July. In the ancient calendar of the Romans this month waa called Quintilis, to denote its numerical position - being, in fact, the fifth month of the old Latin year; where as now it is our seventh. It was sacred to Jupiter, and consisted of thirty-six Romulus reduced to thirty-one, and Num Pompilius to thirty; but Julius Caesar restored the day which Numa bad away from it. In consequence of the alterations made in the calendar by Numa, July became the seventh month in the year, but retained the name of Quintilis, until Mare Antony changed its name too Julius, as a compliment to Julius Caesar, who had done so much to improve the calendar.
The Synonymes of the month are as fellow- - In Latin, Julius; French. Juillet; Italian, Luglio; Portuguese, Julho; and saxon, Heu Monath, Hey Mounth, or Hay month, because the hay-harvest of our saxon ancestors was held in this month. It was also called Maed Monath, because at this season the meadows are covered with bloom.
The allegorical representation of the month (as exhibited in our illustrative engraving) consisted of a young man in a light jacket eating cherries; his face and chest sunburnt, and his head surmounted by a wreath of wild thyme. He bore a scythe on his shoulders, symbolical of the hay-harvest, while an ample bottle hung at his girdle, and at his side was the sign of Leo, the lion, alluding to the sun entering that sign on the 23rd of the month.
The month of July is usually very hot, especially during the first fortnight of the Dog-days; but this excessive temperature often gives way to the aestival rains, which in about St. Swithin's-day. If showery weather set in about the middle of the month, the chances are that the great part of the period will be wet; and hence the
10* popular proverb which ascribes forty rain to St. Swithin. It is at thisseason that the most beautiful and picturesque skies are seen, and that small meteors most, abound. The solstitial. this month may perhaps be considered as the most delightful; for though the vegetable world in the month of June is perhaps more adorned with blossoms, yet the days are now at their full Length; a beautiful twilight takes the place of night, and we seldom or never feel cold, except in particularly unseasonable years. Besides this, the air is generally calm and wholesome; and though sometimes great heat prevails, yet it is relieved by thunder-showers, and the evenings are refreshing and delightful. Full-grown grass in the meadows, the flowering of the purple clover, of the midsummer daisy, of the red poppy in the corn-fields, of the lilies, and of the whole of that beautiful tribe, the roses, besides numerous others of the floral family, distinguish this delightful season of the year. At this period, also, sheep-shearing forms an important branch of rural industry.
Hay-making is another great feature of rural industry for which the month of July is distinguished. It is always a source of pleasure to the young, and even to the aged, who delight to tell their oft-told tales of love, whispered at eve after the well-filled waggons have been carried to the yard to increase the snug stacks of sweet new-mown hay. Hay making is most assuredly one of the most pleasing occupations of an English summer.
We shall now proceed to notice a few of those days which are the most remarkable in the calendar for this month.
The 3rd day commences with what are termed the Dog-days, which continue until the 11th of August. The name was first given in reference to the heliacal rising of the constellation of Canis major, called Sirius, or the Dog-star, which was formerly thought to make the sea boil, dogs to go mad, wine to turn sour, animals generally to languish, and to originate fevers and cholera. The name applied to this period probably took its origin from a festival having been formerly held at Argos, expressly instituted for the killing of dogs during this season.
July 4, 1776, the declaration of American independence was proclaimed, and was hailed with great enthusiasm and rejoicing by the American people.
July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the declaration of independence. Remarkable coincidence, in the death of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who died on that day.
l5th. Dedicated to St. Swithin, who lived in the ninth century. He was the deviser and originator of tithes in England, and the priest of King Egbert. Being very pious and learned, he was created Bishop of Winchester, and, dying in the year 865, was canonized by the Pope. He requested that he might be buried in the open churchyard, which was a singular request, inasmuch as the bishops were generally buried in the chancel of the minster. The story runs, that the monks, wishing to translate the remains of the saint, on his being canonized, resolved to do so on the loth of July, with a solemn procession and great pomp ; but as it rained violently on that day, and the forty days succeeding, they looked upon it as a mark of disapprobation of the saint, and erected a chapel over his grave instead, at which many miracles are said to have been
Performed. Ever since then a popular notion as prevailed, that if it rains on St. Swithin's day there will be rain for the forty ensuing days.
20th. Dedicated to St. Margaret, an Italian virgin, who was martyred in 278. Although the name is retained in our calendar, the day is not kept.
25th, Dedicated to St. James the Apostle. Formerly the Catholic priests blessed apples on this day; and a popular belief prevailed, that, whoever ate oysters on this day would not want money for the remainder of the year.
26th. Dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary. - In 1830 the disturbances in Paris commenced, and lasted for several days, ending in the abdication of Charles X., and the acceptance of the crown of Prance by Louis Philippe.
The celebrated anatomist and surgeon, John HUNTER, was born July 14, 1728, at Long Calderwood, in Kilbrid, near Glasgow ; and in 1755, the distinguished tragic actress, Mrs. Siddons. was born at Brecknock. She died in 1831.
Sir Joshua Reynolds was born July 16, 1723, at Plympton St. Mary, Devonshire. As a painter he stood unrivalled in his day, and did much to improve the art. It has been said of him. that he "exalted portrait to the dignity of history;" and Northcote remarks, that "to the grandeur, the truth, and simplicity of Titian, and to the daring strength of Rembrant, he has united the chasteness and delicacy of Vandyck." He died in 1792.