Born: Sir John Fortescue Aland, 1670; Antonio Sanchez, 1699.
Died: Antoninus Pius, Roman Emperor, 162, Lorium; William Longsword, first Earl of Salisbury, 1226; Pope Innocent XIII, 1724; Bishop Thomas Wilson, 1755, Isle of Man; Blanchard, aeronaut, 1809; Admiral Lord Collingwood, 1810.
Feast Day: Saints Perpetua and Felicitas, martyrs at Carthage, 203. St. Paul the Simple, anchoret, about 330. St. Thomas of Aquino, Doctor of the Church and Confessor, 1274.
The benign and saintly Thomas Wilson was born at Burton, in Cheshire, on the 20th of December 1663. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, whither most of the young gentlemen of Lancashire and Cheshire were at that time sent. In 1692, the Earl of Derby chose him for his domestic chaplain, and tutor to his son, Lord Strange, and in 1697 appointed him to the bishopric of Sodor and Man, then in the gift of the Derby family. The episcopal revenue was only £300 a-year, and he found his palace in ruins, the house having been uninhabited for eight years. The people of the island were ignorant and very poor; but the bishop at once took measures to improve their condition, He taught them to work, to plant, dig, and drain, and make roads; he opened schools, chapels, and libraries; he had studied medicine, and was able to cure the sick. Nearly all that Oberlin did in the Ban-de-la-Roche, Wilson anticipated in the Isle of Man. His whole income, after providing for the modest needs of his household, he expended in alms and improvements. It was said that 'he kept beggars from every door in Man but his own.'
He published several devotional works and sermons, which are to this day widely read and admired. Queen Anne offered him an English bishopric, which he declined; George I repeated the offer, with the same result. Queen Caroline was very anxious to keep him in London, and one day, when she had several prelates with her, she said, pointing to Wilson, 'See, here, my lords, is a bishop who does not come for translation.' 'No, indeed, and please your Majesty,' said Wilson, 'I will not leave my wife in my old age because she is poor.' Cardinal Fleury wanted much to see him, and invited him to France, saying he believed that they were the two oldest and poorest bishops in Europe, and he obtained an order from the government that no French privateer should ravage the Isle of Man. Wilson's goodness, like Oberlin's, overcame all differences of creed. Catholics and Dissenters came to hear him preach, and Quakers visited at his palace. He died at the age of ninety-three, and in the fifty-eighth year of his tenure of the office of bishop.
The personal history of this great naval commander furnishes a remarkable example of everything sacrificed to duty. He might be said to have lived and died at sea. The case becomes the more remarkable, when we know that Collingwood, beneath the panoply of the hero, cherished the finest domestic and social feelings. Born at Newcastle-on Tyne in 1750, he was sent to sea as a midshipman at the age of eleven. After twenty-five years uninterrupted service, he returned to Northumberland, making, as he says, acquaintance with his own family, to whom he had hitherto been, as it were, a stranger. In 1793, the war with the French Republic called him away from a young wife and two infant daughters, whom he most tenderly loved, though he was never permitted to have much of their society. He bore a conspicuous part in Lord Howe's victory, June 1, 1794, and in Jervis's victory off Cape St. Vincent in 1797. In 1799, he was raised to the rank of Rear-Admiral.
The peace of Amiens, for which he had long prayed, restored him to his wife and children for a few months in 1802, but the renewed war called him to sea in the spring of 1803, and he never more returned to his happy home. This constant service made him frequently lament that he was hardly known to his own children; and the anxieties and wear and tear incidental to it, shortened his valuable life. Passing over many less brilliant, but still very important services, Collingwood was second in command in the battle of Trafalgar. His ship, the Royal Sovereign, was the first to attack and break the enemy's line; and upon Nelson's death, Collingwood finished the victory, and continued in command of the fleet. He was now raised to the peerage. After a long and wearying blockade, during which, for nearly three years, he hardly ever set foot on shore, he sailed up the Mediterranean, where his position involved him in difficult political transactions; at length, completely worn out in body, but with a spirit intent on his duties to the last, Collingwood died at sea, on board the Ville de Paris, near Port Mahon, on the 7th of March 1810.
