And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

30 August

Wilford Woodruff,

‘President Young then addressed the meeting and said that it was an Eternal Principle that before God would chose a man to rule any part of his kingdom, he must first learn to be ruled, and that the Lord was preparing a people for that purpose and fifty years would not pass away before many who are now present will each rule over many more than what I do this day.’

Oh how weak is man


William Grant Stairs,

‘Marched from 5:15 am until 10:15 am, when we arrived at Itura with my caravan dying of thirst and exhaustion. In the wells there was no more than a small ribbon of water. An Arab whose caravan preceded ours assured the natives along that route that we rob the natives. The result is that only with the greatest difficulty have I been able to buy any food. And to think how kind and courteous I have been to the Arabs.’

Marches without water


Apolinario Mabini,
lawyer and politician

‘I have been notified by the Captain about a letter from the Governor, saying that the latter had no authority to send us to Manila, without having taken our oath. He says he must transmit my wishes to the Commander General of the Philippine Division through the next ship and most likely, the response will be received here by the end of December. If the reply is favorable, we could embark in January. Be patient, this could be “a blessing in disguise” as the saying goes. It is worth knowing that a proclamation of the President of the United States, endorsed by the branch Secretary, cannot be interpreted nor implemented to the letter.’

Philippine’s first prime minister


Alfred Deakin,

‘I have this year for the first time realised age - the beginning of old age, enfeeblement, of withdrawal, of a spent force.’

I have been to the Commons


Bernard Leach,
potter and teacher

‘Question: What is the greater - the artist (Raphael) who appeals to all the multitude and the senses or the artist (Blake) who appeals only to the highest minds. What the devil has the ‘mot’ to do with art? What is the ratio between art and humanity? Is art any use? Is anything any use? To live happily one must take it for granted it is!’

Leach: Is art any use?


Mary Thorp,

‘I have had a disappointment. I had hoped to buy 2 middle sized blankets, to have them dyed violet, to make a warm winter coat, but the person who proposed to sell them, now wants to keep them for herself. Everybody is having blankets dyed, as there are no more stuffs for making clothes. At Antwerp the Boches (who are already taking the wool of the mattresses) have forbidden to have blankets dyed; in view of taking them themselves, & it is greatly feared that it will very soon [be] forbidden here. I am sadly in want of something warm for winter; three years ago one didn’t dream of providing for 1917, nor of the possibility of the war lasting so long.’

In want of a winter coat


Richard E. Byrd,

‘Iceberg rolled over somewhere in bay making a tidal wave that nearly drowned bay, a very dramatic incident.’

Flying over the Poles


Jean Cocteau,
artist and director

‘I woke up with a start in the night. It was raining. I suddenly realized a mistake I had made, which I must correct without anybody noticing it. If they did they would lose confidence in me. I am not a real director and probably never shall be. I get too interested in what is happening. I begin to watch it as though it were a play. I become a part of the audience and then I forget all about the continuity. I have forgotten the continuity of movement where Marcel André mounts his horse. So that we can still use that shot, I shall have to cut a bit of Nane Gernon at the window. She will have to say her lines again and then leave the window, so that Marcel in the next cut can make his movement. This means I shall finish up behind the horse when he mounts it and says ‘And you, Beauty, what shall I bring you?’

Beauty and the Beast


Jack Ward Thomas,
scientist and teacher

[Iin camp. Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, Oregon] ‘On the eve of my departure for the Eagle Caps, I was working late in my office clearing my desk and leaving instructions for work to be done in my absence. At 7:00 p.m. Pacific time (10:00 p.m. Eastern time), Undersecretary Jim Moseley called. I could tell from his voice, which was tired and dispirited, that the call was not good news. Moseley wanted me to hear the news from him and not from some newshound with the freshly leaked story.

The working group has recommended to Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Yeutter to go with the ISC report with an allowable cut of 3.0 billion board feet [bbf] for Forest Service lands in 1991, scaling down to 2.7 to 2.6 in subsequent years. Secretary Yeutter was in agreement. However, when they took it to the White House, something (Moseley doesn’t know what) went wrong. The president’s chief of staff, John Sununu, was in the Soviet Union giving advice on how to organize the Soviet premier’s office. So Sununu (who has been perceived as the big, bad “booger” who will eat everybody alive if they go with the ISC report) was not present. Interior Secretary Lujan was evidently the stumbling block, saying things like “no bunch of biologists are going to determine policy for the United States government.” That is understandable - he will look very bad if the ISC report is adopted now, after he let Jamison convince him that there was “new or better science” or “other experts” who had devised a “better way.” To adopt the ISC report now is to have to eat those words, and he simply doesn’t have the stomach for it.

It now looks as if the train wreck proponents have carried the day. The timber cut level being proposed is an annual cut of 3.7 to 4.2 bbf and you sacrifice the number of habitat conservation areas necessary to hold the cut level. They will ask Congress for “sufficiency language” to preclude the environmentalists from challenging the decision in the courts. That will, if Congress approves, have the effect of declaring that whatever is prescribed will, de facto, provide adequate protection to the spotted owl and that is that - problem solved.

I had listened quietly to this point and now I began to speak quietly and calmly though my chest was tight. I said that we would expect to see our committee in front of Congress within ten days and there was no way we could support that decision. At that point, we would have to follow the dictates of our profession, which would lead us into direct conflict with the administration. Truly, we must say in the manner of Martin Luther, “Heir stehe Ich. Ich kannicht auder.” ’

A bear bayed by dogs


Alastair Campbell,

‘TB said it was important I understood why parts of Thatcherism were right. Later in the day he came up with another belter when Peter H, trying to get him to be more progressive and radical, asked what gave him real edge as a politician and TB said “What gives me real edge is that I'm not as Labour as you lot.” I pointed out that was a rather discomfiting observation. He said it was true. He felt he was in the same position he had always been and we were the people who had changed to adapt. Re me, he said I had to learn to be less het up and emotional about this because in the end it was my political judgement he wanted me for. In another conversation later, he said the problem with schools was uniformity of teaching. I said the problem was the background of poorer kids and he just rolled his eyes at me.’

Hoping for a big one


Axel Lindén,

‘I’ve done almost nothing today with the little woolly’uns. I have been thinking about them though. I checked on the water for the ewes. I even went and stood in the middle of the flock to help them stay used to a human presence and to keep the relationship going. Trust is a perishable commodity, in life and in the sheep biz.’

I hope the ewes heard me


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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.