And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

30 June

Henry Fielding,
writer and lawyer

‘Nothing worth notice pass’d till that morning, when my poor wife, after passing a night in the utmost torments of the tooth-ach, resolved to have it drawn. I dispatched, therefore, a servant into Wapping, to bring, in haste, the best toothdrawer he could find. He soon found out a female of great eminence in the art; but when he brought her to the boat, at the water-side, they were informed that the ship was gone; for, indeed, she had set out a few minutes after his quitting her; nor did the pilot, who well knew the errand on which I had sent my servant, think fit to wait a moment for his return, or to give me any notice of his setting out.

But of all the petty bashaws, or turbulent tyrants I ever beheld, this sourfaced pilot was the worst tempered; for, during the time that he had the guidance of the ship, which was till we arrived in the Downs, he complied with no one’s desires, nor did he give a civil word, or, indeed, a civil look to any on board.

The toothdrawer, who, as I said before, was one of great eminence among her neighbours, refused to follow the ship; so that my man made himself the best of his way, and, with some difficulty, came up with us before we were got under full sail; for, after that, as we had both wind and tide with us, he would have found it impossible to overtake the ship, till she was come to an anchor at Gravesend.

The morning was fair and bright, and we had a passage thither, I think, as pleasant as can be conceived; for, take it with all its advantages, particularly the number of fine ships you are always sure of seeing by the way, there is nothing to equal it in all the rivers of the worid. The yards of Deptford and of Woolwich are noble sights; and give us a just idea of the great perfection to which we are arrived in building those floating castles, and the figure which we may always make in Europe among the other maritime powers. That of Woolwich, at least, very strongly imprinted this idea on my mind; for, there was now on the stocks there the Royal Anne, supposed to be the largest ship ever built, and which contains ten carriage guns more than had ever yet equipped a first rate. [. . .]

Besides the ships in the docks, we saw many on the water: the yachts are sights of great parade, and the. king’s body yacht is, I believe, unequalled in any country, for convenience as well as magnificence; both which are consulted in building and equipping her with the most exquisite art and workmanship.

We saw likewise several Indiamen just returned from their voyage. These are, I believe, the largest and finest vessels which are any where employed in commercial affairs. The colliers, likewise, which are very numerous, and even assemble in fleets, are ships of great bulk; and, if we descend to those used in the American, African, and European trades, and pass through those which visit our own coasts, to the small craft that ly between Chatham and the Tower, the whole forms a most pleasing object to the eye, as well as highly warming to the heart of an Englishman, who has any degree of love for his country, or can recognize any effect of the patriot in his constitution.

Lastly, the Royal Hospital of Greenwich, which presents so delightful a front to the water, and doth such honour at once to its builder and the nation, to the great skill and ingenuity of the one, and to the no less sensible gratitude of the other, very properly closes the account of this scene; which may well appear romantic to those who have not themselves seen, that, in this one instance, truth and reality are capable, perhaps, of exceeding the power of fiction. [. . .]

Sailing in the manner I have just mentioned, is a pleasure rather unknown, or unthought of, than rejected by those who have experienced it; unless, perhaps, the apprehension of danger, or sea-sickness, may be supposed, by the timorous and delicate, to make too large deductions. [. . .] This, however, was my present case; for the ease and lightness which I felt from my tapping, the gaiety of the morning, the pleasant sailing with wind and tide, and the many agreeable objects with which I was constantly entertained during the whole way, were all suppressed and overcome by the single consideration of my wife’s pain, which continued incessantly to torment her till we came to an anchor, when I dispatched a messenger in great haste, for the best reputed operator in Gravesend.

A surgeon of some eminence now appeared, who did not decline tooth-drawing, tho’ he certainly would have been offended with the appellation of tooth-drawer, no less than his brethren, the members of that venerable body, would be with that of barber, since the late separation between those long united companies, by which, if the surgeons have gained much, the barbers are supposed to have lost very little.

This able and careful person (for so I sincerely believe he is) after examining the guilty tooth, declared, that it was such a rotten shell, and so placed at the very remotest end of the upper jaw, where it was, in a manner, covered and secured by a large, fine, firm tooth, that he despaired of his power of drawing it. [. . .] I came over to his side, and assisted him in prevailing on my wife (for it was no easy matter) to resolve on keeping her tooth a little longer, and to apply to palliatives only for relief. These were opium applied to the tooth, and blisters behind the ears.’

