And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

26 June

John Rutty,

‘Now finished the fair transcript of my Materia Medica, the principal work of my life; a work of no present advantage to me, but I hope will prove so to others: but still, this far inferior to the spiritual medicines, and the labours in the gospel, as body is to soul, and earth to heaven. Lord, grant to pursue these matters in the holy subordination.’

A vicious feast


Benjamin Franklin,

‘Mr. Waltersdorff called on me, and acquainted me with a duel that had been fought yesterday morning, between a French officer, and a Swedish gentleman of that king’s suite, in which the latter was killed on the spot, and the other dangerously wounded: that the king does not resent it, as he thinks his subject was in the wrong.

He asked me if I had seen the king of Sweden? I had not yet had that honor. He said his behavior here was not liked: that he took little notice of his own ambassador, who, being acquainted with the usages of this court, was capable of advising him, but was not consulted. That he was always talking of himself, and vainly boasting of his revolution, though it was known to have been the work of M. de Vergennies. That they began to be tired of him here, and wished him gone; but he proposed staying till the 12th July. That he had now laid aside his project of invading Norway, as he found Denmark had made preparations to receive him. That he pretended the Danes had designed to invade Sweden, though it was a known fact that the Danes had made no military preparations, even for deface, till six months after his began. I asked if it was clear that he had had an intention to invade Norway? He said that the marching and disposition of his troops, and the fortifications he had erected, indicated it very plainly. He added, that Sweden was at present greatly distressed for provisions; that many people had actually died of hunger! That it was reported the king came here to borrow money, and to offer to sell Gottenburg to France; a thing not very probable.’

Founding Father Franklin


Francisco de Paula Santander,

‘There I heard of Bolívar’s new farce in Bogotá in April and read some public documents from Bogotá. In summary there was a movement in Casanare in favor of the Venezuela pronouncement, for which reason the principal neighbors of Popayán sent a petition to Congress, dated 29 March, stating that it was necessary to cede to the nature of things and the impulse of public opinion, forming a confederation to prevent war with Venezuela, which the Granadines did not want to do this because the Venezuelans should not be considered, according to the principles of public law, as factions, since a large dissident part of a state which had the means to support their decisions could not be treated like this. They conclude by asking for the convocation of a Granadine congress and the adoption of a federal regime which is desired on a daily basis by people with an imperious need. Another document signed by General Obando in Bogotá expresses equal feeling and talks of the effervescence in the capital. Based on all of this the provisional government of Bogotá (D. Caycedo, Osorio, Márquez and Herrán), or instigated by Bolívar, who saw that the opinion was decided in favor of the Venezuela pronunciation and the federation, sent a message to the Congress on 15 April inviting it to dissolve and to meet in a new convention in New Granada. This produced a great altercation in Congress when García Del Rio and De Francisco called the provisional government revolutionary and traitors. Nevertheless, the ministers of England, Brazil, and the United States had sent a note to the government, without the interest of intervening in domestic affairs and without being able to appreciate the reasons for the message of the government to Congress, declaring that any secession of Colombian territory would impose on them the duty to withdraw, taking their functions to be finished and that any treaties with Colombia on the part of their respective governments would be considered invalid. This scandalous note produced its effect: the Council declared that it would preserve national integrity and the Council of State proclaimed Bolívar as president, with the debates in the Chamber being suspended. Bolívar returned to his mandate.

My unjust condemnation


John Beecroft,
diplomat and explorer

‘daylight dull cloudy wr Ther 75° Forbes took his walk as usual, returned at 7 o’clock took a light Breakfast of Tea and eggs. 10 o’clock the Mayo-gau made his appearance, to report progress it was as I had expected that the King wished us to remain to see the Fetish Custom, and the small Schooner dressed out with Flags and some other fooleries, that would take fifteen days, I told him it would be three weeks for they Procrastinate too much you are never sure of their word, as soon as that was communicated we sent down for 50 dollars more cowries, Noon fresh westerly Breezes Mayo told us the Fetish people were going to amuse themselves with their ribaldry if [we] wished to see them we were at liberty, I told him that I had seen them and got them in my Book. Then at 2 o’clock 78° dined and took a walk to the Gate, where the Fetish women were performing an old Caboceer very polite introduced us to two of the Kings Brothers, and gave us each a Country stool to sit on, sent small decanters of rum, Gin &c &c and a Pot of water and Peto, or country Beer, we tasted of each with them, they were all women performers, a few of the King's wives, and one of his daughters were present, sent for a Keg of rum and presented to the old Caboceer, it was placed in front. The two Kings sons and two Caboceers presented it in due form with a long speech, they returned us many thanks Bah-dah-huu Kings Brother was particularly complimentary. and said it pleased him too much to see Englishmen at Abomey, friends with his brother the King. They sung Praises trusting God would take care of us, and Protect us from harm, they said that they would be glad to see us tomorrow as they were going to sacrifice a Bullock, they then retired and we returned home, we received a few necessaries from Whydah from Mr Hastie they arrived at a very convenient season for we were nearly dry, it is truly Kind and thoughtful of him, he states that he has been confined 8 days, retired to rest at 9 o’clock. the Fetish performers were all aged.’

Crushing the slave traffic


William Henry Jackson,

‘Morning opened bright. Got things out at once to make negatives. Set the box up in the yard & made a few up town of Rollins House, Ford House &c., &c & them went down to the depot securing half a dozen different views. After dinner went over to Madame Cleveland’s to make the group of the girls with the house. Weather was just hazy enough to soften the light down for an out-door group. Made three exposures - first two not good but the last very good. Occupied the rest of the afternoon varnishing and retouching the negatives made.’

Set up the box


Reginald Marsh,

‘I forgot what I did today. There’s a bunch of great strawberries in the field which I partially ate. Lloyd’s painting his skiff lead color.’

Pictures and vaudeville


Robert Laird Borden,

‘Further confce with White as to Canadian Northern and GTP mortgages. Discussed with Ackland the situation respecting GTP machinists and sent strong telegram to Chamberlain. Answered many telegrams of congratulations as to my birthday. Wrote to Farquar as to departure of Duke and arrival of new GG. In afternoon laid cornerstone of Perley Home for Incurables.’

Russian cavalry and jams


Robert Laird Borden,

‘Further confce with White as to Canadian Northern and GTP mortgages. Discussed with Ackland the situation respecting GTP machinists and sent strong telegram to Chamberlain. Answered many telegrams of congratulations as to my birthday. Wrote to Farquar as to departure of Duke and arrival of new GG. In afternoon laid cornerstone of Perley Home for Incurables.’

Russian cavalry and jams


Hermione Llewellyn,
secretary and noblewoman

‘Wounded are pouring into Palestine because the hospitals in Egypt are overflowing. Each day between one and five I go down to a hospital in Jerusalem to help in the wards. I have no training so I do all the odd jobs such as washing soldiers, making beds and emptying things. Today I washed four heads which were full of sand. I am learning a lot about pain and courage and getting used to smells and sights. The soldiers make fun of everything and, even in the long ward where the serious cases are, no one ever grumbles. I cannot describe the courage of these men. Only when they ask me to help them to write home do I glimpse their real misery: some of them are so afraid their families will not want them back now they are changed. They call me ‘Sugar’.’

Reinforcements received


Viktor Petrovich Savinykh,

‘I had a headache this morning. Apparently there is poor ventilation in the sleeping area since everything is heaped up in there. I took some Analgin and it went away. Today I extended the air pipe.’

Holiday on our Earth


Harold Frederick Shipman,

‘. . . As near suicide as can be, know how and when, just not yet.’

I’m looking at dying


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And so made significant . . .
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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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