Friday, December 21, 2012

A good state of health

To complete a trilogy of articles in December about British antiquarians, today marks the 180th anniversary of the death of the long-lived William Bray. A popular solicitor in Surrey, he also worked as a clerk for the royal household for most of his life. Not only did he transcribe the journals of John Evelyn, one of the most important early diarists, but he kept a diary of his own - full of short and sporadic entries - for more than 75 years.

Bray was born at Shere, Surrey, in 1736, the youngest of the three sons who survived their father. He was educated at Rugby, and then articled to a lawyer in Guildford. In 1761, he was appointed a Clerk of the Green Cloth, in the St James’s royal household, a post he held for nearly 50 years. He married Mary Stephens in 1758, and they had eight children, of whom only a son and two daughters lived to maturity. When both his older brothers had died without children, Bray inherited the manors of Shere and Gumshall in Surrey.

Over time, Bray became solicitor to many county families, but was also steward of Surrey manors, treasurer of charities, and an indefatigable antiquary. In 1777, he published Sketch of a Tour into Derbyshire and Yorkshire. He joined the Society of Antiquaries, and became its treasurer, and, on the death of the Rev Manning in 1801, he took over his work on compiling a history of Surrey, a work published in three volumes over the next 15 or so years. He also transcribed John Evelyn’s now famous journal, and edited his memoirs.

From 1785, Bray was a regularly contributor to the Gentleman’s Magazine, writing first literary articles and later focussing more on antiquarian discoveries and the history of Surrey. He also contributed articles to Archaeologia, the transactions of the Society of Antiquarias, and was treasurer of the society for two decades in the early 19th century. He died on 21 December 1832, aged 96. For more biographical information see Wikipedia, Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 92 (2005), or Exploring Surrey’s Past.

Bray’s own diaries were first published privately in 1876, and then reprinted, with some omissions, by the Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol. 46 (1938). In 2008, Bray’s diaries were in the news because a 1755 diary of his came to light - pre-dating all published diary material - which appeared to contain the very first reference to the sport of baseball, see Base ball and cricket records. Here are a few extracts from Bray’s published diary. Although the first entry is in 1756 and the last in 1832 - covering 76 years - the entries are often very brief and few and far between. For instance, the two extracts below for the year 1796 are all that were published for that year.

18 March 1767
‘It pleased God to release my child William from his sufferings, when half a year old he was seized with convulsions which never left him.’

9 June 1767
‘With Mr Hollingworth to the Downs Guildford Races. Sir John Evelyn being taken ill, went off the Downs to Wotton.’

19 June 1767
‘Jack was taken with the smallpox, and on the 28th the dear soul died. Polly was taken on the 1st of July, I sent for Mr Kerr who gave her Sutton’s powders, and she recovered.’

22 December 1767
‘With Mr. Waddington to Drury Lane; “ Suspicious Husband,” Mr. Garrick.

14 December 1796
‘My wife died about 5 in the afternoon; the most affectionate of wives, tenderest of parents, and most sincere of Christians; to her great prudence and discretion I owe the prosperity with which God has blessed me.’

24 December 1796
‘Very hard frost.’

15 November 1806
‘This day, I completed my 70th year, without having ever met with any accident of consequence and with very little interruption to my health, except in January last, when I had a very serious attack by an inflammation in my lungs, but from which I am perfectly recovered. My eyesight is so good that I can and generally do use my eyes in reading or writing from the time of getting up in the morning till 10 at night. My hearing is in no way impaired. I have not lost one front tooth and very few others. I am able to walk or ride 4 or 5 hours together, but I do not ride fast. My memory is perhaps not so good as it has been. On the whole I seem to be in a perfect good state of health, thanks be to God.’

15 November 1808
‘This day I completed my 72nd year; and thanks to God’s mercies I find myself in as perfect health as I ever enjoyed in my life, and the only perceivable difference in any of my senses that I am aware of is a little degree of deafness in my right ear, but as the other is perfect, I do pretty well. My left eye I think has not perfectly recovered the severe inflammation which I had two or three years ago, but the other being sound, I read and write as well and as much as ever. My teeth remain perfect in front and without any additional loss to those which decayed some years ago.’

15 April 1810
‘I quitted the Board of Green Cloth, after having had a place there for 49 years and a half. I was put on the superannuation list at my request, the Lord Steward having kindly procured leave for it. He also, unsolicited, gave me leave to resign my place of Clerk of the Verge to my son.’

14 November 1810
‘After dinner, I found a giddiness in my head making me unable to walk, and a kind of dumb confusion in my head. I wrote to Mr. Heaviside to come, which he did and ordered immediate cupping. The next morning my complaint was gone.’

30 May 1814
‘Received from Mr Sydenham Malthus the melancholy news of my son’s death at Exmouth, from the rupture of a blood-vessel in the lungs.’

19 September 1896
‘With Mary and Miss Davis, in a chaise, by Horsham and Henfold to the ‘Albion’ at Brighton. Dined and lay there; walked on the Chain Pier.’

24 December 1828
‘Such has been the decay in my eyesight the whole of this year that I have not been able to read either print or MS., though I have continued to write letters, as I am writing on this 24th of December. I cannot read it when written. I have also lost my hearing in one ear in a great degree; subject to this, my bodily health has been what may be called good. I have been obliged to pay more than 1,100 pounds by the treachery of a clerk, and the malice of one who had been long attempting, and at last effected a loss of long friendship with Mrs. Wigzell.’

5 July 1832
‘Mr Linnell, a portrait painter was sent by my grandson Reginald to paint a portrait of me. I had five sittings.’

Monday, December 17, 2012

A cold clownish woman

After yesterday’s William Cole anniversary, today is the 380th anniversary of the birth of another English antiquarian - Anthony Wood. Although Wood’s diaries are dryer and more impenetrable than Cole’s, they do have some interest, and are valuable for being relatively early in historical terms.

Wood was born in Oxford, on 17 December 1632, and educated at a free grammar school and Trinity College. In 1647, he entered Merton College and was made postmaster. During subsequent years, he seems to have developed an interest in ploughing, bell-ringing and violin-playing. He published a book of sermons preached by his late brother Edward. Thereafter, he steadily investigated local antiquities, as well as researching into historical records, and this led, in 1669, to publication of Historia et Antiquitates Universitatis Oxoniensis.
In 1678, Wood was relieved of the university registers, which had been in his custody for the best part of two decades, because it was thought he might be implicated in the Popish Plot. Subsequently, to recover his position, he swore oaths of allegiance. In 1693, though, he was banished from the university for a libel in Athenae Oxoniensis against the late Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, but he then recanted. It is said that Wood was an uncouth man, but one who led a life of self-denial, and devoted himself entirely to antiquarian research. He died in 1695. Wikipedia has more biographical information, as does the Notable Names Database.

There would not be much to remember Wood by were it not for the scholarly five volume biography put together by Andrew Clark, Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford. This was published by the Oxford Historical Press in the 1890s under the title The Life and Times of Anthony Wood, antiquary, at Oxford, 1632-1695, described by himself. The volumes were collected from Wood’s ‘diaries and other papers’, and, indeed, there are numerous references and quotations from the diaries in the first three volumes. However, all the diary entries are heavily annotated, with additions (in brackets) and notes, and often taken second place to the text and chronology of Wood’s daily life as constructed by Clark. Moreover, the diary entries themselves are largely rather dry records of events.

All five volumes are freely available at Internet Archive. Here are a few extracts to give a flavour of Wood’s diary (the parentheses are all by Clark).

9 May 1671
‘At 7 in the morning the King’s crowne endeavoured to be taken away by (Thomas) Blood and his son and 3 others out of the Tower of London, but 3 of them were taken. The said Bloud and his son, who call themselves by the name of Hunt, were 2 of those 6 that set upon the duke of Ormond a little before last Xtmas, and they now confess that they had a designe to sell him to the Turks, because that by his meanes they had lost their estates in Ireland while he was Lord Deputy.’

24 June 1673
‘Midsomer day. Din’d at my brother Kit’s. Cold meat, cold entertainment, cold reception, cold clownish woman. Talking of players and praising them, shee asked me to goe with her and give her a play: ‘if I had money I would, I must be forced to borrow of my brother’ - I told her. Then shee began to extoll Mr. (Edward ?) Fettiplace and Den(nis ?) Huntingdon for cloiying with curtesies, doing any thing that she desired. I told her ‘if I had it, or were in my power, I would doe it.’ She told me that shee ‘had 300li. per annum and scorne(d) to goe.’ I told her ‘I came to be merry and not be scolded at.’ Shee, angry at the word ‘scolding,’ told me ‘if I did not like it’ (the diet), ‘I should leave it.’

14 July 1673
‘M., Mr. (John) Shirley, the Terra filius, of Trinity College, appeared and spoke a speech full of obscenity and prophaneness. Among the rest that he reflected upon, was me and my book: that I made it my employment to peere upon old walls, alters, tombes &c.; that I threated to geld the translator for gelding my booke; that I should say that he had altered my book so much that I did not know whether it was French or Latin; that I perused all privy houses to furnish me with matter to write my book (i.e., meaning from the shitten papers); and when all was done, my book was but fit to returne there againe, etc. But so obscure and dull it was, that few could understand who he meant or what, and therfore had no applause: all looked upon Dr. Wallis, but none upon me who sate within two places (?) of him (one of Peers’ low drunken company). But this was my comfort, that what he had uttered to my great disgrace, the vicechancellor in his concluding speech recruited all againe for upon speaking of the eminent men that have sprung from the University, he said that he would leave it (being too long to recite) to a book that would lately come forth.’

