Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
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Samuel Pepys (Commonly pronounced Pepes), secretary to the admiralty in this [James II] and the former reign, was descended from the ancient family of that name, seated at Impington near Cottenham in Cambridgeshire. He was, in the early part of his life, introduced into the service of the state by his kinsman the famous earl of Sandwich. It is well known that the naval history of Charles II. is the most shining part of the annals of his reign; and that the business of the navy was conducted with the utmost regularity and prudence, under Charles and James, by this worthy and judicious person. He first reduced the affairs of the admiralty to order and method; and that method was so just, as to have been a standing model to his successors in his important office. His "Memoirs" relating to the navy is a well written piece; and his copious collection of manuscripts, now remaining, with the rest of his library, at Magdalen College in Cambridge, is an invaluable treasure of naval knowledge. He was far from being a mere man of business; his conversation and address had been greatly refined by travel. He thoroughly understood and practised music; was a judge of painting, sculpture, and architecture; and had more than a superficial knowledge in history and philosophy. His fame among the virtuosi was such, that he was thought a very proper person to be placed at the head of the Royal Society, of which he was some time president. (He was elected president Dec. 1, 1684, and presided two years.) His prints have been already mentioned. His collection of English ballads, in five large folio volumes, begun by Mr. Selden, and carried down to the year 1700, is one of his singular curiosities; as is also the pedigree of Edward IV. from Adam. Ob. 26 May, 1703. See more of him in Evelyn's "Numismata," p. 291.---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1775.
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