And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

7 August


On Wednesday, the 7th of August, the King went from his Castle of Porchester in a small vessel to the sea, and embarking on board his ship called ‘The Trinity,’ between the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, he immediately ordered that the sail should be set, to signify his readiness to depart; and at the same time to serve as a signal to the fleet, which was dispersed among the sea ports, to hasten the more speedily to him. And when, on the following day, being Sunday, almost all had arrived, he set sail with a favorable wind. There were about fifteen hundred vessels, including about a hundred which were left behind. After having passed the Isle of Wight, swans were seen swimming in the midst of the fleet, which in the opinion of all, were said to be happy auspices of the undertaking. On the next day, being Tuesday, about the fifth hour after noon, the King entered the mouth of the Seine, which passes to the sea from Paris, through Rouen and Harfleur, and anchored before a place called Kidecaus, about three miles from Harfleur, where he proposed landing: and immediately a banner was displayed as a signal for the captains to attend a council; and they having assembled in council, he issued an order throughout the fleet that no one, under pain of death should land before him, but that the next morning they should be prepared to accompany him. This was done lest the ardour of the English should cause them, without consulting danger, to land before it was proper, disperse in search of plunder, and leave the landing of the King too much exposed. And when the following day dawned, that is on Wednesday, the vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, the sun shining, and the morning beautiful, between the hours of six and seven, the noble Knight, Sir John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon the King’s cousin, having been sent by his desire before day-break, in the stillness of the night, with certain horsemen as scouts to explore the country and place, the King, with the greater part of his army, landed in small vessels, boats, and skiffs, and immediately took up a position on the hill nearest Harfleur, having on the one side, on the declivity of the valley, a coppice wood towards the river Seine, and on the other enclosed farms and orchards, in order to rest himself and the army, until the remainder of the people, the horses, and other necessaries should be brought from the ships. [. . .]’

The King went from his castle


Luca Landucci,

‘There were two earthquakes at 6 in the morning, and at 7 came a third; and the next night there were two more at the same hour of the night. We heard that in the country round Bologna there had been such a severe storm of wind that it destroyed many houses. Think of the consequences to the fruit! At this time the foundations and pavement of the Ponte a Rubiconte were renewed.’

Earthquakes in Florence


John Evelyn,

I went to see Mr Watts, keeper of the Apothecaries’ garden of simples at Chelsea [now the Chelsea Physic Garden], where there is a collection of innumerable rarities of that sort particularly, besides many rare annuals, the tree bearing Jesuit’s bark, which had done such wonders in quartan agues [fevers/chills]. What was very ingenious was the subterranean heat, conveyed by a stove under the conservatory, all vaulted with brick, so as he has the doors and windows open in the hardest frosts, secluding only the snow.

A most excellent person


Henry Fielding,
writer and lawyer

‘Lisbon, before which we now lay at anchor, is said to be built on the same number of hills with old Rome; but these do not all appear to the water; on the contrary, one sees from thence one vast high hill and rock, with buildings arising above one another, and that in so steep and almost perpendicular a manner, that they all seem to have but one foundation.

As the houses, convents, churches, &c. are large, and all built with white stone, they look very beautiful at a distance; but as you approach nearer, and find them to want every kind of ornament, all idea of beauty vanishes at once.

While I was surveying the prospect of this city, which bears so little resemblance to any other that I have ever seen, a reflection occurred to me, that if a man was suddenly to be removed from Palmyra hither, and should take a view of no other city, in how glorious a light would the ancient architecture appear to him? and what desolation and destruction of arts and sciences would he conclude had happened between the several areas of these cities?

I had now waited full three hours upon deck, for the return of my man, whom I had sent to bespeak a good dinner (a thing which had been long unknown to me) on shore, and then to bring a Lisbon chaise with him to the sea-shore; but, it seems, the impertinence of the providore was not yet brought to a conclusion. At three o’clock, when I was from emptiness rather faint than hungry, my man returned, and told me, there was a new law lately made, that no passenger should set his foot on shore without a special order from the providore; and that he himself would have been sent to prison for disobeying it, had he not been protected as the servant of the captain. He informed me likewise, that the captain had been very industrious to get this order, but that it was then the providore’s hour of sleep, a time when no man, except the king himself, durst disturb him.

