Tuesday 6 April 1669

Up, and to the Office, and thence to the Excise Office about some business, and so back to the office and sat till late, and thence to Mr. Batelier’s to dinner, where my cozen Turner and both her daughters, and Talbot Pepys and my wife, and a mighty fine dinner. They at dinner before I come; and, when I had dined, I away home, and thence to White Hall, where the Board waited on the Duke of York to discourse about the disposing of Sir Thomas Allen’s fleete, which is newly come home to Portsmouth; and here Middleton and I did in plain terms acquaint the Duke of York what we thought and had observed in the late Court-martiall, which the Duke did give ear to; and though he thinks not fit to revoke what is already done in this case by a Court-martiall, yet it shall bring forth some good laws in the behaviour of Captains to their under Officers for the time to come.

Thence home, and there, after a while at the Office, I home, and there come home my wife, who hath been with Batelier’s late, and been dancing with the company, at which I seemed a little troubled, not being sent for thither myself, but I was not much so, but went to bed well enough pleased.

10 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the behaviour of Captains to their under Officers"

At the tine that could well be a matter of class, since so many ship captains were so by virtue of a title of nobility (perhaps inherited).

In the case the late Court-martial, Capt. Richard Trevanion had had command of three ships and had shown high signs of great ambition, of which his quarrel with the Purser is one. Although he is a "tar," Trevanion behaved like one entitled and treated his underling like .....

Jenny  •  Link

"...with Batelier’s late, and been dancing with the company, at which I seemed a little troubled, not being sent for thither myself" - dancing perhaps with Pembleton or even Sheeres? Elizabeth dancing and, particularly, without him is really a very sore point with Sam.

JWB  •  Link

'Although he is a tar...'

More likely because he was a tar. A Captain easy in his rank would have sent his second in command, called 'commander' aboard ship no matter his rank, to do his disciplinary work.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Sir Thomas Allen’s fleete, which is newly come home to Portsmouth"

Allin's fleet had returned from an expedition to Algiers: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1669/01/26/#c4133… It had anchored off the Isle of Wight on the 4th and off Spithead on the 6th: Allin, ii.95. (L&M)

I find fascinating what these notes tell us about English navigation habits and capabilities at this time.

Jean Wynn  •  Link

What is a tar? I’m familiar with the use of tar on ships, and know about the NC Tar Heels, but . . .

Sean  •  Link

What is a tar? I’m familiar with the use of tar on ships, and know about the NC Tar Heels, but..

Perhaps an abbreviation of tarpaulin. Used as a nickname for a sailor at this time. In the present context "tarpaulins" were the professionals as opposed to the gentlemen and aristocrats appointed to command.

Mary K  •  Link

Shipboard tars.

Common seamen (below the rank of officer) handled plenty of tar on ships in the process of general material maintenance of ropes, sheets etc. and also used small quantities to keep their queues (plaited hair) under control. They undoubtedly smelt of tar and so acquired this nickname. The term Jack Tar uses the word 'Jack' in its sense of 'common man" (cf jack of all trades). 'Jack tar' is first recorded in print in 1709.

If you visit the Greenwich Maritime Museum and are able to see Nelson's jacket, you will observe that the area of his jacket between the shoulder-blades at the back is notably stained much darker than the surrounding cloth. This is where his queue would have rubbed against the cloth. Tar staining?

Gerald Berg  •  Link

The similarities with Mutiny on Bounty vis a vis class is striking! As I have come to understand it: Bligh was a 'tar' but the officers were not.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Three days ago Roger Baker, the purser whose beating at the hands of Capt. Trenavion occasioned the Court-Martiall in question, wrote to the Commissioners on how badly it all went for him, notwithstanding the wise lessons which Sam and the Duke extracted from the events:

"I am in a deplorable condition (...) I beg for a protection till I have passed my intricate accounts, which will take time, as I am 5 years in arrears". There we pause; 5 years in arrears, in "intricate" accounts? Baker seems a more complex man than one would surmise; more than the humble quill-pushing Bob Cratchit we may suppose; an Adventurer perhaps; recall an obscure private quarrel with the captain about wine purchases had kindl'd their fight, and wonder in what cahoots those two may have been. Anyway, "my creditors have threatened to clap me into prison, by reason of my dismissal by the unjust sentence of the court martial. Thanks for your having moved his Royal Hignness on my behalf (...) I hope my captain may not receive his wages, until satisfaction is given me for the abuses and damages sustained through him" [State Papers, https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=vik5AQAAM].

The letter may well be in Sam's hands today. Young Captain Trevanion will go on having a long and illustrious career, warmed by all that Esprit de Corps that will so comfort the lonely officers after a hard day of beating up the crew, up to Bounty days and well beyond. Roger Baker will surface once more, post-Diary at the end of the year, having apparently dodged jail but still not passed his accounts, and pleading for this and that.

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