And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

18 July

1600
Margaret Hoby,
heiress

‘After priuatt praers I went about the house and deliuered some directions to Iurden: after, I talked with my Cosine Isons and about his goinge to yorke, and then I went to diner: after, I was busie pouidinge some thinge to be carried to York: afte, I wrought and, lastly, I went to priuate examenation and praier: after, I went to supper, then I walked abroad: after, I Came in to publeck praers and, after, to priuate, wher I pleased the lord to touch my hart with such sorrow, for some offence Cometted, that I hope the lord, for his sonne sake, hath pardoned it accordinge to his promise, which is ever Iust: after, I reed apaper that wrought farther humiliation in me, I thanke god.’

After private prayers

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1631
John Rous,
priest

‘Were executed at Bury 13; whereof iij., a boy of 16 and ij. women, were executed for burning of Walderswicke, in Suffolk. The boy, upon his death, affirmed that his sister councelled, and the other woman (who was begotten with child by Nathan Browning of Dennington, before marriage,) gave him fire. They both affirmed themselves cleere. The sister confessed there, before Mr. Ward, her falte in standing excommunicate. The boy, they say, was borne at Wimondham, in the yeere of the fire there. Forty houses were burned, June 10, or thereabout, and 8 at a second time, July 3, being Sunday. After this it was discovered.

About this time were gone and going diverse voluntaries, gathered Marques up by the drumme, to goe with marques Hamilton to the helpe of the king of Swedeland, in the German warres.

Together with reporte of the king of Sweden’s besieging of Magdenburg, which Tilly [Count of Tilly who commanded the Catholic League’s forces in the Thirty Years’ War] had taken this summer and burnt, killing all without mercy, it was said, upon Sir Thomas Jermin’s worde that our agent in Poland had written thus to our King. The queen of Poland and her Jesuites and Priests made a greate triumph for Tillie’s taking of Magdenburg, erecting Calvin’s and Luther’s statues in ij. postes, which they burned with an hellish greate fire; but in returning, most of the Priests and Jesuites were killed by fier from heaven, and the queene stroken madde, and as is thought thereupon soone deade.’

Newes from Cambridge

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1691
John Evelyn,
writer

‘To London to hear Mr. Stringfellow preach his first sermon in the new-erected church of Trinity, in Conduit Street; to which I did recommend him to Dr. Tenison for the constant preacher and lecturer. This church, formerly built of timber on Hounslow-Heath by King James for the mass-priests, being begged by Dr. Tenison, rector of St. Martin’s, was set up by that public-minded, charitable and pious man near my son’s dwelling in Dover Street, chiefly at the charge of the Doctor. I know him to be an excellent preacher and a fit person. This church, though erected in St. Martin’s, which is the Doctor’s parish, he was not only content, but was the sole industrious mover, that it should be made a separate parish, in regard of the neighbourhood having become so populous. Wherefore to countenance and introduce the new minister, and take possession of a gallery designed for my son’s family, I went to London, where . . .’

Modesty, prudence, piety

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1786
Caroline Herschel,
astronomer

‘I spent the whole day in ruling paper for the register; except that at breakfast I cut out ruffles for shirts. Mr. and Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Ramsden (Dollond’s sister) called this evening. I tried to sweep, but it is cloudy, and the moon rises at half-past ten.’

I swept from ten till one

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1787
Thomas Clarkson,
anti-slavery campaigner

‘9 o’Clock at night - On hearing that Mr Thomas, Surgeon Mate of the Alfred, had been most cruelly treated by Capt Robe, and was then ill in Bed - I went to see him in Company with a Seaman of the Same Ship - I found him ill in Bed. He said that he had been most excessively ill-treated by Capt Robe & the 1st Mate, but that he forgave them. His Thighs were wrapped up in Flannel - The Poor Man was delirious. He asked me if I was a Gentleman - if I was a Lawyer, etc - He seemed much agitated & frightened and repeatedly asked me if I was come with an Intent to take Captain Robe’s Part. I answered no, that I was come to take his & punish Captain Robe - However he did not comprehend me, and was manifestly in a disordered State. This young man leaped three times overboard to drown himself, in consequence of the Cruelty committed, and to avoid it for the future, but was taken up - The last time he leaped overboard, a Shark was within a yard of him, when he was taken up’

Campaigning against slavery

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1852
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
writer and philosopher

‘Henry Thoreau makes himself characteristically the admirer of the common weeds which have been hoed at by a million farmers all spring and summer and yet have prevailed, and just now come out triumphant over all lands, lanes, pastures, fields, and gardens, such is their pluck and vigor. We have insulted them with low names, too, pig-weed, smart-weed, red-root, lousewort, chickweed. He says that they have fine names, amaranth, ambrosia.’

The drollest mushroom

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1909
Natsume Soseki,
writer

‘Oppressive heat. Daughters running all over the house, totally naked. Not a normal thing to do, the heat notwithstanding. The master of the house goes about writing his fiction, surrounded by barbarians.’

A giant of Japanese literature

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1916
François Mauriac,
writer

‘Must free our body of desire.’

Burning at the heart

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1939
Hamlin Garland,
writer

‘[My body] is not only a poor fumbling, tremulous machine, it is a decaying mass of flesh and bone. It needs constant care to prevent its being a nuisance to others. It stinks, it sheds its hair. It itches, aches and burns. It constantly sloughs its skin. It sweats, wrinkles and cracks. It was a poor contrivance at the beginning - it is now a burden.’

Cowboys and indians

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1952
Salvador Dali,
artist

‘Even though my Assumption is making substantial and glorious progress, it frightens me to see that already it is the 18th of July. Every day time flies faster, and though I live from one ten minutes to the next, savouring them one by one and transforming the quarters of an hour into battles won, into feats and spiritual victories, all of which are equally memorable, the weeks run by and I struggle to cling with an even more vital completeness to each fragment of my precious and beloved time.

Suddenly Rosita comes in with breakfast and brings me a piece of news that throws me into a joyous ecstasy. Tomorrow will be the 19th of July, and that is the date on which Monsieur and Madame arrived from Paris last year. I give an hysterical yell: “So, I haven’t arrived yet! I haven’t arrived. Not before tomorrow will I come to Port Ligat. This time last year, I hadn’t even started my Christ! And now before I’ve so much as come here, my Assumption is almost on its feet, pointing to heaven!”

I run straight to my studio and work till I am ready to drop, cheating and taking advantage of not being there yet so as to have as much as possible already done at the moment of my arrival. All Port Ligat has heard that I am yet there, and in the evening, when I come down for supper, little Juan calls out, as gay as can be: “Señor Dali is coming tomorrow night! Señor Dali is coming tomorrow night!”

And Gala looks at me with an expression of protective love which so far only Leonardo has been able to paint, and it so happens that the fifth centenary of Leonardo’s birth is tomorrow.

In spite of all my stratagem to savour the last moments of my absence with an intoxicating intensity, here I am, finally home in Port Ligat. And so happy!’

Rhinoceros, who are you?

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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, 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.