The two pieces of work which make up this volume were compiled by Pepys in the 1660s. The first is Pepys’s own record of how the Navy Board functioned. It records details of meetings with fellow officers such as Sir William Penn and Sir John Mennes, and how work could be hampered at times by the refusal of an officer to sign a contract or bill as he had not been present at the original discussions.
The Navy White Book gives the discussions which took place over a variety of matters, such as, contracts with Sir William Warren, a timber merchant; costs and quality of masts and canvas.
The Brooke House Papers deal with the inquiry set up by the House of Commons into the conduct of the Second Dutch War, following the humiliation of the Dutch invasion of 1667, and the inefficiency of the Navy Board. The Brooke House Papers further show Pepys defending the Navy Board’s professionalism and integrity, and also that naval administration during the Second Dutch War was efficient. The Papers also show Charles II ‘s role in protecting the Navy Board, by making his dissatisfaction with the inquiry known, through his disrespectful language and interruptions, as well as his support for Pepys, whom he makes the Board’s spokesman.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Part I: The Navy White Book, Part II: The Brooke House Papers, (i) Pepys's Defence of the Conduct of the Navy, - Letter from the Brooke House Commissioners to the Navy Board, Pepys's General Defence, Pepys's Particular Defence, Pepys's Address to the King, Pepys's Address to the Duke of York, Pepys's Brooke House Journal, List of Principal Persons, Index.
Robert Latham was born 11 March 1912 and was educated at Wolstanton Grammar School, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Queen’s College, Cambridge where he received a double first in History. In 1935 he was appointed an Assistant Lecturer at King’s College, London and a Lecturer in 1939. After the war he was promoted to Reader in History (1947 – 1972) and Dean of Men at Royal Holloway College. In 1968-69 he was Professor of History at the University of Toronto. In 1970 he moved to Magdalene College Cambridge initially as Research Fellow, and then from 1972 as Pepys Librarian and to 1984 as a Fellow of the College. From 1984 to 1994 he was an Honorary Fellow. As Pepys Librarian he had charge of the remarkable collection of books, prints and manuscripts which Pepys left to his old College. He devoted the best part of his life to the study of the diary, and to producing the definitive edition of The Diary of Samuel Pepys. He was awarded the CBE in 1973, and was fellow of the British Academy in 1982He died at Cambridge on 4 January 1995.
This work – The Diary of Samuel Pepys: A New and Complete Transcription – was published over the period 1970 – 83. It was described in The Times by Bernard Levin as “the absolutely complete and un-improvably definitive edition … so exceptional that it can be said to have set new standards of scholarship. The index to the Diary series, completed with his wife, is a full volume itself, made up of about 900 pages.