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"
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
For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.
© 1997 David Minor / Eagles Byte
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