And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

1 April

1582
William Lambarde,
antiquarian

‘My father-in-law and I bound John Swan of Wrotham to the good behavior, to be kept till Easter 1584, in 20 li., for whom William Lever and Henry Lever of Wrotham, yeomen, did understake, in 10 li. every of them.’

Virtuous William Lambarde

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1633
John Rous,
priest

‘Being Easter day. Doctor Buttes, vice-chancellor of Cambridge, and maister of Bennet Colledge, did hang himselfe. The King and Queene were at Cambridge but a while before; something gave occasion.’

Newes from Cambridge

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1815
Neil Campbell,
soldier

[Last entry in published diary.] ‘9 A.M. Landed at Deal, and at 9 P.M. arrived in London. Next day had interviews with Lord Castlereagh, and with H. R. H. the Prince Regent at Carlton House.’

It is worth noting that in the biographical memoir section of the book, there is mention of another journal kept by Campbell during his journey to the Windward and Leeward Islands in 1808. Here is what the memoir says about that journal, including an extract from it (although I can find no further information about this journal anywhere else).

‘A Journal kept by him during the voyage, and illustrated by plans and drawings, relates the usual incidents on board a troopship of that period, sailing from Woolwich to Barbadoes, and passing by Porto Santo, Madeira, and Teneriffe. The ‘Creole’ mounted twelve six-pounders and two nine-pounders; had a crew of twenty-four men, including master and mate; and carried, besides Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell and his servant, a detachment of Artillery, consisting of five officers and forty-six men. At the Downs she joined company with 150 sail, many of them transports destined for Spain; but soon after, weighing anchor from thence, the convoy was caught by a tremendous gale, which effectually dispersed it, and blew over several of the vessels - the ‘Creole’ among them - to the French coast near Boulogne, though with no ultimate loss. On November 2nd, off Lymington, a detachment of Foreign Artillery, consisting of one sergeant and twenty-sis men, was taken in.

On the 4th the ‘Creole’ passed through a fleet of light transports beating up Channel. ‘These are probably,’ Colonel Campbell notes, ‘the ships returning from France, after landing the French troops agreeably to the Convention of Cintra.’ ‘On the 18th, the day being a dead calm, the boat was lowered to pursue a turtle, which was spied 800 yards from the ship. Two hands rowed, I took the helm, and the master sat in the bow of the boat ready to seize him. As he seemed to be asleep upon the surface of the water, we approached him with as little noise as possible. When the boat almost touched him, the mate suddenly grasped him by one of his fore-fins, and tossed him into the boat. The exploit being witnessed from the ship, we were welcomed by a loud cheer in exultation of our success. The appearance of the ship with all its sails set, indolently bending from one side to another, her deck and sides crowded with men, the sea clear and smooth as glass, and the delightful warmth of the day, were truly beautiful and cheering to our spirits. There was no small anxiety to view the prize - sailors and soldiers, women and children, all crowding about us to satisfy their curiosity. The turtle was laid on his back upon the deck, to the joy of every one. In course of the evening we made three attempts after other turtle, but none of them succeeded. They were not asleep, and, when we approached within a few yards, lifted up their heads, surveyed us, and disappeared.’

Of Napoleon, and a turtle

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1836
Syms Covington,
servant and secretary

‘Anchored in the Basin, Keeling or Cocos Islands April 1st, after having a heavy breeze the last two or three days of our passage. The Islands ARE all very low; the beaches appear to be the highest. AND the highest I should suppose not more than twelve to fifteen feet high; all coral, about forty in number, the largest not more than ten miles long. The islands are complete forests of cocoa nut trees; if not for THE trees, the land would be seen FROM but a very short distance. ONE can wade from one island to another when the tide is low, to nearly all except THE entrance to THE Basin, which Basin is formed by the islands being as placed to form a circle. The Basin IS about twelve miles across. ONE cannot go far in with A ship; we anchored in seven or eight fathom OF water; coral bottom with white sand, the water always being clear. Beautiful branches of coral can be seen from the ship’s side, the fish constantly passing and repassing amongst the coral, has a most beautiful effect, etc.

