Tuesday 29 July 1662

Early up, and brought all my money, which is near 300l., out of my house into this chamber; and so to the office, and there we sat all the morning, Sir George Carteret and Mr. Coventry being come from sea.

This morning among other things I broached the business of our being abused about flags, which I know doth trouble Sir W. Batten, but I care not.

At noon being invited I went with Sir George and Mr. Coventry to Sir W. Batten’s to dinner, and there merry, and very friendly to Sir Wm. and he to me, and complies much with me, but I know he envies me, and I do not value him.

To the office again, and in the evening walked to Deptford (Cooper with me talking of mathematiques), to send a fellow to prison for cutting of buoy ropes, and to see the difference between the flags sent in now-a-days, and I find the old ones, which were much cheaper, to be wholly as good. So I took one of a sort with me, and Mr. Wayth accompanying of me a good way, talking of the faults of the Navy, I walked to Redriffe back, and so home by water, and after having done, late, at the office, I went to my chamber and to bed.

21 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F.  •  Link

"I broached the business of our being abused about flags, which I know doth trouble Sir W. Batten, but I care not."

L&M note: "The flag-makers were over-charging: below [ 13 August ]. John Young, a principal contractor, was a friend of Batten, and served later as an overseer of his will." Sam's quarrel as a proleptic Sir W.B., R.I.P.; also see Pauline's background post on John Young (b)

Batten's response to this ambush seems to be what Sam awaits with relish: besides his known growing mastery of the nitty-gritty details of the affairs at the docks and yards at Deptford and Woolwich, his reading Hollond is probably not a secret; I wonder if his ace will prove to be his re-reading & annotating -- his superior understanding -- of the Duke's formal charge to the Naval Office ("Instructions").

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"but I know he envies me"
Very conceited our man Sam!Is there a portrait of Sir William Batten?

Nix  •  Link

Batten Portait --


(scroll to bottom right)

Wrong guy? According to the Oxford DNB, there are portraits in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford) and the National Maritime Museum, but I couldn't find them on line.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Batten portrait.
Oh God, Nix. For a scathing description of Shriners see Bill Bryson's book 'The Lost Continent'. Sir William, for all his faults, was not a prat.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Nix I said SIR William Batten.

Terry F.  •  Link

Image of SIR William Batten's will in full, posted here as 4th image down. Whatever Sam or we might come to think of Sir W., "A servant named Mingo was made keeper of the Harwich lighthouse in the will left by his master, Royal Navy surveyor Sir William Batten."
The will is posted here to record Mingo as among Black "Alternatives" to "Servants and Ayahs": "Mingo - from Servant to Lighthouse Keeper (198KB)" Document | Transcript. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.u…

Terry F.  •  Link

Also posted by Sjoerd Spoelstra on Thu 29 Apr 2004, 9:35 am | Link http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclo…
"Mingo is the black servant of Sir William Batten....But looking at Sir Battens will (http://www.pro.gov.uk/pathways/bl…) [same read as the site posted by vincent (cumgranissalis)]
the old sailor must have developed a genuine liking for his servant, providing him with a well paying job as lighthouse keeper in Harwich."
[Perhaps no person is of a single moral piece.]

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Sam be on a roll, while t'others be resting on their skates.
Security, he [Sam that be]has few quid in his sock, books, and house to fall back on, and has the renowned speaker Coventry [ he not be scared that he be sent to Coventry town, by the Sir Billies] who be giving Sam full rein in the tasks to run full tilt. [ where be the the windmill].
When one be short of cash and lack the means to be be clothed and housed and one be dependent on gracious hand outs of the Betters, it doth crimp ones ethical style. Then
yer 'and be always pulling the forlock when their be no farthings to give to urchin.

J A Gioia  •  Link

Sir William, for all his faults, was not a prat.

now, now... for all their patent and enthusiastic silliness, shriners raise a great deal of money for children's hospitals.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"...walked to Deptford (Cooper with me talking of mathematiques),....Mr. Wayth accompanying of me a good way, talking of the faults of the Navy, I walked to Redriffe back..."

How often Sam walks while conversing with (being informed by) someone in the know. Today's examples -- esp. the first -- suggest to me a method therein --perhaps gleaned from experience: that learning while walking helps to remember. This was suggested to me by the matter of a poem by Mark Jarman, "The Rote Walker," in which he (pastor's son) memorizes/internalizes Scripture while walking (for that purpose) -- a technique he learned by experiment -- perhaps like Sam? (Was this why Aristotle taught as he walked, and for that has been known as "The Peripatetic"?) As we follow along, then, I will more closely attend to Sam's strolling or striding seminars with this in view.

