And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

15 February

John Reresby,

‘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


John Evelyn,

‘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


John Evelyn,

‘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


Edward Hodges Cree,

‘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


Heinrich Witt,

‘Carnival day. Early in the morning I was up San Cristoval, and by the 2 o’clock train I went to Chorrillos. Both in Lima and Chorrillos I did not escape without water being thrown upon me. I bathed, made a few calls, and strolled about in the handsome Calle de Lima, until it was Henry’s dinner hour, Dona Anita having previously invited me. In the said street, towards the sea side the houses, the one m[. . .] handsome than the other extended already as far as the desc[. . .] to that [. . .] sea-beach called Agua-Dulce. The last house, still in progress of construction, and an enormous pile, was that of Don Mariano Laos; a few steps from it was that of José Antonio Garcia y Garcia, nicknamed “El Lord Inglés” on account of the airs which he gave himself; he showed me all over it, and it was certainly very well arranged. Heudebert, it was said, was desirous to sell his, a particularly handsome villa, for S/6o,ooo though it had cost him more. At 6 I was at Henry’s, who had rented one of Swayne’s new houses. A quarter of an hour later we sat down to dinner; we were, Dona Anita at the head of the table, I to her right, next to me Mr. Swift of Graham Rowe & Co.’s house, to her left, Macandrew, then Bohl, at the bottom of the table Henry, to his right Alice Gallagher, a very nice girl. There were two other gentlemen, whose names I did not learn. Dinner was nothing particular; in fact, provisions had become so horribly dear that to give anything out of the usual way cost heaps of money. Only English was spoken, and the time slipped away very pleasantly until 8 o’clock, when I had to say good bye; and returned to Lima.’

Longest Latin America diary


Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff,

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

Good-natured books


Maud Berridge,

‘We weighed anchor at about 8 o’clock and proceeded on tow as far as Deal, which we reached at about 3 in the afternoon. The weather still very boisterous, and the tide and wind being against us, we anchored until tomorrow. The first Pilot left us today, taking an immense budget of letters. I am writing in the Saloon at 9 pm. The lamps are lighted and the passengers are nearly all seated round the table with books, work or games. I have just played backgammon with a young fellow who told me he was going to New South Wales to learn sheep farming. The gentleman rejoices in very red hair and moustache, and he has already been christened ‘The Golden Pheasant’. The dwarf has received the name of ‘General’. All jokes at his expense he takes most good-humouredly and joins in the laugh.’

Rushing through the water


Kathleen Scott,

‘Asquith died early this morning. It’s odd I’ve had two weeks to prepare, I knew on Feb 1 that he wouldn’t live, and yet now he’s actually dead I feel all upheaved. He certainly was for some years a very large thing in my life. Probably it was more the excitement of discretion that was so thrilling, more than his actual love. It was a marvellous acrobatic stunt knowing everything that the Prime Minister knew during the War and yet not only not talking, but not letting anyone know I knew. Even Violet who I saw constantly I know had no notion that I was seeing him almost daily for several years. I can’t write to anybody to say I’m sorry. Indeed I’m not, I have wanted him to die for ten years. It’s rather a bore I can’t write to him. To him of 12 years ago.’

Kathleen Scott as diarist


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)


George Adamson,

‘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


Ronald Reagan,

‘Meeting with Repub. Cong. leadership. Our 2 Georges reported on their trips to Europe & Asia. They were roundly praised by all present. Then we got into a budget discussion & how the ec. was doing. It was a really upbeat meeting. Had an intelligence briefing on the Palestinian situation. It was pretty sobering. There are hundreds of thousands - indeed mils. scattered throughout the Middle East. All look upon Israel & the West bank as their natural homeland. There are already 1,700,000 of them in that area. Did a Q&A in the family theatre preparing for press conf. tomorrow night. Home to wood shed for that exam. Almost forgot - Geo. Shultz sneaked Ambassador Dobrynin (Soviet) into the W.H. We talked for 2 hours. Sometimes we got pretty nose to nose. I told him I wanted George to be a channel for direct contact with Andropov - no bureaucracy involved. Geo. tells me that after they left, the ambas. said “this could be an historic moment.” ’

A burst of gun fire


Paul K. Lyons,

‘THE QUEEN: I watch a documentary about the life of our Queen. It is well photographed and oh so very carefully judged. She comes across as a rather preposterous old woman, privileged beyond all realm of fantasy with wealth and high society - pandered too by the world’s most famous people yet with no higher intelligence than the hospital sick or dwellers in old peoples’ homes who she patronises with visits. Unlike Prince Charles who does show some spirit, some spontaneity, some depth of knowledge, Queenie appears vacuous and characterless. That documentary, I think, was an error of judgement - one kept on asking why bother, what is the point of her. She seems to sign countless documents but plays no part in their meaning; she talks to countless figures in public life (“one can call anyone in to have a chat”), but garners no intelligence. There is just ceremony without the slightest substance, formality without even the semblance of authority. The film only served to remind us of that.’

The Queen and I


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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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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

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.