July 8

Amber pages, and the first three are destined to remain stuck on amber, because they have already found their ways into books of mine down the years: the first in "Travels In Familiar Lands", the second in "A Small Drop of Ink", the third in "A Journey in Time".

Jacob Barsimson, who was probably Ya'akov Bar Shimon, by whichever name the first Jew to settle in North America, arrived in New York, which was then still New Amsterdam (the transfer happened ten years later, on September 8th, 1664), today in 

Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet, drowned, off the coast of Leghorn, today in 

The Liberty Bell cracked, today in 
1835 - sums it all up really, doesn't it!

Except that the last two numbers in the sum need to be reversed. The great Madama Butterfly incident, the day on which Comadore Matthew Perry led a naval fleet into Yedo Bay, Japan, to insist, at pain of military engagement, that peaceful, Buddhist, closed-to-the-barbaric-world Japan, open its markets to American trade, today in 
1853. If ever you get asked to write an essay on the causes of the Second World War, Pacific section, this should be listed as Item One.

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