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Events, deaths, births, of 24 MAY
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^  On a 24 May:

      This day is the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, who is venerated at Sheshan, 34 km from Shanghai, where she appeared in 1900. Pope Benedict XVI [16 Apr 1927~] has designated it as the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. For this he has composed the special prayer shown below:

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title “Help of Christians”,
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them
along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be
a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said “yes” in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world,
and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!
click to ZOOM IN2002 At the Kremlin, US President Bush (Jr.) and Russian President Putin sign a nuclear arms reduction treaty which calls for each of their nations to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 2200 (from 6000 now) within 10 years. However, at Bush's insistence, the removed warheads may be put in storage instead of destroyed.
Marcoux in 19962002 Pope John Paul II accepts the immediate resignation of Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland [click photo to enlarge >] of Milwaukee [02 Apr 1927~] (whose normal retirement, because he is 75, was in process anyhow). The previous day drifter Paul J. Marcoux [< photo], 54, claimed that in 1979 Weakland “date raped” him (which Weakland denies) then paid him $450'000 following a 08 Oct 1998 confidential settlement (which Weakland admits). In an 11-page 25 Aug 1980 click for text of letter letter to Marcoux, Wheatland mentions his “deep affection” for Marcoux, but says that he cannot give him more than the $14'000 he already gave for Marcoux's “Christodrama” project. The letter has no mention of a sexual relationship, but does, embarassingly, contain this: “I felt like the world's worst hypocrite. So gradually I came back to the importance of celibacy in my life.”
2002 GLACIES EX ANTARCTIDE DEFRACTA: Ex glaciario nomine Ross in ora Terrae Antarcticae sito mons glacialis amplius ducenta chiliometra longus defractus est, cum ex eodem loco paucis diebus ante aliud fragmentum evulsum esset, quod in longitudinem octoginta chiliometra pateret. Credideris illam glaciei liquationem caelo calefacto effectam esse, sed investigatores universitatis Wisconsinianae negant talem rerum conexionem concludi posse.
2001 James Jeffords, 67, in his third term as US Senator from Vermont, announces that he is leaving the increasingly conservative Republican Party to become an Independent. This will enable the Democrats, with a 50 to 49 majority, to take over the organisation of the Senate from the Republicans, who had the deciding vote of Vice-President Chaney to give them the majority as there were 50 Republican and 50 Democrat Senators.
2000 After 18 years of occupying southern Lebanon, the Israelis withdraw. At 06:41 local time, the last Israeli soldiers drive through Fatima Gate in a tank.
2000 The Clay Mathematics Institute announces its seven Millenium Prize Problems, important classic mathematical questions that have resisted solution over the years, for each one of which it establishes a $1 million prize:   Riemann HypothesisPoincaré ConjectureHodge ConjectureBirch and Swinnerton-Dyer ConjectureNavier-Stokes Equations (existence and smoothness)Yang-Mills existence and mass gapP versus NP Problem.
1996 Estados Unidos y Rusia firman el Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, por el que ambos países se comprometen a poner fin a los ensayos nucleares.
1995 Histórico primer encuentro en Washington del ministro británico para Irlanda del Norte, Patrick Mayhew, y el líder del Sinn Fein -brazo político del IRA-, Gerry Adams.
1993 Violent demonstrations erupt in Tibet
      In Tibet, the most violent demonstrations in over a decade break out against the Chinese suppression of the country, culture, and religion.
      Tibet increasingly came under Chinese control in the first decades of the twentieth century, and in 1950, the country was invaded by Communist China. In 1951, a Tibetan-Chinese agreement was signed in which the nation became a "national autonomous region" of China supposedly under the traditional rule of the Dalai Lama, but under the actual control of a Chinese Communist Commission.
      The highly religious people of Tibet, who practice a unique form of Buddhism, suffered under Communist China’s anti-religious legislation. After years of scattered protests, a full-scale revolt broke out in March 1959, and the Dalai Lama was forced to flee as the uprising was crushed by Chinese troops. On 31 March 1969, he began a permanent exile in India, settling at Dharamsala in Punjab, where he established a democratically-based shadow Tibetan government.
      Back in Tibet, the Chinese adopted brutal repressive measures against the Tibetans, provoking charges from the Dalai Lama of genocide. With the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in China, the Chinese suppression of Tibetan Buddhism escalated, and practice of the religion was banned as thousands of monasteries were destroyed. Although the ban was lifted in 1976, protests in Tibet continued, and the exiled Dalai Lama won widespread international support for the Tibetan independence movement. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of his commitment to the nonviolent liberation of his country and his religion.
1993 Eritrea declares independence from Ethiopia. — Es el 52º Estado del continente africano.
1993 MS unveils Windows NT
Microsoft introduced a new operating system, called Windows NT ("New Technology"). NT was a 32-bit operating system, initially aimed at developers and professionals. The new operating system was unveiled during a heated war among Microsoft Windows, IBM's OS/2, and Apple's Macintosh to own the operating system market. 1862 Army telegraph used in warfare Civil War general George McClellan, headquartered near Williamsport, Virginia, communicated via telegraph with General George Stoneman, commander of an advance guard at Mechanicsville, Virginia, on this day in 1862. The telegraph wire extended several miles between the two camps.
1993 HDTV deal
      Four competitors in the high-definition television field agreed to combine their systems, newspapers reported. The pact came after the FCC exerted pressure on the four groups to join forces and establish a standard. Testing of the systems was scheduled to begin on this day but was delayed. It took the next four years for the FCC and television broadcasters to agree on a plan to speed the adoption of digital television. By the fall of 1998, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and PBS had all started broadcasting digital signals in the country's largest cities. The stations were allowed to broadcast digital and analog signals on two different channels for nine years.
1992 El democristiano Thomas Klestil gana las elecciones presidenciales en Austria con el 57% de los votos.
1991 Israel began airlifting 15'000 Ethiopian Jews to safety as Ethiopian rebels continued to advance on Addis Ababa.
^ 1989 Xerox demands interface fees
      On this day in 1989, Xerox announced it would seek licensing fees from computer companies using graphical user interfaces. The company's computer scientists at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) had designed the original graphical user interface with point-and-click controls operated by a mouse. After Steve Jobs and a group of Apple engineers saw the interface during a visit to Xerox PARC in late 1979, they immediately began work on the user-friendly Macintosh, which used many of Xerox's conventions. Xerox said that because PARC scientists had first developed the graphical user interface (GUI), companies like Apple who implemented their own GUIs should pay licensing fees. Ironically, Apple had recently sued Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard for copying the Macintosh interface. In the end, neither Apple nor Xerox succeeded in gaining control over point-and-click interfaces.
1986 Reginald Huffstetler treds water for 985 hours
1981 Hostage situation ends at Central Bank in Barcelona Spain — Los GEOS liberan a los rehenes secuestrados por los delincuentes del asalto a la sede del Banco Central, en la Plaza de Cataluña, de Barcelona.
1980 Iran rejects a call to the World Court to release US hostages
1977 In a surprise move, the Kremlin ousted Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny from the Communist Party's ruling Politburo.
1976 first commerial SST flight to North America (Concorde to Wash DC)
1971 Soldiers' anti-Vietnam-War ad.
      At Fort Bragg, North Carolina, an antiwar newspaper advertisement signed by 29 US soldiers supporting the Concerned Officers Movement results in controversy. The group had been formed in 1970 in Washington, D.C., by a small group of junior naval officers opposed to the war. The newspaper advertisement at Fort Bragg was in support of group's members, who had joined with antiwar activist David Harris and others in San Diego to mobilize opposition to the departure of the carrier USS Constellation for Vietnam. No official action was taken against the military dissidents at Fort Bragg and the aircraft carrier sailed on schedule from San Diego.
1965 El Reino Unido adopta el sistema métrico decimal.
^ 1964 Goldwater says nuke Vietnam.
      Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona), running for the Republican Party nomination in the upcoming presidential election, gives an interview in which he discusses the use of low-yield atomic bombs in North Vietnam to defoliate forests and destroy bridges, roads, and railroad lines bringing supplies from communist China. During the storm of criticism that followed, Goldwater tried to back away from these drastic actions, claiming that he did not mean to advocate the use of atomic bombs but was "repeating a suggestion made by competent military people." Democrats painted Goldwater as a warmonger who was overly eager to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam. Though he won his party's nomination, Goldwater was never able to shake his image as an extremist in Vietnam policies. This image was a key factor in his crushing defeat by opponent Lyndon B. Johnson, who took about 61% of the vote to Goldwater's 39%.
1951 Racial segregation in Washington DC restaurants is ruled illegal.
1950 In Boston, during its annual gathering, the Northern Baptist Convention formally changes its name to the American Baptist Convention. Twenty-two years later, in 1972, the denomination changed its name once more, and became the American Baptist Churches in the USA.
1944 Icelandic voters sever all ties with Denmark
^ 1943 Auschwitz gets a new doctor: “the Angel of Death”
     The extermination camp at Auschwitz, Poland, receives a new doctor, 32-year-old Josef Mengele, a man who will earn the nickname "the Angel of Death."
      Born on 16 March 1911, in Bavaria, Mengele studied philosophy under Alfred Rosenberg, whose racial theories highly influenced him. In 1934, already a member of the Nazi Party, he joined the research staff of the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene.
      Upon arriving at Auschwitz, and eager to advance his medical career by publishing "groundbreaking" work, he began experimenting on live Jewish prisoners. In the guise of medical "treatment," he injected, or ordered others to inject, thousands of inmates with everything from petrol to chloroform. He also had a penchant for studying twins, whom he used to dissect. Besides being atrociously inhuman, Mengele's “research” was completely useless scientifically.
      Mengele managed to escape imprisonment after the war, first by working as a farm stableman in Bavaria, then by making his way to South America. He became a citizen of Paraguay in 1959. He later moved to Brazil, where he met up with another former Nazi party member, Wolfgang Gerhard. In 1985, a multinational team of forensic experts traveled to Brazil in search of Mengele. They determined that a man named Gerhard, but believed to be Mengele, had died of a stroke while swimming in 1979. Dental records later confirmed that Mengele had, at some point, assumed Gerhard's identity, and was in fact the stroke victim.
      A fictional account of Josef Mengele's life after the war, cloning Hitler (!), was depicted in the film Boys from Brazil, with Mengele's role played by Gregory Peck.
1940 Percée allemande sur la Lys — Décision d'arrêt des Panzer sur l'Aa (jusqu'au 26)
1933 El Reichstag concede amplios poderes a Hitler por cuatro años, que el aprovechó para gobernar a Alemania a su antojo.
1931 first air-conditioned train installed—BandO Railroad
1921 first parliament for Northern Ireland elected
^ 1915 The Pan-American Financial Conference
      During his stint in the White House, President Woodrow Wilson pushed hard to install the United States as the leader of a free-flowing international economy. Though neither economic expansion, nor the grand conception of America's role in a global fiscal order was novel to Wilson's administration, the president and his staff pursued these aims with zeal. And, on this day in 1915, Secretary of the Treasury William G. McAdoo, who also happened to be Wilson's son-in-law, did his bit to promote open international trade, as well as the United State's pivotal role in such a system, by convening the Pan-American Conference in Washington D.C. Indeed, McAdoo used the Conference to unveil measures designed to boost foreign "trade and investment," most notably with Latin America. To that end, McAdoo proposed the formation of a commission that would help standardize the key elements of international trade, including the gold standard and customs duties.
1899 First "stable for cars"
      The first public parking garage in the United States is established in Boston, Massachusetts by W.T. McCullough as the Back Bay Cycle and Motor Company. McCullough advertised the garage's opening as a "stable for renting, sale, storage, and repair of motor vehicles."
1890 Geo Train and Sam Wall circle world in record 67 days, Tacoma-Tacoma
1884 Anti-Monopoly party and Greenback Party forms People's Party in the US
1878 CA Parker (Harvard) wins first American bike race, Beacon Park, Boston
1865 Grand Review of General William T. Sherman's "army group" in Washington, D.C.
1863 Siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana continues
1863 Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi continues
1861 Maj Gen Benjamin Butler declares slaves "contraband of war"
1861 Federal troops seize Alexandria, Virginia
1858 El tren real inicia el recorrido del último tramo del ferrocarril entre Madrid y Alicante, primero de importancia construido en España.
1854 Anthony Burns, slave, arrested by US Deputy marshals in Boston
1850 — Cayute Indians Telokite, Tomahas, Clokomas, Isiaasheluckas, and Kiamasumkin, are found guilty of the Whitman massacre of 18471129 by a jury in Oregon City, which had heard four days of testimony.
1846 Gen Zachary Taylor captures Monterey in Mexican War
^ 1844 First telegram
      In a demonstration witnessed by members of Congress, American inventor Samuel F. B. Morse dispatches a telegraph message from the US Capitol to Alfred Vail at a railroad station in Baltimore, Maryland. A moment later, Vail telegraphs the message — "What Hath God Wrought?" — back to the Capitol. The message, taken from the Bible, Numbers 23:23, had been suggested to Morse by Annie Ellworth, the daughter of the commissioner of patents.
