Friday 25 July 1662

At the office all the morning, reading Mr. Holland’s discourse of the Navy, lent me by Mr. Turner, and am much pleased with them, they hitting the very diseases of the Navy, which we are troubled with now-a-days. I shall bestow writing of them over and much reading thereof.

This morning Sir W. Batten came in to the office and desired to speak with me; he began by telling me that he observed a strangeness between him and me of late, and would know the reason of it, telling me he heard that I was offended with merchants coming to his house and making contracts there. I did tell him that as a friend I had spoke of it to Sir W. Pen and desired him to take a time to tell him of it, and not as a backbiter, with which he was satisfied, but I find that Sir W. Pen has played the knave with me, and not told it from me as a friend, but in a bad sense. He also told me that he heard that exceptions were taken at his carrying his wife down to Portsmouth, saying that the King should not pay for it, but I denied that I had spoke of it, nor did I. At last he desired the difference between our wives might not make a difference between us, which I was exceedingly glad to hear, and do see every day the fruit of looking after my business, which I pray God continue me in, for I do begin to be very happy. Dined at home, and so to the office all the afternoon again, and at night home and to bed.

26 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F.  •  Link

"reading Mr. Holland's discourse of the Navy, lent me by Mr. Turner, and am much pleased with them, they hitting the very diseases of the Navy, which we are troubled with now- a-days. I shall bestow writing of them over and much reading thereof.”

L&M note: “John Hollond (Surveyor of the Navy, 1649-52) had written two discourses on naval administration (dated 1638 and 1659) dealing with abuses in victualling, dead-pays, misuse of stores etc. The second (much the fuller) had been revised in 1661 and dedicated to the Duke of York. Both now circulated in MS [samizdat]….Pepys had copies made of each and had them bound [18 Dec.1662]….The second seems to have been made from Coventry’s copy now at Longleat. There is also a copy of the first discourse (in three clerical hands) in Pepys’s papers in Rawl…. For Pepys’ use of them, see below, ix.[1668] 489 and n. 2. They were published for the first time by Dr. J. R. Tanner in 1896 for the Naval Records Society.” Hollond, John…

We first saw Mr. Hollond (also misspelled “Holland”) as an activist in “rightsizing” the Navy, Fri 30 Nov,1660, after the King was brought back from Holland. “Sir G. Carteret did give us an account how Mr. Holland [sic]…intend[ed] to prevail with the Parliament to try his project of discharging the seamen all at present by ticket, and so promise interest to all men that will lend money upon them at eight per cent, for so long as they are unpaid; whereby he do think to take away the growing debt, which do now lie upon the kingdom for lack of present money to discharge the seamen.…
Early the following week, the Navy Office presented a 50% cash/ 50% in four months compromise to the Duke of York; Pepys’s written version of the proposal presented to the others “was well liked…, and I wrote it fair for Sir. G. Carteret to show to the King, and so it is to go to the Parliament.”… The paying the remaining ships began that Thursday.…
(Sorry for the size of this post.)

Bradford  •  Link

I must have been out on the leads; what "difference" has there been between Elizabeth and Mrs. Batten?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"The Difference..."

Sam has sneakily rewritten Diary history. He delighted a while back when Jane made fun of Lady Batten's way of calling her maid Nan and was pleased to see both Elisabeth and Jane giving milady the air. I believe at about that time Lady Batten even went to the trouble of speaking to Sam about it and he gave her some hot air and then (very poorly) pretended to be annoyed with Jane and the Missus. It seems to relate to Lady Batten's shady rep and relative youth, but Sam has definitely been encouraging it, with glee...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

All-in-all, I have to say I think the Sirs Penn and Batten have been very patient and tolerant of Lord Sandwich's upstart cousin...True, he can probably run rings around them in the office but he's never seen a shot fired in anger, never commanded a ship.

Why they don't arrange a shipboard accident for the little...Is one of the Diary's great mysteries. But he is Sandwich's boy...And I suppose he entertains them as well as us.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"they hitting the very diseases of the Navy"
Scurvy and what else?

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

I took it to mean mis- and mal-administration, fraud, waste, and abuse.

