And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

25 January

1643
William Dowsing,
farmer

’16. ORFORD, JAN. the 25th. We brake down 28 superstitious Pictures; and took up 11 popish Inscriptions in Brass; and gave order for digging up the Steps, and taking of 2 Crosses of the Steeple of the Church, and one of the Chancel, in all 4.

17. SNAPE, JAN. the 25th. We brake down 4 popish Pictures; and took up 4 Inscriptions of Brass, of ora pro nobis, &c.

18. STANSTED, JAN. the 25th. We brake down 6 superstitious Pictures; and took up a popish Inscription in Brass.’

Breaking superstitious pictures

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1658
Ralph Josselin,
priest and farmer

‘This day was the last of my 41 yeare, in which God hath been with mee and blessed mee, and though Dr Wrights death cutt mee short in the schoole, yett I find my heart quiett, rowling it selfe on God, and no way questioning his providence to take care of mee. God hath given mee three children instead of 3 more which I had buried, and thus my dreame of 3 shoots in my parlor cutt down and growing up againe is made good.

Abroad in the world matters are likely to bee sad, yet I find not the apostacy to increase; this yeare the Emp. of Germany died, and no other yet chosen in his stead; his son the K. of Hungary assisted Poland, wherby the Swedes are driven into Prussia. The P. of Transilvania forced to retreate home, and was deposed for his attempt to please ye Turke. Brandenburg made peace with the Pole and left Swede. The Moscovite was in a manner quiet this summer, yet the Swede brusht him a little in Livonia. Denmarke invaded the Swede in Bremeland, to his losse in Juitland; the Hollander proclaimed warre agst Portugal & tooke pt of the Brasile fleete. The English assisted France agst Spaine & gott footing in Flanders, the Venetians beate ye Turke, but in the winter he regained some Iles as Tenedos; the Turke hath issue male. The Q. of Spain delivered of a sonne, ye King 53 yeares old and no son til now; the affaires in Italy & Catalonia not very boisterous. The Spaniards invaded Portugal by land & tooke some places; thus warre breaks out, but no eminent matter was done in the world; the English Protector setled by Parliamt and a house of Lords in title erected January 20th.’

A boisterous yeare

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1683
Jacob Bee,
tradesman

‘A sad cruel murther comitted by a boy about eighteen or nineteen years of age, nere Ferryhill, nere Durham, being Thursday, at night. The maner is, by report: When the parents were out of dores a young man, being sone to the house, and two daughters was kil’d by this boy with an axe, having knockt them in the head, afterwards cut ther throts: one of them being asleep in the bed, about ten or eleven yeares of age: the other daughter was to be married at Candlemas. After he had kil’d the sone and the eldest daughter, being above twenty yeares of age, a little lass, her sister, about the age of eleven yeares being in bed alone, he drag’d her out in bed and killed her alsoe.

Very fiery comets

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1837
William Tayler,
servant

‘Been to Hamstead with the carriage. It’s about six or seven miles out of London. It’s where a great many Cockneys goes to gipseying and to ride on the jackasses. It’s a very plesent place.’

A wretched bad writer

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1946
Ayn Rand,
writer and philosopher

‘Interview with Mrs Oppenheimer: Test was referred to as “Trinity”. Test was on a Monday - the next Saturday Mrs. Oppenheimer gave a party - evening dress. Mood was one of relief. After Hiroshima they did not feel like celebrating. The Oppenheimers were the first family to move to Los Alamos. [The town] had about 30 people then - a big dormitory for scientists in one of the schoolrooms. The Oppenheimers lived in one of the masters’ houses of the old school. Community life was much friendlier and more harmonious than in other cities - higher mental level. Dr Oppenheimer took job only on condition that his essential workers would know the secret. A great part of their work was spent in meetings and conferences. At first, scientists were afraid of possible German atomic research, but later learned there was none. Scientists worked in order to save lives and end the war. Was it in order to beat the Germans to the discovery? “Good God, no!” ’

The champion of reason

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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, 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.