To avoid prolixity, tho’ in a part of my narrative which may be more agreeable to my reader than it was to me, the providore having at last finished his nap, dispatched this absurd matter of form, and gave me leave to come, or rather to be carried, on shore.

What it was that gave the first hint of this strange law is not easy to guess. Possibly, in the infancy of their defection, and before their government could be well established, they were willing to guard against the bare possibility of surprize, of the success of which bare possibility the Trojan horse will remain for ever on record, as a great and memorable example. Now the Portuguese have no walls to secure them, and a vessel of two or three hundred tons will contain a much larger body of troops than could be concealed in that famous machine, tho’ Virgil tells us (somewhat hyperbolically, I believe) that it was as big as a mountain.

About seven in the evening I got into a chaise on shore, and was driven through the nastiest city in the world, tho’ at the same time one of the most populous, to a kind of coffee-house, which is very pleasantly situated on the brow of a hill, about a mile from the city, and hath a very fine prospect of the river Tajo from Lisbon to the sea.

Here we regaled ourselves with a good supper, for which we were as well charged, as if the bill had been made on the Bath road, between Newbury and London.

And now we could joyfully say, “Egressi optata Troes potiuntur arena.”

Therefore in the words of Horace,

“ -–– hic Fines chartaeque viaeque.” ’

Voyage to Lisbon


George Cockburn,
sailor and politician

‘On reaching the deck [Buonaparte] said to me, “Here I am, Admiral, at your orders!” He then asked to be introduced to the Captain, then asked the names of the different officers and gentlemen upon deck, asked them in what countries they were born and other questions of such trifling import, and he then went into the cabin with Lord Keith and myself, followed by some of his own people. After I had shown him the cabin I had appropriated for his exclusive use and requested him to sit down in the great cabin, he begged me to cause the Lieutenant of the ship to be introduced to him; as, however, at this time his own followers came to take leave of him, I thought it best to leave him for a little while to himself, and I found soon afterwards advantage was taken of this for him to assume exclusive right to the after, or great cabin. When I therefore had finished my letters I went into it again with some of my officers and desired M. de Bertrand to explain to him that the after cabin must be considered as common to us all, and that the sleeping cabin I had appropriated to him could alone be considered as exclusively his. He received this intimation with submission and good humour and soon afterwards went on deck, where he chatted loosely and good-naturedly with everybody.

At dinner he ate heartily of almost every dish, praised everything and seemed most perfectly contented and reconciled to his fate. He talked with me during dinner much on his Russian Campaign, said he meant only to have refreshed his troops at Moscow for four or five days and then to have marched for Petersburg, but the destruction of Moscow subverted all his projects, and he said nothing could have been more horrible than was that campaign; that for several days together it appeared to him as if he were marching through a sea of fire owing to the constant succession of villages in flames which arose in every direction as far as his eye could reach; that this had been by some attributed to his troops but that it was always done by the natives. Many of his soldiers however, he said, lost their lives by endeavouring to pillage in the midst of the flames. He spoke much of the cold during their disastrous retreat, and stated that one night, after he had quitted the army to return to Paris, an entire half of his Guard were frozen to death.’

Napoleon plays whist


James Calhoun,
soldier writer

‘Travelled through a rich country - high rolling prairie - good arable land, extensive forests of fine timber, principally pine of large growth. Passed several small valleys with beautiful streams of crystal water running through them. A large mountain (grizzly) bear was killed late this afternoon. I should judge its weight to be about 800 lbs. The following named persons shot him: General Custer, USA, Capt W. Ludlow, Engineer Corps, USA, Private Jno Noonan, Co. L. 7th Cavalry, Bloody Knife, Indian scout.

Mr. Illingworth, a photographer of St. Paul, Minn., acompanying the Expedition, took a photograph of the hunters on a high knoll behind the tent of the Commanding Officer.

The Indian also killed a bear.

Abundant supply of wood. In the Black Hills there is no scarcity of timber. Extensive forests of large timber run all through this country, and for this reason I have not mentioned for several days past the fact of wood being found at our camps.

Marched 16 half miles, arrived at Camp No. 29. An excellent stream of water running through camp.

Good grazing.’

