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September 16th

Born: James Francis Stephens, entomologist, 1792, Shorcham, Sussex.

Died: Pope Martin I, 655; Pope Victor III, 1087; Charles V the Wise, king of France, 1380, Vincennes; Dean (John) Colet, 1519; Michael Baius, theologian, 1589, Louvain; James II, ex-king of England, 1701, St. Germains, France; Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, constructor of thermometers, 1736; Allen, Earl Bathurst, statesman and man of letters, 1775; Louis XVIII, king of France, 1824.

Feast Day: St. Cornelius, pope and martyr, 252. St. Cyprian, archbishop of Carthage, martyr, 25S. Saints Lucia and Geminianus, martyrs, about 303. St. Euphemia, virgin and martyr, about 307. St. Ninian or Ninyas, bishop and confessor, and apostle of the southern Picts, 432. St. Editha, virgin, 984.


One of the most famous of the Latin fathers, and reputed to be second in point of eloquence only to Lactantius, was a native of Carthage, and became a convert to Christianity at an advanced period of life, having been led to renounce paganism through conversation with an aged presbyter, called Cecilius, whose name he adopted as an addition to his own. The enthusiasm which he displayed on behalf of his new faith caused him soon to be admitted as a priest, and, within less than a year afterwards, to be raised to the dignity of bishop of Carthage, as successor to Donatus. In the exercise of his office he manifested. such zeal, that the pagans, in derision, styled him Coprianus, in allusion to a Greek term for filth; and on the commencement of the Christian persecution under the Emperor Decius, the heathen populace rushed into the market-place shouting: Cyprian to the lions! Cyprian to the wild-beasts!' The danger that threatened him seemed so imminent, that he deemed it expedient for a time to retire from Carthage, though in doing so he exposed himself to some severe animadversions from his brother-clergy of Rome for thus shrinking from the storm, and suffering his flock to perish.

From his place of retreat, however, which seems to have been carefully concealed, he despatched numerous letters to guide and animate his people under their trials. At last, on an abatement of the persecution taking place, Cyprian returned to Carthage, and continued. his episcopal ministrations with great zeal and success, till a fresh season of tribulation commenced for the church under the Emperor Valerian, in 257 A. D. On this occasion, the bishop of Carthage showed no disposition to cower before the blast, but bravely remained at his post to encourage and strengthen his hearers. In the autumn of the last-mentioned year, he was himself apprehended, and brought before the African proconsul, who ordered him into banishment to the city of Curubis, about fifty miles from Carthage. After remaining there for about a twelvemonth, the expectation of still bloodier edicts arriving from Rome, caused him to be brought back to Carthage, and lodged for a time under surveillance in his own country-house near the city.

On the reception of the fatal orders, the Proconsul Galerius Maximus caused Cyprian to be brought before him at his country-seat of Sextus, six miles from Carthage. The tide of popular opinion had now turned entirely in favour of the bishop, who, while a pestilence was raging in the city, had exerted himself with the most heroic ardour, both personally and by calling forth the co-operation of others, in relieving the sufferings and ministering to the necessities of the sick. A noble large-heartedness had also been shewn by him in proclaiming to his people the duty of assisting all sufferers in this terrible visitation, without regard to the circumstance of their being Christian or pagan.

An immense and sympathising crowd accompanied him on the road to the proconsul's house. The proceedings before that functionary appear to have been of a very summary description, as Cyprian, on having replied to a few interrogations, and steadily refused to conform to the pagan ceremonies, was forthwith ordered to be beheaded. He was led a short distance into the country, to an extensive plain, planted with trees, which were ascended by numerous spectators, and was there put to death. His relics are said to have been exhumed in the beginning of the ninth century, by ambassadors of Charlemagne, on their return from a mission to Persia, and conveyed by them to France.


The name of Fahrenheit has been familiarised to a large part of mankind, in consequence of his invention of a thermometer, which has come into almost universal use.

