The Cafe Society of Ferenc Molnar
FROM 1887, the Café Central (or Centrál Kávéház, in Magyar) has been a meeting place for artists, intellectuals, professionals, and others located on Budapest's Károlyi Mihály street. One of its most famous patrons was the novelist and dramatist Ferenc Molnár (born Ferenc Neumann and often anglicized as Franz Molnar), whose 1906 book The Paul Street Boys is perhaps the most widely-read Hungarian novel. His 1909 play "Liliom" was later adapted by Rodgers and Hammerstein into the musical "Carousel". Both his plays "The Guardsman" and "The Swan" were later made into films (the latter being Grace Kelly's final appearance on the silver screen), while "The Play at the Castle" was adapted by P.G. Wodehouse into "The Play's the Thing" and by Tom Stoppard into "Rough Crossing".
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 07:54 PM
December 07, 2007
Ian Smith, 1919-2007
Prime Minister of Rhodesia
The Rt. Hon. Ian Douglas Smith, who died on November 20 (the same day as Franco), was born on April 8, 1919 in the farming and mining town of Selukwe, Rhodesia. The youngest of three children, his father was a Scottish butcher who moved to Rhodesia and became a cattle rancher and horse breeder. Smith attended the Chaplin School in Gwelo from 1930 to 1937, becoming Head Boy, as well as Captain of Rugby, Cricket, Athletics, Tennis, and Boxing.
In 1939, Great Britain declared war on Germany, and Ian Smith left the family farm to join the Royal Air Force. Commissioned a Lieutenant in 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron, a crash in North Africa in 1943 injured him so gravely that his face had to be reconstructed, giving him a very fixed look on one side of his face. In July 1944, he was shot down over Italy and evaded capture, linking up with Italian partisan guerrillas and eventually escaping to England to rejoin the RAF.
He returned to Rhodesia after the war, and in 1948 married Janet Watt, a widow with two children, Robert and Jean, with their own son Alex born a year later. In 1948, Smith also ran in the general election for the Legislative Assembly as a candidate for the Liberal Party (a party that was, as Lord Blake wrote in his History of Rhodesia, "in accordance with the Rhodesian tradition of adopting the most misleading political nomenclature possible").
"I was the youngest person ever to go into the Rhodesian parliament. I was twenty-nine years old. It so happened that in my little home town of Selukwe, which is a big mining camp, there were people who said 'Look, surely you don't expect us to vote for this chap Ian Smith. We remember him when he was in junior school here! And now you're asking me to accept him as my Member of Parliament?' Well it so happened that a few of my colleagues in the pub at the same time when the nominations had gone forward said 'You know, when he decided to go to fight the war for Britain, and that was a number of years ago, you didn't complain then, did you? What's your case now?' Well obviously they did not have a case and that pretty quickly scotched that one!"
In 1964, Prime Minister Winston Field resigned after the members of his party, the Rhodesian Front, felt he was unwilling to take on Britain in the fight for Rhodesian independence. (The British government was unwilling to grant Rhodesia dominion status unless a system of one-man, one-vote was instituted, a prospect considered anathema to Rhodesia's property-based electorate). Ian Smith, a member of the Rhodesian Front, was chosen to succeed Field as Prime Minister. A year later, in November 1965, Prime Minister Smith and the cabinet declared independence from Great Britain. "We have struck a blow," Smith told Rhodesia that day, "for the preservation of justice, civilization, and Christianity." The Declaration of Independence was signed and enacted at 11:00 London time, on November 11 — Remembrance Day — a time particularly chosen to remind Britain of the great sacrifices the people of Rhodesia had made to preserve Britain's independence in two world wars.
Smith led Rhodesia as Prime Minister for the next fifteen years, continuing the battle against the Communist terrorists whose ferocity only grew with each passing year. The economic sanctions leveled against Rhodesia by the United Nations had the reverse effect of encouraging internal investment and sparking a boom in the Rhodesian economy. The sanctions-busting smuggling of oil was the most difficult aspect of sanctions economically. But the governments of South Africa (then under apartheid) and Portuguese Moçambique (ruled by the Catholic dictator Antonio Salazar), while refusing to officially recognize Rhodesia were helpful in ensuring that the sanctions and embargo could be ignored.
