Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bright, Mynors

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397292Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 06 — Bright, Mynors1886Jennett Humphreys

BRIGHT, MYNORS (1818–1883), decipherer of Pepys, born in 1818, was the son of John Bright (the subject of the previous article), and of Eliza his wife (College Books). He was educated at Shrewsbury, and entered Magdalene College, Cambridge, on 3 July 1835. He was a senior optime in mathematics, and took a second-class in classics. He proceeded B.A. in 1840, and M.A. in 1843. He became foundation-fellow, tutor, and eventually president of Magdalene, and was chosen proctor in 1853. The Pepysian library being at Magdalene, Bright resolved to re-decipher the whole of Pepys's 'Diary,' and to this end he learnt the cipher from Shelton's 'Tachygraphy.' In 1873 he retired from Magdalene, and left Cambridge for London. His 'Pepys' was printed between 1875 and 1879, and was published simultaneously in 4to and 8vo, 6 vols. each. The edition includes engravings of Faithorne's 'Map of London,' 1658, and Evelyn's 'Posture of the Dutch Fleet,' 1667. It corrects numerous errors occurring in the original decipherment, and inserts many passages hitherto suppressed. [A complete reissue of Bright's transcript was edited by H. B. Wheatley in 10 vols. in 1893-1899.]

Bright became paralysed about 1880, and died on 23 Feb. 1883, aged 65. He never married. Part of his interest in his 'Pepys' he bequeathed to Magdalene College. His portrait was painted by F. Dickenson, and presented by his friends to his college.

[Magdalene College Books; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), iii. 635; Academy, No. 565, p. 151; Crockford's Clergy List, 1882; Athenæum, No. 2888, p. 280; Bright's Pepys's Diary, Preface, i. pp. vii, viii, ii. p. viii; private information.]

J. H.