1848 (The People's Chronology)
Revolutions erupt throughout Europe, with the first starting January 9 at Palermo. Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies grants a new, more liberal constitution January 29 in response to the popular insurrection.
Paris authorities ban a banquet scheduled for February 22 to demand electoral reform. A riot February 23 leads to an uprising of students and workers, who force Louis Philippe to abdicate and proclaim a new republic. Republican Louis-Antoine Garnier-Pagès, 45, emerges as the leader of anti-monarchist forces and becomes mayor of Paris. Socialist Louis Blanc becomes a member of the republic's provisional government and makes a motion that the government undertake to "guarantee the livelihood of the workers by work" and "to guarantee work for every citizen." The motion is adopted February 25, but most members of the government simply favor a free, democratic republic based on universal suffrage, not a social and economic restructuring.
Sardinia's Charles Albert grants a new, more liberal constitution March 4, but Vienna resists separatist demands, arrests student demonstrators at Padua and Pavia, and reinforces her garrisons in Lombardy and Venetia. Pope Pius IX grants a new, more liberal constitution in the Papal States March 14.
News of the revolution at Paris reaches Vienna March 13, students demonstrate in the streets along with workers, members of liberal clubs, and others, demanding basic freedoms. The government calls out troops to quell the uprising and dismisses Prince Metternich, who leaves for London.
Hungarian liberal leader Lajos Kossuth, 45, presents his party's program to the Diet at Vienna March 15. The upper and lower houses of the Diet adopt what will be called the March Laws that aim to create an independent Magyar state within the Austrian Empire, with all the "lands of the crown of St. Stephen" (including Croatia and Transylvania) to be part of the new Magyar state; its viceroy at Budapest is empowered to exercise the prerogatives of imperial government without having to answer to Vienna. The laws abolish tax exemption for the nobility and abolish also the requirement that peasants provide labor to landlords (the robot), but preserve the power of the gentry, with suffrage based on property ownership (see 1849).
Greek nationalist Dimitríos Kallérgis returns from exile and tries to instigate a revolution, but without success (see 1843; 1854).
Milan has a revolution March 17 as the Milanese hear of the revolution at Vienna 4 days earlier and rise against their Austrian overlords (see Bandiera brothers, 1844). The revolution reaches Budapest March 22, Sardinia's Charles Albert declares war on Austria March 23, and his troops drive the Austrians out of Lombardy and Venetia, forcing them into the area between Mantua, Verona, Peschiera, and Legnano (the Quadrilateral).
Baden lawyers Friedrich Hecker and Gustav von Struve send out a proclamation April 12 urging people in the area to take up arms (see 1847); journalist-poet Georg Herwegh leads 800 French and German workers in the uprising, but only a few thousand respond and although Friedrich, freiherr von Gagern, is killed April 20 at age 53 outside Kandern while leading the first charge against the rebels, Herwegh's force is soundly defeated, his career is nearly ruined, and he flees once more to Switzerland (see 1849).
Marshal Thomas Bugeaud, marquis de la Piconnerie and duc d'Isly, commands the French king's troops but is unable to save the monarchy. Socialist Auguste Blanqui has been released from a prison hospital at Tours just before the revolution and is arrested following a popular demonstration May 15, even though he had no part in it (see 1839); he will be imprisoned again until 1859). Unemployment grows to 118,310 by June 15, up from 6,100 March 7, fighting in the streets becomes more intense, the government recalls army commander Louis Eugène Cavaignac, 46, from Algeria and appoints him minister of war, it backs Cavaignac in putting down a June insurrection, and thousands of workers die at the barricades as Cavaignac quells the revolt, forcing Louis Blanc to take refuge in England, where he will remain until 1870. Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, 40, is elected president of France December 10 (but see 1851).
Prague has a revolution; Austrian troops under the command of field marshal Prince Alfred Candidus Ferdinand zu Windisch-Graetz, 61, move in to suppress the uprising.
Milan's insurrections drive Field Marshal Joseph W. Radetzky out of the city. Now 80, he holds Verona and Mantua for the Hapsburgs, and although defeated at Goito he gains a victory over the Piedmontese Army at Custozza in July and reenters Milan. The Salasco armistice signed August 9 obliges the Piedmontese to withdraw from Lombardy (see 1849).
Bavaria's Ludwig I abdicates under pressure following March "turbulences" (the Märzimruhen) after a reign of nearly 23 years in which he has provoked active discontent by exacting heavy taxes while spending lavishly on public buildings, paintings, and court favorites such as the Irish-born American dancer Lola Montez (née Maria Délores Gilbert), 29. Now 61, Ludwig is succeeded by his eldest son, now 36, who will reign until his death in 1864 as Maximilian II (see 1849).
