Friday, January 29, 2016

Love of humanity

He does not follow a literary impulse; he does not write to please or to delight. He has been compelled to write by his thirst for truth, his need for morality, and his love of humanity. This is a description of Romain Rolland - a major French literary figure born 150 years ago today - on the Nobel Prize website. Though little remembered today in the English-speaking world, he was a principled and outspoken pacifist, engaging with many other intellectuals in the first half of the 20th century. He kept a diary for much of his life, and extracts have been published in various forms, often compiled by theme - WWI, India (he was a great promoter of Gandhi), or a particular person. However, none have found their way into English, except for a few extracts about the German author Herman Hesse.

Rolland was born in Clamecy, central France, on 29 January 1866, but went to study in Paris from age 14. He was admitted to the École Normale Supérieure to study philosophy, but switched to history and became interested in music. After two years in Italy, he published, in 1895, two doctoral theses, one on the origins of modern lyric theatre and the other on the decline of Italian painting in the sixteenth century. Around 1892, he married Clotilde Bréal, although they were divorced by 1901.

Rolland became a teacher in Paris for some years, including at the the newly established music school École des Hautes Études Sociales from 1902 to 1911. In 1903, he was also appointed to the first chair of music history at the Sorbonne. During these years, he was writing and publishing plays, such as Le Triomphe de la raison and Le 14 Juillet - he dreamt of a ‘people’s theatre’, free from the domination of a selfish clique - as well as biographies of Beethoven, Michelangelo, Tolstoy.

Rolland collaborated with Charles Péguy in the journal Les Cahiers de la Quinzaine, through which he published, from 1904 to 1912, his best-known novel, generally considered his masterpiece - Jean-Christophe. It is for Jean-Christophe, largely, that Rolland was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915. According to the Sven Söderman, writing on the Nobel Prize website, ‘this powerful work describes the development of a character in whom we can recognize ourselves. It shows how an artistic temperament, by raising itself step by step, emerges like a genius above the level of humanity; how a powerful nature which has the noblest and most urgent desire for truth, moral health, and artistic purity, with an exuberant love of life, is forced to overcome obstacles that rise up ceaselessly before it; how it attains victory and independence; and how this character and this intelligence are significant enough to concentrate in themselves a complete image of the world.’

Söderman continues: ‘This book does not aim solely at describing the life of the principal hero and his environment. It seeks also to describe the causes of the tragedy of a whole generation; it gives a sweeping picture of the secret labour that goes on in the hidden depths and by which nations, little by little, are enlightened; it covers all the domains of life and art; it contains everything essential that has been discussed or attempted in the intellectual world during the last decades; it achieves a new musical aesthetic; it contains sociological, political and ethnological, biological, literary, and artistic discussions and judgments, often of the highest interest. [. . ] In this work Rolland has not simply followed a literary impulse; he does not write to please or to delight. He has been compelled to write by his thirst for truth, his need for morality, and his love of humanity. [Jean-Christophe . . .] is a combination of thought and poetry, of reality and symbol, of life and dream, which attracts us, excites us, reveals us to ourselves, and possesses a liberating power because it is the expression of a great moral force.’

High praise indeed! By 1914, Rolland had moved to Switzerland to work full-time as a writer - not returning to France until the late 1930s. He was a life-long pacifist, shown through his writings about WWI such as in Au-dessus de la Mêlée. He was a great admirer of Gandhi, and his 1924 book on the Indian leader is said to have contributed to his growing reputation in Europe. In 1928 Rolland collaborated with the Hungarian philosopher Edmund Bordeaux Szekely in founding the International Biogenic Society. In the early 1930s, he married Marie Koudachef, a half-Russian communist who had been his secretary for some years, and who, historians say, was a Stalinist agent charged by Moscow with securing Rolland’s allegiance.

In 1935, Rolland travelled to Moscow on the invitation of Maxim Gorky, and, significantly, gained an audience with Stalin. For years, he went on supporting the leader’s regime against growing evidence of his atrocities, but, as the truth about them became harder to ignore, so Rolland, once again in France, retreated into his work. He became something of a recluse, suffering from ill health and being closely monitored by the Vichy police. He died in late 1944. Further limited information is available in English at Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica, and in French at Association Romain Rolland. Also there are various biographies of Rolland available to preview at Googlebooks: David James Fisher’s Romain Rolland and the Politics of the intellectual Engagement; Stefan Zweig’s Romain Rolland the Man and his Work, and Patrick Wright’s Iron Curtain: From Stage to Cold War.

Throughout his life, Rolland maintained a steady correspondence with many intellectual figures - such as Albert Schweitzer, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Bertrand Russell, and Rabindranath Tagore - much of which was published after his death. He also kept a diary, many extracts from which have also been published posthumously, some in books such as Journal des années de guerre, for example, Inde - Journal 1915-1943, and Journal de Vézelay 1938-1944. A list of other publications with diary extracts can be found in A Critical Bibliography of French Literature at Googlebooks. All of these, though, are in French. The only translated examples of Rolland’s diary material that I can find are in Hermann Hesse & Romain Rolland - Correspondence, diary entries and reflections, 1915 to 1940 translated from the French and German by M. G. Hesse, with an introduction by Pierre Grappin, and published in 1978 by Oswald Wolff, London and Humanities Press, New Jersey.

November 1914
‘An excellent article by the German poet and novelist Hermann Hesse in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung of November 3, entitled “O Freunde, nicht diese Tone!” Since he lives in Switzerland Hesse escapes the German contagion. He addresses himself to writers, artists, and thinkers. He regrets seeing them eagerly participating in the war. In expressing his righteous idea, Hesse probably tends to exaggerate the artist’s duty to remain silent. This harmonizes only too well with the spirit of German docility. If it doesn’t manifest itself in force, it can only conceal its independence within itself. However, I would like to see a thinker from Germany who would resolutely oppose force. Anyway, we have to take men as they are! Hesse is one of the best of his race; and he says many things to which I could subscribe: against writers who arouse hatred; against the humanitarians in peace time who when war breaks out, etc.. Against the war itself, he doesn’t want to say anything. He hopes it will be very violent, so that it will end more quickly. And he recommends the attitude of Goethe “who held himself so marvellously aloof during the great war of independence of his people.” ’

18 February 1915
‘Hermann Hesse publishes in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Abendblatt) an article on a new German review. Die Weissen Blatter of Leipzig, which is reissued after an interruption of several months. Germany’s generation of young poets expresses itself in this journal. Hesse calls attention to their great serenity. One of its contributors, the Alsatian Ernst Stadler, has been killed. A lecturer at the Free University in Brussels, translator and friend of French poets, he was supposed to go to Canada last September to teach. He was thirty years old. Hesse compares the journal’s Europeanism to mine. He doesn’t see in it an isolated exception, but the early flowering of the Europeanism that is latent in the best German youth. Among the most gifted of these young writers, Hesse mentions Werfel, Stemheim, Schickele, Ehrenstein.’

September 1920
‘Hermann Hesse, who has been living for the past two years in Montagnola, above Lugano, comes to dinner (September 26). He is thin, gaunt, clean-shaven, ascetic, severely cut to the bone - like a figure by Hodler. Hesse has gone through an exceptionally severe crisis from which he has emerged - according to him - as a new man. External circumstances have contributed to it - his wife is mentally ill and confined to a hospital; he is reduced to poverty, his children are separated from him and are in schools in northern Switzerland. Hesse lives in complete isolation, and his material existence is reduced to the minimum. Under these circumstances the old principles, implanted in his mind by India and China, which had always attracted him, have developed in an exceptional manner. He maintains he has now attained a state of mind which fully conforms to his Asian ideals and he creates for himself a life that is in harmony with his thinking. He is completely detached from the entire contemporary world, from art, from today’s literature which he regards as a futile game, and especially from politics. He is even detached from almost everything that gives value to life for the modern man: comfort and public esteem. Hesse lives like a wise man from India (even though his ideal is rather the wisdom of China with its cheerful accommodation to life). Hesse claims he is happy. To keep busy and to earn some money, he has taken up painting. He embellishes with sketches the manuscripts of his poems which some collectors buy. Last year he published a work under a pseudonym.’

April 1923
‘Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, whose first part is dedicated to me, is one of the most profound works a European has ever written on (and in the spirit of) Hindu philosophy. When he read it in Lugano,
Kalidas Nag was filled with admiration for Siddhartha. The last fifteen to twenty pages may be added to the treasure of Hindu wisdom. They don’t merely paraphrase it, they complete it. Hesse writes me that none of his other works has been greeted with such absolute silence. His friends haven’t even taken the trouble to thank him for it.’

December 1923
‘A renewed exchange of affectionate letters with Waldemar Bonsels and with Hermann Hesse. My sister and I are going to publish under the Ollendorff imprint some volumes of Hesse’s tales and short stories. Hermann Hesse, who must be close to sixty, is going to marry again. He sends me a beautiful aquarelle which he painted in the Tessin.’

17 September 1933
‘Visited Hermann Hesse in his charming house in Montagnola on the ridge of the Golden Hill above the vineyards and chestnut trees. He had us picked up in a friend’s car. He awaits us with his wife and sister in front of his house. The misfortunes of our time have not marked his face which appears much fresher, calmer, and younger than the last time I saw him (two years ago on the eve of his remarriage). He complains only about his eyes which cause him some concern. Indiscreetly I perceive more anxiety on his wife’s face. She is a brunette with intelligent and attractive features. As far as the sister is concerned, she is a kind, stocky old lady who doesn’t speak, but who listens with an assenting smile. Hesse alludes only briefly at the beginning of our conversation to the afflictions caused by the events in Germany and the passage of emigrants in the Tessin. But throughout the balance of the conversation, Hesse reveals that he is quite detached and ill-informed (he avoids the reality of events that threaten to destroy his fragile mental equilibrium). He readily satisfies himself with the idea that the true German culture will remain safeguarded from the torrent. And he loves to cite the example of a friend, a musicologist who at this very moment is preoccupied with his research in folklore.

