Born: Socrates, Grecian philosopher (6th Thargelion), Inc. 468; Joseph de Tournefort, botanist, 1656; Dr. Adam Smith, political economist, 1723, Kirkcaldy; Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover, 1771.
Died: Count D'Egmont and Count Horn, beheaded at Brussels, 1568; John Henry Hottinger, learned orientalist, 1667, drowned in River Limmat; Rev. Dr. Henry Sacheverell, bombastic preacher, 1724; John Paisiello, musical composer, 1816, Naples; Carl Maria Von Veber, musical composer, 1826, London; T. H. Lister, novelist, 1842, London; Jacques Pradier, French sculptor, 1852.
Feast Day: St. Dorotheus, of Tyre, martyr, 4th century; St. Doro theus the Theban, abbot, 4th century.; Other Saints named Dorotheus; St. Illidius, Bishop of Auvergne, confessor, about 385; St. Boniface, Archbishop of Mentz, Apostle of Germany, and martyr, 755.
ST. BONIFACE, THE APOSTLE OF THE GERMANS
The true name of' this saint was Winfrid, or Winfrith. He was the son of a West-Saxon chieftain, and was born at Crediton, in Devon-shire, about the year 680. Having shown from his infancy a remarkable seriousness of character, he was sent, when in his seventh year, to school in the monastery at Exeter. He made rapid and great proficiency in learning, and, having been ordained to the priesthood about the year 710, he was soon afterwards chosen by the West-Saxon clergy to represent them in an important mission to the Archbishop of Canterbury; and it was probably in the course of it that he formed the design of seeking to effect the conversion of the heathen Germans who occupied central Europe. Remaining firm in his design, he proceeded to Friesland in 716; but, on account of obstacles caused by the unsettled state of the country, he returned home and remained in England until 718, in the autumn of which year he went through France to Rome, where he formed a lasting friendship with the Anglo-Saxon princess-nun Eadburga, better known by her nickname of Bugga.
The pope approved of the designs of Winfrid, and, in May 719, he gave him authority to undertake the conversion of the Thuringians. After making some converts in Thuringia, where his success appears to have fallen short of his anticipations, Boniface visited France, and went thence to Utrecht, where his countryman Wilbrord was preaching the gospel with success; but he soon returned to the first scene of his own labours, where he made many converts among the Saxons and Hessians. In 723, the pope, Gregory II, invited him to Rome, and there signified his approval of his missionary labours by ordaining him a bishop, and formally renewing his commission to convert the Germans. The pope at the same time conferred upon him the name of Boniface, by which he was ever afterwards known. After visiting the court of Charles Martel, Boniface returned into Germany, and there established himself in the character of Bishop of the Hessians.
The favour shown by the pope to Boniface had another object besides the mere desire of converting pagans. The German tribes in the country entrusted to his care had already been partially converted-but it was by Irish monks, the followers of Columbanus and St. Gall, who, like most of the Frankish clergy, did not admit in its full extent the authority of the pope, and were in other respects looked upon as unorthodox and schismatical; and Gregory saw in the great zeal and orthodoxy of Boniface the means of drawing the German Christians from heterodoxy to Rome. Accordingly, we find him in the earlier period of his labours engaged more in contentions with the clergy already established in this part of Germany than with the pagans. In the course of these, the pope himself was obliged sometimes to check the zeal of his bishop. Still, in his excursions through the wilds of the Hercynian forest, the great resort of the pagan tribes, Boniface and his companions were often exposed to personal dangers. However, supported by the pope, and aided by the exertions of a crowd of zealous followers, the energetic missionary gradually overcame all obstacles.
