"In God We Trust" is
approved as a motto on US coins. In times of war, some folks get religion.
Apparently the inspiration for the motto on U.S. coins came from a letter
sent from Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville,
Pennsylvania, to Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Watkinson
Sir: You are about to submit your annual report to the Congress respecting
the affairs of the national finances.
One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins.
You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were not shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation? What I propose is that instead of the goddess of liberty we shall have next inside the 13 stars a ring inscribed with the words PERPETUAL UNION; within the ring the allseeing eye, crowned with a halo; beneath this eye the American flag, bearing in its field stars equal to the number of the States united; in the folds of the bars the words GOD, LIBERTY, LAW.
This would make a beautiful coin, to which no possible citizen could object. This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my hearth I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters.
act on this day, the motto will be applied to the one-cent and two-cent
coins in 1964. Between 1883 and 1938 its usage will begin to fade; after
1938 all coins will bear the motto. This will be institutionalized by
a law passed by Congress and approved by the President in 1955.
Shakespeare is born, according to traditional reckoning (his baptism will
be recorded in the annals of Holy Trinity Parish in Stratford-upon-Avon
on April 26). He will die on the same date of April 23, in 1616. Miguel
de Cervantes also dies on that date--but not on that day, because England,
unlike Spain, has not yet adopted the Gregorian calendar.
William Caslon, typographer, is born.
Caslon is "the typographical epitome of the English baroque"
the question, 'What is the best type for all purposes which has been
designed from the beginning of printing ntil the present day?' there
can be no uncertain answer. The type is that designed and cut by William
Caslon. It can be used for years for all purposes without palling on
the taste" (Douglas C. McMurtrie).
stick with Caslon until I die" (George Bernard Shaw).
am not a great enthusiast over Caslon. It is at most a safe type for
general use and moderately picturesque" (Bruce Rogers).
"La Marseillaise," is composed by Captain Claude Joseph Rouget
de Lisle on the occasion of France's declaration of war on Austria. (He
performs the song for the first time on the 25th.) Ironically, although
De Lisle supported the monarchy, the song would be taken up by the revolutionary
enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L'étendard sanglant est levé
Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras.
Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes!
Formez vos bataillons
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons
veut cette horde d'esclaves
De traîtres, de rois conjurés?
Pour qui ces ignobles entraves
Ces fers dès longtemps préparés?
Français, pour nous, ah! quel outrage
Quels transports il doit exciter?
C'est nous qu'on ose méditer
De rendre à l'antique esclavage!
ces cohortes étrangères!
Feraient la loi dans nos foyers!
Quoi! ces phalanges mercenaires
Terrasseraient nos fils guerriers!
Grand Dieu! par des mains enchaînées
Nos fronts sous le joug se ploieraient
De vils despotes deviendraient
Les maîtres des destinées.
tyrans et vous perfides
L'opprobre de tous les partis
Tremblez! vos projets parricides
Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix!
Tout est soldat pour vous combattre
S'ils tombent, nos jeunes héros
La France en produit de nouveaux,
Contre vous tout prêts à se battre.
en guerriers magnanimes
Portez ou retenez vos coups!
Épargnez ces tristes victimes
À regret s'armant contre nous
Mais ces despotes sanguinaires
Mais ces complices de Bouillé
Tous ces tigres qui, sans pitié
Déchirent le sein de leur mère!
entrerons dans la carrière
Quand nos aînés n'y seront plus
Nous y trouverons leur poussière
Et la trace de leurs vertus
Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre
Que de partager leur cercueil
Nous aurons le sublime orgueil
De les venger ou de les suivre!
sacré de la Patrie
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs
Liberté, Liberté chérie
Combats avec tes défenseurs!
Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire
Accoure à tes mâles accents
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire!
The US Library of Congress is established by Congress.
French troops land at Cività Vecchia to restore Pius IX.
Spain rejects an ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba and declares war on the
Mass deportation of Armenians from Turkey begins.
Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane is invited to a White House party
by Tricia Nixon. She shows up with Abbie Hoffman, who is on trial for
conspiring to riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Hoffman
is turned away, and Slick leaves with him.
The People's Republic of China launches a satellite transmitting the song
"The East is Red."
An entry in the Jornal de la Chambre of King Edward II shows a pence
a day paid to one "Robyn Hod" for service to the King. Shown is a detail
from "Robin and the Tinker at the Blue Boar Inn" by Howard Pyle,
from his The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown, in Nottinghamshire
(New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1883).
Oliver Cromwell is born.
A scouting party of US soldiers under the command of Captain Seth Thornton
is attacked at el Rancho de Carricitos, about twenty miles from Fort Texas
(later Brownsville). US President Polk takes
advantage of this incident to declare war on Mexico. See The
US-Mexican War, also April 11.
April 25 is a great day for declaring war. This time war is declared on
According to Andreas Capellanus's treatise on courtley love, De
Amore (one of Chaucer's sources for the Canterbury Tales), Marie
de Champagne was asked to arbitrate questions of love, notably whether romantic
love is possible between a man and wife. On this date, she sends her reply
in a formal letter: "No."
Armed with such information, De Amore gives
us the following rules of love:
Rules of Love
Marriage is no excuse for not loving.
2. He who is not jealous can not love.
3. No one can be bound by two loves.
4. Love is always growing or diminishing.
5. It is not good for one lover to take anything
against the will of the other.
6. A male cannot love until he has fully reached
7. Two years of mourning for a dead lover are prescribed
for surviving lovers.
8. No one should be deprived of love without a
9. No one can love who is not driven to do so by
the power of love.
10. Love always departs from the dwelling place
11. It is not proper to love one whom one would
be ashamed to marry.
12. The true lover never desires the embraces of
any save his lover.
13. Love rarely lasts when it is revealed.
14. An easy attainment makes love contemptible;
a difficult one makes it more dear.
15. Every lover turns pale in the presence of his
16. When a lover suddenly has sight of his beloved,
his heart beats wildly.
17. A new love expells an old one.
18. Moral integrity alone makes one worthy of love.
19. If love diminishes, it quickly leaves and rarely
20. A lover is always fearful.
21. True jealousy always increases the effects
22. If a lover suspects another, jealousy and the
efects of love increase.
23. He who is vexed by the thoughts of love eats
little and seldom sleeps.
24. Every action of a lover ends in the thought
of his beloved.
25. The true lover believes only what he thinks
will please his beloved.
26. Love can deny nothing to love.
27. A lover can never have enough of the embraces
of his beloved.
28. The slightest suspicion incites the lover to
suspect the worse of his beloved.
29. He who suffers from an excess of passion is
not suited to love.
30. The true lover is continuously obsessed with
the image of his beloved.
31. Nothing prevents a woman from being loved by
two men, or a man from being loved by two women.
Ferdinand Magellan is killed in the Philippines.
Ralph Waldo Emerson dies from the effects of a cold caught when he attended
the funeral of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Hart Crane jumps overboard, a suicide at 34, while returning by ship from
1770: James Cook "discovers" Botany Bay in Australia.
Fletcher Christian leads a group of mutineers against Captain William
Bligh aboard the HMS Bounty.
Around midnight Adolf Hitler weds Eva Braun (in a Berlin bunker). A day
or two later (April 30) they commit suicide.
After engineering the overthrow of the democratically elected government,
the CIA installs the Shah in Iran, beginning his 25-year dictatorship.
Muhammad Ali refuses induction into the army during the Vietnam War, is
stripped of his championship title by the World Boxing Association. On
June 20th, a federal court convicts Ali for violating the Selective Service
Act, handing him a fine and a five-year prison sentence. In 1971, the
Supreme Court unanimously overturns the conviction. Ali regained his title
in 1974, defeating George Foreman in Zaire.
