Thursday 16 February 1664/65

Up, and with Mr. Andrews to White Hall, where a Committee of Tangier, and there I did our victuallers’ business for some more money, out of which I hope to get a little, of which I was glad; but, Lord! to see to what a degree of contempt, nay, scorn, Mr. Povy, through his prodigious folly, hath brought himself in his accounts, that if he be not a man of a great interest, he will be kicked out of his employment for a foole, is very strange, and that most deservedly that ever man was, for never any man, that understands accounts so little, ever went through so much, and yet goes through it with the greatest shame and yet with confidence that ever I saw man in my life. God deliver me in my owne business of my bill out of his hands, and if ever I foul my fingers with him again let me suffer for it!

Back to the ’Change, and thence home to dinner, where Mrs. Hunt dined with me, and poor Mrs. Batters; who brought her little daughter with her, and a letter from her husband, wherein, as a token, the foole presents me very seriously with his daughter for me to take the charge of bringing up for him, and to make my owne. But I took no notice to her at all of the substance of the letter, but fell to discourse, and so went away to the office, where all the afternoon till almost one in the morning, and then home to bed.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Pepys's agency is implicated in today's letters to Sandwich

William Coventry to Sandwich
Written from: [St James']

Date: 16 February 1665
Communicates further particulars as to the Convoy required for Lord Bellasis and his Retinue on their voyage to Tangier.

John Cubitt, of Great Yarmouth (Bailiff of the Port-town) to Sandwich
Written from: Yarmouth [Norfolk]

Date: 16 February 1665
Notifies the arrest of certain impressed seamen who had come from Harwich. Requests the discharge of Thomas Dudgeon, Master of a vessel belonging to Yarmouth.


Certificate of Thomas Pupplett & John Cubitt, esquires, that the bearer, Thomas Dudgeon, is Master of a Pink, called 'The Rose of Yarmouth'
Written from: Yarmouth

Date: 16 February 1665
Thomas Wilde to Sandwich
Written from: Yarmouth

Date: 16 February 1665
In extenuation of the offence of the impressed seamen, mentions that they were instigated to mutinous conduct, "by a person of quality, which I shall forbear to name". Submits offers of service.…

Pedro  •  Link

Sandwich on the 16th February (for Jeannine)

The wind NW, fresh gale, blowing weather, snow and sleet. Towards evening milder and sea something down, when the Fairfax sent her boat aboard me with letters from Mr. Coventry of the 8th and 11th instant, with the one of the 11th inclosed from the Duke. It seems the Fairfax and the Newcastle came out of the Downs to seek me and saw our fleet on Tuesday in the evening and came in and anchored amongst us, which by reason of stormy weather I discerned not until now.

(Journal of Edward Montagu edited by Anderson)

The letters for the 11th mentioned by Terry……

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Strange thing with Batters and his daughter...One feels Sam has left out a great deal concerning this business.

Of course, as a man in a dangerous profession=gunner, captain of fireships, perhaps Batters was an open-hearted type who simply believed Sam when our hero was spouting off sometime about his regard for the brave men of the Navy under his authority and how he considered them and their families all part of one big Navy family. You know, the usual crap CEOs and politicos hand to the "little people" to keep them from throttling them ("die you little bug-eyed...") or dragging them to the battlefield to leave to the enemy ("Batters, where are you going? And what do you mean, 'good luck, you little...'?") as they ought.

"There's nothing I wouldn't do for you, my brave lads. See Batters here, with his little daughter. Batters, brave man...Always feel free to call upon Pepys for anything, man. And know that your child is to me as my own...As are all of yours, lads."

Seriously, it's sad if Batters, expecting the worst, thought Pepys was a man he could count on to take care of his family should he be killed. I almost don't want to know more...I want to hope Batters was being ridiculous and that Sam made no promises or fancy pledges to men serving his authority like this. After all, philandering is one thing...Grabbing a little off the top with the others while doing the job well another, but a two-faced sob who tells brave men they can count on him and betrays them while supplying them with inferior equipment and victuals in order to line his pockets. Very cute.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Robert, there is indeed a long history with Batters, but perhaps not too intimate: cf. 8 March 1659/60

"To Whitehall to bespeak some firing for my father at Short’s, and likewise to speak to Mr. Blackburne about Batters being gunner in the 'Wexford.'”…

JWB  •  Link


Suspect letter a MacGuffin, women in cahoots; and for the better, I should add.

CGS  •  Link

Today there be a Mr Pepis counting the naes at the House of.
Interesting One says Peeps, the other says Peepee? or ?
Does not spelling represent the sounding of the word.
In the house minutes, there be a Sir Vincent Churchill most times recorded as Sir Winston Churchill, a name made famous, 16/18 generations removed from the one with the cigar, of course in Latin that be Winson ?, I dothe think.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

"...and came in and anchored amongst us, which by reason of stormy weather I discerned not until now."

It's good that those two were English ships and not Dutch ships. It could have been very bad if two Dutch ships had been able to slip into the fleet unnoticed.

Second Reading

Marquess  •  Link

No comments on Pepys ignoring the letter and its entreaties, for shame! Was it cruel to ignore it and the child?

Robert Harneis  •  Link

'God deliver me in my owne business of my bill out of his hands, and if ever I foul my fingers with him again let me suffer for it!' Just as well he continued to put up with the 'foole' Povey. Long after the diary it was Povey who saved his bacon after an attempt to frame him during the Popish plot which caused hime to spend six weeks in the Tower of London.

