And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

12 February

1862
John Reresby,
politician

‘There happened the most barbarous murder that had taken place in England for some time. Mr. Thynne, a gentleman of 9,000l. a year - lately married to my lady Ogle, who, repenting of the match, had fled from him into Holland before they were bedded - was set upon by three ruffians, and shot to death as he was coming along the street in his coach. He being one deeply engaged in the Duke of Monmouth’s interest, it was much feared what construction might be made of it by that party - the authors escaping and not known. I was at Court that evening, when the King hearing the news, seemed much concerned at it, not only for the horror of the action itself, to which his good nature was very averse, but also apprehending the ill constructions which the anti-Court party might make of it.

At eleven o’clock the same night, as I was going into bed, Mr. Thynne’s gentleman came to me to grant a hue and cry and soon after the Duke of Monmouth’s page, to desire me to come to his master at Mr. Thynne’s lodging, sending his coach to fetch me. I found him surrounded with several gentlemen and lords, friends to Mr. Thynne, and Mr. Thynne mortally wounded by five bullets, which had entered his belly and side, shot from a blunderbuss. I granted immediately several warrants to search for persons suspected to be privy to the design, and that might give some intelligence of the parties that had acted that murder. At the last, by intelligence from a chairman that had the same afternoon conveyed one of the ruffians from his lodging in Westminster to take horse at the Black Bull, and by a woman that used to visit that gentleman, the constables found out his lodging in Westminster, and there took his man, a Swede, who being brought before me, at last confessed that he served a gentleman, a German captain, who had told him that he had a quarrel with Mr. Thynne, and had often appointed him to watch his coach as he passed by; and particularly, that day, so soon as the captain did know the coach was gone by, he had booted himself, and with two others - a Swedish lieutenant and a Polander - gone, as he supposed, in quest of Mr. Thynne on horseback. By this servant I further understood, where possibly the captain and his two friends might be found; and after having searched several houses with the Duke of Monmouth, Lord Mordaunt, and others, as he directed us, till six o’clock in the morning, having been in chase almost the whole night, I personally took the captain at the house of a Swedish doctor in Leicester Fields, I going first into the room, followed by my Lord Mordaunt. I found him in bed, and his sword at some distance from him upon the table, which I first seized, and afterwards his person, committing him to two constables. I wondered to see him yield up himself so tamely, being certainly a man of great courage, for he appeared unconcerned from the beginning, notwithstanding he was very certain to be found the chief actor in the tragedy. This gentleman had not long before commanded the forlorn hope at the siege of Mons, where only two besides himself, of fifty under his command, came off with life. For which the Prince of Orange made him a lieutenant in his guards, and the King of Sweden gave him afterwards a troop of horse.

Several persons suspected for accessories and the two accomplices - viz., the Swedish lieutenant and the Polander (whose names were Stern and Borosky, and the captain’s name Fratz) - were soon after taken by constables with my warrant, and brought to my house, where, before I could finish all the examinations, the King sent for me to attend him in Council, which was called on purpose for that occasion, with the prisoners and papers. His Majesty ordered me to inform him of my proceeding in that matter, both as to the way of the persons’ apprehension and their examinations, and then examined them himself, giving me orders at the rising of the Council to put what had been said there into writing and form, in order to the trial. This took me up a great part of the day, though I desired Mr. Bridgeman, one of the clerks of the Council and a justice of the peace, to assist me in that matter both for the dispatch and my security, the nicety of the thing requiring it, as will appear hereafter.’

The most barbarous murder

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1864
William Cory,
poet and teacher

‘I was on Myrtle, with a dog at each stirrup, the soft rain in my face, and the kind wind coming to me from my home: so I galloped blindly - for the rain disabled the spectacles - up the river as usual, but further than usual, even to Bray; back the same way, chirruping to the dogs and meditating on Colenso, whether it would be expedient to subscribe.’

A peculiar pleasure

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1924
Siegfried Sassoon,
writer

‘Went to Hammersmith with the Turners, and saw Congreve’s The Way of the World - very refreshing.’

A fool’s paradise of poetry

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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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