Born: Giovanni Paisiello, Italian musical composer, 1741, Taranto.
Died: Cardinal de Bourbon, 1590; Francis, fourth Earl of Bedford, 1641; Count Zinzendorf, founder of the sect of Moravian brethren, 1760, Hernhutt; Comte de Lally, executed at Paris, 1766; Bonnet Thornton, miscellaneous writer, 1768; Frederick Schiller, illustrious German poet, 1805, Weimar; Nicolas Francis Gay-Lussac, chemist, 1850, Paris.
Feast Day: St. Hermas, 1st century; St. Gregory Nazianzen, 389; St. Brynoth I, Bishop of Scara, in Sweden, 1317; St. Nicholas, Bishop of Lincopen, in Sweden, 1391.
'I will make Schiller as large as life,-that is, colossal.' 'Such,' says Emil Palleske, Schiller's latest German biographer, speaking of the sculptor Dannecker, 'were Dannecker's words, on hearing of the death of his friend. Sorrowful, but steadfast, he commenced his labour of love, and the work became what he aimed at-an apotheosis. No complicated details, no stamp of commonplace reality, dim the pure ether of these features: the traces of a sublime struggle on the lofty forehead, the knit brows, and the hollow cheeks, alone proclaim that this mighty spirit once wandered upon earth; but the impress of past disquietude only serves to heighten the perfect repose which now designates the divinity. The earnest self-won harmony on the noble countenance irresistibly demands our reverence; while its lofty resignation imperceptibly reminds us of many anxious cares which beat within our own restless hearts.'
This passage conveys a better idea than our words could give, of the reverential worship paid to Schiller in his own country. He was an intellectual giant, and a grateful people have placed him among their deities. Full of the spirit of his time, of powerful genius, of inexhaustible mental energy, devoted with passionate devotion to his own grand ideal of the beautiful and true, he mastered a wretched constitution, and revelled in the domains of mind. Poetry was to him no idle amusement, but con-science, religion, politics, and philosophy.
Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller was born on the 10th of November 1759, at Marbach. His mother was a pious, worthy woman, of the true German mould, and his father an energetic, intelligent military man, in the service of Karl Eugen, Duke of Wurtemberg. As a boy, he was chiefly remarkable for industry and strong feeling. He was intended for the church; but Karl Eugen had founded a military academy, and took care to press into it all the promising youth : so Schiller's views of life changed. As a student of the academy, he was devoted to his duke, and exercised his growing talent for verse in praise of the duchess, equally out of' admiration and necessity. He became a regimental surgeon, and practised in Stuttgart. But with this post he was dissatisfied, and justly; and when his Robbers appeared, and made him popular, he became still more restless. The duke looked with suspicious eye on this mad youth, who spoke his mind so freely; and fresh writings giving fresh offence, he prohibited the poet from writing again. At length he was put under arrest for four teen clays, and reprimanded, for stealing, without leave of absence, to Mannheim, to see his play acted. Then he fled in the night with a friend, and became an exile. After enduring much privation in many wanderings, he became theatre poet at Mannheim. Here he produced Fiesco and Don Carlos, toiled incessantly, indulged in numerous elective affinities, and got further into debt.
Debt-or rather uncertainty of income-was Schiller's bane. He trusted entirely to his pen and Providence for subsistence. In Mannheim, a friend, who had been bound for his Stuttgart debts, was arrested, and only set free at the expense of a poorer man, on whom the loss fell. Such are awkward incidents in the history of genius!
The Duke of Weimar, having encouraged Schiller in 1785, he set off to that diminutive Athens, where Jupiter Goethe reigned supreme, and staying at Leipsic on his way, commenced that remarkable friendship with. Korner, which lasted through life, and which gave us a long series of noble letters. At last he came to Weimar, but Goethe kept aloof, finding how diametrically opposed their minds were. Years passed over before the restraint was removed. Here Schiller made many friends, as also at Jena, where he accepted a Professorship of History, with no salary. He laboured hard in his duties, and during this period wrote his History of' the Thirty Years' War, a delight to youth and to age, sketched his great drama of Wallenstein; loved, courted, and married Lotte von Lengefeld, a woman who proved worthy of him; and enjoyed the friendship of Fichte and Wilhelm von Humboldt. He had a severe illness soon after his marriage, from the effects of which he never recovered. At last, in 1795, the bond of brother-hood was sealed, which reflects such honour on Schiller and Goethe, and which has caused the brother poets to be named the Dioscuri. After this, we have mutual plans and productions,-among them the Xenien, a series of fine satirical hits at all their numerous enemies, a book which set Germany on fire; mutual direction of the Weimar theatre; struggles with failing health; fresh cares, joys, hopes; Wallenstein; Mary Stuart; The Maid of Orleans; The Bride of Messina; and lastly, Wilhelm Tell; and so we draw near to the inevitable day.
