History, Holidays & Observance on January 9

Feast of Adrian of Canterbury, Massacre of Jews in Basel, Switzerland, Britain introduces the income tax, Joan of Arc, Horatio Nelson, Daguerreotype photography, Star of the West incident, Battle of Gallipoli, iPhone

Holidays and Observances on January 9

Feast of Adrian of Canterbury (memorial).

Adrian of Canterbury was born about 630 A.D. into the Dark Ages, that volatile period in the Western world between 500 A.D. and 1100 A.D., after the “light” of classical antiquity was extinguished with the fall of the Roman Empire. It was the Church of this period that kept alive the spark of learning and knowledge.

Adrian was a native of North Africa who joined the Church and became a scholar. Pope Vitalian asked him to become the new Archbishop of Canterbury, but he demurred, suggesting his friend, Theodore of Tarsus, for the job. Theodore accepted, but only if Adrian would accompany him on the journey to England. Adrian did so, arriving in England in 671 A.D., where he spent the remaining 39 years of his life as an Abbot and a traveling scholar.

We know a lot about the two men because their lives were documented by a contemporary, the Venerable Bede, the “Father of English History.”

Bede describes Adrian (or Hadrian, as he calls him in the Ecclesiastical History), as not only a distinguished theologian, but eminently accomplished in secular learning; he and Theodore, we are told, traversing all parts of the island, gathered multitudes of scholars around them wherever they appeared, and employed themselves daily with equal diligence and success in instructing those who flocked to them not only in the truths of religion but in the several branches of science and literature then cultivated. Bede particularly mentions the metrical art, astronomy, and arithmetic (which may be considered as representing what we should now call rhetoric and the belles lettres, physical science, and mathematics); and he adds, that while he wrote (in the early part of the eighth century), there still remained some of the pupils of Theodore and Adrian, who spoke the Greek and Latin languages as readily as their native tongue. A record of the teaching of Theodore and Adrian is preserved in the Leiden Glossary.

Adrian died on this day in 709 A.D.

Major Events on January 9

1349 – Massacre of the Jews in Basel, Switzerland

In one of the most horrific acts of antisemitism in history, the townspeople of Basel, Switzerland, on this date executed the town’s entire Jewish population.

Anti-Semitism has come in two varieties, modern and historical. The Left drives modern anti-Semitism because of Leftist antipathy to the Jewish and Christian religions, both of which stand in the way of reshaping society. Moreover, Marx, a vicious anti-Semite (despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that his father was a convert), made Jews the evil face of the capitalism he so hated). Likewise, the Left has made a suicidal alliance with Islam on that basis as well, because Islam is also an enemy of Judaism, Christianity, and free markets.

Historical anti-Semitism arose from different motivations. One, local Jewish populations were invariably a minority in other lands and they kept themselves separated from the general population. As such, they were primed to be scapegoats for societal ills, just as Christians had been scapegoats in ancient Rome. Two, Jews were forced into just a few professions, including finance and money lending. More than a few historic pogroms against Jews were led by influential people in debt to Jews as a means of extinguishing their debt.

The Basel Massacre was a classic example of historic antisemitism. Basel, Switzerland was a rich city. A substantial number of Jews had moved into the city at least a century earlier.

In 1223, Bishop Henry of Basel borrowed large sums from Jews living there. . . . Many of them dwelt in houses of their own, built on plots of ground belonging to the monastery of St. Leonard, to which they had to pay 30 solidi every Christmas. Besides this they were compelled to loan on demand 5 pounds to the council of the city for half a year on security, but without interest. In proportion to the number of houses they acquired and inhabited, their taxes were increased.

. . . The Basel Jews had to pay tribute not only to the city, but also to the emperor, under whose protection they stood, and whose “Kammerknechte” they were. In 1279 Rudolph I pledged to the bishop of Basel, “for his faithful services,” the protection money paid by all the Jews in the diocese of Basel and Strasburg, in consideration of 3,000 marks . . .

