Monday, August 20, 2007

1783 to 1786

1783. The phrase "not worth a Continental" is heard as inflation reduces the value of paper currency issued by the Continental Congress to finance the Revolution.

1783. The $5 million William Penn estate in Pennsylvania is broken up, as are other large estates held by former Loyalists (Tories).

1783. The Montgolfier brothers give the first public demonstration of an ascension balloon June 5 at Annonay, France.

1783. Webster's Spelling Book by Yale graduate Noah Webster, 25, is published. Webster standardizes American orthography and helps make pronunciation more uniform.

The Village. George Crabbe. British. 1783. Poetry. Realistic response to the artificialities of the pastoral convention, exemplified by Goldsmith's Deserted Village, a sentimentalized picture of rural life. Hardships, evils, sordidness and misery of country-dwellers of the day.

1784. The British transport all Acadians who have remained in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick since the expulsion order of 1755 to Maine and Louisiana.

1784. Serfdom is abolished in Denmark.

1784. French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier pioneers quantitative chemistry.

1784. Experiments on Air by English chemist-physicist Henry Cavendish shows that water results from the union of hydrogen and oxygen.

1784. U.S. Minister to France Benjamin Franklin invents bifocal spectacles.

1784. Shaker leader Mother Ann Lee dies at Watervliet, NY. Shakerism will continue in America, setting an example with inventive orderly methods of building, toolmaking, and furniture making, animal husbandry, cooking and production of woodenware, yarns, textiles and botanical herbs.

1784. Benjamin Franklin exhorts the French to set their clocks ahead 1 hour in the summer and back 1 hour in the fall to take advantage of daylight.

1784. The Shakers will innovate the practice of retailing garden seeds in small, labeled paper packets.

1784. The Acadians will establish Cajun cookery in Louisiana, combining their Canadian recipes with those of the native "injuns."

Love and Intrigue. Friedrich Schiller. German. 1784. Play. Love across social barriers. Musician's daughter and an aristocrat whose father unwittingly causes their deaths.

1785. Congress establishes the dollar as the official currency of the new United States, employing a decimal system devised by Thomas Jefferson.

1785. Steam powers textile machinery for the first time.

The Task. William Cowper. British. 1785. Poetry. Purpose: Leave London and live life of rural ease and pleasure, piety and virtue. Topics: Nature, rural life, animals; simple, hard-working people, social reform. Inspiriting and healing qualities of nature: forerunner to Wordsworth. "God made the country and man made the town."

1786. Russia's Catharine the Great issues a ukase establishing a Pale of Settlement within which Jews may live.

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