Schiller's drama of Wilhelm Tell took possession of the hearts of the people more than any of its predecessors; and yet, at the performance of an earlier work, very badly performed in Leipsic, we read that, 'after the first act, loud cries burst forth, from the whole of the crowded house, of 'Long live Friedrich Schiller!' accompanied by a grand flourish of trumpets. At the end of the performance all the audience rushed out of the house to see their beloved poet more closely. When his tall form, bent by suffering, appeared, the crowd respectfully made way for him, all heads were quickly uncovered, and the poet was received in profound silence, as he passed through the long rows of people; all hearts, all eyes, followed his steps; fathers and mothers holding their children aloft to see him, whispering, 'That is he! that is he!''
Schiller had a heart as fine and noble as his forehead. He deserved and won the love and esteem of all. Princes and people delighted to honour him. And posterity has not tarnished, but brightened, the lustre of the honours bestowed on him while he lived.
To Nicolas Francis Gay-Lussac unquestionably belongs the honour of first applying acrostation to scientific purposes on a great scale. True, ascents had. been made by other philosophers, at Hamburg in 1803, and at St. Petersburg in 1804, to determine in some degree the effect of altitude on magnetic action; but the scale of operations was in each case very limited. The Academy of Sciences, with the aid of the minister of the interior (Chaptal), organized an ascent in August 1804, which was to be managed by Gay-Lussac and Blot, with the aid of Conte, who had been the chief aëronaut with Bonaparte in Egypt. The ascent took place on the 23rd, from the garden of the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers. The philosopher soon found that the rotatory motion of a balloon, as it ascends, ought to be taken into account in all delicate observations made while in the car; a precaution which had been neglected by the preceding observers.
Gay-Lussac determined to make another ascent alone, to reach a still greater altitude. This was done on the 16th of September. He attained the unprecedented elevation of 7016 metres (about 23,000 English feet, upwards of four miles). A magnetic needle, a dipping needle, a centigrade thermometer, two hygrometers, two barometers, two little glass balloons, and one of copper; such were the instruments which the intrepid man took up with him, and which he undertook to observe, besides managing his balloon and car. His chief observations were recorded when he was at the heights of 3,032, 3,863, 4,511, 6,107, and 6,977 metres; and they were very valuable in reference to magnetism, pressure, temperature, and moisture. Blot and Gay-Lussac had lowered a pigeon out of their car when at the height of 10,000 feet, to notice its flight; Gay-Lussac made observations on his own respiration at high altitudes; he brought down specimens of rarefied air in his three little balloons; he determined the heights of the clouds he passed through; and he achieved other scientific results which have been brought largely into use by later savans.
The experiments of Mr. Gay-Lussac may be said to have remained unrivalled till 1862, when the ardour of meteorological research led to others of a very remarkable character being made by Mr. James Glaisher. After a number of preliminary ascents, Mr. Glaisher made one at Wolverhampton, in company with Mr. Coxwell, on the 6th of September in that year, when the balloon attained the height indicated by 9 3/4 inches of the barometer, reckoned as equal to 5 3/4 miles. This was certainly the highest point over attained by a human being in any circumstances.
When thus elevated, the rarity of the air and extremely low temperature (for the thermometer stood a good way below zero) caused the adventurous aëronaut to fall into a state of insensibility, which was so far partaken of by Mr. Coxwell, that the latter had to use his teeth in pulling the valve of the balloon, in order to cause a descent. 'On descending when the temperature rose to 17°, it was remarked as warm, and at 24° it was noted as very warm.' According to the narrative of Mr. Glaisher, 'Six pigeons were taken up. One was thrown out at the height of three miles; it extended its wings, and dropped as a piece of paper. A second, at four miles, flew vigorously round and round, apparently taking a great dip each time. A third was thrown out between four and five miles, and it fell downwards. A fourth was thrown out at four miles when we were descending; it flew in a circle, and shortly after alighted on the top of the balloon. The two remaining pigeons were brought down to the ground; one was found to be dead.'
