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.
21 July 1542
Pope Paul III revived the medieval inquisition to counter the threat posed to Roman Catholicism by the new Protestant thinking of Martin Luther and John Calvin.
During the thirteenth century the Catholic church, chiefly to put down a sect called the Cathars, made special provision for seeking out and disciplining heretics. They enquired only after baptised heretics, not after Jews or Muslims, and dispensed spiritual penance more often than the death penalty.
The Papal institution became known as the Roman Inquisition, to distinguish it from the Spanish Inquisition, founded in 1478. It used informers to locate heretics and torture to produce confession. The death sentence was carried out by burning. The Roman Inquisition was reorganised by Pope Pius X on 29 June 1908, and by Pope Paul VI on 7 December 1965, when it was renamed the Holy Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
21 July 1605
Margaret Hoby wrote for the last time in her surviving diary.
21 July 1641
Mary Boyle (later Countess of Warwick) married the man of her choice, Charles Rich—privately, to avoid display.
21 July 1683
William, Lord Russell, husband of the letter-writer Lady Rachel Russell, was beheaded in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
The executioner gave him “three butcherly strokes.” His eminent family, his obvious piety, and his fine speech won him much sympathy. He and Algernon Sidney, executed on 7 December 1683, became famed as martyrs in the Protestant or pro-liberty cause.
21 July 1757
Catherine Payton (later Catherine Phillips) set off with Sophia Hume on a missionary journey to Holland—where, however, they found the language a problem.
21 July 1773
The Order of Jesuits was abolished by Pope Clement XIV; they took refuge in Prussia, where their presence fed English anti-Catholicism.
The Order was re-established on 7 August 1814.
21 July 1785
Hannah More wrote to tell Montagu of Yearsley’s “blackest ingratitude”.
21 July 1787
Ann Yearsley published, by subscription instead of with direct aid from patrons, Poems, on Various Subjects.
21 July 1796
Robert Burns, Scottish farmer and poet, died (“most probably of rheumatic heart disease”) at Dumfries.
21 July 1802
In her earliest extant letter, to Sarah Stoddart, Mary Lamb remarked (quite unfairly to herself): “I am always a miserable letter writer, and I feel the want, in writing to a new friend of being able to talk of the days of “O lang syne”.”
21 July 1829
Eliza Fenwick’s estranged son-in-law, William Rutherford, died in London by suicide, having drunk “a large quantity of laudanum” in “a moment of mental derangement.”
21 July 1836
The first railway in Canada began to operate; it stretched 16 miles from Laprairie on the St Lawrence River to St Johns on the Richelieu.
21 July 1845
The Museums Act passed, enabling municipalities of ten thousand or more residents to levy taxes to finance the establishment and maintenance of local “museums of art and science.”
Although museums founded under the Act charged up to one penny per visit for admission and hence were not fully public institutions, the Act was nonetheless the model for the Public Libraries Act.
William Ewart proposed the Museums Act to Parliament and later chaired the Select Committee of 1849 that advocated the establishment of public libraries.
21 July 1894
Ada Leverson published in Punch The Minx—A Poem in Prose, which parodies Wilde’s long poem The Sphinx.
21 July 1899
Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s daughter Rosie died suddenly, aged thirty.
21 July 1904
The Trans-Siberian railway of over four thousand miles was completed after thirteen years of work.
When work began the government decreed that it was to use only Russian materials; nevertheless the father of Ann Bridge the novelist made large sums of money selling both rails and locomotives for it.
21 July 1908
The Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League was established.
The League also had a men’s committee, known as Men’s Committee for Opposing Female Suffrage. In 1910 the two branches joined to form the National League for Opposing Women’s Suffrage. Counted among the combined groups’ members were the Duchess of Atholl, Mrs Humphry Ward, Lord Curzon, Lady Jersey, Lord Cromer, Gertrude Bell, and Mrs Frederic Harrison.
21 July 1908
Gertrude Bell, a supporter of the anti-suffrage movement, became a founding member of the Woman’s National Anti-Suffrage League.
21 July 1908
Twelve days after her marriage, Margaret Haig Mackworth (later Margaret Haig, Viscountess Rhondda) attended her first pro-suffrage rally in Hyde Park.
21 July 1908
Mary Augusta Ward founded the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League.
21 July 1919
Sylvia Beach resigned from her position with the American Red Cross in Serbia, boarded the Orient Express, and returned to Paris.
21 July 1928
Actress Ellen Terry, Edith Craig’s mother, died at home at Smallhythe Place, Smallhythe, Kent.
21 July 1929
The Barn Theatre, founded by Edith Craig, held its first memorial performance in honour of her mother, actress Ellen Terry.
21 July-20 August 1932
The Ottawa Imperial Economic Conference met and decided in favour of limited imperial preference in trade in order to encourage Canadian economic recovery.
The Conference ensured the “continuance after the 15th November, 1932, of entry free of duty into the United Kingdom of goods consigned from any part of the British Empire and grown, produced or manufactured in Canada which by virtue of [the Import Duties Act of 1932] are now free of duty.”
21 July-10 August 1944
After fierce fighting, US Marines captured Guam.
21 July 1944
Buchi Emecheta was born in Yaba, a housing estate originally built by the British for themselves near Lagos, Nigeria.
21 July 1945
Wendy Cope was born at Erith in Kent.
21 July 1960
Sirimavo Bandaranaike became Prime Minister of Ceylon, and the first woman head of state in the Commonwealth.
Her husband, Prime Minister Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, had been assassinated on 25 September the previous year.