Also, in his innermost being Hesse feels utter contempt for Fuhrers - especially Hitler, whom he considers mediocre, but well attuned to the mediocre German sensitivity and therefore chosen by those who manage the whole business. But Hesse declares he is completely detached from his fatherland (which, he adds, he wouldn’t have said, nor felt, during the war of 1914). However, he didn’t have to suffer personally. No measures have been take against him in this respect: he continues to publish in Germany. The letters he receives from his young readers are quite similar to those he received in previous years. Undoubtedly because his public, like him, flees into art and dreams from the pressures of reality. For a year and a half Hesse has been working, but without haste, on a utopian work whose form he is in no hurry to find. [. . .]

His beautiful house and his supporter have shielded him from the need to act - even with his pen. I don’t think that this is good for him. His most substantial artistic activity is his work as aquarellist. He delights in colours. And every day he adds one sheet after another to his collection of landscapes. Last spring Hesse saw Thomas Mann who seems the most contemplative and worthiest among all the great German Emigres. This man who comes perhaps farthest - (for he was basically a great German bourgeois, most attached to the city and the fatherland, and I was harsh toward him in 1914-1915) - will probably have the courage to go furthest along the path of abandoning his former prejudices and convictions. But he will do so only after long and private struggles with his conscience and meditation. When he is strengthened in his convictions, it’s likely that his daily life will conform to them, whatever risks it may involve.’

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Apprentice Hostman and squire

Today marks the 280th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Jackson, a North Yorkshire squire, but who, as a teenager, had been apprenticed as a Hostman. He would not be remembered today but for a personal diary he kept from the age of 13 until just weeks before his death. The diary is rated for its richness of detail concerning a squire’s life in Cleveland, in the second half of the 18th century, but also for facts about a Hostman’s life in the thriving coal trade of Newcastle upon Tyne, and for information about the great explorer James Cook and some of his associates, all known to Jackson.

Jackson, born on 26 January 1736, was one of nine children in a modestly wealthy family of Richmond, North Yorkshire. In his 13th year he was taken to Newcastle upon Tyne to undertake a seven year apprenticeship with a member of the town’s Company of Hostmen. The fraternity, a group of men who acted as hosts to visiting merchants, had received a Royal Charter in 1600, but, by this time, had also acquired exclusive rights to trade coal; and since coal had become more or less the lifeblood of Newcastle, Hostmen enjoyed an elevated social status occupying most positions of authority in the town.

While working as an assistant to his master, the young Jackson was also tutored privately. By his final year as an apprentice, he was already undertaking most of a Hostman’s roles, with the exception of finalising coaling agreements with ships’ captains. On completing his apprenticeship, rather than seeking to become a member of the Company, he returned to Cleveland, in North Yorkshire, to live with his uncle, and help him with his business. When his uncle died, Jackson inherited nearly all his property and business interests. In 1776, he married Mary Lewin. After giving birth to four children, three of whom died in infancy, she also died, in 1781.

Jackson continued to live a relatively uneventful country squire life, becoming a magistrate in 1769, licensing pubs, supervising highway repairs, as well as presiding over criminal proceedings. He died in 1790. He is only remembered today because he kept a regular diary for four decades, full of details about mid-18th century life and society. His brother, George, however, rose to a senior position within the admiralty and became an MP.

There are at least four significant sources of information about Ralph Jackson and his diaries (held by Teeside Archive). Two of these focus on the information his diaries provide about Newcastle upon Tyne and the coal trade; another focuses on Jackson’s contacts with the famous explorer James Cook; and the fourth is linked to the North Yorkshire area in which he lived.

In 2000, the Company of Hostmen of Newcastle upon Tyne published Bound for the Tyne: Extracts from the diary of Ralph Jackson - Apprentice Hostman of Newcastle upon Tyne 1749-1756, as edited by Clifford E. Thornton, ‘to commemorate its quater-centenery 1600-2000 A.D.’ According to Thornton, Jackson’s journal ‘provides an invaluable insight into eighteenth century life in the North-East’. He also adds this comment: ‘Little did Ralph realise when he started his humble diary, that in time it would bring him more fame and attention than he ever received during his life!’

More recently, in 2014, Ashgate has published Peter D. Wright’s book Life on the Tyne - Water Trades on the Lower River Tyne in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, a reappraisal. This is available to preview at Googlebooks and includes a chapter on Jackson and his diary, with many quotes.

The Captain Cook Society hosts a website with a huge amount of information about James Cook, his ships, crews, journeys as well as other ephemera including several extracts from Cook’s journals (see also The Diary Junction). Jackson, it seems, was acquainted with Cook, who also came from Yorkshire, and some of his associates. The website explained, in an introductory blog post, in 1997: ‘During his life Ralph Jackson never achieved anything spectacular, certainly nothing to compare with Cook’s discoveries, however, in the past decade, Ralph has come more and more into prominence in modern Cleveland thanks to the meticulous diary which he kept throughout his life. His hand-made journals, written in his neat copperplate style, provide a unique insight into life in Cleveland in the eighteenth century. The diary describes his personal interests, his business dealings, and his social contacts with people throughout the region. It is these latter entries which reveal many details relevant to James Cook and his associates.’ Several further blog posts followed, all still available on the website, which provide many extracts from the diaries, as well as explanations on Jackson’s links with Cook and his associates.

Finally, the most detailed biographical information about Jackson and the full text of all his diaries can be found on the Great Ayton History Society website - Great Ayton being a village near where Jackson himself lived, and where several of his relations resided. The Society’s introduction to Jackson and the diaries, with portraits of he and his wife, also explains how a group of volunteers transcribed all 600,000 words of the diary, as authentically as possible.

The following extracts are taken from the pamphlet, Bound for the Tyne.

15 October 1750
‘In the forenoon Mr Presswick came up, & I went to the Hill for some potatoes & Horseradish. In the Evening Mr Charlton & the Master that he had built the Ship called the Fame for, sat the Evening. I gave on the Ship for Tamfields Coals, when the were gone we retired to bed betwixt Ten and Eleven.’

11 April 1752
‘In the morning there was a great many Ships sending up, so I went upon the Key and my Master sent me to pay Mr White for putting an advertisement belonging to Sir Ra: Milbank and ask Thompson why he did not put it into his Paper, then I went down to Winkhamlee. In the afternoon I came home, got my dinner and my Mas’ gave me leave to go to the Shd Fd [both ds superscript] with Mrs & Miss Hudspeths to drink Tea at Nellys the Milk wife, came home and play’d at Shittle cock in the Trenity with Billy & Lewis Hick, came home and retired to bed a little after ten.’

22 May 1752
‘In the morning I cleaned my Shoes, after Breakfast I took a walk with Billy & R. Morton upon the Moor and saw soldiers reviewed By General Camdbell, after dinner I drew out the April Vend and carried it to Mr Featherston’s Office. I called at the Post house an at Doctor Hallowell’s Shop where I saw Dicky Cotesworth and he told me his Bror. & Sisters was gone down to Winkhamlee, came home I saw the Man that made Paper cake mix his Paste in the Burnbank, came home and sat in the House till Eleven o’Clock and my Master did not come in, so I retired to bed at ye time.’

28 May 1752
‘In the morning I went upon the Key & saw a fight between 2 or 3 women against one man. Went into my room & got my clean Shirt on and rode down to Winkhamlee upon my Masrs Mair and from thence to Shields & went on board Mr Gallon, the Mary & Jane, to desire he would come up and Clear today, for Friday and Saturday were two Holidays. He came up with me as far as the Waggon way and then I rode down to Winkhamlee. In the evening I went to the Stables with Billy to tell Geo. Wardell’s lad to go down to Shields and then I fetched Billy’s Galloway down for Capn. Clifton to ride on. After I took a walk with Billy and some more to Elsick and got every one 1⁄2 of New Milk.’

1 March 1753
‘In the morning I went to Mary Davison’s and got my Sassifras Tea then I came to our house & got a little milk. After breakfast I went into the Office and wrote some Receipts, ordered the fire Coal deliver’d to sundry people. I took a walk upon the Key & sat in Mr Akenheads shop awhile, after this I went for some fish herbs upon the Sandhill to Mrs Barfields for some Vinegar, I also went into Office and wrote over Mr Cuffley’s Accot., Mr Cuffley & Jno Campion dined at our house. . .’

3 March 1753
‘In the morning I went to Mary’s and got my Tea, then I came in & Copyed over 3 bills into the Books, after I carried them to my Master. He let some ink fall upon one of them and spoiled it so I rode down to Shields upon my Master’s mair, I got Jno Campion to go with me on Board his Bror. where I got the Bill renewed, it was for £30-12s-4d. I came from Shields as I cou’d and got back against dinner time, after dinner I went to old Mr Ackenheads & passed the above Bill to him, I brot. the money to my Master and went down to the Cann hos. till Jno. Paid the Keelmen, then I came away and came into the Office were I did a good deal of my Master’s business . . . I sat up with Billy till my Master came in, after he came in he smoaked a pipe for he was a little in Liquor . . .’

4 December 1756
‘This day my Seventh years Bond expires allowing the Eleven days also for the Alteration of the Stile in 1752 [change in the calendar]. I went with Mr Ord to Mr Winds in Pilgrom Street & bespoke a Supp: for Seven of my Acquaintances against Monday night first. I finish’d copying out my Masters Cash Book into that I keep. I walk’d to Elswick with the two Miss Hudspeths & Miss Meuris where we drank Tea, this is my foye with them.’

21 April 1763
‘London - my Bro. Geo. Jackson went with me to Mr Geo. James’ Limner in Dean Street. I sat to him at my Bro. Wilson’s request for my picture.’

