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Swedish chemist Georg Brandt discovers a new metallic element, which he names cobalt. The leader of a gang of tribal brigands seizes the Persian throne and takes the name Nadir Shah. Florence loses her independence when the last Medici duke of Tuscany dies. Go to Medici in Oxford Dictionary of English 3 ed. Britain declares war on Spain, partly in a mood of indignation over Captain Jenkins' ear.

The Persian ruler Nadir Shah enters Delhi and removes much of the accumulated treasure of the Mughal empire. David Hume publishes his Treatise of Human Nature , in which he applies to the human mind the principles of experimental science. Frederick II, inheriting the throne in Prussia, establishes a cultured and musical court. A charismatic leader, Baal Shem Tov, develops Hasidism in Poland as an influential revivalist movement within Judaism.

Italian dramatist Carlo Goldoni makes a success of plays in the ancient commedia dell'arte tradition. Jack Broughton, champion of England, opens an academy to teach 'the mystery of boxing, that wholly British art'. Go to broughtonian n. The American Magazine and the General Magazine both begin a short-lived existence. Bach publishes his set of Goldberg Variations , supposedly written for performance by the young harpsichordist Johann Gottlieb Goldberg.

Frederick's Prussian army defeats the Austrians at Mollwitz, securing his hold on most of Silesia. Venice's new theatre, the Teatro Novissimo, has machinery which can change the scenes in the blink of an eye. French and Bavarian armies join the war against Austria, marching through upper Austria into Bohemia.

Spain, now an ally of France, joins in the war against Austria. Britain, already fighting Spain in the War of Jenkin's Ear , is drawn into the wider conflict as an ally of Austria. French and Bavarian forces enter Prague, one of the most important cities in the Austrian empire. An Austrian army captures the Bavarian capital city, Munich. Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius proposes degrees between the freezing and boiling points of water. Edmond Hoyle publishes the definitive rules of whist. Go to whist in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Benjamin Franklin drafts in Philadelphia the founding document for the American Philosophical Society.

Muhammad ibn Saud begins the expansion of power that will lead eventually to the establishment of Saudi Arabia.


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France formally declares war on Britain half way through the War of the Austrian Succession. Bach publishes another set of 24 Preludes and Fugues, as an addition to his previous Well-Tempered Clavier. New England militiamen achieve an unexpected success in capturing the fortress of Louisbourg from the French. The principle of the Leyden jar is discovered by an amateur German physicist, Ewald Georg von Kleist, dean of the cathedral in Kamin.

Go to Leyden jar in A Dictionary of Physics 6 ed. Charles Edward Stuart marches as far south as Derby, but then turns back. Frederick the Great's Prussian soldiers, advancing in shallow disciplined formation, outclass other armies of the time. Frederick II's three victories in cause him to be known by his contemporaries as Frederick the Great. Frederick the Great begins to build the summer palace of Sans Souci at Potsdam. Tartan and Highland dress are banned by the British government, in a prohibition not lifted until Go to tartan in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. An earthquake destroys much of Lima, and an ensuing tidal wave engulfs its port at Callao.

Go to Lima in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Monsieur Passemont constructs in Paris a millennium clock which can record the date in any year up to AD Go to Paris in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. A tribal leader, Ahmad Shah Abdali, is elected king of the Afghans in an event seen as the foundation of the Afghan nation. Samuel Richardson's Clarissa begins the correspondence that grows into the longest novel in the English language. Systematic digging begins near Vesuvius, in an area where ancient fragments are often unearthed - soon discovered to be Pompeii.

The peace treaty returns all captured territories to their owners — with the exception of Silesia, which becomes part of Prussia. A French official travels down the Ohio valley, placing markers to claim it for France. Henry Fielding introduces a character of lasting appeal in the lusty but good-hearted Tom Jones.

Shortly before his death in J. Bach completes his Mass in B Minor , worked on over many years. Naval engagements are now fought in lines of battle, with only the most heavily armed vessels rated as 'ships of the line'. Horace Walpole begins to create his own Strawberry Hill, a neo-Gothic fantasy, on the banks of the Thames west of London. Robert Clive prevails over the French after holding out during the seven-week siege of Arcot in southern India. The Swedish chemist Alex Cronstedt identifies an impurity in copper ore as a separate metallic element, which he names nickel.