For over ten years Rhodesia prospered, but towards the end of the 1970s, things began to change. Portugal's Salazar, who had been on such friendly terms with Smith, died in 1970, and Moçambique became independent in 1975 and immediately became a one-party state ruled by the Soviet-backed FRELIMO. While Rhodesia, South Africa, and the United States backed the RENAMO resistance movement in Moçambique, the Communist control of the important port of Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) made breaking the oil embargo much more difficult. Furthermore, South African Prime Minister John Vorster started a policy of engagement with that country's independent black-ruled neighbors in contrast to the previous policy of isolation. Wooing these countries, however, meant giving the cold shoulder to Rhodesia, and South African economic help trailed off.
Smith soon saw that the only way to prevent Rhodesia falling into the hands of the Communists was to compromise with the country's non-violent Black moderates, chief among them Methodist Bishop Abel Muzorewa. An agreement was worked out whereby power, once held by the overwhelmingly (but not completely) white property-qualified electorate, would now be shared by white and black Rhodesians alike. There would be an Assembly of 100 members: 72 elected by the non-racial common roll (i.e. universal adult suffrage), 20 elected from the non-racial property role (previously the only electorate, in which voters had to own a certain level of property), and the remaining 8 reserved for white members who would be selected by 92 elected members. A Senate would exist as an upper house: 10 members elected by the lower house, 5 members elected by the Mashonaland council of chiefs, 5 members elected by the Matabeleland council of chiefs, and the remaining members appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
In 1979, under the new settlement, a general election was held which international observers had confirmed as free and fair. Bishop Muzorewa and his moderate nationalist UANC party gained a majority of seats in the Assembly and so formed the government. Muzorewa became Prime Minister, and changed the name of the country to Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. Out of respect for the old leader and to include whites in the new government, Ian Smith was included in the Cabinet, though only as a Minister-without-portfolio.
The war against the Communists continued, albeit now under black leadership, but remarkably the international community refused to accept the compromise settlement and declined to recognize the new Republic of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. Neither sanctions nor the oil embargo were lifted and thus the country still suffered an energy crisis. The British government under Thatcher forced Muzorewa to the bargaining table. Thatcher invited both Muzorewa and the Communist guerrillas (the Patriotic Front under Robert Mugabe) to participate in roundtable talks in London at Lancaster House.
It was agreed that Zimbabwe-Rhodesia would revert to its previous role as a British colony while elections could be held which were not restricted to non-violent parties. In exchange for being allowed to participate in these elections, the Patriotic Front agreed to abide by a cease-fire agreement, to renounce the use of force for political ends, to campaign peacefully and without intimidation, and to accept the outcome of the election. The black moderates and whites were assured that, should any party violate these strictures the Governor was bound to forbid them from standing in the elections. Predictably, Mugabe's guerrillas did not abide by a cease-fire, but engaged upon an active campaign of violent intimidation of the electorate. The British turned a blind eye, hoping to hold the elections and then "get out of Dodge" as soon as possible, handing over power to the victor.
Mugabe was declared the victor by a landslide and the rest is history.
THE DEATH OF Ian Smith struck me in particular as he was always a sort of hero to me. (I will always remember having his picture on my wall during my university days). He steered Rhodesia clear of both the stagnant racialist waters of South African-style apartheid as well as the destructive materialist waters of Communism and embraced a common-sense approach the chief aim of which was the preservation and advancement of peace and prosperity for the greatest number of Rhodesians. His deep love of his country was obvious, as he devoted his entire life to its service. But most of all, from all quarters, Ian Smith is continually hailed as a gentleman, and gentlemen are fewer and fewer in the realm of politics these days.
