Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1566
Sir William Batten Sir William Batten is the surveyor on the Naval Board where Pepys is Clerk of the Acts. Pepys confesses in his memoirs not to like the man, although he does attend the man’s parties, where he has a good time. In their professional lives, Batten and Pepys...
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Sir William Batten
Sir William Batten is the surveyor on the Naval Board where Pepys is Clerk of the Acts. Pepys confesses in his memoirs not to like the man, although he does attend the man’s parties, where he has a good time. In their professional lives, Batten and Pepys occasionally quarrel about certain matters, such as choosing masters for the fleet. Pepys really invokes Batten’s ire when Pepys finds a timber contract that is better for the navy. By switching contracts, Pepys takes away Batten’s percentage that Batten was getting from the other contract.
Sir George Carteret
Sir George Carteret is the Treasurer on the Naval Board, and is a concern of Pepys’s on certain occasions. Pepys treads very carefully around Carteret, although he does help arrange the marriage between Carteret’s son and the Earl of Sandwich’s daughter.
Lady Barbara Palmer Castlemaine
Lady Castlemaine is one of the women for whom Pepys lusts, and one of the only ones that he does not actually have an affair with. She is a woman who is quite cunning and manipulative in getting what she wants. She inserts herself into the King’s court at White Hall, where their affair is noted by both the Queen and the citizens of England. Castlemaine has the King help her separate from her husband, and even gets pregnant by the King. She manipulates the king in other ways, including squandering public funding for her own personal use.
Sir William Coventry
Sir William Coventry is the Secretary to the Lord High Admiral when Pepys assumes his post as Clerk of the Acts. Throughout his career, Pepys comes to rely on Coventry for advice and support, especially in highly political dealings. It is Coventry who advises Pepys on how to handle Parliamentary committees when Pepys must defend himself and the Naval Board at a hearing. In his career, Coventry is also appointed one of the commissioners in the navy.
Sir George Downing
Sir George Downing is Pepys’s original boss at the Exchequer. As the English resident at The Hague in Holland, Downing works to deprive the Dutch of their trade. He is also a voice for financial reform by instituting a form of national bank that would mimic his old Exchequer.
First Earl of Sandwich
See Edward Montagu
Nell Gwyn is one of the first actresses in the new theater, which allows women to act on stage, where only men could before. Pepys meets her backstage and is smitten with her. They have many amorous encounters.
William Hewer is Pepys’s hired assistant who starts out a lowly servant in Pepys’s house. However, they quickly strike up a friendship, and Hewer helps Pepys out with paperwork in his office and in many other ways over the years. These include helping Pepys with his affairs in Tangier and acting as go-between in the fight Pepys has with his wife over his adulterous relations with Deb Willet.
James, Duke of York
James, the Duke of York, is King Charles II’s brother, whom Pepys works for during his long career as Clerk of the Acts. When The Diary of Samuel Pepys begins, James is in exile with his brother. Upon their return, the Duke of York assumes the title of Lord High Admiral of the navy, and the Navy Board reports to him. The Duke confides in Pepys often during Pepys’s service, including confidential matters where Pepys writes memos in the King’s or Duke’s name. The Duke also listens to his warmongering advisors, who convince him and his brother to restore England’s reputation by attacking the Dutch, a move which eventually weakens the already weak English naval fleet.
See Betty Martin
Doll Lane is Betty Lane’s sister, with whom Pepys also has many amorous encounters.
Betty Martin, who is Betty Lane when the narrative starts, is one of the women who Pepys frequently visits when he is in an amorous mood. When she is young and single, Pepys is fiercely attracted to her and enjoys many afternoons with her. When he starts to tire of her, however, he helps her to get married off. After she is married, he decides that he wants her again, and so they start up their affairs. Pepys renews these affairs later in life when he is desperate for female attention, even though he admits that she’s not as pretty as she used to be.
Edward Montagu is Samuel Pepys’s illustrious first cousin, who also holds the title of the first Earl of Sandwich. It is through Edward that Samuel receives much financial support for his business ventures in London. When Pepys finishes his education, it is the Earl who first hires him as a secretary and domestic steward. Edward realizes that his cousin is trustworthy and, consequently, assigns him as admiral secretary to his fleet which goes to pick up Charles II and transport him back to England. After this successful venture, Sandwich becomes Pepys’s patron, guiding him in his career, and securing him many posts, including Clerk of the Acts for the navy, the first position that Pepys holds, and the one that leads to other appointments. Although Sandwich is looked upon highly by most others, he gets into trouble when his fleet loses to the Dutch ships in a battle and when he is seen in public having an affair with a common woman.
Sir William Penn
Sir William Penn is a commissioner for the navy, and Pepys doesn’t like him. They often clash when it comes to official affairs of the navy.
Elizabeth is Samuel Pepys’s wife. She comes from a poor French family of good stature. The relationship she has with her husband is very turbulent but filled with love. As Pepys’s success and financial status grows, he does not allow her as many opportunities to be involved with social circles as she would like. Instead, she is left to stay at home the majority of the time and manage household duties. She becomes increasingly jealous of Pepys’s extramarital affairs, and after she catches him ‘‘embracing’’ her maid, Deb Willet, she casts Willet out of the house and takes control of her husband once and for all, making sure he doesn’t have any other affairs.
Samuel Pepys is the author and narrator of The Diary of Samuel Pepys. A passionate man, he applies his zeal to many areas of his life. At the start of the narrative, Pepys is in London living with his wife, Elizabeth. After helping his illustrious cousin Edward Montagu (the Earl of Sandwich) on the historic voyage to bring back Charles II to England, Sandwich helps secure Pepys’s position as Clerk of the Acts for the Naval Board. This major event sets the stage for Pepys’s rise in status, both in the navy and in London society. Pepys has monstrous appetites for food, women, and money, and his adulterous affairs sometimes cause him pain or get him in trouble with his wife. He is also a fan of the theater, dancing, and the other arts. Over the course of the narrative, Pepys works to root out corruption in the navy, commits some of his own corruption, and is an eyewitness to major historical events of the time. These include the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666, two events where he helps keep order. Pepys ends his narrative in 1669, when he thinks he is going blind.
Charles Stuart, II
Charles II is the king during most of the years in Pepys’s diary. Forced to flee to Holland after the execution of his father, Charles I, Charles II eventually receives an invitation to return to England after the overthrow of Oliver Cromwell’s regime. In 1660, he is officially named King of England and placed on the throne. Much to the relief of his subjects, Charles restores the country to its normal state after the strict Puritan influence of Cromwell’s rule. Among other things, Charles has all drinking, dancing, gambling, and theater-going reinstated. However, his own tendency to engage in extramarital affairs, most notably with Lady Castlemaine and Lady Stewart, does not sit well with his constituents. Also, he is constantly fighting with Parliament to get funds to support his navy, and Parliament increasingly requires more information as to why he needs this money. Pepys is often the one who speaks on behalf of the navy’s need for funds.
Frances Stuart, another mistress who wins the favor of King Charles II in court, is of particular interest to Samuel Pepys. His opinion of Lady Stuart is that she is the most beautiful of all of the women at court. Stuart comes into court as the replacement to Lady Castlemaine in the king’s royal affections.
A hired servant for the Pepys household, Samuel hires Willet as a maid for his wife. However, Pepys finds that he is extremely attracted to her innocence, and begins making advances toward her, which she initially denies. When she finally relents and starts an affair with Pepys, his wife finds out. Deb is forced to leave her position and move to Whetstone’s Park, a noted place of prostitution.