And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

10 July

King Edward VI

‘At this time cam the sweat into London, wich was more vehement then the old sweat. Por if one toke cold he died mthin 3 houres, and if he skaped it held him but 9 houres, or 10 at the most. Also if he slept the first 6 houres, as he should be very desirous to doe, then he raved, and should die raving.’

Edward VI, the Boy King


Richard Boyle,
landowner and politician

‘This day the rebel Lieutenant, General Purcell, commanding again in chief, in revenge of his former defeat received at Cappoquin, reinforced his army to 7,000 foot, and 900 horse, with three pieces of ordnance, and drew again near to Cappoquin, and there continued four days, wasting and spoiling the country round about, but attempted nothing of any consequence. And when the 22d at night, that the Lord Viscount Muskrie came to the Irish army with some addition of new forces, they removed from Cappoquin in the night before my castle of Lismore, and on Saturday morning the 23d July, 1643, they began their battery from the church to the east of Lismore-house, and made a breach into my own house, which Captain Broadripp and my warders, being about 150, repaired stronger with earth than it was before, and shot there till the Thursday the 27th, and never durst attempt to enter the breach, my ordnance and musket shot from my castle did so apply them. Then they removed their battery to the south-west of my castle, and continued beating against my orchard wall, but never adventured into my orchard, my shot from my turrets did so continually beat and clear the curteyn of the wall. The 28th of July God sent my two sons, Dungarvan and Broghill, to land at Youghal, out of England, and the 29th they rode to the Lord of Inchiquins, who with the army were drawn to Tallagh, and staid there in expectation of Colonel Peyn, with his regiment from Tymolay, who failed to join, but Inchiquin, Dungarvan and Broghill, and Sir John Powlett, the Saturday in the evening (upon some other directions brought over by Dungarvan from his Majesty,) he made a treaty that evening with Muskrie and others, and the Saturday the 30th, they agreed upon a cessation for six days. Monday night, when they could not enter my house, they removed their siege and withdrew the ordnance and army - two or three barrels of powder - two or three pieces of ordnance of twenty-three pounds, and killed but one of my side, God be praised.’

The Great Earl of Cork


Richard Newdigate,

‘Rose at six and went to Winton. . .Went to Southampton. There found Parker without, my Son Stephens, his brother Hodges, his Cousin Newland and Mr Scot, all waiting for my arrival. . . Embarked my Coach in a Hoy and then myself on the Governor’s yacht. West of Calshot Castle got into the long Boat; was tost, being rowed by four hands six mile and a half. Walked from Cowes, where we landed (having drunk a glass of Canary at Captain Newland’s), half a mile. There we met the welcome Coach. Found at Barton four of my dear Daughters; Moll, Nan that are married and Betty and July. Hasted to bed.’

But I spied crabs


John Knox,

‘Being on a working-party this morning at our batteries, I had a most agreeable prospect of the city of Quebec, for the first time; it is a very fair object for our artillery, particularly the lower town, whose buildings are closer, and more compact than the upper. Some time after we were settled at work, a soldier of the 48th regiment, who had an intention to desert, went to an adjoining wood, where an Officer and a number of men were detached to make fascines; he told the Officer he was sent to desire that he and his party would return to the redoubt where we were employed, and in their absence he took an old canoe that he found on the shore, and crossed the river in our view; a boat put off from the enemy, and took him safe to land. Our batteries are in great forwardness; the two first are to mount six guns and five mortars, and will, in a few days, be in readiness to open. About six o’clock the garrison began to cannonade and bombard us, and continued their fire, almost without intermission, until one o’clock in the afternoon, at which time the working-parties were relieved. Our soldiers told me they numbered one hundred and twenty-two shot and twenty-seven shells, yet we had not a man killed or wounded. Before we reached our camp, we had a violent thunder-storm attended with hail and rain, which laid our incampment under water: the hail-stones were uncommonly large; on this occasion the men were served with rum, pursuant to the General’s regulations.

Dalling’s light infantry are ordered on duty this night at the batteries, and the redoubt adjoining to them. The enemy have brought down a mortar or two to the left of their intrenchments, from which they discharged several shells at our ships, though without any effect.’

Killed and scalped


John Quincy Adams,

‘Had an interview at the office with Hyde de Neuville, the French Minister - all upon our affairs with Spain. He says that Spain will cede the Floridas to the United States, and let the lands go for the indemnities due to our citizens, and he urged that we should take the Sabine for the western boundary, which I told him was impossible. He urged this subject very strenuously for more than an hour. As to Onis’s note of invective against General Jackson, which I told him as a good friend to Onis he should advise him to take back, he said I need not answer it for a month or two, perhaps not at all, if in the meantime we could come to an arrangement of the other differences.’

Election of a president


Eugène Delacroix,

‘Painted the Magdalen in the ‘Entombment’.

Must remember the simple effect of the head. It was laid in with a very dull, grey tone. I could not make up my mind whether to put it more into shadow or to make the light passages more brilliant. Finally, I made them slightly more pronounced compared with the mass and it sufficed to cover the whole of the part in shadow with warm and reflected tones. Although the light and shadow were almost the same value, the cold tones of the light and the warm tones of the shadow were enough to give accent to the whole.’

