And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

21 March

John Evelyn,

‘Dr. Tenison preached at Whitehall on 1 Cor., vi. 12; I esteem him to be one of the most profitable preachers in the Church of England, being also of a most holy conversation, very learned and ingenious. The pains he takes and care of his parish will, I fear, wear him out, which would be an inexpressible loss.’

Modesty, prudence, piety


Charles Wesley,
priest and evangelist

‘Mr Oglethorpe had ordered, more often than once, that no man should shoot on a Sunday. Germain had been committed to the guard-room for it in the morning, but was, upon his submission, released. In the midst of the sermon a gun was fired. Davison, the constable, ran out, and found it was the Doctor; told him it was contrary to orders, and he was obliged to desire him to come to the officer. Upon this the Doctor flew into a great passion, and said, ‘What, do you not know that I am not to be looked upon as a common fellow?’ Not knowing what to do, the constable went, and returned, after consulting with Hermsdorf, with two centinels, and brought him to the guard-room. Hereupon M. H. charged and fired a gun; and then ran thither, like a mad woman, crying she had shot, and would be confined too. The constable and Hermsdorf persuaded her to go away. She cursed and swore in the utmost transport of passion, threatening to kill the first man that should come near her. Alas, my brother! what has become of thy hopeful convert?

In the afternoon, while I was talking in the street with poor Catherine, her mistress came up to us, and fell upon me with the utmost bitterness and scurrility; saying she would blow me up, and my brother, whom she once thought honest, but was now undeceived: that I was the cause of her husband's confinement; but she would be revenged, and expose my hypocrisy, my prayers four times a day, by beat of drum, and abundance more, which I cannot write, and thought no woman, though taken from Drurylane, could have spoken. I only said, I pitied her, but defied all she or the devil could do; for she could not hurt me. I was strangely preserved from passion, and at parting told her that, I hoped she would soon come to a better mind. [. . .]

At night I was forced to exchange my usual bed, the ground, for a chest, being almost speechless through a violent cold.’

Hymn writer in sex scandal


Thomas Raikes,

‘The general fast-day for the cholera. The political unions tried to excite a tumult in the city, but failed. Upon the whole, the day was observed with much decency; the churches were well attended, the shops shut up, and the streets even more quiet than on a Sunday.’

A mania for gossip


Susan B. Anthony,
social reformer

[Washington] Called on Mrs. Melvin a friend of Mrs. Rose, a member of the M.E. Church South. We talked on the Slavery question, she called the relation between master & slave, a Patriarchial one, said Slavery is a humane institution. My blood chilled in my veins at the thought of a professed Christian, thus so entirely losing sight of the great principle of love, the Golden Rule.

Called at Gerritt Smith’s about two Oclock, Mrs. Smith alone, had a very pleasant chat with her, on the right of every individual to his own belief.

To day the Nebraska Bill in the House was referred to the Com. on the Whole by a vote of 110 to 65, thought to be virtually, death to the Bill.

Miss Miner of the Colored Girls School called on us after dinner a very interesting enthusiastic nature, expressed herself interested in the Woman’s Rights question. 

Mrs. Rose spoke in Carusis Saloon to a small audience, not exceeding 100, 40 tickets only were sold, thus $10 was the amount of receipts.

The smallness of the audience was attributable to the fact that the subject has never been agitated here, Lucy Stone spoke last January to a small audience, had a rainy night. Mrs. R’s subject the Educational & Social Rights of Woman.’

See slavery as it is


Isabella Augusta Persse Gregory,

‘Got to church, & had a quiet afternoon typing from Froude - only the Birchs - Dinner, Rt. Hon. Horace Plunkett [an Anglo-Irish unionist, MP, and an agricultural reformer], Mr Barry O’Brien, W. B. Yeats - some very interesting talk - Mr O’Brien arrived first - & said he wd be so glad to meet Mr Plunkett - as all sections of Nationalists of late have been agreeing that he is the only possible leader to unite all parties - Yeats, just back from Dublin, corroborates this - He has been trying to reconcile conflicting committees re the ’98 Centenary [events to mark the centenary of the 1798 uprising] - but there is a great deal of squabbling - He says “every man who has time on his hands & a little industry has a secret society of his own” - Then Mr Plunkett came & we went up to dinner - a little tentative conversation at first - Then Mr Plunkett [said] his grudge against Parnellism is that Parnell so mastered & dominated his followers as to crush national life instead of developing it, as has happened when there has been a national awakening in other countries [. . . Mr O’Brien] says “I would make Mr Horace Plunkett our leader & follow him” - Yeats agrees enthusiastically & says “we all want it” - Mr Plunkett reddens & is evidently touched, tho’

