1754 (The People's Chronology)
Britain's prime minister Henry Pelham dies at London March 6 at age 58. His brother Thomas Pelham-Holles, 60, 1st duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, takes his place. One of the nation's richest Whig landowners, the new prime minister has holdings in 12 counties and a yearly rental income of nearly £40,000. He has been secretary of state for the past 30 years.
London-born malt distiller's son John Wilkes, 28, stands for election to Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed but fails, although he has bribed a seacaptain to land a party of opposition voters in Norway rather than at Berwick. A profligate who married an heiress in May 1747, Wilkes participates in the secret Knights of St. Francis of Wycombe, founded 2 years ago by the profligate courtier Sir Francis Dashwood, now 46, 2nd Baronet Dashwood, who inherited his title and fortune at age 16 and whose group is known as "The Hell-Fire Club" or the "Mad Monks of Medmenham" because it is said to conduct obscene parodies of Roman Catholic rituals and engage in debauchery in the Gothic "ruins" of Medmenham Abbey, built for the purpose in Buckinghamshire between London and Oxford (other members include John Montagu, 4th earl of Sandwich, artist William Hogarth, and prominent poets; see Wilkes, 1757).
Paris recalls colonial administrator Joseph François Dupleix, now 57, from India after a 12-year career as governor general of all French possessions in the subcontinent. The British are left in firm control (see 1760).
The Mughal emperor Ahmad Shah is blinded and deposed at Delhi by his vizier Imad ul-Mulk Ghazi-ud-Din and some Maratha cohorts after a 6-year reign in which he has allowed the Afghan chief Ahmad Shah Durrani to plunder northwest India on two occasions, permitted the Afghan to extort lands and money from him, and fled a demonstration by the Marathas at Sikanderabad, abandoning the women of his family to captivity. The hapless Ahmad Shah is replaced by Aziz-ud-din Alamgir II, a son of the late Jahandar Shah, who will reign until 1759 as Alamgir II (but see 1757).
The Ottoman sultan Mahmud I dismounts from his horse at Constantinople December 13 and drops dead at age 60. His 55-year-old brother inherits the throne and will reign until 1757 as Osman III.
French troops rout a force of Virginia frontiersmen building a fort at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers April 17, defeating a small British colonial expeditionary force led by George Washington (see 1753). Now 22, Colonel Washington subsequently ambushes a small unit of Frenchmen under the command of Ensign Joseph de Jumonville, who is wounded but approaches Washington with an official-looking document. Washington looks over his shoulder to summon his translator, whereupon the Iroquois "Half King" Tanaghrisson who has guided the Virginians cries, "Tu n'est pas encore mort, mon père" ("Thou are not yet dead, my father") and bashes in Jumonville's skull with a hatchet (he reaches into the skull, takes out a handful of brains, and washes his hands in the gore). Jumonville's document turns out to be an ultimatum to the British to keep out of the Ohio country, that being the property of "His Most Christian Majesty, Louis XV"). The French and their Indian allies defeat Washington again July 3 near a stockade called Fort Necessity in the Ohio Valley, wiping out a third of his Virginia Regiment; they force him to surrender and erect Fort Duquesne at the head of the Ohio River, hoping to confine the British to the area east of the Appalachians while they build a Gallic empire in the lands to the west (see Braddock, 1755).
The Albany Convention June 19 assembles representatives of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the New England colonies in a meeting with chiefs of the Six (Iroquois) Nations in order to work out a joint plan of defense by Iroquois and British colonial forces against the advances of the French. Lincolnshire-born Cambridge graduate Thomas Pownall, 32, arrived at New York in October of last year as secretary to Sir Danvers Osborn, who had been sent by his brother-in-law Lord Halifax to serve as governor of New York but committed suicide 2 days after taking office, depressed by the recent death of his wife. Having formed friendships with Benjamin Franklin, James De Lancey, Sir William Johnson, and other prominent men, Pownall presents a memorandum at Albany pointing out the importance of British control of the Great Lakes (see Pownall, 1757). Adopting a proposal by Benjamin Franklin, the convention issues a call July 10 for voluntary union of the 13 British colonies.
Image Pop-UpBenjamin Franklin's cartoon of May 1754 was more than 20 years premature. Colonial governments spurned his advice.