The workings of Delacroix


Hubert Parry,

‘In chapel in the afternoon, we had Mendelssohn’s “My God, my God,” which is peculiar, and very mournful. I couldn’t hear much because Mitchell quite spoilt it by playing loud, and I was quite close to the organ. I went to St. George’s afterwards. They had Luther’s hymn and Nares in F. I never heard Luther’s hymn so done before, it was quite tremendous, and if they hadn’t rather drowned the voices, it would have been magnificent.’

Finished my first song


Gideon Welles,

‘A rainy day. We were to have had an excursion to the Pawnee, the flag-ship of Admiral Dahlgren, but the weather has prevented.

I read to the President two letters from Senator Sumner of the 4th and 5th of July, on the subject of negro suffrage in the Rebel States. Sumner is for imposing this upon those States regardless of all constitutional limitations and restriction. It is evident he is organizing and drilling for that purpose, and intends to make war upon the Administration policy and the Administration itself. The President is not unaware of the scheming that is on foot, but I know not if he comprehends to its full extent this movement, which is intended to control him and his Administration.

Seward sent to see me. Had dispatches from the Spanish government that the Stonewall should be given up. Is to send me copies, but the yellow fever is prevalent in Havana and it would be well to leave the Stonewall there until fall.’

Neptune’s Civil War


George Henschel,

‘Yesterday afternoon I spent nearly three hours in Brahms’ rooms. He showed me new songs of his, asking me if I could suggest a short way of indicating that a certain phrase in one of them was not his own.

“I have,” he said, “taken a charming motive of Scarlatti’s [line of music] as the theme of a song I composed to one of Goethe’s poems, and should like to acknowledge my indebtedness.” I proposed, as the best and simplest way, that he should merely place Scarlatti’s name at the end of the phrase in question.

He also showed me the manuscript of an unpublished song and the first movement of a Requiem Mass, both by Schubert, enthusiastically commenting on their beauty. The first two issues of the Bach Society’s publication of cantatas were lying on his table, and he pointed out to me how badly the accompaniments were often arranged for the piano; how, in fact, the endeavor to bring out as nearly as possible every individual part of the orchestra had rendered the arrangement well nigh unplayable for any but a virtuoso.

“The chief aim,” he said, “of a pianoforte arrangement of orchestral accompaniments must always be to be easily playable. Whether the different parts move correctly, i. e., in strict accordance with the rules of counterpoint, does not matter in the least.”

Then we went together through the full score of Mozart’s “Requiem,” which he had undertaken to prepare for a new edition of that master’s works. I admired the great trouble he had taken in the revision of the score. Every note of Süssmayer’s was most carefully distinguished from Mozart’s own.

It was a wonderful experience to have this man’s company quite to myself for so long a time. During all these days Brahms has never spoken of anything which does not really interest him, never said anything superfluous or commonplace, except at the table d’hote, where he purposely talks of hackneyed things, such as the weather, food, the temperature of the water, excursions, etc., etc.’

In a hammock with Brahms


John Rae,

‘After lunch, I see the parents of a sixth-former who has received very bad reports. They blame the school because they saw their son pass the entrance exam and start at Westminster with such bright-eyed enthusiasm, only to drift away into a non-academic, guitar-playing world. I suspect the truth is rather different. They sent their son to a tutor to get him up to the standard of the entrance exam, and this private intense tuition produced an illusion of ability that soon faded once these special circumstances were withdrawn. Subsequently, the boy has been out of his depth.’

A ticking off at Westminster


Maria Colvin,

‘My father’s death has had such an influence on my life, I still don’t realise the extent. But I watched a man go from a virile, happy man - a man with everything he wanted - and that was pretty much true, everything was the family, the family was the purpose to everything. Why go to work every day, save up your money, buy that house, buy that car, if there is no purpose? It has begun to seem meaningless to my mother since he left. He went from this to that cadaver, cold, calm with such a dignified peace - he was so righteous even in the coffin. “I have lived a good life. I made people happy. And I did what I thought was right!” The last one - it is the essence of my father. I feel so weak-spirited when I think of him. Why should all the pettiness matter to me? But I did learn - LIFE IS TOO SHORT. [. . .]

There’s so much I wanted to show him - prove myself to him. Somehow, he was and is still my standard. I did everything to make him proud. That’s probably going to seem like, “you say it now, now that he is gone.” And it’s not entirely true - but it is necessary to make the statement so bald, because if I made him proud that was the main thing that mattered. Yes, I do have my own goals, and no, there is no chance I’ll not persevere now that he’s dead, but I did so want to make him proud . . . [. . .]

There are so many things I want to put my energy into, I often ask why I’m not happy completely without a man. Is it ingrained? My sense of self is not independent of men - I need their feedback. That old dichotomy, I want my liberty, I want to be free to create, be the free spirit, but at the same time I guess, I’ve admitted that I want security.’

Like being an upended turtle


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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.

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