Biography of William Batelier

Pepy's Diary. 02 Aug 1666. At Woolwich [Map], it being now night, I find my wife and Mercer, and Mr. Batelier and [his sister] Mary there, and a supper getting ready. So I staid, in some pain, it being late, and post night. So supped and merrily home, but it was twelve at night first. However, sent away some letters, and home to bed.

Pepy's Diary. 08 Aug 1666. And by and by dinner come up, and then to my sport again, but still honest; and then took coach and up and down in the country toward Acton, and then toward Chelsy, and so to Westminster, and there set her down where I took her up, with mighty pleasure in her company, and so I by coach home, and thence to Bow, with all the haste I could, to my Lady Pooly's, where my wife was with Mr. Batelier and his sisters, and there I found a noble supper, and every thing exceeding pleasant, and their mother, Mrs. Batelier, a fine woman, but mighty passionate upon sudden news brought her of the loss of a dog borrowed of the Duke of Albemarle's (age 57) son to line a bitch of hers that is very pretty, but the dog was by and by found, and so all well again, their company mighty innocent and pleasant, we having never been here before.

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Pepy's Diary. 08 Aug 1666. About ten o'clock we rose from table, and sang a song, and so home in two coaches (Mr. Batelier and his sister [his sister] Mary and my wife and I in one, and Mercer alone in the other); and after being examined at Allgate [Map], whether we were husbands and wives, home, and being there come, and sent away Mr. Batelier and his sister, I find Reeves there, it being a mighty fine bright night, and so upon my leads, though very sleepy, till one in the morning, looking on the moon and Jupiter, with this twelve-foote glasse and another of six foote, that he hath brought with him to-night, and the sights mighty pleasant, and one of the glasses I will buy, it being very usefull.

Pepy's Diary. 14 Aug 1666. And then about nine o'clock to Mrs. Mercer's gate, where the fire and boys expected us, and her son had provided abundance of serpents and rockets; and there mighty merry (my Lady Pen (age 42) and Pegg (age 15) going thither with us, and Nan Wright), till about twelve at night, flinging our fireworks, and burning one another and the people over the way. And at last our businesses being most spent, we into Mrs. Mercer's, and there mighty merry, smutting one another with candle grease and soot, till most of us were like devils. And that being done, then we broke up, and to my house; and there I made them drink, and upstairs we went, and then fell into dancing (W. Batelier dancing well), and dressing, him and I and one Mr. Banister (age 36) (who with his wife come over also with us) like women; and Mercer put on a suit of Tom's, like a boy, and mighty mirth we had, and Mercer danced a jigg; and Nan Wright and my wife and Pegg Pen (age 15) put on perriwigs. Thus we spent till three or four in the morning, mighty merry; and then parted, and to bed.

Pepy's Diary. 14 Aug 1666. Thence home, well enough satisfied, however, with the variety of this afternoon's exercise; and so I to my chamber, till in the evening our company come to supper. We had invited to a venison pasty Mr. Batelier and his sister [his sister] Mary, Mrs. Mercer, her daughter Anne, Mr. Le Brun, and W. Hewer (age 24); and so we supped, and very merry.


Pepy's Diary. 21 Aug 1666. So home and late at the office, and then home, and there found Mr. Batelier and his sister [his sister] Mary, and we sat chatting a great while, talking of witches and spirits, and he told me of his own knowledge, being with some others at Bourdeaux, making a bargain with another man at a taverne for some clarets, they did hire a fellow to thunder (which he had the art of doing upon a deale board) and to rain and hail, that is, make the noise of, so as did give them a pretence of undervaluing their merchants' wines, by saying this thunder would spoil and turne them. Which was so reasonable to the merchant, that he did abate two pistolls per ton for the wine in belief of that, whereas, going out, there was no such thing. This Batelier did see and was the cause of to his profit, as is above said.

Pepy's Diary. 06 Nov 1666. At noon home to dinner, and after dinner down alone by water to Deptford [Map], reading "Duchesse of Malfy", the play, which is pretty good, and there did some business, and so up again, and all the evening at the office. At night home, and there find Mr. Batelier, who supped with us, and good company he is, and so after supper to bed.

