22 June 1672

22 June 1672

Brother Balty

I came last night home from the fleet, where I have spent about five days. I thank God I am well, saving some little disorder an un-easy lodging for so many nights hath given me.

At my coming back I find a very kind letter from yourself for which I am your debtor, and also for your last, wherein you take notice of some of the world’s late discourses, and your hopes nevertheless concerning me, the success whereof what ever it may be; I cannot but advise you to make this use of it, that even diligence and integrity itself is not always defence enough against censure, nor can be while envy remains in the world, and that therefore you are by all honest improvements of your time to provide against a day where possibly I in my place may not be able to help you, nor you in yours be able to help yourself.

I tell you this out of a very serious reflection upon what you may very possibly find my condition to prove; and to show you the more that I am not without apprehensions of that sort, I have laboured now within a day or two to get that from the Duke for you, which I have respited for so many years to look after, least it should fall out of my power to procure it, I mean his Royal Highness’s Commission to you for your present employment. Wherein I do both desire and charge you to behalf [= behave?] yourself so, that your own merit (if possible) may continue you in that, which the endeavour of your friends have by God’s blessing brought you into. I say not this with so much a seeming melancholy, as if I would have you lay aside your expecta-tions of good success, but to caution you against the worst effects of bad. A doctrine which I the rather press upon you from the trouble that it in some degree gives me, that I no sooner learnt it myself.

So with my blessing to my Godson and love and service to all. I remain

Your very affectionate brother and servant

S. P.

The Third Dutch War started in March 1672. Thanks to the secret provisions of the Treaty of Dover, Charles II was obliged to help Louis XIV against Holland. The English and French navies fought the Dutch at Sole Bay on 28 May 1672. The engagement was inconclusive and involved some unfortunate losses. The French lost Rear-Admiral des Rabesnières-Treillebois, who was buried at Rochester on 4 June. John Evelyn was one of the pall-bearers and helped organize the ceremony. He was once again serving as a Commissioner for Sick and Wounded Seamen and Prisoners of War in Kent and in regular correspondence with Pepys. The death of the Earl of Sandwich in the battle was also a personal tragedy for Pepys and John Evelyn who called him a ‘a true noble man”.

The Duke of York’s secretary, Matthew Wren, was wounded in the battle. There seems to have been some hope that Pepys would succeed him in the post. Pepys wrote to Balthazar St Michel who had clearly expressed his “hopes” for Pepys, probably for this promotion. In fact Pepys was never offered the job, and here he warns his brother-in-law not to rely too much on what he can do for him. Balthazar’s present employment was still as muster-master at Deal.

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