Go to nickel in Oxford Dictionary of English 3 ed. By the time of his death the prolific output of Domenico Scarlatti includes sonatas, all but a few for his own instrument, the harpsichord.

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Go to Scarlatti, Domenico — in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. English gardener Lancelot Brown sets up in business as a freelance 'improver of grounds', and soon acquires the nickname Capability Brown. Britain is one of the last nations to adjust to the more accurate Gregorian calendar, causing a suspicious public to fear they have been robbed of eleven days. English obstetrician William Smellie introduces scientific midwifery as a result of his researches into childbirth. Go to midwifery in Concise Medical Dictionary 8 ed. The French seize or evict every English-speaking trader in the region of the upper Ohio.

Benjamin Franklin flies a kite into a thunder cloud to demonstrate the nature of electricity. George Washington undertakes a difficult and ineffectual journey to persuade the French to withdraw from the Ohio valley. In Freedom of Will American evangelist Jonathan Edwards makes an uncompromising defence of orthodox against liberal Calvinism.

Benjamin Franklin's chopped-up snake, urging union of the colonies with the caption 'Join or Die', is the first American political cartoon. Quaker minister John Woolman publishes the first part of Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes , an essay denouncing slavery. Scottish chemist Joseph Black identifies the existence of a gas, carbon dioxide, which he calls 'fixed air'. Benjamin Franklin proposes to the Albany Congress that the colonies should unite to form a colonial government.

The British colonies negotiate with the Iroquois at the Albany Congress, in the face of the French threat in the Ohio valley. Francesco Guardi, previously a painter of figures, begins to specialize in view of Venice, his native city. Go to Guardi, Francesco 5 Oct. Samuel Johnson publishes his magisterial Dictionary of the English Language. The first Conestoga wagons are acquired by George Washington for an expedition through the Alleghenies. Go to covered wagon noun in New Oxford American Dictionary 3 ed. Johann Joachim Winckelmann publishes a book on Greek painting and sculpture which introduces a new strand of neoclassicism.

The French in America, under the marquis of Montcalm, begin two highly successful years of campaigning against the British. In what becomes known as the Diplomatic Revolution, two of Europe's long-standing rivals - France and Austria - sign a treaty of alliance. Frederick the Great again precipitates a European conflict, marching without warning into Saxony and launching the Seven Years' War. Admiral John Byng is shot on the deck of a ship in Portsmouth harbour for 'neglect of duty' in failing to relieve Minorca.

Robert Clive defeats the nawab of Bengal at the battle of Plassey, and places his own man on the throne. Robert Adam returns to Britain after two years in Rome with a repertoire of classical themes which he mingles to form a new British neoclassicism. William Pitt the Elder becomes secretary of state and transforms the British war effort against France in America. English painter Joseph Wright sets up a studio in his home town, Derby. Go to Wright, Joseph 3 Sept.

Joshua Reynolds is by now the most fashionable portrait painter in London, copies with as many as sitters in a year. A comet returns exactly at the time predicted by English astronomer Edmond Halley, and is subsequently known by his name. James Woodforde, an English country parson with a love of food and wine, begins a detailed diary of everyday life. Liverpool-born artist George Stubbs sets up in London as a painter, above all, of people and horses. Portrait-painter Thomas Gainsborough moves from Suffolk to set up a studio in fashionable Bath. Voltaire publishes Candide , a satire on optimism prompted by the Lisbon earthquake of The Portuguese expel the Jesuits from Brazil, beginning a widespread reaction against the order in Catholic Europe.

Go to Jesuits in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Staffordshire potter Josiah Wedgwood sets up a factory of his own in his home town of Burslem. Frederick the Great suffers his first major defeat, by a Russian and Austrian army at Kunersdorf. Laurence Sterne publishes the first two volumes of Tristram Shandy , beginning with the scene at the hero's conception. Wolfe defeats Montcalm and captures Quebec, but both commanders die in the engagement. A succession of victories cause to be known in Britain as annus mirabilis , the wonderful year. German painter Johann Zoffany moves to England to find work as a painter of conversation pieces and portraits.

