February 8, 1587: Familial in-fighting comes to end when Mary, Queen of Scots is executed. She was the only legitimate child of King James V of Scotland and took over the throne when her father died just six days after she was born. She spent most of her childhood in France leaving Scotland to be ruled by regents. She married the Dauphin of France, Francis, in 1558, a year before he became King. He died a year and a half later. Mary returned to Scotland and married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. She was widowed again in February 1567. She next married James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell in April and by July she was forced to abdicate in favor of her one year old son, James VI of Scotland and later James I of England.
Mary tried, unsuccessfully to regain her throne and then fled south to her first cousin once removed, Elizabeth I. The cousins were already in a dispute regarding the throne of England since Mary had claimed it as her own and was supported by many English Catholics (Elizabeth was not Catholic). Elizabeth allowed her cousin to come South, but she was held in several different castles and manor houses. After nearly twenty years, Mary was found guilty of plotting to kill Elizabeth and was sentenced to death.
The Babington Plot came to light in 1586 as Catholics hoped to unseat the Protestant Queen and replace her with a Catholic. Mary was implicated when a letter she had sent after eighteen years of imprisonment. Queen Mary consented indirectly and conditionlly to the murder of Elizabeth. The overarching goal of the plot was an invasion by both Spanish and French forces which would put Mary on the throne and eradicate the Protestant religions from England. The plot was discovered by Walsingham who then used his information to entrap Mary. He used Babington to deliver the letter who was also a pawn used by Jesuit priest, John Ballard.
Babington sent a coded letter to Queen Mary on July 7, 1586 and she responded, also in code on July 17. In that letter, she allowed that people trying to rescue her could kill Elizabeth if that was needed to free Mary. And she wanted desperately to be rescued. Ballard was the first to be arrested on August 4, 1586 and he implicated others. The conspirators were sentenced to death and they were to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Mary herself was brought to trial in October 1586. Elizabeth signed the death warrant. On this day, in front of 300 witnesses, Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded.
My subjects in Scotland do their duty in nothing…nor have they performed their part in one thing that belongeth to them. I am their Queen and so they call me, but they use me not so…they must be taught to know their duties.
Well then, I perceive that my subjects shall obey you, and not me; and shall do what they list and not what I command, and so must I be subject to them and not they to me…but ye are not the Kirk that I will nurse. I will defend the Kirk of Rome, for, I think, it is the true Kirk of God.
Alas! Do not as the serpent that stoppeth his hearing, for I am no enchanter but your sister and natural cousin. If Caesar had not disclaimed to hear or heede the complaint of an advertiser he had not so died…I am not of the nature of the basilisk and less of the chameleon, to turn you to my likeness. (to Elizabeth)
I came into this kingdom under promise of assistance, and aid, against my enemies and not as a subject, as I could prove to you had I my papers; instead of which I have been detained and imprisoned… I do not deny that I have earnestly wished for liberty and done my utmost to procure it for myself. In this I acted from a very natural wish…Can I be responsible for the criminal projects of a few desperate men, which they planned without my knowledge or participation? (at her trial) – all from Mary, Queen of Scots
Also on this day: Orangeburg, South Carolina – In 1968, the Orangeburg massacre took place.
Stars and Stripes – In 1918, the US military newspaper resumed publication.
The Devil’s Footprints – In 1855, the Devil’s Footprints appeared.
Time is on Our Side – In 1879, the idea of time zones was presented.
February 7, 1497: Fra Girolamo Savonarola institutes a bonfire of the vanities. This was not the first of these events as they had been around for decades. The focus of the bonfire was to rid the city of Florence of objects which might induce the natives to sin. These included such things as cosmetics and mirrors as well as fine dresses, playing cards, and even musical instruments. Also included were books, especially on secular topics as well as art when it was not religious in nature. All these things could lead the unwary into sin and cause God to turn from the city and lead them into chaos as Renaissance Florence was fighting for its survival.
