Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
The text for this diary is taken from the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley. This is available copyright free from Project Gutenberg. The introductory texts of this edition can be found in the Diary Introduction section. This version of the diary is not quite complete -- occasional passages are missing -- but it is the most complete copyright-free version.
Pepys wrote the bulk of his diary in a shorthand devised by Thomas Shelton, with only a few words, such as names of people and places, written longhand; shorthand was more widely used by scholars in Pepys’ time than it is today. It should therefore be remembered that this is not Pepys’ diary as he wrote it, but a 19th century transcription which has in turn been used to create the electronic Project Gutenberg version.
Some footnotes are credited by an initial. “D.W.” is David Widger, who produced the electronic text for Project Gutenberg. I assume that “B” refers to Lord Braybrooke, who edited the earlier editions of the diary and that all unattributed notes are those by Henry B. Wheatley. Occasionally it has been necessary to add my notes within the text or existing footnotes to clarify a confusion; in these cases they are indicated by “P.G.”
In creating this website I have tried to minimise changes to the text as offered by Project Gutenberg. The only changes are:
Footnotes that are not specific to a particular day (eg, details of a person’s background or a description of a location) have been moved to the relevant topic in the Encyclopedia. Other footnotes appear with the relevant day’s entry as per the Project Gutenberg text.
Pepys’ original manuscript was arranged with the month written at the top of every page and numerals for dates (without suffixes) written in the left-hand margin. The 1893 edition introduced suffixes for numeric dates, eg, “22nd.” I have removed these suffixes and complete dates accompany every entry; Pepys’ format not being suitable for presentation on the Web. After some discussion I have also added the day of the week to the date, so as to give the diary entries more context. Occasionally Pepys himself notes the day of the week, and on those occasions I also include it in the entry text.
The 1893 edition of the diary apparently converted the symbol for “pound” from l. or li. to the modern £. The Project Gutenberg version has then converted this into an “L”. Rather than converting back into the incorrect £ I have reverted to the perhaps more authentic l. following the numeral. ie, 60l. rather than £60 or L60.
The Project Gutenberg text, and possibly the 1893 edition it's based on, rarely includes paragraph breaks within diary entries. While I kept this formatting for the first run-through of the diary (2003-2012) I am now adding paragraph breaks as we work through the diary. These are taken from the Latham and Matthews 1970s-80s edition of the diary, which is that of the original handwritten text.
I have occasionally made corrections to the text where errors appear due to computer error when making the digital Project Gutenberg text. The original 1893 text contains many errors of its own but I have avoided correcting these; they are usually pointed out by readers in the annotations accompanying a diary entry.
The diary entries, their footnotes, the text in the Diary Introduction section, and the text from 1893 in some Encyclopedia topics are taken from the Project Gutenberg version of Pepys’ diary and as such are free of copyright restrictions.
All annotations and comments added by users across the site are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless specified otherwise. Any material posted in the annotations by users that is quoted from elsewhere retains its original copyright status.
The first volume of the Latham and Matthews edition of Pepys’ diaries (Amazon US, UK) contains a lengthy editorial on previous publications. Following is a summary to give some context to the 1893 version presented on this site, and unattributed quotes are taken from this volume (pp. lxxvii-xcvi).
The first publication of any of Pepys’ diary was by Richard Neville (later Lord Braybrooke) and Henry Colburn in 1825, in a two volume edition that also contained many of Pepys’ letters. Braybrooke used a transcription of Pepys’ shorthand finished in 1822 by a Cambridge graduate, John Smith, although Braybrooke condensed the text enormously, omitting three-quarters of it. It was “a travesty of the original” made worse by it being unclear exactly what changes had been made. Braybrooke also added some footnotes although these “were few, brief, and not always correct.” The edition was reprinted in 1828.
A third edition was published in 1848-9, with Braybrooke admitting in his Preface he had perhaps “used the pruning-knife with too much freedom.” He restored parts that were previously omitted entirely but did not correct sections where he had greatly abbreviated the original and he still left out, according to the Preface, “such entries as were devoid of the slighest interest, and many others of so delicate a character, that no-one with a well-regulated mind will regret their loss.” This resulted in around 40 per cent of the diary being published, with some, but not all, mistakes being corrected.
Braybrooke produced a fourth edition in 1854 which was “revised and corrected” although it did not differ substantially from that of 1848-9.
In 1872 the Rev. Mynors Bright, a senior Fellow of Magdalene college, Cambridge, began work on a completely new transcription of Pepys’ shorthand, resulting in a new edition of the diary published in six volumes between 1875 and 1879. Around four-fifths of the text were included along with Braybrooke’s introductory biography of Pepys from 1828, his same footnotes and the same selection of letters.
The sixth edition was published in eight volumes between 1893 and 1896 with Henry Benjamin Wheatley, “an accomplished London antiquary and bibliophile” as editor. This time almost the entire text was printed, and most (but not all) omissions were indicated by a series of dots. While it was a substantial improvement on previous editions there was some Victorian censorship (eg, “‘pissed’ gave way to ‘dirtied’”) and some almost unexplainable changes. Wheatley added many footnotes on a wide range of topics from London topography to theatre and in 1899 published two extra volumes; an index and Pepysiana, a collection of further information about Pepys and the diary.
This 1893 edition is the one presented on this site, and was turned into electronic form by David Widger for Project Gutenberg. Widger has added occasional footnotes of his own, indicated by the credit “D.W.”
The seventh edition is that of Latham and Matthews in 1971, mentioned in Further Reading.
Many of the diary entry pages include extra 'On this day' information.
Many pages include links to the relevant days' events from the Records of Earls Colne website. Pepys has no direct connection to this village, which is about forty miles northeast of London, but the Honywood family, who sometimes lodged at the Pepys' house in Salisbury Court, were often mentioned in the diary of the village's vicar, Ralph Josselin. (From Latham and Matthews' Companion volume, under "Honywood".)
Some pages also include links to the parliamentary journals of the House of Lords and House of Commons. These provide information about the day's events, some of which Pepys mentions in the diary. These journals are only available for days when Parliament was in session.