Pepy's Diary. 07 Nov 1666. Thence home, and there find Mr. Batelier come to bring my wife a very fine puppy of his mother's spaniel, a very fine one indeed, which my wife is mighty proud of. He staid and supped with us, and they to cards. I to my chamber to do some business, and then out to them to play and were a little merry, and then to bed. By the Duke of York (age 33) his discourse to-day in his chamber, they have it at Court, as well as we here, that a fatal day is to be expected shortly, of some great mischiefe to the remainder of this day; whether by the Papists, or what, they are not certain. But the day is disputed; some say next Friday, others a day sooner, others later, and I hope all will prove a foolery. But it is observable how every body's fears are busy at this time.

Pepy's Diary. 09 Nov 1666. By and by comes news that the fire has slackened; so then we were a little cheered up again, and to supper, and pretty merry. But, above all, there comes in the dumb boy that I knew in Oliver's time, who is mightily acquainted here, and with Downing; and he made strange signs of the fire, and how the King (age 36) was abroad, and many things they understood, but I could not, which I wondering at, and discoursing with Downing about it, "Why", says he, "it is only a little use, and you will understand him, and make him understand you with as much ease as may be". So I prayed him to tell him that I was afeard that my coach would be gone, and that he should go down and steal one of the seats out of the coach and keep it, and that would make the coachman to stay. He did this, so that the dumb boy did go down, and, like a cunning rogue, went into the coach, pretending to sleep; and, by and by, fell to his work, but finds the seats nailed to the coach. So he did all he could, but could not do it; however, stayed there, and stayed the coach till the coachman's patience was quite spent, and beat the dumb boy by force, and so went away. So the dumb boy come up and told him all the story, which they below did see all that passed, and knew it to be true. After supper, another dance or two, and then newes that the fire is as great as ever, which put us all to our wit's-end; and I mightily [anxious] to go home, but the coach being gone, and it being about ten at night, and rainy dirty weather, I knew not what to do; but to walk out with Mr. Batelier, myself resolving to go home on foot, and leave the women there. And so did; but at the Savoy got a coach, and come back and took up the women; and so, having, by people come from the fire, understood that the fire was overcome, and all well, we merrily parted, and home. Stopped by several guards and constables quite through the town, round the wall, as we went, all being in armes. We got well home .... Being come home, we to cards, till two in the morning, and drinking lamb's-wool1. So to bed.

Note 1. A beverage consisting of ale mixed with sugar, nutmeg, and the pulp of roasted apples. "A cupp of lamb's-wool they dranke unto him then". the King (age 36) and the Miller of Mansfield (Percy's "Reliques", Series III, book ii., No. 20).

Pepy's Diary. 09 Nov 1666. Thence home and with my brother to dinner, my wife being dressing herself against night; after dinner I to my closett all the afternoon, till the porter brought my vest back from the taylor's, and then to dress myself very fine, about 4 or 5 o'clock, and by that time comes Mr. Batelier and Mercer, and away by coach to Mrs. Pierce's, by appointment, where we find good company: a fair lady, my Lady Prettyman, Mrs. Corbet, Knipp; and for men, Captain Downing, Mr. Lloyd, Sir W. Coventry's (age 38) clerk, and one Mr. Tripp, who dances well.

Pepy's Diary. 22 Nov 1666. Batelier did bring us some oysters to-night, and some bottles of new French wine of this year, mighty good, but I drank but little. This noon Bagwell's wife was with me at the office, and I did what I would, and at night comes Mrs. Burroughs, and appointed to meet upon the next holyday and go abroad together.