Vienna suppresses its March insurrection and a second one later in the year, but a third one breaks out October 6 as students and workers take to the streets. Prince Metternich's protégé Felix, fürst zu Schwarzenberg, 48, has been wounded fighting at Goito under the command of Count Radetzky but tries to persuade Vienna's military commander to make a stand. Ordered to join the imperial court at Olmütz October 9, he remains in the city until the 13th. His brother-in-law Field Marshal Alfred, fürst von Windishgrätz, persuades him to form a new government at Vienna October 19, and Schwarzenberg is declared prime minister and foreign minister November 21. The emperor Ferdinand I, now 55, abdicates December 2 after a 13-year reign in which he has been insane much of the time and confused even in his lucid moments. He escaped to Innsbruck May 17 to avoid the disorder at Vienna, returned in mid-August, and has been forced by the new insurrection to flee once again. An 18-year-old nephew of "Ferdy the Dotty" has served under Radetzky in Italy and will reign until 1916 as Franz Josef I.
Roman revolutionists assassinate the prime minister of the Papal States Count Pellegrino Rossi, 61, November 15, precipitating an insurrection. Pope Pius IX replaces him with Giacomo Cardinal Antonelli, 42, who was appointed cardinal last year although he was never ordained as a priest; he remains with the pontiff in the Quirinal Palace and plans his flight to the Bourbon fortress of Gaeta, where the pope makes Antonelli acting head of state (see Roman Republic, 1849).
Britain's Chartist movement revives (see 1843), but "moral force" Chartists such as Thomas Duncombe oppose violent measures favored by Feargus O'Connor, now 54, who was elected to Parliament from Nottingham last year and tells crowds that it may require violence to obtain universal suffrage. The threat of a march on London by 1 million disaffected Britons persuades Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to leave town, but a procession scheduled for April 10 to support Chartism is called off when the government garrisons London on suspicion that a revolt will start that day, only 30,000 people show up, and a heavy rain disperses them. O'Connor presents a Chartist petition that he claims has 6 million signatures, the government announces that the petition contains fewer than 2 million signatures.
Britain suspends the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland in July as political seething follows in the wake of famine and continuing high food prices despite improvement in the potato crop. Irish revolutionaries William Smith O'Brien and Thomas F. Meagher lead a peasant insurrection against British police at Ballingarry, County Tipperary, July 29 (see 1847). Both are arrested, convicted of high treason, and condemned to death, but the sentences are commuted to life imprisonment in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). Meagher will escape in 1852 and make his way to New York after a speaking tour of other U.S. cities (see 1861); O'Brien will be released in February 1854, live at Brussels, and receive a full pardon in May 1856. British Treasury official Charles Edward Trevelyan writes about the Irish, "The great evil with which we are to contend is not the physical evil of famine, but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse, and turbulent character of the people" (see food availability, 1846).
Denmark's Kristian VIII dies at the Amelienborg Palace in Copenhagen January 20 at age 51 after a reign of less than 9 years. He is succeeded by his 39-year-old son, who will rule until 1863 as Frederik VI. The new king is plunged into a war with Prussia over the independent duchies of Schleswig and Holstein (see 1846; 1850).
Switzerland becomes a federal union under a new constitution after centuries of internal hostilities (see 1815). Absent ethnic and religious conflicts, the country will be free to develop commerce, industry, rail lines, communications, and agriculture.
Lord George Bentinck dies at his native Welbeck, Nottinghamshire, September 21 at age 46, having led the protective-tariff advocates in their opposition to Prime Minister Peel's free-trade policy. His death leaves Benjamin Disraeli undisputed leader of the Tory opposition in the House of Commons; former British prime minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, dies at Brocket, near Hatfield, Hertfordshire November 24 at age 69.
The Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo February 2 ends the Mexican War that began in 1846. Under the terms of the treaty, Mexico gives up claims to lands north of the Rio Grande and cedes to the United States vast territories that include California (and what later will be Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona and New Mexico, along with parts of Colorado and Wyoming) in return for $15 million and the assumption by Washington of U.S. claims against Mexico. President Polk is furious at Nicholas Trist for ignoring his recall (Trist will be unable to collect his unpaid salary for years), but the Senate ratifies all but one article of the treaty March 10, the Mexican Congress ratifies it in May, and U.S. soldiers move north of the Rio Grande or leave by sea; Mexico loses more than 1.2 million square miles5 percent of her territory.
Image Pop-UpMexico lost California and much of the southwest in a short war triggered by imperialist sentiments.