BLOOD'S ATTEMPT ON THE CROWN JEWELS
This day, in the year 1671, witnessed one of the most extraordinary attempts at robbery recorded in the annals of crime. The designer was an Irishman, named Thomas Blood, whose father had gained property, according to the most probable account, as an iron-master, in the reign of Charles I.
When the civil wars broke out, the son espoused the cause of the parliament, entered the army, and rose to the rank of colonel; at least, in subsequent times, he is always spoken of as Colonel Blood. As, at the Restoration, we find him reduced to poverty, we may conclude that he had either squandered away his money, or that his property had been confiscated, perhaps in part both, for he seems to have laboured under the impression of having been injured by the Duke of Ormond, who had been appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, and against whom he nourished the bitterest hatred.
In 1663, he formed a plot for surprising Dublin Castle, and seizing upon the lord lieutenant, which, however, was discovered before it could be carried into execution. Blood then became a wandering adventurer, roaming from one country to another, until he established himself in London, in the disguise of a physician, under the name of Ayliffe. Such was his position in 1670, when he made another attempt on the life of his enemy, the Duke of Ormond. On the evening of the 6th of December in that year, as the duke was returning home from a dinner given to the young Prince of Orange, in St. James's Street, he was stopped by six men on horseback, who dragged him from his coach, and having fastened him with a belt behind one of them, were carrying him off towards Tyburn, with the intention of hanging him there. But, by desperate struggling, he succeeded in slipping out of the strap which bound him, and made his escape, under favour of the darkness, but not without considerable hurt from the brutal treatment he had undergone. A reward of a thousand pounds was offered for the discovery of the ruffians concerned, but in vain.
It was not many months after this event, that Colonel Blood formed the extraordinary design of stealing the crown of England, and he contrived his plot with great artfulness. The regalia were at this time in the care of an aged but most trustworthy keeper, named Talbot Edwards, and Blood's first aim was to make his acquaintance. Accordingly, he one day in April went to the Tower, in the disguise of a parson, with a woman whom he represented as his wife, for the purpose of visiting the regalia. After they had seen them, the lady pretended to be taken ill, upon which they were conducted into the keeper's lodgings, where Mr. Edwards gave her a cordial, and treated her otherwise with kindness. They parted with professions of thankfulness, and a few days afterwards the pretended parson returned with half-a-dozen pairs of gloves, as a present to Mrs. Edwards, in acknowledgment of her courtesy.
An intimacy thus gradually arose between Blood and the Edwardses, who appear to have formed a sincere esteem for him; and at length he proposed a match between their daughter and a supposed nephew of his, whom he represented as possessed of two or three hundred a-year in land. It was accordingly agreed, at Blood's suggestion, that he should bring his nephew to be introduced to the young lady at seven o'clock in the morning on the 9th of May (people began the day much earlier then than now); and he farther asked leave to bring with him two friends, who, he said, wished to see the regalia, and it would be a convenience to them to be admitted at that early hour, as they were going to leave town in the forenoon.
Accordingly, as we are told by Strype, who received his narrative from the lips of the younger Edwards, 'at the appointed time, the old man had got up ready to receive his guest, and the daughter had put herself into her best dress to entertain her gallant, when, behold! parson Blood, with three more, came to the jewel house, all armed with rapier blades in their canes, and every one a dagger and a pair of pocket pistols. Two of his companions entered in with him, and a third stayed at the door, it seems, for a watch.' At Blood's wish, they first went to see the regalia, that his friends might be at liberty to return; but as soon as the door was shut upon them, as was the usual practice, they seized the old man, and bound and gagged him, threatening to take his life if he made the smallest noise. Yet Edwards persisted in attempting to make all the noise he could, upon which they knocked him down by a blow on the head with a wooden mallet, and, as he still remained obstinate, they beat him on the head with the mallet until he became insensible; but recovering a little, and hearing them say they believed him to be dead, he thought it most prudent to remain quiet. The three men now went deliberately to work; Blood placing the crown for concealment under his cloak, while one of his companions, named Parrot, put the orb in his breeches, and the other proceeding to file the sceptre in two, for the convenience of putting it in a bag.