8 July 1693
‘Musick speech, (Hugh) Smith of Univ. Coll. spoke in the Theater. Above 2000 in the Theater, as many as in the great Act 1669, or when the Morocco ambassador was here. Mr. Smith was very baudy among the women: (he had) a grand auditory, while some lecturers had none - so you may see what governs the world. In the afternoon full againe.’

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cole visits Walpole

William Cole, an English clergyman and antiquarian best remembered for his long friendship with Horace Walpole, passed away 230 years ago today. Cole was curiously reluctant to put much of his learning and research into print, though he did bequeath a large collection of historical documents and his own extensive writings - including some diaries - to the British Museum.

Cole was born in the parish of Little Abington, Cambridgeshire, in 1714. He was sent to live with his maternal grandmother in Cambridge at a very early age, and then was educated at Eton. Although an unhappy schoolboy, it was at Eton that he started, what would become, a lifelong friendship with Horace Walpole. He went on to study at Cambridge, graduating in 1737, and being awarded an MA in 1740. Having inherited money, he travelled frequently on the continent (and in Scotland, too), and several times thought about retiring abroad.

In 1745, he was ordained as a priest, and took a living at Hornsey in 1749. However, he was unhappy there, and not able to leave until 1751. A little later, in 1753, he became a rector of Bletchley and remained so until 1767. After leaving Bletchley he moved to Waterbeach, near Cambridge, and then to Milton. Throughout his life, Cole indulged his passion for antiquities, becoming one of the most learned men of his generation; he bequeathed 114 folio volumes to the British Museum. He died on 16 December 1782. There is more information available at Wikipedia and the out-of-copyright Dictionary of National Biography.

Cole was curiously shy of publishing, and much of his reputation today stems from correspondence with Walpole which was preserved and published. However, Cole did also keep a diary for some years, and it was publication of this, in 1931, which enhanced Cole’s reputation, and brought him a wider public. Cole’s dary was edited by Francis Griffin Stokes and published by Constable in two volumes: The Blecheley Diary of the Rev. William Cole, 1765-67 and A Journal of my Journey to Paris in the year 1765.

The following two extracts are not taken from either of the above volumes but from the Yale Edition of Horace Walpole’s Correspondence with the Rev. William Cole II, edited by W S Lewis. (Quotes from which can be found in Horace Walpole: The Critical Heritage and English Historical Documents.) The original diary accounts are in the 114 volumes Cole bequeathed to the British Museum.

30 October 1762
‘Sir William Stanhope, brother to the Earl of Chesterfield, now lives in Mr Pope’s house on the banks of the Thames; you pass over his grotto, immediately under the common highway, as you come from the town of Twickenham to Mr Walpole’s house of Strawberry Hill. Next to it is the house belonging to the late Earl of Radnor, which is the last house on the Thames bank next to Strawberry Hill, a road going by the Thames-side to Kingston Bridge, being between the river and Mr Walpole’s garden, which, however, is within a furlong or two of the river, and his own meadows go quite down to the banks of it, and nothing to obstruct the view of that most beautifying fluid, which makes everything handsome that is within its influence. From the garden you discover the elegant Chinese Temple, being the last building on the bank of the Thames, and close to my Lord Radnor’s house or garden wall - though the house belonging to it is on the other side of the road, and is the last house on that side next to Strawberry Hill, and is an handsome new square building - I say, from this garden of Mr Walpole you discover the Chinese summer house in which, about last August, Mr Isaac Fernandez Nunez, a Jew, shot himself through the head, on the loss of the Hermione, a rich French ship which he had insured, and by that means ruined his fortune and family. His house and furniture were sold by auction while I was at Strawberry Hill, and I was at the sale for a few minutes.

From Mr Walpole’s garden and house you have the most beautiful and charming prospect of Richmond, with variety of fine villas and gardens on the banks of the Thames, which river alone would sufficiently recommend any situation; though when I was there last, viz., in October and the beginning of November, 1762, the excessive rains which had lately fell had so swelled the river that it caused such inundations as were never known in the memory of man; insomuch that during my stay there, two islands just before the garden were totally covered by the waters and could not be seen. The floods did infinite mischief all over England, and particularly in Essex. At Cambridge it was within six inches of the highest flood ever known or recorded there, of which a mark is cut in the wall of King’s College Senior Fellows Garden, on the river’s bank; and the waters came into the cellars of Queens’ College in such a torrent that the butler had not time to go in to stop up the vessels, they having just newly filled their cellars for the year; by which means the water got in, and spoiled all their beer.’

29 October 1774
‘Very rainy day. I set out after breakfast, and went at the back of the town, through Padington, and through Hyde Park, and got to Twickenham by noon. Before dinner Mr Walpole walked with me into the garden to show me his newly erected Chapel, as he calls it, with the shrine in it from the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome, where it was erected in 1256, [. . .] It is a very curious monument of white marble, standing on twisted pillars, and inlaid with other rich marbles; [. . .] It is also mended and completed by the ingenious artist who erected the beautiful marble chimney-piece in the circular drawing room at the end of the gallery. This occupies the whole end of the chapel, the great and only window to which is filled with painted glass from Bexhill in Sussex. There are besides a strange jumble of crucifixes and profane ornaments. It is so small that half a dozen people will fill it. The front is exquisitely performed in the truest Gothic taste. [. . .]

What country this is, I was not curious to inquire. But I guess it to be Sussex, and near Chichester, where Mr Trevigar was beneficed, and as she seemed to be acquainted with the Guilford Road, whither I was going, about which she gave me instructions, as I was unacquainted with the way. He called her by the name of Mrs Day, which was, probably, her mother’s name. On her coming to town, and being informed of the story, she was instructed to apply to the Bishop, who was not disposed to lend a favourable ear to it; upon which, he drew up a letter for her, and omitted no circumstance to alarm the Bishop, who was well aware, as Mr Walpole said to me, that a bishop in his hands would meet with but little quarter; when, therefore, she was directed to add, by way of postscript, to direct his answer to her at Mr Horace Walpole’s in Arlington Street, it had its effect. And the Bishop proposed to give her the £600 or interest for that sum; and, accordingly, he contrived meanly, as Mr Walpole expressed it, to send her the interest the very day before quarter day, and by that means defrauded her of about £5, as well as I remember. This, Mr Walpole said, he was glad of, as the Bishop by so doing either cheated her, or owes her that sum to this day. Now I have related the story, as well as I can recollect it, I must needs add this caution about it. Mr Walpole is one of the most sanguine friends or enemies that I know. He has had a long pique, I well know, against the Bishop; and indeed his being a bishop is a sufficient reason for his spleen and satire. I love to hear both sides of the question. No doubt Bishop Keene had his reasons, right or wrong, for his acting in the manner he did. Mr Walpole added that he often met the Bishop, now his house is building in Dover Street, but that he always avoided looking at him and constantly held down his head. Mr Walpole best knows what occasions of goodness or shyness there may be between them. The Bishop, I allow, is as much puffed up with his dignities and fortune as any on the bench; and I believe Mr Walpole to be as likely to throw out contemptuous behaviour occasionally on those whom he supposes not to acknowledge his merit, or deserve his disregard, as any person living. They are both my friends, and I can see the blemishes in each. The Bishop was ever esteemed a most cheerful, generous, and good-tempered man. Great fortune with a wife and great dignity in the church often make the wisest men forget themselves. Mr Walpole is one of the best writers, an admirable poet, one of the most lively, ingenious, and witty persons of the age; but a great share of vanity, eagerness of adulation, as Mr Gray observed to me, a violence and warmth in party matters, and lately even to enthusiasm, abates, and take off from, many of his shining qualities. I have given the story as it was related to me, without reserves or caution whatever. I mean to take notice of it to no one; though I make no doubt but Mr Walpole, as he told it to me, has done the same to others. His zeal against churchmen and the church carries him to such lengths as is scarcely consistent with a wise and ingenuous heart.

On a secretaire, as it is called, or upright writing-stand or desk, in the breakfasting room, which commands a delicious prospect across the Thames up to Richmond Hill, is a most delicate and elegant small statue of Cupid sitting, winged, and holding up one hand, in the Seve or St Cloud manufacture, in white; and on a cartouche in front is this inscription. Cupid sits on a bank or hillock ornamented with roses.’

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I went with the Queen

The undistinguished British diplomat and courtier, Henry Greville, died 140 years ago today. Like his more famous brother, Charles, he kept a diary for most of his life, and this was published a few years after his death. However, unlike Charles’s diary, Henry’s is considered relatively dull in style and content. Nevertheless, Henry records many of the political and cultural events going on around him with a smooth style, showing a particular affection for the theatre.

Henry William Greville, the youngest son of Charles and Lady Charlotte Greville, was born in 1801. He was educated at Westminster School and Oxford, though much of his childhood was spent on the Continent, chiefly in Brussels. As an adult he worked as private secretary for Lord Francis Egerton, afterwards earl of Ellesmere, when he was chief secretary for Ireland.

In 1835, Greville entered the diplomatic service, as attachĂ© to the British embassy in Paris, and retired from it in 1844. For many years, he held a minor post at Court, that of a gentleman usher, which gave him a small addition to his income. Never having married, he died, after a somewhat lingering illness, on 12 December 1872. There appears to be very little additional information about Henry Greville available on the internet, not even at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. There is far more information about Henry’s brother, Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville, who is very well remembered as a major diarist of the 19th century.

