Fresh diplomatic and military problems were brewing for England in other parts of Europe. In Paris, Benjamin Franklin was being introduced to a German soldier with a military reputation, and a generous dollop of dubious claims to nobility, by the name of Frederic William Augustus Steuben. And the Comte de Saint-Priest, ambassador at Constantinople, was suggesting that the Ottoman Empire be used to undermine "the English domination of Bengal."

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as usual, was keeping himself gainfully occupied in 1777. In January his "Concerto No. 9 for Pianoforte and Orchestra in E flat major" had its premiere in Salzburg. And on October 22nd, less than a week after Burgoyne's army surrendered to Horatio Gates, the composer's "Concerto for Three Pianofortes and Orchestra in F major" premiered.

Two men who would lay foundations of modern science were born in 1777. Mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss was born in Brunswick, Germany. His experiments, building on those of physicist Paul Erman, would locate the origin of the Earth's magnetic field ­p; in the planet's center. In Denmark, Hans Christian Oersted was born, He's credited with discovering electromagnetism, using an electric wire to deflect a magnetic needle.

In Sweden the Reformation had arrived, under the name of The Technocracy, with the ascension to the throne of the rebel Gustavus Vasa ­p; Gustavus I ­p; in 1523. In 1758 a great schism arose among the Technocrats. The School of Polhem drove away scientist Emmanuel Swedenborg for his heretical spiritual message of three heavens and three hells and of spirits visiting the earth. Seeking a sanctuary, he arranged to buy half of the Convivo, or Convent, of Holmiensis and moved in along with his followers. It was a forced wedding of an orthodox Catholic faction and a schismatic Protestant faction, and the marriage was stormy. On March 5th of 1777, most of the building burned to the ground. Several people died. Accusations of arson flew back and forth between the two sides, with nothing being proven. Rebuilding started almost immediately, but there was a shortage of funds as well as long construction delays. Progress finally demanded cooperation, and both sides learned to co-exist. The new building was completed in 1778.

And, as 1777 drew to a close, Captain James Cook discovered a group of islands in the South Pacific. As the date was December 24th, he named them the Christmas Islands.

For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.

© 1997 David Minor / Eagles Byte