And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

14 October

1631
John Rous,
priest

‘Newes from Cambridge that there was a greate fight betweene the king of Sweden with the duke of Saxony, and Tilly on the other side. Tilly was taken, and is deade [this is incorrect, he died the following year]; his whole army dispersed, &c. The king carried the duke among the slaine, and asked him how he liked of it. The duke said it was a sad spectacle. “Well,” said the king, “all this you are the cause of; for, if you had not stood neuter at the first, this had beene prevented.” Tilly bewailed his unfortunatenes, since, he cruelly massacred them of Magdenburgh, which he did at the emperor’s especiall command. [. . .]

Cambridge is wonderously reformed since the plague there; schollers frequent not the streetes and tavernes as before; but doe worse.’

Newes from Cambridge

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1711
Jonathan Swift,
writer

‘I was going to dine with Dr. Cockburn, but Sir Andrew Fountaine met me, and carried me to Mrs. Van’s, where I drank the last bottle of Raymond’s wine, admirable good, better than any I get among the Ministry. I must pick up time to answer this letter of MD’s; I’ll do it in a day or two for certain. - I am glad I am not at Windsor, for it is very cold, and I won’t have a fire till November. I am contriving how to stop up my grate with bricks. Patrick was drunk last night; but did not come to me, else I should have given him t’other cuff. I sat this evening with Mrs. Barton; it is the first day of her seeing company; but I made her merry enough, and we were three hours disputing upon Whig and Tory. She grieved for her brother only for form, and he was a sad dog. Is Stella well enough to go to church, pray? no numbings left? no darkness in your eyes? do you walk and exercise? Your exercise is ombre. - People are coming up to town: the Queen will be at Hampton Court in a week. Lady Betty Germaine, I hear, is come; and Lord Pembroke is coming: his wife is as big with child as she can tumble.

Live ten times happier

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1831
Thomas Moore,
poet and singer

‘Spottiswoode and Harness to breakfast at Murray’s, for the purpose of consulting about the new edition of Byron. I have not myself come to any decisive explanation with him as to what my part or share in the business is to be. In one of my letters to him, from Sloperton, I had (in answer to his request that I would suggest what I thought useful towards the imdertaking) said, that, as far as the works were concerned, I thought a running commentary throughout, like that of Warton on Pope, would be the most attractive means of giving them freshness and novelty with the public; but adding, at the same time, that the task would be a very responsible one, particularly if it was a rhymer like me, who undertook to criticise such a poet. Harness very anxious that I should give him an epilogue for the tragedy he is bringing out. A good deal of talk about the projected edition of Byron, in which I saw that Harness took a great lead. Being obliged to leave them soon after breakfast, took Murray out of the room, and impressed upon him, that if I were to have anything to do with this concern it must be left all to myself without any other interference; he said ‘Certainly.’ [. . .]

To dinner at Sir Walter Scott’s (or rather Lockhart’s). On my way to dinner, with Murray, who took me, told him that I had made up my mind to be editor at all events, and that he might announce me as such; which seemed very much to please him. Was rather shocked at seeing and hearing Scott; both his looks and utterance, but particularly the latter, showing strongly the effects of paralysis. [. . .] On looking over at Scott once or twice, was painfully struck by the utter vacancy of his look. How dreadful if he should live to survive that mighty mind of his! It seems hardly right to assemble company round him in this state. Saw that I was doomed to sing. Mrs Lockhart began, and sung her wild song Achin Foane (as the words sound) to the harp with such effect on her Scotch hearers as made me a little despair of being listened to after her. I however succeeded very well, and was made to sing song after song till poor Scott’s time of going to bed; soon after which I came away. Mrs. Macleod also sang some Scotch duets with her sister. It is charming to see how Scott’s good temper and good nature continue unchanged through the sad wreck of almost every thing else that belonged to him. The great object in sending him abroad is to disengage his mind from the strong wish to write by which he is harmed; eternally making efforts to produce something without being able to bring his mind collectively to bear upon it. [. . .]

Called at the Speaker’s; saw both her and him, and he with much kindness asked me to his country place. When I expressed my wonder at his being able to hold out through all these long nights, he said it was all by not eating; if he had lived in his usual way he could not have borne it, but the want of exercise luckily took away his appetite, and this temperance saved him.’

Doomed to sing

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1857
George Templeton Strong,
lawyer

‘We have burst. All the banks declined paying specie this morning, with the ridiculous exception of the Chemical, which is a little private shaving-shop of the Joneses with no depositors but its own stockholders.

Wall Street has been palpitating uneasily all day, but the first effect of the suspension is, of course, to make men breathe more freely. A special session is confidently expected, and the meeting of merchants at the Exchange at 3:30 P.M. appointed a committee that has gone to Albany to lay the case before Governor King. He ought to decline interference, but were I in his place I dare say my virtue would give way.

My great anxiety has been for the savings banks. Saw the officers of the two in which I feel a special interest (the Bleecker Street and Seaman’s). Both were suicidally paying specie and thus inviting depositors to come forward to get the gold they could get nowhere else and could sell at a premium. The latter changes from specie to bills tomorrow; the former did so this afternoon. All the savings banks are to do so tomorrow. The run has been very formidable; some say not so severe as it was yesterday, but bad enough. I think they will get through.’

Wall Street palpitating

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1890
William Booth,
priest and evangelist

‘I was weary myself. I had stood, balancing myself with the jerking of the carriage in its stops and starts, 4 hours. I couldn’t see the people craning their necks trying to see me without endeavouring to gratify them. Some may find fault with me, and say I made an exhibition of myself. That is what I have been doing with myself for my Master’s sake all my life, and what I shall continue to do as long as it lasts, and what I shall do through eternity for my Master’s sake and the people’s sake. And now I am restarted on the same path, the same work. A large part of my company has gone before, and I must travel the journey, in a sense that only those can understand who have been through it, alone.’

I got the truth out

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1915
Michael Macdonagh,
journalist

‘The official account of the raid in the papers this morning issued by the Press Bureau is very brief. It says a Zeppelin visited “a London district”; that thirty-eight persons were killed and eighty-seven injured, and that but little damage was done to property. [. . .] I went out to see for myself what had actually happened. [. . .] Had the bombs fallen on the Lyceum, the Strand and the Aldwych Theatres - and each was missed by only a few yards - frightful massacres would have occurred. [. . .] All the killed and wounded in the raid were people who had been taken unawares in the street. No public warning of the coming of the Zeppelin was given. The raider was determined to mark his flight across London with fire and carnage. He dropped about twenty explosive and incendiary bombs, all within five minutes and nearly all in central London.’

The drama of London in WWI

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1928
Chiang Kai-shek,
president

‘I am so idle and self-indulgent that I have not been keeping my diaries for ten days! With such an unbridled and wanton attitude, how can I endeavor to wash away our national indignity and realize the success of the Chinese revolution?’

Chiang Kai-shek’s diaries

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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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