Zapotek lawyer Benito Pablo Juárez, 42, wins election as governor of Oaxaco and will soon gain a reputation for honesty and efficiency, beginning a major career in Mexican politics.
Costa Rica establishes herself as a republic August 30 following a period of dictatorship.
A court-martial clears Lieut. Col. John C. Frémont of mutiny charges but finds him guilty of disobedience and conduct prejudicial to military order (see 1847). President Polk commutes his sentence, but Frémont resigns from the army and devotes his efforts to developing his large California estates; they will soon make him a rich man as gold-seekers rush in.
Former president John Quincy Adams suffers a stroke in the House of Representatives February 21 while speaking out against congressmen who demand total annexation of Mexico and he dies 2 days later at age 80; Col. Stephen W. Kearney is promoted to major general in September but dies at St. Louis October 31 at age 54 of a tropical disease contracted in Mexico.
Wisconsin enters the Union May 29 as the 30th state.
U.S. Whigs nominate Mexican War hero Zachary Taylor for the presidency in preference to the controversial party leaders Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, the Democrats nominate Lewis Cass of Michigan, Taylor receives 163 electoral votes to win the election with a 5 percent margin in the popular vote, Cass receives 127 electoral votes, losing New York because Free Soil Party candidate Martin Van Buren has taken away Democratic votes.
Egypt's Ottoman viceroy Muhammad Ali becomes imbecilic at age 79, his adopted son Ibrahim serves as regent, but Ibrahim Pasha dies at Cairo November 10 at age 59 after ruling for a mere 40 days (see 1841; 1854).
Persia's Kajar shah Mohammed dies at age 38 after a 13-year reign that has brought his country to the brink of revolution and bankruptcy. He is succeeded by his 17-year-old son, who has been governor of Azerbaijan and will reign until 1896 as Nasir-ad-Din. His succession is secured mainly through the efforts of his courtier Mirza Taki Khan, 41, who visited Russia as part of a mission in 1829 and realized that Persia would have to make important reforms if it were to survive as a sovereign state; he subsequently served as minister to Azerbaijan and saw the deficiencies of Persia's provincial administration; when he returned last year after serving as minister to Constantinople and witnessing the progress that the Ottoman Turks had made toward modernization, he was appointed to the crown prince's court in Azerbaijan. The new shah expresses his gratitude for Taki Khan's help by making him prime minister and giving him his own sister in marriage, but Persia is virtually bankrupt, her central government is weak, and her provinces are nearly autonomous. Taki Khan will take steps in the next 2½ years to initiate reforms throughout Persian society (but see 1851).
Human Rights, Social Justice
Vienna abolishes serfdom throughout Austria in response to agitation.
France abolishes slavery on the Caribbean island of Martinique; planters import workers from China and India to replace the blacks who have cut their sugar cane and picked their coffee. Universal suffrage is proclaimed on the island but will be abolished in the 1860s.
The end of the Mexican War intensifies the struggle over the right of U.S. Southerners to extend their "peculiar institution" into the territories ceded by Mexico (see Wilmot Proviso, 1846). Georgia-born political leader William L. (Lowndes) Yancey, 33, drafts the Alabama Platform in response to the Wilmot Proviso of 1846, insisting that slaveowners have a perfect right to take their chattel property with them into the new territories, that Congress has a duty to protect the rights of slaveholders, that a territorial legislature is not empowered to ban slavery, and that the Democratic Party should not endorse anyone for national office who is not proslavery. A lawyer, newspaper publisher, and planter who resigned from Congress in September 1846 to devote all his efforts to fighting Northern antislavery agitation, Yancey has his platform endorsed by the Alabama legislature, but the Democratic National Convention that nominates Lewis Cass for president votes overwhelmingly to reject it (see League of United Southerners, 1858).
The abolitionist tract "A Letter to the People of the United States Touching the Matter of Slavery" by clergyman Theodore Parker gains wide readership. Now 38, he has been installed by his supporters as minister of Boston's new 28th Congregational Society.
The New York State legislature passes a Married Women's Property Act that allows divorced women to retain some of their possessions (see Mississippi, 1839). Polish-born feminist Ernestine L. Rose (née Potowski), 38, has addressed the legislature at least five times to urge passage of the measure; a rabbi's daughter who disassociated herself from Judaism at age 14, Rose went to court 2 years ago to regain her late mother's inheritance, which her widowed father had contracted to pay an older man as her dowry; she traveled to England, married a watchmaker, came with him to America, and has been one of Susan B. Anthony's lieutenants in New York. "Freedom, my friends, does not come from the clouds, like a meteor," she says; "it does not bloom in one night; it does not come without great efforts and great sacrifices; all who love liberty have to labor for it." Enacted in April (the State Senate has voted for it 21 to 1, the Assembly 93 to 9), the New York law will be amended repeatedly as male legislators weaken it (see Massachusetts, 1854).
