And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

16 October

1626
François de Bassompierre,
diplomat

‘Friday, the 16th, I was to see the Earl of Holland sick at Inhimthort. The king and queen returned to London. M. de Soubise came to see me. Afterwards the duke sent to beg of me to come to Sommerset, where we were more than two hours disputing about our business.’

Bassompierre in London

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1711
Jonathan Swift,
writer

‘I dined to-day with Mr. Secretary at Dr. Coatesworth’s, where he now lodges till his house be got ready in Golden Square. One Boyer, a French dog, has abused me in a pamphlet, and I have got him up in a messenger’s hands: the Secretary promises me to swinge him. Lord Treasurer told me last night that he had the honour to be abused with me in a pamphlet. I must make that rogue an example, for warning to others. I was to see Jack Hill this morning, who made that unfortunate expedition; and there is still more misfortune; for that ship, which was admiral of his fleet, is blown up in the Thames, by an accident and carelessness of some rogue, who was going, as they think, to steal some gunpowder: five hundred men are lost. We don’t yet know the particulars. I am got home by seven, and am going to be busy, and you are going to play and supper; you live ten times happier than I; but I should live ten times happier than you if I were with MD.’

Live ten times happier

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1771
Count de Benyovszky,
soldier and explorer

‘On the 16th, Mr. Wynbladth, fatigued by a continual rain, and perhaps urged by hunger, requested forgiveness, and surrendered himself to two companions I had appointed to watch him. Having thus made sure of these two turbulent men, I thought it proper they should be separated from the company; and they were therefore conducted to the castle by permission of the Governor: the officers of our company, being desirous of avenging themselves on the English emissaries, played them a trick, the whole effect of which fell upon a Jewish agent, who was severely flogged. Upon this wretch there were found minutes of proposals which he made to the companions, as follow:

1. That the English would pay to each associate one thousand piastres, in case they would serve the company, and put my papers in his hands.

2. That in case the associates refused to take the English party, the company would arrest them by force, in the name of the Empress of Russia, to deliver them up.

3. That the company would answer for obtaining the Empress’s pardon for them, if they would determine to make a voyage to Japan, and the Aleuthes Islands.

Such proceedings cannot attributed to men of sense. It was in my opinion a forgery, concerted between Mr. Stephanow and the Jew, to excite the associates against me.’

The king of Madagascar

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1949
Charles Ritchie,
diplomat

‘ [Hotel de la Paix, Geneva] To understand one’s own destiny, to have some framework in which to see this floating shifting mass of experience, to chart these currents, these shocks and depths and dangerous rocks, not to die without knowledge. Oh E, how can I live separated from you? What have I done to us? If I stopped caring, I should never care for anything. If I stopped fearing this, I should fear nothing again. . . In a dim way I like this feeling of being alone and taking up this monologue. I miss my wife. I want her. I am waiting for her. Yet this time of recuperation is quietly, sadly pleasant.’

V happy with E

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1959
Lee Harvey Oswald,
assassin

‘Arrive from Helsinki by train; am met by Intourest Repre. and in car to Hotel ‘Berlin’. Reges. as. ‘studet’ 5 day Lux. tourist Ticket.) Meet my Intorist guied Rhimma Sherikova I explain to her I wish to appli. for Rus. citizenship. She is flabbergassed, but aggrees to help. She checks with her boss, main office Intour; than helps me add. a letter to Sup. Sovit asking for citizenship, mean while boss telephons passport & visa office and notifies them about me.’

JFK’s assassin in Moscow

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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, usually several every week. The blog has been publishing for over five years, and is the secondary source for the diary extracts in this online anthology.