Today in Orlando

This is a small sample drawn from within and beyond the lives and careers of writers. Look again tomorrow! Read more about The Orlando Project chronology.

18 December 1640

William Laud, Charles I’s unpopular High Church Archbishop of Canterbury, was arrested and charged with high treason. He was sent to the Tower of London in spring 1641.
In March 1644 he was tried at the Bar of the House of Lords, and on 10 January 1645 he was executed. Some had wanted him hanged, drawn and quartered.
18 December 1660

The Royal Adventurers (later the Royal African Company) was founded under the personal patronage of Charles II and James II; this represented Britain’s active engagement with the slave trade.
It received a charter in 1663, merged with the English Guinea Company in 1672 (forming the Royal African Company), and maintained a monopoly on the slave trade until 1698.
18 December 1660

Dorothy White published a pamphlet entitled (in short form) A Lamentation unto this Nation; and also, a Warning to All People of this Present Age and Generation; with the Voyce of Thunder.
18 December 1679

John Dryden was beaten up in a Covent Garden alley, near the London theatres, probably to punish him for a verse lampoon on people in high places, An Essay upon Satire, which was very likely not written by him at all.
18 December 1688

William of Orange entered London (the same day that James II finally left it) and held court at St James’s Palace.
He refused, however, to claim the crown by right of conquest.
18 December 1714

A new theatre in Lincoln’s Inn Fields (built by Christopher Rich) opened under his son, John.
It opened with a revival of Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer.
18 December 1724

Only four days after she and Montagu had both written poems together on the death of a young bride, Mary Astell wrote the bulk of her verse and prose preface to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s Embassy Letters.
18 December 1789

Mary Whateley Darwall’s husband died; the next day his church salary was sequestered.
18 December 1792

Thomas Paine, put on trial in London for sedition (in his absence, since he was sitting as an elected member of the French National Assembly in Paris at the time), was found guilty.
18 December 1792

Eliza Parsons applied for help to the recently founded Literary Fund (later the Royal Literary Fund), detailing the various financial accidents and reverses that had so far befallen her.
18 December 1794

Frances Burney’s son Alexander, her only child, was born.
18 December 1795

The Two Acts or Gagging Acts (the Treasonable Practices Bill and Seditious Meetings Bill) were passed by parliament, to remain in force for extended periods.
Since their introduction to parliament in early November, the London Corresponding Society had held protest meetings; 130,000 people signed ninety-four petitions against the bills. The Treasonable Practices Act extended the law of treason to anyone who “compassed or devised” harm to the king or aid to foreign invaders, anyone attempting to alter royal decisions, or intimidate either house of parliament, or criticise the constitution. The Seditious Meetings Act made it illegal to hold a public meeting of fifty persons about either grievances or petitions without prior notice given by at least seven householders. Meetings were subject to the power of magistrates; resistance to their orders to disperse was punishable by death.
18 December 1819

Walter Scott, as the author of Waverley, published his English historical novel Ivanhoe, with 1820 on its title-page.
18 December 1830

Elizabeth Fenton wrote the last entry in her extant journal at the estate her family had established, Fenton Forest in Van Diemen’s Land (later known as Tasmania).
18 December 1838

Annabella Plumptre died in her late seventies at Rennes in France, having outlived her sister by twenty years.
18 December 1865

The 13th Constitutional Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
18 December 1873

Celia Moss died at 59 Summer Hill, Birmingham, after a long, painful illness.
18 December 1878

Joseph Swan demonstrated his incandescent carbon-filament lamp at a Newcastle upon Tyne Chemical Society meeting.
The lamp was first invented, though not patented, in 1860; it was modified thereafter. A basic feature of Swan’s incandescent lamp was a carbon filament in an evacuated glass bulb.
18 December 1879

Emmeline Goulden married Dr Richard Marsden Pankhurst, a lawyer more than twenty years her senior; their marriage took place in Eccles (now part of Salford), very quietly because of his mother’s sudden death.
18 December 1890

London’s City and South London line became the world’s first electric underground railway and the first to supply electricity to locomotives by means of a third rail.
The line was opened by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) on 4 November 1890.
18 December 1890

Emma Robinson died at Norwood , the London County Lunatic Asylum, at the age of seventy-six.
18 December 1897