      Morse, an accomplished painter, learned of a French inventor’s idea of an electric telegraph in 1832, and then spent the next twelve years attempting to perfect a working telegraph instrument. During this period he also composed the Morse code, a set of signals that could represent language in telegraph messages, and convinced Congress to finance a Washington to Baltimore telegraph line.
      The message was fitting given the invention’s future effects on American life. Just a decade after the first line opened, over thirty thousand km of telegraph cable crisscrossed the country. The rapid communication it made possible greatly aided American expansion, making railroad travel safer as it provided a boost to business conducted across the great distances of a growing United States.
1830 first passenger rail service in US (between Baltimore and Elliots Mill, Maryland)
1829 Pope Pius VIII issues his program for the pontificate
1824 Pope Leo XII proclaims a universal jubilee
1822 At Battle of Pichincha, Bolívar secures independence of Quito — Las tropas realistas españolas son derrotadas en la batalla de Pichincha, combate que puso fin a la guerra de independencia colombiana y ecuatoriana.
1795 (5 prairial an III) Le décret du 12 germinal est rapporté qui condamnait à la déportation en Guyanne Française de deux députés à la Convention nationale, mais c'est trop tard: ils on déjà été déportés. Il s'agit de BILLAUD-de-VARENNES, ex-avocat à Paris, et de COLLOT-D'HERBOIS, homme de lettre, domicilié à Paris, membre du comité de salut public du département de la Seine.
1793 VERNHET Jean Baptiste, domicilié à Larouvère (Aveyron), est condamné à la déportation, par le tribunal criminel dudit département.
1738 English founder of Methodism John Wesley undergoes his famous religious conversion at Aldersgate Chapel in London.
1689 English Parliament guarantees freedom of religion for Protestants
click to enlarge1430 Joan of Arc is captured       ^top^
      While leading a military expedition against the foreign occupiers of France, Joan is captured by the Burgundians at Compiègne and later sold to the English. She was tried her as a heretic and witch, convicted, and on 30 May 1431, burned at the stake at Rouen.      Early in life, Joan had begun to hear "voices" of Catholic saints. Shortly after she turned sixteen, these voices told her to aid Charles in regaining the French throne and expelling the English from France. A captain in the French army arranged a meeting with Charles, and the dauphin, convinced of the validity of Joan's divine mission, furnished her with a small force of troops.
      Wearing white armor, she led her troops to besieged Orleans, and, after ten days of fighting, on 8 May 1429, the siege of Orleans was broken and the English retreated. Over the next five weeks, Joan led French forces into a number of stunning victories over the English, and, in July, Reims, the traditional city of coronation, was captured. On 16 July 1429, with Joan of Arc kneeling beside him, Charles VII was crowned king of France.
      In 1920, Joan of Arc, already one of the great heroes of French history, was recognized as a Christian saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
      Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by the Sieur Louis de Conté (her page and secretary), freely translated out of the ancient French into modern English by Mark Twain. ( Chapter 41: The Maid will march no more)
PAINTINGS OF JOAN OF ARC: Jeanne d'Arc Écoute Ses VoixJeanne d'Arc au Sacre de Charles VII Dans la Cathédrale de ReimsJeanne d'Arc Brandit Son ÉpéeMaud Adams as Joan of ArcJoan of Arc InspiredJeanne d'Arc en Prison
< 23 May 25 May >
^  Deaths which occurred on a 24 May:

Oleaga 2004 Some 3300 persons by predawn floods in the Haiti-Dominican Republic border area. Some of the places worst affected are Grand Gosier, Mopou, Jacmel, and Fond Verette, in Haiti; and, in the Dominican Republic, Malpaso, and Jimaní (barrio La 40, by the Silié River), where there are many undocumented Haitians.
2004 Ahmed Najmeddine, official of the Iraqi Turkman Alliance, murdered as he leaves his office in Kirkuk, Iraq.
2004 Four persons, in armor plated civilian car destroyed by an explosion at 14:00 near an entrance to the occupation headquarters (the “Green Zone”) in Baghdad, Iraq. Two of the dead are from the UK.
2001 Santiago Oleaga Elejabarrieta, 52, [photo >] shot 3 times in the head, presumably by ETA, at about 08:30 in San Sebastian, Euskadi. He was the chief financial officer of El Diario Vasco, outspoken in its condemnation of ETA. Oleaga was parking his car across the street from a hospital on the outskirts of San Sebastian, where, for the past month, he had been undergoing physical therapy for a shoulder injury. Oleaga's is the 31st killing by ETA since it ended a 14-month-old cease-fire in December 1999.
     Santiago Oleaga Elejabarrieta, director financiero de El Diario Vasco ha fallecido tras recibir siete disparos por un único terrorista. El atentado se ha producido cuando Oleaga se encontraba en el aparcamiento del hospital Matía de San Sebastián. Los hechos se han producido a las 08.30 horas en el paseo de los Pinos, junto al hospital Matía, en el barrio del Antiguo de la capital donostiarra.
2001 James A. Milano, Catholic Monsignor of the diocese of El Paso, Texas, born in Websterville, Vermont, on 20 September 1912. to Rocco and Madeline Milano. He was the second youngest of four brothers (Joe, Frank, Lawrence, and Mike) and two sisters (Rose and Angelina). Lawrence is his only surviving sibling. Their parents came from Italy to Ellis Island and from there moved to Websterville, where their father was a stone cutter at a granite quarry. Their mother was a homemaker. James Milano was taught by the Graymoor Friars in high school and he attended seminary at Catholic University in Washington DC from 1932 to 1940, where he received a B. A. degree. James Milano was ordained a priest on 20 December 1940 at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, by the rector of Catholic University, Bishop Joseph Corrigan [18 May 1879 – 09 Jun 1942], for the Society of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. In November 1943, Father Milano entered active military duty as a chaplain. He served in various posts in the Pacific operations and was discharged from the Army in 1947. He went to El Paso and asked to serve in the El Paso diocese in 1949. Bishop Sidney Metzger [11 Jul 1902 – 12 Apr 1986] accepted him and later incardinated him into the El Paso diocese. Father Milano served as pastor of Santa Rosa Parish in Pecos from 1948 to 1961, and as pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Silver City from 1961 until his retirement in 1987. In 1974, Father. Milano was named a monsignor by Pope Paul VI [26 Sep 1897 – 06 Aug 1978]. In 1987, Msgr. Milano was named Man of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of Silver City in recognition of his 26 years of service as pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish. Msgr. Milano served such causes as helping the poor and needy in the community, supporting youth organizations, and educating the youth in the community concerning moral issues such as abortion and sex. Msgr. Milano was a member of the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans and served as an Army chaplain during World War II until illness contracted in the Fiji Islands sent him stateside to a hospital in Massachusetts where he remained for five months in 1946. After his retirement in 1987, Msgr. Milano lived in El Paso and served as chaplain to the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at their monastery on Cotton Street. On 20 December 1990, he celebrated his 50th anniversary of priestly ordination with a Solemn High Mass according to the Roman Rite at the Monastery chapel. Aside from his brother, Lawrence, Msgr. Milano was survived by his housekeeper of 37 years, Hope Arciero, who faithfully cared for him until his final days at his home in El Paso. He was also survived by Peggy Milano, Kathleen Watson, Joan Buxton, Kenneth Milano, Sandra Granger, Catherine Milano, numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, and many friends. Msgr. Milano also served with the following organizations: Chaplain of Roncalli, Chaplain of Knights of Columbus-4th degree Knight, Chaplain of Catholic Daughters Court of Santa Barbara, and Chaplain of Alhambra Guadalupe Caravan 234. —(070522)
2001 Stephan Ohannis Nicolian, 43, Cypriot, shot down by Israeli air force, while flying a light plane from a Lebanese flying school into Israel. He had ignored signaled warnings by Israeli aircraft.It is the first anniversary of Israel ending its occupation of south Lebanon.
2001 Shadi Siyam, deaf Palestinian teen-ager, shot through the heart by Israeli troops entering a refugee camp in Rafah, Gaza Strip, near the border fence with Egypt. Siyam was standing in front of his house, unaware of the gunbattle going on.
1995 Harold Wilson, 70, in London, former British Prime Minister.
1993 Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo of Guadalajara, allegedly by drug traffickers. Posadas was born in Salvatierra, Guanajuato, on 10 November 1926. He was ordained a priest on 23 de September 1950, and consecrated a bishop on 14 June 1970. He became archbishop of Cuernavaca on 03 January 1983, and of.Guadalajara on 08 de June 1991. He was made a cardenal on 28 de June 1991.
1959 John Foster Dulles, 71, US Secretary of State (1953-1959)       ^top^
     He would be remembered as an uncompromising foe of communism. Born on 25 February 1888, in Washington DC, Dulles was a grandson of John Watson Foster, secretary of state under President Benjamin Harrison, and a nephew of Robert Lansing, secretary of state under President Woodrow Wilson. Educated at Princeton and George Washington universities and at the University of Paris, he began to practice law in New York City in 1911 and subsequently became known as an authority on international law.
      After serving as an adviser at several post-World War II international conferences, Dulles was appointed to negotiate the US peace treaty with Japan in 1951. Two years later he became secretary of state in the cabinet of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. A staunch anti-Communist, Dulles was active in promoting the establishment of the European Defense Community as a barrier to possible Soviet aggression in the West and initiated the formation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, or SEATO (1954), and the Baghdad Pact, or Central Treaty Organization (1955), which were designed to contain Soviet and Chinese power in Asia. Although a bitter opponent of the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, he moved quickly to stop the Anglo-French-Israeli attack on Egypt in 1956.
      Unpopular with US liberals, Dulles caused controversy by his threats of "massive nuclear retaliation" against Communist aggression and by declaring that the US must be prepared to "go to the brink" of war in order to attain its objectives. The latter stance was labeled "brinksmanship." Dulles resigned from office a few weeks before his death.
      After battling cancer for nearly three years, former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles dies. Dulles served as secretary of state from 1953 until shortly before his death in 1959 and was considered one of the primary architects of America's Cold War foreign policy during that period. Dulles was born in 1888, the son of a Presbyterian minister. President Dwight D. Eisenhower would later joke that the serious Dulles had been preparing to become secretary of state since he was a toddler. This was not far from the truth. Dulles' great-uncle was John W. Foster, who served as secretary of state during the 1890s (and for whom John Foster Dulles was named). His uncle, Robert Lansing, had filled the same position during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.
      Thus, when Eisenhower selected Dulles to be his secretary of state in 1952, he was keeping a family tradition alive. Dulles, however, was not one to merely follow in the footsteps of his famous relatives. He was determined to have an impact on US foreign policy. He brought to his thinking about international relations a strong dose of religion, which often had the effect of simplifying complex issues into contests between good and evil, right and wrong. He was also ferociously anticommunist. As secretary of state, Dulles was most famous for developing the notion of "massive retaliation." In this theory, Dulles posited that the United States should make it known that it was ready and willing to use its massive nuclear arsenal to retaliate against threats to American interests around the globe. Dulles believed that it would never come to that, since the Soviets, faced with nuclear annihilation, would back away from the "brink" of atomic warfare. The secretary was also well known for his views on Third World neutralism. In Dulles' view, neutralism in the battle against communism was a sin. During his tenure, Dulles saw the United States through several foreign policy crises, including the Suez Crisis of 1956. In 1956, however, it was discovered that Dulles was suffering from lung cancer. Over the next two-and-a-half years, Dulles bravely battled the disease, continuing his work as secretary of state between trips to the hospital for treatment. On April 22, 1959, Dulles resigned his position when he became too weak to fulfill his duties. Christian Herter replaced him as Secretary of State.
1949 Eduardo Chicharro Agüera, Spanish painter born on 16 June 1873. — links to two images.
^ 1941:: 1415 sailors of the1418 aboard Battle Cruiser HMS Hood sunk by German battleship Bismarck
      Germany's largest battleship, the Bismarck, sinks the pride of the British fleet, HMS Hood. The Bismarck was the most modern of Germany's battleships, a prize coveted by other nation's navies, even while still in the blueprint stage (Hitler handed over a copy of its blueprints to Joseph Stalin as a concession during the days of the Hitler-Stalin neutrality pact).
      The HMS Hood, originally launched in 1918, was Britain's largest battle cruiser (41'200 tons) — but also capable of achieving the relatively fast speed of 31 knots. The two met in the North Atlantic, northeast of Iceland, where two British cruisers had tracked down the Bismarck. Commanded by Admiral Gunther Lutjens, commander in chief of the German Fleet, the Bismarck sunk the Hood, resulting in the death of 1415 of its crew; only three Brits survived. During the engagement, the Bismarck's fuel tank was damaged. Lutjens tried to make for the French coast, but was sighted again only three days later. Torpedoed to the point of incapacity, the Bismarck was finally sunk by a ring of British war ships. Admiral Lutjens was one of the 2106 German who died.
1937 Alfred Adler, psicoanalista austriaco.
1919 Amado Nervo, poeta y diplomático mexicano.
1896 José Asunción Silva, poeta colombiano.
1896 Luigi Federico Menabrea, Italian politician and mathematicial physicist born on 04 September 1809.
1896 Joseph-Victor Ranvier, French artist born on 09 July 1832.
1889 Hermann Kauffmann I, German painter born on 07 November 1808.
1881 Samuel Palmer, English painter born on 27 January 1805. — MORE ON PALMER AT ART “4” MAY with links to images.
1881 Some 200 people as the Canadian ferry Princess Victoria sinks near London, Ontario.
1879 William Lloyd Garrison, 73, US journalistic crusader who published a newspaper, The Liberator (1831-1865), founded the American Anti-Slavery Society (1833-1870), and helped lead the successful Abolitionist campaign against slavery in the United States.
