Lessons on Famous Men & Their Character
"The Young Man and Himself"
The following are, unless otherwise noted, articles excerpted from
various sources as noted below, including: Compton's Interactive
Encyclopedia. Copyright (c) 1994, 1995 Compton's NewMedia,
Inc. All Rights Reserved.,
KINGSLEY, Charles (1819-75).
In his own lifetime the clergyman Charles Kingsley was known chiefly as a social reformer. Today he is beloved by children for his delightful fairy story 'The Water-Babies'.
Charles Kingsley was born on June 12, 1819, in Devonshire, England. His father was a clergyman. Charles attended King's College in London. Later he entered Cambridge University. In 1842 he went as curate to the parish of Eversley, in Hampshire, and soon was appointed rector. He held the position for the rest of his life, except for brief intervals.
Kingsley risked his position in the church with his speeches and writings in behalf of the working class. He originated the term sweatshop system to describe abusive working conditions in the manufacturing industries. He associated himself with the Christian Socialists, a group that proposed radical solutions for England's industrial problems. His 'Alton Locke', published in 1850, is a novel dealing with social problems. Kingsley died on Jan. 23, 1875, and was buried in his own churchyard at Eversley.
He is chiefly remembered for his historical novels. 'Hypatia' (1853) deals with the former glories of Alexandria, in Egypt. 'Westward Ho!' (1855) tells the story of a knight in the days of Elizabeth I.
For his children Kingsley wrote delightful stories, such as 'The Heroes', a retelling of the old Greek myths. 'The Water-Babies' (1863) is a fairy tale and nature story combined. Its hero, a little chimney sweep, is changed by the fairies into a water baby and learns about the habits of the water creatures.
HENRY, Joseph (1797-1878).
One of the first great American scientists after Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Henry was responsible for numerous inventions and discovered several major principles of electromagnetism, including the oscillatory nature of electric discharge and self-inductance, a phenomenon of primary importance in electronic circuitry.
Joseph Henry was born in Albany, N.Y., on Dec. 17, 1797. He came from a poor family and had little schooling. In 1829, while working as a schoolteacher at the Albany Academy, he developed a method greatly increasing the power of an electromagnet. In 1829 he constructed the first electric motor.
Although Michael Faraday is generally given credit for discovering electromagnetic induction in 1831, Henry had observed the phenomenon a year earlier (see Faraday; Electricity). In 1831, before he assisted F.B. Morse in the development of the telegraph, Henry built and successfully operated a telegraph of his own design (see Morse). Henry never patented any of his many devices because he believed that the discoveries of science were for the common benefit of all humanity.
Henry became a professor at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in 1832. He continued his researches and discovered the laws on which the transformer is based. He conducted an experiment that was apparently the first use of radio waves across a distance. He also showed that sunspots radiate less heat than the general solar surface.
In 1846 Henry became the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where he initiated a nationwide weather reporting system. He was a primary organizer of the National Academy of Science and its second president. He died in Washington, D.C., on May 13, 1878. In 1892 his name was given to the unit of electrical inductance, the henry.
GLADSTONE, William (1809-98).
After his graduation from Oxford in 1831, William Gladstone wanted to become a clergyman in the Church of England. But his strong-willed father, Sir John Gladstone, insisted that he enter politics. For 60 years William Gladstone served the government almost continuously, achieving one of the most brilliant state careers in British history. Four times during the reign of Queen Victoria he was prime minister.
William Gladstone was born in Liverpool on Dec. 29, 1809. His father was a wealthy merchant of Scottish descent and had rich plantations in the West Indies. He went to Eton, where he did not particularly distinguish himself, but at Oxford he demonstrated his great intellectual abilities by receiving first honors in classics and mathematics.
At the age of 24 Gladstone was elected to the House of Commons as a Conservative. He was a striking speaker. His powerful yet musical voice commanded attention. Although many of his speeches resounded with classical phrases, they often appealed to the working class.
Two relatively minor posts gave him invaluable experience. In 1835 he became undersecretary for the colonies. His tireless investigation of colonial problems persuaded him that colonies should have local self-government. This strain of liberalism appeared increasingly in Gladstone's thinking. In 1841 he became vice-president of the Board of Trade.
Two years later, as president of the board, he entered the cabinet, where he fought for free trade. His financial knowledge enabled him in 1852 to reveal the flaws in the budget presented by Benjamin Disraeli, who was chancellor of the exchequer. The rivalry between these two great British statesmen lasted for some 30 years.
