And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

24 November

Roger Wilbraham,

‘Patrick Crosby that connyng pilot of Ireland that parlied with Desmond, father Archer, legate, Donogh McCragh, capten Terril, Mcdonogh, Knight of Kerry, &; used by the late president as a spy, brought this: 1 - that Ireland was lost &; saving townes and castels all at the rebels will: that no meanes but famyne to constraine them to loyalti: &; that must be by taking their cattall and hindering the seedes &; harvest and burning ther corne: that it now apereth Englishe soldiers are good onlie to garrizon &; to make incursions wher they may retorne to harbour with 40 howres: &; not able to make long marches nor to want ther lodginge &; good diett, &; that it will now troble England to send over 40,000 men which (being now unwilling to goe into Ireland) will not suffice to make recovery of Ireland.’

Some great calamitie


Abel Janszoon Tasman,
sailor and explorer

‘Good weather and a clear sky. At noon Latitude observed 42° 25', Longitude 163° 31'; course kept east by north, sailed 30 miles; the wind south-westerly and afterwards from the south with a light top-gallant breeze. In the afternoon about 4 o’clock we saw land bearing east by north of us at about 10 miles distance from us by estimation; the land we sighted was very high; towards evening we also saw, east-south-east of us, three high mountains, and to the north-east two more mountains, but less high than those to southward; we found that here our compass pointed due north. In the evening in the first glass after the watch had been set, we convened our ship’s council with the second mate’s and represented to them whether it would not be advisable to run farther out to sea; we also asked their advice as to the time when it would be best to do so, upon which it was unanimously resolved to run out to sea at the expiration of three glasses, to keep doing so for the space of ten glasses, and after this to make for the land again; all of which may in extenso be seen from today’s resolution to which we beg leave to refer. During the night when three glasses had run out the wind turned to the south-east; we held off from shore and sounded in 100 fathom, fine white sandy bottom with small shells; we sounded once more and found black coarse sand with pebbles; during the night we had a south-east wind with a light breeze.’

The discovery of Tasmania


Claver Morris,

‘Mr. Hillard the Apothecary came to desire me to go to that vicious Woman Mrs. Franklin dangerously Ill of the Small-Pox; But I refus’d to have anything to do with her.’

Cough, spitting, and fever


Mary Shelley,

‘Read Greek, Villani, and Spanish with M. . . . Pacchiani in the evening. A rainy and cloudy day.’

Write. Read Homer


Richard Lander,

‘Paid my respects to the sultan in the morning; remained with him upwards of an hour; and on leaving, he said in a feeling tone, shaking hands with me at the same time, “Good bye, little Christian; God take you safe to Soccatoo.” He sent a letter by me to my master, and desired me to give his compliments to the king of the Mussulmans (sultan Bello, who was invariably designated by that appellation). On returning to my house, found Hadji Hat Sallah waiting for me. He told me it was necessary I should take the whole of my master’s money, which consisted of 212,000 cowries, to him. As this could not be done conveniently without a camel, I purchased one for 62,000 cowries.’

Lander in West Africa


Emily Brontë,

‘I fed Rainbow, Diamond Snowflake Jasper pheasant (alias) this morning Branwell went down to Mr. Driver’s and brought news that Sir Robert Peel was going to be invited to stand for Leeds Anne and I have been peeling apples for Charlotte to make us an apple pudding and for Aunt nuts and apples Charlotte said she made puddings perfectly and she was of a quick but limited intellect. Taby said just now Come Anne pilloputate (i.e. pill a potato) Aunt has come into the kitchen just now and said where are your feet Anne Anne answered On the floor Aunt papa opened the parlour door and gave Branwell a letter saying here Branwell read this and show it to your Aunt and Charlotte - The Gondals are discovering the interior of Gaaldine Sally Mosley is washing in the back kitchen

It is past Twelve o’clock Anne and I have not tidied ourselves, done our bedwork or done our lessons and we want to go out to play we are going to have for Dinner Boiled Beef, Turnips, potatoes and applepudding. The Kitchin is in a very untidy state Anne and I have not done our music exercise which consists of b major Taby said on my putting a pen in her face Ya pitter pottering there instead of pilling a potate I answered O Dear, O Dear, O dear I will directly with that I get up, take a knife and begin pilling (finished) pilling the potatoes papa going to walk Mr. Sunderland expected.

Anne and I say I wonder what we shall be like and what we shall be and where we shall be if all goes on well in the year 1874 - in which year I shall be in my 54th year Anne will be going in her 55th year Branwell will be going in his 58th year And Charlotte in her 59th year hoping we shall all be well at that time we close our paper’

Emily Brontë peels apples


John Everett Millais,

‘Painted on brick wall. Mr. Taylor and his son (an old acquaintance of mine at Ewell), in the army, and six feet, came to see me. Both he and his father got double barrels; pheasant in son’s pocket. They saw my pictures, expressed pleasure, and in leaving presented me with cock bird. Lemprières came. The parents and Miss thought my pictures beautiful. I walked with them to the gate at the bottom of the park, and there met Emma and Mrs. B_ out of breath. They had driven after the captain, also to see my landscape. Offered to show them again, but the father would not permit the trouble. Parted, promising to spend Christmas with them. Tried to resume painting. All then took usual walk. Hunt, during day, had a letter containing offer for his picture of ‘Proteus.’ He wrote accepting it. . .’