In his choice of assistants he seemed always to prefer those from his native country, and he was joined by numerous Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastics of both sexes. Among his Anglo-Saxon nuns was St. Waltpurgis, so celebrated in German legend. A bold proceeding on the part of the bishop sealed the success of Christianity among the Hessians and Thuringians. One of the great objects of worship of the former was a venerable oak, of vast magnitude, which stood in the forest at Geismar, near Fritzlar, and which was looked upon, according to the Latin narrative, as dedicated to Jupiter, probably to Woden. Boniface resolved to destroy this tree; and the Hessians, in the full belief that their gods would come forward in its defence, seem to have accepted it as a trial of strength between these and what they looked upon merely as the gods of the Christians, so that a crowd of pagans, as well as a large number of the preachers of the gospel, were assembled to witness it. Boniface seized the axe in his own hands, and, after a few strokes, a violent wind which had arisen, and of which he had probably taken advantage to apply his axe to the side on which the wind came, threw the tree down with a tremendous crash, which split the trunk into four pieces. The pagans were struck with equal wonder and terror; and, acknowledging that their gods were conquered, they submitted without further opposition. Boniface caused the tree to be cut up, and built of it a wooden oratory dedicated to St. Peter.
In 732, a new pope, Gregory III, ordained Boniface Archbishop of the Germans, and he soon afterwards built two principal churches-that of Fritzlar, dedicated to St. Peter; and that of Amanaburg, where he had first established his head-quarters, dedicated to St. Michael. From this time the number of churches among the German tribes increased rapidly. In 740, he preached with great success among the Bagoarii, or people of Bavaria. He subsequently divided their territory into four dioceses, and ordained four bishops over them. About this time a new field was opening to his zeal. The throne of the Franks was nominally occupied by one of a race of insignificant princes whose name was hardly known out of his palace, while the sceptre was really wielded by Charles Martel; and, as it was in the power of the Church. of Rome to confirm the family of the latter in supplanting their feeble rivals, they naturally leaned towards the orthodox party, in opposition to the schismatical spirit of the French clergy.
In 741, Charles Martel died, and his sons, Karlomann and Pepin, were equally anxious to conciliate the pope. During the following years several councils were held, under the influence of Boniface, for the purpose of reforming the Frankish Church, while the conversion of the Germans also proceeded with activity. In 744, Boniface founded the celebrated monastery of Fulda, over which he placed one of his disciples, a Bavarian, named Sturm, in one of the wildest parts of the Thuringian forest. In 745, at the end of rather severe proceedings against some of the Saxon ecclesiastics, the arch-bishopric of Mentz, or Mayence, was created. Next year Karlomann retired to a monastery, and left the entire kingdom of the Franks to his brother Pepin. The design of changing the Frankish dynasty was, during the following year, a subject of anxious consultation between the pope and the bishops; and, the authority of the pope Zacharias having been obtained, King Childeric, the last of the Merovingian monarchs of the Franks, was deposed and condemned to a monastery, and Pepin received the reward of his zeal in enforcing the unity of the church. In 751, Boniface performed the coronation ceremonies at Soissons which made Pepin king of the Franks. Thus the Roman Catholic Church gradually usurped the right of deposing and creating sovereigns.
Boniface was now aged, and weak in bodily health; yet, so far from faltering in his exertions, he at this moment determined on undertaking the conversion of the Frieslanders, the object with which. especially he had started on his missionary labours in his youth. His first expedition, in 754, was very successful; and he built a monastery at a town named Trehet, and ordained a bishop there. He returned thence to Germany, well satisfied with his labours, and next year proceeded again into Friesland, accompanied by a considerable number of priests and other companions, to give permanence to what he had effected in the preceding year. On the 4th of June they encamped for the night on the river Bordau, at a spot where a number of converts were to assemble next day to be baptized; but that day brought the labours of the Anglo-Saxon missionary to an abrupt conclusion.
The country was still in a very wild and unsettled state, and many of the tribes lived entirely by plundering one another, and were scattered about in strong parties under their several chieftains. One of these had watched the movements of Boniface and his companions, under the impression that they carried with them great wealth. On the morning of the 5th of June, before the hour appointed for the ceremony of baptism, the pagans made their appearance, approaching in a threatening attitude. Boniface had a few armed attendants, who went forth from his encampment to meet the assailants; but the archbishop called them back, probably because they were evidently too weak to resist; and, exhorting his presbyters and deacons to resign themselves to their inevitable fate, went forth, carrying the relics of saints in his hands.