David Quidnunc  •  Link


Always interesting, nowadays, to see another pungent, vigorous, seemingly modern word is over 300 years old. The L&M edition doesn't have hyphens in either "back-biting" or "now-a-days," which makes me wonder whether the online version or L&M changed the text to make it more up to date (hyphens would've been the style in the 19th century up through roughly the 1930s, I think -- I don't know what the style was before that. Maybe separate words?).

Mary  •  Link


The word appears as early as 1175 in the Celtic Homilies. "Cursunge, bachbitunge and like lunge". No hyphen, of course.

Xjy  •  Link

Penn, Batten, Sam and office politics
I think I can see why Sam mentions all this. It's got nothing to do with the rights or wrongs of it, of course.
The big thing is that Batten and Penn are now forced to take Sam seriously. And this talk with Batten is the first big indication of it. Batten approaches Sam. Batten begs Sam to lay off the aggro, including back channel flak. Batten is interested in clearing the air. In other words, Sam is becoming top dog, or at the very least equal dog.
And of course he now has two very powerful weapons -- the first is Sandwich's patronage, the sine qua non, and the second is his mastery of his profession. A very useful second front against detractors and rivals. Naval reform is the key to Sam's advancement. He does it better than the others, and not even the crassest patronage can bring him down on this, unless it doesn't care about ships sinking etc, and given England's rivals at sea, this degree of negligence would be suicidal for the bestowers of patronage.
No wonder he gloats whenever he devotes more time to business!

Ruben  •  Link

"Sirs Penn and Batten have been very patient and tolerant of Lord Sandwich's upstart cousin”
Not so.
Sirs Penn and Batten are in their way out, or at least they are today in a weak position, considering their past achivements.
SP is in his way up. SP says Hello! to this couple of stranded old mariners.
They may complain but who is hearing?

Australian Susan  •  Link

So, the business with the wives and the Portsmouth trip has come back to haunt the Navy Office!! Sam was very keen (for his private reasons of which we learnt) *not* to have his wife travel with him and actively discouraged this. Now he must be pleased that he didn't try and ape the Battens and have his wife down to Portsmouth too and then find himself in a 'perks 'n lurks' scandal.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Forgot to add - excellent post, Terry! Thanks.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

"The Difference..."
Mr Gertz, I confess that here I can’t tell if you’re referring to the diary or your own amusing elaborations on it. Is this Nan incident of your own imaging or in the original? I did a quick search for this “Nan” incident and didn’t find it. If it’s in the original Pepys, can you give a reference? Thanks.

Terry F.  •  Link

Thanks, Australian Susan: I wanted to recall to us one of Sam's first experiences of the fruits of going beyond guidance to the "mastery" to which Xjy rightly refers, and how it is whown at the start of this day.
And thank you, A.S., for *your* post on the wives and the Portsmouth trip: contra what some said then, as I recall, Sam wasn't planning a tryst at all (or at least primarily).

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Power: what is it?, it be in depth knowledge of the problem, asking the right questions of those that have true understanding, and able to poke holes in the answers of those that are skating on past glories and taking their paycheck.
We have seen Sam "Grow", and expanding his knowledge base and going beyond the boundries that keep most people in the pecking order that they be use to.
I remember a useful quote, A tycoon asks a Gen. Manager about his Experience and his answer be '15 years as a GM' and the Tycoon replies, 'you only have 6 months repeated 30 times'.
Here we see the very essence of growth, expand 'yer' knowhow.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"skating on past glories and taking their paycheck"
Cumgranissalis that sounds marvellous!

JWB  •  Link

"...not told it from me as a friend..."
Want a friend, be a friend.

"...over and much..."
Suppose this should be "over & above".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Ruben, I absolutely agree with you, the Sirs W are on their way out. However that's not yet plain to them or Sam. Batten especially is a shifty old turncoat and Penn has the esteem of Coventry as a great naval commander. My point was that they have been putting up with a lot from office stool Sam which is surprising considering their careers as men of action, even given Sandwich's patronage of Sam. I just wonder that they don't recognize the impudent puppy as a danger and have him quietly murdered in some alley or drowned on the Thames...

"Tragic about young Pepys, Sandwich..." Penn commiserates. "A fine young fellow, likely to have done very well. But he would always be about on foot at all times. London can be such a dangerous place for the incautious. Yes, a great pity..."

"Indeed..." Batten nods. "My heart breaks at the thought of such a loss to the King's service."

