1703

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A Major Weather Disaster Hits England and the News *

One November evening, a major storm hits England with winds gusting to 140 mph. Tiles are ripped off the roofs and houses are stripped bare. 2,000 chimneys collapse killing residents while they scramble out of bed. 4,000 oak trees are knocked flat in south-east England alone. Many ships are sunk with all hands or set adrift hundreds of miles off course. This is a major weather event and it becomes the first national news story on the weather... ever. After "The Great Storm" there are not enough building materials to restore houses to livable condition before winter sets in. The price for building materials skyrockets but all the tile production into next next summer will not finish the task at any price. Wood shingles become the norm. The author, Daniel Defoe, calls it an act of God and chastises those who do not believe in God's punishment. Many preachers agree. It is difficult to tally the dead with so many washed away or lost at sea, but the count could be as high as 15,000. That is not counting those who will die because they must spend a winter in a home open to the sky. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
England has been hammered by storms in the past, but this storm was significant because of the availability of national news coverage. It was not simply a matter to be noted in a diary or a captain's log book. People were experiencing the disaster as a whole, knowing the troubles of a fellow in the next county, and the problem the storm caused for ship building, etc. While this sort of information can be helpful in motivating people to be better prepared, in the modern day it has become a means to panic people for ratings. Although I've seen meteorologists speak very sensibly about the weather, the graphics they use are the worst kind of sensationalist tripe. Even when San Francisco was predicted at a high of 69 degrees, I saw it colored in deep red on the map as if it was on fire! Coverage of weather disasters can be helpful, especially after it happens. It alerts the individual to the needs of his neighbor. The weather news becomes a problem when they attempt to predict the weather. A meteorologist can speak sensibly about the weather for tomorrow. He can even have intelligent things to say about the weather three days from now. Five days and it is close to guessing. Seven days? Someone is three sheets to the wind. [8]

The Founder of the Methodist Movement is Born

John Wesley is born in Epworth, Lincolnshire. He is the 15th child born to his mother, Susanna, and his father Samuel, the local rector. He will be raised as a strict Anglican, learning Greek, and Latin and memorizing passages of the New Testament. As a child he will be pulled from the flames as his home catches fire. This will be a turning point for him, like "a brand plucked out of the fire." John and his brother Charles (yet unborn) and George Whitefield (also yet unborn), will found the Methodist movement within the Anglican Church. It is a movement of renewal, following strictly the Common Book of Prayer. In fact, they follow the book so closely that they get the nickname of "Methodist" and the name sticks. It is going to be a wild ride for the Methodists, but by the time of John Wesley's passing, he will be known as "the best loved man in England," and his followers will number well over 100,000 on both sides of the Atlantic. [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK, the reason I point to the birth of influential figures is to provide a context to their lives. The children are watching... so what was John Wesley seeing? Well... he was living in a world with a punishing God. In 1703, the Great Storm hit England. Thousands died and many more were rendered homeless. The first reaction was that God was punishing England as a whole... not necessarily as individuals. Group responsibility implies a group relationship with God rather than an individual relationship... a sort of "social holiness". That means the group must worship in the correct way in order to gain God's favor. Thus renewal would mean following the ritual exactly. It also implies that people advocating religious ideals outside the standard must be corrected... hopefully gently. John Wesley was a public preacher, encouraging his fellows to follow the Methodist way of the Anglican ritual. He was not always well received by the establishment, but Methodism was probably the most successful of the Anglican derivatives of the time.

