Also in April 1750

BBC Music Magazine - - The Full Score -

1st : The Swedish ex­plorer and sci­en­tist

Pehr Os­beck, a stu­dent of the botanist and zo­ol­o­gist Carl Lin­naeus, be­gins his log as he sets out on the ship Prins Carl to China, where he will study the fauna and flora. Over the next two years, he as­sem­bles de­tails of over 600 species to con­trib­ute to Lin­naeus’s Species Plan­tarum.

12th: As his ground­break­ing ex­per­i­ments with elec­tric­ity gather pace, the great Amer­i­can sci­en­tist, au­thor and states­man Ben­jamin Franklin pauses to take stock of his life in a let­ter to his mother Abiah. ‘I would rather have it said “He lived use­fully” than “He died rich”,’ he con­cludes. His cor­re­spon­dence later in the year will con­tain de­tails of his idea for in­stalling light­ning rods to pro­tect build­ings from fire and, less aus­pi­ciously, his ex­pe­ri­ence of suf­fer­ing a shock while try­ing to elec­tro­cute a turkey. 13th: Eight years and sev­eral dis­ap­point­ingly re­ceived per­for­mances after its pre­miere in Dublin, Han­del’s Mes­siah at last finds favour with a Lon­don au­di­ence when it is sung at Covent Gar­den. Another per­for­mance will soon fol­low when, on 1 May, a con­cert is given for the ben­e­fit of the Lon­don Foundling Hos­pi­tal, the first of what will there­after be­come an an­nual char­ity event.

17th: Prus­sia’s Fred­er­ick II (‘the Great’) an­nounces the Gen­er­al­priv­i­leg, a mea­sure that, while in­cor­po­rat­ing the Jews into the state’s bu­reau­cratic and le­gal sys­tems, also se­verely lim­its their free­dom and op­por­tu­ni­ties. As well as plac­ing lim­its on the num­ber of Jews that can en­joy Prus­sian cit­i­zen­ship, it also im­poses seg­re­ga­tion on them, forces them to pay higher taxes than other cit­i­zens and for­bids them to en­gage in trades run by guilds.

Flower power: Swedish botanist Carl Lin­naeus

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