Go to Zoffany, Johann 13 Mar. Scottish chemist and physicist Joseph Black observes the latent heat in melting ice. Austrian physician Joseph Leopold Auenbrugger describes his new diagnostic technique — percussion, or listening to a patient's chest and tapping. Go to percussion n. John Harrison's fourth chronometer is only five seconds out at the end of a test journey from England to Jamaica. Italian anatomist Giovanni Battista Morgagni publishes De Sedibus , the work that introduces scientific pathology.

Go to pathology in Concise Medical Dictionary 8 ed. George Washington, the future president, inherits Mount Vernon from his half-brother Lawrence. The intensely dramatic music of Gluck's Orfeo ed Eurydice introduces a much needed reform in the conventions of opera. Fingal , supposedly by the medieval poet Ossian, is a forgery in the spirit of the times by James MacPherson. In the treaty of Paris France cedes to Britain all its territory north of the Great Lakes and east of the Mississippi river, except the district of New Orleans.

In the treaty of Paris, Spain cedes Florida to Britain, completing British possession of the entire east coast of north America. The Treaty of Hubertusburg, between Prussia and Austria, increases the power of Prussia among the many separate states of Germany. English journalist John Wilkes is arrested for publishing seditious libel in issue no 45 of his weekly magazine The North Briton.

Go to Boswell, James —95 in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Pontiac, an Ottawa chief, leads an uprising of the Indian tribes in an attempt to drive the British east of the Appalachians. Go to Pontiac c. American artist Benjamin West settles in London, where he becomes famous for his large-scale history scenes. James Watt ponders on the inefficiency of contemporary steam engines and invents the condenser. Britain passes the Sugar Act, levying duty on sugar, wine and textiles imported into America.

Joseph Haydn's first published work is six string quartets, a form which he subsequently makes very much his own. Lancashire spinner James Hargreaves conceives the idea of the spinning jenny, with multiple spindles worked from a single wheel. Go to Hargreaves, James — in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. English author Horace Walpole provides an early taste of Gothic thrills in his novel Castle of Otranto. Britain passes the Stamp Act, taxing legal documents and newspapers in the American colonies.

Britain repeals the Stamp Act, in a major reversal of policy achieved by resistance in the American colonies. English chemist Henry Cavendish isolates hydrogen but believes that it is phlogiston. Irish novelist Oliver Goldsmith publishes The Vicar of Wakefield , with a hero who has much to complain about but keeps calm. Pierre le Roy's chronometer, as accurate as Harrison's and cheaper to construct, is set to become the standard model. Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon complete a four-year survey to establish the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The British Chancellor, Charles Townshend, passes a series of acts taxing all glass, lead, paint, paper and tea imported into the American colonies. A French artist, Jean Baptiste le Prince, discovers the aquatint technique in printmaking. A Society of Gentlemen in Scotland begins publication of the immensely successful Encyclopaedia Britannica. Corsica is sold to France by the republic of Genoa. Go to Corsica in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. A border incident at Balta, in the southern Ukraine, sparks a war between Russia and Turkey that will last six years. Captain Cook observes in Tahiti the transit of Venus, the primary purpose of his voyage to the Pacific.

Captain Cook reaches New Zealand and sets off to chart its entire coastline. French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot successfully tests a steam wagon, probably the first working mechanical vehicle. The triangular trade, controlled from Liverpool, ships millions of Africans across the Atlantic as slaves. British troops fire into an unruly crowd in Boston, Massachusetts, killing five.

Go to Chatterton, Thomas —70 in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Captain Cook reaches the mainland of Australia, at a place which he names Botany Bay, and continues up the eastern coast. In response to American protests, the British government removes the Townshend duties on all commodities with the exception of tea. English entrepreneur Richard Arkwright adds water power to spinning by means of the water frame. Richard Arkwright pioneers the factory environment with his cotton mill at Cromford in Derbyshire. Russia, Prussia and Austria agree a treaty enabling them to divide the spoils in the first partition of Poland.

