And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

13 April

1718
John Thomlinson,
priest

‘Mr Werg reported to have offered to lay with two or three men’s wifes in Alnwick - one was the day before sacrament - she asked him how he durst, when he knew he was the next day to administer sacrament and she to receive it - he replyed love was a noble passion, and God would indulge it. This sent up to London, and they say he is stopt of the living.’

In search of a rich wife

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1805
Meriwether Lewis,
soldier and explorer

‘This lake and it’s discharge we call goos Egg from the circumstance of Capt Clark shooting a goose while on her nest in the top of a lofty cotton wood tree, from which we afterwards took one egg. the wild gees frequently build their nests in this manner, at least we have already found several in trees, nor have we as yet seen any on the ground, or sand bars where I had supposed from previous information that they most commonly deposited their eggs.-

saw some Buffaloe and Elk at a distance today but killed none of them. we found a number of carcases of the Buffaloe lying along shore, which had been drowned by falling through the ice in winter and lodged on shore by the high water when the river broke up about the first of this month.

we saw also many tracks of the white bear of enormous size, along the river shore and about the carcases of the Buffaloe, on which I presume they feed. we have not as yet seen one of these anamals, tho’ their tracks are so abundant and recent. the men as well as ourselves are anxious to meet with some of these bear. the Indians give a very formidable account of the strengh and ferocity of this anamal, which they never dare to attack but in parties of six eight or ten persons; and are even then frequently defeated with the loss of one or more of their party. the savages attack this anamal with their bows and arrows and the indifferent guns with which the traders furnish them, with these they shoot with such uncertainty and at so short a distance, [NB: unless shot thro’ head or heart wound not mortal] that they frequently mis their aim & fall a sacrefice to the bear. two Minetaries were killed during the last winter in an attack on a white bear. this anamall is said more frequently to attack a man on meeting with him, than to flee from him. When the Indians are about to go in quest of the white bear, previous to their departure, they paint themselves and perform all those supersticious rights commonly observed when they are about to make war uppon a neighbouring nation.

Oserved more bald eagles on this part of the Missouri than we have previously seen. saw the small hawk, frequently called the sparrow hawk, which is common to most parts of the U States. great quantities of gees are seen feeding in the praries. saw a large flock of white brant or gees with black wings pass up the river; there were a number of gray brant with them; from their flight I presume they proceed much further still to the N. W.- we have never been enabled yet to shoot one of these birds, and cannot therefore determine whether the gray brant found with the white are their brude of the last year or whether they are the same with the grey brant common to the Mississippi and lower part of the Missouri.-

we killed 2 Antelopes today which we found swiming from the S. to the N. side of the river; they were very poor.-

We encamped this evening on the Stard. shore in a beautifull plain. elivated about 30 feet above the river.’

White bear, drunk Indians

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1926
Joseph Goebbels,
politician

‘. . . I learned that Hitler had phoned. He wanted to welcome us, and in fifteen minutes he was there. Tall, healthy and vigorous. I like him. He puts us to shame with his kindness. We met. We asked questions. He gave brilliant replies. I love him. . . I can accept this firebrand as my leader. I bow to his superiority, I acknowledge his political genius!’

We can conquer the world

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1943
Joseph Goebbels,
politician

‘There were some very serious clashes between Sauckel on the one side and Speer and Milch on the other. The meeting was not particularly harmonious. Sauckel had prepared for this meeting whereas Speer and Milch came totally unprepared. They had depended completely on my familiarity with the situation and on my professional knowledge, which, alas, was not available to them. As a result Sauckel had somewhat of an advantage and won the race by default.’

The Nuremberg ten

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1973
Cecil Beaton,
photographer

‘The day was not without its setbacks. Whether or not it was out of malice a commentator, after a radio interview, gave me a review of my book by - of all people - Auberon Waugh, the son of my old arch enemy. He seems to have inherited the spleen of his father. A devastating attack aimed to reduce me to a shred. It hurt. Then a horrid little woman journalist, referring to it, said, ‘You’re supposed to be a marvellous person, but they say your book is awful’ and she handed me Waugh’s review. [. . .] I do feel terribly guilty about exposing Garbo to public glare. Even though those things happened thirty years ago, my conscience has been pricking me terribly. Yet I know that if I had the option of not publishing it, I would still go ahead - and suffer. I only trust Greta can rise above it in the way she did about Mercedes’s book.’

As beautiful as her legend

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1977
Leonid Brezhnev,
politician

‘Morning usual domestic chores. They took blood from a vein From 11 o’clock conversation with Daoud Question of one-to-one meeting dropped Had good rest - (lunch) Worked with Doroshina.’

To every historian’s despair

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2001
Harold Frederick Shipman,
doctor

‘If I was dead they’d stop being in limbo and get on with their life perhaps. I’ll think a bit more about it. I’m desperate, no one to talk about it to who I can trust. Everyone will talk to the PO’s [prison officers] then I’ll be watched 24hrs a day and I don’t want that.’

I’m looking at dying

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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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