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always equally long, consists of four weeks. This is the true legal month. “A month, in law,” says Blackstone, " is a lunar month, or twenty-eight days, unless otherwise expressed ; not only because it is one uniform period, but because it falls naturally into a quarterly division by weeks. Therefore a lease for twelve months is only for forty-eight weeks ; but, if it be for a twelvemonth, in the singular number, it is good for the
| The other months are those in our calendar. They are Roman in their origin. The Latin names are retained, some of them assuming an English termination. The sixth month was called Sextilis, till the time of Augustus Cæsar. It was changed to Augustus, in honor of that emperor. To heighten the compliment, (a day was taken from the last of February, and added to August. Before that time, February, in a common year, consisted of 29 days, August of 30.*
A week, a well-known portion of time, and old as creation, undoubtedly had its origin in the resting of Jehovah from his work, and the establishment of the Sabbath. It consists of seven days.
Days are artificial or natural. The artificial day is continually varying in length in most latitudes, being the time the Sun is above the horizon. The natural day is the time in which any meridian of the Earth moves from the Sun round to the Sun again, being 24 hours. This is subject to a fractional variation at different seasons. The ancient Egyptians began their day at midnight. This is the practice of the United States, and of most European nations. It is the_civil day with us, and is divided into two twelves. From
* The number of days in each month may be remembered by the following lines :
Thirty days hath September,
common practice, it is too well known to need explanation. The Jews began their days at the setting of the Sun. They divided the night and the day each finto 12 equal parts. 1 As this was done at all seasons of the year, not only the days, but the hours, or divisional parts, must have been of unequal length ; though not so unequal as such a division would be with us, Palestine being nearer the equator than most of the United States. The ancient Greeks also began their day at Sun-setting. The same practice is followed among the moderns, by the Bohemians, the Silesians, the Italians, and Chinese. The day was commenced at Sun-rising by the Babylonians, Persians and Syrians.
This is the manner of computation by the modern (Greeks.)
The hautical, or sea day, commences (at noon, 12 hours before the civil day. The first 12 hours are marked P. M., the last, A. M. The astronomical day begins at noon, 12 hours after the civil day, and is reckoned, numerically, from 1 to 24.)
An hour is the 24th part of a natural day. This division of time is very ancient. “ Herodotus observes, that the Greeks learned from the Egyptians, among other things, the method of dividing the day into 12 parts.
The division of the day into 24 hours was not known to the Romans before the Punic war. Till that time, they only regulated their days by the rising and setting of the Sun.” The day was divided by them into four watches, commencing at 6, 9, 12, and 3 of the clock. The night was divided, in the same manner, into four watches, each consisting of three hours.
The remaining divisions of time all proceed in the well-known sexagesimal order: the hour is divided into 60 minutes; the minute into 60 seconds, the second into 60 thirds; and so on to fourths and fifths.
The dominical letter is deserving a place in a work of this kind. The first seven letters of the alphabet were formerly placed in almanacs for the days of the
week, Introduced by the primitive Christians, they were used instead of the nundinal letters of the Roman calendar. One of these, standing for the Sabbath, was written in capitals, and called the dominical letter, from Dominus, the Latin word for Lord! The dominical letter is still retained in our almanacs, while figures are substituted for the other letters.
If 365, the days in a common Julian year, be divided by 7, the number of days in a week, 1 will remain. If there were no remainder, and no bissextile, each succeeding year would begin on the same day of the week. But, one remaining, when a common year is thus divided, each year will begin and end on the same day of the week. When January begins on Sunday, A is the dominical letter for that year. But the next year must commence on Monday ; A, therefore, or the substituted figure, is set at that day. Th Lord's day being the seventh of the month, Ġ will be the dominical letter for that year. As the following year must commence on Tuesday, F is the dominical letter for that year. Thus the letters would follow, G, F, E, D, C, B, A, in retrograde order. At the end of seven years, the days of the week would return to the same days of the month as at the beginning. But, bissextile having 366 days, if this be divided by 7, there will be a remainder of 2. Thus there must be an interruption of the regular returns.
The letters were placed in such order, that A stood at the first day of January, B at the second, C at the third ; thus on throughout the seven. The same were repeated in succession through the year. In each succeeding year, therefore, the same letters stood at the same days of the month. This always brought C to the 28th of February.) That this order might not be interrupted by leap year, C was placed at the 29th also; or, according to some tables, D was repeated. Thus the same letters were set to the days of the succeeding months in bissextile, as in common years.
a year commence with D, as the dominical letter; C, at the 28th of February, must in that case stand for Saturday; C also must be against the 29th, and, of course, being for the Lord's day, must be dominical ; or, if D be repeated, C, at the 7th of March, becomes dominical, and thus continues through the year. The next year would commence two days later in the week. On account of this leaping in the retrograde order of the letters, the seven occupy five years in a revolution, when leap year is twice included; six, when it is once included. Hence the days of the week return to the same days of the month in five or six years, according as bissextile is twice or but once included.
In 28 years, the seven letters will always have five revolutions, except at the end of the centuries, when leap year is omitted. The table following shows the dominical letter for 6000 years of the Christian era, according to the new style, or Gregorian calendar it
A Table of Dominical Letters for 6000 Years of the Christian
Era, N. S.
1 0 0 2 0 0 3 0 0
4 0 0 5 0 0 6 00 7 00
letter for any year
8 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 0 0
of the first century 1 3 0 0 1 001 5 0 0 6 0 0
is found in the col. 1 7 0 01 80 01 9 0 0 2 0 0 0
umn of letters un2 1 0 0 2 2 0 0 2 3 0 0 2 4 0 0
der 100, opposite 2 5 0 0 2 6 0 0 2 7 0 02 8 0 0
to the year. For a 12 9 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 1 0 03 2 0 0
year in any centu3 3 0 0 3 4 0 0 3 5 0 03 6 0 ry after the first, 13 7 0 0 3 8 0 03 9 0 0 4 0 0 0
find the century 4 1 0 04 2 0 04 3 0 04 4 0 preceding the year 4 5 0 04 6 0 0 4 7 0 0 4 8 0 0 at the top: under 4 9 0 05 00 05 1 0 05 2 0 0 this, and opposite 15 3 0 0 5 4 0 0 5 5 0 0 5 6 0 C to the year of the 15 7 0 05 8 0 05 9 0 0 6 0 0 0 century, in the
column for years Years less 100. С E G B A less than 100, is 1 29 57 85 B D F G
the dominical let23058/86 A С E F
ter sought. 33159/87 G B D E 4 32 6088|| F E A G CB D C
EXAMPLE. 5 33 61891
B Under 1800, op634 6290 С E
G А posite to 31 in the 35 63 91
D F G left hand column, 8 3664|92|| A G CB E D F E is B, the dominical 937 65 93 F А С D
letter for 1831. 10 38 66 94 E G B с 1139 67 95 D F
B 12 40|68|96|| C B E D G F A G 13416997 A С E F 144270/98 G B D E 15 437199 F A с D 16 4472 E D G F в А C B 17|4573 С E G A 18 4674 B D F
G 19 4775 A С
F 20148176 G F B A DC E D 21 4977 E G B С 225078
D F A B 235179
E G 24 5280 B A D ÇF E G F 25 53 G B
E G B 28
D C F E A G B A