« PreviousContinue »
"and be contented, to stand all fortunes, and be "provided to retreat; and that he is most willing to "do whatever the king shall please: and so we "parted, he setting me down out of his coach at "Charing Cross, and desired me to tell Sir W. Penn "what he had told me, of his leaving the Duke of "York's service, that his friends might not be the "last that know of it. I to Sir W. Batten and Sir "W. Penn, and there discoursed of Sir W. Coventry "leaving the Duke of York, and Mr. Wren's succeed"ing him. They told me both, seriously, that they "had long cut me out for secretary to the Duke of "York, if ever Sir W. Coventry left him; which, "agreeing with what I have heard from other hands "heretofore, do make me not only think that some- "thing of that kind hath been thought on, but do "comfort me to see that the world hath such an "esteem of my qualities, as to think me fit for any "such thing; though I am glad, with all my heart, "that I am not so."
"11th.—Come to dine with me," says Pepys, "Sir W. Batten and his lady, and Mr. Griffith, their "ward, and Sir W. Penn and his lady, and Mrs. "Lowther (their daughter), and Sir John Chichly1 "in their company, and Mrs. Turner. Here I had "an extraordinary good and handsome dinner for "them, better than any of them deserve or under1 Captain Chicheley, R.N. (afterwards Sir John Chicheley) commanded the Antelope, of 40 guns, in the Duke of York's squadron, in the victory of the 3d June, 16U5, as will be seen above, in the list of the fleet of that year. For the very honourable career of that gallant officer, of whom no account is given in the notes to the Diary, see Charjjock's Biographia Navalis, vol. i. p. 84.
"stand, saving Sir John Chichly and Mrs. Turner." Pepys has given us one of his bills of fare: "January "26th, 1660.—My wife had got ready a very fine "dinner; viz. a dish of marrow-bones; a leg of "mutton; a loin of veal; a dish of fowl (three pul"lets and a dozen of larks, all in a dish); a great "tart; a neat's tongue; a dish of anchovies; a dish "of prawns, and cheese." This was, certainly, a very intelligible dinner.
"October 5th.—Up, and to the office, and there "all the morning; none but my Lord Anglesey and "myself: but much surprised with the news of the "death of Sir William Batten, who died this morn"ing, having been but two days sick. Sir William "Penn and I did dispatch a letter to Sir William "Coventry, to recommend Colonel Middleton,1 who "we think a most honest and understanding man, "and fit for that place. Sir George Carteret did "also come, and walked with me in the garden; "and concluded, not to concern, or have any advice "made to, Sir William Coventry in behalf of my "Lord Sandwich's business: so I do rest satisfied, "though I do think them all mad, that they will "judge Sir William Coventry an enemy, when he is "indeed no such man to any body, but is severe and "just, as he ought to be, where he sees things ill "done."
"12th.—At home: we find that Sir W. Batten's "body was to-day carried from hence, with a hun
1 ile w.u appointed to succeed Sir \V. Batten.
"dred or two coaches, to Walthamstow, and there "buried. Anon, comes Sir W. Penn from the burial, "and he says, that Lady Batten and her children"in-law are all broke in pieces, and that there is but "800/. found in the world of money; and is in great "doubt what we shall do towards doing ourselves "right with them, about the prize-money." There is no memorial of Sir W. Batten in the church of Walthamstow, though there is one of his son; but his burial is duly registered.1
Thus terminated the life of this old admiral, to whose friendship, when vice-admiral of England, as appears in the first part of these Memorials, and not to that of Cromwell, Sir William Penn eminently owed his early advances in the naval service. Sincerely and zealously attached to the true cause of king and parliament; to prerogative and privilege duly apportioned and adjusted; and equally loyal to both those great interests; his name has, by natural consequence, experienced the oblivion of the cavaliers, though his life experienced the remembrance and regard of his sovereign, who was no cavalier. The rescuing his name from that oblivion into which it was almost totally sunk, and the restoring it to its rightful station in the annals of our naval history, is
1 I find no portrait of Sir W. Batten; but it would appear, from a jocular remark of the king, that he was short, and corpulent in person:—" April 2\st,
"1666. I down to walk in the garden and Whitehall," says Pepys, "and
"there was the king, who, among others, talked to us a little; and among "other pretty things, he swore merrily, that he believed the ketch that Sir "W. Batten bought last year at Colchester was his own getting, it was so "thick to its length."
one of my recompensing gratifications for the labour of this work.
"lith.—To Mr. Wren's; and he told me," says Pepys, " that my business was done about my war"rant on the Maybolt galliot, which I did see; and "thought it was not so full in reciting my services, "as the other was in that of Sir William Penn's."1 Pepys' official self-importance had reduced the notion of service, in his mind, to the achievements of his board-room, in which little empire his ambition was then aiming to render him supreme.
1 "An quodcunque facit Maecenas, te quoque, verum est,
"Whate'er Maecenas does, must thou needs do,
"February 1st.—To the office," says Pepys, " till "past two o'clock, where, at the board, some high "words passed between Sir William Penn and I; "begun by me, and yielded to by him; / being in "the right, in finding fault with him for his neglect "of duty."
Bold under the wing of Sandwich, and relieved from the restraint of Coventry's presence1 by his retirement from the board, Pepys at this time possessed all the elasticity of what Shakspeare calls a "swaggering upspring," who felt himself comfortably secure of protection. Certainly, SirW. Penn would not disturb the board by descending to claim, from the petulance of the clerk of the acts, the respect due to seniority, priority, and ancient service; but would abide by his maxim, of " being at peace with all men, so far as in "him lay."
1 It is observable, that in all Pepys' recorded conversations with Sir William Coventry, he never ventured to speak to him disrespectfully of Sir W. Penn. Of Pepys' many minor impertinences to the latter, with which he so freely indulged himself in the bravery of his concealed Journal, I have taken no notice; but have left them, as if they were still under the shelter of that " confidence" with which their promulgator represents him to have destined them for perpetual secrecy. (Pref. to Diary, p. viii. 8vo.) The reader must do me the justice to see, and to acknowledge, that I have not travelled aside for matter of censure against Pepys; that whatever hits he has sustained have been received in the parrying his direct assaults, and in the fair defence of my long-departed principal; so that they are wholly to be laid to the account of those who have gratuitously revealed the assaults which he intended, and hoped, would remain ever unknown, but which, being once revealed, must of necessity be duly met, and as duly dealt with.