And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

14 January

1772
Count de Benyovszky,
soldier and explorer

‘On the 14th, we quitted Macao, where the Governor saluted me with twenty-one guns, from the principal fortress; and, after a tedious passage, we arrived at last at the mouth of the Tigu; where we were very civilly received by a Mandarin, though he at first refused to permit us to go on shore: the sight of a purse of piastres, however, abated his severity; which was so much altered by this circumstance, that he offered permission for us to take lodgings in the fort.’

The king of Madagascar

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1819
Henry Fynes Clinton,
classicist

‘Left Welwyn, and arrived in Dean’s Yard at twelve. House of Commons in the afternoon. Sworn in; my fourth election as a Member of Parliament.’

The writer vs the orator

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1900
Arthur Hamilton Baynes,
priest

‘Holy Communion at 5.45, in our little mess-tent. Only a few officers. Then after a cup of tea, church parade at 7. As we are two chaplains, we agreed to take two battalions each, so that all could hear. I had the 60th Rifles and the Scottish Rifles, and the Navals, and a few odds and ends; and Hill had the Rifle Brigade and the Durham Light Infantry. General Buller and some of his staff and General Lyttelton came to my service, and it was a charming spot with a little crescent of rocky hill, so that the men were in tiers above me, and during the sermon they could sit on the rocks. I preached from the second lesson, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead,” and showed them that a chaplain was not simply to console the dying and to bury the dead. After service I took my books and went up the hill. The two big naval guns have been brought up here from Chieveley (the Boers don’t know it yet, but they soon will). It is odd that the most useful guns were only improvised on the spur of the moment. Captain Scott, of the “Terrible,” designed and made the huge carriages to move these ship-guns on, and now they can take them with spans of oxen quite long journeys and up steep hills. They are enormous things, with great long muzzles.

I asked the naval sentry to let me look through their big telescope. I could see the Boers at 8,000 yards, quite plainly - could see which had blue shirt sleeves and which had white - as they worked in the trenches. But only a few were working to-day; a fair number were sitting on the top of Spion Kop, looking at us. But the two guns are just enough below the ridge to be out of sight. Then I went over the ridge and down into the bush, on the other side, where there was more shade. I got a very comfortable seat under a tree. If the Boers had taken a shot at our naval guns I should have been too near to be pleasant; but this was not likely, especially on a Sunday. While I sat and read a partridge came out of the long grass to within three yards of my foot. Back to write and read, and then lunch and some English papers. But nothing for me. I have not had a letter or a paper since I left Maritzburg, last Friday week. It is awful to think what I may be neglecting. At 6 we had a voluntary service as last week. Hill read, and I preached from the first lesson, “I dwell with him that is of a humble and contrite heart” (“Lest we forget”).’

On the look out for Boers

**************************************************************************************

1943
George Adamson,
conservationist

‘Went out for walk with Joy and she told me that Bally is impotent, pretty tragic. During the night I heard Joy crying. I’d like to help her - Bally seems a very decent fellow, but at the same time he is a bit of an “old woman” and I can quite understand a woman like Joy wanting a man with red blood in his veins.’

A life of Joy and lions

**************************************************************************************

1945
Henry Agard Wallace,
politician

‘. . . Ernst asked what the President was going to do with Jesse Jones? I said, “Why should he do anything with Jesse Jones?” Ernst replied, “Well if he takes care of Jesse in some way, it will reduce the amount of discord.” I said, “Well, it seems to me it would be better for the President to fight on this issue and get licked than to give Jesse something.” In other words, what I was really saying to Ernst was that I would rather not to be confirmed by the Senate than to have Jesse Jones still in government.’

The 33rd vice president

**************************************************************************************

2001
Harold Frederick Shipman,
doctor

‘[My wife] and the kids have to go on without me when it is the right time. Got to keep the façade intact for the time being.’

I’m looking at dying

**************************************************************************************

2002
Harold Frederick Shipman,
doctor

‘56 today, cards from everyone - very very sad day, not what life is about at all. [ ] not very good, it must be dreadful for her.’

I’m looking at dying

**************************************************************************************

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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.

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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, usually several every week. The blog has been publishing for over five years, and is the secondary source for the diary extracts in this online anthology.