13th October

Born: Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VI, 1453, Windsor; Sophia, Electress of Hanover, mother of George I, 1630, Mayence; Maurice, Marshal Saxe, eminent general, 1696, Dresden; Ferdinand VII, king of Spain, 1784.

Died: Claudius, Roman emperor, poisoned, 54 A D; Pope Gregory XII, 1417; Pope Pius III, 1503; Theodore Beza, eminent reformer, 1605, Geneva; Thomas Harrison, parliamentary general, executed, 1660; Dr. John Gill, eminent Baptist divine, 1771, Southwark; Joachim Murat, Bonapartist king of Naples, shot, 1815; Antonio Canova, celebrated sculptor, 1822, Venice; Mrs. Elizabeth Fry, philanthropist, 1845, Ramsgate.

Feast Day: Saints Faustus, Januarius, and Martialis, martyrs, 304. St. Gerald, Count of Aurillac or Orillac, confessor, 909. St. Colman, martyr, 1012. Translation of the relics of St. Edward the Confessor. Seven Friar Minors, martyrs in Morocco, 1220.


John Aubrey was an English gentleman scholar who flourished in the latter half of the seventeenth century, and made many curious collections in history and antiquities. From some papers drawn up by him about the year 1678, and which are preserved in the Ashmole Museum, the following notes are condensed by an eminent historical student H. T. Riley who has obligingly communicated them to the editor of the Book of Days.

'There were very few free schools in England before the Reformation. Youths were generally taught Latin in the monasteries, and young women had their education, not at Hackney, as now (1678 A. D.), but at nunneries, where they learned needle work, confectionary, surgery, physic, writing, drawing, &c. Anciently, before the Reformation, ordinary men's houses had no chimneys, but flues like louvre holes. In the halls and parlours of great houses were written texts of Scripture, on painted cloths.

'Before the late civil wars, at Christmas, the first dish that was brought to table was a boar's head, with a lemon in his mouth. At Queen's College, in Oxford, they still retain this custom; the bearer of it brings it into the hall, singing to an old tune an old Latin rhyme Caput apri defero, &c. {The boar's head in bring I] The first dish that was brought to table on Easterday, was a red herring riding away on horseback i. e., a herring arranged by the cook, something after the manner of a man on horseback, set in a corn salad. The custom of eating a gammon of bacon at Easter was this-namely, to shew their abhorrence of Judaism at that solemn commemoration of our Lord's resurrection.

'The use of 'Your humble servant,' came first into England on the marriage of Queen Mary, daughter of Henry IV of France to King Charles I. The usual salutation before that time was, 'God keep you!' 'God be with you!' and, among the vulgar, 'How dost do?' with a thump on the shoulder. Until this time, the court itself was unpolished and unmannered. King James's court was so far from being civil to women, that the ladies, nay, the queen herself, could hardly pass by the king's apartment without receiving some affront.

In days of yore, lords and gentlemen lived in the country like petty kings: had their castles and their boroughs, and gallows within their liberties, where they could try, condemn, and execute. They never went to London but in parliament time, or once a year, to do their homage to their king. They always ate in Gothic halls, at the high table or oriel (a little room at the upper end of the hall, where stands a table), with the folks at the side tables. The meat was served up by watchwords. Jacks are but of late invention; the poor boys did turn the spits, and licked the dripping for their pains. The beds of the men-servants and retainers were in the hall, as now in the grand or privy chamber. The hearth was commonly in the middle, whence the saying, 'Round about our coal-fire.'

The halls of the justices of the peace were dreadful to behold; the screen was garnished with corslets and helmets gaping with open mouths, with coats of mail, lances, pikes, halberts, brown-bills, and bucklers. Public inns were rare. Travellers were entertained at religious houses for three days together, if occasion served. The meetings of the gentry were not at taverns, but in the fields or forests, with hawks and hounds, and their bugle-horns in silken baldrics.

'In the last age, every gentleman like man kept a sparrow hawk, and a priest kept a bobby, as Dame Julian Berners teaches us (who wrote a treatise on field sports, temp. Henry VI); it was also a diversion for young gentlewomen to man sparrow hawks and merlins.

'Before the Reformation, there were no poor rates; the charitable doles given at religious houses, and the church ale in every parish, did the business. In every parish there was a church house, to which belonged spits, pots, crocks, &c., for dressing provisions. Here the housekeepers met and were merry, and gave their charity. The young people came there too, and had dancing, bowling, and shooting at butts. Mr. Antony Wood assures me, there were few or no alms houses before the time of King Henry VIII; that at Oxford, opposite Christ Church, is one of the most ancient in England. In every church was a poor man's box, and the like at great inns.