The Diary Junction

Thirst after grandeur

‘What a delightful sight it is, after a shower of rain, to see the dear Women tripping along and tucking their drapery round their lovely hips, now & then giving one a glimpse of a lovely ankle & part of a full leg.’ This is Benjamin Haydon, an English painter born 230 years ago today. He was an artist with a significant talent, but his allegiance to 18th century trends, especially historical subjects, meant he was swimming against the Romantic tide, one which would make household names of William Blake and J. M. W. Turner. Chronic financial difficulties compounded his artistic frustrations, and he rarely managed to live within his means, especially after he had married and had children. His story is a sad one, but his characterful diary - initially published in five volumes - is superb because it not only tells us much about the man, but also gives picturesque insights into London life, whether the art and literary scene, chasing after girls or the trials of a day out with his family.

The following is a chapter on Benjamin Haydon taken from my (as yet) unpublished book London in Diaries (see The Diary Review for more about this).

Benjamin Haydon and his thirst after grandeur

Though thriving in the early 19th century, the London art scene was very much in flux. Painters associated with the Romantic movement - William Blake, John Constable and J. M. W. Turner - were moving away from classicism and its focus on history favoured by, among others, Sir Joshua Reynolds, first president of the Royal Academy, and popular interest was moving with them.

Benjamin Haydon, an ambitious young painter from the west country, arrived into this cauldron of change, his heart set on following in Reynolds’ footsteps, and re-establishing a grandeur of British art through historical painting. He wrote in his autobiography, ‘I thought only of LONDON - Sir Joshua - Drawing - Dissection and High Art.’ Unfortunately, Haydon’s life in London was to be beset with frustrations and difficulties, both artistic and financial, which would eventually lead him to take his own life. Today, his autobiographical writing and especially his diaries have saved him from obscurity, for they demonstrate an immense vitality of feeling and observation. They give brilliant insights into aspects of London, from its literary world - he was friends with the Romantic poets - to the trials of a day out to Gravesend with his family.

Haydon was born in Plymouth [on 26 January] in 1786. His father worked as a bookseller/publisher, and his mother was the daughter of a priest. He was schooled locally, but the relationship with his father, who had very different ideas for his career, was always strained. In 1804, he escaped to London. Initially thinking he would study alone, he soon became drawn into the Royal Academy, in particular through its recently-appointed keeper, Henry Fuseli. Aged 21, Haydon exhibited for the first time. The painting - Joseph and Mary Resting on the Road to Egypt - sold for £105. Two years later, he finished The Assassination of L. S. Dentatus, which sold for twice as much. Although it increased his fame, it also resulted in a lifelong quarrel with the Academy, which, he felt, had failed to hang it with sufficient prominence. An allowance from his father ceased in 1810, leading Haydon to start borrowing money, a habit that dogged him for the rest of his life. During the 1810s, he travelled to Paris and studied for a short while at the Louvre. Works such as Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem and The Raising of Lazarus followed, but so did his first arrest for debt.

In 1821, Haydon married Mary Hyman, a young widow with whom he had fallen in love some years earlier. Mary already had two children, and she bore eight more, although only three of these, including Haydon’s first born Frank, survived beyond childhood. In debt again, he was sent to prison for the first time in 1823 - other incarcerations followed at regular intervals. One of his most well-known paintings, from this time, The Mock Election, shows those in jail imitating an election taking place outside. King George IV gave him £500 for the work.

When not in prison or working on commissions, Haydon began to tour the country lecturing on painting and promoting his idea that important buildings should be decorated with historical representations of glory. In the late 1830s, he published a substantial essay - Painting and the Fine Arts - and soon after began writing his autobiography. This was edited by Tom Taylor in three volumes and published posthumously, in 1853. Today, it is considered one of Haydon’s most important achievements. 

Haydon continued to paint in the 1840s, sometimes very large pictures, like The Maid of Saragossa and The Anti-Slavery Convention, but his style was already long out of fashion, and he was chronically frustrated at the lack of public interest in his work. In May 1846, an exhibition he had organised closed with the loss of a considerable sum; a few days later a friend reneged over a promise of a £1,000 loan; and, on 22 June, he bought a gun and shot himself. The wound failed to kill him and left him conscious, so he resorted to a razor to cut his throat. A note to his wife said: ‘Pardon this last pang, many thou has suffered from me; God bless thee in dear widowhood. I hope Sir Robert Peel will consider I have earned a pension for thee. A thousand kisses. Thy husband & love to the last.’

Haydon began keeping a diary in 1808, and continued the practice throughout his life, the very last entry being on the day of his suicide. This diary was first quoted extensively in the three volume autobiography edited by Taylor, but publication of the complete text had to wait until the 1960s when Harvard University Press published five volumes, carefully edited and annotated by Willard Bissel Pope. In 1960, the Keats-Shelley Journal reviewing the diary called Haydon the only English romantic, not excepting Byron, to parallel ‘the self-torturing sophist, wild Rousseau’; and said of him that ‘a great writer was lost’ because again and again his sketches were more vivid than his novelistic contemporaries.

A more accessible collection of extracts from Haydon’s diary were edited by John Joliffe and published by Hutchinson in 1990 under the title, Neglected Genius: The Diaries of Benjamin Robert Haydon 1808-1846. ‘His violent self-righteousness,’ Joliffe says, ‘may have frustrated most of his aims, but his sheer vitality and his quite exceptional powers of observation and description make him an irresistible subject.’

The capital of the world
14 May 1809
I began to study in London in lodgings in the Strand, 342, May 20th, 1804, and studied night [and] day, till I brought a weakness in my eyes, which obstructed me for 6 weeks. In January, 1805, I first entered the Academy. March, went into Devonshire, where I obtained bones from a Surgeon of Plymouth and drew nothing else for three months; returned to the Academy in July; met [David] Wilkie [Scottish painter] there first time. Studied incessantly, sitting up many nights, shattered myself so much obliged to leave off. Went into Devonshire for the recovery of health. Began to paint after two years’ application to Anatomy & Drawing, May, 1806. Commenced my first picture, October 1st, and finished it March 31st, 1807. Went into Devonshire for 6 months. Studied heads from Nature. Came to town. My dear Mother died at Salt Hill. January 1st, 1808, commenced by second Picture, Dentatus.

11 July 1810
In passing Piccadilly I observed in some horses galloping the various positions of their limbs - what was the position of the fore legs when the hind legs were in such a position, &c - it is astonishing how truly you get at their motions by thus scrutinizing; I made some sketches, after I arrived home, and they seemed to spring and had all the variety I could possibly wish - and such a look of Nature and activity!

9 September 1810
I walked to see Wilkie yesterday to Hampstead; as I returned about four o’clock the Sun was on the decline - and all the valley as I looked from Primrose Hill wore the appearance of happiness & Peace. Ladies glittering in white, with their aerial drapery floating to the gentle breeze, children playing in the middle of the fields, and all the meadows were dotted with cows, grazing with their long shadows streamed across the grass engoldened by the setting Sun. Here was a mower intent on his pursuit, with his white shirt and brown arms illumined in brilliancy; there another, resting one hand on his Scythe, and with the other wetting it with tinkling music - some people were lying, others standing - all animate & inanimate nature seemed to enjoy and contribute to this delicious scene, while behind stood the capital of the World, with its hundred spires - and St Paul’s in the midst towering in the silent air with splendid magnificence.

A delicious tumble in Greenwich
30 November 1812
Went to the House of Lords to hear the Prince open Parliament in State. It was a very grand affair - the beautiful women - educated, refined, graceful, with their bending plumes & sparkling eyes - the Nobility, the Chancellor - I could not help reflecting how long it was before society arrived at such a pitch of peace & quietness, that order & regulation such as I witnessed existed. What tumult, what blood, what contention, what suffering, what error, before experience has ascertained what was to be selected, or what rejected.

25 April 1813
I felt this morning an almost irresistible inclination to go down to Greenwich and have delicious tumble with the Girls over the hills. I fancied a fine, beamy, primy, fresh, green spring day (as it was), a fine creature in a sweet, fluttering, clean drapery, with health rosing her shining cheeks, & love melting in her sparkling eyes, with a bending form ready to leap into your arms. After a short struggle, I seized my brush, knowing the consequences of yielding to my disposition, & that tho’ it might begin today, it would not end with it.

A critique of Sir Joshua’s exhibition
8 May 1813
Sir Joshua’s exhibition opened. The first impression on my mind was certainly that of flimsiness. They looked faint, notwithstanding the effect was so judiciously arranged. Sir Joshua’s modes of conveying ideas were colour & light and shadow; of form, he knew nothing. The consequence was he hinted to his eye & untrained hand, and with great labour & bungling, modeled out his feelings with a floating richness, an harmonious depth, and a gemmy brilliancy that was perhaps encreased by his perpetual repetitions, and which renders him as great a master of colour as ever lived. Of poetical conception of character as it regards Portrait, he had a singular share. How delightful are his Portraits, their artless simplicity, their unstudied grace, their chaste dignity, their retired sentiment command us, enchant us, subdue us.

The exhibition does great credit to the Directors of the British Gallery. It will have a visible effect on Art; it will raise the character of the English School; it will stop that bigotted, deluded, absurd propensity for Leonardo Da Vincis & insipid Corregios, and as men who shared Sir J’s friendship and been soothed by his manners, it does credit to their hearts as men.

6 August 1815
What a delightful sight it is, after a shower of rain, to see the dear Women tripping along and tucking their drapery round their lovely hips, now & then giving one a glimpse of a lovely ankle & part of a full leg.

Nature in the park; marbles in the museum
2 June 1816
I rode yesterday to Hampton Court round by Kingston & dined at Richmond. The day is delicious, the hedges smelling of may blossom, the trees green, the leaves full & out, the Thames shining with a silvery glitter, & a lovely girl who loves you, [in] the dining room of the Star & Garter at Richmond, sitting after dinner on your knee, with her heavenly bosom palpitating against your own, her arm round your neck playing with your hair, while you are sufficiently heated to be passionately alive to the ecstasy without having lost your senses from its excesses - Claret on the table and the delicious scene of Nature in Richmond Park beneath your open window, moaty, sunny, out of which rises the wandering voice of the cuckoo, while the sun, who throws a silent splendour over all, sinks into the lower vaults & the whole sky is beginning to assume the tinged lustre of an afternoon.

