeth (this includes a list of additional references)
- Carteret and the King
- The Plot Against Pepys
Copyright © 2012 Jeannine Kerwin