And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

11 April

1689
John Evelyn,
writer

‘I saw the procession to and from the Abbey Church of Westminster, with the great feast in Westminster Hall, at the coronation of King William and Queen Mary [after the flight of James II]. [. . .] The Parliament men had scaffolds and places which took up the one whole side of the Hall. When the King and Queen had dined, the ceremony of the Champion, and other services by tenure were performed. The Parliament men were feasted in the Exchequer chamber, and had each of them a gold medal given them, worth five-and-forty shillings. [. . .]

Much of the splendor of the proceeding was abated by the absence of divers who should have contributed to it, there being but five Bishops, four Judges (no more being yet sworn), and several noblemen and great ladies wanting; the feast, however, was magnificent. The next day the House of Commons went and kissed their new Majesties’ hands in the Banqueting House.’

A most excellent person

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1689
John Reresby,
politician

‘The day of the coronation of King William and Queen Mary, performed with great splendour according to the usual ceremonies. The procession to the Abbey of Westminster was very regular, but not attended by so many of the nobility as when the two last kings were crowned. The House of Commons were taken great care of in this solemnity, had a side of Westminster Hall prepared for them to see it, another place in the Abbey to see their Majesties crowned, and several tables prepared and covered with all sorts of meat, where they dined by themselves. Only some friends were admitted amongst them, and I amongst others, which gave me a good opportunity to see and observe all. The Bishop of London crowned the King and Queen, assisted by the Bishop of Salisbury (the late Doctor Burnet), who preached the coronation sermon, and by two others.’

The most barbarous murder

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1692
Samuel Sewall,
businessman

‘Went to Salem, where, in the Meeting-house, the persons accused of Witchcraft were examined; was a very great Assembly; ’twas awfull to see how the afflicted persons were agitated. Mr Noye pray’d at the beginning, and Mr Higginson conclude. [In the margin], Va, Va, Va, Witchcraft.’

Samuel Sewall in Salem

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1752
Ralph Jackson,
landowner

‘In the morning there was a great many Ships sending up, so I went upon the Key and my Master sent me to pay Mr White for putting an advertisement belonging to Sir Ra: Milbank and ask Thompson why he did not put it into his Paper, then I went down to Winkhamlee. In the afternoon I came home, got my dinner and my Mas’ gave me leave to go to the Shd Fd [both ds superscript] with Mrs & Miss Hudspeths to drink Tea at Nellys the Milk wife, came home and play’d at Shittle cock in the Trenity with Billy & Lewis Hick, came home and retired to bed a little after ten.’

Apprentice Hostman and squire

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1852
Polly Lavinia Crandall Coon,
teacher

‘After being delayed all day in getting all crossed over we at length reach Dubuque. We made a few purchases & excited not a little curiosity nor a few remarks from the good people of the city by our “Bloomer Dresses.” Left this town about 3 o’clock passing out some 2 miles through the deepest mud & worst roads I ever saw. Camped in a field & got about half enough poor hay for which the Man charges 30 cts per yoke. I record this as a demonstration of the depth of the heartlessness to which the human heart is capable of arriving.’

We hope for better times

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1907
Frederic Remington,
artist

‘We can no longer stand the altitudes. My heart nearly stopped when I took a bath this morning. We are overcome by altitude. Went down to Alamagordo - engineer pulled the air on us and nearly killed half dozen people in caboose by shock. I sketched bluffs at sunset and had terrible ride home across irrigating ditches.’

The Broncho Buster

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1935
Leon Trotsky,
politician

‘England is nothing but the last ward of the European madhouse, and quite possibly it will prove to be the ward for particularly violent cases.’

Trotsky’s indispensability

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1999
Piseth Pilika,
dancer and actor

‘Samdech Hun Sen called me one last time. He asked me not to see him again, and to deny that anything ever happened between us . . . I could not forget him, I remained prostrated for hours. . . wrote poems which came from the bottom of my soul, I cried every day, and my heart was filled with bitterness.’

High drama in Cambodia

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Notes and Cautions
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.

For any other use of these diary extracts other than browsing please refer to the original sources.

Any author, publisher or other copyright holder who takes the view that I am unacceptably breaching their copyright please let me know. I have tried to remain sensitive to copyright rules (using far fewer quotes, for example, when a book, by an author still alive, remains in print and popular), but it is not practical for me to seek authorisation for every quote and article, since I maintain these websites without any funding or advertis-ing. I take the view that publicity for the source books is a quid pro quo for my use of the extracts, but I am more than happy to remove the extracts if asked.

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The Diary Junction is one of those wonderful privately maintained public resources for which the Internet is justly celebrated: a database of information about celebrated and obscure diaries[over 500] from all historical periods, with referrals to the dates the diaries cover, where the originals are held and bibliographic information on published versions.’ Laura Miller, Salon

The Diary Review, hosted by Blogger, publishes magazine-style articles on diaries and diarists, usually several every week. The blog has been publishing for over five years, and is the secondary source for the diary extracts in this online anthology.