1902 Encyclopedia > Today in History > The kindly lions of James II, the tribulations of the indigo planters, the Battle of Drumclog, and more

Today in History - June 1
• The Kindly Lions of James II
• The Tribulations of the Indigo Planters
• The Battle of Drumclog

-- Compiled by James Finlayson-Bald

Archbishop James Sharp (image)

Archbishop James Sharp, imposed on the Scottish by King Charles II, spent 15 years defending the Established Church, enforcing religious changes ordered by the King (such as the acceptance of a church hierarchy and the adoption of the unpopular Book of Common Prayer). He savagely persecuted its non-conformist opponents (the Conventers).

When Sharp was stabbed to death in 1679, his death was mourned by few.

War broke out between the Established Church (the Episcopalians) and the Covenanters, with incidents such as the Battle of Drumclog (June 1, 1679).

On this date:

In early times—The Roman festival honouring Carna began. She was a nice old goddess who protected and cared for the well-being of mankind.

1605—King James, the Royal Family and the Court went to the Tower of London to inspect the Royal Lions, and more specifically, to see them kill something. However the lions were rather unco-operative: they were fed a couple of pieces of mutton and a cockerel, and then a lamb was let down to them on a rope. "Being come to the ground, the lamb lay upon his knees, and both the lions stood in their former places and only beheld the lamb. Presently the lamb rose up and went unto the lions, who very gently looked upon and smelled on him, without any hurt. Then the lamb was very softly drawn up again, in as good plight as he was let down".

1679—Battle of Drumclog. It was part of the struggle for the Church of Scotland between the Presbyterians and the Episcopalians and was due this time to increasingly severe government measures against non-conformists which included the death penalty for preaching at a field conventicle and heavy fines for non-attendance at church. To add to ruffled feelings, Archbishop Sharp, the creature of Lauderdale had been stabbed to death on May 3. A band of 1500 Covenanters were pursued by a small force of horse and dragoons numbering about 150, 40 of whom were killed in the engagement, which, with a 10-1 advantage, the Covenanters won easily. Indeed they were so puffed up that next day they attacked Glasgow.

1794—Battle of Ushant or the "Glorious First of June" when Lord Howe commanding a British fleet of 25 sail defeated a French fleet of 26 sail under Admiral Villaret de Joyeuse. The battle lasted four hours and at the end of it the French were defeated with six ships captured and one, Vengeur, sunk. The French claimed that she refused to surrender and went down with all hands and colours flying.

1813—HMS Shannon captured the U.S. frigate Chesapeake. This was a great morale booster for the British who had been out-gunned and out-sailed by the Americans.

1834—Ground-breaking ceremonies were held for the London-to-Birmingham Railway.

1861— "Nil Darpan", an Hindu drama libelling the indigo planters in Bengal, was printed and circulated and caused quite a stir with the translator the Rev. James Long fined and imprisoned and J. P.Grant, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal who had authorised its publication, forced to resign. At this time there was 1 1/2 million acres planted in indigo to the detriment of food crops and the planters were very rich and seemingly unpopular. In 1883 a German chemist, A. von Baeyer announced the true chemical structure of indigo and 15 years later a German company produced a dye and temporarily wrecked the Indian economy as most of the planters ended up on Queer Street.

1873—Captain Jack of the Modoc Indians was captured in Oregon by U.S. troops.

1939—The British submarine, Thetis, floundered and sank in the Irish Sea with a toll of 99 men.

-- John Masefield, poet (1878-1967)
-- Miss Marilyn Monroe, actress (1926-1962)

"Justice is too good for some people and not good enough for others."
-- Norman Douglas.

The above article was written by James Finlayson-Bald.
Edited and illustrations added by David Paul Wagner.

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