The first partition of Poland begins the process of Lithuania being progressively absorbed into Russia. English prison reformer John Howard is shocked into action by the conditions he sees in Bedford gaol. The London brokers who meet to do business in Jonathan's coffee house decide to call themselves the Stock Exchange. Go to stock exchange in A Dictionary of Finance and Banking 4 rev ed. Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele isolates oxygen but does not immediately publish his achievement. Samuel Johnson and James Boswell undertake a journey together to the western islands of Scotland.

Some fifty colonists, disguised as Indians, tip a valuable cargo of tea into Boston harbour as a protest against British tax. Britain's new Coercive or Intolerable Acts include the requirement that Massachusetts citizens give board and lodging to British troops. Illiterate visionary Ann Lee, leader of an English sect, the 'Shaking Quakers', crosses the Atlantic to spread the word.

English chemist Joseph Priestley isolates oxygen, but he believes it to be 'dephlogisticated air'. Delegates from twelve American colonies meet in Philadelphia and agree not to import any goods from Britain. Thomas Gainsborough moves from Bath to set up a studio in London. Dutch nomads, pressing far north from Cape Town, become known as the Trekboers.

Go to Afrikaner in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Pioneer Daniel Boone and other backwoodsmen cut the road west that will bring settlers to Kentucky. Go to Boone, Daniel c. Patrick Henry makes a stirring declaration — 'Give me liberty or give me death' — to the Virginia Assembly. Go to Henry, Patrick —99 in World Encyclopedia 1 ed.

John Singleton Copley, already established as America's greatest portrait painter, moves to London. Go to Copley, John Singleton ? General Gage sends a detachment of British troops to seize weapons held by American Patriots at Concord. Paul Revere is one of the US riders taking an urgent warning to Concord, but he is captured on the journey. The first shot of the American Revolution is fired in a skirmish between redcoats and militiamen at Lexington, on the road to Concord.

Delegates from the states reassemble in Philadelphia, with hostilities against the British already under way in Massachusetts. Delegates in Philadelphia select George Washington as commander-in-chief of the colonial army. At Bunker Hill, overlooking Boston from the north, the American militiamen prove their worth against British professional soldiers. Britain declares the colonies to be in a state of rebellion, and sets up a naval blockade of the American coastline.

Go to American Revolution in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Yankee Doodle is the most popular song with the patriot troops in the American Revolution. Figaro makes his first appearance on stage in Beaumarchais' The Barber of Seville. Talleyrand begins an extremely varied career by becoming an abbot at the age of twenty-one. Captain Cook publishes his discovery of a preventive cure against scurvy, in the form of a regular ration of lemon juice. Francisco de Goya begins a series of designs for tapestries to be made in Spain's Royal Tapestry Factory.

George Washington raises on Prospect Hill a new American flag, the British red ensign on a ground of thirteen stripes — one for each colony. In Common Sense , an anonymous pamphlet, English immigrant Thomas Paine is the first to argue that the American colonies should be independent. Two Boulton and Watt engines are installed, the first of many in the mines and mills of England's developing industrial revolution. The revolutionary convention of Virginia votes for independence from Britain, and instructs its delegates in Philadelphia to propose this motion.

Virginia's motion for independence from Britain is passed at the Continental Congress of the colonies with no opposing vote. Thomas Jefferson's text for the Declaration of Independence is accepted by the Congress in Philadelphia. John Hancock is the first delegate to sign the Declaration of Independence, formally written out on a large sheet of parchment. Scottish economist Adam Smith analyzes the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations. Go to Smith, Adam —90 in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. George Washington defeats the British at Trenton at a psychologically important moment in the course of the war.

Congress adopts a new flag for independent America — the stars and stripes. George Washington, heavily defeated in a battle at Brandywine, is forced to relinquish Philadelphia to the British. The US Congress agrees the final version of the Articles of Confederation, defining the terms on which states join the Union. Go to Articles of Confederation in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. France, joining the American colonies in their fight against Britain, sends a large fleet across the Atlantic. In Brook Watson and the Shark John Singleton Copley creates the most intensely dramatic of his modern history paintings.

