The National Archives
Secrets and Spies
Send and receive messages using this original French cipher, which we have adapted for English.
This is called the 'Pigpen' Cipher and has been used to send secret messages by a number of groups, including Napoleon's spies. (Find out more in our
Codes & Ciphers
Here are some real messages from spies and spy-related sayings from times past. Select a message, encrypt it and e-mail it to a friend.
-- Pick a message --
Silence is of the Gods... only monkeys chatter
A short report in time is worth an encyclopaedia out of date.
As with a man, so with a woman. There is no room for chivalry in modern espionage.
Never promise, never bargain. The man's neck is in your grasp. Never forget it; never let him forget it.
Do you want a shipment of chocolate? My pyjamas are blue
Aux chevaux maigres vont les mouches
Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.
There are no secrets better kept than the secrets that everybody guesses.
Those who know the enemy as well as they know themselves will never suffer defeat.