28 May 1817
On Monday last there were one thousand and two people visited the Elgin marbles! a greater number than ever visited the British Museum since it was established. It is quite interesting to listen to the remarks of the people. They make them with the utmost simplicity, with no affectation of taste, but with a homely truth that shews they are sound at the core. We overheard two common looking decent men say to each other, ‘How broken they, a’ant they?’ ‘Yes,’ said the other, ‘but how like life.’

28 June 1817
Dined at Kemble’s farewell dinner [the actor John Philip Kemble had played his last stage role, Corialanus, a few days earlier, his retirement having been hastened, perhaps, by the rise in popularity of Edmund Kean]. A more complete farce was never acted. Many, I daresay, regretted his leaving us, but the affectations of all parties disgusted me. The Drury Lane actors flattering the Covent Garden, the Covent Garden flattered in turn the Drury Lane. Lord Holland flattered Kemble; Kemble flattered Lord Holland. [. . .] Anyone would have thought that the English Stage had taken its origin from Kemble - Garrick was never mentioned - when all that Kemble has done for it has been to improve the costume. Yet Kemble is really & truly the Hero of all ranting; all second rate ability find it much easier to imitate his droning regularity than the furious impulses of Kean, who cannot point out when they come or why, but is an organ for Nature, when she takes it in her head to play on him.

Of Walter Scott and Wordsworth; and Keats in Kilburn meadows
7 March 1821
Sir Walter Scott breakfasted with me with Lamb, & Wilkie, and a delightful morning we had. I never saw any man have such an effect on company as he; he operated on us like champagne & whisky mixed. It is singular how success & want of it operate on two extraordinary men, Wordsworth & Walter Scott. Scott enters a room & sits at table, with the coolness & self possession of conscious fame; Wordsworth with an air of mortified elevation of head, as if fearful he was not estimated as he deserved. Scott is always cool, & amusing; Wordsworth often egotistical and overbearing. [. . .] Scott’s success would have made Wordsworth insufferable, while Wordsworth’s failures would not have rendered Scott a bit less delightful.

29 March 1821
Keats is gone too! [A few weeks earlier, Haydon had written of the death of John Scott, editor of the London Magazine, after a duel.] He died at Rome, Feby. 23rd, aged 25. Poor Keats - a genius more purely poetical never existed. [. . .]

The death of his brother [in December 1818] wounded him deeply, and it appeared to me from that hour he began seriously to droop. He wrote at this time his beautiful ode to the nightingale. ‘Where Youth grows pale & spectre thin & dies!’ - alluded to his poor Brother.

As we were walking along the Kilburn meadows, he repeated this beautiful ode, with a tremulous undertone, that was extremely affecting! I was attached to Keats, & he had great enthusiasm for me. I was angry because he would not bend his great powers to some definite object, & always told him so. Latterly he grew angry because I shook my head at his irregularity, and told him he was destroying himself.

The last time I saw him was at Hampstead, lying in a white bed with a book, hectic, weak, & on his back, irritable at his feebleness, and wounded at the way he had been used; he seemed to be going out of the world with a contempt for this and no hopes of the other.

Gorgeous splendour of ancient chivalry
21 July 1821
What a scene was Westminster Hall on Thursday last! It combined all the gorgeous splendour of ancient chivalry with the intense heroic interest of modern times; every thing that could effect or excite, either in beauty, heroism, grace, elegance, or taste; all that was rich in colour, gorgeous in effect, touching in association, English in character or Asiatic in magnificence, was crowded into this golden & enchanted hall!

I only got my ticket on Wednesday at two, and dearest Mary & I drove about to get all I wanted. Sir George Beaumont lent me ruffles & frill, another a blue velvet coat, a third a sword; I bought buckles, & the rest I had, and we returned to dinner exhausted. [. . .] I dressed, breakfasted, & was at the Hall Door at half past one. Three Ladies were before me. The doors opened about four & I got a front place in the Chamberlain’s box, between the door and Throne, & saw the whole room distinctly. Many of the door keepers were tipsey; quarrels took place. The sun began to light up the old gothic windows, the peers to stroll in, & the company to crowd in, of all descriptions; elegant young men tripping along in silken grace with elegant girls trembling in feathers and diamonds. Some took seats they had not any right to occupy, and were obliged to leave them after sturdy disputes. Others lost their tickets. Every movement, as the time approached for the King’s appearance, was pregnant with interest. The appearance of the Monarch has something the air of a rising sun; there are indications which announce his approach, a whisper of mystery turns all eyes to the throne! Suddenly two or three run; others fall back; some talk, direct, hurry, stand still, or disappear. Then three or four of high rank appear from behind the Throne; and interval is left; the crowds scarce breathe! The room rises with a sort of feathered, silken thunder! Plumes wave, eyes sparkle, glasses are out, mouths smile. The way in which the King bowed was really monarchic! As he looked towards the Peeresses & Foreign Ambassadors, he looked like some gorgeous bird of the East.

After all the ceremonies he arose, the Procession was arranged, the Music played, and the line began to move. All this was exceedingly imposing. After two or three hours’ waiting, the doors opened, and the flower girls entered, strewing flowers. The exquisite poetry of their look, the grace of their actions, their slow movement, their white dresses, were indescribably touching; their light milky colour contrasted with the dark shadow of the archway. The distant trumpets & shouts of the people, the slow march, and at last the appearance of the King under a golden canopy, crowned, and the universal burst of the assembly at seeing him, affected every body.

A crowd of feelings but I cannot write
4 December 1821
I am married! Ah, what a crowd of feelings lie buried in that little word. I cannot write or think for the present. I thank God for at last bringing me to the arms of the only creature that ever made my heart burn really, & I hope he will bless me with health & understanding & means to make her happy & blessed. Dearest, dearest Mary - I cannot write.

17 September 1826
Walked into a delicious meadow, and sat down on an old stump behind some hay ricks, my back turned on the Edgware road. It was a beautiful seclusion; just after passing the Turnpike near West End Lane, you turn down a lane which leads to the Harrow road; about a dozen yards on the left is a style, & close to the style hay ricks & a fallen stump. Here I sat and read Xenophon’s treatise on riding & Cavalry exercise, in a French translation, which decidedly proves the Greeks did not shoe their Horses, as he gives instructions how to get the hoof so firm that it shall resist injury successfully.

London Bridge is opening
1 August 1831
Went to see the King’s procession to open the London Bridge, by particular desire, that is, of Master Frank, Alfred, Frederick, Harry, & Mary Haydon, not forgetting Mrs Mary Haydon the Elder. Well, I went, to the gallery of St Paul’s, and after waiting about 5 hours, a little speck with a flag and another little speck with a flag, and another speck in which I saw ten white specks, and 6 red & yellow specks, came by, & immediately 200,000 specks uttered a shout I could just hear, and some specks waved handkerchiefs, & other specks raised hats, and this, they said, was the King, and directly a little round ball went up in the air and that, they said, was an air balloon, and then they all shouted, and Mrs Mary Haydon the Elder had a pain in her stomach, and Master Frederick wanted to drink, and Miss Mary said she was faint, and Master Frank Haydon said, ‘is this all?’ - and Mr Haydon said he was very hot, and then they went down an infinite number of dark stairs and got into a coach & drove home, & each fell asleep and this was pleasure. Now if Mr Haydon had gone to work with his Xenophon, neither Master or Mrs or Mr Haydon would have had a pain in their bellies and Mr Haydon’s Back-ground would have been done, and his Conscience would have been quiet, & now he has spent 1.18.6 to get a pain in his belly, and has the pain without the money - and this is pleasure.

18 November 1831
This day my dear little child Fanny died, at 1/2 past one in the forenoon, aged 2 years, 8 months, & 12 days being born on March 6th, 1829. Dear Little Soul, she had water in the head, all the consequences of weakness & deranged digestion, and was one of those conceived creatures, born when the Mother has hardly any strength from the effects of a previous confinement. Good God! She never spoke, or was not able to utter syllable, & never walked. Reader, whoever thou are, shrink not from Death with apprehension. Death was the greatest mercy an Almighty could grant.

For this earthly happiness I paid 2.12.6
1 September 1838
Went to Gravesend with my family for a day of relief & pleasure. First we got into an Omnibus & were jolted & suffocated [to] the Bank. Second the Steamer at the Bridge had just gone. Third we had to wait amongst the Porters & Packages 3/4 of an hour for the next. 4th we got on board the sunny side in a cabin, close to the Boiler, & were alternately baked by the sun & broiled by the steam pipe. Fifth we got to Gravesend tired & hungry. 6th we walked to a romantic love lane, which was a garden straight walk with dirty wooden seats, and sundry evidences that people in Gravesend had good digestions & sound peristaltic motion. 7th we ordered Roast Beef for Dinner, and my dear Mary kept her appetite to enjoy a hearty meal, when the Landlord put down lamb she hated  & so did I. 8th we had rum as hot as aqua-fortis, & then old port as weak as children pap. We all got aboard with indigestion. I fell asleep on Deck & got a pain in my head, and we got home tired, grumbling, ill humoured, had tea & crept to bed.

Today I am heated, discontented, & indignant, & it will take 24 hours more to recover in. For this earthly happiness I paid 2.12.6. - enough to feed us for a week! - so much for pleasure.

20 May 1846
Continually attending to Exhibitions is dreadful and if you do not, you get robbed. These things an Artist should have nothing to do with; details of business injure my mind and when I paint I feel as if Nectar was floating in the Interstices of the brain. God be praised, I have painted today.