An Englishman and HIS family, with about sixty or seventy Mulattos from the Cape of Good Hope, live on one of the islands. Captain Ross, the governor, is now absent at the Cape. Plenty of poultry (A Chinese breed) and turtles, the latter of which the ship was supplied during our stay: two per day, each about A hundred fifty pounds IN weight. Also hogs, sugar cane and bananas (the latter I never saw); tobacco, planted here, produces well. I believe the coffee plant was also tried but never saw it. THERE ARE two sorts of indigenous fruit AND plenty OF watermelon, ALSO maiz. The water is very brackish and for which one is obliged to dig wells; THE WATER LEVEL rises and falls with the tide although IT IS some distance from THE beach, and THEY WERE obliged to dig until they came to a number OF stones, under which springs the water.

A lake (lagoon) IS on the largest island. In the small lagoons or pools on reefs are immense numbers of small fish of different species, and of the most brilliant colours and shapes I ever saw or fancy could paint. Here are great numbers A green fish, THE coral eater. Here also are land crabs, very curious and very strong in claws. THEY are eaten by the inhabitants. Here, I should suppose is one of the largest shells in the world, sort of clam shell, WHICH would take a very strong man to lift one with the animal in. The largest is about nine feet long. Different sorts OF SHELL AS WELL, leopard shells, etc. Great quantities of bêche-de-mer, WHICH is like A large, black English slug only about ten times the size, are dried here for the Indies.

Only one genus of land bird here, viz. the land rail, indigenous to THESE islands. A great many sea birds and very tame, as to let you come close to the them or within a yard or two. THEY build their nests on the trees close to beach. On this Island were great numbers of the land rail, about several houses. The Java sparrow WAS brought here.

The Keeling Islands

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1841
Elizabeth Smith,
writer

‘Mr. Murray is to be buried to-morrow, there is no idea who will be the new agent, Lord Downshire not being a man of any attachments except to his purse. Tom Murray heard he meant merely to keep a common bailiff here at an inferiour salary. Ogle Moore has written to ask for the house. Will it be given? Will Mrs. Moore like coming in to play parson’s wife in the village so many miles farther from the gaieties of Dublin and nearer to clerical duties.’

A Highland diarist in Ireland

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1891
Robert Earl Henri,
artist

‘[In Paris] I think I am nearer right than ever before . . . It is a matter of color. Bouguereau is not a colorist either in combining color or reproducing it. His color is harmonious and in some cases very fine but he is never a colorist and as for reproduction of color, he never does that. It is always the same waxy, angel like color - just a little insipid - so from this I am not inclined to put the same confidence in his criticisms on color as in other branches.’

Make the draperies move

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1918
Michael Macdonagh,
journalist

‘Easter Monday. “No flowers, by request.” This is the Order of the Day for Easter. It means, in the first place, that the very domesticated, stay-at-home Londoner, of whom there are hundreds of thousands, instead of devoting the holiday to planting bulbs in his back garden, as is traditional with him at Easter, should plant tubers; or, better still, extend his sphere of vegetable-growing by taking a plot or allotment in the nearest open space. An example has been set by the King. His Majesty has directed that the flower-beds surrounding the Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace are not to present this year the customary blaze of scarlet geraniums, but what is more appropriate, in the national situation, the sight of potatoes, cabbages, parsnips and carrots all a-blooming.

There is extensive vegetable-growing also in the Royal Parks. In Kew Gardens, for instance, two hundred acres have been set aside for the purpose. [. . .] My heart filled with satisfaction on visiting the Commons in my own neighbourhood, Clapham, Tooting and Wandsworth, and also Battersea Park - all under the London County Council - where I saw hundreds of men and women cheerfully and healthily employed on their plots, making the potato and the cabbage grow where only the grass grew before in London’s open spaces.’

The drama of London in WWI

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1969
Mohammed Ayub Khan,
soldier and politician

‘Mr Suleri has written a penetrating article on the root causes of political maladies in Pakistan. I entirely agree with his diagnoses, but I don’t agree that the remedy suggested will draw much attention and bind people together. Islam, as propounded by the theologians, has ceased to be a living philosophy. It does not offer socio-economic satisfaction in an institutionalised form. Besides, the pull of parochialism and Bengali nationalism is so great that any remedy for constitution that does not take these actors into consideration is bound to fail.