Sandro Botticelli was a famous Florentine painter who had studied under the patronage of Lorenzo de’Medici. He was part of what became known as the “golden age” of art. He is said to have been so moved by Savonarola’s preaching that he destroyed several of his paintings which were based on classical mythology during this bonfire. Botticelli was such an ardent follower that he stopped painting and thus had no income and fell on hard times. He died in 1510 and his work was eclipsed for longer than most of his contemporaries. His most famous painting is probably The Birth of Venus, which apparently would have distressed him greatly.
Savonarola was born in 1452 and was a Dominican friar, entering the order in 1475. He denounced clerical corruption which was rampant at the time as well as despotic rule and the exploitation of the poor. He became quite popular with the masses. He predicted trouble for his adopted home – Florence. Trouble came in the form of Charles VIII of France’s invasion of persent-day Italy and threatening Florence. On December 10, 1494 Savonarola preached a new sermon, Florence’s victory and greater glory. As a cleric, he was ineligible to hold public office but this did not keep him from exerting support for those who would follow his plans.
Things were going well until Savonarola accused Pope Alexander VI of corruption. The Pope banned Savonarola from speaking in public but the ban was ignored so the Pope excommunicated him, a fate worse than death for a religious person. Savonarola’s message became more extreme, strident, and onerous and eventually the Florentines tired of his teachings and turned against him. Savonarola hinted at performing miracles and was arrested for heresy, along with two other supporting friars. Under torture Savonarola confessed to having invented prophecies and visions. He recanted, confessed again, and was finally found guilty and sentenced to death. He and his compatriots were hanged while fires were set beneath the gallows to consume the corpses so that no relics would remain.
The truest characters of ignorance are vanity and pride and arrogance. – Samuel Butler
Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us. – Jane Austen
The herd seek out the great, not for their sake but for their influence; and the great welcome them out of vanity or need. – Napoleon Bonaparte
Ladies of Fashion starve their happiness to feed their vanity, and their love to feed their pride. – Charles Caleb Colton
Also on this day: Pluto v. Neptune – In 1979, Pluto moved inside Neptune’s orbit.
Finally – In 1971, Switzerland gives women the vote.
The Little Tramp – In 1914, Charlie Chaplin first plays The Little Tramp in the Kid Auto Races at Venice.
Mud March – In 1907, the Mud March took place in London.
February 6, 1815: The first railroad charter in the United States was issued to the New Jersey Railroad and Canal Company. The idea was taken from turnpike charters and granted to John Stevens and others to build a line between New Brunswick and Trenton. This first charter became the model for other railroad charters used in the US. By 1830, two competing companies were hoping to build a canal connecting the Delaware River with the Raritan River, the first serving Philadelphia and the latter New York City. An agreement was reached and the Camden and Amboy Rail Road and Transportation Company was chartered on February 4, 1830. Travel along the seaboard was essential, not just for people, but for the goods they needed.
On March 7, 1832 the New Jersey Rail Road and Transportation Company was chartered and they were tasked with building a railroad connecting with some others in the region and again trying to move people and goods along the coast. Eventually, Jersey City and Trenton would be connected. From 1839 to 1867 many more improvements with connections and realignments were chartered. Not only was it important to move people and goods, but it became necessary to move war supplies to keep the Union soldiers equipped. After the war, many two of the major lines merged and became the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Company.
The company stayed in business until 1976 when they were taken over by Amtrak and Conrail, with some of the tracks going to one provider and the rest to the other. At first, Contrail operated a commuter rail system under the New Jersey Department of Transportation but in 1979 the commuter lines were taken over by New Jersey Transit. The rails have been in use, as standard gauge rails, since their inception. Today, they are still moving people and goods along the coast with interchanges and other systems lacing the seaboard.