22 June 1846
God forgive - me - Amen. Finis of B R Haydon ‘Stretch me no longer on this tough World’ - Lear. End.

The Diary Junction

Monday, January 18, 2016

Something of myself

The English writer Rudyard Kipling, who died 80 years ago today, left behind a treasure of much-loved stories and poems, such as The Jungle Book, Kim and If. But, he didn’t leave much autobiographical material - hating the idea of biographers churning over his life - and what diary material has survived is thanks to chance rather than purpose: one diary from 1885, when he was working as a journalist in India, and several notebooks he kept while on motoring tours. In addition, and of much use to biographers, are surviving partial transcripts of the daily diary kept by Kipling’s American wife, Carrie, the originals of which were destroyed by the Kiplings’ daughter Elsie.

Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865. He was named after Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire near where his parents had met and courted. Aged five he was taken, with his younger sister Alice, to live with a couple in Southsea, who boarded children of British nationals serving in India, and they remained there for six years. Alice returned to India, while Rudyard was admitted to the United Services College at Westward Ho!. In 1882, he, too, returned to India - his parents lacking the resources to send him to Oxford, and doubting his academic ability to win a scholarship - where his father, in Lahore by this time, secured him a job as assistant editor of a local newspaper, the Civil and Military Gazette, published six days a week. This suited Kipling, whose need to write (journalism, poetry, short stories), apparently, was unstoppable. In the late 1880s, he moved to Allahabad to work for The Pioneer, though was discharged in 1889 after a dispute. He published a first collection of his poems as Departmental Ditties in 1886, and a first prose collection, Plain Tales from the Hills, in Calcutta in early 1888.

Determined on a literary career, Kipling returned to London, visiting Japan and North America on the way. He published several short stories, and a novel, and also took another tour, this one to South Africa and the antipodes. In early 1892, in London, he married the American Carrie Balestier, and they settled in Vermont where their two daughters (Elsie and Josephine) were born. During the next four years, he wrote several books of short stories (not least The Jungle Book and its sequel), a further novel and much poetry. But, in 1896, the Kiplings left the US - partly because of an increase in perceived anti-British feeling and partly because of a dispute with Carrie’s family - to return to England, where they first lived in Torquay, Devon, then Rottingdean and, finally, in a house called Bateman’s in Burwash, Sussex. A third child, John, was born to the Kiplings in 1897. And from 1898, for a decade, the family travelled every winter to South Africa (where they were given a house by Cecil Rhodes) - except for 1899. That year, the Kiplings sailed to America, so Carrie could see her mother, but the journey across the Atlantic was very hard, and Kipling and Josephine both fell seriously ill. Josephine did not survive.

By this time, Kipling was famous. He continued writing short stories and novels, producing Kim and the Just So Stories soon after the turn of the century, as well as songs and poems (such as If, published in 1910). In 1907, after turning down other honours, including a knighthood, he accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature. With the onset of war, Kipling supported the fight against Germany, and even helped his son, who had eyesight problems, get enlisted. However, John went missing within a few weeks, and his body was never recovered. Devastated, Kipling continued to write after the war, but never returned to the bright colourful children’s stories he had once so delighted in; indeed, his conservative and imperialist views fell out of fashion, and his writing too. He died in London on 18 January 1936. His ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey’s Poets’ Corner, next to the graves of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. Further information can be found at Wikipedia, The Kipling Society, the BBC, Encyclopædia Britannica or The Poetry Foundation.

Kipling was apt to destroy many of his personal papers, disliking the idea of biographers churning over his life; his wife, Carrie, and daughter, Elsie Bambridge, took a similar view. Only a few diaries kept by Kipling have survived by chance: one from when he was young in 1885, and a set of notebooks he kept while on motoring holidays later in his life. Carrie, kept a daily diary from 1892 until her husband’s death. Although the originals were destroyed by Bambridge, two biographers, Charles Carrington and Lord Birkenhead, had already made extensive notes and transcribed parts of the diary. These are held by the University of Sussex’s Kipling archive at The Keep, but The Kipling Society also has copies (and has made them available online, with an index), as well as a detailed explanation of how the transcripts came to be made.

Biographers have made good use of the 1885 diary - see Andrew Lycett’s Rudyard Kipling, for example - but the full text can be found in Rudyard Kipling: Something of Myself and Other Autobiographical Writings edited by Thomas Pinney, Cambridge University Press, 1991, available to preview at Googlebooks. (Something of Myself is a rare autobiographical text, started by Kipling in the last months of his life but not properly finished - Carrie edited it for publication.) Here are several extracts of the 1885 diary included in that Pinney edition.

28 January 1885
‘Scraps on Accidents on Indian Railways, The Dynamitard’s attempts at Westminster and Hume’s vegetarianism. About one column altogether. An easy day as far as the paper was concerned; there being plenty of matter in hand and not much proofwork.’

13 February 1885
‘Scrap. Musketry schools. Annotated Prejvalsky’s explorations in Thibet - and rec’d bellew’s Sanitary Report for notes of the week. Typhoid at home went in today: Mem scrap on Rai Kanega Lall and design for town hall must be done tomorrow.’

25 February 1885
‘Sting of yesterday blinded me couldn’t see. Went to hospital Lawrie came over about mid day and looked at it. Attention more occupied by blain of my face. Must come to hospital tomorrow and see how cocaine works. Did not to go office.’

26 February 1885
‘Eye all right. W said it wasn’t and so lost my work for the day - served him right. Went to hospital [?] cocaine and was impressed. To Cinderella in the evening and was impresseder.’

6 April 1885
‘No bank holiday for me. Special of three columns on review. Fine weather at last but I must shut up with a click before long. Too little sleep and too much seen.’

1 May 1885
‘On the road to Kotgur. May day at Mahasu inexpressibly lovely. Lay on the grass and felt health coming back, again. De brath a delightful man. What a blessed luxury is idleness. Eagles and shot at bottles.’

21 August 1885
‘Dinner with Tarleton Young at his chummery. Where met one LeMaistre who is a womans mind small and mean featured. He may be decent enough for aught I know. Usual philander in Gardens. Home to count the risks of my resolution.’

Transcripts of Kipling’s diaries of his motor tours, around 100 pages, are held in the archive at The Keep. The original notebooks were thought lost, at least until found in a dusty drawer at Macmillan (see The Daily Telegraph). An excellent article by Meryl Macdonald Bendle, a first cousin once removed of Kipling, in the June 2003 edition (number 306) of the Kipling Journal, uses the notebooks to describe the history of Kipling’s motoring tours. A generous selection of extracts from the diaries, though, can be found in earlier editions of the Journal, such as in one from March 1985 (number 233).

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Founding Father Franklin

Today marks the 310th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin. From humble origins, he not only became a very wealthy businessmen, but also a scientist of distinction, postmaster to American colonies, an international statesman and one of the founding fathers of the United States - in short a giant of 18th century American history. He wrote much and often through his life, but not often in diary form - a brief journal of a journey by ship when he was returning from England for the first time as a young man, and no more than fragments later in his life.

Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on 17 January 1706, one of 10 children born to Josiah Franklin with his second wife, Abiah Folger. He attended Boston Latin School briefly, but went to work for his father very young, at age 12 being apprenticed to his brother James, a printer. In 1721, James founded The New-England Courant, an independent newspaper. When told he couldn’t write letters for publication in the paper, Franklin adopted the pseudonym of Mrs. Silence Dogood, a middle-aged widow, whose letters were published. When his brother was jailed for a few weeks, he took over the newspaper and had Mrs. Dogood (quoting Cato’s Letters) proclaim: ‘Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.’

Aged still only 17, he absconded from his apprenticeship, running away to Philadelphia where he worked in printing shops. He caught the attention of the Pennsylvania Governor Sir William Keith who offered to help him set up a new newspaper if he went to London to acquire the necessary printing equipment. But, having made the journey, he soon found Keith had failed to deliver any letters of credit or introductions. He found employment with a printer, and enjoyed much of what London had to offer. Eventually, with the promise of a clerkship from the merchant Thomas Denham, he returned to Philadelphia in 1726. Aged 21, he launched Junto, a discussion group whose members sought ways to help improve their community - the idea was, in part, based on his experience of English coffee houses. One of the group’s early ventures was to set up a subscription library, which, in time, became the Library Company of Philadelphia.

On Denham’s death, Franklin formed a partnership with a friend, in 1728, setting up a new printing house. Within a couple of years, though, he had borrowed money to buy his partner out, and to become sole proprietor. One of the company’s first successes was to win an order to print all of Pennsylvania’s paper currency, a business it would soon secure in other colonies too. The company invested in further profitable ventures, including the Pennsylvania Gazette, published by Franklin from 1729 and generally acknowledged as among the best of the colonial newspapers, and Poor Richard’s Almanack, printed annually from 1732 to 1757. Franklin’s business ventures spread, as he developed franchises and partnerships with other printers in the Carolinas, New York and the British West Indies.

In 1730, Franklin entered into a common-law marriage with Deborah Read. He had known her since she was 15 and he 17, and, before leaving for London, had promised to marry her. However, while in London, she married a man who had then fled the country, leaving her unable to remarry. Franklin brought with him to the union an illegitimate son, and he had a further two children with Deborah, though one of them died in childhood. By the late 1940s, Franklin was a very wealthy man, and decided to retire from any direct involvement in business and to become a Gentleman, occupying himself with various cultural pursuits, not least science experiments. He is credited with a number of innovations in the field of electricity, such as the Franklin stove and the lightning rod, as well as demonstrating that lightning and electricity are identical.

In 1753, Franklin moved directly into public service as deputy postmaster for the Colonies, a position he held for over 20 years. However, from 1757 until 1774, he lived in London (apart from a two year return to Philadelphia in 1762-1764) where he acted as the colonial representative for Pennsylvania in a dispute over lands held by the Penn family. Deborah having remained in America, he and William resided with a widow, Margaret Stevenson, near Charing Cross, and mixed in elevated social circles. Very much a royalist (he managed to get his son William appointed royal governor of New Jersey), he was at pains to bridge the growing divide between Britain and her colonies, and is said to have written over 100 newspaper articles between 1765 and 1775 trying to explain each side to the other.