"Yes, yes...A credit to my house." Sandwich nods in turn, waving hastily..."Fine service, gentlemen...Must be off."

Just hope the little sob got my accounts in proper order before his gutting...


Still tracking down that entry as to Jane and Lady Batten, but it is real.

Bradford  •  Link

I vaguely recall the Jane-Nan-Lady Batten business too, Robert, though I can't find it either; but call to mind as well the contretemps, on Easter Day, 30 March 1662, concerning precedence in church:

"My wife and I to church in the afternoon, and seated ourselves, she below me, and by that means the precedence of the pew, which my Lady Batten and her daughter takes, is confounded; and after sermon she and I did stay behind them in the pew, and went out by ourselves a good while after them, which we judge a very fine project hereafter to avoyd contention."…

So much for that pre-emptive strike.

Glyn  •  Link

Xjy has it right, I think, about Penn and Batten now being forced to take Pepys seriously. They are now trying to negotiate things with him rather than just using him to take notes at meetings.

Personally, I think that for someone who's only 28 years old he's being particularly assertive with the other highly experienced board members: not just Penn and Batten but also (don't forget) Sir George Carteret who had been a vice-admiral and Controller of the Navy 20 years earlier and later served as a French Admiral.

You have to feel some sympathy for the other board members - especially those like Sir John Mennes who just want a quiet life. Sam in the office must have been like a human dynamo, and he's crossing boundaries into areas that are properly not his responsibility (such as keeping an eye on Batten).

Glyn  •  Link

By the way, Robert Gertz, have you thought about stringing your pieces together about Penn v Pepys and making a 30-minute radio script out of them? The BBC are currently looking for new short radio plays. It doesn't have to be accurate, just entertaining - and yours are! (Although we won't protect you when the Penn family come calling on you.)

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Thanks, Glyn. That's very kind but I think they've got lots better than my doodles. Glad you enjoy them.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

"Sam in the office must have been like a human dynamo, and he's crossing boundaries into areas that are properly not his responsibility”

So typical of guys in their 20s. Annoying to guys much older, who curl their lips behind the youngun’s backs, remind them of rules and “rules” they may be violating, “accidentally” stick out a foot to trip them up (even if only figuratively) and fear them if the tyros are effective. Much of the competition can be masked with humor. If the young turk has some powerful old dog as “godfather,” “cardinal,” “patron,” or “mentor” (different organizations have different names for this position), then he can be very powerful.

I don’t know how this works with women, but I’ve seent this again and again in organizations of a number of guys, particularly when there’s a hierarchy.


— Strengths: Energy, altertness; creativity.
— Weaknesses: Tend to be naive and bumptuous; bad haircuts.

— Strengths: Tend to know the ropes; more diplomatic & suave; more guile; possibly more disciplined and patient.
— Weaknesses: Not nearly as much energy; not as quick; less creative; easily offended by lack of respect in the young; tend to be less motivated; greedier.

The Old Dogs know they’ll lose in the end. They just want to take down the Young Turks with them if they can (although they’re willing to come to a compromise if they can keep their dignity and privileges). A lot of it is about pride, although if there’s money involved, it all gets more serious.

Pat Stewart Cavalier  •  Link

Sam's youth
Compare his age with Alexander the great, Bonaparte, Pitt the younger who all came to power very young : remember some students went to university at 14 and graduated at 18. In the "old" days, youth was relative.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"Mr. Holland’s discourse of the Navy"

This was a MS. of ninety folio pages, entitled, "A Brief Discourse of the Navy," and appears afterwards to have been in the possession of Sir William Penn. At the end is written, "Composed by Mr. John Holland 29° 7 1638." Attached to the MS. is a note in the handwriting of William Penn the Quaker, of the date 1675-6, giving direction to a transcriber to make a copy of it for himself, but adding this prohibition, "I will part with no copy." The transcript is now in the British Museum (Sloane MSS., No. 3232), and forms part of "Sir William Penn's Naval Tracts," but the author's name at the end is omitted. — Penn's Memorials of Sir William Penn, ii. 530.
---Wheatley, 1899.

john  •  Link

In these days of easy photocopying, we ought not forget that copying back then meant copying by hand. (Copiers were well established when I was a student, of course, but some of the older faculty recounted how they copied information from journals by hand.)

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