Before the seventeenth century, men could only judge of the amount of heat prevailing at any place by their personal sensations. They could only speak of the weather as hot or very hot, as cold or very cold. In that century, there were several attempts made, by tubes containing oil, spirits of wine, and other substances, to establish a satisfactory means of measuring heat; but none of them could be considered as very successful, although both Halley and Newton applied their great minds to the subject. It was reserved for an obscure and poor man to give us the instrument which has since been found so specially serviceable for this purpose.

Fahrenheit was a native of Danzig, who, having failed in business as a merchant, and having a turn for mechanics and chemistry—possibly, that was what made him fail as a merchant—was fain to take to the making of thermometers for his bread. He at first made his thermometers with spirits of wine, but ere long became convinced that mercury was a more suitable article to be put in the tube; about the same time, finding Danzig a narrow field for his business, he removed to Amsterdam. There, about the year 1720, this patient, humble man completed the arrangement for a mercury-thermometer, very much as it has ever since been fashioned. His instruments were speedily spread throughout the world, everywhere carrying his name along with them.

The basis of the plan of Fahrenheit's instrument, was to mark on the tube the two points at which, respectively, water is congealed and boiled, and to graduate the space between. Through a chain of circumstances, which it would here be tedious to explain, he put 180° between these two points, commencing, however, with 32°, because he found that the mercury descended 32° more, before coming to what he thought the extreme cold resulting from a mixture of ice, water, and sal-ammoniac.

The Royal Society gladly received from Fahrenheit accounts of his experiments, the value of which it acknowledged by making him one of its members (a fact over-looked in all his biographies); and in 1724, the published a distinct treatise on the subject.

Celsius, of Stockholm, soon after suggested the obviously more rational graduation of a hundred degrees between freezing and boiling points the Centigrade Thermo-meter: the Frenchman, Reaumur, proposed another graduation, which has been accepted by his country-men. But with by far the larger part of civilized mankind, Fahrenheit's scale is the only one in use, and probably will be so for a long time to come. To speak, accordingly, of 32° as freezing, of 55° as temperate, 96° as blood-heat, and 212° as the boiling-point, is part of the ordinary habits of Englishmen all over the world. Very true, that the zero of Fahrenheit's scale is a solecism, since it does not mark the extreme to which heat can be abstracted.

This little blemish, however, seems never to have been found of any practical consequence. The arctic voyagers of the last forty years, have all persisted in describing certain low temperatures as below zero of Fahrenheit, the said degrees of temperature being such as the Amsterdam thermometer-maker never dreamed of; as being part of the existing system of things.

It is a pity that we know so little of the personal history of this remarkable man. There is even some doubt as to the year of his death; some authors placing it in 1740.


The statutes which Dean Colet concocted for St. Paul's School, at its founding in the early part of the sixteenth century, afford a picture of his mind, and in fact of the times in which he lived. The children,' he says:

'shall come into the school at seven of the clock, both winter and summer, and tarry there until eleven; and return against one of the clock, and depart at five. In the school, no time in the year, they shall use tallow candle in nowise, at the cost of their friends. Also, I will they bring no meat nor drink, nor bottle, nor use in the school no breakfasts, nor drinkings, in the time of learning, in nowise. I will they use no cock fightings, nor riding about of victory, nor disputing at St. Bartholomew, which is but foolish babbling and loss of time.'

There were to be no holidays granted at desire, unless for the king, or a bishop. The studies for the youth were Erasmus's Copia; Lactantius, Prudentius, and a few such authors; no classic is mentioned; yet the learned dean professes his zeal for 'the true Latin speech;' adding:

'all barbary, all corruption, all Latin adulterate, which ignorant blind fools brought into this world, and with the same hath distained and poisoned the old Latin speech, and the veray Roman tongue which in the time of Sallust and Virgil was used—I say that filthiness and all such abusion, which the later blind world brought in, which more rather may be called Bloterature than Literature, I utterly banish and exclude out of this school.'

September 17th