I can claim this much credit that I succeeded in keeping the country together for the last ten years and made them do constructive thinking. That is no mean achievement. And if they had gone on like this for another ten years or so the country would have reached the takeoff stage and the people would have entered the scientific and technological spirit of the twentieth century. However, they decided to do otherwise, reject my system and run away from the path of progress and self-control. The result is that even the existence of the country is now in jeopardy. I hope and pray that God saves them from extracting due price for their folly.

Started for Swat where I intend staying with Naseem and Aurangzeb [daughter and son-in-law] some time before my house in Islamabad is ready for occupation. I hope to be able to rest, do some reading and have the opportunity of playing with my grandchildren. In any case Swat is a heavenly place to stay in and especially during the spring when the blossoms are out. Before leaving I met all the members of the household staff, thanked them for the service they have rendered me and assured them that my successor will take care of them. Most of them were in tears. It was inevitable. They had spent ten happy years with me and especially my wife took special care of them.

Reached Saidu Sharif midday, had lunch with the Wali, rested in the afternoon and went out for a walk. The Wali too had a spate of troubles starting with the students leading to defiance by some people whom he had nursed for so long. But it is all quiet now and people are coming to him in hoards owing allegiance. But the writing on the wall is clear. Personal rule is no longer fashionable in these times of individuals and agitations. He will be wise in making necessary changes and shedding power gradually before opposition mounts up.’

Diaries of a Pakistan leader

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1980
Andy Warhol,
artist

‘Up at 10:00, interview with Expresso again. Lucio picked us up and took us to the gallery because we had a press conference with 400 people. Joseph Beuys loves the press now because he’s running for president of Germany under the Free Sky Party and with me he can get more coverage - no, it’s the Green Party, that’s it. Then São Schlumberger arrived and we invited her to lunch at this waterfront place. Then we were picked up for the opening and there were at least 3,000 or 4,000 people there, you couldn’t get in, it was horrible, and finally we slipped away, they were giving us a party at a place called something like City Hall, a drag nightclub. Finally after three hours of waiting, this drag queen with hair on his chest came in and I was talking so she told me to shut up, she did a couple of numbers and then all of a sudden pushed me aside and stormed out and we didn’t understand what had happened, but somebody said she was too emotional because she was singing for me, she gets that way. But it was too boring. Fred got insulted because the TV lights were shining on us too long, and told Lucio off, that it was the most ridiculous evening, and that Lucio had wasted our time because that kind of evening wouldn’t sell pictures, and that he was just using us to get into show business. We didn’t get into bed till about 4:00.’

The Andy Warhol Diaries

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1987
Roy Strong,
historian

‘The opening of the Clore Gallery. The rain fell as though Noah and his ark were due. Julia and I went to two of the openings, the first of which, very select, was in the afternoon with about a hundred and fifty and the Queen to open it. Her Majesty was dressed as usual to be seen, in red with a red boater with a feather askew to one side. She wore glasses the whole time, which may have brought her a sense of relief because she was able to see everything and everybody, although vanity is not part of her make-up. [. . .]

The evening opening took the form of a reception at 8.30 p.m., a time which normally signals sustenance, but on enquiring practically everyone established that it only meant nibbles. We were bidden in black tie none the less. Nancy Perth, on to the same ploy, rang and asked us to dinner before, so we went. I love her dearly and in spite of the fact that the dinner turned out to be tinned soup and a plate of prosciutto with a roll, there was a bottle of 1953 vintage champagne to compensate. [. . .]

Compared with twenty years ago I was struck by how few people looked extraordinary. Fashion now is so unimaginative. There was certainly an explosion of shoulders, the wider for women the better, and a great amount of beadwork and glitter in the art deco vein. Men are very dull these days. Timothy Clifford in a green velvet smoking-jacket with black frogging just looked a curiosity. The look otherwise is sharp and shiny with hair well gelled, shirt with a wing collar, and immaculate blacks, but no bizarre opulence compared with such a gathering ten or twenty years ago.’

Happy Birthday Roy

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In general, these diary extracts are quoted as given in the published (book or online) source referred to in the reference articles. Each extract may be all, a large part of, or a small part of the complete entry for that day. I have tried to indicate where text has been removed from within a quote by the use of trailing dots in square bracket.

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