Henry Greville, though, also kept a diary for much of his life. This was edited by his niece, Viscountess Enfield (afterwards countess of Strafford), and published in four volumes from 1883 by Smith, Elder & Co. under the title Leaves from the Diary of Henry Greville. All of these volumes are freely available at Internet Archive.

Henry’s diary is said to derive some importance from Greville’s position in Paris, but otherwise to lack the wit and malice found in his brother’s diary. Enfield says this in a preface to one of the volumes: ‘This work cannot aspire to the depth of thought, the carefulness of style, the pungency of satire which characterised the journals of my uncle Charles Greville. As a literary composition they are doubtless inferior to these, but still I venture to think and hope that in this volume there will be found something to amuse and to interest, with little or nothing to wound the most sensitive feelings.’

12 January 1840
‘On Tuesday there was a great ball at the Embassy. The Infants of Spain, Don Francisco and Dona Carlotta and their children, were present. The Infanta, a huge, fat, frightful woman, danced the whole evening like a girl of sixteen. Don Francisco is an ignoble stunted-looking man with a Bourbon face.

An interesting discussion is going on in the Chambers on the Eastern question. The feeling against Russia is very strong, but, on the other hand, the English alliance is not so popular as it has been.’

5 April 1840
‘I have been confined for a fortnight by a most excruciating rheumatism, and have been too ill to write. [. . .]

In England we have a war with China, and a motion of Graham censuring the Government with reference to this question stands for the 7th of this month. Government was beaten by sixteen on Stanley’s motion for revising and reforming the fictitious voting in Ireland, which was a great blow; they are consequently making a great whip for the debate on China. . .’

15 May 1840
‘The translation of Napoleon’s remains makes a great stir. Many people laugh at it, and think it a great piece of humbug - which no doubt it is - but it is a sort of humbug which goes down here exceedingly well. I am still confined to my couch, but people are very kind to me, [. . .]

The murder of Lord William Russell is still enveloped in mystery; and although there is evidence to connect the Swiss valet with the robbery, there is none to prove him guilty of the murder. Charles writes me word he had seen the prisoner in Tothill Fields prison; that he has a bad countenance, but was calm and even dejected, civil and respectful in his manner. Everything would tend to condemn him morally, but much doubt is entertained whether, legally, there be sufficient evidence to convict him.

The Duke of Wellington made an admirable speech the other night on a motion of Lord Stanhope on the Chinese question. It was well delivered, and, evincing an entire knowledge of the subject, and a total absence of all party feeling, he entered into a warm defence of Captain Elliott, showing that when an officer was, as he considered, unjustly attacked in the discharge of his duty, he never could allow any consideration of party warfare to prevent his upholding him against all detractors.

The Tories are very angry with the Duke, as their only object is to embarrass the Government, no matter at what hazard or cost.’

19 January 1841
‘Parliament was opened today by the Queen in person. The Speech, which is a good one, touches upon the state of Ireland principally, and upon the measures which are to be proposed for the amelioration of its social and physical condition; upon Cracow; and upon the Spanish marriages, but slightly, and merely saying that they had given rise to a correspondence between the two Governments. It is said in the town that Palmerston is much annoyed that stronger mention has not been made of this matter; that there had been a dispute in the Cabinet thereupon.

The debates were interesting.

I went to see Covent Garden Theatre, which is being newly constructed for an Italian Opera House. It was a very curious spectacle. M. Albano, the architect, showed it to me. It took them fourteen days to pull down the parts they wished to remove, so strongly was it built. Charles Kemble told me tonight the theatre had cost 300,000l.; that 100,000l. of this, his money and that of his family, had been sunk in the concern, and he should be very glad to sell his share of it for 10,000l.’

10 February 1841
‘One of the heaviest falls of snow I ever saw. It began yesterday, and continued all day and night, and the railroads are all but impassable. The snow is deep in the streets, and the Queen has just passed my window with her suite in three sledges.’

15 May 1841
‘Here is a large gap in my journal. My time has been entirely occupied by rehearsals and arrangements for the two plays we have acted at the St. James’s Theatre, for the benefit of the starving Irish and Scotch. They went off very well. ‘The Hunchback’ on the first evening and ‘Hernani’ and a farce on the second. The Queen and Royal Family and the elite of London were present, and the receipt was a very large one. Lady Dufierin wrote a beautiful epilogue, which was spoken to perfection by Mrs. Butler.

Jenny Lind has at last made her appearance at the Queen’s Theatre. She is decidedly a first-rate artist, a great musician, and a great executant. Her voice is of a peculiar quality, strong in the upper notes, but a good deal veiled in others. She is a good actress up to a certain point, and her style of singing is essentially German. Her success is prodigious, and perhaps greater than that of any other singer of our time; but she owes some of this to the skilful manner in which ‘the puff precedent’ has been brought into play, and by which public curiosity has been raised and kept up by artificial means. However, she is decidedly an artist of the first class, though not, as is asserted, the greatest that ever appeared.’

5 November 1850
‘The streets are more than usually filled with Guy Fawkes and images of Roman bishops. The ‘Times’ is entirely full of the sermons preached in the various churches, and of anti-Popery meetings in the provinces.’

5 February 1851
‘Yesterday I went with the Queen to the House of Lords. The day was magnificent, and the crowds of people far greater than I ever saw on any other similar occasion. The carriage in which I sat (the first) was too far from the Queen to judge of her reception, but the Duchess of Sutherland, who was in the State coach, told me the cheering was great, but the cries of ‘No Popery!’ were continuous. The House of Lords looked beautiful, filled as it was to overflowing by women in every sort of colour and sparkling with jewels.’

2 May 1851
‘Contrary to expectation, the Exhibition was opened yesterday with great solemnity and eclat. The day, though cold, was bright. The crowds were immense, and those who were to be present began going to the palace as early as six o’clock.

As I did not buy a season ticket I was not present, but all those who were unanimously pronounced it as one of the grandest sights they ever witnessed. I walked about the park, and never saw a more good-humoured multitude, and there was nowhere the slightest disorder or confusion.’

5 May 1851
‘The Queen has written a letter to John Russell, expressing her great satisfaction at the manner in which she was received, and in which everything was conducted on the 1st of May. There had been all sorts of rumours of probable disturbances and riots which were to be got up by foreign emissaries, &c., but for which there does not seem to have been any foundation.

The foreigners now in London were immensely struck by the order of the vast crowds which perambulated the streets, and which was maintained solely by the police.

Prince Albert dined at the Royal Academy for the first time, and made an excellent speech.

I never remember a colder spring. It constantly hails and rains, and the sun rarely shines!’

11 May 1851
‘I went yesterday for the first time to the Exhibition. It is really a marvellous place, beautiful and singular, but although filled with everything curious from all parts of the world, its immense size gives one a feeling of hopeless bewilderment. I did little more than walk through a part of it, glancing at the wondrous things it contains, and at the general effect of the building, and of the crowds of people who perambulated it without confusion or inconvenience, but I returned home jaded, with aching head and eyes from the glare, and with the sensation of being glad I had seen it, and (no doubt stupidly) with no desire to return there. Its success is great and universal, and when one recollects that seven months ago the building was not begun, and that now this stupendous edifice is finished, filled with everything most wonderful, and gathered from all corners of the world, it is nothing short of marvellous. The receipts are immense and daily increasing.’

Monday, December 3, 2012

Diary briefs


Diaries from the American Civil War  - Library of Congress, Washington Post

Sex at the office: Just how often? - San Francisco Chronicle

Home Front Girl in US - Amazon, Facebook

A schoolteacher’s war time diary - Little Brown, Daily Mail

Battle of Britain pilot diaries republished - J H Haynes, The Sun, Daily Mail, Wikipedia

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I flied the highest

‘I ran in the wind and played be a horse, and had a lovely time in the woods with Anna and Lizzie. We were fairies, and made gowns and paper wings. I “flied” the highest of all.’ This is Louisa Alcott - still famous today for being the author of the American classic Little Women - writing in her diary aged but 11. The diary, apart from documenting her own life, says much about the New England Transcendentalist movement her father was involved with.
Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, on 29 November 1832. She spent her childhood in Boston and in Concord, Massachusetts, being schooled, with three sisters, at home by her father, a New England Transcendentalist. For three years, they were part of the Utopian Fruitlands community. When this failed, they were helped out by her father’s friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson; money problems, though, were never far away. Louisa started writing early, mostly poetry and short stories. Flower Fables, her first book, was published when she was just 22.

In 1862, Alcott, an avowed abolitionist, went to Washington to work as a nurse during the Civil War, but her service lasted only a few weeks, as she nearly died from typhoid. She never recovered full health again. A book of her letters at the time, called Hospital Letters, brought her a first taste of literary fame. She began writing stories for Atlantic Monthly. Her most famous work, Little Women, written in 1868, and set at Orchard House, is still popular today. Alcott continued writing children’s books - though she yearned to do more serious fiction - because the family needed the income. In all, she published over 30 books and collections of stories.

Alcott died, aged 55, in 1888, just two days after her father. Further information is available from Wikipedia, the website for Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House (‘one of the oldest, most authentically-preserved historic house museums in America’), www.alcottfilm.com or The Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography.