The first Woman's Rights Convention opens July 19 at Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Seneca Falls, N.Y., under the leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 32, and Lucretia Coffin Mott of 1833 Anti-Slavery Society fame. Born in Johnstown, N.Y., Stanton moved to Seneca Falls from Boston in the spring of last year along with her husband, Henry (whose law firm had broken up), three young sons, and some servants. The town's population is about 7,000 and is prospering with 115 factories. Stanton has met for tea July 9 at the home of Mary Ann M'Clintock in nearby Waterloo with three neighbors, plus Mott, who was visiting, and a few days later wrote a Declaration of Sentiments, listing grievances and remedies. James Mott presides over the second day's session, it convenes July 20, and it is open to men as well as women; some 300 people attend, including Frederick Douglass, and 10 articles of the Declaration are approved without dissent. An 11th article demanding the right to vote creates a furor, with Henry Stanton among those who oppose it, but Frederick Douglass speaks out in support of it, saying that without the power to vote women will be unable to achieve their ends. The article is adopted, and the convention launches a women's rights movement (see 1850).
German missionary-explorer Johannes Rebmann, 28, sights the snow-covered peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in May and becomes the first European to observe Africa's highest peak. He arrived in East Africa 2 years ago with missionary Johann Ludwig Krapf, began work with the coastal tribes, and is the first European to penetrate from the Indian Ocean into the interior of the continent. Although his accounts will meet with initial disbelief at home, his sketch map of an enormous lake (Nyasa) will stimulate scientific interest in discovering the source of the Nile (see Livingstone, 1855; Mackinder, 1899; d'Abruzzi, 1906).
Gold is discovered in California January 24 by New Jersey-born prospector James W. Marshall, 38, while working to free the wheel in the millrace for a sawmill he is building on the American River for Johann Sutter (see 1841). He has reduced the flow of water in the millrace and spotted in the shallow stream a lump of gold that he will later describe as "about half the size and of the shape of a pea." Sutter tries to keep Marshall's discovery a secret in order to avoid disruption of his farm, but the news appears August 19 in James Gordon Bennett's New York Herald, San Francisco's population of 800 quickly mushrooms, President Polk confirms the news December 5, and by year's end some 6,000 men are working in the gold fields on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada (see 1849).
Image Pop-UpCalifornia gold attracted thousand of prospectors. A few struck it richt a terrible cost to the environment.
Publication of the "Communist Manifesto" in English at London in January arouses workers (see 1847). The 23-page pamphlet is almost entirely the work of Karl Marx and gains wide readership throughout much of the Continent as it is translated into virtually every European language (in German it is the "Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei"), but it is high food prices and the social dislocations resulting from the Industrial Revolution rather than the Manifesto that are chiefly responsible for the political insurrections that erupt in so many cities.
"Wage, Labour and Capital" by Karl Marx is published as a pamphlet (see 1847). Marx has returned to Cologne at the outbreak of revolution and founded the journal Neue Rheinische Zeitung, but he will be expelled from Prussia next year (see 1867). Economist Frédéric Bastiat campaigns against socialism and communism, identifying socialism with protectionism (see 1846).
Bavaria abolishes her medieval guild restrictions, opening the way for industrialization.
The Comptoir National d'Escompte is established at Paris.
The 48-year-old Banque de France receives rights to issue banknotes throughout the country, absorbs about nine country banks, turns them into branches, but encounters competition from the newly founded Comptoir National d'Escompte de Paris.
The first iron made from ore mined in the Lake Superior region comes off the forge February 10 on the Carp River in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (see 1844). More small forges will spring up in the next few years, but hauling ore to the forges, transporting iron to the lake, and then moving it to rolling mills in Ohio and Pennsylvania will be so expensive that the iron will cost $200 per ton when the market rate is less than $80 (see technology, [Mesabi range], 1890; transportation [Sault Ste. Marie Canal], 1855).
Pennsylvania enacts a child labor law March 28 to restrict the age of workers (see Massachusetts, 1842; Owen-Keating Act, 1916).
John Jacob Astor dies at New York March 28 at age 84, leaving a fortune of $20 million acquired in the fur trade and New York real estate. Astor has made himself the richest man in America (see 1834); former North West Company fur trader Duncan Cameron dies at Williamstown, Canada West, May 18 at age 73.