Pepy's Diary. 22 Nov 1666. At noon home to dinner, where my wife and I fell out, I being displeased with her cutting away a lace handkercher sewed about the neck down to her breasts almost, out of a belief, but without reason, that it is the fashion. Here we did give one another the lie too much, but were presently friends, and then I to my office, where very late and did much business, and then home, and there find Mr. Batelier, and did sup and play at cards awhile. But he tells me the newes how the King of France (age 28) hath, in defiance to the King of England (age 36), caused all his footmen to be put into vests, and that the noblemen of France will do the like; which, if true, is the greatest indignity ever done by one Prince to another, and would incite a stone to be revenged; and I hope our King will, if it be so, as he tells me it is1 being told by one that come over from Paris with my Lady Fanshaw (age 41), who is come over with the dead body of her husband, and that saw it before he come away. This makes me mighty merry, it being an ingenious kind of affront; but yet it makes me angry, to see that the King (age 36) of England is become so little as to have the affront offered him. So I left my people at cards, and so to my chamber to read, and then to bed.

Note 1. Planche throws some doubt on this story in his "Cyclopaedia of Costume" (vol. ii., p. 240), and asks the question, "Was Mr. Batelier hoaxing the inquisitive secretary, or was it the idle gossip of the day, as untrustworthy as such gossip is in general?" But the same statement was made by the author of the "Character of a Trimmer", who wrote from actual knowledge of the Court: "About this time a general humour, in opposition to France, had made us throw off their fashion, and put on vests, that we might look more like a distinct people, and not be under the servility of imitation, which ever pays a greater deference to the original than is consistent with the equality all independent nations should pretend to. France did not like this small beginning of ill humours, at least of emulation; and wisely considering, that it is a natural introduction, first to make the world their apes, that they may be afterwards their slaves. It was thought, that one of the instructions Madame(Henrietta, Duchess of Orléans)The story alluded to by Pepys, which belongs not to the reign of Richard III, but to that of Edward brought along with her, was to laugh us out of these vests; which she performed so effectually, that in a moment, like so many footmen who had quitted their master's livery, we all took it again, and returned to our old service; so that the very time of doing it gave a very critical advantage to France, since it looked like an evidence of our returning to her interest, as well as to their fashion. "The Character of a Trimmer" ("Miscellanies by the Marquis of Halifax", 1704, p. 164). Evelyn reports that when the King (age 36) expressed his intention never to alter this fashion, "divers courtiers and gentlemen gave his Majesty gold by way of wager that he would not persist in this resolution" ("Diary", October 18th, 1666).

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Poll Bill

Pepy's Diary. 11 Dec 1666. Thence, having promised to write every month to her, we home, and I to my office, while my wife to get things together for supper. Dispatching my business at the office. Anon come our guests, old Mr. Batelier, and his son and daughter, Mercer, which was all our company. We had a good venison pasty and other good cheer, and as merry as in so good, innocent, and understanding company I could be. He is much troubled that wines, laden by him in France before the late proclamation was out, cannot now be brought into England, which is so much to his and other merchants' loss. We sat long at supper and then to talk, and so late parted and so to bed. This day the Poll Bill was to be passed, and great endeavours used to take away the Proviso.

Pepy's Diary. 18 Jan 1667. At night I, by appointment, home, where W. Batelier and his sister [his sister] Mary, and the two Mercers, to play at cards and sup, and did cut our great cake lately given us by Russell: a very good one. Here very merry late. Sir W. Pen (age 45) told me this night how the King (age 36) did make them a very sharp speech in the House of Lords to-day, saying that he did expect to have had more Bills1 that he purposes to prorogue them on Monday come se'nnight; that whereas they have unjustly conceived some jealousys of his making a peace, he declares he knows of no such thing or treaty: and so left them. But with so little effect, that as soon as he come into the House, Sir W. Coventry (age 39) moved, that now the King (age 36) hath declared his intention of proroguing them, it would be loss of time to go on with the thing they were upon, when they were called to the King (age 36), which was the calling over the defaults of Members appearing in the House; for that, before any person could now come or be brought to town, the House would be up. Yet the Faction did desire to delay time, and contend so as to come to a division of the House; where, however, it was carried, by a few voices, that the debate should be laid by. But this shews that they are not pleased, or that they have not any awe over them from the King's displeasure. The company being gone, to bed.

Note 1. On this day "An Act for raising Money by a Poll and otherwise towards the maintenance of the present War", and "An Act prohibiting the Importation of Cattle from Ireland and other parts beyond the Sea, and Fish taken by Foreigners", were passed. The King (age 36). complained of the insufficient supply, and said, "'Tis high time for you to make good your promises, and 'tis high time for you to be in the country" ("Journals of the House of Lords", vol xii., p. 81).