The principal source of income of the Jews of Basel, in addition to trade, was the lending of money, of which Jews here, as everywhere else in Europe, possessed a monopoly, because usury was forbidden to the Christians by the canonical law. This drew upon them the hatred of the populace and the more the burghers and the clergy became indebted to the Jews the greater became their hatred. In 1345 this had become so intense in Basel and Alsace that the bishop of Strasburg and many counts and gentlemen of the Alsatian cities, together with Basel and Freiburg, formed a league for five years for the repression of riots, “whether directed against priests or Jews”

In 1348, the plague struck in Basel and throughout Europe, carrying off between a third and half of the population. A rumor broke out in Basel that it was because the Jews had poisoned the wells.

. . . [T]he town council of Basel wished to protect the Jews but the gilds, accustomed to having their own way, attacked the council. In a riotous procession they appeared with their banners before the town hall, and compelled the council to deliver the Jews to their fury (Albrecht of Strasburg’s “Chronicle,” p. 147). On Jan. 9,1349, without previous trial, the Jews were burned on an island in the Rhine, in a wooden house erected for the purpose. Many children were saved from death by fire, and baptized against the wishes of their parents. . . .

The Middle Ages, and particularly the period of the plague, were rife with attacks on Jews who kept to themselves on the margins of society. Modern religious tolerance of Jews began in Europe, most notably in Poland, then the Netherlands, and later England in the 17th century. It most firmly took root in colonial America and then the United States, which welcomed Jews. Historic antisemitism was barely hanging on in the world before it was given new life with the rise of socialists in the 19th century. Ironically, Jews were and too often still are, the Left’s most ardent supporters. (Ms. BWM adds, “Jexit! Jexodus!”)

1799 – Britain introduces the income tax.

Britain, one of the world’s most powerful countries during the 18th through the 20th centuries, led the world in many ways. The industrial revolution began in Britain in the 18th century; Britain was among the first to adopt modern methods of central banking and finance; and Britain, always a nation highly taxed, was the first modern country to introduce an income tax.

In 1798, Britain was in desperate need of more revenue to finance its efforts in the Napoleonic Wars.

Income tax was first implemented in Great Britain by William Pitt the Younger in his budget of December 1798 . . . Pitt’s new graduated (progressive) income tax began at a levy of 2 old pence in the pound (1/120) on incomes over £60 (£6,204 as of 2018), and increased up to a maximum of 2 shillings (10%) on incomes of over £200. Pitt hoped that the new income tax would raise £10 million, but actual receipts for 1799 totaled just over £6 million.

The new income tax became effective in Britain on this day in 1799. In the U.S., the government did not begin a tax on income until the Civil War. It did not become permanent though, until it was ushered in during the administration of Woodrow Wilson.

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made the income tax a permanent fixture in the U.S. tax system. The amendment gave Congress legal authority to tax income and resulted in a revenue law that taxed incomes of both individuals and corporations. In fiscal year 1918, annual internal revenue collections for the first time passed the billion-dollar mark, rising to $5.4 billion by 1920. With the advent of World War II, employment increased, as did tax collections—to $7.3 billion. The withholding tax on wages was introduced in 1943 and was instrumental in increasing the number of taxpayers to 60 million and tax collections to $43 billion by 1945.

Notable Events on January 9

681 – Twelfth Council of Toledo: King Erwig of the Visigoths initiates a council in which he implements diverse measures against the Jews in Spain, one of the early acts of gentile antisemitism. Later in his reign, Erwig declared Jews to be “a plague on the kingdom, [and] he called for the total removal of the Jews from the kingdom.”

1431 – Judges begin their investigation for Joan of Arc’s trial in Rouen. Ultimately, she wasn’t convicted for blasphemy, but rather for wearing men’s clothing. As Stephen Clark points out in 1000 Years of Annoying the French, Joan’s prosecution was engineered by the French for her fashion faux pas.

1806 – The body of Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, Britain’s greatest naval hero, having been pickled in brandy during transport from Trafalgar, was interred this day after a state funeral.

A funeral procession consisting of 32 admirals, over a hundred captains, and an escort of 10,000 soldiers took the coffin from the Admiralty to St Paul’s Cathedral. After a four-hour service he was interred in the crypt within a sarcophagus originally carved for Cardinal Wolsey; the sarcophagous and its base had been previously taken over for the tomb of Henry VIII which was never completed.

