And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

9 August

Hermann Ludwig von Löwenstern,

‘I went on land with Demidoff in his small four-oared boat. We were in danger of losing our lives several times with that small thing. The mast was too tall and the sail too large. We sailed into the river. After buying myself a hat, and we had bought ourselves several items, the wind became brisk. That is why we hurried to get out of the current. Ungern was along. The heavy breakers at the mouth thwarted our plan. We were pigheaded enough, even though the English on the shore called to us that we would surely capsize, to attempt to go through the breakers; until soaked to the skin with the boat full of water, we were hurtled back. That cold bath had brought us to our senses.

[Note on the edge of the page] Demidoff drowned in the same boat in the Neva.

The current was against us. We therefore had to leave the boat at the mouth and go on foot back to Yarmouth. We hurried to use the theater tickets we had received for a comedy. That cold bath and our quick pace had stirred up my blood. The heat in the theater made me dizzy and I fainted. My comrades, with the help of several Englishmen, carried me out of the theater to an inn where we spent the night.’

At sea with Von Löwenstern


Edward Hodges Cree,

‘Weighed and proceeded into the Brunei River with the Admiral and a guard of honour consisting of 170 Marines &c., to return a visit from Badrudeen, a nephew of the Sultan of Brunei. We saw him as he passed yesterday in his boat, a long, low proa with eighteen paddles, a 4-pounder gun in the bow, red silk umbrella with green fringe, a large yellow ensign, with all the ragtag and bobtail of the place. Some of the nobs had on sku-blue jackets and yellow pyjamas, much like the worthies of Siak. The Agincourt saluted him with seven guns and the Admiral sent him back in the Nemesis steamer, which doubtless gratified his vanity much.’

Pirate hunting expedition


Simon Newcomb,

‘Slept last night at Fort, in civilized bed. At 8 a.m. started for Fort Garry on foot, arriving at 1 1/2. Roads were very bad the first few miles. Found that steamboat had not arrived, or been heard from, though she was due Saturday last. Wrote an account of our voyage for the Nor’Wester. Stopped at Royal House. Mr. Lilly up to-night.’

Crossed a singular slough


John Dearman Birchall,

‘Excellent Village Flower Show of fruit and flowers but the afternoon was stormy and the garden muddy and soaked. We had 68, all our neighbours, to tea in the hall.’

The tricycle diaries


John Dearman Birchall,

‘Five males and one female brought in yesterday for attempting suicide. But “trade was bad” with us yesterday, for only forty men and six women were admitted.’

The tricycle diaries


John William Horsley,

‘Five males and one female brought in yesterday for attempting suicide. But “trade was bad” with us yesterday, for only forty men and six women were admitted.’

State-created crime


Ethel Turner,

‘This morning I made myself a black lace hat. Idled in afternoon. At night went to Articled Clerks dance and wore my white liberty again, this time with crimson flowers and snowdrops. M. Backhouse asked me for a dance and then did not account for it. I shall never notice him again. He was a bit intoxicated last night I think, it is a pity, he might be such a very nice boy. I’m awfully sorry for him.’

Seven Little Australians


Robert Laird Borden,

‘Delegation as to selection of an Irish port as an ocean terminus. Large number present. Arranged to go to Barrow in Furness, Newcastle and Glasgow next week. Am to receive freedom of City of Glasgow.’

Russian cavalry and jams


King George V

‘Warm, showers and windy. At work all day . . . I held a Council at 10.45 to declare War with Germany, it is a terrible catastrophe but it is not our fault. An enormous crowd collected outside the Palace; we went on the balcony both before and after dinner. When they heard that War had been declared, the excitement increased and May and I with David went on to the balcony; the cheering was terrific. [. . .]

Please God it may soon be over, and that He will protect dear Bertie’s life.’ [He is referring to his second son, the future George VI]

Quite a historic occasion


Dorothy Dix,

‘A day of adventure – At 10 we set forth in the best auto the city could muster to go to the King’s summer palace 75 miles away in the mountains – The auto was minus most of its innards. It hadnt had a spring in the last 10 years & carried no spare tire – the driver saying that if it was Gods will we would make the journey without needing one – No Turkish or Bulgarian cars carry extras on the the [sic] same principle. The roads are the worst in the world but our optimistic driver started out a clip that would have won a race on a fast track – Rocks, ruts, stones meant nothing in his young life & we went lickety split over them, while every bone in our bodies were [sic] jarred from our sockets & we held on to our false teeth with a death grip[.]