The British rapidly abandon Philadelphia on news of the expected arrival of a French fleet. The British adopt a new policy in the south, landing in Georgia and capturing much of South Carolina. British explorer Captain James Cook is killed in a skirmish with natives in Hawaii over a stolen boat. Joseph Banks tells a committee of the House of Commons that the east coast of Australia is suitable for the transportation of convicted felons. The world's first iron bridge is assembled in a few months across the Severn at Coalbrookdale.

Samuel Crompton perfects the mule, a machine for spinning that combines the merits of Hargreave's jenny and Arkwright's water frame.

The Animated History of France

Go to Crompton, Samuel — in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. The year-old Napoleon is admitted as a student in a military college at Brienne, near Troyes. Serapis near England's Flamborough Head. Go to Inca noun in Oxford Dictionary of English 3 ed. Six days of riot in London are triggered by Lord George Gordon leading a march to oppose any degree of Catholic emancipation. Japanese artist Kitagawa Utamaro is a master of colour woodcuts, often depicting the courtesan district of Edo.

Go to Utamaro, Kitagawa — in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Maryland, ratifies the Articles of Confederation the last state to do so , completing 'the Confederation of the United States'. William Herschel discovers Uranus, the first planet to be found by means of a telescope, and names it the Georgian star. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, now 25, leaves Salzburg to settle in Vienna. The Bank of North America is established by the Continental Congress to lend money to the fledgling Revolutionary government.

Go to Kant, Immanuel — in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Ann Lee leads her Shaker colleagues in a missionary tour of New England lasting two years. The reforming emperor Joseph II emancipates the serfs in the Habsburg territories. The British general Charles Cornwallis, isolated at Yorktown, is forced to surrender in the final engagement of the Revolutionary War. Italian sculptor Antonio Canova sets up his studio in Rome and begins producing finely modelled nudes in the Greek style.

Go to Canova, Antonio — in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Friedrich von Schiller's youthful and anarchic play The Robbers causes a sensation when performed in Mannheim. The English actress Sarah Siddons, already well known in the province, causes a sensation when she appears in London at Drury Lane. Go to Beethoven, Ludwig van — in World Encyclopedia 1 ed.

French paper manufacturer Joseph Montgolfier sends a hot-air balloon feet m into the air, in front of a crowd in Annonay. US lexicographer Noah Webster publishes a Spelling Book for American children that eventually will sell more than 60 million copies. Ten days after the first human ascent in a hot-air balloon the feat is repeated, again in Paris, in a version lifted by hydrogen. Louis XVI watches through his telescope the first balloon flight with living passengers — a sheep, a cock and a duck.

Jacques-Louis David, establishing a reputation with his severe classical paintings, is elected to the French academy. Go to David, Jacques-Louis 30 Aug. Benjamin Franklin, irritated at needing two pairs of spectacles, commissions from a lens-grinder the first bifocals. English ironmaster Henry Cort patents a process for puddling iron which produces a pure and malleable metal. The first mail coach leaves Bristol for London, introducing a new era of faster transport. Mozart and his friends perform for Haydn the Mozart quartets inspired by Haydn's 'Russian' quartets op. The French queen Marie Antoinette is wrongly implicated in a scandal involving a diamond necklace.

French physicist Charles Augustin de Coulomb begins publishing his discoveries in the field of electricity and magnetism. James Hutton describes to the Royal Society of Edinburgh his studies of local rocks , launching the era of scientific geology. William Withering's Account of the Foxglove describes the use of digitalis for dropsy, and its possible application to heart disease. Napoleon graduates from his military college and is commissioned in an artillery regiment.

Go to Houdon, Jean-Antoine 25 Mar. Mozart's Marriage of Figaro premieres in Vienna and then has a huge success in Prague. US author Philip Freneau publishes his first collection of poems, dating back to Daniel Shays is the most prominent figure in a violent protest movement by farmers against the government of Massachusetts. French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier publishes a system for classifying and naming chemical substances.