The three ruffians would probably thus have succeeding in executing their design, but for the opportune arrival of a son of Mr. Edwards from Flanders, accompanied by his brother-in-law, a Captain Beckman, who, having exchanged a word with the man who watched at the door, proceeded upstairs to the apartments occupied by the Edwardses. Blood and his companions thus interrupted, immediately decamped with the crown and orb, leaving the sceptre, which they had not time to file.
Old Edwards, as soon as they had left the room, began to shout out, 'Treason! Murder!' with all his might; and his daughter, rushing out into the court, gave the alarm, and cried out that the crown was stolen. The robbers reached the drawbridge without hindrance, but there the warder attempted to stop them, on which Blood discharged a pistol at him. As he fell down, though unhurt, they succeeded in clearing the other gates, reached the wharf, and were making for St. Katherine's-gate, where horses were ready for them, when they were overtaken by Captain Beckman.
Blood discharged his second pistol at the captain's head, but he escaped hurt by stooping, and immediately seized upon Blood, who struggled fiercely; but finding escape impossible, when he saw the crown wrested from his grasp, he is said to have exclaimed, in a tone of disappointment, 'It was a gallant attempt, however unsuccessful; for it was for a crown!' A few of the jewels fell from the crown in the struggle, but all that were of any value were recovered and restored to their places. Blood and Parrot (who had the orb and the most valuable jewel of the sceptre in his pocket) were secured and lodged in the White Tower, and three others of the party were subsequently captured.
The king, when informed of this extraordinary outrage, ordered Blood and Parrot to be brought to Whitehall to be examined in his presence. There Blood behaved with insolent effrontery He avowed that he was the leader in the attempt upon the life of the Duke of Ormond, in the preceding year, and that it was his intention to hang him at Tyburn; and he further stated that he, with others, had on another occasion concealed themselves in the reeds by the side of the Thames, above Battersea, to shoot the king as he passed in his barge; and that he, Blood, had taken aim at him with his carbine, but that 'his heart was checked by an awe of majesty,' and that he had not only relented himself, but had prevented his companions from proceeding in their design. This story was probably false, but it seems to have had its designed effect on the king, which was no doubt strengthened by Blood's further declaration that there were hundreds of his friends yet undiscovered (he pretended to have acted for one of the discontented parties in the state), who were all bound by oath to revenge each other's death, which 'would expose his majesty and all his ministers to the daily fear and expectation of a massacre.
But, on the other side, if his majesty would spare the lives of a few, he might oblige the hearts of many; who, as they had been seen to do daring mischief, would be as bold, if received into pardon and favour, to perform eminent services for the crown.' The singularity of the crime, the grand impudence of the offender, united perhaps with a fear of the threatened consequences, induced the king to save Blood from the vengeance of the law. He not only pardoned the villain, but gave him a grant of land in Ireland, by which he might subsist, and even took him into some degree of favour. It is alleged that Blood occasionally obtained court favours for others, of course for 'a consideration.' Charles received a rather cutting rebuke for his conduct from the Duke of Ormond, who had still the right of prosecuting Blood for the attempt on his life. When the king resolved to take the ruffian into his favour, he sent Lord Arlington to inform the duke that it was his pleasure that he should not prosecute Blood, for reasons which he was to give him; Arlington was interrupted by Ormond, who said, with formal politeness, that 'his majesty's command was the only reason that could be given; and therefore he might spare the rest.'
Edwards and his son, who had been the means of saving the regalia-one by his brave resistance, and the other by his timely arrival-were treated with neglect; the only rewards they received being grants on the exchequer, of two hundred pounds to the old man, and one to his son, which they were obliged to sell for half their value, through difficulty in obtaining payment.
After he had thus gained favour at court, Blood took up his residence in Westminster; and he is said by tradition to have inhabited an old mansion forming the corner of Peter and Tufton streets. Evelyn, not long after the date of the attempt on the crown, speaks of meeting Blood in good society, but remarks his 'villanous, unmerciful look; a false countenance, but very well spoken, and dangerously insinuating.' He died on the 24th of August, 1680.
