Fact of the Day
Before a naval battle with England in 1545, French king Francis I held a farewell dinner on his flagship, which shortly afterwards sank having caught fire when her guns went off by themselves.
Quote of the Day
"What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried? "
~ Abraham Lincoln
On This Day
1541 The German-Swiss Paracelsus, alchemist and 'herald of toxicology' who made significant contributions to the use of chemistry in medicine, died in Salzburg.
1645 Charles I suffered a personal defeat at the Battle of Rowton Heath when the army he was leading lost to the Parliamentarians and thus failed to relieve the Siege of Chester.
1652 Highwayman Captain James Hind was executed for treason. He had targeted Roundheads and become something of a Cavalier hero.
1869 Two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk, caused havoc on the New York Gold Exchange when they used insider information obtained through their friendship with US president Ulysses S. Grant to manipulate the price of gold. 'Black Friday' led to economic destabilisation, the ruin of thousands of businessmen, and questions over Grant's presidency, but Gould and Fisk managed to escape prosecution.