And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

9 December

1695
John Evelyn,
writer

‘I had news that my dear and worthy friend. Dr. Tenison, Bishop of Lincoln, was made Archbishop of Canterbury, for which I thank God and rejoice, he being most worthy of it, for his learning, piety, and prudence.’

Modesty, prudence, piety

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1709
David Hamilton,
surgeon

‘I’ll begin therefore with an uneasiness which her Majesty appeared to have, about the beginning of December 1709. The particular occasion I was not made acquainted with. But the seeing her inwardly affected, gave me an opportunity to Caution her against disquiets, and as her Phisitian, suggest the Ill consequences that might happen at that time from it. Her receiving this advice with so much Goodness, (I may say Thankfullness) convinc’d me how right my conjecture was. But visiting her the 9th. of that Month I was farther confirm’d therein, for entering the Back stairs I found my Lord Godolphin, then Lord High Treasurer, waiting till her Majesty came out of her Closet, and upon my comming in, he came to inquire for the Queens health (the first time of his doing so, and indeed his great gravity, passing with me as a forbidding Countenance, gave me no inclination to Converse with him). I answerd‚ ‘that her Majesty was better of the Gout that it had been more regular than usual, that she took nothing but spirit of Millepedes, and that since the use of it she had taken few medecines than before’; to which he Replyd the oftner the boards are wash’d, the sooner they are impair’d. Upon this Freedom of Conversation I told his Lordship that it was in his Power to prolong his Majestys life, by laying before her as few disquieting things as possible, but if there was an absolute necessity for it, to shun it at least at some certain seasons. Which he with wonderfull good nature, and seeming pleasure undertook, adding, that if I would send him a line to inform him of every such season, he would do his utmost to keep her easy.

After his returning from the Queen, and my going in, I told her Majesty what had pass’d which She received exceeding kindly; thank’d me, and desir’d me to go on, and do according as he had appointed, only not to trouble too often least he should think it came from her.’

The spirit of millipedes

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1810
Charlotte Campbell,
courtier and writer

‘This day, I found Her Royal Highness sitting for her picture. She received me with her usual graciousness of manner, and desired me to “come and sit,” - her phrase for feeling comfortable and at one’s ease. She informed me that Mr S_, the painter, engaged upon the picture, was only altering the costume of a portrait taken many years back, which she said was by no means doing his talent justice. Certainly the picture was frightful, and I have often regretted that I never saw a tolerable likeness painted of her. Although during the last years of her life she was bloated and disfigured by sorrow, and by the life she led, the Princess was in her early youth a pretty woman; fine light hair - very delicately formed features, and a fine complexion - quick, glancing, penetrating eyes, long cut, and rather sunk in the head, which gave them much expression - and a remarkably delicately formed mouth; but her head was always too large for her body, and her neck too short; and latterly, her whole figure was like a ball, and her countenance became hardened, and an expression of defiance and boldness took possession of it, that was very unpleasant. Nevertheless, when she chose to assume it, she had a very noble air, and I have seen her on more than one occasion, put on a dignified carriage, which became her much more than the affectation of girlishness which she generally preferred.’

Sat the old Duchess

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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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Any author, publisher or other copyright holder who takes the view that I am unacceptably breaching their copyright please let me know. I have tried to remain sensitive to copyright rules (using far fewer quotes, for example, when a book, by an author still alive, remains in print and popular), but it is not practical for me to seek authorisation for every quote and article, since I maintain these websites without any funding or advertis-ing. I take the view that publicity for the source books is a quid pro quo for my use of the extracts, but I am more than happy to remove the extracts if asked.

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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.