From an early age through to the end of her life, Alcott kept a diary which she never intended for publication. Parts of it first appeared a year after her death in Louisa May Alcott Her Life, Letters and Journals edited by Ednah D. Cheney and published by Roberts Brothers in Boston. This book was continually reprinted before and after the publisher was taken over by Little, Brown in 1898. A first unabridged edition of Alcott’s diaries appeared a century later in 1989 when University of Georgia Press brought out The Journals of Louisa May Alcott edited by Madeleine B. Stern. Her Life, Letters and Journals is freely available at Internet Archive, and some of the more recent publication can be previewed at Googlebooks and Amazon.

1 September 1843
‘I rose at five and had my bath. I love cold water! Then we had our singing-lesson with Mr Lane. After breakfast I washed dishes, and ran on the hill till nine, and had some thoughts, it was so beautiful up there. Did my lessons, wrote and spelt and did sums; and Mr Lane read a story, “The Judicious Father”: How a rich girl told a poor girl not to look over the fence at the flowers, and was cross to her because she was unhappy. The father heard her do it, and made the girls change clothes. The poor one was glad to do it, and he told her to keep them. But the rich one was very sad; for she had to wear the old ones a week, and after that she was good to shabby girls. I liked it very much, and I shall be kind to poor people.

Father asked us what was God’s noblest work. Anna said men, but I said babies. Men are often bad; babies never are. We had a long talk, and I felt better after it, and cleared up.

We had bread and fruit for dinner. I read and walked and played till supper-time. We sung in the evening. As I went to bed the moon came up very brightly and looked at me. I felt sad because I have been cross to day, and did not mind Mother. I cried, and then I felt better, and said that piece from Mrs Sigourney, “I must not tease my mother.” I get to sleep saying poetry, I know a great deal.’

14 September 1843
‘Mr Parker Pillsbury came, and we talked about the poor slaves. I had a music lesson with Miss F. I hate her, she is so fussy. I ran in the wind and played be a horse, and had a lovely time in the woods with Anna and Lizzie. We were fairies, and made gowns and paper wings. I “flied” the highest of all. In the evening they talked about travelling. I thought about Father going to England, [. . .]

It rained when I went to bed, and made a pretty noise on the roof.’

8 October 1843
‘When I woke up, the first thought I got was, “It’s Mother s birthday: I must be very good.” I ran and wished her a happy birthday, and gave her my kiss. After breakfast we gave her our presents. I had a moss cross and a piece of poetry for her.

We did not have any school, and played in the woods and got red leaves. In the evening we danced and sung, and I read a story about “Contentment.” I wish I was rich, I was good, and we were all a happy family this day.’

4 January 1863
‘I shall record the events of a day as a sample of the days I spend:

Up at six, dress by gaslight, run through my ward and throw up the windows, though the men grumble and shiver; but the air is bad enough to breed a pestilence; and as no notice is taken of our frequent appeals for better ventilation, I must do what I can. Poke up the fire, add blankets, joke, coax, and command; but continue to open doors and windows as if life depended upon it. Mine does, and doubtless many another, for a more perfect pestilence-box than this house I never saw, cold, damp, dirty, full of vile odors from wounds, kitchens, wash-rooms, and stables. No competent head, male or female, to right matters, and a jumble of good, bad, and indifferent nurses, surgeons, and attendants, to complicate the chaos still more.

After this unwelcome progress through my stifling ward, I go to breakfast with what appetite I may; find the uninvitable fried beef, salt butter, husky bread, and washy coffee; listen to the clack of eight women and a dozen men, the first silly, stupid, or possessed of one idea; the last absorbed with their breakfast and themselves to a degree that is both ludicrous and provoking, for all the dishes are ordered down the table full and returned empty; the conversation is entirely among themselves, and each announces his opinion with an air of importance that frequently causes me to choke in my cup, or bolt my meals with undignified speed lest a laugh betray to these famous beings that a “chiel’s amang them takin’ notes.”

Till noon I trot, trot, giving out rations, cutting up food for helpless “boys,” washing faces, teaching my attendants how beds are made or floors are swept, dressing wounds, taking Dr F. P.’s orders (privately wishing all the time that he would be more gentle with my big babies), dusting tables, sewing bandages, keeping my tray tidy, rushing up and down after pillows, bed-linen, sponges, books, and directions, till it seems as if I would joyfully pay down all I possess for fifteen minutes’ rest. At twelve the big bell rings, and up comes dinner for the boys, who are always ready for it and never entirely satisfied. Soup, meat, potatoes, and bread is the bill of fare. Charley Thayer, the attendant, travels up and down the room serving out the rations, saving little for himself, yet always thoughtful of his mates, and patient as a woman with their helplessness. When dinner is over, some sleep, many read, and others want letters written. This I like to do, for they put in such odd things, and express their ideas so comically, I have great fun interiorally, while as grave as possible exteriorally. A few of the men word their paragraphs well and make excellent letters. John’s was the best of all I wrote. The answering of letters from friends after some one had died is the saddest and hardest duty a nurse has to do.

Supper at five sets every one to running that can run; and when that flurry is over, all settle down for the evening amusements, which consist of newspapers, gossip, the doctor’s last round, and, for such as need them, the final doses for the night. At nine the bell rings, gas is turned down, and day nurses go to bed. Night nurses go on duty, and sleep and death have the house to themselves.

My work is changed to night watching, or half night and half day, from twelve to twelve. I like it, as it leaves me time for a morning run, which is what I need to keep well; for bad air, food, and water, work and watching, are getting to be too much for me. I trot up and down the streets in all directions, sometimes to the Heights, then half way to Washington, again to the hill, over which the long trains of army wagons are constantly vanishing and ambulances appearing. That way the fighting lies, and I long to follow.

Ordered to keep my room, being threatened with pneumonia. Sharp pain in the side, cough, fever, and dizziness. A pleasant prospect for a lonely soul five hundred miles from home! Sit and sew on the boys’ clothes, write letters, sleep, and read; try to talk and keep merry, but fail decidedly, as day after day goes, and I feel no better. Dream awfully, and wake unrefreshed, think of home, and wonder if I am to die here, as Mrs R., the matron, is likely to do. Feel too miserable to care much what becomes of me. Dr S. creaks up twice a day to feel my pulse, give me doses, and ask if I am at all consumptive, or some other cheering question. Dr O. examines my lungs and looks sober. Dr J. haunts the room, coming by day and night with wood, cologne, books, and messes, like a motherly little man as he is. Nurses fussy and anxious, matron dying, and everything very gloomy. They want me to go home, but I won t yet.’

27 April 1872
‘Mr Emerson died at 9 P.M. suddenly. Our best and greatest American gone. The nearest and dearest friend Father has ever had, and the man who has helped me most by his life, his books, his society. I can never tell all he has been to me, from the time I sang Mignon’s song under his window (a little girl) and wrote letters a la Bettine to him, my Goethe, at fifteen, up through my hard years, when his essays on Self-Reliance, Character, Compensation, Love, and Friendship helped me to understand myself and life, and God and Nature. Illustrious and beloved friend, good-by!’

Monday, November 26, 2012

The crimes of war

‘I want to write a poem about the crimes of war, the crimes that have strangled to death millions of pure and bright loves, strangled to death the happiness of millions of people, but I cannot write it.’ This is one of many heartfelt entries in the diary of Dr Dang Thuy Tram, a Vietnamese doctor, who might have turned 70 today had she not been killed by US forces. More or less forgotten, Dr Tram only came to national prominence with the publication of her diaries in 2005 which turned her into a national hero - a Vietnamese Anne Frank.

Tram was born on 26 November 1942 into a prosperous family of doctors, and trained as a doctor herself. She volunteered for duty in a military hospital in Quang Ngai province during the Vietnam War, and died in 1970, shot by US troops. For the last two years of her life, she kept a diary, and it is the story of this diary that takes up most of Tram’s Wikipedia entry, indeed there is far more information about the diary available across the internet than about Tram herself (except in the published diary’s introduction available to read at Amazon - see below).

One of Tram’s diary books was captured by US forces in 1969, and another was found by an American lawyer. Fred Whitehurst, serving with the military intelligence unit, after her death. Whitehurst defied an order to burn the diary - the story goes that an interpreter alerted him by saying, ‘Don’t burn this one, Fred. It has fire in it already.’ Later, Whitehurst, recovered the other diary also, and hoped to return them to Tram’s family. Not until 2005, was a family member traced, and the diaries were published soon after - in July that year - becoming a Vietnamese bestseller. Tram was subsequently dubbed Vietnam’s answer to Anne Frank. The diaries were then translated by Andrew Pham and published in English by Random House - Last Night I Dreamed of Peace, the Diary of Dang Thuy Tram - and since then in many other languages too.

The introduction to Last Night I Dreamed of Peace and several pages of extracts can be read online at Amazon, and the first seven or eight pages of extracts, from 8 to 22 April 1968, can be read at the Booksss.ru website, though the translation is not the same. Further extracts can be read at the website of Stanford Medical Magazine, and a good review at the California Literary Review.

31 May 1968
‘Today we had a major base evacuation to evade the enemy’s mopping-up operation. The whole clinic was moved, an infinitely exhausting undertaking. It’s heart-wrenching to see the wounded patients with beads of sweat running on their pale faces, struggling to walk step by step across narrow passes and up steep slopes. If someday we find ourselves living in the fragrant flowers of socialism, we should remember this scene forever, remember the sacrifice of the people who shed blood for the common cause. Who has brought this suffering upon us, comrades? They are the devils [US military] robbing our country.’

