9 Annotations

First Reading

Pauline  •  Link

Balty enters the diary on February 8:
"At home my wife's brother brought her a pretty black dog which I liked very well, and went away again."

Claire Tomalin notes in her biography of Pepys that this going away again without asking Sam for something was unusual.

Pauline  •  Link

L&M Companion states that his letters to Sam "perfectly reflect the man" in "their comic extravagance of language and feeling."

Richard Ollard wrote:
"If Balthasar St Michel had not existed. only Dickens could have invented him."

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Known as my wife's brother or Her Brother, sums up the relationship.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

How old be this brother in LAW, older or younger, only found two refs: one 18 mths younger, the other 1 yr older, his behaviour suggests younger?

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Pepys seems to have done well for his brother-in-law in later life, although, from the entries in the Diary, he does not appear to have had a high opinion of him. St. Michel was Muster Master at Deal in 1674, Storekeeper at Tangier in 1681, and Naval Commissioner at Deptford in 1685.
---Wheatley, 1899.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Someone has finally written a novel about Balty: THE JUDGE HUNTER by Christopher Buckley, up for an Historical Novel Society award in 2018. Part of their review reads, "Peppered with historical characters—Peter Stuyvesant, John Winthrop II—and cleverly using Samuel Pepys’ famous diaries, Buckley masterfully weaves a fictional story with historical fact. Two subplots, involving Samuel Pepys getting arrested for sneaking a peek at a secret document and a young Quaker woman needing rescue from zealous Puritan authorities, help to create a rich story ripe for Buckley’s humor and pointed satire on Puritan ideals, royal peccadilloes, and political intrigue."

What more can one ask for a beach read???

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

L&M Companion: Balthasar St. Michel, "Balty," the son of Alexander St. Michel and Dorothea; Pepys' brother-in-law. An "absurd, posturing, melodramatic, egotist" in Richard Ollard's words, yet he managed, under Pepys' guidance, to make a success in the navy service by virtue of sheer brashness and energy.
He expected to be put on the way to becoming a gentleman captain when Pepys was made clerk of the acts.
Instead, he had to serve in the Dutch army for a year or two, after which Pepys found him a place in the Guards.
The outbreak of the second Anglo-Dutch war (1666-68) gave him his chance. Pepys was prepared to risk having him made a Muster Master on board the fleet.
In the Third Anglo-Dutch war he was made a Muster Master again, this time at Deal, and a sub-commissioner of the Sick and Wounded.
His next appointment, as Muster Master and Surveyor of Victualling at Tangier, with some responsibility for stores at Gibraltar, was less happy. He regarded it as "being sent to the Devill". He postponed his departure until 1680 and came home two years later without leave.
Things then took a turn for the better: He was made Commissioner at Deptford and Woolwich, and served to Pepys' complete satisfaction on the Special Commission of 1686-88.
Like Pepys, Balty lost office at the Revolution.

Pepys had always distrusted him, but for Elizabeth Pepys' sake, forgave him much. Every ready for a jaunt, Balty accompanied them on their contrinental holiday in 1669.

When Pepys was charged with treason in 1679, Balty spent several happy months in Paris at Pepys' expense, gathering evidence to discredit Pepys' accuser, Col. John Scott. Balty had also visited Paris in 1678, probably trying to recover his father's lost inheritance.

In Dec. 1662 Balty married Esther, daugher of John Watts, a Northamptonshire yeoman who failed to provide her with the portion he had expected.
Balty proved to be an impossible husband -- improvident, overbearing and secretive, amd keeping her, as she later told Pepys, 'in worst condition than the meanest servant.'
Pepys found Esther discreet and humble and gave her his Brampton house to live in with her children during Balty's Tangier years.
She had had 8 children by him when she died in Feb. 1678.

In Jan. 1689, Balty made a second marriage to a widow, Margaret Darling, who compounded his problems by bringing 2 children into the household. Balty now had no employment, no pension, no savings, and 10 children.

His appeals to the Admiralty for a position continued into the reign of Queen Anne. Pepys wrote to the Admiralty in his support, and came to his rescue with money and old clothes.

The last trace of Balty is in 1710 with a petition to the Cabinet.
Pauline has added L&M's final comments about him, above.

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