Born: Bishop Thomas Tanner, 1674 (N. S.), Market
Lavington; Rev. Dr. John Lingard, historian, 1771, Winchester; Sir Robert Peel,
Bart., statesman, 1788, Burg, Lancashire; Dr. John Lindley, botanist, 1799,
Died: Marcus Cato,
46, Utica; James Meyer, Flemish scholar, 1552; Adrian Reland,
Orientalist and scholar, 1718, Utrecht; James, Earl Stanhope, political
character, 1721, Chevening; Dr. Cullen, 1790,
Kirknewton; Lewis Galvani, discoverer of galvanism, 1799, Bologna; Thomas Banks,
sculptor, 1805; General Paoli, Corsican patriot, 1807.
Feast Day: St. Agatha, virgin martyr, patroness of
Malta, 251. The martyrs of Pontus, 304. St. Abraamius, bishop of Arbela, martyr,
348. St. Avitus, archbishop of Vienne, 525. St. Alice (or Adelaide), abbess at
Cologne, 1015. The twenty-six martyrs
of Japan, 1697.
DEATH OF THE FIRST EARL STANHOPE
This eminent person carried arms under King William in
Flanders; and his Majesty was so struck with his spirit and talent that he gave
him a captain's commission in the Foot Guards, with the rank of
lieutenant-colonel, he being then in his 21st
year. He also served under the Duke of Schomberg and the Earl of Peterborough;
and subsequently distinguished himself as Commander-in-Chief of the British
forces in Spain. At the close of his military career, he became an active Whig
leader in Parliament; took office under
Sunderland, and was soon after raised to the peerage. His death was very sudden.
He was of constitutionally warm and sensitive temper, with the impetuous bearing
of the camp, which he had never altogether shaken off.
In the course of the discussion on the South Sea Company's
affairs, which so unhappily involved some of the leading members of the
Government, the Duke of Wharton (Feb. 4th, 1721) made some severe
remarks in the House of Lords, comparing the
conduct of ministers to that of Sejanus, who had made the reign of Tiberius
hateful to the old Romans. Stanhope, in rising to reply, spoke with such
vehemence in vindication of himself and his colleagues, that he burst a
blood-vessel, and died the next day.
'May it be eternally remembered,' says the British
Merchant, 'to the honour of Earl Stanhope, that he died poorer in the King's
service than he came into it. Walsingham, the great Walsingham, died poor;
but the great Stanhope lived in the time of South
GENERAL PAOLI AND
When, in 1769, this patriotic General, the Garibaldi of his
age, was overpowered in defending Corsica against the French, he sought refuge
in England, where he obtained a pension of �1200 a year, and resided until 1789.
Boswell, who had traveled in
Corsica, anticipated introducing him to Johnson; 'for what an idea,' says he, in
his account of the island, 'may we not form of an interview between such a
scholar and philosopher as Mr. Johnson, and such a legislator and general as
Paoli!' Accordingly, upon his arrival in
England, he was presented to Johnson by Boswell, who tells us, they met with a
manly ease, mutually conscious of their own abilities, and the abilities of each
'The General spoke Italian, and Dr. Johnson English, and
understood one another very well, with a little interpretation from me, in
which I compared myself to an isthmus, which joins two great continents.'
Johnson said, 'General Paoli had the loftiest
port of any man he had ever seen.'
Paoli lived in good style, and with him, Johnson says, in one
of his letters to Mrs. Thrale, 'I love to dine.' Six months before his death,
June 25, 1784, the great Samuel was entertained by Paoli at his house in Upper
'There was a variety of dishes much to his (Johnson's)
taste, of all of which he seemed to me to eat so much, that I was afraid he
might be hurt by it; and I whispered to the General my fear, and begged he
might not press him. "Alas!" said the General,
"see how very ill he looks; he can live but a very short time. Would you
refuse any slight gratifications to a man under sentence of death? There is a
humane custom in Italy, by which persons in that melancholy situation are
indulged with having whatever they like to eat and
drink, even with expensive delicacies."'
On the breaking out of the French Revolution, it was thought
that Paoli, by the influence of his name with his countrymen, might assist in
preserving their loyalty against the machinations of the liberals. Repairing to
Paris, he was graciously received by
Louis XVI, and appointed Lieutenant-General of the island. The Revolutionists
were at first too much for him; but, on the war breaking out between England and
France, he, with the aid of the English, drove the French garrisons out of the
island. On departing soon after, he
strongly recommended his countrymen to persist in allegiance to the British
crown. He then returned to England, where he died February 5, 1807. A monument,
with his bust by Flaxman, was raised to his memory in Westminster Abbey.
On the 5th February, in the 31st year
of Henry VI, John French gave to his mother for her life:
'all that tenement or inn, with its appurtenances, called
Savage's Lin, otherwise called the Bell on the Hoop, in the parish of St.
Bridget, in Fleet-street, London, to have and to hold, .... without
impeachment of waste.'
From this piece of authentic history we become assured of the
fallacy of a great number of conjectures that have been indulged in regarding
the origin of the name 'Bell and Savage,' or 'Boll-Savage,' which was for ages
familiarly applied to a well known,
but now extinct inn, on Ludgate hill.