1816 – Sir Humphry Davy tests his safety lamp for miners at Hebburn Colliery. Designed to prevent mine explosions when combustible gases in the mines came in contact with a naked flame, the safety lamp did not work as efficiently as hoped.

1839 – The French Academy of Sciences announced the Daguerreotype photography process.

To make the image, a daguerrotypist would polish a sheet of silver-plated copper to a mirror finish, treat it with fumes that made its surface light sensitive, expose it in a camera . . . [then] make the resulting latent image on it visible by fuming it with mercury vapor; remove its sensitivity to light by liquid chemical treatment, rinse and dry it, then seal the easily marred result behind glass in a protective enclosure.

1861 – The first shots of the Civil War are fired in the “Star of the West” incident near Charleston, South Carolina. The “Star of the West” was a steamship the federal government hired to resupply the federal garrison at Fort Sumter. A battery on Morris Island, South Carolina, manned by cadets from the The Citadel, fired upon the ship, hitting the ship with three of the cannon shots.

1916 – World War I: The Battle of Gallipoli, which began on Feb. 17, 1915, ended this day in a British defeat at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. The British objective had been to capture Constantinople (Istanbul).

In January 1916, after eight months’ fighting, with approximately 250,000 casualties on each side, the land campaign was abandoned and the invasion force withdrawn. It was a costly defeat for the Allies . . . especially [for] First Lord of the Admiralty . . . Winston Churchill. The campaign was considered a great Ottoman victory. In Turkey, it is regarded as a defining moment in the history of the state, a final surge in the defence of the motherland as the Ottoman Empire retreated. The struggle formed the basis for the Turkish War of Independence and the declaration of the Republic of Turkey eight years later, with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who rose to prominence as a commander at Gallipoli, as founder and president.

1918 – The Battle of Bear Valley, a skirmish fought between members of the 10th Cavalry and a small band of Yaqui Indians, marks the last battle of the American Indian Wars.

1961 – British authorities announce they have uncovered the Soviet Portland Spy Ring in London. The U.S. had informed MI-5 that Britain had a leak. The Brits broke the case when they identified and put under surveillance a low level navy clerk who was living far beyond his means.

1996 – First Chechen War: Islamic Chechen separatists launch a raid against the helicopter airfield and later a civilian hospital in the city of Kizlyar in the neighboring Dagestan, which turns into a massive hostage crisis involving thousands of civilians. It ended days later, after a battle between the Chechens and Russian special forces in the village of Pervomayskoye, which the Russians destroyed with artillery fire. Although the Chechens escaped from the siege with some of their hostages, at least 26 hostages and more than 200 combatants on both sides died.

2005 – Mahmoud Abbas wins the election to succeed Yasser Arafat as President of the Palestinian National Authority for a four year term that has since turned into a Presidency for Life.

2007 – Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the original iPhone at a Macworld keynote in San Francisco. It was a “game changer” that helped make Apple one of the wealthiest companies in the world.

Born on January 9

1773 – Cassandra Austen, an amateur English watercolour artist, as well as being Jane Austen’s older sister and best friend. Although Cassandra destroyed most of Jane’s letters after the latter died, the few remaining letters give us some of the best available insights into that brilliant author’s life. (As for Cassandra’s artistic skills, you may judge them by her famous portrait of her sister, a detail of which is in the header, the only surviving color portrait from Jane’s life.)

1879 – John B. Watson, psychologist who founded the school of behavioral psychology, “the theory that human and animal behavior can be explained in terms of conditioning, without appeal to thoughts or feelings, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior patterns.“ Although Watson’s views fell out of favor, there is still a lot to the notion that you cannot change other people’s behavior, you can only change your own — something that often has the effect of forcing change onto others.

1913 – Richard Nixon, America’s 37th President, His presidency was quite successful, but then he was caught covering up for a crime he did not commit. The left in the U.S. have been trying to use the same playbook they used against Nixon to get rid of Donald Trump.

1951 – Crystal Gayle, a popular country music singer. She is the sister of Loretta Lynn. She has been performing since 1969.

Died on January 9

1514 – Anne of Brittany, the only woman to have been Queen Consort of France twice, first to Charles VIII, and then after his death, to the new King, Louis XII, both of France. She is remembered as an able monarch who exercised concern and influence over the Duchy of Brittany.