Nelson had a greater affection for lord Collingwood than for any other officer in the service. In command he was firm, but mild, most considerate of the comfort and health of his men: the sailors called him father. He was a scientific seaman and naval tactician; of strong enlightened mind, considering the circumstances of his life; the official letters and dispatches of this sailor, who had been at sea from his child-hood, are admirable, even in point of style; and his letters to his wife on the education of his daughters are full of good sense and feeling. The people of Newcastle, reasonably proud of so excellent a fellow-townsman as Lord Collingwood, have erected, by public subscription, a portrait statue of him in their town, and one of its leading streets bears his honoured name.
On the 7th March 1766, died Mrs. Mary Mogg, of the Rose Tavern, Wokingham, who had been, forty years before, the subject of a droll ballad by Gay, in association (as is believed) with Pope and Swift. This ballad almost immediately found its way into print, through the medium of Mist's Journal of August 27, 1726, prefaced with a notice stating that ' it was writ by two or three men of wit (who have diverted the public both in prose and verse), upon the occasion of their lying at a certain inn at Wokingham where the daughter of that house was remarkably pretty, and whose name is Molly Mogg.'
The schoolboy delights in a play-day,
The schoolmaster's joy is to flog;
The milkmaid's delight is in May-day,
But mine is in sweet Molly Mogg.
Will-a-wisp leads the traveller a-gadding,
Through ditch and through quagmire and bog;
No light can e'er set me a-padding,
But the eyes of my sweet Molly Mogg.
For guineas in other men's breeches
Your gamesters will palm and will cog;
But I envy them none of their riches,
So I palm my sweet Molly Mogg.
The hart that's half-wounded is ranging,
It here and there leaps like a frog;
But my heart can never be changing,
It's so fixed on my sweet Molly Mogg.
I know that by wits 'tis recited,
That women at best are a clog;
But I'm not so easily frighted
From loving my sweet Molly Mogg.
A letter when I am inditing,
Comes Cupid and gives me a jog;
And I fill all my paper with writing,
Of nothing but sweet Molly Mogg.
I feel I'm in love to distraction,
My senses are lost in a fog;
And in nothing can find satisfaction,
But in thoughts of my sweet Molly Mogg,
If I would not give up the three Graces,
I wish I were hanged like a dog,
And at court all the drawing-room faces,
For a glance at my sweet Molly Mogg.
For those faces want nature and spirit,
And seem as cut out of a log;
Juno, Venus, and Pallas's merit
Unite in my sweet Molly Mogg.
Were Virgil alive with his Phillis,
And writing another Eclogue,
Both his Phillis and fair Amaryllis
He'd give for my sweet Molly Mogg.
When she smiles on each guest like her liquor,
Then jealousy sets me a-gog:
To be sure, she's a bit for the Vicar,
And so I shall lose Molly Mogg.
It appears that the ballad-perhaps to the surprise of its authors-attained instant popularity. Molly and the Rose at Wokingham became matter of public interest, and literary historians have not since disdained to inquire into the origin of the verses. We learn that Swift was at this time on a visit to Pope at Twickenham, while preparing for the publication of his Travels of Lemuel Gulliver; that Gay joined his two brother bards, and that the tuneful trio were occasionally at the Rose in the course of their excursions that summer. The landlord, John Mogg, had two fair daughters, Molly and Sally, of whom Sally was in reality the cruel beauty referred to in the ballad; but 'the wits were too far gone to distinguish, and so the honour, if honour it be, has clung to Molly, who, after all, died a spinster at the age of sixty-six.' The inn had in these latter days its Pope's Room, and its chair called Pope's Chair, and there was an inscription on a pane of glass said to have been written by Pope. The house, however, is now transformed into a mercer's shop.
UNDER THE SNOW
It is a well-ascertained fact that snow affords a comparatively warm garment in intensely cold weather. This is difficult for non-scientific persons to understand; but it is based on the circumstance that snow, on account of its loose flocculent nature, conducts heat slowly. Accordingly, under this covering, exactly as under a thick woollen garment, the natural heat of the body is not dissipated rapidly, but retained.
