Saturday, July 9, 2005
1357: Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV lays the cornerstone for a new toll bridge, known today as the Charles Bridge (webcam here) linking together the two sides of Prague.
1749: The foundation of one of Canada's great law schools is laid when General Edward Cornwallis founds a small military outpost on the shore of what the locals call Chebucto, or "Big Harbor." The place will grow to become Halifax, Nova Scotia, home of Dalhousie University.
1755: General Braddock's force of British regulars and colonial militia is routed by a much smaller French and Indian force at the Battle of the Monongahela. Three British survivors of the debacle are George Washington, Daniel Boone, and Daniel Morgan.
1797: Statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke dies at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.
1846: Congress returns half of the District of Columbia to Virginia, concluding that the federal government will never get big enough to occupy even the half of the original 100-square-mile District.
1896: At the Democratic Party convention in Chicago, Senator William Jennings Bryan declares:
"Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!"
1900: Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia.
1901: Romance Queen Dame Barbara Cartland is born. More than a billion copies of her 724 novels have been sold to date.
1938: Justice Benjamin Nathan Cardozo, perhaps the most opulent judicial stylist in U.S. history, dies at age 68. "In truth," he liked to say, "I am nothing but a plodding mediocrity -- please observe, a plodding mediocrity. For a mere mediocrity does not go very far, but a plodding one gets quite a distance."
1955: Eleven leading intellectuals, led by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, sign a manifesto advising the governments of the world not to engage in nuclear war. It apparently works.