10 Annotations

First Reading

mcewen  •  Link

Blackburne is annotated for the entry of Feb 18 1659/60 as Robert Blackborne, "Admiralty official". See: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1…
A "Robert Blackborne" shows up a couple times in Google as being Secretary of the East India Company in the 1690's, once in correspondence with Newton, but I have no idea if this is the same gent.

language hat  •  Link

Companion entry:
The leading naval official under the Commonwealth. After an apprenticeship as a clerk working with the parliamentary Commissioners of the Navy from 1643, he was made secretary of the Admiralty and Navy Commissioners in 1652, and held the post concurrently with that of secretary to the Customs Commissioners until the Restoration. His strong Puritan views seem to have prevented his continuing in office, though Pepys often consulted him. His most valuable service to Pepys perhaps was to introduce his nephew Will Hewer [Pepys' life-long friend] to him in 1660. By then he was living in the parish of St Bartholomew-the-Less, by the Exchange, and was, possibly, still employed in the customs service....

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Blackborne's clerk: James Southerne

This admiralty clerk is working for Blackborne early in 1660, but is working for William Coventry (Pepys mentions it on 25 June 1660) after Coventry begins working with the navy.
Pepys mentions Southerne ("Southorne") only occasionally in the diary.

vincent  •  Link

Reading all of Blackburnes entrees: One gets a strong feeling that SP and he did enjoy each others company, and Blackburne appears to go to great lengths to give SP good advice and was the first to put letters of standing behind SP's name. Going back over some of the dailies, with all these wonderfull annotations, it does increase the understanding of all the events.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Robert Blackborne is identified on the Web (without attribution) as a Fifth Monarchist.

Bill  •  Link

Robert Blackburne was Secretary to the Admiralty with a salary of £250 a year until the appointment of the Duke of York as Lord High Admiral in July 1660.
---Wheatley, 1896.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Robert Blackborne AKA Blackburne was Pepys' predecessor, although he had a different title. As such, he was key to how the Navy functioned during the successful First Anglo-Dutch War. Blackborne appears to have been a much closer friend to his fellow Commissioners than Pepys appears to have been to his.

Blackborne is mentioned 13 times ... with different spellings for his name ... in the 1952 paper, “Puritans and Quakers” by Capt. William Robert Chaplin, of the Trinity House, London

Sadly, there isn't much about Blackborne the man, but emphasizes his Christian friendship and support to Major Nehemiah Bourne (and presumably the other Puritan Commissioners) in that war. I suspect Major Bourne was the best documented of that era's Trinity House Elders, so that's why he became the subject of the paper.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"A "Robert Blackborne" shows up a couple times in Google as being Secretary of the East India Company in the 1690's, once in correspondence with Newton, but I have no idea if this is the same gent."

Robert Latham thinks it was the same man.

Will Hewer's mother, Ann Blackborne Hewer, was sister to Robert Blackborne (d.1701). Blackborne became secretary to the East India Company in December 1666 (ODNB), and Hewer amassed a large fortune built on trade as a result.
His gift in January 1668 of a diamond necklace to Elisabeth Pepys worth £40 is evidence enough ... (10:183).

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

There are several official letters from the West Indies written to Robert Blackborne in 1656 at

One of them is from his cousin in Jamaica, reporting on the prosecution and execution of a murderer. So it is reasonable to think the Blackborne family had sugar plantation investments, and therefore some independent income besides what Robert earned holding the influential positions he held during the interregnum, which earned him more profitable employment in the British East India Company later.

It takes money to make money, and I think the Blackbournes were "well-heeled" as my mother used to say.
Some Puritans/Presbyterians were very wealthy. They were in the nobility. They lived in big houses and had servants. Being a Puritan basically meant you thought that God ruled the King, and not the other way around. It didn't mean you were necessarily poor.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.


Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.