John Stevens was born in 1749 and was a lawyer, engineer, and inventor. He constructed the first US steam locomotive, the first steam-powered ferry, and the first commercial ferry service from his estate in Hoboken. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and helped form US patent law. At age 27 he was promoted to Captain in George Washington’s army. After the war he was made treasurer of New Jersey and bought land at public auction which today is the city of Hoboken. He was interested in moving goods and people around the region and may have been influenced in this endeavor as a way to keep his family together. He and his wife had eleven children, many of them as famous and influential as their father.
In the end, the railroads made America and nanotech will make the 21st century, and that is the end of the story. The beginning of the story and the end of the story. – Felix Dennis
The rage for railroads is so great that many will be laid in parts where they will not pay. – George Stephenson
Yet, in 1850 nearly all the railroads in the United States lay east of the Mississippi River, and all of them, even when they were physically mere extensions of one another, were separately owned and separately managed. – John Moody
A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad. – Theodore Roosevelt
Also on this day: Tobacco Road – In 1987, the US bans smoking in all federal buildings, except Congress.
Not So Old – In 1987, President Ronald Reagan became the oldest sitting US President.
QEII - In 1952, British King George VI died.
Voice Artist – In 1914, Thurl Ravenscroft was born.
February 5, 1852: The New Hermitage Museum opens to the public. Catherine the Great purchased paintings from Berlin art merchant Johann Gotzkowsky in 1764 – the beginning of her art collection. Gotzkowsky had gathered either 225 or 317 pieces of art (sources disagree) for Frederick II of Prussia who then refused to buy them. Catherine brought the works to St. Petersburg, Russia. She commissioned Yury Felton to build an extension to the Winter Palace which was completed in 1766. This became the Small Hermitage and housed the original collection. The building grew as the collections grew.
The Hermitage buildings became the home and workplace for almost 1,000 people, including the Imperial family. They became the extravagant showplace for the artworks accumulated as well as Russian relics and other displays of wealth. The complex also became the venue for grand balls, receptions, and ceremonies for many state events. Catherine continued to add to her museum buying up art from the heirs of prominent collectors. She added hundreds of pieces from around Europe via this method. She seemed to be especially taken with carved gems and cameos. During her life, she colleced 4,000 old masters’ paintings, 38,000 books, 10,000 engraved gems, 10,000 drawings, 16,000 coins and medals, and a natural history collection which filled two galleries.
In 1771, Felton was commissioned to build a great extension and the new building became known as the Large Hermitage. It was completed in 1787. Another wing was built from 1787 to 1792 to house ever more expanding collections, this time of Roman marbles. Catherine’s collections came to rival older established museums. She died in 1796. Alexander I was crowned in 1801 and continued to expand the art collections. Between 1840 and 1843, Vasily Stasov redesigned the interior of the Small Hermitage. Next, Leo von Klenze was asked to design a building for the public museum. Space was made by demolishing a building next to the Small Hermitage.
On this day, the New Hermitage opened. It was during this inaugural year that the Egyptian Collection at the Hermitage Museum was begun. After the October Revolution in 1917, the Imperial Hermitage and the Winter Palace were proclaimed to be state museums and merged. Even during this time the collections grew as art from other palaces came to this central location. Today, only a small part of the collection is on permanent display. There are over 3 million pieces held by the museum and it holds one of the largest painting collections in the world. There are close to 3 million visitors each year to this first ranked museum in Russia. It holds 13th place in world ranking (based on number of visitors).
I may be kindly, I am ordinarily gentle, but in my line of business I am obliged to will terribly what I will at all.
I shall be an autocrat: that’s my trade. And the good Lord will forgive me: that’s his.
If Russians knew how to read, they would write me off.
I praise loudly. I blame softly. – all from Catherine the Great
Also on this day: Articles of Confederation – In 1778, South Carolina became the first state to ratify the Articles.
Roger Williams – In 1631, Williams arrived in Boston.
Bombs Away – In 1958, a USAF plane drops a nuclear bomb in the waters off Savannah, Georgia.
Artiste - In 1919, United Artists studios were formed.
