More English Diaries: Further Reviews of Diaries from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century with an Introduction on Diary Reading

By Arthur Ponsonby | Go to book overview

WILLIAM KERSHAW

NOT only has this manuscript diary never seen the light of publicity (in this respect it resembles probably the majority of diaries in existence), but the name of the author is not disclosed in its pages. And yet the diary contains an authentic account of a conversation with Napoleon at St. Helena.

The diary is contained in a blue linen bound quarto notebook and covers about sixty pages. It records the voyage of the Honourable East India Company's Ship Cuffnells to India and China and the return voyage via St. Helena between August 28, 1814, and April, 1816. On the inside of the cover the following motto is written:

In mercy spare me when I do my best
To make as much waste paper as the rest.

W.K.

These initials were the first clue to the authorship. The only other clue is an amusing account of a very precipitous ride at Penang, in which the following passage occurs:

finding my horse inclined to have his own way (which doubtless was very right tho' I did not know it) in spite of Curb or Bridle, I slid over his rump and came down upon my own, on terra firma. At this crisis the Party behind had just opened part of the road which gave them a full view of the scene with The Purser sprawling on the Ground and the Horse pursuing his Course with a gentle trott unattended. "A loud Laugh" soon informed me they enjoyed the Prospect before them.

Having the initials W. K. and the fact that he was the Purser, it only required a little further research to ascertain his name. Through the courtesy of the officials at the India Office it was finally ascertained that the diarist was William Kershaw.

-183-

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More English Diaries: Further Reviews of Diaries from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century with an Introduction on Diary Reading
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • INTRODUCTION ON DIARY READING WITH NOTES ON MINOR ENGLISH DIARIES 3
  • LIST OF DIARIES ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. 33
  • SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES 37
  • Philip Wyot 38
  • Adam Winthrop 40
  • Margaret Lady Hoby 43
  • Lady Anne Clifford 49
  • Walter Powell 56
  • The Ishams - SIR JOHN, SIR THOMAS, AND SIR JUSTINIAN 59
  • Sir John Reresby 64
  • Anthony Ashley Cooper (first Earl of Shaftesbury) 68
  • Viscountess Mordaunt 71
  • Anthony Wood 74
  • Sir Richard Newdigate 83
  • EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 89
  • James Clegg 90
  • James Woodforde 92
  • Thomas Hollis 101
  • Nicholas Cresswell 110
  • Joseph Mydelton 115
  • William Jones 119
  • Henry White 133
  • Samuel Teedon 137
  • John Marsden 140
  • NINETEENTH CENTURY 147
  • Dorothy Wordsworth 148
  • Thomas Asline Ward 158
  • Colonel Peter Hawker 162
  • Thomas Rumney 167
  • Katherine Bisshopp (lady Pechell) 170
  • J. Vine Hall 179
  • William Kershaw 183
  • Henry Edward Fox (fourth Lord Holland) 190
  • Antony Ashley Cooper (seventh Earl of Shaftesbury) 195
  • Emily Shore 204
  • William Charles Macready 210
  • Miss J. 219
  • Ford Madox Brown 226
  • Charles Russell 234
  • Wilfrid Scawen Blunt 241
  • INDEX OF DIARIES AND CHRONICLES NOTICED IN THIS VOLUME 249
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