On August 5 in …
1583 –- Sir Humphrey Gilbert establishes the first English colony in North America, at what now is St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
1735 -– New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger is acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, on the basis that what he had published was true.
1816 –- The British Admiralty dismisses Francis Ronalds’s new invention of the first working electric telegraph as “wholly unnecessary,” preferring to continue using the semaphore.
1861 –- To help pay for the expenses of waging the Civil War, the U.S. government levies the first income tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861 (3% of all incomes over US $800; rescinded in 1872).
1884 –- The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty is laid on Bedloe’s Island (later renamed Liberty Island) in New York Harbor.