Edith J. Simcox’s mother, who had been living with her in Sussex for a decade, died.
18 December 1902

Balfour’s Education Act was passed; it dissolved the School Boards and replaced them with Local Education Authorities, which were empowered to provide secondary education.
The Act came into effect in the spring of 1903.
This Act’s achievements were the creation of a wider reading public and the broadly civilizing effect of elementary schools. Subsidies were granted to church schools from local taxation. To remain eligible for the Board of Education grant under the terms of this Act, the Girls’ Public Day School Company changed its organization to become the Girls’ Public Day School Trust.
Although many women supported the new LEAs for the positive role they could play in education administration, the loss of women’s right to be elected to school boards was a setback. Women could serve on the LEAs only if appointed as specialist members.
18 December 1914

The British protectorate over Egypt was proclaimed.
18 December 1915

Edith Somerville made a drawing of Martin Ross three days before she died, “in a most profound trance of peace.”
18 December 1925

Vita Sackville-West’s growing romance with Virginia Woolf, which had lasted for three years, produced a significant “moment of intimacy” during a visit by Woolf to Long Barn.
18 December 1933

Newfoundland’s Constitution was suspended owing to bankruptcy.
UK Commissioners of Government governed from hotel rooms in St John’s. Newfoundland lost its dominion status and reverted to the status of a crown colony on 21 December 1933.
18 December 1935

The Hoare-Laval Pact (appeasement of recent territorial aggression by Mussolini’s Italy) was sealed. It enraged Britons to such an extent that Samuel Hoare was compelled to retire from politics.
The pact was agreed to by Hoare and Pierre Laval in Paris on Hoare’s way to Switzerland for a holiday. With rare unanimity of public opinion, people in Britain were angry at the extent of the territorial concessions made to Italy, and thus to Fascism after Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia. When none but ineffective sanctions were applied, many people felt disillusioned.
18 December 1941

Military conscription for women was introduced in Britain when the National Service (Number 2) Act completed its rapid passage through parliament.
Conscripted women could choose either to serve in the Women’s Auxiliary Forces or in civil defence or specified industry. The conscription applied to unmarried women between the ages of twenty-one and thirty, who had no children under the age of fourteen. No conscripted woman could be compelled to use lethal weapons. The first women conscripts were called up on 23 April 1942.
18 December 1941

Sir Hugh Clifford, Elizabeth De la Pasture’s second husband, died.
18 December 2010

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy introduced a selection of commissioned Christmas carols for the year, commissioned from publishing poets.

Reviews of Orlando

In Eighteenth-Century Fiction

… each Orlando Project entry serves the beginning student and advanced researcher alike; it provides an introductory survey of a particular author, but can also function as a source of the latest critical understandings of the author and an encouragement for further advanced research on the themes, influences, and cultural contexts radiating out from that author (377).

[…] Orlando‘s most innovative contribution to humanities scholarship is the modelling of more interpretive, open-ended, thematic database research. The database encourages what it terms “Tag Searches,” in which entries have been tagged to highlight key terms relating to topics unique to literary history; searches can return information relating to biographical details, literary production, literary reception, textual features, and essential or “core tag” details such as dates and names. Orlando allows searches for topics that are not part of a “typical” database search—such as editions, circulation, anthologization, and type of press—but are of keen interest to researchers of reading and writing culture. Orlando thus captures some of the most recent trends in history of the book and material culture studies and translates those interests into research queries that can be performed quickly and efficiently (377).

[…] Orlando enacts exciting new approaches to women’s history, literary history, and the history of the book by translating those approaches into an equally exciting database organization. The textbase features authoritative summaries of women’s lives and writing, new cultural and thematic topics for “tagged” investigations, and innovative processes for performing searches across disciplines and time periods. Perhaps most importantly, Orlando encourages the researcher to see new patterns, new connections, and new traditions—and thus to think in new ways. The transformative effect of women’s writing is keenly felt by the Orlando researcher. With its ability to encourage new thinking in both the entry-level student and the advanced researcher, Orlando deserves a prominent place in the electronic database collection of every research library (378).

Ros Ballaster et al. The Orlando Project (review).” Eighteenth Century Fiction 22:2 (2009): 371-379. (Available from Project MUSE).
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