And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

15 February

1682
John Reresby,
politician

‘The Council meeting again, amongst other things to examine the governor to young Count Coningsmark, a young gentleman resident in Monsieur Faubert’s academy in London, supposed to be privy to the murder. The King sent for him to attend the Council, where he confessed that the eldest Count Coningsmark, who had been in England some months before, and had made addresses to my lady Ogle before she had married Mr. Thynne, had ten days before the murder come incognito into England, and lay disguised till it was committed. This gave great cause of suspicion that the said count was in the bottom of it. Whereupon his Majesty commanded me to go search his lodging, which I performed with two constables, but found he was gone, the day after the deed was done, betimes in the morning; of which I presently returned to give the King an account.

I several times after this attended the King, both privately and in Council, to inform him from time to time, as new matter did occur. Upon the whole we discovered, partly by the confession of the ruffians, and by the information of others, that captain Fratz had been eight years a companion and particular friend to Count Coningsmark, one of the greatest men in the kingdom of Sweden, his uncle being at that time governor of Pomerania, and near being married to that King’s aunt; that whilst he was here in England some months before, and had made addresses to the Lady Ogle, the only daughter and heiress to the Earl of Northumberland, married after to the now murdered Mr. Thynne, the said count had resented something done towards him as an affront from the said Mr. Thynne, and that the said captain, out of friendship to the Count (but as he then pretended hot with his privity), was resolved to be revenged of him. To which intent he, with the assistance of the said Stern and Borosky, had committed this so barbarous act, by obliging the latter to discharge a blunderbuss upon him in his coach, the others being present. I was glad to find in this whole affair that no English person nor interest was concerned, the fanatics having buzzed it already abroad that the design was chiefly against the Duke of Monmouth; and I had the King’s thanks oftener than once, my Lord Halifax’s also, and of several others, for my diligent discovery of the true cause and occasion as well as the authors of this matter. The truth is the Duke of Monmouth was gone out of the coach from Mr. Thynne an hour before; but I found, by the confession both of Stern and Borosky, that they were ordered not to shoot in case the Duke were with him in the coach.

It was much suspected all this while that Count Coningsmark was not yet oversea; and on the 20th he was found by the Duke of Monmouth’s servant disguised at Gravesend alone, coming out of a sculler, intending the next day to go aboard a Swedish ship. The King having notice, called an extraordinary Council to examine him that afternoon, at which I was present. He appeared before the King with all the assurance imaginable; was a fine gentleman of his person; his hair was the longest for a man’s I ever saw, for it came below his waist, and his parts were very quick. His examination before the King and Council was very superficial, but he was after that appointed the same day to be examined, by order of the King in Council, by the lord chief justice, Mr. Bridgeman, the Attorney-General, and myself. It was accordingly done, but he confessed nothing as to his being either privy or concerned in the murder, laying his lying here concealed upon the occasion of his taking physic for a disease, and therefore was unwilling to discover himself till he was cured; and his going away in a disguise after the fact was done, upon the advice of some friends, who told him that it would reflect on him were it known he was in England, when a person that was his friend was under so notorious a suspicion for committing so black a crime; and therefore did endeavour to get away, not knowing how far the laws of this land might for that very reason make him a party.’

The most barbarous murder

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1684
John Evelyn,
writer

‘Dr. Tenison communicated to me his intention of erecting a library in St. Martin’s parish, for the public use, and desired my assistance, with Sir Christopher Wren, about the placing and structure thereof, a worthy and laudable design. He told me there were thirty or forty young men in Orders in his parish, either governors to young gentlemen or chaplains to noblemen, who being reproved by him on occasion for frequenting taverns or coffee-houses, told him they would study or employ their time better, if they had books. This put the pious Doctor on this design; and indeed a great reproach it is that so great a City as London should not have a public library becoming it. There ought to be one at St. Paul’s: the west end of that church (if ever finished) would be a convenient place.’

Modesty, prudence, piety

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1685
John Evelyn,
writer

‘Dr. Tenison preached to the Household. The second sermon should have been before the King; but he, to the great grief of his subjects, did now, for the first time, go to mass publicly in the little Oratory at the Duke’s lodgings, the doors being set wide open.’

Modesty, prudence, piety

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1845
Edward Hodges Cree,
surgeon

‘Wilcox and I went on shore [Hong Kong] to call on some of the ladies. Had a long chat with Miss Hickson, who is a pretty, fresh complexioned Devonshire girl, jolly and good. We lunched with Pitcher [a tea-taster from the firm of Thomas Dent] and Dent [from the same firm], and then went to see an amateur Portuguese play, a vagabond place, but we were in mufti. We met there that donkey Paterson, Royal Artillery, with his wife, who is daughter of the sergeant. She is a pretty little girl and well behaved, but ignorant. The rest of the company were mostly Portuguese and policemen, and their “ladies”.’

Pirate hunting expedition

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1858
Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff,
politician

‘Made my maiden speech, on the second reading of Lord Palmerston’s India Bill.’

Good-natured books

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1942
Alexander Cadogan,
civil servant

‘Winston broadcast at 9. Announced fall of Singapore. His broadcast not very good - rather apologetic and I think Parliament will take it as an attempt to appeal over their heads to the country - to avoid parliamentary criticism.’

Went to see P.M. (in bed)

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1957
George Adamson,
conservationist

‘Joy went up the beach with Elsa. About 6.30 pm. I was feeling definitely queer in the head. I imagined Elsa attacking Joy. Suddenly a terrible fear gripped me that I was going mad. I had the sense to call Herbert who was lying on his bed. I told him that I might do anything - anything! Asked him to stay with me and not leave me for a moment - told him to remove all guns, knives, everything with which I could injure myself or another.

I knew I was sinking into darkness, I went through the most terrifying mental anguish, I cried for help, I wanted something to clutch on to like a drowning man. Herbert held my hands which were ice cold and he urged me not to give in. I felt myself going colder and colder - I started to cry out for Joy because I knew that I was going into the limbo of insanity or death. At length I heard Joy come up from the beach. It was like the sound of a faint voice at the end of a mile-long corridor. I urged her to hurry because there was so little time left. She came and at once I felt a great relief as if a great burden had been suddenly lifted from my head.

All the time the cold kept creeping relentlessly up and up, up from my feet, up to my knees, and it grew ever faster and faster until, like the bursting of a dam, it flooded over me and I knew I was dying.

The last feeling I can remember was of immeasurable peace.’

A life of Joy and lions

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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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