And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

2 August

William Lambarde,

‘I bound Nevil Reeve of Aylesford, gentleman, 200 li., with Henry Warcop of the same, gentleman, 100 li., and Richard Reeve of Maidstone, innholder, 100 li., that Nevil shall appear at the next general gaol delivery, etc., and in the meantime be of good port and behavior. It was for the hurting of Thomas Reynes of Burham, yeoman, with a stone, to the peril of death, as it is said, etc. Released by Reynes.’

Virtuous William Lambarde


John Stevens,

‘Most of our horse and dragoons, some on the one side of the river some on the other, marched towards Athlone. This day also the French forces departed for Galway to the great satisfaction not only of the inhabitants, but of all the garrison that remained in town. They remained some time at Galway till ships came to carry them into France, thinking it impossible Limerick should hold out a siege, offering to lay wagers it would be taken in three days. Immediately upon their departure His Grace the Duke of Tyrconnel ordered it to be proclaimed that no person should presume to ask above thirty shillings for a pistole, thirty-eight shillings for a guinea and seven and sixpence for a crown in silver, pistoles before being sold for five pounds in brass and silver crowns for thirty or forty shillings. Nay this day the French marched out some of them gave a crown for each silver three-halfpenny piece.’

The sieges of Limerick


Thomas Gyll,

‘My sister, Hartley, died about 11 in the forenoon after a long confinement in bed, with as little struggle as possible, in the 82nd year of her age, and was buried privately as she desired, and was accordingly interred at Middleton.’

Who died the last week


Caroline Herschel,

‘To-day I calculated 150 nebulae. I fear it will not be clear to-night. It has been raining throughout the whole day, but seems now to clear up a little.

1 o’clock. The object of last night is a comet.’

I swept from ten till one


David Douglas,

‘The ship this morning was all in an uproar, in consequence of a horse, which one of the passengers had, being looked on as dying; it cost him £200 in England, and after troubled passage the poor man lost his horse. At 12 o’clock saw light at Sandy Hook.’

Plant hunting in America


William Gladstone,

‘Worked German several hours. Read half of the Bride of Lammermoor, L’Allemagne. Rode. House.’

An account book of time


Lewis Carroll,

‘Finally decided on the re-print of Alice, and that the first 2000 shall be sold as waste paper. Wrote about it to Macmillan, Combe and Tenniel. The total cost will be: drawing pictures 138; cutting pictures 142; printing (by Clay) 240; binding & advertising (say) 89 = 600, i.e. 6/- a copy on the 2000. If I make £500 by sale, this will be a loss of £100, and the loss on the first 2000 will probably be £100 leaving me £200 out of pocket.

But if a second 2000 could be sold it would cost £300, and bring in £500, thus squaring accounts: and any further sale would be a gain: but that I can hardly hope for.’

Dodgson in wonderland


Gerard Manley Hopkins,

‘Dull and cold; before sunset the west opened in yellow from the earth-line upwards, with a sharp edge to the blanket of clouds; then bright sunlight scattered on the trees.’

Sunset of rosy juices


Kido Takayoshi,

‘Fair. Today I had an appointment for a meeting at Ōkuma’s villa at Mukō-Ryōgoku; and, as Gotō was scheduled for the same meeting, we took a boat there together after 11. Ōki and Yamaguchi were already on hand; and Tanaka Kuninosuke, Nomura Motosuke, and Tanaka Rcntarō arrived later. We left at lamplighting time, Nomura and I going to the Ikkoku Bridge, and then home by bamboo palanquin from the Okamuraya. The time by then was 9 o’clock.

This evening I observed a procession of several hundred people carrying paper lanterns; and, when I asked the reason, I was told that it was in response to a rumor that the geisha houses which had burned the other day would be rebuilt. These people have been worshipping at the Shrine to the War Dead for the last two or three days to offer prayers that such an order not be issued. What an absurd thing to do!’

An absurd thing to do


Ernest Mason Satow,

‘Capt. W.F. O’Connor, the trade agent at Gyantse [Tibet], called by appointment. He wanted me to tell him about the Dalai Lama being allowed to return to Lhasa with an escort of Russian Buriats, and the payment of the Tibetan indemnity by China, both of which he considered were valuable cards in the Chinese game. I replied that these were topics on which the India Office could inform him if they wished to, and that as he did not come to me accredited by his own official superiors, I did not consider myself authorized to say anything. He lamented the refusal of H.M.G. to allow an agent to be stationed at Lhasa, and thought we had sacrificed 3000 men for nothing. I disagreed with him, and told him that when the adhesion agreement was published he would see how good our position is. As to the suzerainty question, as it had been omitted from the adhesion agreement, the argument might be used that it did not exist, as was argued by the Boers in relation to the South African Convention of 1884. We could not always expect to get our own ideas adopted by our official superiors, and I had often experienced that myself. He is a tall, thin, sandy haired youngish man of say 30 or 35, very opiniative and given to argufying; was evidently much dissatisfied that I did not at once tell him all I knew and sympathize with his ideas.

To lunch with Sam [Satow]; he has an old attendant who was apprenticed many years ago to old Frederick Toulmin’s dispenser, and knew all the Upper Clapton families of 50 years ago: they kept their carriages and considered themselves aristocratic!

Dropped into St. Paul’s [Cathedral] to have a glance at the decorations. St. George’s Chapel for the order of St. Michael & George did not impress me much, and the banners of the Knights look too new, as they cannot help doing. It seems a useless expense.

Left a card for Sir Edward Seymour at Queen Anne’s mansions, and went down to Chislehurst to dine with Arthur & Agneta [Allen]. A violent thunderstorm broke out just before I left.’

Audience with the King


Charles de Foucauld,

‘A young negro who knows Ghardaia, the Fathers and Sisters, told me a few days ago: “When the Sisters come here I shall put my wife with them, so that she may learn to weave, and I shall ask to be their gardener.” . . . The time is near when the Sisters will be received by the natives with great gratitude, above all by the settled cultivators. . . . Will God arrange things in such a way as to bring the White Fathers and the White Sisters here?’

From playboy to ascetic


Obafemi Awolowo,

‘On this triumphant occasion I believe that the following decision of mine is irrevocable under all and any circumstances, namely: That I hereby solemnly and resolutely dedicate the rest of my life, even second of it, to the service of the peoples of Nigeria in particular, and of Africa in general, by promoting their welfare and happiness. So be it-Amen.’

Best president Nigeria never had


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And so made significant . . .
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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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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, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.