Calhoun in the Black Hills


John William Horsley,

‘A young man, crippled and with only one hand, a friendless clerk, is helped and taken in by Mr. Wheatley, of the St Giles’s Christian Mission. Trusted on an errand with a cheque he absconds. Eventually he gets work at Westminster, and plays his employer the same trick. When no spark of honesty or of gratitude is discoverable, what can be done?’

State-created crime


Lytton Strachey,

‘We played at Rober Band. In the afternoon we all went to the station in the carriage and Oliver and I bought whistles. We met Maggie there who walked back with Pernie we meet Nurse and Jembeau, who came back with us. Maggie and Naomi came and Uncle Charlie photographed us.’

Strachey's new biography


William Swabey,

‘I woke this morning with the most violent and insupportable pain in my head I ever felt, which having endured for some hours, at last turned into a fit of the ague, which I was extremely glad to change for the apprehensions that an alarming fever occasions. Mr. Peach of the 9th Dragoons who attended me, made me immediately get into water during the hot fit, and repeat this operation several times. The getting into water in a fever makes one shudder almost as much as if told to get into a furnace. One of the worst of my complaints was the total want of money, so that I could not even get fruit and wine, that were particularly recommended. When the fit left me after 3 hours, I began to feel a wish to be quietly reposing in some cool spot in England, and it brought to my remembrance every tender recollection and regret. Sickness is at any time bad, but under all my circumstances and with the probability of the army’s moving in which case I could not have stirred, it put me in mind of French prisons, Bayonne and all its horrors.’

Spiritless generals!


Dorothy Dix,

‘Left in the morning via the Orient Express – which is an express only three times a week, and ambled along so leisurely it took us from Sat morning at 8.30 until [words crossed out: Tuesday Monday] Sunday at 3 to get to Sophia – We passed thro’ the loveliest, fat farming country, and saw many of the country women wearing their quaint native costume[.] But the trip was very tiresome & made the more disagreeable to me from having partaken not wisely but too well of half ripe melons. On the way up we were awakened in the middle of the night by 3 Bulgarian officials who suddenly flashed their lights in our faces – 4 dishevelled women more or less in the costume of Sept Morn blinked back[.] They jabbered – we shrugged our shoulders & said we didn’t comprehend – more jabber – more shrug – then one man threw up his hands & cried out in despair “These Americans! These Americans! These Americans!” & slammed the door – Afterwards we found out our passports werent vised [sic] right & that it was only as a great courtesy extended to our nation that we werent sent back to Constantinople.

We are staying at a very delightful hotel with heavenly cooking right opposite the palace – a big handsome yellow brick mansion set in fine grounds with the loveliest acacia trees, now in full bloom – Sofia is at the foot of the mountains & I never smelt anything so cool & bracing as the air. –’

A day of adventure


Benjamin Roth,

‘Business is at an absolute standstill and the big stores are deserted even tho’ they are all running sales and almost giving the merchandise away. Since the local savings and loan companies stopped paying out, nobody has any money and everybody seems scared and blue. We seem to have touched bottom in Youngstown and it hardly seems possible that things could get worse.’

Banks suspend payments


Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov,

’It is a little misty, milk-sunny, warm day. During the morning and after lunch I edited the first 15 pages of Gubler s work (had to completely rewrite 7 pages). Satisfied with my work.

Pusya is listlessly writing on Lobachevsky, editing Yura ’s poetry, being upset about the Kazan troubles. Marina was taken ill and Shurka drove her to a hospital in a horse cab accompanied by Spitsyn.

A letter came from Sergey Musatov telling us that he could come to Komarovka no sooner than in a month. He also mentioned that he wanted to write more to me about certain questions .’

Tasks to do now


Oliver Charles Harvey,

‘The atomic bomb was used yesterday for the first time on the Japs. I must say I feel shocked and ashamed. Nobody knows what the effects of it, indirect or direct, will be on the area. I don’t think posterity will think it was a very creditable action.

I’ve seen no more of Mr. Bevin, but those who were at Potsdam were extremely pleased with his performance there. He says he wants to improve Anglo French relations, thank goodness!

I’m afraid Winston and A.E. had latterly become quite exhausted. They could no longer look at the problems properly or read the papers about them. It had become mere improvisation. Bevin, we hope, will really devote his mind to foreign policy, read the papers, and not divide up his time with other duties.’

I feel shocked and ashamed


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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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