4 June 1968
‘Rain falls without respite. Rain deepens my sadness, its chill making me yearn for the warmth of a family reunion. If only I had wings to fly back to our beautiful house on Lo Duc Street, to eat with Dad, Mom, and my siblings, one simple meal with watercress and one night’s sleep under the old cotton blanket. Last night I dreamed that Peace was established, I came back and saw everybody. Oh, the dream of Peace and Independence has burned in the hearts of thirty million people for so long. For Peace and Independence, we have sacrificed everything. So many people have volunteered to sacrifice their whole lives for two words: Independence and Liberty. I, too, have sacrificed my life for that grandiose fulfillment.’

20 July 1968
‘The days are hectic with so much work piling up, critical injuries, lack of staff personnel; everybody in the clinic works very hard. My responsibilities are heavier than ever; each day I work from dawn till late at night. The volume of work is huge, but there are not enough people. I alone am responsible for managing the clinic, treating the injured, teaching the class. More than ever, I feel I am giving all my strength and skills to the revolution. The wounded soldier whose eyes I thought could not be saved is now recovering. The soldier whose arm was severely inflamed has healed. Many broken arms have also healed. . . All these successes are due mainly to the nurses and me working day and night at the patient’s bedside.’

25 July 1968
‘I came to sit by Lam’s bedside today. A mortar had severed the nerves in his spine, the shrapnel killing half of his body. Lam was totally paralyzed. His body was ulcerated from the chest down. He was in excruciating pain. Lam is twenty-four this year, an excellent nurse from Pho Van. Less than a month ago, he was assigned as supplement to the District Civil Medical Department. The enemy came upon Lam while he was on the road during his recent assignment; Lam tried to get into a secret shelter, but the Americans were already upon him when he opened the cover; the small shrapnel painfully destroyed his life. Lam lay there waiting for death. In the North, a severed spinal cord is already a hopeless case, let alone here. Lam knows the severity of his injury and is deep in misery and depression.

This afternoon as I was sitting next to him, Lam handed me a letter from Hanh (Lam’s young wife), then said in a low voice, “Big Sister, you and the other sisters here - you are my family - you have dedicated yourselves to nurturing me. What for? I will die sooner or later; if I live, I will only bring more hardships for you and the family.” A single tear rolled down Lam’s gaunt cheek.

My heart was breaking for him, but I didn’t know what to say. If I were Lam, I certainly would have said the same. But I couldn’t stop encouraging him. . . Oh! War! How I hate it, and I hate the belligerent American devils. Why do they enjoy massacring kind, simple folks like us? Why do they heartlessly kill life-loving young men like Lam, like Ly, like Hung and the thousand others, who are only defending their motherland with so many dreams?’

29 July 1969
‘The war is extremely cruel. This morning, they bring me a wounded soldier. A phosphorus bomb has burned his entire body. An hour after being hit, he is still burning, smoke rising from his body. This is Khanh, a twenty-year-old man, the son of a sister cadre in the hamlet where I’m staying. An unfortunate accident caused the bomb to explode and severely burned the man. Nobody recognizes him as the cheerful, handsome man he once was. Today his smiling, joyful black eyes have been reduced to two little holes - the yellowish eyelids are cooked. The reeking burn of phosphorus smoke still rises from his body. He looks as if he has been roasted in an oven.’

I stand frozen before this heartbreaking tableau.

His mother weeps. Her trembling hands touch her son’s body; pieces of his skin fall off, curled up like crumbling sheets of rice cracker. His younger and older sisters are attending him, their eyes full of tears.

A girl sits by his side, her gentle eyes glassy with worry. Clumps of hair wet with sweat cling to her cheeks, reddened by exhaustion and sorrow. Tu (that’s her name) is Khanh’s lover. She carried Khanh here. Hearing that he needed serum for a transfusion, Tu crossed the river to buy it. The river was rising, and Tu didn’t know how to swim, but she braved the crossing. Love gave her strength.

The pain is imprinted on the innocent forehead of that beautiful girl. Looking at her, I want to write a poem about the crimes of war, the crimes that have strangled to death millions of pure and bright loves, strangled to death the happiness of millions of people, but I cannot write it. My pen cannot describe it all, even though this is one case I feel with all my senses and emotions.’

5 August 1969
‘I’m on a night emergency-aid mission, going through many dangerous parts of the national highway on which enemy vehicles frequently commute, and passing through the hills filled with American posts. Lights from the bases shine brightly; I go through the middle of the fields of Pho Thuan. Bright lights shine from three directions around me: Chop Mountain, Cactus Mountain, and the flares hanging in midair in front of me. The light sources cast my shadows in different directions, and I feel like an actor on stage, as in the days when I was still a medical student performing in a choir. Now I am also an actor on the stage of life; I am taking the role of a girl in the liberated area, wearing black pajamas, who night after night, follows the guerrillas to work between our areas and those of the enemy.

Perhaps I will meet the enemy, and perhaps I will fall, but I hold my medical bag firmly regardless, and people will feel sorry for this girl who was sacrificed for the revolution when she was still young and full of verdant dreams.’

20 June 1970 [the final entry published in Last Night I Dreamed of Peace - two days later she was shot.]
‘Still no one comes. It has been almost ten days since the second bombardment. People left with a promise to come back quickly and get us out of this dangerous area. We suspect that spies pointed out our location. [ . . .]

No I am no longer a child. I have grown up. I have passed trials of peril, but, somehow, at this moment, I yearn deeply for Mom’s caring hand. Even the hand of a dear one or that of an acquaintance would be enough. Come to me, squeeze my hand, know my loneliness, and give me the love, the strength to prevail on the perilous road before me.’

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Schindler of China

‘I saw a Japanese soldier lying completely naked on a young girl, who was crying hysterically. I yelled at this swine, in any language it would be understood, ‘Happy New Year! and he fled from there, naked and with his pants in his hand.’ This is John Rabe - who was born 130 years ago today - writing in his diary on 1 January 1938, during the weeks of the Rape of Nanking. The diary was only discovered some 60 years later, and inspired an American historian to dub Rabe the Oskar Schindler of China for his heroic efforts to protect Nanking’s residents from Japanese atrocities.

Rabe was born in Hamburg, Germany, on 23 November 1882. His father was a sailor. Rabe was apprenticed to a merchant, and in time assigned to a post in Africa. In his mid-20s, he went to China and then, from 1910, was employed by Siemens in its Beijing office. When the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, the foreign community and much of the Chinese population, including the government, were evacuated from Nanking, where Rabe was living. Although Siemens ordered him to leave too, he declined (although his family did leave).

With other foreign nationals, Rabe established a temporary safety zone for Chinese refugees. Subsequently, he was made head of an international committee to administer the zone. During what became known as the Rape of Nanking, the efforts of this committee managed to save many lives, possibly hundreds of thousands. In 1938, Rabe travelled to Germany, where he undertook a series of lectures, using photos and an amateur film, to publicise the extent of Japanese violence in China. At one point he was arrested by the Gestapo, and only released (under censorship) after an intervention by Siemens. He was posted to Afghanistan briefly.

After the Second World War, Rabe, a member of the Nazi party, was obliged to go through denazification procedures. He appears to have left Siemens employ in 1945, and, thereafter, lived in poverty until his death in 1950. There is plenty of biographical information about Rabe online, thanks to, among others, Wikipedia, a New York Times article, Learn to Question, and Emily Paras’s Can a Nazi be a Hero?. There are also many websites with details about the Rape of Nanking, not least at the Nanking Atrocities website.

It was Iris Chang, an American historian researching the Nanking events, who discovered John Rabe’s diaries. In her famous book The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II published in 1998, she wrote: ‘In 1996 I began an investigation into the life of John Rabe and eventually unearthed thousands of pages of diaries that he and other Nazis kept during the Rape. These diaries led me to conclude that John Rabe was “the Oskar Schindler of China”. The diaries were translated by John E. Woods, edited by Erwin Wickert and published in the late 1990s as The Good German of Nanking: The Diaries of John Rabe by Little Brown in London (and The Good Man of Nanking by A. A. Knopf in New York).

Chang also discovered diaries written by Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary who was in Nanking at the time - see more on her diaries in the 2010 Diary Review article - In darkness and fear.

A few extracts from Rabe’s diaries can be found online at Wikipedia, in Chang’s book (at Googlebooks), and at the Nanking atrocities website.

13 December 1937
‘It is not until we tour the city that we learn the extent of destruction. We come across corpses every 100 to 200 yards. The bodies of civilians that I examined had bullet holes in their backs. These people had been presumably fleeing and were shot from behind. The Japanese march through the city in groups of ten to twenty soldiers and loot the shops [. . .] I watched with my own eyes as they looted the cafĂ© of our German baker Herr Kiessling. Hempel’s hotel was broken into as well, as almost every shop on Chung Shang and Taiping Road.’

15 December 1937
‘No sooner am I back in my office at Committee Headquarters, than my boy arrives with bad news - the Japanese have returned and now have 1,300 refugees tied up. Along with Smythe and Mills I try to get these people released, but to no avail. They are surrounded by about 100 Japanese soldiers and, still tied up, are led off to be shot. [. . .] It’s hard to see people driven off like animals. But they say that Chinese shot 2,000 Japanese prisoners in Tsinanfu, too. We hear by way of the Japanese Navy that the gunboat U.S.S. Pany, on which the officials of the American embassy had sought safety, has been accidentally bombed and sunk by the Japanese.’

