Friday, August 31, 2007

1798 to 1799

1798. "Right," "Center," and "Left" political designations have their origins as France's Council of 500 meets. The assembly hall is semicircular, and the representatives soon develop the habit of seating themselves, with the most revolutionary on the left, the most conservative on the right.

1798. Napoleon Bonaparte occupies Rome.

1798. Bonaparte takes Malta, lands in Egypt and captures Alexandria.

1798. Admiral Horatio Nelson defeats Bonaparte's fleet.

1798. The Alien Acts approved by Congress empower President Adams to order any alien from the country and imprison any alien in time of war. Thomas Jefferson opposes the legislation and drafts Kentucky Resolutions that declare acts of Congress "void and of no force" when Congress "assumes undelegated powers."

1798. Georgia forbids further importation of slaves.

1798. Eli Whitney pioneers the "American system" of mass production with jigs--metal patterns that guide machine tools to make exact replicas of any part--that will doom the handicraft methods of cottage industry. He devises a method for producing firearms from interchangeable parts.

1798. Practical Education by English writer Maria Edgeworth and her father is based on recorded conversations of children with their elders to illustrate a child's chain of reasoning.

1798. The Sedition Act passed by Congress suppresses editorial criticism of the U.S. president and the administration. Thomas Jefferson opposes the measure.

1798. Papermaking gains impetus with the invention of a machine that makes it possible to produce paper from wood pulp in continuous rolls.

"Simon Lee." William Wordsworth. British. 1798. Poetry. Helps an old huntsman dig up the root of a tree and learns of the huntsman's life.

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." ST Coleridge. British. 1798. Poetry. Supernatural punishment of a seaman who shot an albatross, a good omen.

Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth and Coleridge. British. 1798/1800/1802. Poetry. First important publication of the romantic period in English. Preface by Wordsworth in the second edition in 1800: Poetry should be drawn from everyday life and speech. Manifesto of English romanticism. Coleridge: "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Wordsworth: country scenes, people, and written in plain language and style: "Tintern Abbey."

Wallenstein. Friedrich Schiller. German. 1798/99. Three Plays. Intrigued by his power, Wallenstein begins to entertain the idea of deserting the emperor to establish his own political power. Never actually intends to commit treason. Letters are seized and given to the emperor. He flees but is murdered by his own generals.

1799. Gas lighting is pioneered by French chemist Philippe Legon who develops methods for producing inflammable gas from wood.

1799. A stone is discovered at Rosetta whose polished surface has been chiseled with Greek characters, with hieroglyphs and with characters that will later be called demotic. Army Corps of Engineers Captain Boucard believes that the three inscriptions may say the same thing and may be the key to understanding the Egyptian language of antiquity.

1799. English chemist Humphry Davy produces nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") and suggests that the gas may have use as an anesthetic in surgery.

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