Samuel Cunard's 9-year-old Royal Mail Steamship Line makes New York its base for transatlantic operations (see 1839). Cunard's 1,422-ton wooden-hulled S.S. Hibernia arrived at New York in December of last year; it has a service speed of 9½ knots per hour.
The 538-ton mail clipper Deutschland goes into transatlantic service for the Hamburg-Amerikan Packet Co. (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actiengesellschaft), founded last year by German shipping interests.
The Pacific Mail Steamship Co. incorporated April 12 by the New York State legislature contracts with engineers to build a rail link across the Isthmus of Panama that will facilitate transportation between Atlantic Coast ports and San Francisco. New York financier and lawyer Thomas W. (William) Ludlow, now 54, helps local merchant William H. Aspinwall, his brother Lloyd, his uncles Gardiner G. and Samuel Howland, Richard Alsop, Edwin Bartlett, Henry Chauncey, and former transatlantic steamship operator John Lloyd Stephens establish the company with a capitalization of $400,000 (see 1849).
The sidewheeler California leaves New York October 6 under the command of Capt. Cleveland Forbes on a voyage that will take it around Cape Horn and on to California. The 1,060-ton vessel in the service of the new Pacific Mail Steamship Co. is not set up to carry passengers and has almost none (but see 1849).
Kentucky-born entrepreneur Alexander Majors, 33, gives up farming and goes into business August 10 with six wagons and teams carrying freight from Independence, Mo., to Santa Fe in New Mexico territory. Avoiding travel and all but the most necessary work on Sundays, making his men take a pledge not to use profane language, gamble, get drunk, or do anything "incompatible with the conduct of a gentleman," he makes the round trip in 92 days and clears $1,500 (see Russell, Waddell, 1854).
The 4-year-old New York and New Haven Railroad buys a perpetual right to operate on the New York & Harlem's right-of-way into Manhattan, enabling people to commute to work in Manhattan from suburban communities such as Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Portchester, Rye, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Greenwich, and Westport (see 1844; depots, 1857).
Merchant Asa Whitney, now 56, invents a process for annealing car wheels that will increase their speed and capacity (see 1844). A. Whitney & Son will produce 75,000 of the wheels per year, making a fortune.
Spain gets her first railway as a line opens between Barcelona and Mataró (see Cuba, 1837), but large-scale construction will not begin until the next decade following passage of laws that make railway investment attractive to foreign investors. Antagonism toward France will drive a decision to build tracks with an unusually broad gauge (1,674 millimeters, roughly 5½ feet) compatible with Portuguese standards but not French. Narrow-gauge lines will be built in the poorer parts of Spain, and by the 1870s the country will have a mainline network, but it will never be as well served by rail as other European countries (see 1939).
London's first Waterloo Station opens July 11 to serve the London South West Railway (see Euston, 1837). It will be rebuilt in 1853 and reopened as the "new" Waterloo Station in 1922, and remain the city's largest rail terminal (see King's Cross, 1852).
Locomotive inventor George Stephenson dies at Tapton House, Chesterfield, August 12 at age 67. His son Robert, 44, was appointed chief engineer of the London and Birmingham Railway in 1833 after serving as a mining engineer in New Granada and will make a reputation rivaling that of his late father.
The Niagara Falls Bridge opens to traffic in August, spanning the Niagara River just below the Falls to connect New York State with Ontario. Designed and built by Charles Ellet, Jr. of 1842 Schuylkill River bridge fame, the eight-foot-wide span is suspended from four cables that are supported by two 80-foot wooden towers on each side of the river (see 1855; Ellet, 1849).
The Prussian Army adopts a "needle gun" designed in the late 1820s by gunsmith Johann Nikolas Dreyse, now 61, to replace the muzzle-loading flint-lock muskets that all armies have used for centuries (see 1786). The world's first successful breech-loading military rifle, the bolt-action weapon uses a long, slender, needlelike firing pin to penetrate through a black-powder propelling charge and detonate a primer (usually fulminate of mercury) seated against the base of the bullet (see Battle of Sadowa, 1866; Minié ball, 1849).
Rubber manufacturer Stephen Moulton begins production in a former woollen mill at Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire (see 1842). Now 54, he obtained a patent last year on the use of lead hyposulfite instead of the elemental sulfur employed by Thomas Hancock or the lead oxide by Charles Goodyear, but Hancock's patent bars him from making rubber products that compete with those made by Hancock. Moulton will patent a railway suspension unit in 1861 that embeds coiled springs in a block of rubber, and his railway and carriage springs will earn him a fortune.