17 December 1937
‘Two Japanese soldiers have climbed over the garden wall and are about to break into our house. When I appear they give the excuse that they saw two Chinese soldiers climb over the wall. When I show them my party badge, they return the same way. In one of the houses in the narrow street behind my garden wall, a woman was raped, and then wounded in the neck with a bayonet. I managed to get an ambulance so we can take her to Kulou Hospital. [. . .] Last night up to 1,000 women and girls are said to have been raped, about 100 girls at Ginling Girls’ College alone. You hear nothing but rape. If husbands or brothers intervene, they’re shot. What you hear and see on all sides is the brutality and bestiality of the Japanese soldiers.’

24 December 1937
‘I have had to look at so many corpses over the last few weeks that I can keep my nerves in check even when viewing these horrible cases. It really doesn’t leave you in a “Christmas” mood; but I wanted to see these atrocities with my own eyes, so that I can speak as an eyewitness later. A man cannot be silent about this kind of cruelty!’

28 December 1937
‘He [Fukui Kiyoshi of the Japanese embassy] also informs me that our Zone has now been surrounded by Japanese guards, who will see to it that no prowling soldiers are allowed into the Zone. I’ve now had a better look at these guards and discovered that they did not stop and interrogate a single Japanese soldier. I even saw soldiers carrying looted items out of the Zone, and with absolutely no questions asked by the guards. What sort of protection is that?’

1 January 1938
‘The mother of a young attractive girl called out to me, and throwing herself on her knees, crying, said I should help her. Upon entering [. . .], I saw a Japanese soldier lying completely naked on a young girl, who was crying hysterically. I yelled at this swine, in any language it would be understood, ‘Happy New Year!’ and he fled from there, naked and with his pants in his hand.’

10 February 1938
‘Fukui, whom I tried to find at the Japanese embassy to no avail all day yesterday, paid a call on me last night. He actually managed to threaten me: “If the newspapers in Shanghai report bad things, you will have the Japanese army against you”, he said. [. . .] In reply to my question as to what I then could say in Shanghai, Fukui said “We leave that to your discretion.” My response: “It looks as if you expect me to say something like this to the reporters: The situation in Nanking is improving everyday. Please don’t print any more atrocities stories about the vile behavior of Japanese soldiers, because then you’ll only be pouring oil on fire of disagreement that already exists between the Japanese and Europeans.” “Yes”, he said simply beaming, “that would be splendid!” ’

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shakespeare’s name William

It is 390 years since the death of John Manningham, a lawyer at Middle Temple. There was nothing much remarkable about his life, but he is remembered thanks to a diary he kept for a year or two at the dawn of the 17th century; and this diary happens to mention Shakespeare, and to give an historically important account of the death of Queen Elizabeth I.

John was born around 1575, the son of Robert Manningham of Cambridgeshire. When Robert died, John was formally adopted by his grandfather’s younger brother, Richard, a prosperous London mercer. He studied at Cambridge, graduating in 1596 before entering the Middle Temple.

Manningham married Anne Curle in 1605, and they had at least six children. He practised law throughout his life, and had a position at the court of wards and liveries. He inherited, from Richard Manningham, the manor house of Bradbourne in East Malling, Kent. He died on 22 November 1622. There is a little more biographical information available at Wikipedia or the Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900.

Undoubtedly, Manningham is remembered today because of a diary he kept for a short while at the start of the 17th century while he was still a student at Middle Temple. Diary of John Manningham of the Middle Temple, and of Bradbourne, Kent, Barrister-at-law, 1602-1603, was first edited by John Bruce and published by the Camden Society in 1868. It is freely available at Internet Archive.

Bruce suggests Manningham’s text ‘is scarcely what is generally understood by a Diary. It is rather a note-book in which the writer has jotted down from time to time his impressions of whatever he chanced to hear, read, or see, or whatever he desired to preserve in his memory. The result is a curious patchwork. Anecdotes, witticisms, aphoristic expressions, gossip, rumours, extracts from books, large notes of sermons, occasional memoranda of journeys into Kent and Huntingdonshire, with some little personal matter of the true Diary kind, are all thrown together into a miscellany of odds and ends.’

The Dictionary of National Biography describes it thus: ‘The work is an entertaining medley of anecdotes of London life, political rumours, accounts of sermons, and memoranda of journeys. The gossip respecting Queen Elizabeth’s illness and death and the accession of James I is set down in attractive detail, and Manningham often supplies shrewd comments on the character of the chief lawyers and preachers of the day. He also gives an interesting account of the performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ [. . .] in the Middle Temple Hall. [. . .] The familiar anecdote of Shakespeare’s triumph over Richard Burbage in the pursuit of the favours of a lady of doubtful virtue rests on Manningham’s authority [see Shakespeare Online for example]. Sir Thomas Bodley, John Stow, and Sir Thomas Overbury are also occasionally mentioned by Manningham.’

Here are several extracts, including those that mention Shakespeare and the dying/death of Queen Elizabeth I.

18 January 1602
‘I rode with my cosen’s wife to Maidstone; dyned at Gellibrands.

As we were viewinge a scull in his studye, he shewed the seame in the middle over the heade, and said that was the place which the midwife useth shutt in women children before the wit can enter, and that is a reason that women be such fooles ever after.

My cosen shee said that the Gellibrands two wives lived like a couple of whelpes togither, meaninge sporting, but I sayd like a payre of turtles, or a couple of connies, sweetely and lovingly.

Mr. Alane, a minister, was very sicke. Gellibrand gave him a glyster, and lett him bloud the same day, for a feuer; his reason was, that not to have lett him bloud had bin verry dangerous; but to lett bloud is doubtfull, it may doe good as well as harme.

My cosen shee told me, that when shee was first married to hir husband Marche, as shee rode behinde him, shee slipt downe, and he left hir behinde, never lookt back to take hir up; soe shee went soe long a foote that shee tooke it soe unkindly that shee thought neuer to have come againe to him, but to haue sought a service in some vnknowne place; but he tooke hir at last.

Wee were at Mrs Cavils, when she practised some wit upon my cosen. Cosen she called double anemonies double enimies.’

2 February 1602
‘At our feast wee had a play called “Twelue Night, or What you Will,” much like the Commedy of Errores, or Menechmi in Plautus, but most like and neere to that in Italian called Inganni. A good practise in it to make the Steward beleeve his Lady widdowe was in love with him, by counterfeyting a letter as from his Lady in generall termes, telling him what shee liked best in him, and prescribing his gesture in smiling, his apparaile, &c., and then when he came to practise making him beleeue they tooke him to be mad.’

13 March 1602
‘Vpon a tyme when Burbidge played Richard III, there was a citizen grone soe farr in liking with him, that before shee went from the play shee appointed him to come that night vnto hir by the name of Richard the Third. Shakespeare ouerhearing their conclusion went before, was intertained and at his game ere Burbidge came. Then message being brought that Richard the Third was at the dore, Shakespeare caused returne to be made that William the Conqueror was before Richard the Third. Shakespeare’s name William.’

23 March 1603
‘I dyned with Dr Parry in the Priuy Chamber, and understood by him, the Bishop of Chichester, the Deane of Canterbury, the Deane of Windsore, &c. that hir Majestie hath bin by fitts troubled with melancholy some three or four monethes, but for this fortnight extreame oppressed with it, in soe much that shee refused to eate anie thing, to receive any phisike, or admit any rest in bedd, till within these two or three dayes. Shee hath bin in a manner speacheles for two dayes, verry pensive and silent; since Shrovetide sitting sometymes with hir eye fixed upon one obiect many howres togither, yet shee alwayes had hir perfect senses and memory, and yesterday signified by the lifting up of hir hand and eyes to heaven, a signe which Dr Parry entreated of hir, that shee beleeved that fayth which shee hath caused to be professed, and looked faythfully to be saved by Christes merits and mercy only, and noe other meanes. She tooke great delight in hearing prayers, would often at the name of Jesus lift up hir handes and eyes to Heaven. Shee would not heare the Arch[bishop] speake of hope of hir longer lyfe, but when he prayed or spake of Heaven, and those ioyes, shee would hug his hand, &c. It seemes shee might have lived yf she would have used meanes; but shee would not be persuaded, and princes must not be forced. Hir physicians said shee had a body of a firme and perfect constitucion, likely to have liued many yeares. A royall Maiesty is noe priviledge against death.’

24 March 1603
‘This morning about three at clocke hir Majestie departed this lyfe, mildly like a lambe, easily like a ripe apple from the tree, [. . .] Dr Parry told me that he was present, and sent his prayers before hir soule; and I doubt not but shee is amongst the royall saints in Heaven in eternall joyes.’

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My only anxiety

Mary Berry, a celebrated literary figure in 19th century London, died 160 years ago today, a few months after the death of Agnes, her sister, lifelong companion and ‘only anxiety’. Mary never married, though she was courted by Horace Walpole, 50 years her senior, and was for a time engaged to a general. Her diaries, published shortly after her death, provide an engaging social record of the times, but also show she led a busy life, and had a lively self-analytical mind.

Mary Berry was born in 1763 at Stanwick, Yorkshire. The birth of her sister and lifelong companion, Agnes, followed a year later. Their mother died in childbirth along with a third daughter in 1767. Thereafter, the two sisters lived with their grandmother, first in Yorkshire then on the Thames riverside in Chiswick. In 1783, Mary and Agnes went with their father on an extended tour of the Continent - the first of many they would take.