May God in His mercy grant eternal rest to the soul of Ian Douglas Smith, and may perpetual light shine upon him. Amen.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:24 PM
THE FOLLOWING ARE remembrances of Ian Smith which had been left on various internet sites and Facebook groups dedicated to him. I think these words speak for themselves.
"I met Ian Smith when I was 11, at a braai in Shabani. He seemed interested in everything and everyone and took the time to speak to us children and ask after our families. I met him again a few years later and was stunned to find that he remembered me and asked about all of my family members by name! What a remarkable mind and someone who was a real gentleman." — Ashleigh Dance
"Gosh it was only yesterday that my friend visited us in Salisbury/Harare from England and wanting to impress her I drove up to the Smiths' house and knocked at the door. Janet answered and asked us in and when Ian arrived home my friend almost choked on her apple pie! They made us so welcome and even let us take photographs which, alas, I do not have copies of any more. Our afternoon tea turned into dinner too and Ian promised to look up my friend in London if he was ever in the country. Unfortunately, it never happened, and my dear friend passed away three years ago, but she retold the story of her visit to all who would listen and was one of Mr. Smith's strongest U.K. supporters. She wrote many a letter to the Times telling all and sundry what a lovely man he was and how he really cared for his countrymen and women — no matter their colour. Rest in peace, Mr. Smith, you fought the good fight and deserve to be remembered." — Stephanie Murphy
"When I was little, my dad ran State House in Bulawayo and we lived in a lovely cottage in the grounds. Whenever Ian Smith was visiting my dad would let me go over to say hello and he would sit me on his lap in the lounge called the Blue Room and read me stories. I still remember my dad on a mad hunt for his precious 'Parker Pen'. Turned out I had wrapped it in toilet paper and gave it to Mr. Smith as a present. I was only about five years old, so of course I was forgiven and Mr. Smith got to keep the pen. He was an amazing man and will be mourned by anyone who knew him or wished they had. May he rest in peace." — Lynda Taylan
"R.I.P. - and thank you for always making the time to speak to my dad at various cattle sales. It meant so much to him." — Elizabeth Thomas
"What a legend. During the talks on HMS Tiger & HMS Fearless in Gibraltar, Harold Wilson tried to humiliate and degrade Ian Smith, by billeting him with the 'lowest form of life' onboard ship: the seamen. As the Senior Petty Officer said to Ian Smith in their wardroom when making a toast to him before dinner one night, 'There are 265 officers and crew onboard ship - including you, sir, 264 support you, sir.' That sums up the man. Africa is poorer without you. Rest In peace 'Uncle Ian'." — George Parkes
"It was because of Ian Smith that guys like me joined the army, we were proud to fight and die for him and given the chance would do it again without thinking. One of my proudest moments was meeting Ian Smith whilst serving in Rhodesian Light Infantry. We will never forget the man." — 'gombie'
"As a child I met Ian and Janet a few times, and they both made a great impression on me. My parents and I spent time with them during a visit to Portugal and I remember what a gentleman Ian Smith was. I won't forget his kindness to my mother and I when my Dad died so many years ago. May he rest in peace." — Tracy Chittenden (née Burt)
"I met him personally at New Sarum many years later and then in more recent years enjoyed chats with him at the RAFA in Harare. He always remembered me. He was the most honourable politician in modern history and I was proud to serve in his armed forces. ... We will never forget him." — Dave MacKay
"In the mid-1990s I came across Mr. Smith in the Newlands Bookstore and had a short chat with him. Upon leaving he was recognised and the whole square filled with people cheering him. There were a few whites, but over a hundred black folk were leading this genuine, impromptu display of affection and appreciation. Businessmen and shop workers left the buildings and banks, joining the garage attendants, waiters, policemen, and others. Business stopped as people came together to join the excitement. Mr. Smith waved, thanked everyone and humbly walked around to his car. Even at that time in Zimbabwe, he was able to inspire hope and respect from all there; as well as a sense of loss. These are the kinds of memories and feelings we will keep in his memory. He will always inspire the best in us." — 'DanaDonn'
"A Prime Minister who was so down to earth that he stopped, saluted, and then spoke to my little boy, who was waiting at the airfield in Gwelo with his father one day many years ago. ... That little boy is now 38 and, though only about four years old at the time, recalls that day with great pride and remembers that the Hon. Ian Douglas Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia, had saluted him as he was wearing a little jacket with his father's old rank stripes sewn on the sleeve." — Margaret Roberts
"I had the honor to meet with Ian and Janet Smith at their home in Harare and here in the United States. Janet walked my legs off in Washington D.C.! She was such an exuberant woman and so vivacious. I loved her immediately and have great memories of her. I remember having to show her how to order Room Service while Mr. Smith sat chuckling in the next room.
