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Brabant, Flanders, Artois, and Hainault on the 15th December, 1582; in Lorrain on the 10th of December, 1582; in Tuscany in 1749. In Germany the Catholics'adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1584; but the Protestants did not observe it till 1700, when Weigel's calendar was observed. This was in every respect the same as the Gregorian, except in the times of Easter, so that one part of the inhabitants of Germany observed Easter on one day, whilst the second division celebrated it on another.
In Switzerland very nearly the same course was pursued as in Germany, the Protestants and Catholics acting on different prin ciples, and the latter adopted Weigel's calendar. In Hungary the Gregorian calendar was used in 1587; in Poland in 1586; Sweden in 1753; Denmark in 1582; but in 1699, Weigel's calendar was adopted, and ever since the inhabitants of Denmark agree with the German Protestants. In Russia, Greece, and throughout the east the old style is still obstinately retained. 1.We come now to trace the introduction of the Gregorian cálendar into England. The old style of England was the Julian calendar, and the legal year was always commenced on the 25th of March until the year 1751, when the bill for altering it was brought into parliament. The preamble stated, that the practice of beginning the year on the 25th of March, had produced várious inconveniences, not only from its differing from the usage of neighbouring nations, but also from the legal computation in Scotland, and from the common usage throughout the whole kingdom; that the Julian calendar then in use had been discovered to be erroneous, by means whereof the Vernal or Spring equinox, which at the time of the general council of Nice, A. D. 325, happened on the 21st of March, now fell on the 9th or 10th of that month; that this error was still increasing; that a method of correcting the calendar had been received and established, and was generally practised by almost all other nations of Europe, and that it would be of general convenience to merchants and others coresponding with foreign nations if the like correction were received and established in his majesty's dominions.
The bill contained four distinct clauses, by which it was provided that in every part of his majesty's dominions the year should begin on the 1st of January, 1752. -- That from and after the 1st day of January, 1752, the several days of each month shall go on and be reckoned and numbered in the same order, and the feast of Easter and other Moveable feasts thereon depending shall be ascertained according to the same method as they now are until the 2nd of September, 1752; that the natural day next immediately following the 2nd of September, 1752, shall be called and freckoned as the fourteenth day of September, omitting the eleven intermediate nominal days of the common calendar; that the days which followed next after the said 14th of September shall be reckoned in numerical order from that day, and all public and private proceedings whatsoever after the 1st of January, 1752, were ordered to be dated accordingly. That the several years of our Lord 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300, or any other hundredth years of our Lord which shall happen in time to come, except only every fourth hundredth year of our Lord, whereof the year 2000 shall be the first shall not be deemed Bissextile or Leap years; but shall be considered as common years, consisting of 365 days only; and that the years of our Lord 2000, 2400, 2800, and every other fourth hundredth year of our Lord, from the year 2000 inclusive, and also all other years of our Lord which; by the present supputation, are considered Bissextile or Leap-years, shall for the future be esteemed Bissextile or Leap-years, consist ing of 366 days. That whereas according to the rule then in use for calculating Easter-day, that feast was fixed to the first Sunday after the first full moon next after the 21st of March; and if the full moon happens on a Sunday, then Easter-day is the Sunday after: which rule had been adopted by the general council of Nice, A.D. 325; but that as the method of computing the full moons then used in the church of England, and according to which the table to find Easter prefixed to the Book of Common Prayer is fråmed, had become considerably erroneous, it was enacted that the said method should be discontinued, and that from and after the 2nd of September, 1752, Easter-day, and the other Moveable and other feasts were henceforward to be reckoned according to the calendar tables and rules annexed to the act, and attached to the Books of Common Prayer. Littens
Attention to the minute details which enter into the comparison of the Old and New Style is of the greatest importance, for the difference of given years in either of them, that is to say, the day of the month, if we reckon by the old style, which would fall in one century upon a certain date in the new style, would in another century fall on a different date, so that the 1st of January, 1800, of the Old, corresponded with the 13th, 1800, of the New Style.
It is of the greatest importance to chronologists and persons in any way interested in dates to be very well acquainted with the variations adopted throughout Europe for several centuries respecting the commencement of the year. In most countries the following were the dates at which the years began: Christmas day, the 25th of December; the day of the Circumcision, the 1st of January; the day of the Conception, the 25th of March; and Easter-day, the day of the resurrection of our Lord, and it was not until a comparatively recent period that a general rule was adopted.
By Gregory's calendar the 1st of January was appointed as the beginning of the year, but, as has already been stated, one hundred and seventy years elapsed before England adopted it; so slow has been the force of reason and convenience over the prejudice in favour of ancient practice, a prejudice which the laws of
England seem, in many cases, to have been specially formed to foster and protect. With the exception of Russia, where the old style still exists, England was the last European nation to admit the claims of truth and utility over error and confusion; and the effort made by a few enlightened persons, at the period when most other countries allowed truth to triumph over ignorance, namely, towards the close of the sixteenth century, was rejected. by the legislature.
Mr. Nicolas adds a very curious account of the usage at vas. rious periods which had been practised in England, which we subjoin. - The portion of this extract, which relates to the consequent confusion of this state of things is curious, and will no doubt put compilers, of history on their guard against - similar
" In England, in the seventh, and so late as the thirteenth cen tury, the year was reckoned from Christmas-day; but in the twelfth century, the Anglican church began the year on the 25th of March; which practice was also adopted by civilians in the fourteenth century. This style continued until the reformation of the calendar by stat. 24 Geo. II. c. 23, by which the legal year was ordered to commence on the 1st of January, in 1753. It appears, therefore, that two calculations have generally existed in Lingland for the commencement of the year; viz:
"1. The Historical Year, which has, for a very long period, begun on the 1st of January.
