On this day:
589 – Reccared I summons the Third Council of Toledo.
The Third Council of Toledo (589) marks the entry of Visigothic Spain into the Catholic Church, and known for codifying the filioque clause into Western Christianity. The council also enacted restrictions on Jews, and the conversion of the country to Christianity led to repeated conflict with the Jews.
In the 4th century, the bishop Wulfila (c 310 – 383) invented a script for the Gothic language, translated the Bible into Gothic, and converted the Goths to Arian Christianity. When the Visigoths traveled west, they encountered Latin Christians, for whom Arianism was anathema. The Visigoths held to their Arian beliefs and refused to join the Catholic Church.
Attempts to Unify
Prior to the Council in Toledo, King Reccared had convened informal assemblies of bishops to resolve the religious schism in his kingdom. At the second assembly both Arian and Catholic bishops presented their arguments, while Reccared pointed out that no Arian bishop had ever performed a healing miracle. The last assembly consisted of only Catholic bishops, where upon Reccared accepted the Catholic faith.
1794 – Branded a traitor during the Reign of Terror by revolutionists, French chemist Antoine Lavoisier, who was also a tax collector with the Ferme générale, is tried, convicted and guillotined in one day in Paris.
Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (also Antoine Lavoisier after the French Revolution; French: [ɑ̃twan lɔʁɑ̃ də lavwazje]; 26 August 1743 – 8 May 1794;) was a French nobleman and chemist central to the 18th-century chemical revolution and had a large influence on both the history of chemistry and the history of biology. He is widely considered in popular literature as the “father of modern chemistry”.
It is generally accepted that Lavoisier’s great accomplishments in chemistry largely stem from his changing the science from a qualitative to a quantitative one. Lavoisier is most noted for his discovery of the role oxygen plays in combustion. He recognized and named oxygen (1778) and hydrogen (1783) and opposed the phlogiston theory. Lavoisier helped construct the metric system, wrote the first extensive list of elements, and helped to reform chemical nomenclature. He predicted the existence of silicon (1787) and was also the first to establish that sulfur was an element (1777) rather than a compound. He discovered that, although matter may change its form or shape, its mass always remains the same.
Lavoisier was a powerful member of a number of aristocratic councils, and an administrator of the Ferme générale. The Ferme générale was one of the most hated components of the Ancien Régime because of the profits it took at the expense of the state, the secrecy of the terms of its contracts, and the violence of its armed agents. All of these political and economic activities enabled him to fund his scientific research. At the height of the French Revolution, he was accused by Jean-Paul Marat of selling adulterated tobaccoand of other crimes, and was eventually guillotined a year after Marat’s death.
Born on this day:
1753 – Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Mexican priest and rebel leader (d. 1811)
Don Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo-Costilla y Gallaga Mandarte Villaseñor (8 May 1753 – 30 July 1811), more commonly known as Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla or simply Miguel Hidalgo, was a Mexican Roman Catholic priest and a leader of the Mexican War of Independence.
He was a professor at the Colegio de San Nicolás Obispo in Valladolid and was ousted in 1792. He served in a church in Colima and then in Dolores, Guanajuato. After his arrival, he was shocked by the poverty he found. He tried to help the poor by showing them how to grow olives and grapes, but in Mexico, growing these crops was discouraged or prohibited by the authorities due to Spanish imports of the items. In 1810 he gave the famous speech, “The Cry of Dolores”, calling upon the people to protect the interest of their King Fernando VII (held captive by Napoleon) by revolting against the European-born Spaniards who had overthrown the Spanish Viceroy.
He marched across Mexico and gathered an army of nearly 90,000 poor farmers and Mexican civilians who attacked and killed both Spanish Peninsulares and Criollo elites, even though Hidalgo’s troops lacked training and were poorly armed. These troops ran into an army of 6,000 well-trained and armed Spanish troops; most fled or were killed at the Battle of Calderón Bridge.
Hidalgo was the second-born child of Don Cristóbal Hidalgo y Costilla and Doña Ana María Gallaga. Hidalgo was born a criollo.[note 1] Under the system of the day, Hidalgo’s rights as a criollo were far less than those of someone born in Spain but better than a mestizo, a person of both Spanish and Amerindian ancestry, and other castas. Both of Hidalgo’s parents were descended from well-respected families within the criollo community. Hidalgo’s father was an hacienda manager, which presented Hidalgo with the opportunity to learn at a young age to speak the indigenous languages of the laborers. Eight days after his birth, Hidalgo was baptized into the Roman Catholic faith in the parish church of Cuitzeo de los Naranjos. Hidalgo’s parents would have three other sons; José Joaquín, Manuel Mariano, and José María.
In 1759, Charles III of Spain ascended to the throne of Spain; he soon sent out a visitor-general with the power to investigate and reform all parts of colonial government. During this period, Don Cristóbal was determined that Miguel and his younger brother Joaquín should both enter the priesthood and hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Being of significant means he paid for all of his sons to receive the best education the region had to offer. After receiving private instruction, likely from the priest of the neighboring parish, Hidalgo was ready for further education.