"Their humor was quite unexpected and totally captivating. When I first arrived at their home in Harare, they both made a great big deal about me having my first African meal and how they had made it so special for me. I had visions of crocodile, or elephant on a splendid tray... After we were seated at the table, a large covered tray was brought in and I braced myself to exclaim with delight at whatever it may be. With a flourish, Mr. Smith whipped off the cover and low and behold there was... a pizza!
"Such humble, real, absolutely great people. Mr. Smith actually taught me how to brew tea 'the proper way' when he visited us. I am so blessed and honored to have spent time with them." — 'cathi575'
"My family and I had the privilege of having lunch with Ian Smith. What a man: every word he spoke, you could tell he was a man of serious consequence and a natural leader. ... I will never forget the day. R.I.P. Sir." — Daniel Russell
"Ndimi mukuruwemauto. Ndimi mutungamire wedu waiva ne moyo mukuru, pfungwa dzaishamisa chose, ne njere kutonga vanhu venyika nerudo rakakosha. // You are a supreme warrior. You are our leader who had a big heart, amazing insight, and wisdom to lead the people of the country with loving compassion" — Bud Jackson
"A man who was tough but fair. He will be missed by many people around the world, but mostly by a huge number of people in Zimbabwe. Remembered with love and respect. R.I.P." — Penny Campbell-Myhill
"I never actually met Ian Smith but I feel like he was a father to all of us in some way, thats the way he made every one feel. He was a good man and he will be missed by all. I write this with a lump in my throat cause I miss home. May you rest in peace, father of our nation." — Dean Evans
"I had the opportunity to meet Smith when I represented Australia as part of the Commonwealth Observer Group for the Zimbabwean elections in 2000. I found his address in Harare, caught a taxi and found the gate wide open. He came to the door himself, made some tea and we chatted for an hour about his life and his leadership of the Rhodesian Front (where clearly some elements were much more reactionary than he was), his dealings with British prime minister Harold Wilson, and his relationship with Mugabe which, early on, had been unexpectedly productive.
"When I shook his hand, I felt I had touched the hand of history _ a modest, intelligent man, a farmer, a reluctant politician, a shot-down World War II fighter pilot, and a person who had done his duty and left his little country in marvelous shape.
"I caution against being harsh on Ian Smith. I feel privileged to have met him, and my view was backed by the respect given him by many black Africans. That is why his safety was secure while all around him, Mugabe and his cronies trashed a country." — Australian Senator Sandy Macdonald
"Hamba Kuhle Baba, I never knew you, I don't agree with all that you did, but you have helped shape me, and who I am, and, like any Ndebele, I admire a person who stands for what they believe in, even if it is to the ire of others. Rest in Peace, I only wish I could have met you." — P.J. Mitchell
"Rest In Peace, Mr. Smith. And please pray for your country from up there. It still needs you..." — Matt Du Sart
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:19 PM
A Glimpse at Smithy
From the Australian and the Sunday Times of London, I decided to excerpt these two articles to give our readers a better glimpse at Ian Smith, the man. (All boldface is mine).
From Graham Davis, writing in the Australian, 22 November 2007.
I recall an afternoon in 2000 with Smith, who's remembered by many blacks with nostalgia and a surprising degree of affection. It was a modest villa in the embassy quarter of Harare and my first impression was one of surprise. Not only was the front gate open but the front door was also ajar.