February 4, 1945: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta. The Yalta Conference is also known as the Crimea Conference and was codenamed the Argonaut Conference. It lasted from February 4 through the 11, 1945. The President of the US, the Prime Minister of the UK, and the premier of the Soviet Union met to discuss the re-establishment of the nations of post-World War II Europe. This was the second of three wartime conferences among the Big Three. The Tehran Conference took place in 1943 and the Potsdam Conference followed in July 1945. At the July meeting, Harry Truman and Clement Attlee met with Stalin.
Roosevelt wanted the meeting to take place near the Mediterranean but Stalin claimed his doctors opposed the long trip. Instead, they met at Yalta to appease Stalin. It should be noted that Roosevelt was dead within a couple months while Stalin lived until 1953. However, at the time, the Soviet Union was pushing the Nazi armies back to Berlin and Stalin felt he had the right to dictate terms. Each of the leaders arrived with an agenda. Roosevelt wanted support in the Pacific theater and hoped to convince Stalin to invade Japan. He also hoped to have the Soviet Union join the United Nations. Churchill was hoping for free elections and democratic governments in Eastern and Central Europe. Stalin wanted political influence in the same region.
The Big Three agreed upon seeking an unconditional surrender from Nazi Germany after which Berlin would be split into four zones. Each of the Big Three as well as France would control a zone. Germany would undergo demilitarization as well as a purging of the Nazi regime. Reparations from Germany would in part be in the form of forced labor which would repair some of the damage caused by the war. The borders of Poland were a huge debate. Stalin felt the USSR had earned the right to keep areas they had already conquered but would allow a free and democratic election in the area. The western border would be pushed into German territory to make up for the loss of ground on the east. These elections would never take place.
Citizens of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia would be returned to their respective countries even if they did not wish to return. Stalin agreed to participate in the UN but he also wanted all 16 of the Soviet Socialist Republics to be given entry and only two were permitted. Stalin agreed to enter the Pacific theater 90 days after Germany’s defeat. Nazi war criminals were to be hunted down and brought to justice. The division of Germany into various countries was discussed and many plans were proposed. It would take further negotiations to officially end the war.
True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. – Winston Churchill
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas. – Joseph Stalin
The United States never lost a war or won a conference. – Will Rogers
Also on this day: 20,000 Leagues – In 1957, the USS Nautilus reaches 60,000 nautical miles, like her namesake.
Winter Sports – In 1932, the Third Winter Olympic Games began.
Codex Sinaiticus - In 1859, the Codex Sinaiticus was discovered.
Victimized - In 1974, Patty Hearst was kidnapped.
February 3, 1995: STS-63 lifts off at 05:22 UTC. This was the 20th mission for the Space Shuttle Discovery and the second mission of the US/Russian Shuttle-Mir Program. Liftoff was from Kennedy Space Center with Eileen Collins as pilot. It was the first time a woman pilot took the Space Shuttle into flight. There were a total of six people aboard. Besides the pilot, James Wetherbee, Bernard Harris, Jr., Michael Foale, Janice Voss, and Vladmir Titov were aboard. They were to deploy and retrieve the Spartan-204 platform and do a flyaround Mir in preparation for a mission with docking of the shuttle to the space station. The returned to Earth on February 7.
Eileen Collins was born November 19, 1956. Her parents were immigrants from Ireland, coming to New York where they raised their family of four children. Eileen graduated from Syracuse University in 1978 and was one of four women chosen for pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. She worked as a professor in mathematics as well as a T-41 instructor pilot in Colorado. She became the second female to attend the US Air Force Test Pilot school and was selected for the astronaut program in 1990.
After this mission, she received the Harmon Trophy. Each year, three international trophies are awarded: one to the world’s outstanding aviator, one to the outstanding female aviator, and one to the outstanding aeronaut (balloon or dirigible). It was begun and funded by Clifford Harmon, a wealthy balloonist and aviator who established the award in 1926. Such luminaries as Amelia Earhart and Sally Ride have also earned the trophy. Eileen went on to pilot another mission in 1997, STS-84. She was also the first female commander of a US Spacecraft mission when STS-93 launched in July 1999.