Education, ordination, and early career
At the age of fifteen Hidalgo was sent to Valladolid (now Morelia), Michoacán to study at the Colegio de San Francisco Javier with the Jesuits, along with his brothers. When the Jesuits were expelled from Mexico in 1767, he entered the Colegio de San Nicolás, where he studied for the priesthood.
He completed his preparatory education in 1770. After this, he went to the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico in Mexico City for further study, earning his degree in philosophy and theology in 1773. His education for the priesthood was traditional, with subjects in Latin, rhetoric and logic. Like many priests in Mexico, he learned some Indian languages, such as Nahuatl, Otomi and Purépecha. He also studied Italian and French, which were not commonly studied in Mexico at this time. He earned the nickname “El Zorro” (“The Fox”) for his reputation for cleverness at school. Hidalgo’s study of French allowed him to read and study works of the Enlightenment current in Europe but, at the same time, forbidden by the Catholic church in Mexico.
Hidalgo was ordained as a priest in 1778 when he was 25 years old. From 1779 to 1792, he dedicated himself to teaching at the Colegio de San Nicolás Obispo in Valladolid (now Morelia); it was “one of the most important educational centers of the viceroyalty.” He was a professor of Latin grammar and arts, as well as a theology professor. Beginning in 1787, he was named treasurer, vice-rector and secretary, becoming dean of the school in 1790 when he was 39. As rector, Hidalgo continued studying the liberal ideas that were coming from France and other parts of Europe. Authorities ousted him in 1792 for revising traditional teaching methods there, but also for “irregular handling of some funds.” The Church sent him to work at the parishes of Colima and San Felipe Torres Mochas until he became the parish priest in Dolores, Guanajuato, succeeding his brother Felipe (also a priest), who died in 1802.
Although Hidalgo had a traditional education for the priesthood, as an educator at the Colegio de San Nicolás, he had innovated in teaching methods and curriculum. In his personal life, he did not advocate or live the way expected of 18th-century Mexican priests. Instead, his studies of Enlightenment-era ideas caused him to challenge traditional political and religious views. He questioned the absolute authority of the Spanish king and challenged numerous ideas presented by the Church, including the power of the popes, the virgin birth, and clerical celibacy. As a secular cleric, he was not bound by a vow of poverty, so he, like many other secular priests, pursued business activities, including owning three haciendas; but contrary to his vow of chastity, he formed liaisons with women. One was with Manuela Ramos Pichardo, with whom he had two children, as well as a child with Bibiana Lucero. He later lived with a woman named María Manuela Herrera, fathering two daughters out of wedlock with her, and later fathered three other children with a woman named Josefa Quintana. He enjoyed dancing and gambling.
These actions resulted in his appearance before the Court of the Inquisition, although the court did not find him guilty. Hidalgo was egalitarian. As parish priest in both San Felipe and Dolores, he opened his house to Indians and mestizos as well as creoles. He obtained this parish in spite of his hearing before the Inquisition, which did not stop his secular practices.
After Hidalgo settled in Dolores, he turned over most of the clerical duties to one of his vicars, Fr. Francisco Iglesias, and devoted himself almost exclusively to commerce, intellectual pursuits and humanitarian activity. He spent much of his time studying literature, scientific works, grape cultivation, and the raising of silkworms. He used the knowledge that he gained to promote economic activities for the poor and rural people in his area. He established factories to make bricks and pottery and trained indigenous people in the making of leather. He promoted beekeeping. He was interested in promoting activities of commercial value to use the natural resources of the area to help the poor. His goal was to make the Indians and mestizos more self-reliant and less dependent on Spanish economic policies. However, these activities violated policies designed to protect agriculture and industry in Spain, and Hidalgo was ordered to stop them. These policies as well as exploitation of mixed race castas fostered resentment in Hidalgo of the Peninsular-born Spaniards in Mexico.
In addition to restricting economic activities in Mexico, Spanish mercantile practices caused misery for the native peoples. A drought in 1807–1808 caused a famine in the Dolores area, and, rather than releasing stored grain to market, Spanish merchants chose instead to block its release, speculating on yet higher prices. Hidalgo lobbied against these practices.
Grito de Dolores” or “Cry of Dolores”
Main article: Grito de Dolores
Fearing his arrest, Hidalgo commanded his brother Mauricio, as well as Ignacio Allende and Mariano Abasolo to go with a number of other armed men to make the sheriff release prison inmates in Dolores on the night of 15 September 1810. They managed to set eighty free. On the morning of 16 September 1810, Hidalgo called Mass, which was attended by about 300 people, including hacienda owners, local politicians and Spaniards. There he gave what is now known as the Grito de Dolores (Cry, or Shout, of Dolores), calling the people of his parish to leave their homes and join with him in a rebellion against the current government, in the name of their King.
Hidalgo’s Grito didn’t condemn the notion of monarchy or criticize the current social order in detail, but his opposition to the events in Spain and the current viceregal government was clearly expressed in his reference to bad government. The Grito also emphasized loyalty to the Catholic religion, a sentiment with which both Creoles and Peninsulares could sympathize.