A few streets away at the palatial State House, where Smith used to live, his old nemesis, 'Comrade President' Robert Mugabe, was obliged to surround himself with tanks for protection against a seething populace. Yet here was the ageing warhorse of the outvoted white minority not only undefended but totally open to anyone passing by. And come in they did. […]
'Every day, people come to me because things are so bad and they've nowhere to turn,' he said. 'I do what I can, which is unfortunately not much.' […]
Later, I called on a senior veteran of the independence struggle, James Chikerema, to ask him why so many blacks I'd met agreed with Smith that their lives were better under his regime than under Mugabe.
'To a certain extent, he's right,' said Chikerema, who fell out with the regime when Mugabe sooled his North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade on his political opponents in Matabeleland in the early 1980s. Perhaps 35,000 people were massacred.
'During Smith's time, the police did their work professionally but now they're totally corrupt. It's a terrible indictment of Mugabe that ordinary people felt safer under Smith than they do now,' Chikerama ventured. […]
His home happened to be next door to the Cuban embassy and I wondered how he got on with his revolutionary neighbours. Cuba, after all, had sent thousands of troops to Africa to help in the liberation struggle and time was when Fidel Castro's lieutenants would have seen it as their patriotic duty to eliminate Smith.
"I get on very well with my Cuban friends," said the old man. "From time to time, they actually pass me cigars through the fence."
"So the old saying about the only good commie being a dead commie doesn't apply when they live next door?" I joked.
"Well I know some communists who are better than a lot of so-called capitalists in this free world, so let's treat people on merit," Smith replied."
From R.W. Johnson, writing in the Sunday Times of London, 25 November 2007.
It is quite common to hear him blamed for having created Robert Mugabe and having thus helped to father the human catastrophe of present-day Zimbabwe. Yet the odd truth is that in retirement after 1980, when Mugabe took over, Smith not only did not fade away but grew both in stature and popularity.
As Mugabe’s regime became steeped in blood and violence, Africans of all persuasions flocked to Smith’s house to consult him. The (all black) student body of Zimbabwe University gave him a standing ovation for his ringing condemnation of “the gangsters”, as he always called Mugabe’s corrupt ruling mafia.
Visiting him at his house in Harare (next to the Cuban embassy, the hammer and sickle flying) I marvelled at the fact that, after the death of his wife Janet, he lived alone with just a cook and minimal security. When he walked the streets of Harare, Africans would almost queue up to grasp his hand and wish him well. How could this be? […]
Paul Themba Nyathi, a leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, who had fought Smith’s regime tooth and nail, told me that in retrospect Smith’s Rhodesia had been “a paradise”.
In material terms that was certainly true: everything then was better for Africans than it is now – education, healthcare, standard of living, life expectancy and employment. But as people saw Mugabe cloistered behind high walls and Kalashnik-ov-toting guards, venturing out only in armoured cars and vast militarised motorcades, they also remembered how Smith had lived a simple, unguarded life.
When he needed to travel abroad he drove himself unescorted to the airport, parked his car and carried his own bag. Just before the last presidential election in 2002, Smith said to me: “If Mugabe and I walk together into a black township, only one of us will come out alive. I’m ready to put that to the test right now. He’s not.”
I never understood the Smith phenomenon properly until I attended the launch of his book, The Great Betrayal, in Durban in 1997. I’d been unsure about going, not wanting to be taken for someone applauding an old white supremacist, but I needn’t have worried. It was a family occasion for old Rhodies and I wasn’t part of the family.
Transparently, they all loved him, hung on his words as he talked about what a fine country Rhodesia had been, how it had been fully worth the fight. As people queued for him to sign their copies you could see big men shaking with tears. “They’re stateless, you see,” an old Rhodie said. “They belong to a country which no longer exists. They’re lost. We all are.”
I was left wondering, why do no South Africans feel like that? For the strange fact is that even people who were hidebound Afrikaner nationalists evince no nostalgia for their old leaders or for the apartheid period, which is now seen as having led the country into a disastrous cul-de-sac.