Instances are abundant to shew that snow really protects substances from cold of great intensity. Farmers and gardeners well know this; and, knowing it, they duly value a good honest fall of snow on their fields and gardens in winter. There are not the same tests to apply in reference to the human body; nevertheless, the fact is equally undeniable. The newspapers every winter record examples. Thus the Yorkshire papers contained an account, in 1858, of a snow storm at or near Market Weighton, in which a woman had a remarkable experience of the value of a snow garment. On the 7th of March she was overtaken by the storm on the neighbouring moors, and was gradually snowed up, being unable to move either forward or backward. Thus she remained forty-three hours. Cold as she of course was, the snow nevertheless prevented the cold from assuming a benumbing tendency; and she was able to the last to keep a breathing place about her head. On the second day after, a man crossing the moor saw a woman's bonnet on the snow; he soon found that there was a living woman beneath the bonnet; and a course of judicious treatment restored her to health.
The remarkable case of Elizabeth Woodcock is still more striking. In the winter of 1799 she was returning on horseback from Cambridge to her home in a neighbouring village; and having dismounted for a few minutes, the horse ran away from her. At seven o'clock on a winter evening she sat down under a thicket, cold, tired, and disheartened. Snow came on; she was too weak to rise, and the consequence was that by the morning the snow had heaped up around her to a height of two feet above her head as she sat. She had strength enough to thrust a twig, with her handkerchief at the top of it, through the snow, to serve as a signal, and to admit a little daylight. Torpor supervened; and she knew little more of what passed around her. Night succeeded day, and day again broke, but there she remained, motionless and foodless. Not senseless, however, for she could hear church bells and village sounds-nay, even the voice and conversation of some of her neighbours.
Four whole days she thus remained-one single pinch of snuff being her only substitute for food during the time, and this, she found to her sorrow, had lost its pungency. On the fifth day a thaw commenced, and then she suffered greatly, but still without being able to extricate herself. It was not until the eighth day that the handkerchief was espied by a villager, who, with many others, had long been seeking for her. Stooping down he said, 'Are you there, Elizabeth Woodcock?' She had strength enough to reply faintly, 'Dear John Stittle, I know your voice. For God's sake, help me out!' She died half a year afterwards, through mismanagement of frost-bitten toes; but it was fully admitted that no one, unless cased in snow, could have lived out those eight days and nights in such a place without food.
Similar in principle was the incident narrated by Hearne, the antiquary, in the last century, in a letter addressed to Mr. Charry, of Shottesbrooke. In the severe winter of 1708-9, a poor woman, near Yeovil, in Somersetshire, having been to Chard, to sell some of her homespun yarn, was returning home, when, falling ill by the wayside, she requested to be allowed to sit by the fire in a cottage. This being unfeelingly refused, she lay down under a hedge in the open air, being too weak to proceed farther. Snow soon came on. A neighbour passed by, and helped for a few minutes to guide her steps; but her strength soon failed her, and he, in like manner, left her to her fate. Once more laid prostrate, she became gradually covered with the snow. Day after day passed, for a whole week, during which time her friends made search and inquiry for her in every direction. The only person who could give information was the man who had abandoned her, after her failure in the attempt to walk; and he remained silent, lest his conduct should bring reproaches on him.
There then occurred one of those strange sleep-revelations which, explain them how we may, are continually reported as playing a part in the economy of human life. A poor woman dreamed that the missing person lay under a hedge in a particular spot denoted. The neighbours, roused by the narration she gave, sallied forth with sticks, which they thrust through the snow in various places. One of them thought he heard a groan; he thrust again in a particular spot, when a feeble voice cried out, Oh, for God's sake, don't kill me! 'The poor, imprisoned wayfarer was taken out, to the astonishment of all.' She was found,' says the writer of the letter, 'to have taken great part of her upper garment for sustenance; but how she could have digested a textile fabric of wool or flax is not easy to understand. She surprised her neighbours by the assertion that she had lain very warm, and had slept most part of the time. One of her legs lay just under a bush, and was not quite covered with snow; this became in consequence frost-bitten, but not too far for recovery. Her spirits revived, and she was able shortly to resume her ordinary duties.'
In these two last-named instances the person was a full week under the snow blanket; and the covering evidently prevented the natural warmth of the body from being abstracted to so great a degree as to be fatal.