11 June 1670

For his Majesty’s Service.

To the Honourable Samuel Pepys Esquire at the Navy Office

in Seething Lane, these. London.


11 June 1670

Honoured Sir

This comes humbly to acquaint you that yesterday sailed out of the Downs the Falcon and Speedwell (bound for the River Thames), and that I have a perfect muster-book from the Purser of the Falcon now, who brought it me ashore according to promise and I am a preparing them to be sent to your office within this two days which I hope will be time enough for the ships before they be paid off.

Yesterday there came into the Downs a Dutch pleasure boat with a pennant above her anchent which when I saw (walking upon the beach with Mr Coulmer) I said to Mr Coulmer, “let you and I go on board her, and see what she doth here”. So we went and found on board two or three brave gallants amongst whom (as he said) the Dutch ambassador’s brother whose pleasure boat this was. He kindly entertained us with a bottle of wine, and told us he came for pleasure to see all along the coast, saying he had been at Dover, and that after he had been ashore at Deale, he would go to Sandwich, from thence to, and through all the creeks and view Sheerness, and Chatham and then to London; and would if he could (he said) sail his boat for £100 with any of the King’s pleasure boats. I having nothing more of news to present you with, (with all our most humble duties: respects, and services to you) I remain

Your Most faithful and obedient servant

B St Michel

Pepys’s family responsibilities also included his brother-in-law, Balthazar St Michel. “Brother Balty” remained an issue for the rest of Pepys’s life. He was a comic figure, but with Pepys’s patronage his naval career was reasonably successful. He reciprocated Pepys’s generosity with his own brand of loyalty, which extended to securing evidence to discredit Pepys’s accusers in 1679. Meanwhile, in 1666 Pepys had found him a job as muster-master on the Henry. The job involved maintaining records of personnel, and he handled it satisfactorily, so that by 1670 he was promoted to muster-master at Deal. Several other posts followed but in this letter Balthazar is bringing Pepys up to date with muster administration and news from the coast about the movements of a Dutch vessel. “Mr Coulmer” is unknown. The letter illustrates Balthazar’s excitable and narcissistic personality.

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