PEPYS, Samuel (1633-1703) and the NAVY BOARD. A series of 27 documents signed by Pepys as Clerk of the Acts of the Navy, together with documents signed by William, 2nd Viscount Brouncker (38), Admiral Sir John Mennes (48), Sir Jeremy Smith (16) and other members of the Navy Board, 126 documents in total, the majority with several signatures, addressed to Edward Gregory, Clerk of the Cheque and Storekeeper, and other officers at the Yards in Chatham, Navy Office, 29 January 1668/9 - 18 December 1669, the majority endorsed on verso by recipient, together approximately 85 pages, folio, skilfully tipped in to boards (some cropped, occasional wear to margins, holing and discolouration), contained in three volumes, folio (352 x 270mm), early 20th-century crushed blue morocco gilt by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, the upper and lower covers stamped with Pepys' emblem of 'S.P.' around two crossed anchors intertwined with rope, surmounted by his motto, border gilt fillets, the spine gilt in six compartments, lettered in three, gilt ruled turn-ins, gilt edges.
A series of administrative documents giving a picture of the workings of the Navy Board in 1669 under Samuel Pepys' control. Pepys was made Clerk of the Acts of the Navy on 23 June 1660 at the age of 27. He filled the role with considerable distinction at a time when the administration of the Navy was being modernised; a contemporary account declares him the most useful minister ever to have occupied his position. The period 1668-70 was an important one for the Navy Board and Pepys with the disasters of the Second Dutch War leaving the Board open to Parliamentary investigation of its numerous abuses; Pepys became the Board's chief defender, in particular in a magnificent performance before the House of Commons on 5 March 1669. From 1669 he was to be effectively in charge of the Navy.
The other signatories of the documents in this collection naturally feature prominently in Pepys' diaries: William, 2nd Viscount Brouncker (1620?-1684) was a friend of both Pepys and John Evelyn; a mathematician and translator of Descartes, he was the first President of the Royal Society. Admiral Sir John Mennes (1599-1671) was Comptroller of the Navy and a minor poet; Pepys' diaries describe him as excellent company, but are scathing about his failing abilities in his post, describing him as one of those who 'sit and do nothing'. Admiral Sir Jeremy Smith (d.1675) was a commissioner of the Navy from 1669 as Comptroller of Victualling.
Pepys' failing eyesight caused him to give up his diaries during the course of the year covered by these documents, on 31 May 1669. (3)