Samuel Pepys was born on February 23, 1633, the son of a London
tailor, and fifth of eleven children. He first attended
the Huntingdon Free School, and then St. Paul's School. He
entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1650, but shortly transferred to
College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1653.
In 1654, Pepys became secretary to Sir Edward Montagu, later Earl of
Sandwich, a distant relative. Soon after, Pepys became a clerk of
the Exchequer, and married Elizabeth St. Michel in 1655. In 1660, Pepys was made Clerk of the
Ships to the Navy Board.
On January 1,
1660, at the age of 27, Pepys began his Diary. It was written in the shorthand
system established by Thomas Shelton, and covered nine years not only
of Pepys' life, but of London events. The passages on the Plague
(1665-1666), The Great Fire of London (1666), and the arrival of the
Dutch fleet (1665-1667) are invaluable firsthand accounts to
Pepys stopped writing his diary in the spring
of 1669—at the age of 36, his eyesight had gotten worse, and he feared
losing his sight altogether. The following 34 years brought him
more appointments and acclaim. Pepys became a Member of
Parliament and Secretary of the Admiralty in 1673, and took part in
organizing the navy during the war with the Dutch in 1672-74. In
1679, Pepys was accused of giving naval secrets to the French in the Popish Plot, and he was imprisoned in the Tower for
six weeks. Pepys was soon cleared of charges, however, and was reinstated as Secretary to the
Admiralty in 1684. He served as President of the Royal
Society from 1684-86, and retired from public service in 1689 at the
accession of King William III.
In 1690, Pepys published his Memoirs . . . of the Royal Navy.
After this, Pepys spent most of his time
building and cataloging a library of his own. In 1701, when his
health began to fail, he moved to Clampham, where he completed his
collection of 3,000 books. When Pepys died on May 26, 1703, his
library, including his Diary,
was bequeathed to his nephew John Jackson, and subsequently to Magdalen
College—under the condition that the contents
would never be altered. Samuel Pepys was laid to rest in St. Olave’s
Church, Hart Street. The Diary was first partially
deciphered in 1819, and published in
- Barber, Richard. Samuel Pepys Esquire.
London: George Bell & Sons/National
Portrait Gallery, 1970.
- Coote, Stephen. Samuel Pepys : A Life.
Hodder & Stoughton, 2000.
- Emden, Cecil
London, New York: Oxford University Press,
- Heath, Helen Truesdell, ed. The letters of Samuel Pepys and
his family circle.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955.
- Howarth, R.G. , ed. Letters
and the Second Diary of Samuel Pepys.
London: J. M. Dent, 1932.
- Hunt, Percival. Samuel Pepys in the Diary.
Pittsburgh: University of
Pittsburgh Press, 1958.
- Latham, Robert & William Matthews, eds. The Diary of Samuel Pepys,
London: George Bell
& Sons, 1970-1983.
- Mendelsohn, Oscar A. Drinking With Pepys.
& Co, 1963.
- Nicolson, Marjorie Hope. Pepys' Diary and the New Science.
Press of Virginia, 1965.
- Tanner, J. R.
Mr. Pepys; An
Introduction to the Diary Together with a Sketch of his Later Life.
New York: Harcourt
- Tanner, J. R., ed. Private Correspondence And
Miscellaneous Papers Of Samuel Pepys 1679-1703. 2 vols.
G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1926.
- Taylor, Ivan E. Samuel Pepys. Updated ed.
Twayne Publishers, c1989.
- Tomalin, Claire. Samuel Pepys : The Unequalled Self.
York: Alfred A. Knopf : Distr. by Random House, 2002.
Jokinen, Anniina. "Life of Samuel Pepys." Luminarium.
October 2003. [Date when you accessed the page].
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