1872 Julius Veit Hans Schnorr von Carolsfeld, German painter and draftsman born on 26 March 1794. — MORE ON SCHNORR AT ART “4” MAY with links to images.
^ 1871 Martyrs of the Commune of Paris.
     The revolutionary party which took possession of the city after the siege of Paris by the Prussians began, in the last days of March, to arrest the priests and religious to whom personal character or official position gave a certain prominence. No reason was given for these arbitrary measures, except the hatred with which the leaders of the Commune regarded the Catholic Church and her ministers.
     (1) At the head of the first group of martyrs is the Archbishop of Paris, Monseigneur Georges Darboy, to whom the discomforts of his prison life were peculiarly trying on account of his feeble health. Born on 16 January 1813, he was ordained a priest in 1836 and became bishop of Nancy in 1859. He was appointed archbishop of Paris on 10 January 1863.
      His fellow sufferers were: the Abbé Duguerry, curé of the important parish of La Madeleine, an old man, well-advanced in years, but bright and vigorous; the Abbé Allard, a secular priest, who had rendered good service to the wounded during the siege, and two Jesuit Fathers Ducoudray and Clerc. The first was rector of the École Sainte-Geneviève, a well known preparatory school for the army: the second had been a distinguished naval officer; both were gifted and holy men. To these five ecclesiastics was added a magistrate, Senator Bonjean.
      After several weeks of confinement, first in the prison or Mazas, then at La Roquette, these six prisoners were executed on 24 May. There was no pretense made of judging them, neither was any accusation brought against them. This revolutionary party still held possession of the east of Paris, but the regular army, whose headquarters were at Versailles, was fast approaching, and the leaders of the Commune, made desperate by failure, wished to inflict what evil they could on an enemy they no longer hoped to conquer. The priests had, one and all, endured their captivity with patience and dignity the Jesuits, their letters prove it, had no illusions as to their probable fate, Archbishop Darboy and the Abbé Deguerry were more sanguine. "What have they to gain by killing us? What harm have we done them?" often said the latter. The execution took place in the evening. The archbishop absolved his companions who were calm and recollected. They were told to stand against a wall, within the precincts of the prison, and here they were shot down at close quarters by twenty men, enlisted for the purpose. The archbishop's hand was raised to give a last blessing: "Here take my blessing", said one of the murders and by discharging his gun he give the signal for the execution.
1864 Yanks and Rebs, as Battle of North Anna continues.
      Union General Ulysses S. Grant continues to pound away at Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in the engagement along the North Anna River that had begun the day before. Since early May, Lee and Grant had been slugging it out along an arc from the Wilderness to Spotsylvania and to Hanover Junction, on the North Anna River. Grant was doing what other Union commanders had failed to do since 1861: ensuring that the Army of Northern Virginia was in constant action to prevent them from retooling. The cost in men, however, was frighteningly high. Grant had lost 33'000 troops in the fighting at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. Worse, he could not gain the upper hand over Lee. As they raced along the arc, Lee had the advantage of moving along the interior lines, while Grant moved on the outside. As a result, Lee always had a shorter distance to the next point on the waltz around Richmond. At North Anna, Lee beat Grant to the river and quickly assumed a strong position on the high, steep banks. Grant had made two attacks the previous day but each failed.
      On 24 May, the Yankees again probed Lee's position but could not penetrate the Confederate defenses. On another part of the line, a Union brigade carried out an unauthorized assault by a general named James Ledlie, who was evidently drunk. Crossing near Ox Ford in the strongest part of the Confederate line, Ledlie's men nearly broke through before retreating. Surprisingly, Ledlie never faced any punishment, despite the fact that 220 men were lost in the charge. The engagement at North Anna was small by the standards of this campaign. Grant was wise to refrain from an all-out assault on the Confederate position. Unfortunately, he was not as cautious just a week later at Cold Harbor, where Northern soldiers were butchered wholesale in a devastating attack on fortified Rebels.
1862 Armand-François-Christophe Toussaint, French artist born on 07 April 1806.
1861 Elmer Ellsworth, Zouave leader, killed at the Marshall House in Alexandria, Virginia by James Jackson
^ 1856 3 men and 2 teenaged boys, in the Pottawatomie Massacre by John Brown's gang
      In retaliation for the sacking of the abolitionist town of Lawrence, Kansas, by pro-slavery forces, militant abolitionist John Brown led a raid against a pro-slavery settlement along Pottawatomie Creek. Brown’s small force, which included four of his sons, fell on the settlement at night and massacred five men, including two teenage boys. Although they owned no slaves, Brown deemed the Pottawatomie settlers deserving of capital punishment because they had supported the Missouri faction in the dispute over the Kansas territorial government.
      Trouble in the territory began with the signing of the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act by President Franklin Pierce. The act stipulated that settlers in the newly created territories of Nebraska and Kansas would decide by popular vote whether their territory would be free or slave. In early 1855, Kansas’ first election proved a violent affair as over 5000 so-called "Border Ruffians" invaded the territory from western Missouri and forced the election of a pro-slavery legislature. To prevent further bloodshed, Andrew H. Reeder, appointed territorial governor by President Pierce, reluctantly approved the election.
      A few months later, the Kansas Free State forces were formed, armed by supporters in the North and featuring the leadership of John Brown.
      In 1859, Brown left "Bleeding Kansas," as it had become popularly known, and settled on a more ambitious plan. With a group of racially mixed followers, Brown set out to Harpers Ferry in present-day West Virginia, intending to seize the arsenal of weapons and retreat to the Appalachian Mountains of Maryland and Virginia, where they would establish an abolitionist republic of liberated slaves and abolitionist whites. Their republic would form a guerilla army to fight slaveholders and ignite slave insurrections, and its population would grow exponentially with the influx of liberated and fugitive slaves.
      At Harpers Ferry, Brown’s well-trained unit was initially successful, capturing key points in the town, but Brown’s plans began to deteriorate after his raiders stopped a Baltimore-bound train, and then allowed it to pass through. News of the raid spread quickly and militia companies from Maryland and Virginia arrived the next day, killing or capturing several raiders.
      On 18 October, US Marines commanded by Colonel Robert E. Lee and Lieutenant J. E. B. Stuart, both of whom were destined to become famous Confederate generals, recaptured the Federal arsenal, taking John Brown and several other raiders alive. On November 2, Brown was sentenced to death by hanging, and on the day of his execution, ten months before the outbreak of the Civil War, he prophetically wrote, "The crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood."
1854 Johann Peter Gmelin, German artist born on 03 February 1810.
1843 Sylvestre François Lacroix, French mathematician born on 28 April 1765. He is the author of Traité de Calcul differéntiel et intégral (3 volumes, 1797-1800) and Cours de Mathématique (10 volumes, 1797-1799).
1831 James Peale, US painter specialized in Still Life, born in 1749— MORE ON PEALE AT ART “4” MAY with links to images.
1825 Horace Hone, English painter and engraver born in 1754.
1817 Juan Meléndez Valdés, poeta y político español.
^ Condamnés à mort par la Révolution:
1795 (5 prairial an III):
GENTIL Jean Joseph, ci-devant membre du comité révolutionnaire de la section du contrat social à Paris, par le conseil militaire, comme convaincu d'avoir tenu des propos séditieux, et porté sur son chapeau, le signe de ralliement des rebelles, "du pain et la constitution de 1793", et comme auteur et complice de la conspiration qui a existé contre la convention nationale dans les journées des 1, 3, et 4 prairial an 3.
LEGRAND Jean Jacques, lieutenant de gendarmerie de la 1er division à Paris, par la commission militaire, comme convaincu d'avoir abandonné, avec ses gendarmes, son poste, et s'être mêlé avec les révoltés contre la Convention nationale, dans les journées des 1er, 3, et 4 prairial de ladite année.
1794 (5 prairial an II):
JUMEAU Anaclet, ex sous diacre, domicilié à Lamnay (Sarthe), par le tribunal criminel dudit département, comme réfractaire à la loi.
VAUDELINE Christophe, trompette des ci-devant, garde du tyran roi, domicilié à Beauvais (Oise), par le tribunal criminel dudit département comme émigré.
Domiciliés dans le département du Gard, par le tribunal criminel dudit département.:
BALMELLE Jacques, homme de loi vice présidant du district de Pont-sur-Rhône, domicilié à St Michel d'Yeuset, canton de Pont-sur-Rhône, comme fédéraliste.
BENEZET Joseph, (dit Cathelany), ex curé, domicilié à St Pierre de Mesmoline, canton d'Uzès, comme contre-révolutionnaire.
CORTILLA Antoine, homme de loi procureur syndic du district de Pont-sur-Rhône, comme fédéraliste.
Par le tribunal révolutionnaire d'Arras:
BRASSEUR François, 39 ans, né à Rebreuviette, célibataire, fils de N. et de Sacleux Marie Barbe.
BRASSEUR Simon, 37 ans, né à Rebreuviette, célibataire, fabricant de bas.
SACLEUX Marie Barbe, âgée de 75 ans, née à Rebreuviette, veuve de Brasseur N..
SACLEUX Angélique, 68 ans, née à Rebreuviette, célibataire.
SACLEUX Marie Michéle, 58 ans, née à Rebreuviette, célibataire.
COUTIAU Joseph, 32 ans, né et demeurant à Roubaix, manouvrier, époux de Carpentier Félicité, guillotiné.
COUTIAU Louis, 38 ans, né et demeurant à Roubaix, manouvrier, veuf de Brassard Bonne, guillotiné.
Par le tribunal révolutionnaire de Paris:
PASCHAL Jean Antoine, lieutenant de la 1er division de la gendarmerie, 42 ans, natif de Lyon (Rhône), domicilié à Paris, comme conspirateur, ayant dit un jour en parlant du tyran Capet : Ah, pauvre roi, pauvre reine, pauvre femme, quels scélérats que les jacobins!
PAULIN François, professeur de géographie et de grammaire, 35 ans, natif de la Chapelle-en-Blaisy (Haute Marne), domicilié à Paris, comme conspirateur, ayant dit que les députés de la Montagne étaient les balayeurs de la convention ; que Capet était une malheureuse et innocente victime ; que ceux qui avaient voté sa mort étaient des scélérats ; et (en parlant des armées) que tous les volontaires envoyés aux frontières étaient des machines ineptes et indisciplinées, conduits à une boucherie inévitable.
DOMAUGEVILLE Jean Baptiste, 30 ans, né à Paris, ex noble, ancien capitaine au 5ème régiment de cavalerie, domicilié à Vernasal (Haute-Saône), comme contre-révolutionnaire
DURAND J. B. Charles, 28 ans, né à Paris, principal commis au magasin des troupes à Franciade, domicilié à Paris, comme conspirateur
GAUTHIER Jean Baptiste, concierge de la maison d'arrêt de la mairie, 50 ans, né à Château-Poncien (Ardennes), domicilié à Paris, comme conspirateur.
TISSERAND Simon, ci-devant postillon chez Duchâtelet, 40 ans, né à Vexou (Haute-Saône), domicilié à Paris, comme conspirateur
SALEIL Jean Pierre
, domicilié à Bourquet (Aveyron), comme séditieux, par le tribunal criminel du dit département.
1752 (25 May?) Charles Parrocel, French painter and engraver born on 06 May 1688. — more with links to images.
1719 Dozens of sailors, as the Russians defeat the Swedes at the naval battle of Osel Island
      The Russian fleet had become so powerful that it could now challenge the Swedish fleet on the open sea. In May 1719 Captain Naum Sinyavin left Revel with a group of six ships of the line and a snow to intercept a Swedish unit. On 24 May, the adversaries meet not far from Osel Island. Sinyavin, aboard the 52-gun Portsmouth, supported by Captain Konon Zotov on the Devonshire, resolutely attacks the flagship of Swedish Commodore Wrangel. In the fierce fight that ensues, the Portsmouth, despite the loss of sails, manages to hit the 34-gun Swedish frigate Karlskrona Vapen with a fore-and-aft salvo, forcing her to surrender. When the Swedish flagship, the 52-gun ship of the line Wachtmeister, attempts to escape, Captain Iakov Shapizo commanding the Raphail and Lieutenant-Commander John Delyap of the Hyagudiil are sent in pursuit. The bloody ensuing fight continues until the Russians overcome the Swedish flagship and force her to strike her colors. Aboard the captured ships are approximately 110 killed and wounded. Sinyavin's feat would go down in history as the first victory of the Russian fleet on the open sea.
^ 1670 Ferdinando de' Medici, born on 14 July 1610, fifth grand duke of Tuscany, a patron of sciences, whose rule was subservient to Rome.