The Mothers of the Disappeared hold their first rally at Plaza de Mayo,
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Also known as Roodmas, Walpurgisnacht, and May Day, Beltane is one of
the two major sabbats in the wiccan year (the other is halloween, to which
Beltane is the calendrical opposite). The Celtic name Beltane derives
from the Irish Gaelic "Bealtaine" or the Scottish Gaelic "Bealtuinn,"
meaning "Bel-fire," that is, the fire of the Celtic god of light, Bel,
who may be traced to the Middle Eastern god Baal. By Celtic reckoning,
Beltane begins on sundown of the preceding day (so that "May Day" may
be said to occur in April according to the current calendar), because
the Celts figured their days from sundown to sundown. At sundown, Druids
would kindle great Bel-fires on hilltops. The fires were considered to
have healing properties, and witches would jump through the flames to
ensure protection. Beltane celebrations had a strong sexual element, which
is why Puritans made the scandalously (to them at least) suggestive maypoles
(wink wink nudge nudge say no more) illegal in 1644.
Sgt. Howie (shocked): "But they are naked!"
Lord Summerisle: "Naturally. It's much too dangerous
to jump through the fire with your clothes on!"
--from The Wicker Man
(dir. Dir: Robin Hardy, 1973)
As the cross-quarter
between the equinox and the solstice, Beltane represents the final defeat
of winter. Before departing, however, the witches have one last fling.
In Germany, Walpurgisnacht celebrations were similar to those of Halloween,
featuring witches, goblins, and pranks. It was popularized internationally
by the famous scene in Goethe's Faust in which in which Mephistopheles
takes Faust to revel with the witches:
Witches [in Chorus].
The Witches to the Brocken go;
The grain is green, the stubble aglow.
There gathers all the mighty host;
Sir Urian' sits uppermost.
So goes it over stone and stock;
The Witch breaks wind, and stinks the buck. A Voice. Alone old Baubo's coming now;
She's riding upon a farrow sow. Chorus.
So honour to whom honour is due!
In front, Dame Baubo! Lead the crew!
A sturdy sow with mother astride,
All witches follow in a tide. A Voice. Which way did you come here? A Voice. The Ilsenstein way.
I peeped in the owl's nest there today.
She made great eyes at me!
A Voice. Oh, fare on to Hell!
Why ride so pell-mell? A Voice. Just see how she's flayed me!
The wounds she has made me! Witches [Chorus].
The way is broad, the way is long;
What is that mad and crazy throng?
The broomstick pokes, the pitchfork thrusts,
The infant chokes, the mother busts. Wizards [Half Chorus].
We steal along, like snails' our pace;
All women beat us in the race.
If toward Hell we set our pace,
By a thousand steps they win the race. Other Half.
Not so precisely do we take it,
In a thousand steps may woman make it;
Yet though she hastes as ever she can,
In a single leap it's done by man. A Voice [from above]. Come with us from the cliff-bound mere! A Voice [from below]. We'd like to go with you up there.
We wash and we're scoured all bright and clean,
But sterile still as we've always been. Both Choruses.
The wind is stilled, the stars take flight,
The dismal moon fain hides its light;
In whiz and whirr the magic choir
By thousands sputters out sparks of fire. A Voice [from below]. Halt there! Ho, there! Ho! A Voice [from above]. Who calls out from the cleft below? A Voice [below]. Take me too! Take me too!
I'm climbing now three hundred years
And I can never reach the summit.
I want to be among my peers. Both Choruses.
The broomstick bears, and bears the stock,
The pitchfork bears, and bears the buck.
Who cannot lift himself today,
Is a lost man for aye and aye. Half-Witch [below]. I've tripped behind so many a day,
And now the others are far away!
I've no repose at home, and yet
Here too there's none for me to get. Chorus of Witches.
Salve puts a heart in every hag,
Good as a sail is any rag;
A good ship every trough is too.
You'll fly not 'less today you flew. Both Choruses.
And when we glide the peak around,
Then sweep along upon the ground;
Bedeck both far and wide the heather
With all your witchdom's swarm together.
--George Madison Pries, trans.
More fire in the woods: Thoreau accidentally burns 300 acres of forest
near Concord, Massachusetts, during a fishing trip, causing $2,000 in