On his return to America, the War of Independence had already broken out. In 1776, he helped to draft, and was then a signatory to, the Declaration of Independence. William, however, remained loyal to Britain, causing a rift that lasted for the rest of Franklin’s life. Later that year, Franklin and two others were appointed to represent America in France. He negotiated the Franco-American Alliance which provided for military cooperation between the two countries against Britain, and he ensured significant French subsidies to America. In 1783, as American ambassador to France, Franklin signed the Treaty of Paris, ending the American War of Independence. Having been very loved, and very happy in France, he returned, once again, to America in 1785, but received only a lukewarm welcome. He died in 1790.

Encyclopædia Britannica gives this assessment of the man: ‘Franklin was not only the most famous American in the 18th century but also one of the most famous figures in the Western world of the 18th century; indeed, he is one of the most celebrated and influential Americans who has ever lived. Although one is apt to think of Franklin exclusively as an inventor, as an early version of Thomas Edison, which he was, his 18th-century fame came not simply from his many inventions but, more important, from his fundamental contributions to the science of electricity. If there had been a Nobel Prize for Physics in the 18th century, Franklin would have been a contender. Enhancing his fame was the fact that he was an American, a simple man from an obscure background who emerged from the wilds of America to dazzle the entire intellectual world. Most Europeans in the 18th century thought of America as a primitive, undeveloped place full of forests and savages and scarcely capable of producing enlightened thinkers. Yet Franklin’s electrical discoveries in the mid-18th century had surpassed the achievements of the most sophisticated scientists of Europe. Franklin became a living example of the natural untutored genius of the New World that was free from the encumbrances of a decadent and tired Old World - an image that he later parlayed into French support for the American Revolution.’ Further biographical information is readily available at Wikipedia, the BBC, US History, PBS, or Franklin’s own autobiography.

Franklin wrote many texts through his life, not least his autobiography which has been published and republished often. One version, readily available at Internet Archive, is The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - the Unmutilitated and Correct Version Compiled and Edited with Notes by John Bigelow published by G. P. Putnam’s & Sons in 1916. This edition includes one of the rather few Franklin diaries - the Benjamin Franklin Journal of a voyage from England to Philadelphia 1726. The same text can be sourced elsewhere online, at American History, and the Online Library of Liberty (where it can be found in the first of 12 volumes of The Works of Benjamin Franklin).

Here are several extracts from that diary.

22 July 1726
‘Yesterday in the afternoon we left London, and came to an anchor off Gravesend about eleven at night. I lay ashore all night, and this morning took a walk up to the Windmill Hill, from whence I had an agreeable prospect of the country for above twenty miles round, and two or three reaches of the river, with ships and boats sailing both up and down, and Tilbury Fort on the other side, which commands the river and passage to London. This Gravesend is a cursed biting place; the chief dependence of the people being the advantage they make of imposing upon strangers. If you buy anything of them, and give half what they ask, you pay twice as much as the thing is worth. Thank God, we shall leave it tomorrow.’

23 July 1726
‘This day we weighed anchor and fell down with the tide, there being little or no wind. In the afternoon we had a fresh gale, that brought us down to Margate, where we shall lie at anchor this night. Most of the passengers are very sick. Saw several porpoises, &c.’

24 July 1726
‘This morning we weighed anchor, and coming to the Downs, we set our pilot ashore at Deal, and passed through. And now, whilst I write this, sitting upon the quarterdeck, I have methinks one of the pleasantest scenes in the world before me. Tis a fine, clear day, and we are going away before the wind with an easy, pleasant gale. We have near fifteen sail of ships in sight, and I may say in company. On the left hand appears the coast of France at a distance, and on the right is the town and castle of Dover, with the green hills and chalky cliffs of England, to which we must now bid farewell. Albion, farewell!’

27 July 1726
‘This morning, the wind blowing very hard at West, we stood in for the land, in order to make some harbour. About noon we took on board a pilot out of a fishing shallop, who brought the ship into Spithead off Portsmouth. The captain, Mr. Denham, and myself went on shore, and, during the little time we stayed, I made some observations on the place.

Portsmouth has a fine harbour. The entrance is so narrow that you may throw a stone from Fort to Fort; yet it is near ten fathom deep, and bold close to; but within there is room enough for five hundred, or, for aught l know, a thousand sail of ships. The town is strongly fortified, being encompassed with a high wall and a deep and broad ditch, and two gates, that are entered over drawbridges; besides several forts, batteries of large cannon, and other outworks, the names of which I know not, nor had I time to take so strict a view as to be able to describe them. In war time, the town has a garrison of 10,000 men; but at present ’tis only manned by about 100 Invalids. Notwithstanding the English have so many fleets of men-of-war at sea at this time, I counted in this harbour above thirty sail of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Rates, that lay by unrigged, but easily fitted out upon occasion, all their masts and rigging lying marked and numbered in storehouses at hand. The King’s yards and docks employ abundance of men, who, even in peace time, are constantly building and refitting men-of-war for the King’s Service.

Gosport lies opposite to Portsmouth, and is near as big, if not bigger; but, except the fort at the mouth of the harbour, and a small outwork before the main street of the town, it is only defended by a mud wall, which surrounds it, and a trench or dry ditch of about ten feet depth and breadth. Portsmouth is a place of very little trade in peace time; it depending chiefly on fitting out men-of-war. Spithead is the place where the Fleet commonly anchor, and is a very good riding-place. The people of Portsmouth tell strange stories of the severity of one Gibson, who was governor of this place in the Queen’s time, to his soldiers, and show you a miserable dungeon by the town gate, which they call Johnny Gibson’s Hole, where, for trifling misdemeanors, he used to confine his soldiers till they were almost starved to death. It is a common maxim, that, without severe discipline, ’tis impossible to govern the licentious rabble of soldiery. I own, indeed, that if a commander finds he has not those qualities in him that will make him beloved by his people, he ought, by all means, to make use of such methods as will make them fear him, since one or the other (or both) is absolutely necessary; but Alexander and Caesar, those renowned generals, received more faithful service, and performed greater actions, by means of the love their soldiers bore them, than they could possibly have done, if, instead of being beloved and respected, they had been hated and feared by those they commanded.’

4 October 1726
‘Last night we struck a dolphin and this morning we found a flying-fish dead under the windlass. He is about the bigness of a small mackerel, a sharp head, a small mouth, and a tail forked somewhat like a dolphin, but the lowest branch much larger and longer than the other, and tinged with yellow. His back and sided of a darkish blue, his belly white, and his skin very thick. His wings are of a finny substance, about a span long, reaching, when close to his body from an inch below his gills to an inch above his tail. When they fly it is straight forward, (for they cannot readily turn,) a yard or two above the water; and perhaps fifty yards in the furthest before they dip into the water again, for they cannot support themselves in the air any longer than while their wings continue wet. These flying-fish are the common prey of the dolphin, who is their mortal enemy. When he pursues them, they rise and fly; and he keeps close under them till they drop, and then snaps them up immediately. They generally fly in flocks, four or five, or perhaps a dozen together and a dolphin is seldom caught without one or more in his belly. We put this flying-fish upon the hook, in hopes of catching one, but in a few minutes they got it off without hooking themselves; and they will not meddle with any other bait.’

5 October 1726
‘This morning we saw a heron, who had lodged aboard last night. It is a long-legged, long-necked bird, having, as they say, but one gut. They live upon fish, and will swallow a living eel thrice, sometimes, before it will remain in their body. The wind is west again. The ship’s crew was brought to a short allowance of water.’

6 October 1726
‘This morning abundance of grass, rock-weed, &c., passed by us; evident tokens that land is not far off. We hooked a dolphin this morning, made us a good breakfast. A sail passed by us about twelve o’clock, and nobody saw her till she was too far astern to be spoken with. It is very near calm; we saw another sail ahead this afternoon; but, night coming on, we could not speak with her, though we very much desired it; she stood to the northward, and it is possible might have informed us how far we are from land. Our artists on board are much at a loss. We hoisted our jack to her, but she took no notice of it.

7 October 1726
‘Last night, about nine o’clock sprung up a fine gale at northeast, which run us in our course at the rate of seven miles an hour all night. We were in hopes of seeing land this morning, but cannot. The water, which we thought was changed, is now as blue as the sky; so that, unless at that time we were running over some unknown shoal, our eyes strangely deceived us. All the reckonings have been out these several days; though the captain says it is his opinion we are yet a hundred leagues from land; for my part I know not what to think of it; we have run all this day at a great rate, and now night is come on we have no soundings. Sure the American continent is not all sunk under water since we left it.’

8 October 1726
‘The fair wind continues still; we ran all night in our course, sounding every four hours, but can find no ground yet, nor is the water changed by all this day’s run. This afternoon we saw an Irish Lord and a bird which flying looked like a yellow duck. These, they say, are not seen far from the coast. Other signs of lands have we none. Abundance of large porpoises ran by us this afternoon, and we were followed by a shoal of small ones, leaping out of the water as they approached. Towards evening we spied a sail ahead, and spoke with her just before dark. She was bound from New York for Jamaica and left Sandy Hook yesterday about noon, from which they reckon themselves forty-five leagues distant. By this we compute that we are not above thirty leagues from our Capes, and hope to see land to-morrow.’

9 October 1726
‘We have had the wind fair all the morning; at twelve o’clock we sounded, perceiving the water visibly changed, and struck ground at twenty-five fathoms, to our universal joy. After dinner one of our mess went up aloft to look out, and presently pronounced the long wished-for sound, LAND! LAND! In less than an hour we could decry it from the deck, appearing like tufts of trees. I could not discern it so soon as the rest; my eyes were dimmed with the suffusion of two small drops of joy. By three o’clock we were run in within two leagues of the land, and spied a small sail standing along shore. We would gladly have spoken with her, for our captain was unacquainted with the Coast, and knew not what land it was that we saw. We made all the sail we could to speak with her. We made a signal of distress; but all would not do, the ill-natured dog would not come near us. Then we stood off again till morning, not caring to venture too near.’