Voyage to Lisbon


Jeffrey Amherst,

‘We continued working at the Road between the advanced Redoute and Green Hill — very heavy and tedious. A great deal of Cannonading all day and Skirmishing. The Enemy sunk four ships the 29th in the night in the Harbours Mouth, the Apollo, a two-decker was one, La Fidelle of 36 Guns another and La Pierre and La Biche of 16 Guns each the two others, and this last night they cut off most of their Masts. Remained in the Harbour 5 two deckers and one Frigate, Le Prudent, L’Entreprenant, Le Celebre, Le Bienfaisant, Le Capricieux, L’Arethuse Frigate, 36 Guns. At night we had a good deal of firing in the rear; some of the Marines at Kenning ton Cove thought they saw Indians. The Frigate 46 fired near 100 Shot at night at our Epaulement.’

Canada for the British


Wilford Woodruff,

‘Excerpts from the synopsis of the remarks of Joseph Smith following his close escape from officials of Missouri; the excerpts indicate the bellicose expressions uttered publicly on this occasion: “. . . If our enemies are determined to oppress us and deprive us of our rights and privileges as they have done and if the authorities that be on the earth will not assist us in our rights, nor give us that protection which the laws and Constitution of the United States and of this State guarantee unto us, then we will claim them from higher power from heaven and from God Almighty and the Constitution, etc. I swear I will not deal so mildly with them again, for the time has come when forbearance is no longer a virtue, and if you are again taken unlawfully, you are at liberty to give loose to blood and thunder, but act with Almighty power.”

“. . . Will not the State of Missouri stay her hand in her unhallowed persecutions against the Saints; if not, I restrain you not any longer; I say in the name of Jesus Christ, I this day turn the key that opens the heavens to restrain you no longer from this time forth. I will lead you to battle, if you are not afraid to die and feel disposed to spill your blood in your own defense you will not offend me. Be not the aggressor; bear until they strike on the one cheek, offer the other and they will be sure to strike that, then defend yourselves and God shall bear you off. Will any part of Illinois say we shall not have our rights, treat them as strangers and not friends and let them go to Hell. Say some, we will mob you and be damned, if I under the necessity of giving up our charted rights, privileges and freedom which our fathers fought, bled and died for, and which the Constitution of the United States and this state guarantee unto us, I will do it at the point of the bayonet and sword.”

“. . . Furthermore if Missouri continues her warfare and continues to issue her writs against me and this people unlawfully and unjustly, as they have done and our rights are trampled upon and they take away my rights, I swear with uplifted hands to heaven I will spill my blood in its defense. They shall not take away our rights and if they don’t stop leading me by the nose, I will lead them by the nose; and if they don’t let me alone, I will turn up the world. I will make war. When we shake our own bushes, we want to catch our own fruit.” ’

Oh how weak is man


Rosamond Jacob,

‘I went to Suffolk St to ask if there was anything I could do. D. Macardle was there. She told me there was a Red Cross place over in Gloucester St, so I went there, where the republicans were in the hotels with the windows full of sandbags, and found a Trade Union place called Tara hall, full of girls making bandages. They showed me how, and I worked there till dinner time. Two wounded civilians were brought in to be attended to in the next room; one was a man who seemed to think he was pretty bad and required a lot of shirts. There was a lot of firing in the streets and a tremendous explosion once that broke the glass in one window. Some of the girls were the C. Na mB. type that loved the whole thing in a horrible way.

After dinner I knocked against Mme. McB. [Maud Gonne McBride] in the street and found she was trying to get some women together to go to both sides’ leaders and talk sense to them - so I brought her to the IIL committee at 122A and she raked us all (except Mrs Richardson) over to the Mansion House to see what the Lord Mayor was doing. He said the Four Courts surrender had altered things and there was no knowing more till the next day nor wouldn’t be much fighting till the next day, and we had better come back in the morning. So we went home and Madame started to search the hospitals for Sean. She was only just home from Paris (where she had gone on a mission for the provisional government) that morning.’

Galvanised by debate


Dorothy Dix,

‘Left Paris for battlefields, going out by the gate by which the French troops (35000 in number) were rushed to the front when the Germans got within 13 miles of the city. They went in taxicabs 3 abreast - The first place we stopped was Senlis, a quaint little town with narrow streets & creamy white old stone houses. It was an unarmed town & no resistance was made yet nevertheless the Germans blew up almost half of the houses, with dynamite & took the Mayor & 21 of the most prominent citizens & lined them up against a wall & shot them. It happened that the Mayors father was mayor of Senlis during the German occupancy of the town in the Franco Prussian wall [sic: war] & he also was shot in the same way[.] So one woman had the tragic fate of having both husband & son murdered by the Germans. We then went on to Soissons where some of the fiercest fighting of the whole war took place. It changed hands three times. Its beautiful cathedral & public buildings are ruins, & more than half its houses heaps of stones.