      He was a boy of 10 when his father, Cosimo II [12 May 1590 – 28 Feb 1621], died; and his grandmother, Christine of Lorraine, and his mother, Maria Magdalena of Austria, became regents. The young Ferdinand was sent to Rome and Vienna to complete his education, and the government of Tuscany remained in the hands of two jealous and quarrelsome people. Thus the administration of justice and finance speedilywent to ruin. They conferred exaggerated privileges on the new Tuscan nobility, which became increasingly insolent. They resumed the old Medicean practice of trading on their own account, and, without reaping much benefit thereby, did the utmost damage to private enterprise.
      In 1627 Ferdinand II, then aged 17, returned to Italy and assumed the reins of government; but, being of a very gentle disposition, he decided on sharing his power with the regents and his brothers and arranged matters in such a manner that each was almost independent of the other. He gained the love of his subjects by his great goodness; and, when Florence and Tuscany were ravaged by the plague in 1630, he showed admirable courage and carried out many useful measures.
     Ferdinando II succeeded his father Cosimo II (1590-1621) in 1620 as Grand Duke of Tuscany, under the regency of his grandmother, Cristina di Lorena (1565-1636), and his mother, Maria Maddalena of Austria. He fostered maritime trading, boosting the port city of Livorno and drawing up commercial contracts. He supported Galileo (1564-1642) and encouraged his research. During the trial of 1633, he energetically strove to have Galileo's innocence acknowledged and to let him carry on with his studies. After Galileo's condemnation, Ferdinando cautiously pursued the goal of annulling or attenuating the decision against Galileo. He always strongly encouraged his experimental work. In fact, in the mid 1640s, the Grand Duke introduced informal experimental activities inside the Court. Experiments were carried out with the first ever thermometers, the humidity of the air was measured with the condensation hygrometer, and "the heaviness and the lightness of any liquid" with the hydrometer. In 1644, in the citrus greenhouses of the Boboli Gardens, a type of artificial incubator was tested to hatch chicks. It was based on the temperature indicated on a 60-degree thermometer placed under a brooding hen. These experimental activities constituted the premise on which the Accademia del Cimento, founded in 1657 by Ferdinando's brother, Leopoldo, was based.
      But he was totally incapable of energy as a statesman. He contrived with difficulty to remain neutral, despite pressure from Spain, in the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–1631) and in the later Franco-Spanish hostilities of the Thirty Years' War. On the other hand, his relations with the papacy were unhappy. The 1626 annexation of Urbino to the Papal States (1626) by Pope Urban VIII [bap. 05 Apr 1568 – 29 Jul 1644] precluded Ferdinand from acquiring anything more than the freehold property of the former dukes of Urbino when he married, on 26 September 1633, their heiress, Vittoria della Rovere [07 Feb 1622 – 06 March 1694], (this patrimony, however, included important treasures); and though he allied himself with Venice and Modena to support his brother-in-law Odoardo Farnese, duke of Parma, against Urban during the War of Castro (1642–1644) and won a victory at Mongiovino, near Perugia, in 1643, he received no advantage under the treaty of peace.
      Deeply religious and austere, Ferdinand II was blamed for his acquiescence to the Holy Office's 1633 condemnation of his teacher and protégé Galileo [15 Feb 1564 – 08 Jan 1642]; but he continued to take an interest in science, encouraging his brother Leopoldo de' Medici [06 Nov 1617 – 10 Nov 1675], the future cardinal, in the 1657 foundation of the Accademia del Cimento in Florence and offering hospitality to scientists of all nations.

Copernicus1543 Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish astronomer, mathematician, is brought the first printed copy of his De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (which Osiander had slightly altered from the manuscript) [English translation of a part] and dies of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was born Mikolaj Kopernik on 19 February 1473. He held that the Earth revolved daily on its axis and yearly around the stationary Sun.
      Copernicus was bom into a well-to-do mercantile family, at Torun, Poland. After the death of his father, he was sponsored by his uncle, Bishop Watzenrode, who sent him first to the University of Krakow, and then to study in Italy at the universities of Bologna, Padua and Ferrara. His concentrations there were law and medicine, but his lectures on the subject at the University of Rome in 1501 already evidenced his interest in astronomy. Returning to Poland, he spent the rest of his life as a church canon under his uncle, though he also found time to practice medicine and to write on monetary reform, not to mention his work as an astronomer.
      In 1514 Copernicus privately circulated an outline of his thesis on planetary motion, but actual publication of De revolutionibus orbium coelestium containing his mathematical proofs did not occur until 1543, after a supporter named Rheticus had impatiently taken it upon himself to publish a brief description of the Copernican system (Narratio prima) in 1541. Most of De revolutionibus requires a great deal of the modem reader, since sixteenth century methods of mathematical proofs are quite foreign to us. It must be noted that the foreword by Andreas Osiander was not authorized Copernicus, and that Osiander, who oversaw the book's printing, included it without the author's knowledge and without identifying Osiander as its author.
Copernicus's diagram     That Nicholas Copernicus delayed until near death to publish De revolutionibus has been taken as a sign that he was well aware of the possible furor his work might incite; certainly his preface to Pope Paul III anticipates many of the objections it raised. But he could hardly have anticipated that he would eventually become one of the most famous people of all time on the basis of a book that comparatively few have actually read (and fewer still understood) in the 450 years since it was first printed.
A diagram that shook the world, in chapter 10 of Book I of Copernicus' De revolutionibus orbium coelestium). In the Copernican system the Earth is given three distinct motions: a daily axial rotation, an annual rotation about the Sun, and a third motion related to precession. As acknowledged by Copernicus himself in the introduction of his book, the heliocentric hypothesis goes back to antiquity, in fact with Aristarchus of Samos [310-230 BC]; In De Revolutionibus Copernicus mentions Philolaus, in reference to the Pythagorean school in general), and the hypothesis of the Earth's axial rotation at least to Heraklides of Pontus [388-310 BC].
      The Copernican model has two observational consequences that were not observed at the time, which greatly bothered Copernicus. First, because of the Earth's motion about the Sun, the stars should show an annual parallax; in fact they do, but the distance to the stars is so much larger than believed in Copernicus' days that the effect is only detectable telescopically. Second, because Mercury and Venus orbit the Sun they should show phases similar to the Moon's. Again they do, but observational confirmation of this had to await Galileo and the telescope.
      Contrary to a common misconception, Copernicus did not eliminate Ptolemy's epicycles from planetary theory; he did eliminate the primary epicycles used to reproduce the apparent retrograde motions of the upper planets, but in fact his mathematical model of planetary motion contains about as many epicycles as the version of the ptolemaic model in use at the time. More importantly, Copernicus eliminated the equant, so that his model involved only perfectly regular circular motions. As a consequence his model was not particularly more accurate than Ptolemy's at predicting planetary positions. It was Kepler who brought the heliocentric system to its modern form.
< 23 May 25 May >
^  Births which occurred on a 24 May:

1982 Heaviest known viable baby, South Africa (10.2 kg)
^ 1940 Joseph Brodsky, in Leningrad, USSR.
      He grew up to write poetry (e.g. Less than One) treating such universal topics as life, death, and the meaning of existence. Brodsky's early poetry won critical acclaim, but the Soviet government considered him a loafer and sentenced him to five years of hard labor for "social parasitism." His sentence was commuted when prominent literary figures protested.
      In 1972, Brodsky moved to the US as an exile. He lectured at several universities while continuing to write poetry. His early works, including Verses and Poems (1965) and A Halt in the Waste Land (1970), were translated in 1973. In 1986, he published History of the Twentieth Century and won the Nobel Prize for Literature the following year. He was poet laureate of the US from 1991 to 1992.
1933 Joaquín Vaquero Turcios, Spanish sculptor and painter.
1921 British Legion is formed.
1918 Coleman A. Young civil rights leader (Mayor-D-Detroit)
1916 Luis Romero, escritor español.
1909 Wilbur Mills (Rep-D-Ark)
1907 José María Lacarra de Miguel, historiador español.
1905 Mikhail Sholokhov, Soviet novelist (And Quiet Flows the Don, Nobel 1965)
1895 Marcel Janco, Romanian Israeli painter, printmaker, architect, and writer, who died on 21 April 1984. — MORE ON JANCO AT ART “4” MAY with links to images.
1892 Lucy D'Abreu, Scot born in India, who would still be alive on 16 April 2004. (grg)
^ 1883 Brooklyn Bridge
      After fourteen years and twenty-seven deaths, the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River is finally completed, connecting the great cities of New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history. With schools and businesses closed in honor of the event, hundreds turn out to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
      Designed by the late John A. Roebling, Brooklyn Bridge, featuring two stately stone towers, was the largest suspension bridge ever built to that date. Weeks after construction began in 1869, Roebling was killed while making observations to determine the exact location of the Brooklyn tower. He was the first of over two dozen people who would die trying to complete the bridge. His son, Washington A. Roebling, took over as chief engineer.
      The foundations of the bridge were built in timber caissons sunk to depths of 13.4 m on the Brooklyn piers and 23.8 m on the New York side. Compressed air pressurized the watertight caissons, allowing underwater construction. At that time, little was known of the risks of working under such conditions, and many workers suffered from serious cases of compression sickness. Several died, and Washington Roebling himself became bed-ridden from the bends in 1872. Nevertheless, he continued to direct construction operations from his home and his wife, Emily, carried his instructions to the workers. In 1877, Washington and Emily moved into a home with a view of the bridge. As the bridge entered its final stages, Roebling’s health gradually improved, and he was able to attend its dedication on 24 May 1883.
      Soon after its opening, the Brooklyn Bridge, which stretched 486 m across the East River, was dubbed the "eighth wonder of the world." The connection it provided between the massive population centers of Brooklyn and Manhattan changed the course of New York City forever.
     After 14 years and 27 deaths while being constructed, the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River is opened, connecting the great cities of New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history. Thousands of residents of Brooklyn and Manhattan Island turned out to witness the dedication ceremony, which was presided over by President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland. Designed by the late John A. Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge was the largest suspension bridge ever built to that date. John Roebling, born in Germany in 1806, was a great pioneer in the design of steel suspension bridges. He studied industrial engineering in Berlin and at the age of 25 immigrated to western Pennsylvania, where he attempted, unsuccessfully, to make his living as a farmer. He later moved to the state capital in Harrisburg, where he found work as a civil engineer. He promoted the use of wire cable and established a successful wire-cable factory. Meanwhile, he earned a reputation as a designer of suspension bridges, which at the time were widely used but known to fail under strong winds or heavy loads. Roebling is credited with a major breakthrough in suspension-bridge technology: a web truss added to either side of the bridge roadway that greatly stabilized the structure. Using this model, Roebling successfully bridged the Niagara Gorge at Niagara Falls, New York, and the Ohio River at Cincinnati, Ohio. On the basis of these achievements, New York State accepted Roebling's design for a bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan — with a span of 486 m — and appointed him chief engineer. It was to be the world's first steel suspension bridge. Just before construction began in 1869, Roebling was fatally injured while taking a few final compass readings across the East River. A boat smashed the toes on one of his feet, and three weeks later he died of tetanus. He was the first of more than two dozen people who would die building his bridge. His 32-year-old son, Washington A. Roebling, took over as chief engineer. Roebling had worked with his father on several bridges and had helped design the Brooklyn Bridge.
      The two granite foundations of the Brooklyn Bridge were built in timber caissons, or watertight chambers, sunk to depths of 13.4 m on the Brooklyn side and 23.8 m on the New York side. Compressed air pressurized the caissons, allowing underwater construction. At that time, little was known of the risks of working under such conditions, and more than a hundred workers suffered from cases of compression sickness. Compression sickness, or the "bends," is caused by the appearance of nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream that result from rapid decompression. Several died, and Washington Roebling himself became bedridden from the condition in 1872. Other workers died as a result of more conventional construction accidents, such as collapses and a fire. Roebling continued to direct construction operations from his home, and his wife, Emily, carried his instructions to the workers. In 1877, Washington and Emily moved into a home with a view of the bridge. Roebling's health gradually improved, but he remained partially paralyzed for the rest of his life. On 24 May 1883, Emily Roebling was given the first ride over the completed bridge, with a rooster, a symbol of victory, in her lap. Within 24 hours, an estimated 250'000 persons walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, using a broad promenade above the roadway that John Roebling designed solely for the enjoyment of pedestrians. The Brooklyn Bridge, with its unprecedented length and two stately towers, was dubbed the "eighth wonder of the world." The connection it provided between the massive population centers of Brooklyn and Manhattan changed the course of New York City forever. In 1898, the city of Brooklyn formally merged with New York City, Staten Island, and a few farm towns, forming Greater New York.
^ 1878 Harry Emerson Fosdick, US liberal Protestant minister, teacher, and author, who died on 05 October 1969. He was pastor of the interdenominational Riverside Church in New York City (1926–1946), preacher on the National Vespers nationwide radio program (1926–1946), and a central figure in the Protestant liberal–fundamentalist controversies during the 1920s. Fosdick was an early practitioner of pastoral counselling and of the church's cooperation with psychiatry.
      Ordained a Baptist minister in 1903, he was a minister at Montclair NJ (1904–1915), and taught at Union Theological Seminary (1908–1946). In 1919 he became associate pastor at the First Presbyterian Church, New York City. Crowds filled the church to hear his sermons, but conservative Protestants denounced him as a “modernist.” His sermon “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?” (preached on 21 May 1922) caused an uproar and led to his resignation in 1925. Called to the Park Avenue Baptist Church within a few months, he requested construction of a larger, interdenominational church near Columbia University. Riverside Church was built with the aid of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. [29 Jan 1874 – 11 May 1960], a trustee.
