1 July 2012
15 February 1564 Galileo Galilei born. He died 8 January 1642. Galileo looked through the telescope, one of the incitements at the head of the mudhook blog.
19 February 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus born. He died 24 May 1543. He proposed a heliocentric model of the solar system.
24 February 1616 Galileo condemned by the Catholic church. His heliocentrism (the sun is the centre of the solar system and the Earth moves around it) described as “foolish and absurd” and heretical. Ordered not to pursue its study or propagation. See 22 June 1633.
19 March 1834 Six Tolpuddle farm workers sentenced to seven years transportation.
They were sentenced for swearing a mutual secret oath but at bottom they were punished for forming a trade union. There was an outcry and the sentence was ended early and trade unions thereby enabled. There is a celebration and commemoration of the Tolpuddle Martyrs organised by trade unionists in the village of Tolpuddle, Dorset every July.
17 April 1870 Robert Tressell, author of the socialist novel The ragged trousered philanthropists, born in Dublin. There is a copy of the book online here.
24 April 1932 Mass trespass of Kinder Scout in the Peak district led by Benny Rothman (1911-2002). The open countryside was privately owned and barred to the public. The mass trespass led to the imprisonment of Rothman and others but was also followed by the creation of the national parks (the first in the Peak in 1949), the 2000 right to roam law, and the 2009 coastal access law. Read accounts of the trespass here. A letter in the Guardian 28 April 2012 gives some details about previous trespasses in the Lake District in 1887.
26 April 1711 David Hume born in Edinburgh. He was probably the greatest of all Scottish and British philosophers. His works can be accessed here. He died 25 August 1776. (New style calendar birth date 7 May 1711)
5 May 1818 Karl Marx born. Two of Marx’s thoughts:
The eighteenth brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852): “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under circumstances they choose, but under circumstances that are existing already, that are given and transmitted from the past.”
In the preface to Das Kapital Marx adapted a line from Dante (Purgatory canto 5,13): “Segui il tuo corso e lascia dir le genti”: Follow your own course and let the world say what it will.
8 May 1800 William LOVETT born at Newlyn. He was a founder of the London Workingmen’s Association and a leading chartist. His autobiography is here. Shamefully, little is made of him in Cornwall.
17 May 1649 Cornet James Thompson, Corporal Perkins, and Private John Church shot dead in cold blood in Burford churchyard on the orders of Oliver Cromwell. These soldiers were Levellers, people who sought a more democratic England. A plaque and bullet holes mark their execution. Another Leveller, Robert Lockyer, had been hanged in London on 27 April 1649.
The Leveller spirit is captured in these two quotations, though Rumbold was an unsteady Leveller:
“The poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he… I think it’s clear, that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government” – Thomas Rainborough at the Putney debates 1647
“I am sure that there was no man born marked by God above another; for none comes into this world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him” – Richard Rumbold on the scaffold at Edinburgh 26 June 1685.
Some Leveller texts
Putney debates October-November 1647
21 June 1964 Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney were murdered in Mississippi. They were anti-racists and supporters of civil rights. The film Mississippi burning is based on their story.
22 June 1633 Galileo condemned by the Catholic church: under house arrest for the rest of his life. See 24 February 1616. Stellar observations by James Bradley in 1725-1727 at Kew and Wanstead led him to formulate the theory of the abberation of light in autumn 1728 which gave practical proof of the movement of the Earth.
1 July 1858 Charles Darwin’s and Alfred Russel Wallace’s papers on evolution read to the Linnean Society. The theory of evolution, along with the discoveries of our world’s geological timescale and changes, changed the way we see ourselves and our world. Here is a copy of On the origin of species which was published on 24 November 1859.
28 August 1963 Martin Luther King gives his “I have a dream speech” looking to an end to segregation and discrimination. You can read it here.
5 October 1936 Start of the Jarrow Crusade, a march on foot of 200 men from Jarrow to London to protest against unemployment in their town.