All afternoon we drove thro’ the devasted [sic] region that stretches from Soissons to Rheims, stopping at Chemin des Dames where from the rise of a little hill we could see the whole battle field, & at Berry-au-Bac on the Aisne canal where 500 Scotch troops who were standing with fixed bayonets waiting the order to charge were blown up by a mine the Germans had laid. It was 8 miles away & the explosion left a crater 400 feet across – We were on the scene of the greatest struggle in history[,] for here for 4 years the war swayed back & forth – every inch of ground was fought over a hundred times, every clod was dyed in blood. The terrain is still filled with shell holes & trenches until it looks like a rabbit warren. You can not walk across it for the barbed wire. We picked up hands full of shells & cartridge belts, so rotten they fell apart in your hands at a touch. Miss R. to the horror of the guide came calmly marching in with an unexploded hand grenade. There is no sign of the life that once went on here in times of peace for every village every human habitation was swept away by the bloody tide that rolled over it, yet it is not as desolate as you may suppose for over it all is the rank luxurious growth you see in cemeteries, & the whole plain was a mass of bloom – red of poppies, blue of wild larkspur, white of daisies as if nature spread the tricolor of France over her sons who were sleeping beneath the sod they gave their lives to save.

We staid the night at Rheims & saw the sunset gild the ruins of the splendid cathedral that it took the genius & piety of two centuries to create & that devils destroyed in two minutes. You grow impotent with rage when you behold the infamy that swept away from the world a thing of beauty that can never be replaced. Half of the houses in Rheims were destroyed, & in the whole city only 200 buildings escaped some injury. As we walked slowly back to the hotel we passed what had once been a fashionable restaurant but is now a crumbling heap of stones. In the court there was the gleam of [word crossed out: what] a broken & ruined marble fountain, & back of it fluttered a few rags of family wash belonging to some people who had taken refuge in the empty wine cellar, & were making their poor home there.’

A day of adventure


Richard E. Byrd,

‘12:30 Dawn is here very beautiful over horizon.
2:00 Clouds are right up to us. Nothing seen below for 10 hours.
3:30 Ice began to form.
5:00 Dense fog that can’t climb out of. Terribly dangerous. No water yet.
5 (?) [sic] Haven’t seen water or land for 13 hours.
9:00 Can see water now
10:30 Things at last are pleasant.
12:30 Taking longer than I thought to get to land.’

Flying over the Poles


John F. Kennedy,

‘General Eisenhower has taken a great hold on the hearts of all the British people ... At the fall of Tunis in Africa back in 1943, a parade was held of all the forces that had brought the African campaign to a successful conclusion. As the crack Eighth Army filed past, the Desert Rats, the Highland Division, the South Africans - all experienced and excellent troops - Eisenhower, as the supreme Commanding Officer, took the salute. He was heard to say after the Eighth had marched past, “To think that I, a boy from Abilene, Kansas, am the Commander of troops like those!” He never lost that humble way and therefore easily won the hearts of those with whom he worked. [. . .]

Churchill in his book ‘World Crisis’ brings out the same point - the terrific slaughter of the field officers of the British Army - two or three times higher than the Germans. They were always on the defensive in the dark days of ’15, ’16, and ’17, and they paid most heavily. The British lost one million of a population of forty million; the French, one million five hundred thousand of a population of thirty-eight million; and the Germans, one million five hundred thousand of a population of seventy million. This tremendous slaughter had its effect on British policy in the 30s when Chamberlain and Baldwin could not bring themselves to subject the young men of Britain to the same horrible slaughter again.’

