Silent Ambassadors

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On this date in 1833, slavery was abolished in Britain and its territories (notable exceptions being for the East India Company, Ceylon, and Saint Helena), after the tireless efforts of people throughout the Empire and beyond, including the six abolitionists pictured above, all of whom were involved in the 1807 Slave Trade Act (which abolished the slave trade in the British Empire, but not slavery itself).  Still, the 1807 Act directly led to the Slavery Abolition Act, which was passed on August 1, 1833.  [As you’ll recall, it wasn’t until over thirty years later, in 1865, that the 13th Amendment was passed, ending slavery in the United States of America.]

Stamp details:
Issued on: March 22, 2007
From: London, England
SG #2728-2733

(Source: collectgbstamps.co.uk)

Daniel Defoe, world-renowned for his writing and posthumously known as one of the founders of the English novel (Moll Flanders, Robinson Crusoe, etc.), was pilloried on this date in 1703 as punishment for his accused seditious libel in a pamphlet anonymously published in December 1702 entitled The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church (the accusation being that he calls for the dissolution of the church).  Legend has it that upon the publication of his poem “A Hymn to the Pillory,” allegedly printed somehow while he was in gaol preparing for his public humiliation, the jeering, bloodthirsty crowds who would ordinarily have thrown noxious substances and/or sharp objects at any and all pilloried captives were so moved by Defoe’s poetic outrage that they threw flowers instead.

Stamp details:
Stamp on top:
Issued on: August 2, 1960
From: Bucharest, Romania
MC #1894

Second row left:
Issued in: 1994
From: Monaco, Monaco
MC #2207

Second row right:
Issued on: September 21, 1984
From: Saint Helier, Jersey
MC #334

Bottom left:
Issued on: August 26, 1965
From: Santiago, Chile
MC #639

Bottom right:
Issued on: March 4, 1972
From: St. George’s, Grenada
SC #452

(Source: philatelia.net)

Emily Brontë, also known by her nom de plume Ellis Bell (younger sister of Charlotte Brontë, also known by her nom de plume Currer Bell) (and older sister of Anne Brontë, also known by her nom de plume Acton Bell), was born on this date in 1818.  Wuthering Heights, that sterling exemplar of a gothic novel, was her only work—it was published in 1847 and she died the following year, at age 30.  Thanks for giving us Heathcliff on the moors, Ms. Bell!
Stamp details:Issued on: July 9, 1980From: London, EnglandSG #1127

Emily Brontë, also known by her nom de plume Ellis Bell (younger sister of Charlotte Brontë, also known by her nom de plume Currer Bell) (and older sister of Anne Brontë, also known by her nom de plume Acton Bell), was born on this date in 1818.  Wuthering Heights, that sterling exemplar of a gothic novel, was her only work—it was published in 1847 and she died the following year, at age 30.  Thanks for giving us Heathcliff on the moors, Ms. Bell!

Stamp details:
Issued on: July 9, 1980
From: London, England
SG #1127

(Source: collectgbstamps.co.uk)

Today is International Tiger Day!  So in honor of the world’s largest feline, give the nearest kitty a cuddle today.

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: September 20, 2011
From: Washington, DC
SC #B4

Top right:
Issued on: March 22, 2011
From: London, England
MC #3069

Second row left:
Issued on: December 8, 2006
From: Paris, France
MC #U57

Second row right:
Issued on: November 11, 2011
From: New Delhi, India
MC #2623

Stamp on bottom:
Issued on: February 24, 1961
From: Budapest, Hungary
SC #1350

(Source: animalvista.com)

Helen Beatrix Potter was born on this date in 1866.  Most of us have loved and continue to love her children’s stories, of course, and for anyone who has seen Miss Potter, we know about her love of the countryside (most of her lands [and, incidentally, illustrations] she left to the National Trust upon her death in 1943—the largest gift to that date from a private individual, and a bequest that led to the creation and continuing preservation of the Lake District National Park).  Before her success as a children’s author and illustrator, however, she had trained, studied, and hoped to work as a mycologist.  Mushrooms, huzzah!

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: February 2, 1993
From: London, England
SG #1649

Top right:
Issued on: February 1, 1994
From: London, England
SG #1805

Second row:
Issued on: July 11, 1979
From: London, England
SG #1091

Third and fourth row:
Issued on: July 31, 2013
From; St. Anne, Alderney
SG #494-499

Stamps on bottom:
Issued on: October 11, 2006
From: Douglas, Isle of Man
MC #1321-1324

(Source: collectgbstamps.co.uk)

On July 27, 1921, Canadian scientist Frederick Banting proved that insulin regulates blood sugar, a great breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine (jointly with J. J. R. Macleod) in 1923 at the age of 32, still the youngest Nobel Laureate in that field, and subsequently shared the prize money with his colleague Dr. Charles Best.  [For inquiring minds: Lawrence Bragg is the youngest person awarded a Nobel Prize, in physics in 1915 at the age of 25.]  In a recent CBC survey, Banting was named the fourth most important Canadian by viewers (for inquiring minds: first, second, and third were Tommy Douglas, Terry Fox, and Pierre Trudeau).  He was killed in a plane crash in 1941.  A flame of hope was lit in 1989 in Sir Frederick Banting Square, London, ON, and will remain burning until a cure for diabetes is found.