Yeats very charming


Raja Varma,

‘We are glad to hear that our eldest cousin’s state of health is not now so serious as it was some time before. He is now undergoing treatment at Kilimanur at the hand of Chiruttaman Moos the younger. He wants us to return home soon, but we are in a dilemma.’

Painting with brother


Nicholas II
, emperor

‘Today Kerensky, the present minister of Justice, came. He went through all the rooms and wanted to see us. He talked to me for five minutes. He introduced the new Palace commander and then left. He ordered the arrest of poor Anna and took her to the city together with Lili Dehn. This happened between 3 and 4 o’clock while I was walking. The weather was disgusting and it corresponded to our mood. Marie and Anastasia slept almost all day. After dinner the four of us calmly passed the evening away with Olga and Tatiana.’

Hope remains above all


Mary Fuller,

‘Rummaging in my trunk this evening, among faded love-letters and erstwhile emblems I found two of my baby photos. What a queer pollywog I was! but as they say homely children make handsome grown-ups, there is hope for me yet.’

What happened to Mary


Alex Babine,

‘At Nikolsk the liberals - social revolutionaries - are forcing themselves to the fore in matters of local administration. Old government officials are beginning to feel pressure from the oncoming disorderly tide. Teachers feel their positions threatened by anarchist inroads and do not know where to turn. I calmly ignore the new developments and attend to my work in utter disregard of what has happened in St. Petersburg.’

Jailed for making soap


Seán Ó Ríordáin,

‘I have been grasping for breath today and yesterday. Perhaps death is near. It doesn’t bother me in the least. I remember a fine, sunny day long ago in Clondrohid. I lived in Ballyvourney at the time, and cannot have been yet fifteen. I think my aunt Kathleen (now dead) was there. I don’t remember who else, but there were many. I got a spin in a large motor car that had no roof. The world was very airy. It is only a memory. Everyone is dead.’

I know my own death


Roy Jenkins,

‘I went to sec the King at Laeken from 9.45 to 10.30. He was looking much better after great back trouble all winter, with an operation and two months out of action. Today he seemed restored, although looking alone and isolated in the vast and rather dismal Palace of Laeken - redeemed only by its view. My state of health was not very good either, and a good third of the conversation was valetudinarian.

We also and inevitably talked about Europe. He was very keen to promote a budgetary solution acceptable to the British and made some very sensible remarks about how important it was to a country like Belgium that the basic European power matrix should be triangular rather than bipolar. We also discussed both British and Belgian internal politics a little and he claimed, though not in a dismissive or aggressive way, that the communal linguistic question was very much a matter of politicians rather than people. Whether he is right or not I do not know, but he is in a good position to judge.’

A fairly burdensome exercise


Paul K. Lyons,

‘CRISIS IN TWO INSTITUTIONS - ROYALTY AND MARRIAGE: Sarah Ferguson, dearly beloved of Prince Andrew and mother of Beatrice and Eugenie, direct descendants to the throne of Great Britain, has decided she can take no more. After a party lasting five years, after being a world star, she’s decided to quit. The Queen’s press secretary in talks with the palace correspondents quietly tried to blame Fergie but the tabloids called his bluff and ran headlines like - the Queen has the knives out for Fergie - and so on. Of course, the Queen couldn’t be seen to be saying such things, so the PR had to take it in the chin and apologise publicly to Queenie and Fergie. Of course, he only spoke what the palace believes, but the palace just couldn’t take all that stick. But there will be war now between Fergie and the Palace. She’ll demand lots and pots of lolly - after all if she’s to keep quiet and not accept $2m dollar for her story from an American publisher she’ll want reasonable compensation. Shame on her, I say, I’m with you Queenie; send her to Coventry; how dare she play around with the very history of our country as well as set such a poor example for the married folk of our society!’

The Queen and I


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And so made significant . . .
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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.