At work on Ophelia


Maria Mitchell,

‘Yesterday James Freeman Clarke, the biographer of Margaret Fuller [a journalist and editor associated American transcendentalism, and an advocate of women’s rights], came into the Atheneum. It was plain that he came to see me and not the institution. . . He rushed into talk at once, mostly on people, and asked me about my astronomical labors. As it was a kind of flattery, I repaid it in kind by asking him about Margaret Fuller. He said she did not strike any one as a person of intellect or as a student, for all her faculties were kept so much abreast that none had prominence. I wanted to ask if she was a lovable person, but I did not think he would be an unbiassed judge, she was so much attached to him.’

Two nebulae in Leo


Roger Casement,

‘Arr. 9.55. Antonio Cruz came on wharf and will come Sunday 8 a.m. Saw some big ones on Indian boys and then up ladder at top a young Spaniard with huge soft big one under blue pants. At my corner the lovely 6 foot young Inca policeman and his up at full half cock! Simply enormous, all down left thigh and thick too - fully 71⁄2 and huge testeminhos too. I now am sure of the Indians! Many letters from Mrs Green and others. Saw the Cholo policeman again going to lunch and it was huge, half down his thigh and he 6 foot and lovely. Then the small policeman passed and his too enormous. Then Paredes young Editor also very big. José came at 3.15 looking very nice and it was half up and showed big. Gave 5/8 for Spanish boo. Saw the young policeman while talking to José and it was simply huge. Both pure Cholos.’

Casement’s black reputation


Alex Babine,

‘Was fortunate enough to get the address of a peasant woman in Monastyrka that sold me 10 lbs. of onions for only forty rubles. It was a three-mile long jubilation to carry them home on my back in a gunnysack, without risk of confiscation, onions being an article the Soviets have forgotten to nationalize.

Jailed for making soap


Edward Weston,

‘Sunday in the “Secretaria” patio I made two dozen Graflex negatives of Diego Rivera. As yet they remain undeveloped. Also started an undertaking which I have already given up, that of copying his work for reproduction in a book to be published about him in Germany. It looms as too great a task without ample renumeration, which is uncertain. There are some who feel that Diego’s work is too calculated, too entirely a product of his brain. For me it is emotional as well as intellectual. For a man to paint murals twelve hours a day - sometimes even sixteen hours at a stretch - and day after day working quite as a day-laborer might, not awaiting “mood” or “inspiration”, it is amazing to me how much feeling he attains in his work. Only a man of great physical strength, possessed of a brilliant mind and a big heart as well, could have done what Diego has.

Yesterday I felt, as I have before, the preoccupation of his work. Direct questions were often entirely unheard, his eyes would be utterly oblivious to surroundings - then suddenly he would start out of himself, break into a broad, genial smile, and for a few moments Diego the dreamer was gone.’

Lost behind my camera


Albert James Sylvester,
civil servant

‘My fiftieth birthday today. God help me and mine. In looking back across half a century, help me, God, to see the mistakes and my follies, and in the future help me to trust in Thee more and give me health and strength, wisdom and determination to achieve something worth while for my fellow men, as well as for myself and to Thy honour. Help me to be effective.’

He is a very great man


Ronald Reagan,

‘Big thing of the day was 2 hour meeting in the situation room on the Iran affair. George S. is still stubborn that we shouldn't have sold the arms to Iran - I gave him an argument. All in all we got everything out on the table. After meeting Ed [Meese, attorney general] & Don [Regan] told me of a smoking gun. On one of the arms shipments the Iranians pd. Israel a higher purchase price than we were getting. The Israelis put the difference in a secret bank acct. Then our Col. [Oliver] North (NSC) gave the money to the ‘Contras’. This was a violation of the law against giving the Contras money without an authorization by Congress. North didn't tell me about this. Worst of all John [Poindexter] found out about it & didn’t tell me. This may call for resignations.’

Poindexter, Reagan and Bush


Paul Gambaccini,
writer and broadcaster

‘The Beeb wants to drop me from its forthcoming series The Life Of Rock With Brian Pern, even though I have already filmed my contribution and been paid.

I have given the BBC 40 years of service. I may or may not return to radio, but I will never again feel as close to the BBC as I did for decades.

Although I am annoyed, I am furious at my excision from the ITV show The Nation’s Favourite Elvis Song. I phone Jimmy Tarbuck, who actually met Elvis. ‘Jimmy, you won’t believe it,’ I say, telling him what happened.

‘I do believe it,’ he replies. ‘They’ve cut me out of the same programme.’ Neither of us has been charged with anything. I make a mental memo to award ITV the Tiny Testicles of 2013 prize when this is all over.’

Happy birthday, Gambaccini


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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.