Her next mission was STS-114 which was sent to resupply the International Space Station. Launch date was July 26, 2005. During this mission, Eileen became the first astronaut to fly the Space Shuttle through a complete 360-degree pitch maneuver which was done to assess the underbelly, looking for any damage which might impact reentry. She retired from NASA in 2006 to spend more time with her family. She has also been seen on CNN as an analyst covering Shuttle launches.
We have had a fantastic mission. We are so glad to come back and be able to say it’s a success.
We brought Discovery back in great shape. The crew was very anxious to walk around and see what the outside looks like and it looks fantastic.
It’s just been a wild ride. We’ve finally been able to put the icing on the cake with this mission.
Getting the shuttle back up there is just going to bring the space station back to its full potential. – all from Eileen Collins
Also on this day: Constitutionally Taxing – In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment passes, creating the US income tax.
Show Me the Money – In 1690, the Massachusetts Colony issued a new currency, America’s first paper money.
Say “Cheese” – In 1815, the first industrial cheese plant opened in Switzerland.
Atrocity of War – In 1377, the Cesena Bloodbath took place.
February 2, 1933: Madame Lancelin and her adult daughter are brutally murdered in Le Mans, France. Christine Papin was born March 8, 1905 and was considered to be of normal intelligence. Her younger sister, Léa, was born September 15, 1911 and was considered to be of lower intelligence and was completely dominated by her older sister. The girls had one older sister, Emilia, who became a nun. The family was from a village south of Le Mans. The marriage of the parents was violent (there was a report of the father raping his eldest daughter) and when it fell apart, the two younger children were sent to institutions to live.
Christine and Léa began working as maids and preferred when they could work together. They started working for Monsieur René Lancelin in 1926. He was a retired solicitor and the household included his wife and adult daughter. The Papin sisters were quiet and mostly kept to themselves. On this day, the parents were to have dinner and when his wife didn’t show up at the restaurant, Lancelin went home to find out what was wrong. The doors were locked from the inside but a candle was burning in the maid’s room. He went to the police for help and they were able to get into the house. They found a horrific tableau.
Both Madame Lancelin and the daughter had been beaten to death. One of the daughter’s eyes was lying on the floor next to her body while both of her mother’s eyes had been gouged out and were nestled in the folds of a scarf around her neck. They had been beaten with a hammer and a pewter pot and most of the blows were to the face and head, making them unrecognizable. Also used was a kitchen knife. The sisters were found in their room, together in bed and both naked. They confessed to the killings.
Christine had a fit while incarcerated and said that on the day of the murders, she had a similar spell. The sisters were separated in jail and the longer Christine was separated from her sister, the worse she became. When they were permitted to be together, Christine threw herself at Léa and spoke in ways that suggested a sexual relationship. Christine was sentenced to death and seen as the instigator of the crime. Eventually this was commuted to life in prison. However, while in prison, her mental illness became more acute and she was sent to an asylum where she died in 1937. Léa was sentenced to ten years in prison and released after eight years for good behavior. She worked as a hotel maid under an alias and was thought to have died in 1982 but may have survived until 2001. A researched found a woman in a hospice whom he said was Léa, but she had had a stroke and was unable to speak.
Killing is not so easy as the innocent believe. – J.K. Rowling
The dumber people think you are, the most surprised they’re going to be when you kill them. – William Clayton
The joy of killing! the joy of seeing killing done – these are traits of the human race at large. – Mark Twain
By heaven, I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me. – William Shakespeare
Also on this day: Punxsutawney Phil – In 1887, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania celebrates their first Groundhog’s Day.
Iditarod Beginnings – In 1925, diphtheria serum arrived in Nome, Alaska.
Castaway - In 1709, Alexander Selkirk was rescued from the deserted island.