      Fosdick was a prolific author of sermons, articles, and books. These include The Manhood of the Master (1913), The Secret of Victorious Living (1934), On Being a Real Person (1943), A Faith for Tough Times (1952), and The Living of These Days, an Autobiography (1956).
1870 Jan Christian Smuts, proponnent of Commonwealth and League of Nations.
1869 Albert André, French painter, writer, and museum curator, who died on 11 July 1954.
1850 Sir Ernest Albert Waterloo, British artist who died on 25 October 1919.
1849 Baldomero Galafre y Giménez (or Jiménez), Spanish artist who died on 20 July 1902.
1834 Peter Baumgartner, German painter who died in 1911. — MORE ON BAUMGARTNER AT ART “4” MAY with links to images.
1821 Juan Bautista Topete, marino y político español.
^ 1819 Alexandrina Victoria, who would become queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (in 1837) and empress of India (in 1876). She died on 22 January 1901. She was the last of the House of Hanover and gave her name to an era, the Victorian Age. During her reign the English monarchy took on its modern ceremonial character. She and her husband, Prince Consort Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha [26 Aug 1819 – 14 Dec 1861], had nine children, through whose marriages were descended many of the royal families of Europe.
     Victoria first learned of her future role as a young princess during a history lesson when she was 10 years old. Almost four decades later Victoria's governess recalled that the future queen reacted to the discovery by declaring, “I will be good.” This combination of earnestness and egotism marked Victoria as a child of the age that bears her name. The queen, however, rejected important Victorian values and developments. Although she hated pregnancy and childbirth, detested babies, and was uncomfortable in the presence of children, Victoria reigned in a society that idealized both motherhood and the family. She had no interest in social issues, yet the 19th century in Britain was an age of reform. She resisted technological change even while mechanical and technological innovations reshaped the face of European civilization.
      Most significantly, Victoria was a queen determined to retain political power; yet unwillingly and unwittingly she presided over the transformation of the sovereign's political role into a ceremonial one and thus preserved the English monarchy. When Victoria became queen, the political role of the crown was by no means clear; nor was the permanence of the throne itself. When she died and her son Edward VII [09 Nov 1841 – 06 May 1910] moved from Marlborough House to Buckingham Palace, the change was one of social rather than of political focus; there was no doubt about the monarchy's continuance. That was the measure of her reign.
     On the death in 1817 of Princess Charlotte, daughter of the prince regent (later George IV), there was no surviving legitimate offspring of George III's 15 children. In 1818, therefore, three of his sons, the dukes of Clarence, Kent, and Cambridge, married to provide for the succession. The winner in the race to father the next ruler of Britain was Edward, duke of Kent, fourth son of King George III. His only child was christened Alexandrina Victoria. After his death and George IV's accession in 1820, Victoria became third in the line of succession to the throne after the Duke of York (died 1827) and the Duke of Clarence (subsequently William IV), whose own children died in infancy.
      Victoria, by her own account, “was brought up very simply,” principally at Kensington Palace, where her closest companions, other than her German-born mother, the Duchess of Kent, were her half sister, Féodore, and her governess, Louise (afterward the Baroness) Lehzen, a native of Coburg. An important father figure to the orphaned princess was her uncle Leopold, her mother's brother, who lived at Claremont, near Esher, Surrey, until he became king of the Belgians in 1831.
      Victoria's childhood was made increasingly unhappy by the machinations of the Duchess of Kent's advisor, Sir John Conroy. In control of the pliable duchess, Conroy hoped to dominate the future queen of Britain as well. Persuaded by Conroy that the royal dukes, “the wicked uncles,” posed a threat to her daughter, the duchess reared Victoria according to “the Kensington system,” by which she and Conroy systematically isolated Victoria from her contemporaries and her father's family. Conroy thus aimed to make the princess dependent on and easily led by himself.
      Strong-willed, and supported by Lehzen, Victoria survived the Kensington system; when she ascended the throne in 1837, she did so alone. Her mother's actions had estranged her from Victoria and taught the future queen caution in her friendships. Moreover, her retentive memory did not allow her to forgive readily.
      In the early hours of 20 June 1837, Victoria received a call from the archbishop of Canterbury and the lord chamberlain and learned of the death of William IV, third son of George III. Later that morning the Privy Council was impressed by the graceful assurance of the new queen's demeanor. She was small, carried herself well, and had a delightful silvery voice, which she retained all her life. The accession of a young woman was romantically popular. But because of the existence in Hanover of the Salic law, which prevented succession by a woman, the crowns of Great Britain and Hanover became separated, the latter passing to William IV's eldest surviving brother, Ernest, the unpopular duke of Cumberland.
      The queen, who had never before had a room to herself, exiled her mother to a distant set of apartments when they moved into Buckingham Palace. Conroy was pensioned off. Only Lehzen, of whom Victoria was still in awe, remained close to the queen. Even her beloved uncle Leopold was politely warned off discussions of English politics. “Alone” at last, she enjoyed her new-found freedom. “Victoria,” wrote her cousin, Prince Albert, who later married her, “is said to be incredibly stubborn and her extreme obstinacy to be constantly at war with her good nature; she delights in Court ceremonies, etiquette and trivial formalities. . . . She is said not to take the slightest pleasure in nature and to enjoy sitting up at night and sleeping late into the day.” It was, in retrospect, “the least sensible and satisfactory time in her whole life”; but at the time it was exciting and enjoyable, the more so because of her romantic friendship with Lord Melbourne, the prime minister.
      Melbourne was a crucial influence on Victoria, in many ways an unfortunate one. The urbane and sophisticated prime minister fostered the new queen's self-confidence and enthusiasm for her role; he also encouraged her to ignore or minimize social problems and to attribute all discontent and unrest to the activities of a small group of agitators. Moreover, because of Melbourne, Victoria became an ardent Whig.
      Victoria's constitutionally dangerous political partisanship contributed to the first two crises of her reign, both of which broke in 1839. The Hastings affair began when Lady Flora Hastings, a maid of honor who was allied and connected to the Tories, was forced by Victoria to undergo a medical examination for suspected pregnancy. The gossip, when it was discovered that the queen had been mistaken, became the more damaging when later in the year Lady Flora died of a disease that had not been diagnosed by the examining physician. The enthusiasm of the populace over the coronation (28 June 1838) swiftly dissipated.
      Between the two phases of the Hastings case “the bedchamber crisis” intervened. When Melbourne resigned in May 1839, Sir Robert Peel, the Conservative leader, stipulated that the Whig ladies of the bedchamber should be removed. The queen imperiously refused, not without Melbourne's encouragement. “The Queen of England will not submit to such trickery,” she said. Peel therefore declined to take office, which Melbourne rather weakly resumed. “I was very young then,” wrote the queen long afterward, “and perhaps I should act differently if it was all to be done again.”
     Victoria's wedding to Prince Albert served as a stage for displays of political partisanship: very few Tories received invitations, and the Tories themselves rejected Victoria's request that Albert be granted rank and precedence second only to her own. Victoria responded violently, “Monsters! You Tories shall be punished. Revenge! Revenge!” Marriage to Albert, however, lessened the queen's enthusiasm for Melbourne and the Whigs. She admitted many years later regarding Melbourne that “Albert thinks I worked myself up to what really became rather foolish.” Albert thus shifted Victoria's political sympathies; he also became the dominant figure and influence in her life. She quickly grew to depend on him for everything; soon she “didn't put on a gown or a bonnet if he didn't approve it.” No more did Victoria rule alone.
      Attracted by Albert's good looks and encouraged by her uncle Leopold, Victoria proposed to her cousin on 15 October 1839, just five days after he had arrived at Windsor on a visit to the English court. She described her impressions of him in the journal she kept throughout her life: “Albert really is quite charming, and so extremely handsome . . . a beautiful figure, broad in the shoulders and a fine waist; my heart is quite going.” They were married on 10 February 1840, the queen dressed entirely in articles of British manufacture.
      Children quickly followed. Victoria, the princess royal (the “Vicky” of the Letters), was born in 1840; in 1858 she married the crown prince of Prussia and later became the mother of the emperor William II. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) was born in 1841. Then followed Princess Alice, afterward grand duchess of Hesse, 1843; Prince Alfred, afterward duke of Edinburgh and duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, 1844; Princess Helena (Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein), 1846; Princess Louise (duchess of Argyll), 1848; Prince Arthur (duke of Connaught), 1850; Prince Leopold (duke of Albany), 1853; and Princess Beatrice (Princess Henry of Battenberg), 1857. The queen's first grandchild was born in 1859, and her first great-grandchild in 1879. There were 37 great-grandchildren alive at her death.
      Victoria never lost her early passion for Albert: “Without him everything loses its interest.” Despite conflicts produced by the queen's uncontrollable temper and recurrent fits of depression, which usually occurred during and after pregnancy, the couple had a happy marriage. Victoria, however, was never reconciled to the childbearing that accompanied her marital bliss—the “shadow-side of marriage,” as she called it. Victoria explained to her eldest daughter in 1858: “What you say of the pride of giving life to an immortal soul is very fine, dear, but I own I cannot enter into that; I think much more of our being like a cow or a dog at such moments; when our poor nature becomes so very animal and unecstatic.”
      At the beginning of their marriage the queen was insistent that her husband should have no share in the government of the country. Within six months, on Melbourne's repeated suggestion, the prince was allowed to start seeing the dispatches, then to be present when the queen saw her ministers. The concession became a routine, and during her first pregnancy the prince received a “key to the secret boxes.” As one unwanted pregnancy followed another and as Victoria became increasingly dependent on her husband, Albert assumed an ever-larger political role. By 1845 Charles Greville, the observer of royal affairs, could write, “it is obvious that while she has the title, he is really discharging the functions of the Sovereign. He is the King to all intents and purposes.” Victoria, once so enthusiastic about her role, came to conclude that “we women are not made for governing.”
     The prince came into his own to negotiate with Peel a compromise on the bedchamber question after the Melbourne government had been defeated in the general election of 1841. The queen's first interview with Peel went well, eased by Melbourne's advice to his successor: “The Queen is not conceited—she is aware there are many things she cannot understand and she likes to have them explained to her elementarily—not at length and in detail but shortly and clearly.”
      If, as Lady Lyon once noted, “there was ‘a vein of iron' which ran through the Queen's extraordinary character,” the iron could bend; Victoria was able to revise her opinions and reevaluate her judgments. Peel's very real distress when in the summer of 1842 an attempt was made to assassinate the queen—together with the affinity between the prince and the new prime minister—soon converted the “cold odd man” of the queen's earlier comment into “a great statesman, a man who thinks but little of party and never of himself.” Lord Aberdeen, the foreign secretary, also became a great favorite.“We felt so safe with them both,” she told King Leopold.
      The departure of the possessive Lehzen for Germany in 1842 signaled Albert's victory in the battle between the two for Victoria's loyalty and for power in the royal household. He became effectively the queen's private secretary—according to himself, “her permanent minister.” As a result of Albert's diligence and refusal to accept the obstacles that ministers threw in his path, the management of the queen's properties was rationalized and her income thus increased.
      A visible sign of the prince's power and influence was the building of the royal residences of Osborne, on the Isle of Wight, and Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Albert, who taught the once party-loving Victoria to despise London, played a central role in the acquisition of both properties as well as in designing the homes he and Victoria erected on them between 1845 and 1855.
      Victoria described Osborne as “our island home” and retreated there frequently; it was, however, at Balmoral that she was happiest. The royal pair and their family were able to live there “with the greatest simplicity and ease,”wrote Greville. The queen soon came to hold the Highlanders in more esteem than she held any other of her subjects. She liked the simpler life of the Highlands, as her published journal was to reveal: she came to make the most of the thin stream of Scottish blood in her veins; also, so long as the sermons were short enough, she came to prefer the Scottish form of religious service. “You know,” she was to tell her prime minister, William Ewart Gladstone, “I am not much of an Episcopalian”; and she developed a comfort in the consolations of the Reverend Norman Macleod and also a delight in the plain speech of John Brown, the Highland servant who stalked with Albert and became her personal attendant.
      The royal couple's withdrawal to Scotland and the Isle of Wight bore witness to a new sort of British monarchy. In their quest for privacy and intimacy Albert and Victoria adopted a way of life that mirrored that of their middle-class subjects, admittedly on a grander scale. Although Albert was interested in intellectual and scientific matters, Victoria's tastes were closer to those of most of her people. She enjoyed the novels of Charles Dickens and patronized the circus and waxwork exhibitions. Both Victoria and Albert, however, differed from many in the middle class in their shared preference for nudes in painting and sculpture. Victoria was not the prude that many claimed her to be. She was also no Sabbatarian: “I am not at all an admirer or approver of our very dull Sunday.”