The Continental Congress passes the Northwest Ordinance, a plan for the establishment of new states north and west of the Ohio river. The French finance minister, Charles Alexandre de Calonne, is dismissed when his proposed reforms meet aristocratic opposition. Go to quakers in A Dictionary of British History 1 rev ed. The First Fleet eleven ships carrying about convicts leaves Portsmouth for Australia.

A British ship lands a party of freed slaves as the first modern settlers in Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa. Scottish engineer James Watt devises the governor, the first example of industrial automation.

Table of contents

Delegates meeting in Philadelphia agree a final draft for a US constitution, to be submitted to the states for ratification. Mozart's opera Don Giovanni has its premiere in Prague. Arthur Phillip, selecting a suitable coastal site for the first penal colony in Australia, names the place Sydney Cove. The constitution of the United States is ratified by the states, but it is immediately agreed that amendments will be desirable. Tiradentes the 'puller of teeth' leads the first rebellion against Portuguese rule in Brazil.

The ministers of Louis XVI reluctantly announce that the estates general will meet in , for the first time since Spain's affairs are controlled by Manuel de Godoy, lover of the queen, Maria Luisa. Go to pugilist noun in Oxford Dictionary of English 3 ed. Alexander Hamilton becomes secretary of the treasury in the administration of George Washington, whose federalist views he shares. William Blake publishes Songs of Innocence , a volume of his poems with every page etched and illustrated by himself.

In his Principles Jeremy Bentham defines 'utility' as that which enhances pleasure and reduces pain. A left-wing political club begins to meet in a Jacobin convent in Paris, thus becoming known as the Jacobins. The autobiography of Olaudah Equiano, a slave captured as a child in Africa, becomes a best-seller on both sides of the Atlantic. Go to Equiano, Olaudah [Gustavas Vassa] ? Go to Mackenzie, Sir Alexander c. Delegates of the Third Estate swear an oath in a tennis court at Versailles, pledging themselves not to disperse until France has a constitution.

Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture

The painter Jacques-Louis David sketches the events in the Versailles tennis court. An excited Paris mob liberates the seven prisoners held in the forbidding fortress of the Bastille. Go to Bastille in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Go to Dunlap, William 19 Feb. Parisians force their way into the palace at Versailles and insist on Louis XVI and his royal family accompanying them back to Paris. French doctor Joseph-Ignace Guillotin proposes a decapitation machine as a more humane form of capital punishment. Go to guillotine in A Dictionary of World History 2 ed. Go to Christian, Fletcher c.

A second great revivalist movement sweeps northeast America, inspired by the earlier example of Jonathan Edwards. A second fleet arrives in Sydney, bringing more convicts and a regiment, the New South Wales Corps, to keep order. The Potomac is chosen as the navigable river on which the new US capital city will be sited. Go to Potomac in Oxford Dictionary of English 3 ed.

History Ireland

The USA becomes the first nation to establish a regular census as a systematic check on the size of the population. Go to census in A Dictionary of Public Health 1 ed. Anglo-Irish politician Edmund Burke publishes Reflections on the Revolution in France , a blistering attack on recent events across the Channel. Go to Burke, Edmund —97 in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. English painter J. Turner is only 15 when a painting of his, a watercolour, is first exhibited at the Royal Academy. Scottish poet Robert Burns publishes Tam o' Shanter , in which a drunken farmer has an alarming encounter with witches.

French inventor Claude Chappe develops a hilltop signalling system, for which he coins the words telegraph and semaphore. A stranger arrives in Vienna with a mysterious commission for Mozart to write a requiem mass, just months before the composer's death. Go to requiem in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Stationed at Valence, Napoleon becomes president of the local Jacobin club and makes radical speeches against the nobility and clergy.


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An Indian raid on an American military camp beside the Maumee river leaves more than US soldiers dead. The Ordnance Survey is founded in Britain, to make detailed maps of the country for military purposes. Naval officer George Vancouver sails from Britain on the voyage which will bring him to the northwest coast of America. Mozart's opera The Magic Flute has its premiere in Vienna in a popular theatre run by the librettist, Emanuel Shikaneder.