Ring spinning machine inventor John Thorp dies at Providence, R.I., November 15 at age 64.
Belfast-born Scottish physicist and mathematician William Thomson, 24, proposes an absolute scale of temperatures. It will be called the Kelvin scale after 1892, when Queen Victoria raises Thomson to the peerage as Baron Kelvin of Largs (see thermodynamic theory, 1851).
French chemist Louis Pasteur, 26, becomes interested in the shapes of crystals and makes an interesting discovery: starting with a mixture of sodium ammonium tartrate (a salt of tartaric acid), he lets it crystallize and observes that it has two slightly different kinds of crystal shapes, identical except that they are mirror images of each other: their properties are the same, but when he dissolves them he finds that one crystal shape rotates polarized light to the left, the other to the right (see Wislicenus, 1873; Hoff, Le Bel, 1874).
English naturalists Henry W. (Walter) Bates, 23, and Alfred Russel Wallace, 25, travel to Brazil with only £100 between them, journey up the Amazon to Manaus, and go their separate ways in search of insect specimens. Wallace moves up the Rio Negro into the world's largest primeval forest and spends 40 days collecting rare butterflies and beetles, all of which will be lost when his homeward bound ship catches fire en route down the Amazon in 1852 (see 1858; Bates, 1863).
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is founded at Philadelphia on the model of the 17-year-old BAAS (see 1863).
Chemist Baron Jöns Jakob Berzelius dies at Stockholm August 7 at age 68; chemist Samuel Guthrie at Sackett's Harbor, N.Y., October 19 at age 56; mathematician-theologian Bernhard Bolzano at his native Prague December 18 at age 67.
New York police arrest anesthesia pioneer Horace Wells for throwing acid on New York prostitutes while under the influence of chloroform and he commits suicide January 24 at age 33 in a fit of apparent despondence (see 1847; Simpson, 1847).
Hungarian obstetrician Ignác Fülöp (Ignaz Philipp) Semmelweiss, 30, shows that childbed fever (puerperal fever) is contagious (see Holmes, 1843). He points out that physicians and medical students scurry from dissecting gangrenous cadavers in autopsy rooms to examining childbearing mothers, and while some of his colleagues ascribe the deadly fever to hysterias and miasmas, Semmelweiss reduces its incidence at a Vienna hospital by requiring that attending physicians wash their hands in chlorinated water before examining women patients (see 1850).
Parliament approves a Public Health Act that establishes the first British sanitary regulations following a campaign by Board of Health commissioner Edwin Chadwick (see 1842). Enacted with support from Prime Minister Russell, the new law provides for local administration to encourage people to participate in protecting themselves from disease. John Simon, 32, is appointed London's first medical officer of health; creating a public health service that will be a model for other nations, he will establish the science of epidemiology by showing how environmental conditions can influence the spread and severity of disease.
Münster-born Roman Catholic priest Wilhelm Emmanuel Ketteler, 36, delivers an address September 21 at the funeral of a Prussian general and prince who were killed in the riots at Frankfurt. He exonerates the great mass of the German people from responsibility for their deaths, and at the Catholic Congress of Mainz in October he offers a toast to "the plain people," declaring that just as religion needs freedom, so does freedom need religion (see 1850).
The Oneida Community is founded in central New York State by sawmill owner Jonathan Burt and Vermont preacher John Humphrey Noyes, who has been pressed by his neighbors to leave Vermont and has moved with 25 adherents to the communal association founded earlier by Burt and others (see 1851).
Boston parent Benjamin F. Roberts takes his daughter Sarah to the primary school nearest his home in Andover Street February 15 but she has no ticket of admission and a teacher ejects the child (see 1847). Roberts files suit against the city (see human rights, 1850).
The University of Mississippi ("Old Miss") opens at Oxford with a liberal-arts curriculum, having been chartered in 1844 under federal legislation enacted in 1815 and 1819 to set aside lands for the creation of a seminary. A law school will be established in 1854, and women will be admitted to the college as undergraduates beginning in 1882 and as faculty members 3 years later.
The University of Wisconsin opens at Madison.
An electric telegraph line opens between New York and Chicago (see Morse, 1844; Western Union, 1856).
The Associated Press has its beginnings in the New York News Agency formed in May by a group of six New York newspapers to save money in using the new telegraph connection whose high rates will be set by the private Western Union monopoly (see 1856). Each newspaper has its own political and social views, the supposedly neutral news agency is intended to report only the facts, without bias; the need to wire information economically (and allow for transmission problems) dictates an "inverted pyramid" style of reporting in which the most important facts come first. The name Associated Press will be adopted in 1851, and the AP monopoly will for years have an exclusive deal with Western Union (see 1893; Reuters, 1851).