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: March 15, 1991
From: Ottawa, Canada
SC #1304

Top right:
Issued on: January 17, 2000
From: Ottawa, Canada
SC #1822a

Middle left:
Issued on: March 16, 2001
From: Boston, MA
SC #3503

Middle right:
Issued on: August 7, 1971
From: Brussels, Belgium
SC #811

Stamp on bottom:
Issued on: September 23, 1971
From: Bern, Switzerland
MC #959

(Source: colnect.com)

In one of his only official duties as king before abdicating, Edward VIII unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on this date in 1936.  The Battle of Vimy Ridge, part of the larger British offensive in and around Arras in the spring of 1917, was one of the most important victories for the many Canadian troops sent over there for God & Empire—not only because taking the ridge helped the British tactically, but also because all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought together for the first time during this battle—a pivotal moment in Canadian national history.  The Memorial was designed by Walter Seymour Allward and covers 250 acres of the battleground, commemorating not only the dead at Vimy, but the presumed dead and missing from the entirety of the Great War (there are a total of 11,285 names on the memorial, although since its construction, 116 of the men commemorated have been found and proper headstones erected for them).  Here is the inscription:

To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada.

À la vaillance de ses fils pendant la Grande Guerre et en mémoire de ses soixante mille morts, le peuple canadien a élevé ce monument.

[It should be noted that Canada did not have time to issue a stamp of King Edward VIII while he was king—the stamp is of him as the Prince of Wales.]

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: October 15, 1968
From: Ottawa, Canada
SC #486

Top right:
Issued on: July 12, 1932
From: Ottawa, CanadaSC #193

Stamps on bottom:
Issued on: July 26, 1936
From: Paris, France
MC #322-323

(Source: stamps-plus.com)

On this date in 1609, Sea Venture, flagship of the London Company and bound for Jamestown, reefed on Bermuda during a wicked storm [so wicked, a certain Bard of Stratford was inspired to write a play about it—or so the story goes].  Others had landed in Bermuda before, but the men and women aboard Sea Venture were the first to spend any protracted amount of time there—enough time, in fact, to build two ships from both the salvage of Sea Venture and any available building materials found on the island, and set sail just a short nine months later in them, arriving in Jamestown to the wonder of all [well, and relief, too, considering the colonists at Jamestown were starving and would undoubtedly have died if Deliverance and Patience hadn’t shown up with considerable amounts of supplies from their island respite].  Four of the original passengers aboard Sea Venture were left on Bermuda to establish it as a British colony—and Bermuda remains a Commonwealth Nation to this day.

Stamp details:
Stamp on top:
Issued on: March 27, 1912
From: Hamilton, Bermuda
SC #44

Middle stamps:
Issued on: May 3, 1984
From: Hamilton, Bermuda
SC #438, 440

Stamps on bottom:
Issued on: June 21, 2007
From: Hamilton, Bermuda
SC #944-945

(Source: bermuda-online.org)

On this date in 1911, American explorer Hiram Bingham [III], with the help of indigenous guides, climbed up into the Andes and became the first (or possibly the third….) non-Peruvian to visit the 15th Century Inca site of Machu Picchu.  Bingham was born to Hawai’ian missionaries and probably helped shape the Indiana Jones persona later in the century—although when Indy says, “That belongs in a museum!” it could also be argued, as the Peruvians have done about the thousands and thousands of objects Bingham liberated into the hands of the Peabody, that it belongs to its cultural descendants……[Interestingly, and pretty much entirely unrelatedly, Bingham’s son, Hiram Bingham IV (pictured above), was Vice Consul in Marseilles during WWII and helped roughly 2,500 Jews flee France as the Nazis advanced—sort of like a United States of American Raoul Wallenberg!]

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: July 5, 2011
From: Lima, Peru
WAD #029.11

Top right:
Issued in: 1951
From: Lima, Peru
SC #455

Middle stamp:
Issued on: July 7, 2008
From: Lima, Peru
WAD #030.08

Stamp on bottom:
Issued on: May 30, 2006
From: Washington, DC
SC #4076c

(Source: arago.si.edu)

On July 23, 1904, during the St. Louis Expo, United States of Americans at large were introduced to the pastry shell full of ice cream—and gosh if we haven’t looked back since.

Stamp details:
Stamp on top:
Issued on: February 3, 1998
From: Washington, DC
SC #3182e

Second row:
Issued on: May 12, 2011
From: Stockholm, Sweden
WAD #0037.11, 0039.11

Third row left:
Issued on: April 27, 1994
From: Wellington, New Zealand
SG #1799

Third row right:
Issued on: March 23, 2011
From: Wellington, New Zealand
MC #2783

Bottom left:
Issued on: May 15, 2007
From: London, England
SG #2734

Bottom right:
Issued on: March 11, 2006
From: Rome, Italy
SC #2729

(Source: arago.si.edu)