The pagans rushed upon them, and put them all to the sword.; and then, separating into two parties (they were probably two tribes who had joined together), they fought for the plunder, until a great number of one party was slain. The victorious party then entered the tents, and were disappointed at finding there nothing to satisfy their cupidity but a few books and relics, which they threw away in contempt. They were afterwards attacked and beaten by the Christians, who recovered the books and relics; and gathering together the bodies and limbs of the martyrs (for the pagans had hacked them to pieces, in the rage caused by their disappointment), carried them first to the church of Trehet, whence they were subsequently removed to Fulda, and they were at a later period transferred with great pomp to Mentz.
Such was the fate of one of the earliest of our English missionaries in his labours in central Europe. In reading his adventures we may almost think that we are following one of his successors in our own day in their perilous wanderings among the savages of Africa, or some other people equally ignorant and uncultivated. Boni-face was an extraordinary man in an extraordinary age; and few men, either in that age or any other, have left their impress more strongly marked on the course of European civilization, at a time when learning, amid a world which was beginning to open its eyes to its importance, exercised a sort of magic influence over society. He was a man of great learning as well as a man of energy, yet his literary remains are few, and consist chiefly of a collection of letters, most of them of a private and familiar character, which, rude enough in the style of the Latin in which they are written, form still a pleasing monument of the manners and sentiments of our forefathers in the earlier part of the eighth century. Boniface was an Englishman to the end of his life.
VISITING CARDS OF THE 18th CENTURY
From the lady of fashion-who orders her carriage every afternoon, and takes the round of Belgravia, leaving a card at the door of twenty acquaintances who are all out on the same errand-to the man of business, and even the postman, who presents his card on Christmas-day morning, these little square bits of card-board have become an established institution of polite society. The last century has, however, left us an example of how to make these trifles matters of taste and art. The good, quiet, moral society of Vienna, Dresden, and Berlin, in which, according to contemporary historians, it was so pleasant to live, piqued itself upon its delicacy of taste; and instead of our insipid card, with the name and quality of the visitor printed upon it, it distributed real souvenirs, charming vignettes, some of which are models of composition and engraving. The greatest artists, Raphael Mengs, Cassanova, Fischer, and Bartsch, did not disdain to please fashionable people by drawing the pretty things which Raphael Morghen engraved. About four or five hundred of these cards have been collected by Mons. Piogey, among which we meet with the greatest names of the empire, and a few Italians and French whom business or chance led to Germany.
The taste for these elegancies was undoubtedly borrowed from Paris; we find there a whole generation of designers and ornamenters, who devoted their graving tools entirely to cards and addresses for the fashionable world, theatre and concert tickets, letters announcing marriages, ceremonies, programmes, &c.
It was the recreation and most profitable work of Choffart, Moreau, Gravelot, and, above all, St. Anbyn - the most indefatigable of all those who tried to amuse an age which only wished to forget itself. But the clouds which rose on the political horizon darkened that of art. Ennui glided like the canker-worm into this corrupt society; then a disgust for these trifles adorned by wit; after that followed a more serious, grander, more humane pre-occupation; so that, their task ended, their academy closed, and their diplomas laid on their country's altar, these designers without employment resigned their pencils in despair-Moreau becoming professor of the central schools under the Directory, after being the king's designer in 1770.
The other kingdoms of Europe, and Germany in particular, inherited from the French the taste for this amiable superfluity, the ornamenting of trifles for the higher classes. In that country could such a collection of cards be made, where every one is so conservative that nothing is lost; and yet what a curious assemblage of names, with adjuncts which testify to the taste, character, and studies of each! What an assistance to the historian, what a charm for the novelist, the fortuitous reunion of all these personages affords; the greater part of whom have left no other remembrance than the card, addressed as much to posterity as to their friends.
There is an interesting one of the Marquis de Galle, minister plenipotentiary to the King of the Two Sicilies, designed and engraved by Raphael Morghen, representing Neptune. resting on an urn, looking on the Bay of Naples, which is studded with lateen sails, and Vesuvius in a state of eruption. A naiad is advancing towards him, and between the two lies a monumental stone on which the name is inscribed, shaded by delicate shrubs; at the top a Cupid raises a fleur-de-lis resting on an eagle.
