And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

9 December

1554
Gilles de Gouberville,
farmer

‘The boys here going in the evening to the Vallee du Grand Jardin had a greyhound with them, which took a young boar. When it was brought in and dried, I weighed it - a little more than 30 pounds.’

I distrust the miller

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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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1795
John Quincy Adams,
politician

‘After the Levee was over I was introduced into the private closet of the King by Lord Grenville, and, presenting my credential Letter, said, “Sir, to testify to your Majesty the sincerity of the United States of America in their negotiations, their President has directed me to take the necessary measures connected with the ratifications of the treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation concluded between your Majesty and the United States. He has authorized me to deliver to your Majesty this letter, and I ask your Majesty’s permission to add, on their part, the assurance of the sincerity of their intentions.” He then said, “To give you my answer, Sir, I am very happy to have the assurances of their sincerity, for without that, you know, there would be no such thing as dealings among men.” He afterwards asked to which of the States I belonged, and on my answering, Massachusetts, he turned to Lord Grenville and said, “All the Adamses belong to Massachusetts?” To which Lord Grenville answered, they did. He enquired whether my father was now Governor of Massachuetts. I answered, “No, Sir; he is Vice President of the United States.” “Ay,” said he, “and he cannot hold both offices at the same time?” “No, Sir.” He asked where my father is now. “At Philadelphia, Sir, I presume, the Congress being now in session.” “When do they meet?” “The first week in December, Sir.” “ And where did you come from last?” “From Holland, Sir.” “You have been employed there?” “Yes, Sir, about a year.” “Have you been employed before, and anywhere else?” “ No, Sir.”

I then withdrew. Mr. Cottrell invited me to go and witness the ceremony of an address presented by the Bishop and Clergy of London, which was received upon the throne.’

Election of a president

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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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1912
Andreas-Salomé,
doctor

‘Adler writes me complaining of Stekel’s “disloyalty” - which I think is funny; it could not have been documented with greater speed. But he also complains of mine, and justly. We met and talked for two hours while racing all over town. But really it is perfectly possible to overcome all the differences between Freud and Adler insofar as Adler’s feeling of inferiority already comprises a primal repression experienced as a basic slight, and also insofar as Freud’s “repressed” is founded on psychized material which had already in the past attained consciousness. If we call this material “sexual” we do so by assuming it to be distinguished from “mental”; the two belong together to emphasize their duality. On the other hand, when Adler emphasizes the “ego protest,” he does so only by contrasting it with the murky totality which in a certain sense is sexuality. The mark of sexuality is that it may be viewed from two sides, from both the mental and the physical; it is here where all mental disorders and neuroses meet, as if at the point of intersection which exemplifies the whole. But only Freud has appropriated the word “compromise” for this, and only he has done justice to the double character of the process, even though he has predominantly emphasized the sexual side (especially in the beginning, when hysteria was under consideration). Only he has uncovered the intermediate range of unconscious mental functions, and only thereby has he succeeded in making room for the positive mechanisms of the process; and only this is important. Beyond merely elucidating illness, and led that far by the pathological process, we find our way into the mystery of the normal unconscious state, in which sexuality and the ego maintain their narcissistic union and the true enigma of mankind begins. For Adler there can be no enigma strictly speaking; he secs the ego confronted only by its own game.’

A sort of Christmas present

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1933
Earl Silas Tupper,
businessman

‘How I crave a new auto now!’

Tupper the tinkerer

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1947
Wilhelm Reich,
doctor

‘They, the lawyers themselves, do not believe in the existence of the orgone. They did not read the literature. Culver said, when I gave him the letters of the physicians about the orgone: “Now I feel better” - that is, he did not believe a word before that.

It is obvious, quite obvious, that I have become unfit for dealings with average people. I am too far off in my ways of being.’

The existence of orgonity

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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

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