In the 1860s the more liberal Whigs or Liberals, as they came to be called attracted some of the free-trade Conservatives. Gladstone, originally a Tory, or Conservative, was among those who moved toward Liberalism. The Liberals' power increased when the electorate was broadened in 1867 to include workingmen in towns.
Gladstone helped to bring about most of the great British social and political reforms of the late 19th century. He was responsible for the first state aid to public elementary schools, for opening Oxford and Cambridge universities to men of all religions, and for introducing the secret ballot. Most of all he is remembered for his Irish reforms.
Ireland's misery and discontent were best solved, Gladstone believed, by admitting and correcting the wrongs done by England. Although most of the people in Ireland were Roman Catholics, they were forced to pay tithes to the established Protestant church of Ireland. Gladstone led in passing an act disestablishing the Irish Protestant church in 1869. He was responsible for the first Irish Land Act in 1870. This protected landless farmers from eviction and helped them buy their farms from the absentee landlords. Finally, in 1886 he introduced the first Irish Home Rule Bill, which split the Liberal party. Deserted by many Liberals, Gladstone was forced to resign as prime minister, and the bill was defeated. In his last term as prime minister, he introduced a second Home Rule Bill. It failed in the House of Lords, but his effort was important as a first step toward both Irish independence and the limitation of the Lords' veto power.
Gladstone explained his change from Tory to extreme Liberal thus: "I was brought up to distrust and dislike liberty: I learned to believe in it." When he was 85, approaching blindness forced him to retire from public life. He died at his home in Hawarden Castle, Wales, in 1898. He had served as prime minister from 1868 to 1874; from 1880 to 1885; from February to July 1886; and from 1892 to 1894.
DE QUINCEY, Thomas (1785-1859).
Although the collected writings of English essayist and critic Thomas De Quincey consist of more than 14 volumes, he published very little during his lifetime. He is remembered basically for one book, 'The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater', which brought him immediate fame when it was published in the 1820s.
De Quincey was born in Manchester, England, on Aug. 15, 1785. Feeling alienated from his family, he ran away from home at 17, first to Wales, then to London. He returned home in 1803, and his family sent him to Worcester College at Oxford, where he decided to become a writer. While in school he began taking opium to relieve the pain of facial neuralgia. By 1813 he confessed that he had become a "regular and confirmed opium-eater."
In 1817 he married Margaret Simpson, with whom he had already had a son. He continued to write a great deal, but his financial situation became desperate because he published almost nothing. At the invitation of the editors of London Magazine, he wrote two articles that later appeared as a book, 'The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater'. This account of his addiction was rewritten in an 1856 edition. He continued to take opium for the rest of his life, but in the 1856 version his interest in the drug centered on its medical value and on its power "over the grander and more shadowy world of dreams."
De Quincey wrote on many other subjects in the years after the 'Confessions' was first published, including history, economics, and biography. His most important works were his autobiographical writings, literary criticism, and an unfinished book, 'Suspiria de Profundis' (Sighs from the Depths), a work explaining his philosophy of life as a result of his sufferings. His critical efforts focused on the poets John Milton and Alexander Pope as well as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with whom he had been closely associated early in life. De Quincey died in Edinburgh on Dec. 8, 1859.
COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor (1772-1834).
A major 19th-century English lyrical poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge had a tendency to daydream a weakness, like his later drug addiction, that limited his work. Nevertheless these reveries inspired the exotic imagery that made his poetry so haunting.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born on Oct. 21, 1772, in Ottery St. Mary in Devonshire. He was the youngest of ten children of John Coleridge, a headmaster-clergyman who died when the boy was 8. At that early age Samuel had already read the Bible and 'The Arabian Nights'. The next year he was sent to Christ's Hospital, a famous charity school in London.
Deeply in debt while a student at Cambridge University, he ran away to London and enlisted in the Army under an assumed name. After a few months his brothers arranged his discharge, and he returned to Cambridge. But he was restless, stimulated by the ideals of the French Revolution, and left without a degree in 1794. With the poet Robert Southey he planned to go to America to start a utopian community (called a pantisocracy), but they lacked the funds to carry out the project.
Coleridge's daydreams were affected by the use of opium, which he started taking to relieve the pains of neuralgia. This addiction created great difficulties for the poet and is believed by some to have made his work much less than what it might have been. His imaginative power is expressed in his dream poems 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', 'Christabel', and 'Kubla Khan'.
