And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

8 August

1596
Samuel Ward,
theologian

‘Also my longing after damsens when I made my vow not to eat in the orchard. Oh, that I could so long after Godes graces.’

Longing after damsens

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1760
Elizabeth Percy,
landowner

‘Abbey of Holyrood House. My morning visitors were . . . We walk’d all over the Palace from some of the Windows you have a view of Arthur Seat an immense Rock, wch Ly Milton told me her Grandfather remembered it all cover’d with wood, but it is now entirely bare. The Apartments are very fine, I think fully equal to Hampton Court in some of them are hung up some pictures (he having no rooms of his own large enough to contain them) of Lord Mortons [James Douglas, Lord Clerk Regiser, and trustee of the British Museum] wch he bought in France of the Battles of Alexr. said to be Copys of the Famous Ones by Le Brun [French painter] himself. The Gallery is 130ft long & furnish’d with ye portraits of all the Kings of Scotland including James ye 6 (the 1st of England). I went also to see Mary Q of Scots Bedchamber (a very small one it is) from whence David Rizzio was drag’d out & stabb’d in the Ante Room, where is some of his Blood which they cannot get wash’d out. When we had view’d the Abbey we went to the Parliament House & saw the Lords of Session sitting. We then saw the Court of Exchequer & by taking ye Ld Chief Baron’s [? chair] empower’d myself to dispose of all the Treasure of Scotland.

Edinburgh is by no means a despicable town. It is extreamly populous its Inhabitants are suppose to exceed 50,000. The Lanes may for ought I know be dirty, but the principal streets are by no means so they are spacious and well paved. It is a Mile from the Abbey to the Castle, but divided by the Nether Bow Port which is a very handsome Gate. The lower part is the Cannon Gate & the upper the High Street. Considering how many Familys perhaps live in a house & that the City is very ill supplied with Water it is surprising to see it so neat as it is. The most extraordinary sight is the height of the Houses. I myself having counted one of thirteen storys high the shops being painted on the outside with whatever the indweller sells. Land about this City letts from 3:10 to 4l per Acre, the figure of 4 which see on many houses denotes a Merchant. It is not by the Laws of the Police permitted to any One to sell anything in Edinburgh before 8 O’Clock in the morning. I went next to the Castle which seem to be impregnable from its situation which is on a high Rock, the view from it is very fine. One see the Dean, the charming Firth of Forth, Leith, Inch Keith, Herriot’s Hospital, a noble regular Gothic Building, The Hills of Fife & those above Stirling.’

Of Edinburgh and Glasgow

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1885
John William Horsley,
priest

‘A country girl, aged 19, immoral and shameless, though only a month in London. Admits that sheer laziness and dislike to work have brought her on the streets.’

State-created crime

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1912
Robert Laird Borden,
politician

‘This morning saw Asquith by appointment. He took me all over official residence. Portrait of every Cabinet Minister. One in office only three days. Discussed visit to Germany. He thinks idle to go there with hope of doing any good. Told him that oar action on naval question depended on Churchill’s statement. He said Churchill was good at such work.’

Russian cavalry and jams

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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.

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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.