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On this day:
1757 – English poet Christopher Smart is admitted into St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics in London, beginning his six-year confinement to mental asylums.
Christopher Smart (11 April 1722 – 21 May 1771), also known as “Kit Smart”, “Kitty Smart”, and “Jack Smart”, was an English poet.
He was a major contributor to two popular magazines and a friend to influential cultural icons like Samuel Johnson and Henry Fielding. Smart, a high church Anglican, was widely known throughout London.
Smart was infamous as the pseudonymous midwife “Mrs. Mary Midnight” and widespread accounts of his father-in-law, John Newbery, locking him away in a mental asylum for many years over Smart’s supposed religious “mania”. Even after Smart’s eventual release, a negative reputation continued to pursue him as he was known for incurring more debt than he could repay; this ultimately led to his confinement in debtors’ prison until his death.
Smart’s two most widely known works are A Song to David and Jubilate Agno, both at least partly written during his confinement in asylum. However, Jubilate Agno was not published until 1939 and A Song to David received mixed reviews until the 19th century. To his contemporaries, Smart was known mainly for his many contributions in the journals The Midwife and The Student, along with his famous Seaton Prize poems and his mock epic The Hilliad. Although he is primarily recognised as a religious poet, his poetry includes various other themes, such as his theories on nature and his promotion of English nationalism.
In response to his uncle’s death, Christopher Hunter wrote, “I trust he is now at peace; it was not his portion here.” Fanny Burney, in her journal, wrote:
But now I speak of authors, let me pay the small tribute of regret and concern due to the memory of poor Mr. Smart, who died lately in the King’s Bench Prison; a man by nature endowed with talents, wit, and vivacity, in an eminent degree; and whose unhappy loss of his sense was a public as well as private misfortune. I never knew him in his glory, but ever respected him in his decline, from the fine proofs he had left of his better day, and from the account I have heard of his youth from my father, who was then his intimate companion; as, of late years, he has been his most active and generous friend, having raised a kind of fund for his relief, though he was ever in distress. His intellects, so cruelly impaired, I doubt not, affected his whole conduct.
On 22 May 1771, a jury of twelve fellow inmates of the King’s Bench Prison declared that Smart “upon the Twentieth day of May Instant died a Natural Death within the Rules of the Prison.” He was buried on 26 May in St Paul’s Covent Garden.
Born on this day:
1836 – Max Eyth, German engineer and author (d. 1906)
He was born in Kirchheim unter Teck to Edward Eyth (1809–1884), a teacher of Greek and history at an evangelical seminar and his wife Julie. He lived from 1841 to 1852 in Schöntal Abbey where his father was Ephorus at the Evangelical Seminary Maulbronn and Blaubeuren. Besides his profession his father wrote lyrics boks about history and literature history. His mother also was an author. Young Max spent School time in Heilbronn, and also the first years of his teaching at the Maschinenbau-Gesellschaft Heilbronn Hahn & Göbel. From 1852 till 1856 he studied at the Polytechnikum Stuttgart Mechanical engineering. Since this time he was a member of Corps Stauffia Stuttgart. He collected his first experiences at the steam engine factory Gotthilf Kuhn in Berg near Stuttgart. Although his degree, he had to absolve a trainig as mechanist before he was allowed to make constructors work. Before this he made technical drawings. 1862 he went to steam plow factory John Fowler in Leeds and overtook foreign agency for steam plows. There were many travels and stays in foreign countries, for example in Egypt and the United States. During the time of the American Civil War he travelled to Egypt. Egypt tried at this time to become the main producer of cotton for Europe.
Max Eyth founded the German Agricultural Society (DLG) in 1885.
The German Agricultural Society (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft), commonly known as DLG, is an international non-profit organisation for agricultural industry in Germany. DLG was founded in 1885 by Max Eyth, has over 23,000 members as of 2011 and is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main. Its main purpose is to promote technical progress and scientific advances in the food and agricultural industry, including setting standards.
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