Among Coleridge's close friends were the essayist Charles Lamb and the poet William Wordsworth. Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Southey were known as the Lake Poets because they lived in the Lake District of England and expressed similar poetic ideals.
In spite of his weaknesses, the personal influence of Coleridge was great. In his last years he was visited by many noted men. "He is the only wonderful man I ever met," said Wordsworth. Thomas Carlyle called him a "king of men."
Today Coleridge is chiefly remembered for the few great poems that he wrote in his earlier years. It has been said of his poetry: "All that he did excellently might be bound up in 20 pages, but it should be bound in pure gold."
Although Coleridge is regarded as principally a poet, he wrote a number of important prose works and was also a prolific and highly regarded journalist. His 'Biographia Literaria' (published in 1817) gives a profound analysis of the nature of poetry and the principles of criticism. His 'Lectures on Shakespeare' (1849) rank him among the greatest of Shakespearean critics. 'Aids to Reflection' (1825) is the most famous of his philosophical and religious works. Coleridge died in Highgate, England, on July 25, 1834.
Everett, Edward (1794-1865),
U.S. statesman, clergyman, and orator, born in Dorchester, Mass.; Unitarian minister at 20; professor of Greek at Harvard at 21; member of House of Representatives 1825-35; governor of Massachusetts 1836-40; minister to England 1841-45; president of Harvard 1846-49; secretary of state 1852-53; U.S. senator 1853-54; fine example of the scholar in politics
WEBSTER, Noah (1758-1843).
Few individuals have had as great an influence on the pronunciation and spelling of American English as Noah Webster, a man whose name became synonymous with the word dictionary. (See also Reference Books.)
Noah Webster was born in Hartford, Conn., on Oct. 16, 1758, and educated at Yale College. His studies were briefly interrupted by the Revolutionary War, but he was graduated in 1778. While teaching in Goshen, N.Y., in 1782-83, he became aware of the need for better textbooks. In 1783 he published his 'Grammatical Institute of the English Language', which included 'The American Spelling Book'. The spelling book has never been out of print. In the next 20 years he practiced law in Hartford, edited a newspaper in New York City, and served as a judge and a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives.
In 1807 he began his 'American Dictionary of the English Language'. He spent ten years in the study of English and its connections with other languages. Seven more years were spent in preparation of the dictionary, including a visit to Europe to consult books and scholars in Paris and Cambridge.
The fact that Webster included 12,000 words and between 30,000 and 40,000 definitions that had not appeared in any earlier dictionary indicates how thoroughly he did his task. The work was finished in 1825 and published in 1828 in two volumes. Since that time it has been a standard dictionary of the English language.
In compiling his dictionary Webster had in mind the special needs of his own countrymen. He followed the best American usage of his time, sometimes departing slightly from British forms and choosing the simpler of two spellings whenever he felt warranted in doing so. He spelled wagon, for instance, instead of waggon; develop rather than develope; theater, miter, and center in place of theatre, mitre, and centre; color, labor, and honor instead of colour, labour, and honour (see American Literature).
Webster lived for a time in Amherst, Mass., and was one of the founders of Amherst College. He also served in the Massachusetts legislature. He returned to New Haven in 1822 and died there on May 28, 1843.
De Koven, Reginald (1859-1920),
U.S. composer, born in Middletown, Conn.; studied in Europe; founded and conducted Washington Symphony Orchestra; music critic for New York publications.
Joseph II (1741-90),
Holy Roman emperor, son of Maria Theresa; benevolent despot; upset old customs and provoked discontent and revolt; died disillusioned and unhappy.
Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. Copyright (c) 1994, 1995 Compton's NewMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Richard II of England
source = http://www.answers.com/topic/richard-ii-of-england
For the play by Shakespeare, see Richard II.
England's Royal Sovereigns:
At this point Richard left for a campaign in Ireland, allowing Bolingbroke the opportunity to land in Yorkshire with an army provided by the King of France to reclaim his father's lands. Richard's autocratic ways, deeply unpopular with many nobles, facilitated Bolingbroke's gaining control quickly of most of southern and eastern England. Bolingbroke had originally just wanted his inheritance and a reimposition of the power of the Lords Appellant, accepting Richard's right to be king and March's right to succeed him. But by the time Richard finally arrived back on the mainland in Wales, a tide of discontent had swept England. In the King's absence,
Bolingbroke, who was generally well-liked, was being urged to take the crown himself.
From Richard II -- Wm. Shakespere
How sour sweet music is,