Pittsburgh has its beginnings in Fort Duquesne, built by the French at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in the western part of the Pennsylvania colony (see politics, 1759).
Money from sugar, tobacco, sea-island cotton, and other commodities grown in the New World with slave labor rivals money from East India Company ventures to create a growing leisure class in England. The Company has begun to export spices from India, challenging the Dutch (see 1780).
The first iron-rolling mill opens at Foreham in Hampshire.
A Society for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufactures is founded in England.
Berlin chemist Andreas S. Marggraf shows that alumina is an oxide distinct from lime (see Davy, 1807).
Mathematician Abraham de Moivre dies at London November 27 at age 87, having pioneered the development of analytic trigonometry and probability theory.
The Spanish Church becomes practically independent of Rome under terms of a Concordat with the Vatican. The Church is placed under Spanish government control.
Columbia University has its beginnings in the King's College founded at New York (see 1784).
The Yorkshire Post has its beginnings in the weekly Leeds Intelligencer founded by journalist Griffith Wright, whose paper will change its name and become a daily beginning in 1866.
Painting: The Election by William Hogarth; Ponte Molle, Monte Mario by Richard Wilson; The Judgment of Paris by François Boucher.
Theater: English actress Frances Abington (née Barton), 18, makes her debut at London's Haymarket Theatre after a career as flower girl, street singer, milliner, and kitchenmaid. She will perform at the Haymarket until 1759, play in Dublin, and return to London to join David Garrick's company at the Drury Lane, excelling in comic roles.
Danish playwright-poet-essayist Ludvig, Friherre (Baron) Holberg dies at Copenhagen January 28 at age 69. He has been the leading voice of the Enlightenment in Scandinavia and called "the Molière of the North"; playwright-novelist Henry Fielding travels to Portugal for his health but dies at Lisbon October 8 at age 47. His travel account Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon will be published next year.
Opera: The Country Philosopher (Il filosofa di campagna) at Venice with music by composer Baldassare Galuppi, 47, whose comic opera will be the most popular of many that he will write. Born on the island of Burano, he has gained fame as "Il Buranello."
"Treatise on Music" ("Trattato di musica") by violinist-composer Giuseppe Tartini sets forth a theory of harmony based on affinities with algebra and geometry. Now 62, Tartini has contributed to the science of acoustics by discovering the difference tone third note that is heard when two notes are played steadily and with intensity (it will also be called the Tartini tone) (see 1767).
Scotland's Royal and Ancient Golf Club has its beginnings in an organization founded at St. Andrews, Fife, by 22 local "noblemen and gentlemen" (see 1552; Edinburgh, 1744). It will make the 18-hole round standard beginning in 1764 by establishing the tradition of nine holes out and nine holes back, and adopt the R. and A. name in 1834 (see 1919).
Architecture, Real Estate
St. Petersburg's turquoise and white Winter Palace is completed to designs by the Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, 54, whose late father, Carlo, served as sculptor to Peter the Great.
Copenhagen's Amalienborg Palace is completed to designs by Danish architect Nikolai Eigtved, who dies at age 50.
Philadelphia's Christ Church is completed after 27 years of construction: the 200-foot steeple is the tallest structure in North America.
Woodcarver and interior designer Nicolas Pineau dies at his native Paris April 24 at age 69; John Wood at Bath May 23 at age 50 (approximate), leaving his son and namesake, now 26, to complete his plans for the Circus and Royal Crescent; James Gibbs dies at London August 5 at age 71, never having married.
Food And Drink
English porcelain production gets a boost from Quaker pharmacist William Cookworthy, 49, of Plymouth, Devonshire, who finds a deposit of kaolin in Cornwall (see d'Entrecolles, 1712). China maker Andrew Duché of the Georgia colony visited Cookworthy 9 years ago and piqued his interest in making china. The kaolin deposit he finds is the only domestic source of china clay, and in 1756 he will find the only domestic deposit of china stone (petuntse), the feldsparlike material that is mixed with kaolin to produce fine porcelain (see 1768).
Paris has 56 coffeeshops, or cafés (see 1672).
A census of New France shows that the colony still has only 55,000 white inhabitants, despite 2 centuries of French government efforts to encourage colonization. Civil and religious authorities have tried to restrict settlers to farming, since fur traders pay neither seigneurial duties nor tithes, but the profits to be made in fur trading have nevertheless drawn young men to the west.