'Before the wake, or feast of the dedication of the church, they sat up all night fasting and praying that is to say, on the eve of the wake. In the Easter holidays was the clerk's 'ale,' for his private benefit and the solace of the neighborhood.

Glass windows, except in churches and gentlemen's houses, were rare before the time of Henry VIII. In my own remembrance, before the civil wars, copyholders and poor people had none in Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, and Salop: it is so still (1678 A. D.).

'About ninety years ago, noblemen's and gentle men's coats were like those of the bedels and yeomen of the guards i. e., gathered at the middle.

'Captain Silas Taylor says, that in days of yore, when a church was to be built, they watched and prayed on the vigil of the dedication, and took that point of the horizon where the sun arose, for the east, which makes the variation that so few stand true, except those built between the two equinoxes. I have experimented with some churches, and have found the line to point to that part of the horizon where the sun rises on the day of that saint to whom the church is dedicated.

In Scotland, especially among the Highlanders, the women make a courtesy to the new moon; and our English women, in this country, have a touch of this, some of them sitting astride on a gate or stile the first evening the new moon appears, and saying, 'A fine moon, God bless her!' The like I observed in Herefordshire.

'From the time of Erasmus [temp. Henry VIII] till about twenty years last past, the learning was downright pedantry. The conversation and habits of those times were as starched as their bands and square beards, and gravity was then taken for wisdom. The gentry and citizens had little learning of any kind, and their way of breeding up their children was suitable to the rest. They were as severe to their children as their schoolmasters, and their schoolmasters as masters of the house of correction. Gentlemen of thirty and forty years old were to stand, like mutes and fools, bareheaded before their parents; and the daughters grown women were to stand at the cupboard side during the whole time of the proud mother's visit, unless leave was desired, forsooth, that a cushion should be given them to kneel upon, brought them by the serving man, after they had done sufficient penance in standing. The boys had their foreheads turned up and stiffened with spittle. The gentlewomen had prodigious fans, as is to be seen in old pictures; and it had a handle at least half a yard. long: with these the daughters were oftentimes corrected. Sir Edward Coke, Lord Chief Justice, rode the circuit with such a fan; Sir William Dugdale told me he was an eye witness of it; the Earl of Manchester also used such a fan.

'At Oxford (and, I believe, at Cambridge) the rod was frequently used by the tutors and deans; and Dr. Potter, of Trinity College, I know right well, whipped his pupil with his sword by his side, when he came to take his leave of him to go to the Inns of Court.'


Of all the Causes Célèbres of France, there is none which possesses a more painful interest, or points a more instructive moral, than the trial and condemnation of Jean Calas, by the parliament of Toulouse, in the last century. Presenting, on the one hand, a striking instance of the extremities to which even judicial assemblies may be carried by the influence of bigotry and fanaticism, it also gave occasion to the exercise of a powerful effort on the part of Voltaire, whose successful exertions to procure the reversal of an iniquitous sentence, form one of the most meritorious actions in the life of the sceptic philosopher.

In the year 1761, there resided at Toulouse, in the south of France, an old man, sixty four years of age, named Jean Calas, who for forty years had exercised the vocation of a respectable shopkeeper in that town, and had gained general esteem amid all classes for the amiability and probity of his character. His family, like himself, were all Protestant, with the exception of his third son Louis, who had been converted to the Roman Catholic faith through the instrumentality of an old female servant, who still formed one of the household. The eldest son, Marc Antoine, was a moody young man of twenty nine, possessed of great abilities, but depressed and disheartened by finding himself excluded as a Protestant by the tyrannical laws of the time from exercising the profession of an avocat or barrister for which he had qualified himself by study.

Thus debarred from following out his inclinations, he had no other resource than to fill the post of assistant to his father, whilst his leisure hours were devoted to cards and billiards. At length, on the 13th of October, in the year above mentioned, a young man, named La Vaysse, who had been absent for some time from his native town, called on the Calas family, and was pressed by Marc-Antoine and his father to remain to supper. The family party, consisting of M. and Madame Calas, Marc Antoine, and Pierre Calas, and the young La Vaysse, sat down to table. Marc Antoine appeared rather depressed, ate little, and abruptly quitted the company, entering the kitchen for a few moments before he passed out. The old servant inquired if he were cold. 'On the contrary,' replied he, 'I am burning.' The supper party imagined that he had gone out to his usual haunt, the billiard-room, and therefore gave themselves no concern for his absence. La Vaysse at last rose to depart, and Pierre Calas followed with a light to shew him the way to the street. On arriving there, they found the shop-door open, and entering to ascertain the cause, were horrified at finding Marc Antoine Calas suspended from one of the folding-doors which communicated between the shop and a warehouse behind. A cry of consternation, uttered by the two young men, summoned downstairs the elder Calas and his wife; but La Vaysse, placing himself before her, prevented her from advancing further, whilst her husband and second son cut down the body of her first born. La Vaysse then ran for a surgeon, who, on arriving, found that life had been extinct for two hours.