10 October 1726
‘This morning we stood in again for land; and we that had been here before all agreed that it was Cape Henlopen; about noon we were come very near, and to our great joy saw the pilot-boat come off to us, which was exceeding welcome. He brought on board about a peck of apples with him; they seemed the most delicious I ever tasted in my life; the salt provisions we had been used to gave them a relish. We had extraordinary fair wind all the afternoon, and ran above a hundred miles up the Delaware before ten at night. The country appears very pleasant to the eye, being covered with woods, except here and there a house and plantation. We cast anchor when the tide turned, about two miles below Newcastle, and there lay till the morning tide.’

11 October 1726
‘This morning we weighed anchor with a gentle breeze, and passed by Newcastle, whence they hailed us and bade us welcome. It is extreme find weather. The sun enlivens our stiff limbs with his glorious rays of warmth and brightness. The sky looks gay, with here and there a silver cloud. The fresh breezes from the woods refresh us; the immediate prospect of liberty, after so long and irksome confinement, ravishes us. In short, all things conspire to make this the most joyful day I ever knew. As we passed by Chester, some of the company went on shore, impatient once more to tread on terra firma, and designing for Philadelphia by land. Four of us remained on board, not caring for the fatigue of travel when we knew the voyage had much weakened us. About eight at night, the wind failing us, we cast anchor at Redbank six miles from Philadelphia, and thought we must be obliged to lie on board that night; but, some young Philadelphians happening to be out upon their pleasure in a boat, they came on board, and offered to take us up with them; we accepted of their kind proposal, and about ten o’clock landed at Philadelphia, heartily congratulating each upon our having happily completed so tedious and dangerous a voyage. Thank God!’

Much later in his life Franklin also kept a diary very occasionally, and fragments can be found in, for example, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin (Volume 1 published in 1818). Here are a couple of extracts from that volume.

26 June 1784
‘Mr. Waltersdorff called on me, and acquainted me with a duel that had been fought yesterday morning, between a French officer, and a Swedish gentleman of that king’s suite, in which the latter was killed on the spot, and the other dangerously wounded: that the king does not resent it, as he thinks his subject was in the wrong.

He asked me if I had seen the king of Sweden? I had not yet had that honor. He said his behavior here was not liked: that he took little notice of his own ambassador, who, being acquainted with the usages of this court, was capable of advising him, but was not consulted. That he was always talking of himself, and vainly boasting of his revolution, though it was known to have been the work of M. de Vergennies. That they began to be tired of him here, and wished him gone; but he proposed staying till the 12th July. That he had now laid aside his project of invading Norway, as he found Denmark had made preparations to receive him. That he pretended the Danes had designed to invade Sweden, though it was a known fact that the Danes had made no military preparations, even for deface, till six months after his began. I asked if it was clear that he had had an intention to invade Norway? He said that the marching and disposition of his troops, and the fortifications he had erected, indicated it very plainly. He added, that Sweden was at present greatly distressed for provisions; that many people had actually died of hunger! That it was reported the king came here to borrow money, and to offer to sell Gottenburg to France; a thing not very probable.’

15 July 1704
‘The Duke de Chartres’s balloon went off this morning from St. Cloud, himself and three others in the gallery. It was foggy, and they were soon out of sight. But the machine being disordered, so that the trap or valve could not be opened to let out the expanding air, and fearing that the balloon would burst, they cut a hole in it which ripped larger, and they fell rapidly, but received no harm. They had been a vast height, met with a doud of snow, and a tornado which frightened them.’

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I’m looking at dying

Harold Frederick Shipman, one of the most prolific serial killers in modern times, would have turned 70 today had he not committed suicide in prison on the eve of his 58th birthday. Subsequently, the prison authorities produced a report on the circumstances surrounding his death, and this became the source for widespread publication of extracts from a diary, mostly concerning his suicidal thoughts, Shipman had kept while incarcerated.

Shipman was born in Nottingham on 14 January 1946, the son of Methodist parents. His father was a lorry driver, and his mother died of cancer when he was only 17. Aged 20, he married Primrose Oxtoby, and they would have four children. He studied at Leeds School of Medicine, graduating in 1970, and began work at the general infirmary in Pontefract, Yorkshire. Four years later, he took up a GP position at the Abraham Ormerod Medical Centre in Todmorden, and then, in 1977, at the Donneybrook Medical Centre in Hyde near Manchester. While still in Todmorden, he had been caught self-prescribing pethidine, had been fined, and had attended a drug rehabilitation clinic.

In 1993, Shipman set up his own surgery, also in Hyde, at 21 Market Street. It was not until 1998, that concerns were raised about the high number of deaths among his elderly patients. A police investigation in March was abandoned for lack of evidence, but then, in June, after the death of, what proved to be, his last victim, Kathleen Grundy, the police exhumed her body to find traces of diamorphine. They also established that Grundy’s will, leaving everything to Shipman, had been forged by Shipman himself. The police went on to investigate a number of others deaths, and found that Shipman had systematically killed many of his patients and falsified medical records to cover his tracks.

In 2000, Shipman was prosecuted for a sample 15 murders, and found guilty of them all. The judge sentenced him to 15 concurrent life sentences. Subsequently, the government set up an inquiry, chaired by Lord Laming of Tewin, to look into the case. Though it released its findings in various stages, The Shipman Inquiry, which took evidence from 2,500 witnesses and cost £21m, did not conclude its work until 2005. It found that Shipman had probably committed 250 murders in total, but that the true number could be more. Shipman consistently denied his guilt, and declined to comment on his actions. His wife, Primrose, also appears to have considered her husband innocent.

Shipman killed himself, using bed sheets tied to prison bars, in Wakefield Prison on 13 January 2004, the eve of his 58th birthday. Researchers believe he probably committed suicide to ensure Primrose’s financial security: had he lived to the age of 60 she would not have received a full NHS pension. The British press had a field day: The Sun celebrated with the headline ‘Ship Ship hooray’; the Daily Mirror called Shipman a coward and condemned the prison service for allowing it to happen; and the broadsheets proposed there be investigations into prisoner welfare and changes to prison sentencing. For further information see Wikipedia, BBC, or Murderpedia.

Following Shipman’s suicide, the Director General of the Prison Service, asked the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, Stephen Shaw, to look into the circumstances surrounding Shipman’s suicide. He produced a preliminary report in March the same year, and a final report in May 2005 (using the standard procedure of reporting the facts without identifying the person in question). In his report, Shaw notes that the police gave him a summary of everything they had removed from Shipman’s cell ‘including some entries from the man’s diary’. He quotes these diary entries in his report, and makes considerable reference to them.

The Shipman diary extracts were first obtained by The Sunday Telegraph in April 2005, and then they were widely reported in most newspapers later that year, in August. At the same time, the media reported that Shipman, while still alive, had tried to copyright his letters and ‘diary of despair’ in an effort to stop their contents being sold to the press (see the BBC or The Telegraph). 

Shaw’s report is available online, through the BBC website, and is the source of the Shipman diary extracts reproduced below. Apart from these, however, there is no other evidence I can find of what might have been in Shipman’s diary - there is no mention of it, for example, in any of several published biographies of Shipman.

13 January 2001
‘So depressed. If ?[illegible] says no then that is it. There is no possible way I can carry on, it would be a kindness to [].’

14 January 2001 (Shipman's 55th birthday)
‘[My wife] and the kids have to go on without me when it is the right time. Got to keep the façade intact for the time being.’

27 March 2001
‘. . . I’m looking at dying, the only question is when and can I hide it from everyone?’

13 April 2001
‘If I was dead they’d stop being in limbo and get on with their life perhaps. I’ll think a bit more about it. I’m desperate, no one to talk about it to who I can trust. Everyone will talk to the PO’s [prison officers] then I’ll be watched 24hrs a day and I don’t want that.’

26 June 2001
‘. . . As near suicide as can be, know how and when, just not yet.’

14 January 2002
’56 today, cards from everyone - very very sad day, not what life is about at all. [ ] not very good, it must be dreadful for her.’

31 July 2002
‘[Wife] - chat, no notes sent in yet. She’s getting no money off the DHSS, supported by the kids. What a terrible set up. How is she coping?’

17 October 2002
‘No money. [Wife] not able to get DHSS to see the poverty she is in. Only the kids who have been absolutely brilliant - the pension appeal.’

7 January 2003
‘A new year, a visit from [wife]. Still no money off DHSS. . . If this year doesn’t get anywhere I know it is not worth the effort. I have to lock down this overwhelming emotion or else I’d be on a suicide watch or drugs.’

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Good-natured books

‘Went over from High Elms with Lubbock, Huxley and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to call on Darwin [. . .] As we returned, Huxley expressed the opinion, which was probably correct, that no man now living had done so much to give a new direction to the human mind. “Ah,” said Lowe, “you think him the top-sawyer of these times.” “Yes,” said the other.’ This is from the diaries of Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff, a Liberal Party politician and Governor of Madras, who died 110 years ago today. Duff said at the time that he edited his diaries in such a way as to create the ‘most good-natured books of its kind ever printed’.

Duff was born in Eden, Banffshire, northeast Scotland, in 1829. He was the son of a well known Indian official in the Bombay Presidency, part of British India, and was named after the Scottish statesman, Mountstuart Elphinstone, who had been governor of Bombay until 1827. Duff was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Balliol College. He studied law at the Inns of Court and was called to the bar at Inner Temple in 1854. He also taught at the Working Men’s College, wrote articles for the Saturday Review, and joined the Liberal Party.

Duff was elected the Liberal MP for Elgin in 1857. Two years later he married Anna Julia Webster, and they would have eight children. In time, they bought York House in Twickenham, and played host to many famous politicians and literary figures. He served with Prime Minister William Gladstone as Under-Secretary of State for India (1868-1874) and as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (1880-1881). But, in 1881, he was appointed Governor of Madras, a position he held until 1886. On returning to Britain, he was knighted. He became, in turn, president of the Royal Geographical Society in 1889 (until 1892) and the Royal Historical Society (1892-1899), after which, in 1903, he became a trustee of the British Museum. He died on 12 January 1906. A little further information is available from Wikipedia,  the Twickenham Museum website, or The Times obituary.

