And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

4 March

1690
Elizabeth Freke,
landowner

‘Mr Frek left me and went away again for Ireland, I nott knowing of itt above two days before, to endeavour the getting of his estat, tho given away by King James to Owen Maccarty. My Husband being then outtlawed for an absentee had all his estate of above 700 pounds a yeare with all his stock and good given away by the said kinge and his greatt house att Rathbarry burnt down by the Irish to preventt its being made a garrison, as itt had held outt on nine months for King Charls the First by Captaine Arthur Frek, my husbands father.’

Elizabeth Freke’s misfortunes

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1839
Gideon Mantell,
doctor and fossil hunter

‘August Received the sum of £4000 from the trustees of the British Museum for my collection. And so passes away the labor of 25 years!!! G. A. MANTELL. But I will begin de novo!’

Gideon Mantell - geologist

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1881
King Kalakaua,
sovereign

‘We arrived in Yokohama at 8 a.m. March 4th 1881. Having had a passage of 24 days from San Francisco weather heavy most of the way. . . . The harbor was studded with vessels of different nationalities War and Merchant vessels. . . . Those having saluting batteries fired 21 guns each Japanese Russian and French. Two Japanese Officers in uniform boarded the Oceanica waited for the arrival of the Admiral. Then came Mr. R. W. Irwin Acting Hawaiian Consul General with Mr. D. W. Stevens Secretary to the American Legation immediately followed. . . . After breakfast Mr. Irwin announced the arrival of Commissioners from the Emperor to receive us and after the presentation of the members consisting of Junii Hachisuka Ex Daimio, Mr. Ishabashi Secretary Foreign Department Vice Governor Isogi of Kanagawa and Admiral Natamuta of the Imp. Jap. Navy we left the ship amid the hearty cheers of the Officers Passengers and Crew of the ‘Oceanica’. The Admiral’s launch conveying us to the Admiralty Office Landing, where we were met by other Deputations sent by the Emperor to receive us. . . . On landing, a Detachment of soldiers and marines paid the usual honors, the Marine Band playing the Kamehameha Hymn or Hawaiian National Anthem. After a short detention of an hour in receiving the presentations of the Naval Officers of the Japanese fleet in the harbor, we drove to the Emperor’s Marine Resident Junii Hachisuka escorting us in the first carriage and the others of the party following in the second and third carriages.

At 11 1/2 a.m. His Imperial Highness Prince Higashifushiminomiya arrived, welcoming us in the name of the Emperor as his guest. Arrangements was [sic] then made for our reception by the Emperor of Japan to take place the next day Saturday the 5th.’

The king of Hawaii in Japan

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1909
Leonard Woolf,
civil servant and writer

‘Another case of rinderpest but again out of the isolated contacts. There are now 4 isolated contacts left. In the evening I went down to the Maha Lewaya and released the 230 bulls there. I have had them in quarantine since February 18th and the Stock Inspector considered it safe to let them to go yesterday but I thought I would keep them an extra day. Great rejoicing among the carters who told me that in future they would obey any order I gave them, so I told them they had better prove what they said by going away and removing salt for two months from Bundala. 32 carts immediately left for Bundala, at least so they said.’

Woolf on rinderpest and salt

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1949
Derk Bodde,
historian

‘It is now thirty-two days since the People’s Army marched into Peking. Following the spate of meetings, parades, and congratulatory messages of the first two weeks, changes of a more concrete nature are beginning to make themselves felt. The honeymoon seems over.

Physically, conditions continue to return to normal. The enormous piles of unsightly refuse which had accumulated in the streets during the siege are gradually being carted away. The reopening of the Palace Museum, and probably of many other parks and museums, is promised within a week. Already the city wall is open as a promenade to those who wish to use it. From its top the evidences of destruction wrought by Peking’s former defenders are clearly apparent: on the wall itself, in the tunnels and piles of brick and earth remaining from hundreds of dugouts and gun emplacements; beyond the wall, in the gray waste of razed buildings which circle the city in a belt several hundred yards wide. Of these, only heaps of rubble now remain, from which boys are gradually carrying away the bricks on their backs. At one or two places a start has been made at rebuilding, but for the most part the scene is one of bleak desolation.

