Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 70 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BART SIR HARRY CALVERT. (c. 1763-1826), British general,. was probably born early in 1763 at Hampton, near London. He was educated at Harrow, and at the age of fifteen entered the army. In the following year he served with his regiment in America, being present at the siege of Charleston, and serving through the campaign of- Lord Cornwallis which ended with the surrender of Yorktown. From 1781 to 1783 he was a prisoner of war. Returning to England in 1784, he next saw active service in 1793–1794 in the Low Countries, where he was aide-de-camp to the duke of York, and in 1795 was engaged on a confidential mission to Brunswick and Berlin. In 1799, having already served as deputy adjutant general, he was made adjutant general, holding the post till 1818. In this capacity he effected many improvements in the organization and discipline of the service. He greatly improved the administration of the army medical and hospital department, introduced regimental schools, developed the two existing military colleges (since united at Sandhurst), and was largely responsible for the founding of the Duke of York's school, Chelsea. In recognition of his work as adjutant general he was made a G. C.B. (1815), and, on retiring from office, received a baronetcy (1818). In 182o he was made governor of Chelsea hospital. He died on the 3rd of September 1826, at Middle Claydon, Buckinghamshire. CALVES' HEAD CLUB, a club established shortly after his death in derision of the memory of Charles I. Its chief meeting was held on the 3oth of each January, the anniversary of the king's execution, when the dishes served were a cod's head to represent the individual, Charles Stuart; a pike representing tyranny; a boar's head representing the king preying on his subjects; and calves' heads representing Charles as king and his adherents. On the table an axe held the place of honour. After the banquet a copy of the king's Ikon Basilike was burnt, and the toast was " To those worthy patriots who killed the tyrant." After the Restoration the club met secretly. The first mention of it is in a tract reprinted in the Harleian Miscellany entitled " The Secret History of the Calves' Head Club." The club survived till 1734, when the diners were mobbed owing to the popular ill-feeling which their outrages on good taste provoked, and the riot which ensued put a final stop to the meetings.

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