A month ago I had to meet a high-ranking Afrikaner policeman, a man of the old regime if ever there was one. He insisted we meet in his new home, an ex-serviceman’s “shell-hole”. There on the walls were pictures of the motorcycle escort for the 1947 royal visit, of a youthful Ian Smith, of Hurricanes, Spitfires, Lan-casters and of Jan Smuts.
Amazed, I asked what of Malan, Strijdom, Verwoerd? His opinions were unprintable. But why Smuts? Afrikaner nationalists always saw him as a sellout to the English. “He was a fighter, he was a general. In the backroom we’ve got the other Boer generals, De La Rey, Louis Botha and Kruger. All fighters, like Ian Smith. Not sellouts like De Klerk.”
Thus is collective memory reformulated. For black and white alike, Smith is now seen as someone who fought in the last ditch for “white civilisation” and, given how things have turned out, it’s difficult not to respect his fight. […]
His time with the partisans meant he spoke fluent Italian, loved opera and could quote great reams of Shakespeare. […]
When Mugabe gained power in 1980, Smith abandoned all his previous feelings about the man and rolled up every day at Government House to offer his help. He had, after all, run the country and economy surprisingly well in the face of tough international sanctions. He was incorruptible, the country he handed over was in good shape. The only thing that mattered now, he said, was to make a success of the new Zimbabwe.
Mugabe was delighted to accept his help and the two men worked happily together for some time until one day Mugabe announced plans for sweeping nationalisation. Smith told him bluntly he thought this a mistake. Their cooperation ended on the spot. Mugabe, furious at being contradicted, never spoke to him again. From time to time Mugabe made threatening noises, suggesting Smith ought to be locked up and “punished” for his opposition, but Smith’s attitude was contemptuous: “I’d like to see him try.” He never did.
When Smith’s delegation met Harold Wilson’s in their long and fruitless talks, observers were struck by the fact that the white Rhodesians were all older men who had fought for Britain in the war, tough guys who thought their opposite numbers naive. Wilson was taken aback and railed at him as a “tinpot dictator”.
Smith turned his back on him in a long silence before replying: “Look here, Harold, if you and I are to get on you can’t talk to me like that.” It was Wilson who had to retreat. […]
Interviewing Smith in the sitting room of his Harare home a few years ago, I was reminded of how the French left-wing intellectual Régis Debray described being sent by François Mitterrand on a mission to Hanoi. The communist leaders welcomed him with open arms and poured out their devotion to France – but, to his embarrassment, it was the France of Jean Jaurès and Victor Hugo, bearing almost no relationship to the urbane Paris of the 1980s that he had just left.
It was the same with Smith. He had, he told me, been bitterly disappointed by the Britain he had encountered in the permissive 1960s, but he’d just been to London for an RAF reunion and he’d been to the last night of the Proms. “And, my goodness, to see some of those young people sing Land of Hope and Glory – why, I think they have the spirit I thought was gone. Such fine young people, it will all come again, they’ll carry it on,” his bony old hands making emphatic gestures of enthusiasm as he spoke.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:12 PM
Theodore Dalrymple on Rhodesia
Unlike in South Africa, where salaries were paid according to a racial hierarchy (whites first, Indians and colored second, Africans last), salaries in Rhodesia were equal for blacks and whites doing the same job, so that a black junior doctor received the same salary as mine. But there remained a vast gulf in our standards of living, the significance of which escaped me at first; but it was crucial in explaining the disasters that befell the newly independent countries that enjoyed what Byron called, and eagerly anticipated as, the first dance of freedom.