In 1788, the family took a house at Twickenham Common and made the acquaintance of Horace Walpole, who - famously - described the daughters as ‘the best informed and the most perfect creatures I ever saw at their age’. He also wrote that they were ‘entirely natural and unaffected, frank, and, being qualified to talk on any subject, nothing is so easy and agreeable as their conversation’. By then, Walpole was in his 70s, and the Berrys were still only in their early 20s, but nevertheless a strong, almost intimate, attachment developed between him and both women.

In 1791, the sisters and their father went to live near Walpole, at his Little Strawberry Hill property. They also had a house in London, in North Audley Street. After a long courtship Mary became engaged to General Charles O’Hara, but the relationship soon broke down. After Walpole’s death, the Berrys inherited Little Strawberry Hill, and Mr Berry was assigned to prepare some of Walpole’s writings for publication. However, it was Mary who edited the five volumes of Walpole’s work published in 1798. Thereafter, her literary reputation grew, and she worked on several more biographical works and social histories. Much of the time, though, she was to be found travelling in Europe.

In 1824 the sisters took up residence in Curzon Street, where they established a salon frequented by many prominent society figures, including William Makepeace Thackeray. Agnes died early in 1852, and Mary on 21 November, just months after having been presented to Queen Victoria. There is a little more biographical information about Mary Berry on the website of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, and there is a good short biography at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (login recquired, free with a UK library card).

Berry’s diary was first edited by Lady Theresa Lewis and published by Longmans & Co in 1865 in three volumes as Extracts from the journals and correspondence of Miss Berry, from the year 1783 to 1852. All three volumes are freely available at Internet Archive. The introduction to the first volume, by Lewis, explains Berry’s prominence in society: ‘Miss Berry has more than ordinary claims to live in the memory of those to whom she was personally known. For an unusually lengthened period of years she formed a centre round which beauty, rank, wealth, power, fashion, learning, and science were gathered; merit and distinction of every degree were blended by her hospitality in social ease and familiar intercourse, encouraged by her kindness, and enlivened by her presence. She was not only the friend of literature and of literary people, but she assiduously cultivated the acquaintance of intellectual excellence in whatever form it might appear, and to the close of her existence she maintained her interest in all the important affairs in life, whether social, literary, or political. Without any remarkable talent for conversation herself, she promoted conversation amongst others, and shed an air of home-like ease over the society which met under her roof, that will long be remembered by those who had the opportunity of witnessing it, and who saw the consequent readiness and frequency with which the guests of her unpremeditated parties availed themselves of her general invitation.’

Volume one is mostly letters, with the journal entries written during her Continental travels - here are the first entries from her first trip overseas.

26 May 1783.
‘Set out from Charles Street at four o’clock; slept at the Blue Posts at Witham.’

27 May 1783
‘Arrived at Harwich at four o’clock; sailed on board the Prince of Wales packet-boat, Capt. Nasson, at eight at night.’

28 May 1783
‘All day at sea with a very brisk gale; monstrously sick; came to an anchor at the mouth of the harbour at Helveot at ten o’clock at night.’

29 May 1783
‘Came on shore to the Golden Lion at Helveot between three and four in the morning; breakfasted at six with some of our fellow-travellers; at eight, went on board a yacht sent by Mr Crauford to convey us to Rotterdam. These yachts are elegantly fitted up with every convenience for eating, drinking, and sleeping, and are often hired by Dutch families for several weeks together on parties of pleasure. The passage from Helveot to Rotterdam is commonly made in four or five hours, but there being little or no wind, and the tide being against us, we were from eight in the morning till nine at night in the yacht, and were at last obliged to get into a little rowing boat, in which we arrived at Mr Crauford’s house at Rotterdam between ten and eleven o’clock, not a little delighted to find ourselves again on terra firma and in company of our friends.’

30 May 1783
‘Spent the day in visiting the principal buildings and streets of Rotterdam, which must strike all strangers with its appearance of great bustle, cheerfulness, and most remarkable cleanliness. The canals are broad with rows of trees on each side, and generally full of vessels of all sizes, which are enabled to come up to the very doors of the merchants’ and traders’ houses. The canals are crossed by drawbridges, of which there are commonly more than one in every street, and which gives them such a look of similarity that it was with difficulty I could distinguish one street from another.’

The second and third volumes are more taken up with journal entries, at home and abroad.

23 November 1807
‘A dismal, rainy, and to me melancholy day, for I was out of humour with myself. A number of little circumstances lately have served to convince me that my manner is often tranchante, my voice often too loud, and my way of meeting opposition unconciliating. All these circumstances are exactly the contrary from what they ought to be, to make me what I wish, and what alone I can be, at my time of life. It is odd that I, who have been always thinking of growing old, and have such clear ideas of what alone can make a woman loved and amiable after her youth is past, what her views and manners should be, and what can ensure her any degree of consideration - it is odd, I say, that I should fall into the very faults I am the most aware of, and put myself into the situation I have always deprecated; but it is not too late, and at least I am not too old to mend.

In Madame Neckar’s ridiculous Remains, published by her husband, are some of the very best rules and advice for the manners and conduct of a woman no longer young in society. I will read them again. They always strike me as most justly conceived.’

26 November 1807
‘Walked about the garden at Little Strawberry Hill. My greenhouse looks well. Read Madame du Deffand’s letters in the evening.’ [Berry edited four volumes of Deffand’s letters to Walpole.]

27 November 1807
‘Spent a part of the morning at Little Strawberry Hill in my greenhouse. Read Madame du Deffand in the evening.’

1 December 1807
‘Left Strawberry Hill, after spending five weeks there very comfortably and quietly. North Audley Street for the first time felt cold after the great logs and extreme warmth of Strawberry.’

15 November 1810
‘Accepted Mr Hope’s proposal of going with him to Brighton.’

17 November 1810
‘Mr Hope came soon after eleven. It was a fine sunny day, well calculated to raise one’s spirits when travelling comfortably in a chaise and four. But I was out of spirits with myself. My companion, always acute and intelligent in a tete-a-tete, was another circumstance in my favour; but all did not do. We arrived at Brighton in the dark and the rain at half-past five.’

20 November 1810
‘We drove to the West Cliff. The extent of Brighton along the cliff to the Crescent, the furthest houses on the East Cliff, cannot be much less than two miles. Went to the play (‘The Rivals,’ and the ‘Agreeable Surprise’), which had been bespoken. The house was more than three parts empty; and the company in the Prince’s box, which is always given to the lady who bespeaks the play, talked so loud by way of being so very genteel, that one could hardly hear the players.’

23 November 1810
‘Walked with Mr Ward; his observations are always acute, often droll. But there is nil grande in that man; and with a keen and too accurate observation of the littlenesses and vanities of others, he is, if I am not much mistaken, overcharged with both himself.’

25 November 1810
‘In the evening had some conversation with Mr Grattan. His manner is singular, with much action, and his pronunciation, without being Irish, so very foreign that nobody at first could possibly take him for a native of these islands; his language is good, however, and his choice of words figurative, and out of the common way; but his manner upon the whole in society is much more odd than pleasant.’

26 November 1810
‘Went with Mrs Hope to the church on the hill above the town. It is crowded with tablets and monuments within, and tombstones without; in short, the town and its inhabitants have fairly outgrown their church, for there is but one here.’

13 December 1811
‘Went with Lady Charlotte to hear the military band in the Prince’s Pavilion. Luckily, we only heard two pieces, for the noise of so many loud instruments in a room (the dining-room) which could hardly hold them, was not a remedy for my headache. After the music, having an order, we saw the apartments of the Pavilion. All is Chinese, quite overloaded with china of all sorts and of all possible forms, many beautiful in themselves, but so overloaded one upon another, that the effect is more like a china shop baroquement arranged, than the abode of a Prince. All is gaudy, without looking gay; and all is crowded with ornaments, without being magnificent. The interior of the stables is imposing, though badly arranged for the comfort of the horses, and will only accommodate sixty beneath this large building. The riding house, which is attached to it, perfectly suits its purpose, and is, I think, likely not to be finished, though it is the only part of the habitation of the Prince which deserves preservation. He ought to have a tennis court of the same size, making a pendant to the riding house.’

31 March 1814
‘Went, in the Duke of Devonshire’s box, to see Kean in ‘Hamlet’. I must confess I am disappointed in his talent. To my mind he is without grace and without elevation of mind, because he never seems to rise with the poet in those sublime passages which abound in ‘Hamlet’, and for what is called recitation of verse he understands nothing.’

20 April 1814
‘I went this evening to see Lady H. Leveson, to arrange our going to her sister’s empty house to see the entry of the King of France [Louis XVIII had taken over as de facto ruler of France on 11 April after Napoleon’s defeat]. The streets and the park were, before twelve o’clock, filled with people and carriages; the latter were not allowed to enter the park. At five o’clock we saw seven carriages of the Prince Regent’s pass, drawn by six horses, in dress livery, preceded by several hundreds of gentlemen on horseback, and accompanied and followed by a detachment of Light Horse and the Blues; but that was all we saw, because from Park Street the distance was too great to see well into the carriages, and, if we could have seen so far, the people on foot, and the crowd on the rails and walls of the park, would have prevented our doing so. The people took off their hats and saluted the carriages as they passed with much goodwill, but without the least enthusiasm.’

21 April 1814
‘Everybody who wished to see the King of France went to Grillon’s, in Albemarle Street, where he lodged. I was not amongst the number, but during all the day one could hardly pass through the streets, there were so many carriages and people on foot. He went to see the Prince, and in the evening there were a great many people at Carlton House. All who were not there went to Lady Jersey’s, where there was a very agreeable, and not too numerous a society.’