The lamentations of the household had mean-time reached the surrounding neighbourhood, and a crowd soon gathered, attracted by the intelligence that Marc Antoine had perished, and in a mysterious manner, for the Calas family, very imprudently for themselves, had agreed to conceal the cause of death, owing to the feeling of infamy which attaches to act of suicide. Two magistrates speedily arrived to investigate the case, the multitude still increasing around the house, and expressing their opinions on the event, when a voice suddenly called out from the crowd:

Marc Antoine has been murdered by his father, because he intended to become a Catholic!

By one of those electrical impulses, of which numerous instances occur in the history of popular commotions, this monstrous idea at once took possession of the public, including the magistracy, and an order was forthwith given for the arrest of all the members of the Calas family who were in the house on that fatal night, including La Vaysse and the old female-servant, the converter of Louis Calas, who some time before had ceased to reside with his father. The body of Marc Antoine received, under this belief, the honour's due to a martyr, and was interred with the utmost pomp and circumstance in the cathedral of St. Stephen, a crowd of twenty thousand persons accompanying the procession, in which an imposing array of priests and monks strove to celebrate, with all the impressiveness of the Roman Catholic Church, the obsequies of a man who had. ever regarded their faith with the utmost aversion.

In the meantime the unhappy Calas family were treated with great cruelty. The aged Jean Calas was repeatedly tortured to extort confession, but in vain, and a similar result attended all attempts to terrify the other accused parties into an admission of guilt. The trial of the old man came on shortly before the parliament of Toulouse. Notwithstanding the absolute impossibility of a person, at his time of life, being able to strangle a vigorous young man, in the immediate neighbourhood of a public thoroughfare, and the total absence of any evidence to support the charge, the blind stolidity and fanaticism of his judges pronounced sentence of death, though only by a majority of seven to six in a court of thirteen. It is said that, latterly, the constancy and nerve of Jean Calas forsook him, and that in his last appearance before the parliament, he betrayed such signs of agitation as told strongly against his innocence. In crossing the court of the building, from his place of confinement to the judgment hall, his attention had been attracted by a flaming pile, to which the public executioner, surrounded by a large crowd, was committing some Protestant treatise.

The poor victim of fanatical prejudice imagined that in this spectacle he beheld the preparations for his own death, and was seized by an uncontrollable terror, which influenced him throughout the subsequent judicial procedure. But he persistently as ever maintained his innocence, and by the day of execution, he had regained such firmness as excited the admiration of many, and induced a strong revulsion of feeling in his favour. The cruel sentence was accomplished on 9th March 1762, when the old man endured a lingering death of two hours' duration, by having first his bones broken with an iron bar, and then being stretched on the wheel. He died, maintaining his innocence with his last breath, and rejecting firmly all the adjurations addressed him by the confessor who attended him on the scaffold. The other members of the family were afterwards brought to trial and acquitted, though Pierre Calas was banished on the charge of an offence against religion.

In the last century, news travelled slowly, and consequently it was not till the end of March that the intelligence of this terrible execution was brought to Voltaire, at Ferney, by a traveller from Toulouse to Geneva. The philosopher was horror-struck, and formed at once the resolve to leave no stone unturned for the purpose of establishing the innocence of the Calas family. Through D'Alembert and other friends in Paris, he caused representations of the case to be made to the king and his ministers, and himself sent for Pierre Calas, and a younger brother, who was apprenticed at Geneva, and examined. them with the most searching minuteness. The information which he obtained from this and other quarters was carefully sifted and forwarded by him to Paris. He also supplied the widow of Calas with money to convey her to the capital, as a necessary witness for reestablishing her husband's innocence. At last his arduous exertions were successful, the decision of the Toulouse parliament was reversed, and on 9th March 1765, exactly three years from Calas's death, the tribunal which had condemned him pronounced a solemn judgment, annulling their former sentence, and rendering thus a tardy and ineffectual justice to the unfortunate man and his family.