      Victoria's delight in mingling with the Scottish poor at Balmoral did little to raise the level of her social awareness. Although in 1846 she and Albert supported the repeal of the Corn Laws (protectionist legislation that kept the price of British grain artificially high) in order to relieve distress in famine-devastated Ireland, they remained much more interested in and involved with the building of Osborne and foreign policy than in the tragedy of Ireland. Victoria, moreover, gave her full support to the government's policy of repression of the Chartists (advocates of far-reaching political and social reform) and believed the workers in her realm to be contented and loyal. In 1848, rejoicing in the failure of the last great Chartist demonstration in London, the queen wrote: “The loyalty of the people at large has been very striking and their indignation at their peace being interfered with by such worthless and wanton men—immense.” The consequences of continental revolutions led her to conclude: “Revolutions are always bad for the country, and the cause of untold misery to the people. Obedience to the laws and to the Sovereign, is obedience to a higher Power, divinely instituted for the good of the people, not the Sovereign, who has equally duties and obligations.” Yet, revolution or no revolution, many of her people lived in “untold misery,” a fact Victoria rarely confronted.
      For both the queen and the prince consort the highlight of their reign came in 1851, with the opening of the Great Exhibition. Albert poured himself into the task of organizing the international trade show that became a symbol of the Victorian Age. Housed in the architectural marvel of the Crystal Palace, a splendid, greenhouse-inspired glass building erected in Hyde Park, the Great Exhibition displayed Britain's wealth and technological achievements to a wondering world. To Victoria the success of the Great Exhibition provided further evidence of her husband's genius: “I do feel proud at the thought of what my beloved Albert's great mind has conceived.” Profits from the Great Exhibition funded what became the South Kensington complex of colleges and museums.
      Albert has been credited with teaching Victoria the importance of remaining above party. Certainly he saw the danger in the Whig partisanship she openly displayed before their marriage; more clearly than Victoria he realized the fine sense of balance required of a constitutional monarch. Albert's own actions, however, such as his much-criticized appearance in the gallery of the House of Commons during Peel's speech on the first day of the Corn Laws debates (and thus his open and partisan show of support for Peel), revealed his political sympathies. Gladstone noted in 1846 that “the Prince is very strongly Conservative in his politics and his influence with the Q. is over-ruling; through him she has become so attached to Conservative ideas that she could hardly endure the idea of the opposite Party as her ministers.”
      Like the queen, Albert believed that the sovereign had an important and active role to play in British politics. The fluid political situation operating during the prince's lifetime made such an active role seem possible. After the repeal of the Corn Laws (1846) there was a period, not ending until the election of 1868, when politics tended to consist of a series of temporary alliances between splinter groups and no single group could guarantee its extended control over the House of Commons: the golden age of the private member, a condition rendering active political intervention by the crown not only possible but sometimes even necessary. There was a role for the cabinet maker, especially in helping to compose coalitions. Its significance must not, however, be overemphasized; although Victoria probably would not have admitted it, the queen's role, albeit “substantial,” was always “secondary.”
      The tradition also persisted that the sovereign had a special part to play in foreign affairs and could conduct them alone with a secretary of state. Victoria and Albert had relatives throughout Europe and were to have more. Moreover, they visited and were visited by other monarchs. Albert was determined that this personal intelligence should not be disregarded and that the queen should never become (as his own mentor the Baron Stockmar had indicated) “a mandarin figure which has to nod its head in assent or shake it in denial as its Minister pleases.” The result was a clash with Lord Palmerston, the foreign secretary, who could look back on a career of high office beginning before the royal couple was born. The prince distrusted Palmerston's character, disapproved of his methods, thought his policy shallow, and disagreed with his concept of the constitution.
      Even after Victoria insisted to Palmerston in 1850, “having once given her sanction to a measure, that it be not arbitrarily altered or modified by the minister,” the foreign secretary continued to follow policies disapproved of by both Albert and Victoria, such as his encouragement of nationalist movements that threatened to dismember the Austrian Empire. Finally, after Palmerston expressed his approval of the coup d'état of Louis Napoleon (later Napoleon III) in 1851 without consulting the queen, the prime minister, Lord John Russell, dismissed him. Within a few months the immensely popular Palmerston was back in office, however, as home secretary. He would serve twice as prime minister. After Albert's death Victoria's disapproval of Palmerston diminished; his conservative domestic policy and his insistence that Britain receive its due in world affairs accorded with her own later views.
      On the eve of the Crimean War (1854–1856) the royal pair encountered a wave of unpopularity, and Albert was suspected, without any foundation, of trying to influence the government in favor of the Russian cause. There was, however, a marked revival of royalist sentiment as the war wore on. The queen personally superintended the committees of ladies who organized relief for the wounded and eagerly seconded the efforts of Florence Nightingale: she visited crippled soldiers in the hospitals and instituted the Victoria Cross for gallantry.
      With the death of Prince Albert on 14 December 1861, the Albertine monarchy came to an end. Albert's influence on the queen was lasting. He had changed her personal habits and her political sympathies. From him she had received training in orderly ways of business, in hard work, in the expectation of royal intervention in ministry making at home, and in the establishment of a private (because royal) intelligence service abroad. The English monarchy had changed. As the historian G.M. Young said, “In place of a definite but brittle prerogative it had acquired an undefinable but potent influence.”
     After Albert's death Victoria descended into deep depression—“those paroxysms of despair and yearning and longing and of daily, nightly longing to die . . . for the first three years never left me.” Even after climbing out of depression, she remained in mourning and in partial retirement. She balked at performing the ceremonial functions expected of the monarch and withdrew to Balmoral and Osborne four months out of every year, heedless of the inconvenience and strain this imposed on ministers. After an initial period of respect and sympathy for the queen's grief, the public grew increasingly impatient with its absent sovereign. No one, however, could budge the stubborn Victoria.
      Although Victoria resisted carrying out her ceremonial duties, she remained determined to retain an effective political role in the period after Albert's death and to behave as he would have ordained. Her testing point was, then, her “dear one's” point of view; and this she had known at a particular and thereafter not necessarily relevant period in English political life. Her training and his influence were ill suited to the “swing of the pendulum” politics that better party organization and a wider electorate enjoined after the Reform Bill of 1867. And since she blamed her son and heir for Albert's death—the prince consort had come back ill from Cambridge, where he had gone to see the Prince of Wales regarding an indiscretion the young prince had committed in Ireland—she did not hesitate to vent her loneliness upon him or to refuse him all responsibility. “It quite irritates me to see him in the room,” she startled Lord Clarendon by saying. The breach was never really healed, and as time went on the queen was clearly envious of the popularity of the Prince and Princess of Wales. She liked to be, but she took little trouble to see that she was, popular.
      It was despite, yet because of, Albert that Victoria succumbed to Benjamin Disraeli and thus made herself a partisan in the most famous political rivalry of the 19th century. Albert had thought Disraeli insufficiently a gentleman and remembered his bitter attacks on Peel over the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846; the prince, on the other hand, had approved of Gladstone, Disraeli's political rival. Yet Disraeli was able to enter into the queen's grief, flatter her, restore her self-confidence, and make the lonely crown an easier burden. Behind all his calculated attacks on her affections there was a bond of mutual loneliness, a note of mystery and romanticism, and, besides, the return to good gossip. Disraeli, moreover, told the queen in 1868 that it would be “his delight and duty, to render the transaction of affairs as easy to your Majesty, as possible.” Since the queen was only too ready to consider herself overworked, this approach was especially successful. Gladstone, on the other hand, would never acknowledge that she was, as she put it, “dead beat,” perhaps because he never was himself; Disraeli, however, tired easily. The contrast between Disraeli's gay, often malicious, gossipy letters and Gladstone's 40 sides of foolscap is obvious. And there was no Albert to give her a neat précis. Gladstone, moreover, held the throne as an institution in such awe that it affected his relations with its essentially feminine occupant. His “feeling” for the crown, said Lady Ponsonby, was “always snubbed.” The queen had no patience with Gladstone's moralistic (and, she believed, hypocritical) approach to politics and foreign affairs. His persistent and often tactless attempts to persuade her to resume her ceremonial duties especially enraged her.
      Over the problem of Ireland their paths separated ever more widely. Whereas “to pacify Ireland” had become the “mission” of Gladstone's life, the queen (like the majority of her subjects) had little understanding of, or sympathy for, Irish grievances. She disliked disorder and regarded the suggestion of Irish Home Rule as sheer disloyalty. The proposal of an Irish “Balmoral” was repugnant to her, especially when it was suggested that the Prince of Wales might go in her place. To avoid the Irish Sea, she claimed to be a bad sailor; yet she was willing in her later years to cross the English Channel almost every year. In all, she made but four visits to Ireland, the last in 1900 being provoked by her appreciation of the gallantry of the Irish regiments in the South African War.
      The news of Gladstone's defeat in 1874 delighted the queen. “What an important turn the elections have taken,” she wrote. “It shows that the country is not Radical. What a triumph, too, Mr. Disraeli has obtained and what a good sign this large Conservative majority is of the state of the country, which really required (as formerly) a strong Conservative party!” If, years before, Melbourne, almost despite himself, had made her a good little Whig, and if Albert had left her, in general, a Peelite, temperamental and subsequently doctrinal differences with Gladstone helped make it easy for Disraeli to turn Victoria into a stout supporter of the Conservative Party.
      One of the bonds shared by Victoria and Disraeli was a romantic attachment to the East and the idea of empire. Although she supported Disraeli's reform of the franchise in 1867, Victoria had little interest in or sympathy with his program of social reform; she was, however, entranced by his imperialism and by his assertive foreign policy. She applauded his brilliant maneuvering, which led to the British purchase of slightly less than half of the shares in the Suez Canal in 1875 (a move that prevented the canal from falling entirely under French control), especially since he presented the canal as a personal gift to her: “It is just settled; you have it, Ma'am.” The addition of “Empress of India” in 1876 to the royal title thrilled the queen even more. Victoria and Disraeli also agreed on their answer to the vexing “Eastern question”—what was to be done with the declining Turkish empire? Even the revelation of Turkish atrocities against rebelling Bulgarians failed to sway the sovereign and her prime minister from their position that Britain's best interests lay in supporting Turkey, the “Sick Man” of Europe. The fact that Gladstone took the opposing view, of course, strengthened their pro-Turkish sympathies. With the outbreak of a Russo-Turkish war in 1877, however, Disraeli found himself in the uncomfortable position of having to restrain his bellicose sovereign, who demanded that Britain enter the war against Russia. At the Congress of Berlin in 1878 Disraeli emerged triumphant: Russian influence in the Balkans was reduced, and Britain gained control of the strategically located island of Cyprus. The queen was ecstatic.
      Victoria's delight in Disraeli's premiership made further conflict with Gladstone inevitable. When in September 1879 a dissolution of Parliament seemed imminent, the queen wrote to the Marchioness of Ely (who was, after the Duchess of Argyll, perhaps her most intimate friend): “Dear Janie, . . . I hope and trust the Government will be able to go on after the Election, as change is so disagreeable and so bad for the country; but if it should not, I wish the principal people of the Opposition should know there are certain things which I never can consent to. . . . I never COULD take Mr. Gladstone . . . as my Minister again, for I never could have the slightest particle of confidence in Mr. Gladstone after his violent, mischievous, and dangerous conduct for the last three years.” After the blow fell with the Conservative Party's defeat in 1880, Victoria sent for Lord Hartington. “Mr. Gladstone she could have nothing to do with, for she considers his whole conduct since '76 to have been one series of violent, passionate invective against and abuse of Lord Beaconsfield, and that he caused the Russian war.”
      Nevertheless, as Hartington pointed out, it was Gladstone whom she had to have. She made no secret of her hostility, she hoped he would retire, and she remained in correspondence with Lord Beaconsfield (as Disraeli had become). Gladstone, indeed, said that he himself “would never be surprised to see her turn the Government out, after the manner of her uncles.” The queen abhorred Gladstone's lack of Disraelian vision of Britain's role in the world. Over the abandonment of Kandahar in Afghanistan, in 1881, for example, Sir Henry Ponsonby had never seen her so angry: “The Queen has never before been treated,” she told him, “with such want of respect and consideration in the forty three and a half years she has worn her thorny crown.”
      Victoria convinced herself that Gladstone's government, dominated (she believed) by Radicals, threatened the stability of the nation: “No one is more truly Liberal in her heart than the Queen, but she has always strongly deprecated the great tendency of the present Government to encourage instead of checking the stream of destructive democracy which has become so alarming. . . . She will not be a Sovereign of a Democratic Monarchy.” Nevertheless, Victoria did act as an important mediating influence between the two houses to bring about the compromise that resulted in the third parliamentary Reform Act in 1884.
      Victoria never acclimatized herself to the effects of the new electorate on party organization. No longer was the monarchy normally necessary as cabinet maker; yet, the queen was reluctant to accept her more limited role. Thus, in 1886 she sought to avoid a third Gladstone ministry by attempting to form an anti-Radical coalition. Her attempt failed. Irish Home Rule, not the queen, would defeat the “People's William.”
      In the Salisbury administration (1895–1902), with which her long reign ended, Victoria was eventually to find not only the sort of ministry with which she felt comfortable but one which lent a last ray of color to her closing years by its alliance, through Joseph Chamberlain, with the mounting imperialism that she had so greatly enjoyed in Disraeli's day when he had made her empress of India.
