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The Payne of Common Sense and the Trezzo Bridge

The world's longest-spanning arch bridge was completed in 1377. Commissioned by the Lord of Milan, Bernabò Visconti, the bridge spanned the river Adda to his castle. The Lord of Milan was a controversial figure. When the Pope's agents delivered papers of excommunication, he had them imprisoned and would not free them until they had eaten every last bit of the parchment, the papal seal, and ribbon. The bridge had an arch of 72 meters at a time when the largest pre-industrial arch bridge has a span per arch of 18 meters. This year, Milan has made the Venetians nervous so they have hired a mercenary to place the castle under siege. The bridge abutments will be undermined and the bridge will collapse into the river. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Given what is left of the Trezzo Bridge, the arch must have risen quite sharply. Bridge spans of 72 meters will not be seen again until 1796 when a cast iron design will be patented by Thomas Payne... the author of "Common Sense". The Wearmouth Bridge is in Sunderland, England, and given that England ended its war with the American colonies in 1783, Thomas Payne was free to build bridges... real bridges... not diplomatic bridges. At this time he was angry with George Washington and had broken ties with America. Those ill feelings will become a problem for him when he returns to America in later years. Thomas Payne's bridge will be dismantled in the 1920s and replaced by the current Wearmouth Bridge.[5] [6] [7] [8][9]

Capistrano: a Man on a Mission

Juan of Capistrano in the Kingdom of Naples is a man who is utterly fearless. He is a "fire and brimstone" preacher who has dared to criticize the Pope for not being strict enough. This is the century for hunting down heretics and Juan is the man for the job. He has entered the Order of Friars Minor which is a group of monks who follow the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi. Thus they are called Franciscan Monks. They emphasize the duty of poverty and have criticized the various Popes for their extravagances. Juan of Capistrano is just getting started. In the next few years he will gain popularity for his fiery speeches and then he will go north to hunt down the heretics and fight the Ottomans. He will earn the nickname of "the Soldier Saint" because any man at 70 years old that can lead a crusade against the Ottomans is indeed a soldier. He will be sainted in 1690 but the records seem to disagree on the exact year. [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
When you hear the love song: When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano, you probably don't think of the Franciscan monk, Juan of Capistrano but the Mission at San Juan Capistrano, California is quite beautiful and inspiring. It is worth a visit. It is dedicated to the memory of this monk, as well as a mission in San Antonio, Texas. The man himself I have no love for. He was called "The Scourge of the Jews" and I have no doubt that he would have tied me to a stake and put me to the flames. Nevertheless, he is an important figure in this age of heretics and heretic hunters and I've spent a weekend or two in San Juan Capistrano, California. My memories of the place were good ones. I recommend it [12] [13] [14]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1416, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Grattesat, Guy and Arsac, Auguste. Trezzo Bridge (Trezzo sull'Adda, 1377) - Structurae. Ponts de France, Paris: Presses Ponts et chaussées. ISBN 2859780300. 1984. p. 15. 2014 [last update] (PHOTO) summary: Photo of what is left of the abutment. When built, the bridge was the longest spanning bridge in the world.
  2. Trezzo sull'Adda Bridge - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Francesco Bussone da Carmagnola - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Carmagnola - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Thomas Paine - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Common Sense (pamphlet) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Wearmouth Bridge - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: Thomas Payne had been taken prisoner during the French Revolution a few years earlier in 1793. He had written "The Age of Reason" during this time. In 1795 he advocated a minimum income and to my mind went right off the rails.... but he could still design a bridge. He returned to America in 1802 and died in 1809 at the age of 72. Only 6 people showed up for his funeral. Years later his bones will be exhumed and carried back to England but will not be reburied. His remains are now lost.
  9. Agrarian Justice - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Franciscan - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. John of Capistrano - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  12. Mission San Juan Capistrano (Texas) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. Mission San Juan Capistrano - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  14. Boone, Pat. Pat Boone - When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano, YouTube.com. 1957. 2014 [last update] (VIDEO)

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