The inn had belonged to a person named Savage. Its pristine sign was a bell,
perched, as was customary, upon a hoop. 'Bell Savage Inn' was evidently a mass
made up in the public mind, in the course of time, out of these two distinct
Moth, in Love's Labour Lost, wishing to prove how
simple is a certain problem in arithmetic, says, 'The dancing horse will tell
you.' This is believed to be an allusion to a horse called Morocco, or Morocco,
which had been trained to do certain
extraordinary tricks, and was publicly exhibited in Shakspeare's time by its
master, a Scotchman named Banks. The animal made his appearance before the
citizens of London, in the yard of the Belle Savage Inn, the audience as usual
occupying the galleries which surrounded the
court in the centre of the building, as is partially delineated in the annexed
copy of a contemporary wood print, which illustrates a brochure published in
1595, under the name of 'Maroccu Erstatictes: or Bankes Bay Horse in a
Traunce; a Discourse set downe in a merry
dialogue between Bankes and his Beast ... entitled to Mine Host of the Belsauage
and all his honest guests.' Morocco was then a young nag of a chestnut or bay
colour, of moderate size.
The tricks which the animal performed do not seem to us
now-a-days very wonderful; but such matters were then comparatively rare, and
hence they were regarded with infinite astonishment. The creature was trained to
erect itself and leap about on its hind
legs. We are gravely told that it could dance the Canaries. A glove being thrown
down, its master would command it to take it to some particular person: for
example, to the gentleman in the large ruff, or the lady with the green mantle;
and this order it would correctly execute.
Some coins being put into the glove, it would tell how many they were by raps
with its foot. It could, in like manner, tell the numbers on the upper face of a
pair of dice. As an example of comic performances, it would be desired to single
out the gentleman who was the greatest
slave of the fair sex; and this it was sure to do satisfactorily enough. In
reality, as is now well known, these feats depend upon a simple training to obey
a certain signal, as the call of the word Up. Almost any young horse of
tolerable intelligence could be trained to do such
feats in little more than a month.
Morocco was taken by its master to be
exhibited in Scotland in 1596, and there it was thought to be animated by a
spirit. In 1600, its master astonished London by making it override the vane of
St. Paul's Cathedral. We find in the Jest-books of the time, that, while this
performance was going on in presence of an enormous crowd, a serving-man came to
his master walking about in the middle
aisle, and entreated him to come out and see the spectacle. 'Away, you fool!'
answered the gentleman; 'what need I go so far to see a horse on the top, when I
can see so many asses at the bottom!'
Banks also exhibited his horse in France, and there, by way
of stimulating popular curiosity, professed to believe that the animal really
was a spirit in equine form. This, however, had very nearly led to unpleasant
consequences, in raising an alarm that
there was something diabolic in the case. Banks very dexterously saved himself
for this once by causing the horse to select a man from a crowd with a cross on
his hat, and pay homage to the sacred emblem, calling on all to observe that
nothing satanic could have been induced to
perform such an act of reverence. Owing, perhaps, to this incident, a rumour
afterwards prevailed that Banks and his curtal [nag] were burned as subjects of
the Black Power of the World at Rome, by order of the Pope. But more authentic
notices show Banks as surviving in King
Charles's time, in the capacity of a jolly vintner in Cheapside.
It may, at the same time, be remarked that there would have
been nothing decidedly extraordinary in the horse being committed with its
master to a fiery purgation. 'In a little book entitled Le Diable Bossu,
Nancy, 1708, 18mo, there is an obscure
allusion to an English horse whose master had taught him to know the cards, and
which was burned alive at Lisbon in 1707; and Mr. Granger, in his
Biographical History of England (vol. iii., p. 164, edit. 1779), has
informed us that, within his remembrance, a horse which
had been taught to perform several tricks was, with his owner, put into the
Inquisition.' �Douce's Illustrations of Shakespeare, i. 214.
THE BATTLE OF PLASSEY
The 5th of February 1757 is noted as the date of
the battle which may be said to have decided that the English should be the
masters of India. Surajah Dowlah, the youthful Viceroy or Nabob of Bengal, had
overpowered the British factory at
Calcutta, and committed the monstrous cruelty of shutting up a hundred and
forty-six English in the famous Black Hole, where, before morning, all but
twenty-three had perished miserably. Against him came from Madras the
'heaven-born soldier' Robert Clive, with about three
thousand troops, of which only a third were English, together with a fleet under
Admiral Watson. Aided by a conspiracy in the Nabob's camp in favour of Meer
Jaffier, and using many artifices and tricks which seemed to him justified by
the practices of the enemy, Clive at length
found himself at Cossimbuzar, a few miles from Plassey, where lay Surajah Dowlah
with sixty thousand men. He had to consider that, if he crossed the intermediate
river and failed in his attack, himself and his troops would be utterly lost.
A council of war advised him against advancing. Yet, inspired
by his wonderful genius, he determined on the bolder course. The Bengalese army
advanced upon him with an appearance of power which would have appalled most
men; but the first cannonade from the
English threw it into confusion. It fled; Surajah descended into obscurity; and
the English found India open to them. One hardly knows whether to be most
astonished at the courage of Clive, or at the perfidious arts (extending in one
instance to deliberate forgery) to which he at
the same time descended in order to out-manoeuvre a too powerful enemy.
The conduct of the English general is defended by his
biographer Sir John Malcolm, but condemned by
Lord Macaulay, who remarks that 'the maxim Honesty is the best policy' is even
more true of states than of individuals, in as
far as states are longer lived, and adds, 'It is possible to mention men who
have owed great worldly prosperity to breaches of private faith; but we doubt
whether it is possible to mention a state which has on the whole been a gainer
by a breach of public faith.'
Insignificant as was the English force employed on this
occasion, we must consider the encounter as, from its consequences, one of the
great battles of the world.