And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

12 February

Cotton Mather,

‘Friday. Being this Day thirty four Years old, I sett apart this Day, for a Thanksgiving, to bee offered unto God, in my Retirements; from a sense of the great Obligations unto Thankfulness which my Life, hath now, for thirty four Years together, been filled withal.

In the former Part of the Day, tho’ I mett with much Interruption, by Company that visited mee, I did several Things, to express my Praises unto God in my Lord Jesus Christ.

I paraphrased, improved and applied, the whole Hundred and Third Psalms, on my Knees before the Lord.

I deliberately read over a Catalogue of the Divine Dispensations towards mee from the Beginning; particularly Blessing of God, on each Article.

I distinctly perused, what I have recorded, in the Year past; with grateful Reflections on each Paragraph.

And I sang such Things as were suitable.’

Cotton Mather, You Dog


Axel von Fersen,
soldier and diplomat

‘Fine and mild. Left at 3:30 in the morning. Reutersvard visited the Commander M d’Aponcourt in the evening to obtain post horses; d’Aponcourt took him to be a Swedish courier and thought it would take fourteen days to reach Paris and that he would be stopped everywhere. . . Arrived in Gournay at 1:30 in the morning. I concealed myself as far as possible; wore a wig. Everywhere, especially in Péronne, people were very courteous, even the National Guardsmen.’

For the love of Marie


David Cargill,

‘This afternoon attended divine service in the chapel. After Bro. T’s address to the congregation, we witnessed an interesting sight in the marriage of four couples: including the King & Queen of a small island about 40 miles from Vavau. Native teachers have been sent to instruct them. With the divine blessing on their labours, the people about 60 in number have led resolved to abandon idolatry & embrace Christianity. The King & some of his subjects have come to Vavau to be married & baptized. The rest of the people of the island are expected when the wind is favourable to the sailing of the canoes. And thus one island after another is deserting the ranks of idolatry, & Satan’s empire is becoming less extensive & powerful. O that the day may soon dawn when not only every island in this vast ocean shall have been christianized, but when the friends of religion shall triumphantly sing -

Jesus the Conqueror reigns,
In glorious strength array’d;
His Kingdom over all maintains
And bids the earth be glad.’

Like wolves and hyaenas


John Reresby,

‘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


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


Bruce Lockhart,

‘Robins and Bruce lunch. Robins: “Trotsky was poor kind [of] son of a bitch but the greatest Jew since Christ.” ’

Secret agent in Moscow


Siegfried Sassoon,

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

A fool’s paradise of poetry


Margaret Mead,

‘The day was full of comings and goings. It began early in the morning with a temper tantrum of Amus’ because her father had refused to take her with him to work. Both her mother and her mother’s co-wife Alaijo were away. He finally took both the little girls with him to work sago.

Early in the morning Taumulimen washed; she and Alis set off for their bush hamlet. Since she had responded to the castor oil, there had been no more talk of her having been sorcerized, although Alis had talked a good deal about his own sorcery state, and tried to get various kinds of medicine from me.

Kule now planned that all of them should return to their bush hamlet to hunt for Balidu’s feast. He sent Soatsalamo and Mausi and the baby ahead. He, Ilautoa, and Naguel stayed, it was said, to get firewood and follow the next day. Then Kule got the idea of turning his ground house around so that the smoke of cooking would not blow into the faces of the visitors seated on Balidu’s plaza. This ground house would be needed during the feast days. He pulled it down and set up the framework again during the day.

Ombomb went to work sago early in the morning, but came back before noon and

shouted for Miduain to come up and get some yams for her family. She came up. Sinaba’i and his wife and child came soon after. Duboma-gau had joined our shoot boys at dawn.

Two young men from Boinam, the sons of Balidu’s gift friend in Boinam, appeared. After shouts, Badui came up from the garden to receive them. Maigi and Badui’s young wife who cooked for the visitors accompanied him.

Early in the morning Ombomb had seen Wabe, who at Bischu’s request had joined him in going to the Plains with the Waginara man on a sorcery investigation. It was publicly said that Wabe and Bischu had gone to the Plains to look for dogs to mark. They were planning to go by Bonaheitum, to Biligil and Kairiru, and return by Dunigi, sleeping there the next night with Ombomb’s affinal relatives (February 13) where they would be met by Ombomb and his wife who would return with them.

Ulaba’i’s brother-in-law from Numidipiheim came to see him. Whasimai, the Numidipiheim wife, stayed about all day. Ibanyos went to get pepper leaves for the visitor.’

Comings and goings


Galeazzo Ciano,

‘The Duce agreed to take part in the funeral of the Pope, which has been set by the nunciature for the 17th. That decision pleases me, because it will make a good impression on the conclave participants. In some American circles it is rumored that the Camerlengo has a document written by the Pope. The Duce wants Pignatti to find out, and, if it is true, to try to get a copy of the document “in order to avoid a repetition of the Filippelli incident.”

Calm, for the time being, in other areas.

Gorgeous Sunday of a Roman winter, warm and sunny. I spent most of it at the golf club.’

I like Mussolini, very much


Vera Inber,

‘The view of the city is terrible. Met six or seven dead on a sled. (In “The Lay of Igor’s Campaign” there is a “mortal sleigh.” ice, drinking water. An early, early premonition of spring.

Secondary arias were omitted


Ronald Reagan,

‘Found out some of our people stayed in West Wing all night rather than try to go home. Near 5 P.M. temperatures in the 40’s. Snow has been melting but still too deep to see any lawn. George B. & Bud McFarlane came by to tell me Neimeri of Sudan cites a reliable source that Khadafy is planning air action against Sudan to coincide with insurgent attacks from the South. We have A.W.A.C.S. planes available over Egypt to vector Egyptian planes if this proves reliable. George and Obie Shultz coming to dinner & we’ve run a movie.’

A burst of gun fire


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And so made significant . . .
is the world’s greatest online anthology of diary extracts. It is presented in the same way as popular books like The Assassin’s Cloak and The Faber Book of Diaries, i.e. by calendar day, but contains more, and many longer, extracts than is possible in published books. Moreover, for each quoted extract there’s a link to a Diary Review article with some or all of the following: further extracts, biographical information, contexts, a portrait, and links to online sources/etexts. Furthermore, new extracts are added on a regular basis.

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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.

For any other use of these diary extracts other than browsing please refer to the original sources.

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, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.