The labours of Howard in effecting an amelioration on the condition of prisons throughout Europe, though signal and important, cannot be said to have accomplished any radical change in the management of these establishments, and derive their highest estimate, in a reformatory point of view, from their directing the attention of the general public to this momentous topic. It was reserved for a woman to carry out what John

Howard had so gloriously begun, and, by ass tuning the mantle which he had dropped, to inaugurate, through her philanthropic exertions, these enlarged views on the subject of prison discipline by which it is now so conspicuously characterised both in legislative enactment and practice. In recording the name of Elizabeth Fry, we inscribe that of a true heroine, who made the moral and physical wellbeing of her fallen brothers and sisters the aim and study of her life, with the same spirit of devotedness and self sacrifice which, more recently, has been so nobly exhibited by Miss Florence Nightingale on behalf of our gallant soldiers.

As is well known, Mrs. Fry's maiden name was Gurney, and both by the father and mother's side, she inherited eminently the Quaker element; her father, John Gurney of Earlham, in Norfolk, being a distinguished member of the Society of Friends, and her mother, a great granddaughter of the celebrated Quaker apologist, Robert Barday. Mr. Gurney, however, was not a very strict adherent of his society, and, from the liberal and extended intercourse which he maintained. with men of all denominations, there was little of the sectarian or fanatical principle followed in the bringing up of his family. They seem, on the contrary, to have entered freely into all the amusements and pleasures of the world, Elizabeth among the rest. At the age of eighteen, however, she was much impressed by a sermon delivered by William Savery, an American Quaker, and from that period, her religious views became gradually more and more decided. They were more steadfastly established by her marriage, shortly afterwards, to Mr. Joseph Fry, a Quaker of the strictest sort, and the junior partner of an extensive mercantile firm in London.

It was not, however, till a good many years subsequently that her attention was first directed to the question of prisoners and prison discipline; a subject which appears first to have been suggested to her mind by a visit paid, along with. some members of the Society of Friends, to the condemned cell in Newgate in 1813. The impressions produced upon her by the spectacles which she witnessed in that prison of profligacy, poverty, and filth, was such, that she set her energies seriously forthwith to the task of devising some method for the alleviation of these scenes of horror. With the approbation of the magistrates of Middlesex, she commenced the establishment, in the female wards, of a school for the purpose of affording to the inmates instruction as well as employment. She also succeeded in organising an association of ladies for visiting the female prisoners in Newgate, an occupation in which she herself took a most active share, conversing and. praying with them, and by her earnest kindness exercising a softening influence on the hearts of even the most depraved.

Through her exertions and representations, a most marked change was effected in the condition of Newgate, more especially the female department, and the improved state of the prison attracted the attention of individuals of the highest authority and position in the land. But Mrs. Fry's labours did not cease with Newgate. She gradually extended their sphere, and soon made the general subject of prison discipline the object of consideration and amendment, and before committees both of the Lords and Commons, she was examined as an important and valuable auxiliary in the cause of criminal reform. The severity of the then law regarding capital punishments, stirred up all the promptings of her benevolent heart, and, among those who contributed by their exertions to the introduction of a more lenient system, her name deserves honourable mention.

In the progress of her mission for the improvement of prisons and reclaiming of criminals, Mrs. Fry made repeated journeys through Great Britain and Ireland, besides making several excursions to the continent. It is satisfactory, also, to state, that notwithstanding the multifarious and engrossing nature of her philanthropic labours, she never laid herself open to the charge of neglecting her own family, but was throughout most sedulous in the performance of her duties, both as a wife and mother. Her offspring was numerous, and she records herself, that on the occasion of the king of Prussia paying her a visit at her residence of Upton Lane, she presented to him seven of her sons and sons in law, eight of her daughters and daughters in law, and twenty five of her grandchildren.

Towards the close of her life, Mrs. Fry suffered severely from a neuralgic affection, but, to the last, she retained an undiminished interest in the great philanthropic cause to which she had devoted her life. Though a strict Quaker in every respect, she practised in her dealings with the world at large the most liberal hearted toleration, and was quite as ready to appreciate the self denying labours of the Romish Sisters of Charity, as of persons professing sentiments more in accordance with her own. Courageous and energetic as she shewed herself in the prosecution of her mission, she was naturally, in some respects, of a very sensitive and nervous temperament, causing her, when a child, to be unable to go to sleep in the dark, and an insupportable horror at being obliged to enter the sea for the purpose of bathing. As she grew up, much of that timidity of disposition disappeared, and she became noted as a keen and enthusiastic horsewoman; but she still, throughout life, continued to be distinguished in physical constitution by the extremes of timidity and courage. The portrait of Mrs. Fry exhibits a most pleasing combination of benevolence and intellect, with a decided expression of humour about the mouth, a quality which, as in most persons of genius, formed a marked characteristic of her organization.