There are no less than four cards of Cassanova; the best is an aqua fortis of large size, in which an Austrian soldier is crushing a Turk under his feet; he holds a flag in his left hand, and a sword in his right, whilst in a tempestuous sky an eagle is hovering. Thescene is both grand and poetical. The ass, carrying the flag with the name inscribed, is another; and a man playing a drum, on a fiery charger, forms a third.
Adam Bartsch, the celebrated author of the Pientre Graveur, a work published at Vienna in twenty-one volumes, was evidently a great lover of the canine species; here is a spaniel holding the card in his mouth, and there is a second, in which a savage dog has just torn a roll of paper with the date 1795; beneath is written, 'Adam Bartsch has the pleasure of presenting his compliments and good wishes for the new year.'
Fischer of Berne, makes a rebus of his name, an artist's fancy and mono-gram of a new kind; namely, two men and a woman drawing out a net.
Raphael Mengs has not disdained drawing the card of the Marquis de Llano-a wreath of roses, bordered with olives. Another is that of the Comte Aloyse d'Harrach, lieutenant-general, of whom Georges Wille, in his interesting memoirs, writes:
12 Feb. 1767.-M. le Comte and Madame la Comtesse d'Harrach, Austrian nobles, came to visit me; they are well known here, and perfectly amiable; the Comtesse draws very beautifully.
Generally the name of the artist is unknown; for most people bought the subject engraved, and wrote their name on it, thus beginning at the end. Such. is one of the Aulic Councillor de Martines, and that of the Comtesse de Sinzendorf. Great amateurs and persons of high rank, such as the Prince d'Auersperg, Count d'Harseg (Envoy Extraordinary of his Imperial Majesty), and the Prince Ester-hazy, did not do so; the last mentioned has a beautiful vignette of a Cupid supporting a medallion wreathed with flowers, on which is the name of Francis Esterhazy, one of the illustrious family of diplomatists and statesmen who trace back their title to A.D. 960. This one sat as councillor in the last German Diet of 1804, when the Germanic empire ceased to exist. Some have engraved the bust of their favourite hero beside their name: as the Comte of Wrakslaw has that of the Archduke Charles defending the approach to Vienna, which is recognisable by the spire of its cathedral. We meet with the name of Demidoff, then a simple captain in the service of the Empress of Russia. Two Englishmen also appear in the collection-Lord Lyttelton with his dog, and Mr. Stapleton with a medallion portrait; and many others whose names may be found in the Almanac's de Gotha, but not many in the memory of man. One peculiarity belongs to the cards of English society, that all landscapes are more or less authentic; Bath, the city of English elegance at that period, is a frequent subject. Sometimes it is Milsom Street, with its long perspective of fashionable houses; North Parade, or Queen's Square, where Sheridan might point out his favourite residence, and Beau Brummel recognise himself parading the terrace.
The Italian cards are in a very different style; you see at once the imitation of the antique, and in some cases the Greek and Roman chefs d'oeuvres are copied. Bas-reliefs, bronzes, niellos, mosaics, are found on these bits of card, which are changed into objects of great interest. The Comte de Nobili has several different and always tasteful ones; sometimes a sacrifice of sheep or oxen, or the appearance of Psyche before Venus and her son, seated in family conclave.
Among other noble strangers, we notice the Marquis de Las-Casas', Ambassador of Spain: the sun, mounted on his car, is leaving the shores of the east. The architect Blondel inscribes his name above the cornice of a ruined monument; and M. Burdett places his in the centre of the tomb of Metella. Long as we might linger over these relics of the past, we have given sufficient examples to point out the taste of the age, and a fashion which has had its day, and perished.
Of the famous Sacheverell-whose trial in the latter part of Anne's reign almost maddened the people of England it is curious to learn the ultimate situation, from the following paragraph:
The skeletons in our crowded London graveyards lie in layers which are quite historical in their significance, and which would be often startling if the circumstances of their juxtaposition could be made known. A cutting from an old London newspaper (title and date uncertain), and which exists in the well-known repertory of Green, of Covent Garden, contains an example of skeleton contact which is unusually curious, if reliable. It is there stated that Dr. Sacheverell is buried in St. Andrew's, Holborn, and that the notorious Mother Needham of Hogarth is lying above him, and above her again is interred Booth, the actor-a strange stratification of famous or notorious day.