      The South African War (1899–1902) dominated her final years. The sufferings of her soldiers in South Africa aroused the queen to a level of activity and public visibility that she had avoided for decades. With a demanding schedule of troop inspections, medal ceremonies, and visits to military hospitals, Victoria finally became the exemplar of a modern monarch.
      Victoria absorbed a great deal of the time of her ministers, especially Gladstone's, but after 1868 it may be doubted whether, save in rare instances, it made a great deal of difference. She may have postponed an occasional evil day; she certainly hampered an occasional career. And sometimes that “continuous political experience,” which Walter Bagehot remarked as a long-lived monarch's greatest asset, was invaluable: in stopping “red tapings,” as the queen called them, or in breaking a logjam. Meanwhile—“a comparatively late growth”—she had gained the affection of her subjects. The sheer endurance of her reign in a time of swift change deepened her symbolic value and hence heightened her popularity. Lord Salisbury observed in the House of Lords (25 Jan 1901) after her death that: “She had an extraordinary knowledge of what her people would think—extraordinary, because it could not come from any personal intercourse. I have said for years that I have always felt that when I knew what the Queen thought, I knew pretty certainly what views her subjects would take, and especially the middle class of her subjects.” The queen, as the Jubilees of 1887 and 1897 showed, was popular. Gone were the days when pamphlets were circulated asking what she did with her money. More and more fully with advancing years, she was able to satisfy the imagination of the middle class—and the poorer class—of her subjects.
      She remained, nevertheless, either aloof from or in opposition to many of the important political, social, and intellectual currents of the later Victorian period. She never reconciled herself to the advance of democracy, and she thought the idea of female suffrage anathema. The sufferings of an individual worker could engage her sympathy; the working class, however, remained outside her field of vision. After Albert's death Victoria had little contact with intellectual and artistic subjects and so remained happily unaware of the unsettling new directions being explored in the world around her. Her reign was shaped by the new technology—without the railroad and the telegraph, her extended stays in Osborne and Balmoral would have been impossible—yet she never welcomed innovation.
      Many of the movements of the day passed the aged queen by, many irritated her, but the stupendous hard work that Albert had taught her went on—the meticulous examination of the boxes, the regular signature of the papers. To the very end Victoria remained a passionate and strong-willed woman.
      Those who were nearest to her came completely under her spell; yet all from the Prince of Wales down stood in considerable awe. A breach of the rules could still make a fearsome change in the kindly, managing great-grandmother in black silk dress and white cap. The eyes would begin to protrude, the mouth to go down at the corners. Those who suffered her displeasure never forgot it, nor did she. Yielding to nobody else's comfort and keeping every anniversary, she lived surrounded by mementos, photographs, miniatures, busts, and souvenirs in chilly rooms at the end of drafty corridors, down which one tiptoed past Indian attendants to the presence. Nobody knocked; a gentle scratching on the door was all that she permitted. Every night at Windsor Albert's clothes were laid out on the bed, every morning fresh water was put in the basin in his room. She slept with a photograph—over her head—taken of his head and shoulders as he lay dead.
      Queen Victoria had fought a long rearguard action against the growth of “democratic monarchy”; yet, in some ways, she had done more than anyone else to create it. She had made the monarchy respectable and had thereby guaranteed its continuance—not as a political power but as a political institution. Her long reign had woven a legend, and, as her political power ebbed away, her political value grew. It lay, perhaps, more in what the electorate thought of her, indeed felt about her, than in what she ever was or certainly ever believed herself to be. Paradoxically enough, her principal contribution to the British monarchy and her political importance lay in regard to those “dignified” functions that she was accused of neglecting rather than to the “business” functions that, perhaps sometimes, she did not neglect enough.
      The queen died after a short and painless illness. “We all feel a bit motherless today,” wrote Henry James, “mysterious little Victoria is dead and fat vulgar Edward is King.” She was buried beside Prince Albert in the mausoleum at Frogmore near Windsor. Young said, “She had lived long enough. The idol of her people, she had come to press on the springs of government with something of the weight of an idol, and in the innermost circle of public life the prevailing sentiment was relief.”
      Her essential achievement was simple. By the length of her reign, the longest in English history, she had restored both dignity and popularity to a tarnished crown: an achievement of character, as well as of longevity. Historians may differ in their assessment of her political acumen, her political importance, or her role as a constitutional monarch. None will question her high sense of duty or the transparent honesty, the massive simplicity, of her royal character.

^ 1794 William Whewell, English philosopher and historian who died on 06 March 1866. He is remembered both for his writings on ethics and for his work on the theory of induction, a philosophical analysis of particulars to arrive at a scientific generalization.
      Whewell spent most of his career at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied, tutored, and served as professor of mineralogy (1828–32), professor of moral philosophy (1838–1855), and college master (1841–1866). He was also vice chancellor of the university (1842).
      His interests in the physical sciences ranged from mechanics and dynamics to tidal phenomena, all subjects for his early writings. Later studies in history and the philosophy of science were followed, after 1850, by his writings on moral theology and by an intensive analysis of the work of Immanuel Kant.
      Whewell is best known for his History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Time, 3 vol. (1837), and The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Founded upon Their History (1840), which later was expanded to three separate books: History of Scientific Ideas (2 vol. 1858), Novum Organon Renovatum (1858), and On the Philosophy of Discovery (1860). The second of these books refers to Francis Bacon's Novum Organum (1620), dealing with inductive reasoning.
      Although his work on the theory of induction was overshadowed by that of John Stuart Mill [20 May 1806 – 08 May 1873], Whewell's contribution lay in his resurrection of inductive reasoning as an important issue for philosophers and scientists alike. In particular, he stressed the need to see scientific progressas a historical process and asserted that inductive reasoning could be employed properly only if its use throughout history was closely analyzed.
      Whewell's theological views, which gave rise to his ethical theories, have been assigned an importance secondary to his work in induction. Among his writings in moral philosophy are The Elements of Morality, Including Polity (1845) and Lectures on Systematic Morality (1846). Whewell also wrote sermons, poetry, essays, and several editions and translations of others' works.
^ 1743 Jean-Paul Marat, qui deviendra le plus grand des journalistes révolutionnaires.
     Il nait dans la petite localité de Boudry, non loin de Neuchâtel, en Suisse. Son père, prêtre défroqué originaire de Sardaigne, s'était réfugié en Suisse et s'y était converti au protestantisme après avoir abjuré la religion catholique. Il y avait épousé une jeune fille dont les grand-parents français s'étaient, eux aussi, réfugiés en Suisse pour échapper aux poursuites dont les Protestants étaient l'objet dans leur pays. Homme très instruit, du fait de sa formation ecclésiastique, le père de Marat, devenu en Suisse professeur de langues et dessinateur dans une fabrique d'indiennes, put faire faire des études à trois de ses enfants au collège de Neuchâtel. L'un de ces trois fut notre futur révolutionnaire.
      Le jeune Jean-Paul quitta la Suisse dès l'âge de seize ans. C'est à Bordeaux qu'il commença sa carrière, comme précepteur des enfants d'un riche armateur de cette ville, M. Nayrac dont l'épouse était née en Suisse aussi. Il y resta trois ans. Certains de ses biographes soutiennent qu'il y aurait, pendant cette période, suivi les cours de la Faculté de Médecine. Quoi qu'il en soit, trois ans plus tard, soit en 1762, il laissait Bordeaux pour Paris, où il allait vivre également trois ans.
      Mais, comme il l'écrivit lui-même plus tard, «l'envie de se soustraire aux dangers de la dissipation et de se former aux sciences», fit qu'il se décida à quitter aussi cette ville pour se rendre en Angleterre. Il avait vingt-deux ans lorsqu'il mit le pied sur le sol britannique, et il est probable qu'au début il subsista en donnant, comme son père, des leçons de langues. Ce qui est certain, c'est qu'il s'employa à acquérir une somme importante de connaissances en littérature et en médecine. On peut ajouter que pendant les dix ans que dura son séjour, il ne s'intéressa pas qu'à la littérature et à la médecine, mais qu'il fut aussi un observateur de la situation sociale et politique de l'île. Aux alentours de 1770, il partit pour Newcastle où il exerça la profession de vétérinaire.
      A la fin de 1772, il revint à Londres pour y ouvrir un cabinet de consultation médicale et y publier son Essai sur l'âme humaine. En 1774 fut publié à Londres, écrit en anglais, un de ses ouvrages les plus célèbres, Les chaînes de l'esclavage. En 1775, il y donna son Essay on Gleets, sur la blennorrhée, et, en 1776, un autre essai, sur la presbytie, An inquiry into a singular Disease of Eyes. Le 30 juin 1775, il avait été fait docteur en médecine par l'université écossaise de Saint Andrew.
      Fin 1776 ou début 1777 cependant, il s'embarquait pour la France et allait s'y fixer définitivement. Expliquant ses raisons, voici ce qu'il écrivait, le 20 novembre 1783 à son ami Roume de Saint-Laurent : «Après dix années passées à Londres et à Edimbourg à faire des recherches en tout genre, je revins à Paris. Plusieurs malades d'un rang distingué, abandonnés des médecins, et à qui je venais de rendre la santé, se joignirent à mes amis, et mirent tout en oeuvre pour me fixer dans la capitale. Je me laissai aller à leurs instances. Ils m'y avaient promis le bonheur ; je n'y ai trouvé qu'outrages, chagrins et tribulations.» Faut-il compter au nombre de ces «malades d'un rang distingué, abandonnés des médecins», la marquise de l'Aubespine, épouse du marquis de ce nom, descendant du duc de Sully, elle-même nièce du célèbre duc de Choiseul, ministre de Louis XV, à qui ses meilleurs médecins, ne donnaient plus vingt-quatre heures à vivre car elle était atteinte d'une maladie pulmonaire, lorsque sa famille fît appel à Marat et la sauva? La conséquence de ce résultat fut qu'il jouit bientôt d'une nombreuse et riche clientèle, et c'est sans doute grâce à la marquise ou à son entourage, qu'en juin 1777, il obtint le brevet de médecin des gardes du corps du comte d'Artois, frère de Louis XVI.
      La position sociale de Marat à ce moment-là était plutôt aisée, ce qui lui permit de se lancer dans des expériences anatomiques, comme nous en informe d'ailleurs une lettre adressée à son ami anglais William Daly : «Si vous venez à Paris, vous me trouverez dans l'ancien logement où vous m'avez visité la dernière fois ; mais mon appartement est aujourd'hui plus commode, car j'y ai réuni deux autres grandes pièces que j'ai l'intention de destiner uniquement à la dissection. (...) Vous dites que vous n'aimez pas à voir d'innocents animaux déchirés par le scalpel ; mon coeur est aussi tendre que le vôtre, et je n'aime pas plus que vous à voir souffrir de pauvres créatures ; mais il serait impossible de comprendre les secrètes, étonnantes et inexplicables merveilles du corps humain, si l'on n'essayait pas de saisir la nature dans son oeuvre, et ce but ne saurait être atteint sans faire un peu de mal pour beaucoup de bien ; c'est seulement ainsi qu'on peut devenir le bienfaiteur de l'humanité.»
      Les activités de Marat, ne se limitaient pas à la vivisection, car il fit des recherches, aussi, dans les domaines de l'électricité, du feu et de l'optique. En 1778, il consigna, le fruit de ses travaux dans un mémoire intitulé Découvertes sur le feu, l'électricité et la lumière, publié en 1779. La même année 1778, il avait écrit un autre ouvrage, fruit d'un autre genre de recherches, le fameux Plan de législation criminelle, dans lequel, insoucieux de sa position sociale, il n'hésitait pas à s'attaquer énergiquement au système juridique en vigueur. Dans la foulée, allaient se succéder : en 1780, les Recherches physiques sur le feu ; en 1782, les Recherches physiques sur l'électricité ; en 1784, un Mémoire sur l'électricité médicale (couronné le 6 août 1783 par l'Académie Royale des Sciences, de Rouen) et des Notions élémentaires d'optique ; en 1787, une Traduction nouvelle de l'optique de Newton, et enfin, en 1788, des Mémoires Académiques ou nouvelles découvertes sur la lumière, relatives aux points les plus importants de l'optique.
      Pendant cette période, Marat ne cessa d'entretenir des relations avec diverses personnalités scientifiques telles que L.A. d'Ambournay, Pilâtre de Rosier et Benjamin Franklin, etc. En 1783 sa correspondance avec Roume de Saint-Laurent nous révèle que ce dernier espérait obtenir, pour son ami, la direction d'une Académie des Sciences espagnole. Il le présenta au comte d'Aranda, ambassadeur d'Espagne à la cour de France et des démarches furent entreprises. Les démarches n'aboutirent pas et on peut penser que n'y furent pas étrangères des interventions étrangères.
      Fin 1783, Marat n'était plus médecin des gardes du corps du comte d'Artois. On peut penser qu'il avait, de lui-même, renoncé à un brevet incompatible avec des offres de service à une cour étrangère. Mais, à peu près à la même époque, ses relations avec la famille de l'Aubespine prirent fin et sa riche clientèle se raréfia. La noblesse française ne devait pas apprécier outre mesure qu'un médecin à son service fût en même temps l'auteur d'un ouvrage subversif tel que Les Chaînes de l'esclavage. En dépit de cette baisse importante de ses revenus, Marat ne cessa cependant ni d'écrire ni de publier, comme nous l'avons vu, jusqu'en 1787.