On the production front the papers are filled these days, quite à la Russe, with enthusiastic accounts of how the workers are rehabilitating industry to a point equal to, or even higher than, its presiege level. Improving communications are making it possible for thousands of refugees to return to their homes, helped by free transportation and grain allotments from the government. It was inspiring to revisit the Temple of Confucius a few days ago and compare its present stately calm with the former scene of refugee squalor, misery, and confusion. Almost the last evidences of that unhappy time are the piles of refuse now being carted away in preparation for its formal reopening a few days hence. Voids remain, however, where doors, windows, and furniture used to be all burned as firewood during the siege. [. . .]

Newspapers have suffered a high mortality, at least seven having been closed in Peking, including that to which I had subscribed, the World Daily News. [. . .]

During the past few weeks, however, I have concluded that the integrity of the press depends on more than simply the number of its papers, important though this may be. It does not greatly matter, after all, if a city possesses one, two, or five papers, provided they all print essentially the same news derived from the same source. As a matter of fact, what can be said of the press here in China can also be made to apply, in some respects, to the American press: too many American cities maintain only one paper, too many papers depend for news solely on a single news agency, too many Americans read the same feature columns syndicated throughout the country. The real difference between America and Communist China, however, can be summed up in a sentence: a speech by Mao Tse-tung has a fair chance of being at least partially reported in America; a Truman speech has no chance at all of being printed in Communist China, unless it suits the purpose of the authorities to permit it.

Most disturbing act of thought control is the February 27 order halting all further news activities of Peking’s foreign correspondents. Though only seventeen persons are affected (Australian, Swiss, Swedish, and Dutch, as well as American), the order in effect means the complete cessation of news (other than over the Communist radio) from Communist China to the outside world, since Peking is the only city in North China in which foreign correspondents are stationed. The same order bans the further circulation here of the US Information Service news bulletins, both Chinese and English, thus leaving the short-wave radio (for those who have one) as the only ‘free’ organ of information from the outside world.

It is difficult to see the justification for a step which, in its sweeping inclusiveness, transcends anything attempted even in Soviet Russia. The official explanation is that of ‘conditions during the present state of military activity.’ The Progressive Daily goes a good bit further by beginning its February 28 editorial with the words: ‘Though among foreign correspondents in China good ones are certainly not wholly lacking, in the final analysis most of them are stupid and are rotten eggs.’ As illustration it cites the unfortunate AP and UP dispatches describing the Communist entry of Peking. If these are the real causes for the present step, the Communists could have attained their objectives equally well either by expelling the two correspondents directly involved or by imposing general censorship. Though either step would have undoubtedly aroused criticism abroad, neither could have been as disastrous as the present move, the only practical effect of which is to close the mouths of the new regime’s potential friends abroad, strengthen its enemies, and make more difficult the re-establishment of those diplomatic and commercial ties from which the Chinese Communists themselves stand to benefit.’

Rotten eggs in Peking

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1950
Joe Randolph Ackerley,
writer

‘Never a dull moment, I think to myself when I look back over four years with Queenie. What a rare thing to be able to say of any relationship.

That is why one is never free from anxiety and fear. Life is so insecure. Happiness is so insecure. At any moment, some disaster. Now, travelling to Notts., I look at my watch and say, “She’s having a fine walk on Wimbledon Common with Nancy.” Then I think, Perhaps at this very moment she has been run over and is screaming in her death agony.

Georges [DuthuitJ said of dogs: “How sad and frustrating for them: never quite able to say, to convey, what they wish and try to convey.” Georges also said, about women: “Each one believes herself to be the centre of the cosmos.” ’

Ackerley and his women

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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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