Ulysses - In 1922, Ulysses by James Joyce was published.
February 1, 1884: The first fascicle of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is published. The full title was New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society, so we are lucky they shortened that a bit. The first fascicle was 325 pages and had the words A to Ant included. It sold for 12s.6d or what would have been equivalent to $3.25 at the time or £276 today. Only 4,000 copies sold which was disappointing.
The dictionary bearing its name was not originally associated with Oxford University. It was the brainchild of a group of intellectuals in London. The Philological Society thought it would be wonderful to create a proper dictionary since they were not pleased with the current state of English dictionaries. In June 1857 they created the “Unregistered Word Committee” to look for unlisted and/or poorly defined words in the current books. Instead of actually forming a list, by November Richard Trench had a report prepared called On Some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries. Not only were there seven egregious deficiencies, but the list of words that were not represented was longer than the list of words actually defined in current works.
On January 7, 1858 the society formally adopted the idea of creating their own comprehensive dictionary listing all the words as well as addressing other features current dictionaries lacked. Trench’s other duties did not leave him with enough time to direct the dictionary project and that job was turned over to Herbert Coleridge. He began sorting words into a 54-pigeon hole grid built for the task and some sample pages were published in April 1861. Coleridge died of tuberculosis that same month. He was 30 years old. Frederick Furnivall took over the leadership of the project but didn’t do well, losing papers and not staying focused. Finally, James Murray was given the task of editing the massive book.
By 1894 only 11 fascicles were published and they were only up to the letter E (but missing the letter D). Each book was about 300-350 pages long. Future fascicles would be only 64 pages long and accordingly sold for a cheaper rate. Books up to 192 pages saw print until World War I got in the way. Each book contained portions of letters and they were not published in order. So the 125th fascicle was not the Z words, but the last half of the W words – listing from Wise to the end. This saw print on April 19, 1928. Supplements have been added since with the last being published in 1997. The 22,000 page book might be a bit large to carry around and so there are electronic versions as well.
I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything. – Steven Wright
Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. – Nathaniel Hawthorne
If you have a big enough dictionary, just about everything is a word. – Dave Barry
People are under the impression that dictionaries legislate language. What a dictionary does is keep track of usages over time. – Steven Pinker
Also on this day: Big Bangs – In 1814, the Mayon Volcano erupted.
Police – In 1920, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began working.
Grand Central Terminal – In 1913, Grand Central Terminal opened in New York City.
The Hajj – In 2004, a stampede took place at the holy pilgrimage.
January 31, 1918: Battle of May Island begins. The combatants for this action were the British Navy and the British Navy. Operation E.C. 1 had several ships from the Royal Navy moving from Rosyth in Scotland to the North Sea for a fleet exercise. The night was foggy or misty and visibility was poor. As the ships moved near the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth (the waters of the estuary from the River Forth where it flows into the North Sea), they began a series of collisions.
Although the date indicates that the “battle” took place during World War I, it was an entirely accidental in nature and there were no enemy ships involved. About forty ships left Scotland in the afternoon and their final destination was to be Scapa Flow in Orkney where they would rendezvous with the entire Grand Fleet the next day. The ships included the 5th Battle Squadron comprised of three battleships and their destroyer escorts, the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron made up of four battleships and their escort destroyers, two cruisers, and two flotillas of K-class submarines each led by a light cruiser. The two flotillas were the 12th Submarine and the 13th Submarine Flotillas each having four subs. These subs were specially designed to operate in concert with battle fleets. They each measured 339 feet long (large for the time) and used steam turbines for power. This gave them a speed of 24 knots and allowed them to keep pace with the fleet.
Around 6.30 PM, the vessels began their journey all in a single file which stretched nearly 30 miles long. Since there was some suspicion of German U-boats in the area, all ships traveled with only a dim stern light and keeping radio silence. As the ships passed the Isle of May, they changed course and speed, increasing to 20 knots. As the first group of subs passed the island, a pair of lights was seen and the flotilla altered course. K14′s helm jammed and the line was broken. As her helm was fixed, she tried to get back in line. A second sub lost sight of the line and veered off, too. The rest of the ships were unaware of the problem.
