And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

21 March

1683
John Evelyn,
writer

‘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

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1736
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

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1897
Isabella Augusta Persse Gregory,
playwright

‘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

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1917
Alex Sabine,
writer

‘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

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1974
Seán Ó Ríordáin,
writer

‘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

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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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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

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