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Robert Saint-Leger

Plots with Pepys | 7th late afternoon

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(OOC - I can't find anything for the Admiralty building in descriptions, but it was between Whitehall and Pall Mall. :) )

 

Beverley had made arrangements at Lords to meet with Pepys in the next few days to discuss some matters of naval interest. In particular, the Prince had tasked him with finding out if they might also sell commissions to the ships that yet needed repairs and other such ways of receiving funding. The admiralty was a familiar place to him and while Cumberland maintained offices as Lord High Admiral at Whitehall, much of the operation of the Navy and finances was out of the building between Whitehall and Pall Mall, passed the Mews.

 

It was late in the afternoon but he had walked the short distance. Brooke House was not very far and the weather was fine enough. He expected to go home for dinner afterward. Perhaps he would invite the hard-working Pepys to join him. Houses such as theirs were always prepared for guests.

 

Once inside, he asked one of the clerks to see if Master Pepys was available.

 

 

 

 

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Pepys has a small army of clerks at his disposal.  It was a senior one that greeted Rupert's aide.  "Good afternoon milord."  Upon hearing that he wished to see Pepys, the man asked indulgence and absented himself to learn whether his employer was available.  The answer was obvious.  One was always available to the High Admiral and his aide.  "Right this way," the clerk offered as he led Robert back to the wood paneled office occupied by Samuel Pepys.

"My lord welcome," the short man offered as he took to his feet from behind ledgers and papers that overtook his desktop.  "Please pardon the mess.  If I had known you would be avisiting, this unsightly mess would have been rectified.  How might I serve you?  Some wine perhaps?"

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Beverley was no tall gentleman by any means. In fact, he barely was of average height and looked stupendously small next to Cumberland, so Pepys did not seem so very short to him. It was nice, though, that someone was shorter than himself!

 

"A mess at such times, erm, stresses the level of work being undertaken. By that I, erm, mean there is little to worry about." Beverley chuckled some, mostly to himself, for he had discussed visiting the man during the sitting of Lords only a few days prior! 

 

"Your mind is aptly on duties more important than tidying," he added. "Wine would be most welcome." 

 

Once he seated himself, he cleared his throat purposefully and said, "You are aware that the successful financing of our Navy is of paramount concern to our master, so I wished to discuss further ideas for such. For example, the sale of commissions can be quite lucrative when we are to war, and many young gentlemen are eager for such glory; if we have a ship that is not currently seaworthy, might we not sell a commission and have a part of its sale be assuming the responsibility to get her ready if we need her for war?" 

 

Beverley was not one to talk around the issue. He was fairly direct for also not being the best at idle conversation. These sorts of things were far more within his skill set. 

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Despite the excuse for untidiness, Pepys tarried to straighten two stacks of papers on his desk before pouring wine for his guest.  His attention shifted to the purpose of Beverley's visit.  Finances was an ever present concern to the Navy.  There was never enough coin.

The idea was floated about selling commissions for crippled vessels.  "An excellent idea milord,"  Samuel was quick to compliment.  The idea likely originated with Prince Rupert which meant it was brilliant unless otherwise proven.  "yet, we would be limited to wealthy applicants, as they would need the coin to purchase the commission and repair the ship."  It would likely mean it would be the sons of wealthy merchants and nobility.  "No harm in trying.  We can find the least able and hope the war ends just as the ship is at full strength."  He gave a chuckle.

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Beverley smiled as Pepys quickly complimented the idea. The man was very adept at playing his social roles well. Pepys had been to Brooke House for dinner before* and compliments abounded there too.

 

"True, although my understanding is that we have more gentlemen seeking commissions than we have commissions to offer for our seafaring vessels. The Prince's very immense correspondence is filled with many such seekers. It seems quite the waste. Even were we to add officers to our larger vessels, I think there are still some who would wish to buy their way in; such is the mentality of merchants."

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"Oh I am certain there is no shortage of demand," Pepys was quick to clarify.  "I too receive such correspondence."

"We shall put it to the test then.  Perhaps we might also consider elevating the importance of some small coastal defense vessels.  For example, we have six four gun ketch-rigged vessels , and other sixth-rate vessels.  Perhaps there might be interest in those too?"

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Beverley hmmmed and nodded. And getting smaller vessels fully functional was not amiss against the Dutch, for some of their vessels allowed much closer coastal travel for which larger ships required deeper waters. Smaller crafts were oft used as pursuit crafts on those shallower coastal waters. 

 

"If they wish the honour of a position as an officer, they cannot be so very choosey, now can they?" Then he added, "They can be part of the defense of inner waters for all it matters, to prevent an attack like Medway again or any foreign ships proving troublesome on our coasts." If someone else paid for it, they could lay out whatever ships could be put together at every port...and they had a lot of ports. Beverley was actually the seat of the Humber which ran through Hull and was one of the larger ports in the North Ridings; not that Beverley recalled ever having actually been there...

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"Precisely!" Pepys replied enthusiastically.  "Sixth rate ships and crippled higher rated vessels could bring us a dozen or more new captains and their gratuities."  It seemed an inspired plan to add some meaningful coin.  Finding interested parties would not be difficult, but he paused to ask "does his Highness have some favored candidates in mind?"  The Admiral would have the right to fill whichever ships and captains first.  Those remaining would be left to the Naval Secretary.

As he awaited an answer, Samuel looked to refill the wine glass if the lord planned on staying.  There might well be another matter Lord Beverley wished to discuss.

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"If there is merit to the idea, and a round dozen ships, there may perhaps be candidates to put forth. We should perhaps think of those too, whose families have votes in Commons; for surely those families would be amenable to our resolutions for Naval funding moving forward," the viscount said, with the raise of a finger. He was a far better at strategizing than living everyday social life in many ways. 

 

"Might you make us a short list of those who have put forth the most interest to you? I can then compare with the Lord Admiral and what correspondence and visitation he has received." 

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"Now there is why I content myself with Navy business as opposed to politics.  I had not considered that at all," he confessed in a flattering way.  "None of the men that have approached me so far are from ... quality families.  Most are captains or first mates from higher rated ships that lost their positions to drunkenness and are looking to prove themselves.  There are some that are sons and brothers of merchants.  One says he's the cousin of the Lord Mayor, and I think he is.   I can have the list delivered to you tonight."

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"And you a very skilled, Mr. Pepys, very skilled," Beverley replied. "I could surely not keep track of such things as you do, nor deal with such persons." And it was true. Beverley did not always mix well with the common man. Nor did he have much a stomach for endless papers. 

 

"His Highness will appreciate your diligence very much, as do I of course. And I hope you enjoy the respite of the Holy days ahead."

 

With that Beverley took his leave.

 

(OOC - I also stink at closing out threads when they are done... :( )

 

"

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"You are too kind m'lord.  Too kind," Pepys insisted as he escorted Beverley to the threshold of his office.  "Thank you for coming.  I hall see the reports dispatched with dispatch," he offered with a rare sense of humor.  

 

~finis

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