London, South Kensington
18 November 2003
[PEPYS, Samuel (1633-1703)]. Autograph letter signed to Pepys by Dr Thomas Smith, Dean Street, Soho, 7 September 1698, 'Having received the other day two copyes of an old AEgyptian curiosity, I thought, that it would not bee an unacceptable present to a Person of your great genius and comprehensive knowledge, and who is delighted with antiquities of all kinds, if I sent you one of them', discoursing at length on the nature of the hieroglyphs represented, comparing them to Chinese and Mexican writing systems, and speculating whether the system might not have been invented by the Egyptian priests as a 'meere artifice and designe, to desire a greater honour and veneration upon themselves', four pages, 4to, on a bifolium, docketed 'To Mr Pepys' on last page, later pencil annotations (remnant of mount).
Dr Thomas Smith was the nonjuring keeper of the Cottonian Library, and was a friend and correspondent of Pepys in his last years, when, after his withdrawal from public life, his attention was much occupied with antiquarian pursuits.
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