The 2nd of 9 books of poetry by (full disclosure: friend since 1980) Mark Jarman _The Rote Walker_ (1981) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos…

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sir William Batten's will.
Most interesting website terry F - thank you! What struck me as I read through the will was how generous Batten was to Mingo compared with the rest of the servants and even relatives: he really valued him. There were many other interesting bits of information on the site too. As a footnote: I used to live in Bristol and there is a road there called Blackboys'Hill which is where the little black boys so prized as pages were 'exhibited'(can't think of another word for this)having come on the ships from West Africa on the 'triangular trade' (slaves and sugar)between W. Africa, the W. Indies and Bristol. Even after the trade was abolished in Briain (which happened befopre slavery was abolished), likely little boys would be taken as 'servants ' from the W. Indian plantations into Bristol because of the demand for this type of servant or 'pet ' as the website Terry found refers to them as. An unpleasant part of Bristol's history.

sshervais  •  Link

So far, no one has remarked on the fact that Sam has keeping the equivalent of L25,000 under his bed.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Careful on that cocky 'tude Sam, Sir Will B. has rolled with the punches and come up smiling a lot more than you. I can't help suspecting though we're being sold a slight bit of crap and that Sam is indulging his fancy here a little to impress Posterity. I believe he has the edge on Batten in the office but I don't believe his position is anywhere near as secure and superior as his boasting would suggest. One negative report from Coventry, one frown from Sir George C, and our boy would be clerk of the Acts, small c, at the very least. My guess is that in reality he's treading very carefully, undermining Batten and Penn steathily, leaking hints of their mishandling of office affairs to Coventry, shaking his head over Batten's deals at home with the vendors, etc while performing his own work (and increasingly as much of theirs as he can grab) with hyperefficiency, but that it's still very much "Yes, Sir Will...At once Sir Will..." to the Wills' faces and in the office. If nothing else Coventry, Carteret, and behind them, York, would never stand for open defiance and bypassing of the titled ones, much as they might like Pepys' diligence and chuckle at his tales of office mismanagement...

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

200 pounds coin of the Realm, would buy a coach and 6 great nags,[thanks to Liza Picard Restoration London. or nice a merc, and how much be a Merc today? trying to make equivalents be a waste of time. A nice country estate could be had for 500L. The building that Sam and Co lived in was bought by the Navy Office for L1800 in 1654. So real estate be a good Deal.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Sam could for 300L buy a house in a side street in 1668 new. Rest. London page 32

Tom Burns  •  Link

...send a fellow to prison for the cutting of buoy ropes...

I assume these were channel markers, the absence of which could put His Majesty's ships in some danger, thus making tampering with them tantamount to sabotage.

Any naval historians out there who can shed more light on this?

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Michael Robinson on 8 Feb 2008

Mingo In Batten's Will -- Reproduction & Transcript

"These extracts from his will reveal that Batten wanted his 'servante Mingoe a Negroe' to become lighthouse keeper upon his death. The servant was also left a legacy of £20 per year for life - a substantial sum of money at the time."

Text transcript:-

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

At times Pepys called Batten a "knave", but unlike Penn, never "base".

BTW "knave" is a good word, deriving from the German "Knabe" (boy). It's use wasn't always derogatory. Knave was also the commonly used word for "Jack" in a pack of cards, immortalised in Lewis Carrol's poem.


Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘knave < Old English cnapa . .
. . 3. a. A dishonest unprincipled man; a cunning unscrupulous rogue; a villain; (in early use also) †an unpleasant or disagreeable man (obs.). Often contrasted with fool. Freq. as a term of abuse.
Now the most common sense, but somewhat arch. in modern use.
. . 1668 S. Pepys Diary 29 Jan. (1976) IX. 41 The veriest knave and bufflehead* that ever he saw in his life . . ‘

* = ‘buffalo-head’

Third Reading

Ruslan  •  Link

Australian Susan wrote:

"I used to live in Bristol and there is a road there called Blackboys' Hill which is where the little black boys so prized as pages were 'exhibited' (can't think of another word for this) having come on the ships from West Africa."

Not true.

First off, it's "Blackboy Hill". Secondly, the street name comes from the Black Boy Inn. The pub name was probably linked to King Charles II, who was known as ‘the Black Boy’ because of his dark hair and complexion, rather than to the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans (not least because enslaved Africans never were auctioned on the Downs).

Source: https://collections.bristolmuseum…

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