“ 2. The Civil, Ecclesiastical, and Legal Year, which was used by the church, and in all public instruments, which began at Christmas until the end of the thirteenth century: after that time it commenced on the 25th of March, and so continued until the 1st of January, 1753.
". The confusion which arose from there being two modes of computing dates in one kingdom must be sufficiently apparent; for the legislature, the church, and civilians, referred every event which happened between the 1st of January and so the 25th, of March to a different year from historians.
“Remarkable examples of the confusion produced by this practice are afforded by two of the most celebrated events in English history. King Charles I. is said, by most authorities, to have been beheaded on the 30th of January, 1648; whilst others, with equal correctness, assign that event to the 30th of January, 1649. The revolution which drove James II. from the throne is stated by some writers to have taken place in February, 1688; whilst, according to others, it happened in February, 1689; these discrepancies arise from some historians using the civil, and legal, and others the historical year, though both would have assigned any circumstance after the 25th of March to the same years, namely, 1649 and 1689.
“To avoid, as far as possible, the mistakes which this custom VOL. III. (1833) NO. IV.
produced, it was usual to add the date of the historical to that of the legal year, when speaking of any day between the 1st of January and the 25th of March; thus: Sisak January 30, 1648 4. e. the Civil and Legal year, bir
9 li. e. the Historical year;
or, thus :
January 30, 1618-9. 1. This practice, common as it has long been, is nevertheless frequently misunderstood, and even intelligent persons are sometimes perplexed by dates being so written. The explanation is, however, perfectly simple, for the lower or last figure always indicates the year according to our present computation." *** We have mentioned that the Jews use the date of the creation of the world; but, for obvious reasons, we must add a few more particulars respecting their calendar. Their year then is semiJunar, and it consists either of twelve or thirteen months each, and every month has twenty-nine or thirty days. The civil year commences in the month Tisri, with, or immediately after, the new moon following the autumnal equinox. The months, with the number of days in each, are, 1. Tisri 30 days. 7. Nisan, or Abib
30 days. 2. Marchesvan, Chesvan, or
8. Jyar, or Zius
30 3. Chisleu
29 or 30 10. Thammuz 4. Thebet
304, 5. Sebat
729 6. Adar
in intercalary years Š 30.7474 (Veadar)
29 - The month Veadar is omitted in years of twelve months. The 'average length of the year of twelve months is 354 days; but, by varying the length of the months Marchesvan and Chisleu, it may consist of 353 or 355 days. In the same manner,
year of thirteen months may contain 383, 384, or 385 days. In nineteen years, twelve years have 12 months each, and seven years, 13 months.
To reduce the Jewish time to ours it is necessary to substract 3761 from the Judaic number, and the remainder will be the year of Christ.
The Quakers' calendar demands also some attention. It appears that, before the statute of 1751 for altering the calendar, the Society of Friends began their year on the 25th of March. This month they called the first month, and the rest were numbered in succession after March. In January, 1752, however, they had the good sense to conform, in some respect, to the general practice, and they gave the priority to the month of January, which now remains in its proper rank. They 'conformed very readily in sinking the eleven days, which were ordered to be struck off by the act of 1751.
But perhaps the most useful of the explanations of the various calendars of Europe is that of the French republic, which is given by Mr. Nicolas in a very elaborate form. The history of France, during that era, is one that still bears a considerable degree of interest for the public, and; as many documents and events of deep importance are dated in conformity with the system of computation-adopted at that period, it will prove useful to give some insight into its nature. The Republican calendar of France was formed in 1793, on what was called philosophical principles. On the 24th of November of that year the Convention decreed the common era as abolished in all civil matters, and that the new French epoch should commence from the foundation of the Republic, namely, on the 22nd of September, 1792, on the day of the true autumnal equinox, when the sun entered Libra at 9h. 18 min. 30 sec. in the morning, according to the meridian of Paris; that each year should begin at the midnight of the day on which the true autumnal equinox falls; and that the first year of the French Republic had begun on the midnight of the 22nd of September, and terminated on the midnight between the 21st and 22nd of September, 1793. To produce a correspondence between the seasons and the civil year, it was decreed, that the fourth year of the Republic should be the first sextile or leapyear; that a sixth complementary day should be added to it, and that it should terminate the first Franciade; that the sextile or leap year, which they called an Olympic year, should take place every four years, and should mark the close of each Franciade; that the first, second, and third centurial years, viz. 100, 200, and 300, of the Republic should be common, and that the fourth centurial year, viz. 400, should be sextile; and that this should be the case every fourth century until the 40th, which should terminate with a common year.
The year was divided into twelve months of thirty days each, with five additional days at the end, which were celebrated as festivals, and which obtained the absurd name of " Sansculottides.” The months and festivals were as follow:
Vindémiaire (Vintage Month) Sept. 22 to Oct. 1. Autumn. Brumaire (Foggy Month)
Oct. 22 - Nov. 20. Frimaire (Sleety Month)
Nov. 21 Dec. 20. Nivose (Snowy Month)
Dec. 21 Jan. 19. Winter. Pluviose (Rainy Month)
Jan. 20 - Feb. 18. Ventose (Windy Month)
Feb. 19 Mar. 20. Germinal (Budding Month) Mar. 21 - April 19. Spring. Floréal (Flowery Month)
April 20 - May 19. Prairial (Pasture Month)
May 20 - June 18.
19 --- July 18. Summer. Fervidor, or Thermidor (Hot Month)July 19 - Aug. 17. Fructidor (Fruit Month)
Aug. 18 - Sept. 16.