Apparently our chauffers [sic] confidence in Providence was misplaced for soon there was the sharp report of a blow out. Fortunately it occurred by a wayside inn – a regular peasant place – by a babbling brook & we descended and had coffee while he patched the ragged old tire – Again we hit the trail & went skedaddle around hair pin turns & again was [the] ominous sound of a blow out – There was nothing to do but walk back to the road house some 5 miles – Mr Gestat said it was 8 – which we did. But we were partially repaid for the days disaster by the delicious lunch of native foods they served us - A mutton stew made with tomatoes, beans, egg plant, peppers & potatoes, & red with paprika, & [word crossed out: a] sweet peppers stuffed with rice, chopped meat etc & cooked in a cream sauce.

In this region at a place called Kazanlik the finest attar of roses is made[.] They have 80000 acres under cultivation in roses. We intended going there – it is 300 kilometers – but after our experience with the demon chauffer[sic] we decided not to risk it.’

A day of adventure


Simone de Beauvoir,
philosopher and writer

‘Could I have already during this year explored my entire soul, and is there no longer anything in me that interests me? Such indifference, such great disgust, is such lassitude natural or the proof that I am incurably mediocre? It is in solitude that being shows its worth.’

My entire soul


Henry L. Stimson,

‘When I reached the office this morning I found that the affirmative news for the press conference was so light that Surles thought we had better call the conference off and simply have me make a direct statement on the effect of the success of the atomic bomb on the future size of the Army. It seems as if everybody in the country was getting impatient to get his or her particular soldier out of the Army and to upset the carefully arranged system of points for retirement which we had arranged with the approval of the Army itself. The success of the first atomic bomb and the news of the Russians’ entry into the war which came yesterday [Russia declared war on Japan on Aug. 8] has rather doubled this crusade. Every industry wishes to get its particular quota of men back and nearly all citizens join in demanding somebody to dig coal for the coming winter. The effect on the morale of the Army is very ticklish... I could see in my recent trip to Europe [in July to the Potsdam Conference] what a difficult task at best it will be to keep in existence a contented army of occupation and, if mingled with the inevitable difficulties there is a sense of grievance against the unfairness of the government [in releasing soldiers from the Army], the situation may become bad. Consequently the paper that we drew last night and continued today was a ticklish one. The bomb and the entrance of the Russians into the war will certainly have an effect on hastening the victory. But just how much that effect is on how long and how many men we will have to keep to accomplish that victory, it is impossible yet to determine. There is a great tendency in the press and among other critics to think that the Army leaders have no feeling for these things and are simply determined to keep a big army in existence because they like it, and therefore it is ticklish to run head on into this feeling with direct counter criticism. Therefore we tried to draft a paper which would make the people feel that we appreciated their views as well as ours. . .

The press conference thus being off at ten o’clock, I went over to the White House to meet the President who had called a hearing on whether or not we should put out a scientists’ statement as to the making of the atomic bomb. It was a very difficult question for the President and he handled it with great courage and skill. We had given him all the support that we could in the care with which the statement was drawn so as not to give away any secret which would really help a rival to build on our foundations. But the subject was so vast and the scientists’ report was so voluminous that it was impossible for a layman like the President or Byrnes or myself to determine this question and we had to rely upon the opinions of our scientific advisers. I had been through with a preliminary meeting last week in which I sounded out the British scientists as well as our own, and today the President listened to Dr. [Vannevar] Bush, Dr. Conant [Manhattan Project advisors], General Groves, and George Harrison, while Byrnes and I also sat in. After he had heard them all, with great promptness and decision he decided to act on the recommendation of the scientists that the statement [the Smyth Report] should be published at once.’

‘After that meeting was over I conferred with Byrnes in an adjoining room. I had asked for this meeting for the purpose of showing him the paper that I had received from Crossman drawn by deForest Van Slyck and the letter and article which I had received from Stanley Washburn. These papers each in their way advocated strongly and intelligently a sympathetic handling of the Japanese in negotiating a surrender [an interesting point from Stimson - to end the war, some degree of negotiation would be necessary]. The difficult thing is to get negotiators together and I urged very strongly on Byrnes that he should make it as easy as possible for the Japanese.’

‘We had news this morning of another successful atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki. These two heavy blows have fallen in quick succession upon the Japanese and there will be quite a little space before we intend to drop another. During that time I hope something may be done in negotiating a surrender. I have done the best I could to promote that in my talks with the President and with Byrnes and I think they are both in full sympathy with the aim.’

‘Tomorrow we [Stimson and his wife] hope to get off for a long rest to Highhold and St. Hubert’s.’ [St. Hubert’s was a club in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state where Stimson sometimes went to relax. But Stimson’s departure would be delayed; just as he was about to leave on Aug. 10, the first Japanese offer to surrender arrived.].

Chief atom bomb adviser


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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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