Die Presse begins publication at Vienna July 3 under the direction of August Zang, a professor of medicine at Wurzburg, as press censorship is lifted after 58 years (see 1790). The new daily has three wide columns per page and will break the monopoly held since 1703 by the Wiener Zeitung as its circulation rises to 13,000 by 1851, 23,000 by 1854, and 28,000 by 1859. It will become Austria's leading daily, albeit not the one with the largest circulation.
The semi-angular "Spencerian" style of penmanship gains widespread acceptance with help from copy-slips issued by East Fishkill, N.Y.-born Geneva, Ohio, teacher Platt Rogers Spencer, 47, who had little formal schooling but developed a passion early in life for calligraphy and by age 20 had devised an easily legible sloping style that he has taught in a log house on his farm. He will publish copy books in 1855 and follow them with textbooks that five of his six sons and a favored nephew will use to promote his style.
Dictionary of Americanisms: A Glossary of Words and Phrases, Usually Regarded as Peculiar to the United States by Providence, R.I., bibliographer John Russell Bartlett, 42, will go through four editions and be translated into Dutch and German.
Nonfiction: Principles of Political Economy by British economist-philosopher John Stuart Mill, now 42, is a classic text on economics. An employee of the East India Company, Mill follows the abstract 1817 theory of David Ricardo but applies economic doctrines to social conditions and expresses them in human terms; Histoire du Canada by Quebec-born city clerk François-Xavier Garneau, 39, is a pioneering French-language work concerned largely with political and military events (the first volume of his history appeared 3 years ago).
Writer-statesman François René de Chateaubriand dies at Paris July 4 at ae 79.
Fiction: Vanity Fair by English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, 37, whose self-seeking adventuress Becky Sharp serves to illustrate his essential point that society puts a premium on hypocrisy, and that a person without money or position can succeed only by violating the ethical principles to which society pays lip service; Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son, Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation by Charles Dickens; Mary Barton by English novelist Elizabeth (Cleghorn Stevenson) Gaskell, 38, who gains immediate success with her realistic portrayal of Manchester factory life; The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brönte, whose second novel is the story of a young mother seeking asylum from her husband, a drunken profligate; Harold, or the Last of the Saxon Kings by Edward Bulwer-Lytton; La dame aux camélias by French novelist-dramatist Alexandre Dumas, 24, illegitimate son of Alexandre Dumas père, whose doomed Marguerite Gautier and her lover, Armand Duval, will appear on the stage in 1852.
Novelist Frederick Marryat dies at Langham, Norfolk, August 9 at age 56; Emily Brontë catches cold at her brother Branwell's funeral and dies of tuberculosis at Haworth, Yorkshire, December 19 at age 30.
Poetry: "The Bothie of Toberna-Vuolich" by English poet Arthur (Hugh) Clough, 29, who resigns as a fellow of Oxford's Oriel College to protest the Oxford Movement and the establishment's Irish famine policies; "A Fable for Critics" by James Russell Lowell, whose Biglow Papers continue in the Boston Courier: "A weed is no more than a flower in disguise;" "The Vision of Sir Launfal" by Lowell: "And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days."
Poet Annette von Droste-Hülsoff dies at Meersburg, Baden, May 25 at age 51.
Painting: Portrait Equestre d'Ala ben Hamet, Calife de Constantine by Théodore Chassériau; Roman Newsboys by Lumberville, Pennsylvania-born painter Martin Johnson Heade, 29, who has trained under Edward Hicks and is making a second visit to Rome. Thomas Cole dies at Catskill, New York, February 11 at age 47.
Theater: You Can't Be Sure of Anything (Il ne Faut Jurer de rien) by Alfred de Musset 6/22 at the Comédie-Française, Paris; The Candle-Stick (Le Chandelier) by de Musset 8/10 at the Théâtre Historique, Paris; Andrea del Sarto (André del Sarto) by de Musset 11/21 at the Comédie-Française.
Opera composer Gaetano Donizetti dies of syphilis in a cholera epidemic at his native Bergamo, near Milan, April 8 at age 50, having long since lost his good looks and gone insane.
March: "Radetzky March" by Viennese composer Johann Strauss, 44, who sides with the revolutionists against the emperor. The new emperor Franz Josef refuses to have Strauss waltzes played at court balls.