Mozart dies, at the age of just 35, leaving his Requiem unfinished. The first ten amendments to the US Constitution, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, are ratified by the states. Go to Bill of Rights in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. France declares war on the Austrian emperor, an event that plunges Europe into more than 20 years of conflict.

In a first demonstration of the guillotine, a highwayman is beheaded in a Paris square. Go to guillotine in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. A French officer, Rouget de Lisle, writes a stirring anthem for France, soon to be known as the Marseillaise. George Washington is unanimously elected for a second term as president of the USA.

The Brazilian rebel Tiradentes is beheaded in public in Rio de Janeiro as a warning to would-be revolutionaries. Charlotte Square in Edinburgh begins to be built to the design of Robert Adam. Go to Adam, Robert —92 in World Encyclopedia 1 ed. Thomas Paine moves hurriedly to France, to escape a charge of treason in England for opinions expressed in his Rights of Man.

A French revolutionary army defeats the Austrians and Prussians at Valmy, and thus saves Paris from attack. After their success at Valmy, French republican armies overrun much of the Austrian Netherlands. During four September days, thugs are encouraged to massacre some aristocrats and priests held in Paris prisons.

Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific coast of Canada, becoming the first known person to cross the north American continent. The National Convention abolishes royalty in France and establishes the first republic.


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  8. Beethoven leaves Bonn and goes to Vienna to study composition with Haydn. Military necessity, essentially the manpower requirements of the British army, provides the context for the emergence of the Catholic question in the s and its persistence thereafter. Not surprisingly, Irish Protestants grew restive at this development: there were protests at the open recruitment of Irish Catholics into the East India Company army, and alarm was expressed at reports that 10, Catholics were to be enlisted for the defence of Ireland. Protestants began to suspect that the British government in its eternal quest for troops was not above offering Catholic relief in return for Catholic recruits.

    Nor were their suspicions groundless, for there was in fact a plan to offer concessions to the Catholics of England, Scotland and Ireland, and this scheme formed the background to the Catholic Relief Act of , the first major breach in the Penal code. This act repealed some of the Penal Laws concerning ownership of land by Catholics but its main aim was to encourage the Catholic gentry to beat the recruiting drum and enlist their co-religionists into the British army.

    It was Luke Gardiner, long on record as a supporter of Catholic recruitment into the army, who introduced the Relief Bill and it was put through the Irish parliament in June It firmly established the principle of Catholic relief as a key element of war-time strategy. This time, however, the concession was not granted with an eye to recruits but with an intention of keeping Irish Catholics detached from the Volunteers. This military force, set up independently of Dublin Castle during the emergency of the American War to defend Ireland from coastal attacks or even from invasion, had — to the alarm of Dublin Castle — quickly turned its attention to political and constitutional matters and had demanded redress of grievances.

    The offer of concessions to Irish Catholics in was designed to isolate the Volunteers and their supporters and thus render their demands for constitutional reform both partial and partisan and thus vulnerable. It was no coincidence that the Constitution of and the Catholic Relief Act of went through at about the same time for the two were intimately linked.

    Indeed, from the vantage point of hindsight, it may be said that the two Catholic Relief Acts of and illustrate perfectly the element of political calculation, the measure of threat and indeed the sheer politics of the Catholic question in Ireland at this time. In the highly charged atmosphere produced by the French Revolution, the matter of relief for Catholics was once again actively canvassed. During the s, the Catholic question had remained in abeyance, for the British government had not forgiven the Catholic body for siding with the Volunteers in and had more or less turned its back on them.

    The Catholics, having been courted by the Volunteers, had soon been abandoned by them: the Volunteer plan for parliamentary reform made no attempt to include Catholic franchise or representation.

    Heroism and Passion in Literature

    This parliamentary reform campaign which the Volunteers embarked on in the early s quickly ran out of steam: but from the failure of that campaign, certain lessons were learnt by the more committed reformers. The chief of these was that any future reform movement had to enlist the support of the Catholics if it was to make any headway: by ignoring the Catholics when the reform proposals were drawn up, the reformers were convinced that they had encompassed their own downfall.