The young black doctors who earned the same salary as we whites could not achieve the same standard of living for a very simple reason: they had an immense number of social obligations to fulfill. They were expected to provide for an ever expanding circle of family members (some of whom may have invested in their education) and people from their village, tribe and province. An income that allowed a white to live like a lord because of a lack of such obligations scarcely raised a black above the level of his family. […]
It is easy to see why a civil service, controlled and manned in its upper reaches by whites could remain efficient and uncorrupt but could not long do so when manned by Africans who were suppose to follow the same rules and procedures. The same is true, of course, of every other administrative activity, public or private. The thick network of social obligations explains why, while it would have been out of the question to bribe most Rhodesian bureaucrats, yet in only a few years it would have been out of the question not to try to bribe most Zimbabwean ones, whose relatives would have condemned them for failing to obtain on their behalf all the advantages their official opportunities might provide. Thus do they very same tasks in the very same offices carried out by people of different cultural and social backgrounds result in very different outcomes.
Viewed in this light, African nationalism was a struggle for power and privilege as it was for freedom, though it co-opted the language of freedom for obvious political advantage.
— Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It:
The Mandarins and the Masses
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:07 PM
The Last Word in Rhodesian is 'Ian'
'The Last Word in Rhodesian', sung by John Edmond
"The first word in Rhodesian is 'Rhodes':
That's a word that everybody knows.
It may be as Rhodesian as the flag of white and green,
but the last word in Rhodesian is 'Ian'"
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 07:52 PM
November 18, 2007
Mussolini (in his own words)
A Selection of Quotations from Il Duce
"The Socialists ask us for our program?
Our program is to smash the heads of the Socialists."
Mussolini himself had been a very prominent Socialist, working for leftist newspapers and was even once deported from Italy when his anti-Catholicism and anti-royalism became too much for the authorities to handle.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 05:20 PM
November 07, 2007
James II, By the Grace of God
EVERY NOW AND THEN, there is a minor hubbub; perhaps not even enough to be called a hubbub, but call it a hubbub we shall. The hubbub in question is on the subject of James II (seen above, with his father Charles I), our last Catholic king, and the man who (as Duke of York) gave his name to the great city and land of New York. We have previously expounded upon King James on this little corner of the web, but fresh notice was brought by Fr. Nicholas Schofield on his Roman Miscellany blog. In the blog post A Royal Penitent, Fr. Nicholas writes:
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:34 PM
The Montreal Hunt Club
AROUND THIS TIME of year we like to remind our dear readers that out there in the countryside the fox-hunting season has commenced. Charles Moore reports in the Spectator that "there have now been several convictions under the Hunting Act," the Quantock Staghounds being the most recent victims. "This week, the wretched Ann Widdecombe held a meeting in the House of Commons in which she showed police officers and others a film about how the ban is, in her view, being flouted. Politics has only to change a bit," Moore continues, "for the police to turn nasty. If politics changes the other way, and there is a Conservative government (no Widdecombe, thank God: she is retiring), the promise of repeal must be cashed in straightaway." Don't hold your breath, Mr. Moore!
Of course, the season has begun in earnest not only in Great Britain & Ireland but also here in the New World. The Montreal Hunt Club is the oldest hunt in existence on these shores, having been founded back in 1826. (The same year as the Old Guard of the City of New York). For many years, the club lead a triple life as a social organization, a hunt, and even as a military unit, the Royal Montreal Cavalry. The guidon of the Royal Montreal Calvary was presented by the Earl of Dalhousie in 1828 and is the oldest in Canada. (It is currently housed in the armory of the Royal Canadian Hussars, the successor unit to the Royal Montreal Cavalry).
Whilst perambulating the internet the other day I stumbled upon this 1880s evening coat of the Montreal Hunt Club, amongst the collection of the McCord Museum. The accompanying notes, of course, get quite anthropological:
The specialized clothing required for participation in élite activities presented barriers to social climbers and reinforced existing social hierarchies. Any man could buy a frock coat, either ready-made from a mail-order house or custom-made by the finest tailor, and thereby challenge the status quo, but only those men who already had access to the right social clubs wore the clothing associated with them.
Uniforms and ceremonial dress like this Montreal Hunt Club evening dress coat played a dual role. They not only reinforced hierarchy and group membership, they also provided élite men with opportunities for overt displays of fashion.