Popular songs: "Oh! Susanna!" by Pittsburgh songwriter Stephen Collins Foster, 21, is sung February 25 by G. N. Christy of the Christy Minstrels. Foster's song will be in the repertoire of every minstrel show and gold-seekers will sing it en route to California; "Ben Bolt, or Oh! Don't You Remember" by Louisville composer Nelson Kneass, lyrics by Thomas Dunn English.
A solid gutta-percha golf ball replaces the leather-covered feather-stuffed ball used in Britain for centuries (see 1457). Made from a rubberlike gum produced by the sapodilla tree in Southeast Asia, the new ball travels 25 yards farther than any feather ball and (at one shilling per ball) is cheaper, making golf more affordable and quickly increasing the game's popularity. Molding the balls to give them a raise or indented surface will improve their flight, and professional golfer Tom Morris, now 27, will begin using gutta-percha balls in 1852, but some players will claim that he takes unfair advantage and will not speak to him (see liquid-center ball, 1899).
Former bareknuckle boxing champion Tom Cribb dies at Woolwich, London, May 11 at age 66, having retired undefeated in 1822 after going for 11 years without a challenger.
Britain introduces khaki uniforms for her colonial troops in India. The word is Hindi for dust-colored, and the uniforms are designed to make soldiers less visible in battle and on field maneuvers.
Spain's Seville Fair has its beginnings in an April cattle market that will grow to become an annual 6-day feria of bullfighting, horsemanship, and flamenco dancinghe greatest fair in Europe.
State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum is the world's first commercial chewing gum. Manufactured on the top of a Franklin stove by Bangor entrepreneur John B. Curtis and his brother, it is made from spruce resin and beeswax, sells at two pieces for a penny, but initially has trouble gaining acceptance. The Curtis brothers will move to Portland in 1850, find that spruce resin has impurities that are hard to remove, add parrafin gums to their line, and grow until their Curtis Chewing Gum Co. has a three-story plant, 200 employees, and flavors that will include Biggest and Best, Four-in-Hand, Licorice Lulu, Sugar Cream, and White Mountain (see Semple, 1869).
The Illustrated London News publishes a drawing of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children gathered around a Christmas tree hung with ornaments. Christmas trees have not generally been used outside of some German states, but British commoners begin to adopt the practice (see 1850).
The New York High Bridge goes up to carry an aqueduct that brings Croton water across the Harlem River to Manhattan (see 1842). A steel arch will replace five of the masonry arches in 1920.
Passenger pigeons appear to mate only occasionally in the eastern United States but remain plentiful in the new state of Wisconsin (see 1813; 1871).
Puerto Rican sugar prices fall to 1¢/pound, down from 5¢ in 1840; barely one third of the island's plantations will survive the economic downturn, and by 1860 only 550 will be left. Some plantations have begun mechanizing their operations, doubling the amount of sugar produced from a given amount of cane and reducing the time needed to process it, but only 48 haciendas are mechanized with steam engines; the others continue to use animal power.
The Chicago Board of Trade has its beginnings April 3 in a commodity exchange opened at 101 South Water Street by 82 local businessmen who buy and sell cash-forward contracts, enabling farmers, millers, bakers, and speculators to deal with the fact that grain prices plummet when supplies are bountiful at harvest time and soar when supplies dwindle. Served by 400 vessels, 64 of them steamers, Chicago has become a major shipping point for grain and livestock from the Midwest bound for the Atlantic seaboard (see 1865).
Chicago's Cyrus McCormick produces 500 reapers in time for the harvest (see 1847; 1849).
Mormon farmers begin plowing the shores of Great Salt Lake and introduce irrigation to U.S. agriculture (see 1847).
"Bartlett" pears are introduced by Dorchester, Massachusetts, merchant Enoch Bartlett, 69. He buys them from Roxbury farmer-sea captain Thomas Brewer, who some years ago introduced to America the pear known in France and England as the bon chrétien.
Famine strikes Europe; Denmark and Belgium permit grain imports free of duty to relieve the hunger.
A Treatise on the Falsification of Foods and the Chemical Means Employed to Detect Them by English analytical chemist John Mitchell is published at London (see Accum, 1820; Hassall and Letheby, 1851).
Food And Drink
News of last year's Donner Party experience reaches Galveston, Tex. Local surveyor-land agent Gail Borden, 47, determines to make foods that will be long-lasting and portable (see 1849).
Failure of the liberal movement in the German states forces hundreds of young men to flee for their lives. Many will emigrate to Wisconsin, while German Jews will emigrate to New York, Boston, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and some Southern cities. Losses to disease, emigration, and starvation reduce Ireland's population by more than one-third to about 6 million.
San Francisco loses three-fourths of its population in 4 months as men hurry to strike it rich in the gold fields.