From Pages 91 & 93, The Letters and the Second Diary of Samuel Pepys F.R.S. J.M.Dent and sons London 1932


Ash Wednesday night, February 25, 1679-80


An occasion offers itself wherein you may exercise that kindness which you have sometimes exchanged with me; and it is this. You may, I doubt not, have heard that one James, who had sometimes been my servant, has been made use of as my accuser. He is now upon his sickbed, and, as I am told, near the point of death, and has declared himself inclined to ease his conscience of something wherein I may be nearly concerned, with a particular willingness to open himself to you, whom he says he has known and observed during his serving the Duke of Buckingham and me. You may please, therefore in charity to me as well as to the dying man, to give him a visit tomorrow morning, when I shall appoint one to conduct you to his lodging. It may be you may hesitate herein, because of the friendship which I no less know you to have with Mister Harbord than you know him to have of ill will against me, and of the effects of it under which I still remain, of being held obnoxious to others, to whom you bear great reverence. But that makes me rather to importune you to the taking this trouble upon you, because your candour is such, that, with a fair and equal indifferency, you will hear and represent what that dying man shall relate to you, who, it is likely, will reveal nothing at this hour but truth; and it is truth only, and the God thereof, to which I appeal, and which will, I hope, vindicate my reputation, and free me from the misunderstandings which I find many ingenuous and worthy persons have had of me, from their being seduced by the false testimonies which have engained and improved to my disadvantage, even to the hazard of my life and estate, and no less to the disturbing of the government, than to the raising injurious reflections upon those public trust in which I have (much to your knowledge) carried myself diligently, and (I am sure) faithfully. And in this I the rather take the liberty of opening myself thus freely and amply to you upon this occasion, because I would move you the more strongly, to take upon you this just and charitable office, so much importing others, as well as

Your most humble servant


James died March 20, 1680

Robert Harneis  •  Link

This is a the letter he sent to his father after James died letting him know how it all turned out - and indirectly how he was back in favour with the King.

S.PEPYS to JOHN PEPYS (Sam’s father) March 27th 1680, York Buildings


it is long since I have expressed my duty to you, and truly everyday has followed one another with some new occasion of care, so as that, though I have been in a great measure restored to the liberty of my person, my mind has continued still in thralldom, till now that it has pleased God, in a miraculous manner, to begin the work of my vindication by laying his hand upon James my butler, by a sickness whereof he is some days since dead, which led him to consider and repent the wrongs he had done me in accusing me in Parliament, which he has solemnly and publicly confessed upon the holy Sacrament to the justifying of me and my family to all the world in that part of my accusation which relates to religion; and I question not but God Almighty will be no less just to me in what concerns the rest of my charge, which he knows to be no less false than this. In the meantime his holy name be praised for what he has done in this particular.

What I have to add is the letting you know that I am commanded to attend the King the next week at Newmarket, and, by the grace of God, will go and wait on you one day in my going or return, which I presume will be either Tuesday or Saturday next, I designing to set forth hence on Monday and shall rather choose to call upon you in my going (which will be on Tuesday), for fear lest I should be commanded to accompany the court to London, where the King designs to be this day seven nights. In the meantime trusting in God to find you in good health, and with my most humble duty presented to yourself, and my kind love to my brother and sister, and their family,

I remain

Sir, your ever obedient son,

S. P.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Thank you very much Robert H :)
It might be useful to post Pepys' letter to Povey in to Poevy's Encyclopaedia page?

StanB  •  Link

Great word I've never come across before, I echo Sasha thank you Robert 2 great entries
I'm hoping the little Batters girl found some kind of security and safety in her growing up, Yes our Sam can be very callous and uncaring I think it's what makes his Diary all the more compulsive wart's and all

RSGII  •  Link

I fail to see why a Naval official should be expected to take in and raise the child of another man, seaman or not. He is not running an orphanage, although (spoiler), he supported John Evelyn in establishing Chelsea Hospital for veterans after the diary period (Willes book).

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I fail to see why a Naval official should be expected to take in and raise the child of another man, seaman or not. He is not running an orphanage, ..."

Well, RSGII, I don't think Mr. Batters asked "a Naval official" to take in his daughter -- the Batters were friendly with Elizabeth and Sam, so I think he asked a wealthier friend. Obviously Pepys saw it more as you do.

"But I took no notice to her at all of the substance of the letter, but fell to discourse ..." Since the Batters were still friends with the Pepys in 1666, this discourse must have been helpful and more friendly than it sounds here.

RSGII  •  Link

It seems like such an extraordinary request to modern eyes- for a former neighbor to show up for dinner with a daughter in tow and a letter requesting you take her as your own. Was this accepted behavior in the 17th century? I gather from his reaction that it was not. One can only imagine what Elizabeth’s reaction might have been.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘thralldom’ as in ‘my mind has continued still in thralldom’ (Robert Harneis on 15 Feb 2018):

= ‘thrall < Old English . . 2. The condition of a thrall; thraldom, bondage, servitude; captivity.
. . 1607 T. Dekker & J. Webster Famous Hist. Thomas Wyat sig. D4 You free your Countrie from base spanish thrall . . ‘

Re: the Batters child: I don’t find it extraordinary: presumable Elisabeth and Mrs B cooked this up between then them, E agreeing that it was worth a try to see which way S would jump. However I don’t think Mrs B appreciated the width of the social gulf that now lay between the two families, whereas S must be acutely aware at all times of the rank of everyone he encounters.

So S must have bridled at the mere idea of the guardianship/adoption, which brought him nothing by way of status: it would cost him money to bring up the girl as a gentlewoman and then to provide a dowry to get her married. And we’ve encountered examples already of the harm done to a woman’s prospects by educating her to be a lady beyond her income.

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