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Paragraph on “Which famous people have written books in cipher?” complete paragraph for Class 9, Class 10, Class 11 and Class 12

Which famous people have written books in cipher?

Many famous people have tried to keep their work secret by means of ciphers. One of them was Leonardo da Vinci, whose notebooks contained details in cipher of his revolutionary ideas.

Writing and drawing about such advanced mechanics as flying machines and armoured fighting vehicles in the fifteenth century, Leonardo’s sanity could well have been questioned- he may even have been accused of witchcraft ! Hence his need for secrecy. He wrote his notes in a form of Greek and in ‘mirror’ writing, requiring his work to be held in front of a looking- glass to be read, before being deciphered.

A friend of Napoleon Bonaparte, General Henri-Gatien Bertrand, kept a secret diary of the French Emperor’s life during their imprisonment together on the island of St Helena. General Bertrand wrote a peculiar form of abbreviated French which was, in fact, a cipher, later transcribed into ordinary French by a special interpreter.

The well-known English diarist, Samuel Pepys, wrote during the years 1660-1669, his whole diary of more than 3,000 pages, in the form of a shorthand cipher. Pepys intended his diary to be secret, and never had any plans of it being published. However about i so years after his death, a book collector, Thomas Grenville, began to decipher it and it was subsequently published. A Cambridge University scholar, John Smith, worked out the details of the cipher, in which he discovered that the letters were simplified outlines, substituted for the ordinary ones. Pepys had based his system on one invented by Thomas Shelton in the seventeenth century.

The diaries proved to be extraordinarily interesting because of the vivid picture they gave of the life of the times. Through his writings it became clear that Pepys was a loveable character, who had a sensitive awareness of every level of society. This was probably because he had lived at almost every level of society. He began his life as a poor boy, the son of a tailor, and through diligence and fortunate patronage, went on to become secretary to the Admiralty. He was presented at Court and his descriptions of life at Court and of the administration of the navy, make fascinating reading.


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