350 years old: A unique piece of London's history
"Great fear of the sickness here in the City, it is being said that two or three houses are already shut up. God preserve us all."
As I read this, 347 years after the event, it chills me to the bone.
As spring moved into summer, the writer would witness more and more devastation, as the plague took hold throughout London, killing 100,000 people, 20% of its inhabitants.
The fear is palpable in his writing.
Yet as the plague subsided, a new horror befell the City.
"I cannot sleep a-night without great terrors of fire", he wrote the following year.
He is among the most important Britons who ever lived.
An unheralded government official during his lifetime, it was only after his death, when his diaries were discovered, that he gained the fame he deserved.
His first-hand accounts of the Plague of 1665, and Great Fire of London in 1666...
...His descriptions of Charles II's coronation in 1661 and the great men of the day, Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Christopher Wren - all drag Restoration London into the present day.
I come across people who have no interest in the past. No feel for history. People who fail to see that what happened in the 1660s has shaped the world we live in today.
Either you get it or you don't.
And if you do, you'll understand why I get a surge of adrenalin when I hold this document in my hand.
Why it gives me so much pleasure to look at. And why I'm loathe to part with it.
Because it bears the signature of the very man who witnessed and wrote about one of London's most turbulent periods of history.
A man, whose work we will still be reading centuries from now.
I speak, of course, about Samuel Pepys.
If, like me, you're awed by history, and treasure rare artefacts from the past's greatest figures, you'll need to see this document.
And there's more.
Because this incredible letter also bears the signature of the father of one of America's pioneers, William Penn - the founder of Pennsylvania.
Each of these signatures is a treasure in its own right, together they make for a truly incredible document.
Don't miss out.
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|All the best,|
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