In the Luttrell Collection of Broadsides (Brit. Mus.) is one styled 'An Elegie on Colonel Blood, notorious for stealing the Crown.'
Thanks, ye kind fates, for your last favour shown,
For stealing Blood, who lately stole the crown.
The elegist is no flatterer. He boldly accuses Blood of having spent his whole life in villany. The first considerable affair he was engaged in:
Was rescuing from justice Captain Mason,
Whom all the world doth know to have been a base one;
The next ill thing he boldly undertook,
Was barbarously seizing of a duke,' &c.
The conclusion comes well off:
At last our famous hero, Colonel Blood,
Seeing his projects all will do no good,
And that success was still to him denied,
Fell sick with grief, broke his great heart, and died.
The imperial crown now used by the British monarch on state occasions is different from that so nearly purloined by Colonel Blood. It was constructed in 1838, with jewels taken from old crowns, and others furnished by command of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Professor Tennant, of King's College, laid the following account of it before the London and Middlesex Archeological Association, at Islington, July 7th, 1858:
It consists of diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, set in silver and gold; it has a crimson velvet cap, with ermine border, and is lined with white silk. Its gross weight is 39 oz. 5 dwts. Troy. The lower part of the band, above the ermine border, consists of a row of 129 pearls, and the upper part of the band of a row of 112 pearls, between which, in front of the crown, is a large sapphire (partly drilled), purchased for the crown by King George the Fourth. At the back are a sapphire of smaller size and 6 other sapphires (three on each side), between which are 8 emeralds.
'Above and below the seven sapphires arc 14 diamonds, and around the eight emeralds 128 diamonds. Between the emeralds and sapphires are sixteen trefoil ornaments, containing 160 diamonds. Above the band are 8 sapphires, surmounted by 8 diamonds, between which are eight festoons, consisting of 148 diamonds.
In the front of the crown, and in the centre of a diamond Maltese cross, is the famous ruby said to have been given to Edward Prince of Wales, son of Edward the Third, called the Black Prince, by Don Pedro, King of Castile, after the battle of Najera, near Vittoria, A.D. 1367. This ruby was worn in the helmet of Henry the Fifth at the battle of Agincourt, A.D. 1415. It is pierced quite through, after the Eastern custom, the upper part of the piercing being filled up by a small ruby. Around this ruby, to form the cross, are 75 brilliant diamonds. Three other Maltese crosses, forming the two sides and back of the crown, have emerald centres, and contain, respectively, 132, 124, and 130 brilliant diamonds.
Between the four Maltese crosses are four ornaments in the form of the French fleur-de-lis, with 4 rubies in the centre, and surrounded by rose diamonds, containing, respectively, 85, 86, 86, and 87 rose diamonds.
From the Maltese crosses issue four imperial arches, composed of oak leaves and acorns; the leaves containing 728 rose, table, and brilliant diamonds; 32 pearls forming the acorns, set in cups containing 54 rose diamonds and 1 table diamond. The total number of diamonds in the arches and acorns is 108 brilliant, 116 table, and 559 rose diamonds.
From the upper part of the arches are suspended 4 large pendant pear-shaped pearls, with rose diamond caps, containing 12 rose diamonds, and stems containing 24 very small rose diamonds. Above the arch stands the mound containing in the lower hemisphere 304 brilliants, and in the upper 244 brilliants; the zone and arc being composed of 33 rose diamonds. The cross on the summit has a rose-cut sapphire in.. the centre, surrounded by 4 large brilliants, and 108 smaller brilliants.
Summary of Jewels comprised in the Crown.-1 large ruby irregularly polished; 1 large broad-spread sapphire; 16 sapphires; 11 emeralds; 4 rubies; 1363 brilliant diamonds; 1273 rose diamonds; 147 table diamonds; 4 drop-shaped pearls; 273 pearls.
Candlesticks plated with silver were first made about a century since. Horace Walpole, in a letter to Mr. Montagu, writes, Sept. 1st, 1760:
'As I went to Lord Strafford's, I passed through Sheffield, which is one of the foulest towns in England, in the most charming situation; there are two-and-twenty thousand inhabitants making knives and scissors; they remit eleven thousand pounds a week to London. One man there has discovered the art of plating copper with silver; I bought a pair of candlesticks for two guineas that are quite pretty.'