And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

1 March

1612
Richard Boyle,
landowner and politician

‘I agreed with mason John Hamon to fynish my outward gate of my house in yoghall & the chymney in my perler there; the stones being all hewed and made fytt before by my Irish mason; for which I paid him [. . .]’

The Great Earl of Cork

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1753
Ralph Jackson,
landowner

‘In the morning I went to Mary Davison’s and got my Sassifras Tea then I came to our house & got a little milk. After breakfast I went into the Office and wrote some Receipts, ordered the fire Coal deliver’d to sundry people. I took a walk upon the Key & sat in Mr Akenheads shop awhile, after this I went for some fish herbs upon the Sandhill to Mrs Barfields for some Vinegar, I also went into Office and wrote over Mr Cuffley’s Accot., Mr Cuffley & Jno Campion dined at our house. . .’

Apprentice Hostman and squire

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1765
George Croghan,
tradesman and Indian negotiator

‘Six Senecas Indians came here, from one of the Shawanese Towns & inform’d me, as follows - That the deputation from the Shawanese & Delawares, which were sent last Summer, to the Ilinois to Councel with the French & Indians in that Country, were returned, that they had been well recd by the French, who, on their arrival, clothed them & told them, they would supply them, with every necessary they wanted, to carry on the War agst the English; & would send Traders with them, to their Towns, when they shou’d set out. That they had held a Council with nine Indian Nations, settled on the Ouabache & in the Ilinois Country, who all Engaged to support them, with their whole Force, should they continue the War against the English. That on those Deputys return to the plains of Siota & being informed of the Terms, of accommodation agreed on by their Nations (during their absence) with Colonel Boquet, they then in Council with the Sandusky & Seneca Indians, agreed to abide by their People’s Engagements, & perform the whole in their part, provided the English wou’d open a free Trade & intercourse with them, & supply them with Ammunition, Goods, & Rum, as usual & not prohibit the Sale of Powder & Liquors, as they had done before the late difference happened. These Indians farther said, the Shawanese had sent a Message to the French Traders, who were then following them to their Towns, to return home - (I much doubted the Truth of this) & that they had sent a Message, likewise, to the Nine Nations in that Country acquainting them, that they were about accommodating matters with the English, & desiring them to sit still, ‘till they heard farther from them in the Spring.’

Pioneering in Pennsylvania

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1811
Henry Martyn,
missionary

Called on Sir J Mackintosh, and found his conversation, as it is generally said to be, very instructive and entertaining. He thought that the world would be soon Europeanized, in order that the gospel might spread over the world. He observed that caste was broken down in Egypt, and the oriental world made Greek, by the successors of Alexander, in order to make way for the religion of Christ. He thought that little was to be apprehended, and little hoped for, from the exertions of missionaries. Called at General Malcolm’s, and though I did not find him at home, was very well rewarded for my trouble in getting to his house, by the company of Mr _, lately from R_. Dined at Parish’s, with a party of some very amiable and well-behaved young men. What a remarkable difference between the old inhabitants of India, and the new comers. This is owing to the number of religious families in England.

My unprofitable life

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1840
Edward Hodges Cree,
surgeon

‘We have been getting on well till two days ago when we had a dead calm we lost our poor Corporal of Marines, Copperwhite, who died from acute rheumatism, which suddenly left his limbs and attacked his brain - delirium and coma ended in death. He was one of the best men in the ship, sober and obliging and hard-working. His body was committed to the deep this day.’

Pirate hunting expedition

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1905
August Strindberg,
playwright

‘Awoke by seeing a bedbug on my quilt, which I killed.’

H-t was with me

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1924
C. S. Lewis,
writer

‘I spent most of the morning in the kitchen cutting up turnips and peeling onions for D, and then went for an hour’s walk in the fields. After lunch and jobs I took Euripides from his shelf for the first time this many a day, with some idea of reading a Greek play every week end (when I am not writing) so as to keep up my Greek. I began the Heracleidae. Coming back to Greek tragedy after so long an absence I was greatly impressed with its stiffness and rumness and also thought the choruses strangely prosaic. The effort to represent a scuffle between Iolaus and the Herald is intolerably languid. After the first shock, however, I enjoyed it.’

For Mrs Moore

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1976
Tony Benn,
politician

‘Went to the House and couldn’t decide whether to vote for compulsory seat belts. I thought it was a form of tyranny that would make me look a Stalinist. But I rang Caroline and she said, “Think of the babies, the children would all want to, and lives might be saved.” So I voted in favour and it was carried by a huge majority.’

The hopes of the Left

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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.