The Foundations of St. Petersburg

As the story goes, Peter the Great was exploring the coast along the Neva delta and he landed at Hare Island. As he looked up he saw an eagle which was the symbol of Russia. It was there that he set the foundations for Peter Paul Fortress. He had a vision of a future Saint Petersburg and he built the city exactly to that vision. [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is clear from the building directives Peter the Great made for Saint Petersburg that the above story is pure myth, probably created by his daughter, Elizabeth the 1st, who ruled Russia after his death. Catherine the Great added to that myth and thus drew some authority to herself by associating herself with Peter the Great. She had a statue of him created and inscribed it with the words, "To Peter the First from Catherine the Second." That is... Peter the first Great One and Catherine the second Great One. She collected a great deal of art at her Saint Petersburg palace in a complex generally called "The Hermitage." As World War 1 started, Saint Petersburg was renamed Petrograd which means "Peter's City", and after Lenin's death it was renamed "Leningrad" meaning "Lenin's City." The city returned to Saint Petersburg in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Hermitage has been open to the public since 1852. [14]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1703, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 322-323. “Eddystone Lighthouse destroyed by storm” 
  2. Great Storm of 1703 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “The Great Storm of 1703 was a destructive extratropical cyclone that struck central and southern England on 26 November (7 December in today’s calendar), 1703. High winds caused 2,000 chimney stacks to collapse in London, and winds damaged New Forest, which lost 4,000 oaks. Ships were blown hundreds of miles off-course, and over 1,000 seamen died on the Goodwin Sands alone. News bulletins of casualties and damage were sold all over England – a novelty at that time.”
  3. Derham, William. [http://www.jstor.org/stable/102921 "A Letter for the Reverend Mr William Derham, F. R. S. Containing His Observations concerning the Late Storm"]. Philosophical Transactions (1683-1775) (Royal Society) 24 (1704 - 1705): 1530-1534. http://www.jstor.org/stable/102921. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  4. Defoe, Daniel (1704). The Storm. 
  5. A history of great British storms. The Guardian (10 March 2008). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “The 'Great Storm' hit southern Britain on the night of November 26 1703. By the next morning, between 8,000 and 15,000 people were dead, many of them on ships sunk at sea. Church spires were destroyed, tiles and chimney stacks covered the streets, and more than 400 windmills were broken.”
  6. SHIPPING LOSSES DURING GREAT STORM OF 1703. coflein.gov.uk (2016). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “The Great Storm of 1703 (27 November 1703) caught a convoy of 130 merchant ships and their Man of War escorts DOLPHIN, CUMBERLAND, COVENTRY, LOOE, HASTINGS and HECTOR sheltering inside Milford Haven (see NPRN 272959). The storm reached its height at around 3am in the morning. [...] The losses by 3pm in the afternoon totalled some 30 vessels, with 3 missing.”
  7. New Forest - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “The common rights were confirmed by statute in 1698. The New Forest became a source of timber for the Royal Navy, and plantations were created in the 18th century for this purpose. In the Great Storm of 1703, about 4000 oak trees were lost.”
  8. Three sheets in the wind (to the wind) - Idioms. idioms.thefreedictionary.com (2016). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “Inf. intoxicated and unsteady. (Sheets are the ropes used to manage a ship's sails. It is assumed that if these ropes were blowing in the wind, the ship would be out of control.) He had gotten three sheets to the wind and didn't pay attention to my warning. By midnight, he was three sheets.”
  9. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 322-323. “John Wesley, founder of Methodism, b. (d. 1791)” 
  10. John Wesley - The Calvinist. Drury Writing (October 24, 2005). Retrieved on 26 April 2015. “In summary, John Wesley is often misunderstood by those who are his most severe critics and by those who claim to be his theological heirs. However, in today's theological world Wesley can seem to be closer to the Reformed tradition than the very theological tradition that bears his name!”
  11. John & Charles Wesley: Renewers of the Church. satucket.com (3 March 1791). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “Of the two, John was the more powerful preacher, and averaged 8000 miles of travel a year, mostly on horseback. At the time of his death he was probably the best known and best loved man in England.”
  12. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 322-323. “Peter the Great lays foundations of St. Petersburg” 
  13. History of St. Petersburg in the era of Peter the Great. saint-petersburg.com (2016). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “It is difficult to overestimate the influence of Peter the Great on the founding and formation of St. Petersburg. To begin with, Peter himself chose the site of the new city, laying the foundation stone for the Peter Paul Fortress and the city at its walls in May 1703.”
  14. Dmitry Shvidkovsky (2005). "The Founding of Saint Petersburg and the History of Russian Architecture". Studies in the History of Art (National Gallery of Art) 66: 78-97. http://www.jstor.org/stable/42622378. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 

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