      Au mois de juillet 1788, il tomba si gravement malade qu'il fit son testament et institua son ami, le célèbre horloger Abraham Louis Bréguet, exécuteur de ses dernières volontés. Entre autres choses, celui-ci était chargé de faire don de ses notes et de ses manuscrits à l'Académie des Sciences. Un mois plus tard cependant, le ministre Loménie de Brienne annonçait, pour le 1er mai 1789, la convocation des Etats Généraux, et Marat, tout-à-coup, ressuscita. Voici ce qu'il écrivit plus tard sur cet événement : «...j'étais au lit de la mort, lorsque un ami, le seul que j'avais voulu pour être le témoin de mes derniers moments, m'instruisit de la convocation des Etats Généraux : cette nouvelle fit sur moi une vive sensation, j'éprouvai une crise salutaire, mon courage se ranima, et le premier usage que j'en fis fut de donner à mes concitoyens un témoignage de mon dévouement ; je composai l'Offrande à la Patrie.»
      Dès lors Marat se jeta corps et âme dans la Révolution et ne cessa plus de combattre pour elle, jusqu'au jour où il fût assassiné. Marat possédait une incroyable capacité de travail et son intégrité n'était égalée que par son manque absolu d'ambitions matérielles. Il fit montre aussi d'une témérité constante n'hésitant pas à dénoncer, dès la première heure, les agissements des personnages les plus puissants, comme, par exemple, Necker, ministre des finances, contre lequel il publia deux pamphlets, l'un de 69 pages, l'autre de 40.
      Le 12 septembre 1789 parut le premier numéro de son journal Le Publiciste Parisien. Cinq jours plus tard, ce titre devenait L'Ami du Peuple. De 1789 à 1793, Marat fit paraître 914 numéros au moyen desquels il combattit sans relâche tout ce qui tentait de ralentir ou d'arrêter les progrès de cette Révolution qui a donné au monde Les droits et les devoirs de l'homme et du citoyen. Souvent obligé de se cacher, de s'exiler même (en Angleterre, par exemple, où il s'enfuit en mars 1790 et resta trois mois), il n'en continuait pas moins à composer avec opiniâtreté, la feuille qui devait lui valoir une popularité extraordinaire.
      Il n'est pas possible, dans un résumé aussi succinct, de donner une idée, même approximative, de son oeuvre politique ( plus de 10'000 pages ), d'évoquer les péripéties de sa périlleuse existence ou de recenser les attaques dont il fut l'objet pendant la période qui va de 1789 à son assassinat en 1793. Contentons-nous de citer ces lignes, extraites d'un des pamphlets contre Necker, évoqués plus haut, qui a pour titre Dénonciation faite au Tribunal du public, par M. Marat, l'ami du peuple, contre M. Necker, premier ministre des finances : «Depuis que j'ai dénoncé M. Necker, le public est inondé d'une foule d'écrits où le premier ministre des finances est flagorné et où je suis impitoyablement déchiré par des vendeurs d'injures et de calomnies. Dans une guerre de ce genre, on sent trop le prodigieux avantage que doit avoir contre un homme réduit à travailler pour vivre, un homme qui a l'autorité en main, qui peut donner des places, et qui dispose d'une fortune de 14 à 15 millions.
      « Quoi qu'il en soit, mes principes sont connus, mes moeurs sont connues, mon genre de vie est connu : ainsi je ne m'abaisserai point à combattre de lâches assassins qui s'enfoncent dans les ténèbres pour me poignarder. Que l'homme honnête, qui a quelques reproches à me faire, se montre ; et si jamais j'ai manqué aux lois de la plus austère vertu, je le prie de publier les preuves de mon déshonneur.
      « Comme ma plume a fait quelque sensation, les ennemis publics, qui sont les miens, ont répandu dans le monde qu'elle était vendue. Mais il suffit de jeter les yeux sur mes écrits, pour s'assurer que je suis peut-être le seul auteur depuis J.-J. [Jean-Jacques Rousseau], qui dût être à l'abri du soupçon. Et à qui, de grâce, serais-je vendu ? - Est-ce à l'Assemblée Nationale, contre laquelle je me suis élevé tant de fois, dont j'ai attaqué plusieurs décrets funestes, et que j'ai si souvent rappelée à ses devoirs ? - Est-ce à la couronne, dont j'ai toujours attaqué les odieuses usurpations, les redoutables prérogatives ? - Est-ce au ministère, que j'ai toujours donné pour l'éternel ennemi des peuples, et dont j'ai dénoncé les membres comme traîtres à la patrie ? - Est-ce aux princes, dont j'ai demandé que le faste scandaleux fût réprimé, les dépenses bornées aux simples revenus des apanages, et dont je demande que le procès soit fait aux coupables ? - Est-ce au clergé, dont je n'ai cessé d'attaquer les débordements, les prétentions ridicules, et dont j'ai demandé que les biens fussent restitués aux pauvres ? - Est-ce à la noblesse, dont j'ai frondé les injustes prétentions, attaqué les privilèges iniques, dévoilé les perfides desseins ? - Est-ce aux parlements, dont j'ai relevé les projets ambitieux, les dangereuses maximes, les abus révoltants, et dont j'ai demandé la suppression ? - Est-ce aux financiers, aux déprédateurs, aux concussionnaires, aux sangsues de l'Etat, à qui j'ai demandé que la nation fît rendre gorge ? - Est-ce aux capitalistes, aux banquiers, aux agioteurs, que j'ai poursuivis comme des pestes publiques ? - Est-ce à la municipalité, dont j'ai découvert les vues secrètes, dévoilé les desseins dangereux, dénoncé les attentats, et qui m'a fait arrêter ? - Est-ce aux districts, dont j'ai attaqué l'alarmante composition, et proposé le besoin de réforme ? - Est-ce à la milice nationale, dont j'ai attaqué les sots procédés, et la sotte confiance dans des chefs suspects ? — Reste donc le peuple, dont j'ai constamment défendu les droits, et pour lequel mon zèle n'a point eu de bornes. Mais le peuple n'achète personne : et puis, pourquoi m'acheter ? Je lui suis tout acquis : me fera-t-on un crime de m'être donné ?
      « Hé ! pour qui me suis-je fait ces nuées de mortels ennemis ? pour le peuple ; ce pauvre peuple épuisé de misère, toujours vexé, toujours foulé, toujours opprimé, et qui n'eut jamais à donner ni places ni pensions. C'est pour avoir épousé sa cause que je suis en butte aux traits des méchants qui me persécutent, et que je suis dans les liens d'un décret de prise-de-corps, comme un malfaiteur. Mais je n'éprouve aucun regret ; ce que j'ai fait, je le ferais encore, si j'étais à commencer. Hommes vils, qui ne connaissez d'autres passions dans la vie que l'or, ne me demandez pas quel intérêt me pressait ; j'ai vengé l'humanité, je laisserai un nom, et le vôtre est fait pour périr. Je me flatte d'en avoir assez dit pour dégoûter les échos de cette calomnie, la seule qui eût pu porter coup à la cause que je défends. Quant aux autres, je laisse libre carrière à mes diffamateurs, et je ne perdrai pas, à les confondre, un temps que je dois à la patrie. »

      On notera que cet écrit est du 18 janvier 1790. On peut supposer par là ce que Marat dut subir les années suivantes. Au mois de septembre 1792, il fut élu député de Paris. Cette élection ne changea en rien sa façon de vivre. Dédaignant les mondanités, vivant en ascète, il ne s'occupa toujours que de combattre, soit à la tribune de l'Assemblée Nationale, soit à travers son journal, les ennemis de la République. Les députés Girondins, dont il avait dénoncé les manoeuvres anti-révolutionnaires, le firent, sous des prétextes fallacieux, décréter d'accusation. Il risquait la guillotine. Son procès eut lieu le 24 Apr 1793. Sa propre éloquence et la vérité des faits le firent déclarer non coupable. L'acquittement tourna au triomphe, et c'est porté sur les épaules de ses amis, au milieu d'une foule d'admirateurs, qu'il quitta le redoutable Tribunal Révolutionnaire.
      Le 02 Jun, la Convention votait la proscription des vingt-neuf députés de la Gironde. Certains d'entre eux se réfugièrent à Caen. Une des habitantes de cette ville noua des relations avec eux. Agée de vingt-quatre ans, fille d'un noble sans fortune, soeur d'un émigré qui servit au Royal-Bourbon et d'un autre qui, avec leur oncle, devait rejoindre en 1795 les troupes royalistes armées par l'Angleterre au débarquement de Quiberon, elle s'appelait Charlotte Corday.
      Probablement influencée par les proscrits Girondins réfugiés à Caen, elle prit, le 09 Jul, la diligence de Paris, dans le but d'y aller tuer Marat. Le 13 Jul, après avoir acheté un couteau, elle frappait à la porte du modeste logement, insistant pour voir l'ami du peuple «en personne», sous le prétexte de lui donner des informations sur les Girondins proscrits. Marat, qui souffrait d'un violent eczéma, cherchait quelque soulagement à ses intolérables démangeaisons en travaillant dans une baignoire. Tandis qu'il écrivait, sous sa dictée, les noms des bannis, elle le poignarda dans l'artère sous-clavière. Arrêtée, elle fut jugée et condamnée à mort le 17 Jul. Son exécution eut lieu le jour même.
      Au milieu de la désolation générale des fanatiques républicains, Marat fut inhumé dans le jardin du couvent des Cordeliers. Le gouvernement fit graver sur sa tombe : ICI REPOSE MARAT, L'AMI DU PEUPLE ASSASSINÉ PAR LES ENNEMIS DU PEUPLE LE 13 JUILLET 1793 De nombreuses manifestations en son honneur se déroulèrent dans tout le pays; David peignit son célèbre tableau représentant Marat mort, dans son bain. Cinquante-huit localités changèrent leur nom en celui de Marat, etc. Le 21 septembre 1794, après qu'un huissier de la Convention eût lu le décret qui lui conférait l'immortalité, le corps de l'ami du peuple fut exhumé et placé au Panthéon, mais peu de temps après (08 Feb 1795), la réaction thermidorienne fit voter un autre décret stipulant que les honneurs du Panthéon ne pourraient être conférés à n'importe quel citoyen, que dix ans minimum après sa mort. Le cercueil de Marat fut donc expulsé et placé dans le cimetière contigu de Sainte-Geneviève. Quelques années plus tard, celui-ci était désaffecté.
      Un inventaire des biens de Marat, ordonné après sa mort par la Commune de Paris, précise qu'outre ses meubles, et ses documents, il ne fut trouvé chez lui qu'un assignat de 25 sols. Sa compagne, Simone Evrard, et sa soeur, Albertine, vécurent ensemble dans une pauvreté proche de la misère. Elles gagnaient leur vie en confectionnant des aiguilles de montres.
     La Mort de Marat de David en a inspiré d'autres par Roques, Weerts, Munch, Picasso.
1728 Jean-Baptiste Pillement, French painter who died on 26 April 1808. — MORE ON PILLEMENT AT ART “4” MAY with links to images.
1686 Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit , in Danzig, he grew up to be a German physicist and maker of scientific instruments. He is best known for inventing the alcohol thermometer (1709) and mercury thermometer (1714) and for developing the Fahrenheit temperature scale; this scale is still commonly used in the United States. Fahrenheit spent most of his life in the Netherlands, where he devoted himself to the study of physics and the manufacture of precision meteorological instruments. He discovered, among other things, that water can remain liquid below its freezing point and that the boiling point of liquids varies with atmospheric pressure.
1619 Jacob-Willemsz Delff II, Dutch artist who died on 12 June 1661.
Holidays Bahamas, Belize, Gibraltar, Lesotho, Turk and Caicos : Commonwealth Day /Bulgaria : Education Day/Enlightenment and Culture Day / Ecuador : Battle of Pichincha (1822) / England : Victoria Day/Empire Day (1819) / France : La Fête des Saintes Maries

Religious Observances RC : Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, help of Christians / Orth : SS Cyril and Methodius, evangelizers (5/11 OS) / Luth : Copernicus, Euler, teachers / Ang: Jackson Kemper, first missionary bishop in US / Ang : Commemoration of first Book of Common Prayer / María Auxiliadora; santos Juan de Prado, Vicente, Susana y Esther.
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Thoughts for the day:
“When all else fails, read the directions.”
“Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.” —
“George Eliot” [22 Nov 1819 – 22 Dec 1880] (quoted by Weakland on card accompanying his 25 Aug 1980 letter to Marcoux)
“He who cannot rest, cannot work; he who cannot let go, cannot hold on; he who cannot find footing, cannot go forward.”
— Henry Emerson Fosdick, US clergyman [24 May 1878 – 05 Oct 1969].

updated Saturday 17-May-2008 17:11 UT
Principal updates:
v.7.40 Wednesday 23-May-2007 2:41 UT
v.6.40 Thursday 13-Jul-2006 18:08 UT
v.5.41 Saturday 07-May-2005 21:41 UT
Wednesday 26-May-2004 21:34 UT

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