Duff began keeping a diary in his late teens, and continued throughout his life. But it was only in his later years that he set about editing them, for publication by John Murray. There are seven books, two volumes each, making 14 volumes, all freely available online at Internet Archive: Notes from a Diary 1851-1872 (volume one and volume two, 1897); Notes from a Diary 1873-1881 (volume one and volume two, 1898); Notes from a Diary, kept chiefly in Southern India, 1881-1886 (volume one and volume two, 1899); Notes from a Diary 1886-1888 (volume one and volume two, 1900); Notes from a Diary 1889-1891 (volume one and volume two, 1901); Notes from a Diary 1892-1895 (volume one and volume two, 1904); Notes from a Diary 1896-January 23, 1901 (volume one and volume two, 1905). A generation later, in 1930, Methuen published A Victorian Vintage: being a selection of the best stories from the diaries of the Right Hon. Sir M. E. G. Duff, as edited by A. Tilney Bassett. Inexpensive copies of this can be found at Abebooks.

In his preface to the first volume of the first book of diary extracts, Duff explains his diary habits and reasons for publishing. In particular, he notes his determination to ensure the published diaries include as little about his work as possible (he having had, as he says, ample other opportunities to state his views on public matters); and he repeats this idea in prefaces to the later two books of diaries.

‘In the year 1847 I determined to keep a diary, and began to do so on my eighteenth birthday, making an entry in it, longer or shorter, for every day that passed over me. It was not, however, till I had continued this practice for something like a quarter of a century, that it occurred to me to read through what I had written. Having done so, I came to the conclusion that I had seen much about which it was desirable I should leave some permanent record, but that the record I possessed would not be intelligible to any one save myself. I extracted from it accordingly all that I thought likely to be interesting to persons whose tastes were similar to my own, threw it into a fairly readable shape [. . .]

It will be observed that I have said very little about the House of Commons, although fifteen of the years included in the portion of my notes now published were passed in that Assembly. I have done so for three reasons: first, because I wished to make these pages as light as possible; secondly, because I was anxious to leave behind me one of the most good-natured books of its kind ever printed, and I apprehend that for a politician to write truthfully of the political struggles in which he has been engaged, without paying to some of the combatants “the genuine tribute of undissembled horror,” would be a hopeless enterprise; thirdly, because I had, during these fifteen years, frequent opportunities of stating my views upon all public matters, in Parliament and out of it, opportunities of which I availed myself pretty freely. [. . .]

To relegate to the background nearly all the more serious part of life, and to ignore every disagreeable person and thing I have come across, would, if I were writing my memoirs, be a very indefensible proceeding. I am not, however, writing my memoirs. Heaven forbid! I am merely publishing some notes on things that have interested me, and this being so, I consider myself quite justified in saying, like the sundial - “Horas non numero nisi serenas.” [I count only the sunny hours.]’

It is worth quoting Arthur Ponsonby (author of English Diaries) on Duff: ‘With the exception of the first two volumes, which concern travels in India and Palestine, the fourteen volumes of diary (1851 to 1901) issued by Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff [. . .] consist for the most part of a vast collection of anecdotes, good stories and memorable sayings, many of which have appeared elsewhere. That he succeeded in making the books “light reading” we may venture to doubt. To flutter a page or two occasionally may help to pass the time, but to read consecutively anecdote after anecdote, epigram after epigram, joke after joke, however good some of them may be, is practically impossible. There are dinner party lists and occasional references to books, a few appreciations of scenery and gardens, but he strictly adheres to his intention of introducing nothing in the way of personal opinions, private reflections or serious matter.’

Here are several extracts from a few of the Duff diary volumes.

10 November 1853
‘Mr. Peacock talked to me to-day at much length about Jeremy Bentham, with whom he had been extremely intimate - dining with him tete a tete once a week for years together. He mentioned, amongst other things, that when experiments were being made with Mr. Bentham’s body after his death, Mr. James Mill had one day come into his (Mr. Peacock’s) room at the India House and told him that there had exuded from Mr. Bentham’s head a kind of oil, which was almost unfreezable, and which he conceived might be used for the oiling of chronometers which were going into high latitudes. “The less you say about that, Mill,” said Peacock, “the better it will be for you; because if the fact once becomes known, just as we see now in the newspapers advertisements to the effect that a fine bear is to be killed for his grease, we shall be having advertisements to the effect that a fine philosopher is to be killed for his oil.” ’

7 March 1856
‘Looked over the old betting book at Brooks’s. It is not very interesting, but here and there is a curious entry. On the 11th March 1776, for example, Mr. Charles Fox gave a guinea to Lord Bolingbroke, on the understanding that he was to receive a thousand guineas from him when the National Debt amounted to 171 millions. He was not, however, to pay the thousand guineas till he was a Cabinet Minister. In 1778 he gave Mr. Shirley ten guineas, on the understanding that he was to receive five hundred whenever Turkey in Europe belonged to a European Power or Powers.’

15 February 1858
‘Made my maiden speech, on the second reading of Lord Palmerston’s India Bill.’

2 November 1860
‘A singularly clear and beautiful moonlight night has been followed by a most perfect day. To-night we have the aurora borealis streaming from nearly every part of the sky up to the zenith.’

4 May 1863
‘Gladstone’s great speech on the Taxation of Endowed Charities, which I think, on the whole, the most remarkable I ever heard him make.’

4 April 1864
‘Went down to Brooke House in the Isle of Wight, belonging to Mr. Seely, M.P. for Lincoln, to meet Garibaldi, who had just come to England, and is on a visit to him.

It was a strange miscellaneous party. Menotti Garibaldi [politician son of the famous Giuseppe Garibaldi] and Ricciotti his brother, the latter little more than a boy. [. . .] I had a pretty long talk with Garibaldi, walking up and down a long orchard house full of fruit trees in flower. He spoke English badly but preferred speaking it, although his French was more agreeable to listen to in spite of a strong Italian accent. His conversation did not at all impress me, but he spoke only of trivial subjects. He wore while at Brooke sometimes a grey and sometimes a red poncho.’

15 January 1871
‘Went over from High Elms with Lubbock, Huxley and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to call on Darwin, whom Lowe had never seen since they met as quite young men, on two neighbouring reading parties forty years ago. We stayed as long as it was safe, for a very little too much talking brings on an attack of the violent sickness which has been the bane of the great philosopher’s life. As we returned, Huxley expressed the opinion, which was probably correct, that no man now living had done so much to give a new direction to the human mind. “Ah,” said Lowe, “you think him the top-sawyer of these times.” “ Yes,” said the other.’

16 January 1881
‘Again at High Elms, where my wife has been staying. Talking of the want of young people in our society she said to me to-day: “For goodness’ sake ask some one who belongs, at least, to this geological period!”

Miss Lubbock remarked to Mr. Arthur Balfour, who was sitting between her and me, that she would like to hear Disraeli’s conversation. “You needn’t do that,” he replied. “You have only to imagine a brazen mask talking his own novels.”

In the afternoon we walked up to see Darwin. He has of late been studying earthworms, and said to Lubbock, “You antiquarians ought to have great respect for them; they have done more to preserve tessellated pavements than any other agency. I have ascertained, by careful examination, that the worms on a single acre of land bring up ten tons of dry earth to the surface in a year.” ’

18 January 1881
‘The worst day I ever saw in London, or anywhere else, except when I crossed the Cenis in December 1860. My wife, who was coming up to London from High Elms, was happily sent back by the station-master at Orpington, and only regained the house with great difficulty; the carriage being almost stopped in the deep wreaths of snow.’

8 May 1882
‘I was just starting to breakfast with Bashir-ud-Dowla, the brother-in-law of the Nizam, who is staying at Ootacamund, when a telegram was brought to me. It contained the terrible news of the murder of Frederick Cavendish, and, of course, altered all my arrangements.’

11 May 1882
‘Attended the Wellington races and lunched with my staff, who have a pretty camp near the course. Wild weather, with thunder, rain, hail, and what not, cut short the proceedings, and we drove back in a deluge, accompanied by the largest flashes of lightning I ever beheld. The four horses never shied nor flinched.’

18 May 1882
‘Daud Shah, the late Commander-in-Chief of the Afghan Army, one of the handsomest and most gigantic men I ever saw, dined with us. In the evening, someone showed him a picture of Mecca, in a recent number of the Graphic. He asked, “Where is the Caaba?” And, on its being pointed out to him, lifted it to his forehead and kissed it.’

2 June 1882
‘Our new daughter, born 16th March, was to-day christened Iseult Frederica by Bishop Gell. Her godmothers are Mrs. Greg, the companion of so many of our journeys, associated, too, with our visit to Brittany, the meeting-place of the Iseults, and Lady Malmesbury, the youngest daughter of my old friend John Hamilton. Her godfather is Sir Frederick Roberts.’

2 July 1882
‘I received this morning a cipher telegram from the Viceroy, warning me that we might have to send troops to Egypt. I saw accordingly the Commander-in-Chief, as well as the Military Secretary, and telegraphed to alter the arrangements for my approaching tour, some portions of which, as originally settled, would have taken me too far from the railway.’

11 July 1882
‘Just as the fireworks began at Vellore a telegram, announcing that the bombardment of Alexandria had commenced, was placed in my hands.’

12 July 1882
‘While the municipal address was being read to me this morning at Chittore, a huge elephant, belonging to the Zemindar of Kalastri, a great temporal chief, charged a smaller elephant belonging to the Mohunt or High Priest of Tripaty, thus dis-establishing the church much more rapidly, alas! than we did in Ireland. The stampede of the crowd was a sight to behold. The natives took to the trees like squirrels.’

The Diary Junction.