Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, First Edition from 1825, with an Original Document from King James II

{Ed. Note: Pictures of this edition were taken at Book Gallery, in Phoenix. Last I checked, they still have this copy with the King James II original document.}

Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) produced what is considered one of the greatest memoirs ever written. His diaries cover only nine years, 1660 to 1669, but an eventful nine years they were! The Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War and the Great Fire of London were the dominating events of the decade and Pepys lived through and documented all of them. Pepys also provides much more than a glimpse of his personal life, discussing his pursuit of women, his interactions with friends and his relationship with his wife.

Pepys was Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and subsequently King James II.  Pepys enjoyed wine, books, music, the theatre, and science, in addition to being a lifelong bibliophile, having more than 3,000 volumes in his library.

The diary was written in a private cipher and remained unreadable for more than a hundred and fifty years. The Reverend John Smith transcribed the diaries into plain English, taking him three years to do so (1819-1822). Unfortunately for Smith, he was unaware that a key to the cipher was stored in Pepys’s library just a few feet away from the diary itself! It is Smith’s transcription that provided the basis for the first published edition of the diary, which is shown below. It was edited by Lord Braybrooke, and released in two volumes in 1825.

What makes the copy of the first edition shown below unique is the inclusion of an original document from King James II, three pictures of which are included below.

Pictures

Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Spines
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Covers
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Cover Macro Detail
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Side View
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, End Papers
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, 1st Edition
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Original Document from King James II (page 1)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Original Document from King James II (page 2)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Original Document from King James II (page 2 close-up)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Half Title Page (Vol. 1)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Title Page (Vol. 1)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Frontispiece (Vol. 1)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, List of Plates (Vol. 1)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Pepys Family Tree (part 1)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Pepys Family Tree (part 2)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Handwriting of Pepys
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Text #1
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Illustration #3
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Illustration #4
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Text #2
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Illustration #5
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Text #3
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Illustration #6 with Text
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Text #4
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Half Title (Vol. 2)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Frontispiece (Vol. 2)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Title Page (Vol. 2)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Text #5
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Text #6
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Illustration #7 (map)
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Illustration #8 with Text
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Illustration #9
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Text #7
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Illustration #1
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, 1825 Henry Colburn, Sample Text #8 (appendix)

One thought on “Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, First Edition from 1825, with an Original Document from King James II

Leave a Reply