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Pepy's Diary. 12 Dec 1666. He gone, and after him the rest, I to the office, and at noon to the 'Change [Map], where the very good newes is just come of our four ships from Smyrna, come safe without convoy even into the Downes, without seeing any enemy; which is the best, and indeed only considerable good newes to our Exchange [Map], since the burning of the City; and it is strange to see how it do cheer up men's hearts. Here I saw shops now come to be in this Exchange [Map], and met little Batelier, who sits here but at £3 per annum, whereas he sat at the other at £100, which he says he believes will prove of as good account to him now as the other did at that rent.

Pepy's Diary. 24 Jan 1667. At noon home to dinner, and presently to the office to despatch my business, and also we sat all the afternoon to examine the loss of The Bredagh, which was done by as plain negligence as ever ship was. We being rose, I entering my letters and getting the office swept and a good fire made and abundance of candles lighted, I home, where most of my company come of this end of the town-Mercer and her sister, Mr. Batelier and Pembleton (my Lady Pen (age 43), and Pegg (age 16), and Mr. Lowther (age 26), but did not stay long, and I believe it was by Sir W. Pen's (age 45) order; for they had a great mind to have staid), and also Captain Rolt.

Pepy's Diary. 06 Mar 1667. So home, where Mr. Batelier supped with us and talked away the evening pretty late, and so he gone and we to bed.

Pepy's Diary. 08 Mar 1667. So home, and there found, as I expected, Mrs. Pierce and Mr. Batelier; he went for Mrs. Jones, but no Mrs. Knipp come, which vexed me, nor any other company. So with one fidler we danced away the evening, but I was not well contented with the littleness of the room, and my wife's want of preparing things ready, as they should be, for supper, and bad. So not very merry, though very well pleased. So after supper to bed, my wife and Mrs. Pierce, and her boy James and I Yesterday I began to make this mark (V) stand instead of three pricks, which therefore I must observe every where, it being a mark more easy to make.

Pepy's Diary. 18 Jul 1667. Home to dinner, and then to the office again, where very well employed at the office till evening; and then being weary, took out my wife and Will Batelier by coach to Islington [Map], but no pleasure in our going, the way being so dusty that one durst not breathe. Drank at the old house, and so home, and then to the office a little, and so home to supper and to bed.

Pepy's Diary. 04 Sep 1667. Thence home, where Batelier and his sister [his sister] Mary come to us and sat and talked, and so, they gone, we to supper and to bed.

Pepy's Diary. 05 Sep 1667. Up, and all the morning at the office, where we sat till noon, and then I home to dinner, where [his sister] Mary Batelier and her brother dined with us, who grows troublesome in his talking so much of his going to Marseilles, and what commissions he hath to execute as a factor, and a deal of do of which I am weary.

Pepy's Diary. 30 Sep 1667. So by coach home, and there find our pretty girl Willet come, brought by Mr. Batelier, and she is very pretty, and so grave as I never saw a little thing in my life. Indeed I think her a little too good for my family, and so well carriaged as I hardly ever saw. I wish my wife may use her well. Now I begin to be full of thought for my journey the next week, if I can get leave, to Brampton [Map]. Tonight come and sat with me Mr. Turner and his wife and tell me of a design of sending their son Franke to the East Indy Company's service if they can get him entertainment, which they are promised by Sir Andr. Rickard (age 63), which I do very well like of. So the company broke up and to bed.

Pepy's Diary. 18 Nov 1667. Thence took up my wife, whom I had left at her tailor's, and home, and there, to save my eyes, got my wife at home to read again, as last night, in the same book, till W. Batelier come and spent the evening talking with us, and supped with us, and so to bed.

Pepy's Diary. 03 Dec 1667. At noon home to dinner, and busy all the afternoon, and at night home, and there met W. Batelier, who tells me the first great news that my Chancellor (age 58) is fled this day.


William Batelier was born to Joseph Batelier.