The second installment of the U. S. estimated tax is due.
1215 King John I of England signed the Magna Carta.
1381 British peasant revolted against the poll tax.
1648 Margaret Jones became the first person executed in Massachusetts for witchcraft. (See May 27th entry.)
1752 Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning contained electricity.
1844 Vulcanized rubber was patented. (See December 29th entry.)
1860 The first settlers arrived in Idaho.
1884 Harry Langdon was born.
1907 The Second International Peace Conference opened.
1909 The cork-centered baseball was patented.
1911 Pioneer Day was declared a state holiday in Idaho.
1913 New Yorker Carrie Chapman-Catt opened the first Women’s Suffrage Congress.
1925 A New York City ordinance requiring cab drivers to wear white collars on the job went into effect.
1932 Mario Cuomo was born.
1951 Jim Belushi was born.
Today is the feast day of St. Vitus. In Germany, it is said that if you dance before a statue of St. Vitus on his day, you’ll be assured a year’s good health. This patron saint of comedians, dancers, and Sicilians is invoked against epilepsy, lightning, snakebite, attacks by wild animals, and oversleeping. Certainly people who were born today like silent-screen comedian Harry Langdon, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, and comedic actor Jim Belushi have been blessed by St. Vitus. And Ben Franklin definitely picked the right day to prove that lightning contained electricity. At least he became enlightened instead of lighted by his discovery.
This is a good day to go fly a kite. It was on this day, in 1752, that Benjamin Franklin flew a kite with a key tied to its string and proved that lightning contained electricity. Franklin’s accomplishment is about as much tun as the cork-centered baseball that was patented on this very day in 1909. Despite the fact that these two discoveries share an anniversary over a hundred years passed before the next logical step—the night game— took place.
We all have something in common with King John of England, on this, the anniversary of the day he begrudgingly signed the Magna Carta in 1215. The last article of the document read: “that the men in our kingdom shall have and hold all the aforesaid liberties, rights, and concessions well and peacefully.” In essence, King John lost some of his power without recourse when he signed the Magna Carta. This is also the day when you write a check for the second U. S. estimated income tax installment.
If you think that writing a check for the second U. S. estimated income tax installment— which is due today—is cause for revolt, perhaps another event that occurred on this day might give you cause for thought. In 1381, a bloody peasant revolt ended in London. For three days, peasants descended upon the city of London to protest the poll tax. King Richard II had imposed a one-shilling levy on every person over fourteen years of age. It was the third tax leveled on the common people in four years. It took no account for each individual’s means or circumstances. So the overtaxed public went on a rampage. The rioting ended when the king himself rode into the angry crowd, revoked the tax, and promised to abolish serfdom.
It’s a groundbreaking day for pioneers. The citizens of Idaho call today Pioneer Day. In
1860 the first pioneering settlers arrived in the territory that soon became the state of Idaho. Other pioneering efforts have also happened on this day. In 1907, pioneers in world politics convened at the Second International Peace Conference in The Hague, Netherlands. And six years later, the women’s rights pioneer Carrie Chapman-Catt opened the first Women’s Suffrage Congress in Budapest, Hungary.