Within 75 minutes, two subs had sunk, four more had been damaged as had HMS Fearless, the light cruiser leading the flotilla. In all, 104 men died. There were 55 casualties frokm K4, 47 from K17, and two more from K14. The accident was kept secret during the war with a quiet court martial held. Most of the information was not released until the 1990s. Surveyors working the area in 2011 for an offshore wind farm published sonar images of the two submarines lost in the exercise.
The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there’s no risk of accident for someone who’s dead. – Albert Einstein
There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed. – Napoleon Bonaparte
There is no such thing as chance; and what seem to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny. – Friedrich Schiller
What men call accident is God’s own part. -Philip James Bailey
Also on this day: Sticking to Business – In 1930, 3M marketed Scotch tape.
Radiation Trap – In 1958, James Van Allen was given the means to describe the eponymous bands.
Love Bug - In 747: The London Lock Hospital opened as the first venereal disease clinic.
The Only One - In 1945, Eddie Slovik was executed.
January 30, 1661: Oliver Cromwell is executed – two years after his death. Cromwell was born in 1599 into the middle gentry. He lived a relatively obscure life up until the 1630s when he became in independent Puritan. He became an intensely religious man as well as a military and political leader, believing that God was guiding him to victory. He joined the English Civil War on the side of the Roundheads or Parliamentarians. He was one of the signatories for King Charles I’s death warrant and became the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland on Christmas day in 1653 after dismissing Parliament earlier in the year.
His rule was short lived but during that time he fashioned an aggressive and effective foreign policy. His allies at home were able to help him both domestically and overseas. When he died in 1658 he was buried in Westminster Abbey next to his daughter. He had become ill in the fall with what today is considered to be a relapse of malaria which brought on a kidney or urinary tract infection. His doctors did what they could but were unable to help the suffering man. He died on September 3 from what was probably septicemia (blood infection) secondary to the urinary infection. His son took over the rule of the land but was not as effective as his father. He resigned in May 1659.
Eventually Charles II was invited back from exile to become King and restore the monarchy in 1660. On this day, which is also the twelfth anniversary of Charles I’s execution, Cromwell’s body was exhumed and ritually executed in turn. Posthumous executions have been used many times over history to really get the message out that the dead person is not well liked. This was the third time in this century that the British Empire was upset enough to kill a dead person. Cromwell was hanged in chains at Tyburn, then thrown into a pit after being beheaded. His head was placed on a pole outside Westminster Hall and remained there until 1685.
There is controversy over whether or not the disinterred corpse was really Cromwell or not. It is assumed that the body of the despised regicide practitioner would have been moved between his death and this day to protect it from desecration by Royalists. However, if it was not Cromwell, no one today knows where that body lies. Cromwell’s head was moved about several times until it was eventually buried on the grounds of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge in 1960. The Cromwell vault was used to bury the illegitimate descendants of Charles II. Today, in Westminster Abbey there is stone where Cromwell was first buried which says, “THE BURIAL PLACE OF OLIVER CROMWELL 1658-1661″.
Not only strike while the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.
Do not trust the cheering, for those persons would shout as much if you or I were going to be hanged.
The State, in choosing men to serve it, takes no notice of their opinions. If they be willing faithfully to serve it, that satisfies.
I would have been glad to have lived under my wood side, and to have kept a flock of sheep, rather than to have undertaken this government. – all from Oliver Cromwell
Also on this day: “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall’s” – In 1922, Dick Martin was born.
King Richard III – In 1835, an attempt was made to assassinate President Jackson.
Assassination attempt – In 1835, the first US Presidential assassination attempt takes place.
Mr. Music – In 1858, the Halle Orchestra performed.