23 April 1814
‘The King of France left London at nine o’clock this morning. If about the same interval elapses between the visits of the Kings of France to London, we shall not see another for 500 years.’

12 December 1843
‘I have an internal sentiment that I cannot count on myself for a single day. I am therefore most anxious - indeed it is the only thing about which I am anxious - to have all ready, to give as little trouble and hurry at the last as possible. I am very anxious our intimate friends should support poor Agnes, if I leave her behind me. Jane, I hope, will do much for her. I swore her, before she went to Scotland, if I dropped off during her absence, to come immediately up to Agnes. I knew nobody else that could fill her place on that occasion for dear Agnes.’

27 December 1843
‘I have had a severe fit of illness in the form of influenza. Repose, solitude, and a book are all I can attempt. I still make an effort to gather together some sparks of life for my sister’s sake. My only anxiety! my only one! is thinking what I can do to secure her some comfort of society after I am gone. I think of this without ceasing.’

Monday, November 12, 2012

Diary briefs


Full transcript of Che Guevara’s diary online - Fox News, Che Bolivia

Tea company founder’s trip to India - Rington’s Tea, Sunday Sun

US boilermaker’s diary in Australia - The Wall Street Journal

The Second World War journals of a medical officer - Doc Alexander blog, Calgary Sun

First World War diaries of an ambulance driver - Cleveland.com

Isle of Man WW1 diaries sought - BBC

Guests of the Third Reich exhibition - The Washington Post, National WWII Museum

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Not counting hedge hogs

University of Nebraska Press has just published The Ojibwe Journals of Edmund F. Ely. The diary is said to provide an ‘unprecedented insight into early nineteenth-century Ojibwe life and Ojibwe-missionary relations’ - the Ojibwe being among the largest groups of native Americans north of Mexico. At £49/$65 the new book is a bit pricey, but some extracts from Ely’s diaries can be read freely online thanks to the Minnesota Historical Society.

Edmund Franklin Ely was born in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, in 1809. As a young divinity student in Albany, he taught music and became the leader of the choir of the Fourth Presbyterian Church to help with his expenses. But, in 1833, he managed to get an appointment with the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions whose missionaries were working with native Americans, as well as overseas.

Ely left New York to travel a 1,000 miles west to Lake Superior, where he would stay, serving with Ojibwe missions in Wisconsin and Minnesota, for the next 16 years. The Ojibwe, or Chippewa, who lived along the northern shore of Lake Huron, and both shores of Lake Superior, spoke a form of Algonquian, and are now considered one of the largest groups of Native Americans-First Nations north of Mexico.

Ely married Catherine Bissell (whose mother was a half-blood Chippewa Indian) in 1835 and they are said to have had 13 children. In 1849 he left the mission field but remained living in the area, in St. Paul, and then Oneota (now part of Duluth), where he served as postmaster for six years, and as a St. Louis County commissioner in 1861 and 1862. In 1873, the family moved to California, and Ely died in 1882, two years after his wife.

Ely left behind diaries covering more than 20 years of his life, the first of which was written in 1933 during his journey west from Albany to the Indian country. Most of the content of these diaries has now been edited by Theresa M. Schenck and published for the first time by University of Nebraska Press as The Ojibwe Journals of Edmund F. Ely, 1833-1849.

The publisher’s abstract states: ‘Twenty-four-year-old Edmund F. Ely, a divinity student from Albany, New York, gave up his preparation for the ministry in 1833 to become a missionary and teacher among the Ojibwe of Lake Superior. During the next sixteen years, Ely lived, taught, and preached among the Ojibwe, keeping a journal of his day-to-day experiences as well as recording ethnographic information about the Ojibwe. From recording his frustrations over the Ojibwe’s rejection of Christianity to describing hunting and fishing techniques he learned from his Ojibwe neighbors, Ely’s unique and rich record provides unprecedented insight into early nineteenth-century Ojibwe life and Ojibwe-missionary relations.’

The manuscripts are held by Northeast Minnesota Historical Center at the University of Minnesota, and consist of twenty separate volumes. Further details about the diaries can be found in the new book’s introduction (freely available on the University of Nebraska Press website): ‘A few were written by candlelight during canoe trips, others in the comfort of Ely’s lodge. Some parts are faint and written over in blue. A few pages are so faded that they cannot even be read. For the first four years the journals were kept meticulously; they are thorough accounts of the day-to-day activities of Ely and the people with whom he interacted. Thereafter it seems that he maintained his journals somewhat sporadically or only for specific occasions. They nevertheless present a unique picture of a missionary’s life, his reflections on the state of his soul, and his observations of a people little known at the time.’

A few extracts from Ely’s diaries can be found on the web, in articles made available by the Minnesota Historical Society: Roy Hoover’s To Stand Alone in the Wilderness - Edmund F. Ely Missionary, and Grace Lee Nute’s The Edmund Franklin Ely Papers. There are also a few extracts to be found with the information on the University of Nebraska Library about the Ely collection.

Here are a few extracts taken from the above sources.

5 November 1833
‘This evening, the Frenchmen & Indian Girls, have had a dance in Mr Aitken’s Room. Mr Davenport played the Violin for them. Their feet are happily well inured to hardships - or Else, one would suppose, from the Modus operandi, that they would raise some blisters - not to mention the consequences to’ the floor on which they Jump.’

8 January 1834
‘Today Mr A. started off - 2 Horse trains for Fondulac & is to follow in the Morning with a Dog train.’

26 February 1834
‘Was much amused, this evening, in the wigiwam, to hear a Child 3 Yrs old, sing several of Our Indian Hymns - in tunes whh the Children have learned from me. This family left here last fall & went down the river. The Child has learned them of its Br. & Sister.’

8 February 1834
‘As I walked past, some cried out ‘Nogomota’ - (let us sing). I went into the room & Commenced Singing, when all flocked in & joined in the hymn, spent some time thus - read a short chapter . . . & concluded with prayer.’

23 April 1834
‘Two Indians, who arrived from their hunt last night - made it [the traverse] this P. M. in a very Small Canoe. These men brought in 3 or $400 worth of furs, the result of the Spring Hunt.’

26 April 1834
‘This afternoon, an Indian came to the House (who had previously given to Mr [William] Davenport’s man, the result of his hunt -) who had taken a credit last fall, - & instead of paying his credit, wanted to trade the amo of his Pack. Mr D. told him he must pay his credit - the Indian refused. [the Indian] raised himself up his knife in his hand. Mr D. caught a lance, which was at hand, & told the Ind. to be peacable, or consequences might follow. The Ind. was intimidated, & put by his knife, after waiting an hour or more, & seeing that Mr D. was not to be moved, the Ind. settled his business & - went off. It is a common thing - for some Stubborn Ind to endeavor to intimidate the traders [by] drawing their knives, & the only way is, for the trader to show them, that he is not afraid of him. . . let an Indian see that you are perfectly calm & determined, & he will quail before you.’

7 March 1835
‘As an example of Indian providence - I will note a statement just made me by Osana Amik. Two or three lodges hunted - together. There were 5 Men - 6 Women & 6 Children (mostly small). Between the 15th Nov. & 15th Jan they have Killed 13 Moose 9 Bears & 2 Deer - not Counting Hedge Hogs - Rabbits & pheasants & furred Game.
13 Moose - Equal to 13 Common horses
9 Bears [ - Equal to ] 9 Small-Hogs
2 Deers [- Equal to ] 1 large do
when I passed them (to Yellow Lake) I bot some meat at one lodge - but at another of the lodges found them hungry & gave them part of my Meat, & other things, on my return I bot more meat. They came in from their hunt hungry & are now at the Lake depending on the fishing.’

29 March 1854
‘B. & Slaughter started early to watch their corners - (accompanied by 11 resolute follow[er]s - ) The Surveyor was closely followed by Stinson & Thompson with about 25 men. They were armed with Pistols… They took Perry’s & Barrett’s, who have claims on the Mineral Range. Chase, who also has a claim on the range, had taken a [blank in MS] claim directly back of the townsite, remarked to me that he supposed he could not hold his without fighting for it. I told him if he would give it up to me, I would go on to it - as I presumed they would acknowledge my right to preempt it. He agreed to it. He is to have an undivided fourth - (or 40 acres) which he is to pay for, & help me put up a shanty - on it. I went with him immediately and commenced a shanty - while at work the Surveyor came - running the Section line - northward & on my East line. He noted every street in his field book - thus considering it a town site - Stinson & Thompson with their retinue - were close at hand. The North line of the section was then run out to the lake - & the two parties marched out - side by side with the surveyor - who closed his days work at the Lake. The line is to be corrected back to the N. & S. line before the section is considered as surveyed - consequently no demonstration was made to take possession by the Messrs Stinson & Thompson & Co. The excitement was very great - & very plain talk dealt off to S. & T. B. & S. & party are determined - & will fight terribly if encroached upon. Blood will most certainly be spilled.

30 March 1854
‘Began to snow last night. Has continued to snow heavily all day. About 8 inches has fallen - Equal to 1 foot dry snow. No surveying today - all quiet.’

31 March 1854
‘Forest loaded with snow. Went to work on the shanty. Have got up all the timbers. No Surveying - too much snow on the timber - considerable excitement among the Miners & other claim holders concerning the course of Messrs S. & Thompson. B. & Slaughter will receive some very important accessions, when the Survey commences again. We learn there is a party - close at hand - from St. Paul - feel rather impatient for their arrival.’