January 3, 1998


We'll finish off 1997 with another look at the period of the American Revolution, this time in the year 1779.

In the South the British capture Augusta, Georgia, win the battle of Camden, South Carolina, are defeated at Kings Mountain, North Carolina. In the north they capture, then lose, New York's Stony Point. The Sullivan expedition crosses New York State, punishing Britain's Indian allies. A British squadron burns Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia. In Connecticut, Loyalists burn Fairfield, Norwalk, and ships in New Haven harbor. There will be no rest this year for the combatants.

While the new nation is being forged from colonial blood and lives, one of its future states, far away, becomes the object of British interest. On January 17th Hawaii's King Kalani'opu'u welcomes Captain James Cook to Ke'a'lak'e'ku'a Bay, mistaking him for the god Lono. Cook sails away a few days later, only to return on February 14th with a broken mast. Gods don't get broken masts; the situation takes an ugly turn and Cook tries to kidnap the king. Totally disillusioned, the natives kill the explorer.

In the future Illinois Territory a black from Santo Domingo named Baptiste Point De Saible builds a cabin near the forks of the Chicago River. A city will sprout there. In New England John Murray organizes the First Universalist congregation at Gloucester, Massachusetts. In Virginia, Thomas Jefferson sponsors a Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge, and William and Mary's George Wythe is named the first law professor at an American college. North Carolina loses a guest as Scottish heroine Flora Macdonald returns to the island of Skye. We'll return to Europe with her.

English technology flourishes. The world's first iron bridge is built in Coalbrookdale. And Samuel Crompton invents a spinning jenny for the textile industry that manages 48 threads at one time. Crime also flourishes. Lord Sandwich's mistress, a Miss Ray, spurns the attentions of a Mister Hackman. He shoots her dead in front of Covent Garden, then attempts unsuccessfully to take his own life. The courts and the hangman will save him the bother.

We have to end our own year of 1997 with some more pleasant 1779 fare. Salzburg, Austria, has Mozart premieres galore: he introduces his Symphony No. 32 in G major his Symphony No. 33 in B flat major and his Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in E flat major. Paris's Acadèmie de Musique hosts the premiere of Christoph Willibald Gluck's opera Iphigenia in Tauris .

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


© 1998 David Minor / Eagles Byte