JFK‘s diary strikes gold


Evelyn Waugh,

‘The television people came at 10 and stayed until 6.30. An excruciating day. They did not want a dialogue but a monologue. The whole thing is to be cut to five minutes in New York and shown at breakfast-time. They filmed everything including the poultry. The impresario kept producing notes from his pocket: ‘Mr Waugh, it is said here that you are irascible and reactionary. Will you please say something offensive?’ So I said: ‘The man who has brought this apparatus to my house asks me to be offensive. I am sorry to disappoint him.’ ‘Oh, Mr Waugh, please, that will never do. I have a reputation. You must alter that.’ I said later, not into the machine: ‘You expect rather a lot for $100.’ ‘Oh, I don’t think there is any question of payment.’ ’

Waugh’s appalling diaries


Philip Toynbee,

‘Yesterday my worst depression for more than a year. Stirrings at lunchtime - always the worst of the day - carefully kept in order as we drove to Gloucester. But seeing Emily at Coney Hill, among those wrecks of old men and women, almost made me break down then and there: not at all the place for such a display. ‘Who are these?’ asked the black staff nurse. ‘These are my old master and mistress,’ said Em, proudly. ‘Your friends, Em!’ I said, knowing that this had to be said, but hearing the dreadful hollowness of those words. ‘One of the family,’ we used to say: and so did she. But also our hard-working paid servant: at the going rate.

By the time we got home I was weighed down by that heavy lassitude, that aching exhaustion which I used to know so well. I tried to meditate; but the effort was too great. I tried to pray, but all I could say was ‘Lord, have mercy, lord have mercy, lord have mercy, lord have mercy . . .’

Because I left off my anti-depressant pills? Perhaps it’s a foolish kind of pride to hate that dependance so much. Perhaps God also works through Ludomil. He certainly works through my wife, whose hand in mine is the only effective anti-depressant that I know.’

Toynbee and depression


Woodrow Wyatt,

‘Margaret was introduced into the Lords today. The house was absolutely packed. I have never seen it so full. I managed to find a seat on the Opposition side, high up, because it all has to be rearranged when the introduction ceremony is on. Then pretty Baroness Hollis (Labour) came in to squeeze in beside me. She said, “Do you mind?” l said, “I never mind sitting next to a pretty girl.”

When Margaret came in, it was like a lioness entering into what she must realize is something of a cage. She was very dignified, fairly pretty but not quite as pretty as usual. When the ceremony finally finished and she shook hands with the Lord Chancellor on the way out, a very substantial “Hear, hear,” went up twice all round the chamber from all sides. They are looking forward to the fireworks.

She then came back without her robes, wearing a very attractive black dress and a beautiful diamond brooch, large, and sat where all the Tory Prime Ministers sit on the bench nearest the lobby, just apart from the normal Ministers’ front bench. She listened with great interest, particularly to Lord Stoddart asking why we couldn’t have a referendum on Maastricht. At one moment I looked across at her from where I was sitting on the crossbenches and she saw me and I blew her a kiss and she smiled very sweetly.

In the lobby outside was Denis Thatcher and his family, all very enthusiastic, saying what a great honour it was, which was piffle because it isn’t an honour at all for her to go into the Lords like any other life baroness. It was very mean of Number 10 not to arrange for her to become a life countess.’

Blatant self-seekers


Paul K. Lyons,

‘On the phone, Andrew told me about the saga of The Balfour Declaration. The package of papers put together for sale at Sothebys in New York on 16 June went for over $800.000. However, Aviva Simon’s estate, for whom Andrew and I did the clearance, has been heavily involved in trying to claw back some of the value. There was an attempt, as I understand it, to bring an injunction to stop the auction, but that didn’t succeed, and then Sotheby’s suggested a 50:50 split between the vendor (Weisman, I think) and the Aviva Simon estate, but the vendor was having none of that. And now there’s a legal battle under way, in which the Aviva Simon estate (relying heavily on Andrew’s testimony and paperwork) is trying to prove that Weisman only bought the Simon books, not the papers - and it’s the papers that made up the Balfour Declaration lot. There were apparently two receipts, one handwritten by Andrew which did not mention papers, and a second, months later asked for by Weisman, typed up and on headed notepaper. For this second receipt, Weisman asked for the list of contents to be changed to include ‘papers’. Or so the story goes. The Aviva Simon estate is concerned about the way Weisman obtained the second receipt. Although it does seem clear that Weisman did know of the Balfour Declaration papers by the time he asked for the second receipt, it’s not clear that he knew they were there when he bought them from us for £3,000. I’m not sure what will happen, but it may be a question of one side calling the bluff of the other. I mean David could ask for a police prosecution, and Weisman might prefer not to have to bother with dealing with that; on the other, David might be told by the police to bog off; or Weisman might be prepared to brazen it out.’

How I saved the Balfour papers!


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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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