    They resolved not to make the same mistake again. In this resolution lay the seeds of the future Society of United Irishmen. The British government was sufficiently alarmed at the possibility of an alliance between the Northern Dissenters, Irish Catholics and Dublin radicals that it urged that major concessions be made to the Catholics in order to head off this development. Dublin Castle resisted this argument and the concessions offered in fell far short of those which the Catholic Committee — now much more assertive than hitherto — demanded; and indeed were much less than the British government felt necessary.

    Further sweeping concessions were required and in most of the remaining penal laws were repealed. In a startling innovation, the parliamentary franchise was extended to Irish Catholics on the same terms as Irish Protestants: it seemed to be only a matter of time before Catholics were restored to full political equality in Ireland. Once again, the explanation can be located in that area where political considerations and military requirements intersected.

    The reconfiguration of Irish politics threatened by the United Irishmen was viewed with the gravest alarm by the British government and hence no steps were spared to prevent it. The United Irishmen were harassed, the Volunteers were suppressed, a ban was placed on Conventions like that of and the Catholics were bought off. But the urgency with which the issue was treated, and the sharp rise in the concessions on offer, can only be fully understood by reference to the threat of war and the needs of Irish defence.

    If the American war had seen the recruitment of Catholics for service overseas, then the war with France would see them enlisted not alone for service abroad but also for home defence: this constituted a major departure in military strategy. At the same time that the vital Catholic Relief Bill of was going through the Irish parliament, a Militia Bill authorising the embodiment of some 20, militiamen — the vast majority of them necessarily Catholic — for the defence of Ireland was also proceeding through the legislature.

    It was no coincidence that the two bills reached the statute books together. Nor was it a coincidence that war broke out with France as these two Bills gained the royal assent. A year earlier, Dublin Castle had succeeded in whittling down the very modest concessions then offered to the Irish Catholics but in the winter of the situation on the continent had deteriorated appreciably and war loomed.

    Therefore not only were Irish Catholics to be permitted, even coerced, into forming a defence force for their country but also in an equally radical departure from previous practice they were to be given commissions in the British army, if appropriately qualified. Within a generation, the British state had gone from a policy of firm exclusion of Catholic soldiers to one of forced inclusion; from fear of Catholic numbers to reliance on them to meet the needs of war.

    But this was not to be the case. The final citadel of Protestant government — the right of Catholics, if elected to take their seat in parliament — proved elusive. Mounting violence in Ireland, widespread evidence of a well-organised conspiracy to subvert the government, and the prospect of a long war against France combined to make British ministers close the concession account where Irish Catholics were concerned. At one time, during the viceroyalty of Fitzwilliam in early , it appeared certain that Catholic emancipation, as it was now called, would be conceded but Fitzwilliam was recalled and the moment passed.

    But once again, the Catholics were to be disappointed: to them, the Act of Union would appear little more than a new penal law, and their disappointment over emancipation continued until nearly thirty years into the nineteenth century. Long before then however it was clear that Catholic emancipation would never be given; it could only be taken. And this could only be achieved when the Catholic question was divorced from party politics and from questions of defence and military strategy.

    The Catholic question could only be addressed properly when it was finally recognised for what it now was — or in fact may have been all along — the Irish question. Kevin Whelan and Tom Power eds. Login Subscribe To renew a subscription please login first. Search for:. The Catholic Question in the Eighteenth Century Published in 18th—19th - Century History , Catholic Emancipation , Early Modern History — , Features , Issue 1 Spring , Volume 1 Thomas Bartlett Irish history without a Catholic question might seem as improbable as Irish history without the potato: all Irish history, at least from onward, can be regarded as an extended comment on the Catholic question.

    One answer would be that a decent interval had elapsed since the s and that Catholics had shown by their good conduct during the decades since then, especially by their silence during the Jacobite threats in Scotland in and , that they deserved favour. That field of glory.