In The British Empire in the Nineteenth Century: Its Progress and Expansion at Home and Abroad, Comprising a Description and History of the British Colonies and Dendencies (1898), Edgar Sanderson writes in his entry on Quebec that "the Montreal Hunt Club affords the best sport of its kind in America." Happily, the Montreal Hunt Club carries on its activities to this very day. While it originally drew its members from the Anglophone portion of the city's elite, French speakers began to dominate the club from the post-war period onwards. (Accordingly, its official legal names is "Le Club de Chasse à Courre de Montréal"). We hope and pray that as the Montreal Hunt has carried on from centuries past, it will continue to carry on into the future.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:16 PM
October 31, 2007
The Light Guard
Officers of the New-York Light Guard, an antecedent of the Old Guard of the City of New York. The City Guard and the Light Guard combined in 1826 to form the Old Guard.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:04 PM
October 21, 2007
Insiginia of the Society of Colonial Wars
DEPRIVED OF THE hereditary principle by the lamentable break with Great Britain in 1783, Americans were eventually driven to inventing a hereditary social hierarchy, even more stringent than that of the mother country. Blood is the only qualification for membership of the numerous hereditary societies that dot the United States, unquestionably foremost among which is the Society of the Cincinnati. The Society of Colonial Wars, however, is one of the more prominent of the dozens of hereditary societies, and each state organization has devised its own seal or emblem. Below are exhibited a handful of examples.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:07 PM
October 08, 2007
The Church Resurgent
THE CATHOLIC COLONY of Maryland was first planted in 1634 at St. Mary's, which became the first capital city of the Calvert family's palatinate. The attempt to run Terra Mariae as a Catholic feudal state was continually frustrated by a number of fiery Protestant settlers, who eventually broke out into open rebellion in the 1650s while the Civil Wars raged back in England. Happily, Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, sent out an army under Gov. William Stone to restore order to the colony, but was defeated by the Puritan force in March, 1655 at the Battle of the Severn. During the Puritans' persecution of the Church, all the Catholic churches in Maryland were destroyed, and in 1667 a new ecclesiastical edifice was raised in St. Mary's: the Brick Chapel.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:22 PM
October 03, 2007
Only the Church stood
Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. …
Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.
Albert Einstein, TIME, 23 September 1940
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:32 PM
September 26, 2007
God Guard Thee, Newfoundland
100 Years Since the Proclamation of Dominion
ON 26 SEPTEMBER, 1907, Edward VII, By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India, declared the Colony of Newfoundland, having enjoyed responsible government since 1854, the status of an independent Dominion within the British Empire. As it happens, the King-Emperor similarly declared New Zealand a dominion on the very same day. While New Zealand still enjoys dominion status as a free realm within the British Commonwealth of Nations, Newfoundland was profoundly struck by the Great Depression, and surrendered its independence in 1934. From that year it was administered by a Commission of Government headed by a Governor, all appointed by the imperial government in Whitehall.
The Red Ensign of Newfoundland, most commonly used as Newfoundland's national flag, though the official national flag was the Union Jack.
The shield from Newfoundland's coat of arms, adopted in 1653.
The Newfoundlanders proudly fought during the Second World War for the freedom of the Empire, but the post-war socialist government was only too keen to give up its responsibility in governing the colony. London and Ottawa both pressed for Newfoundland to join the Canadian Confederation, despite a significant portion of the populace being in favor of returning to responsible self-government. Many hoped that a once-again independent Newfoundland could negotiate an economic and customs union with the United States.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:08 PM
September 13, 2007
Massachusetts Bay Tercentenary
For Irish Elk.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:04 PM
June 22, 2007
'First of Britain's Sons To Die'
Saint Alban, June 22
Laud the grace of God victorious,
Sing triumphant o'er the foe;
Tell of him, a Martyr glorious,
For the changeless truth laid low;
Faithful servant, bright example,
Whom all lands and ages know.
Valiant soldier, noble Martyr,
First of Britain's sons to die,
Pagan ire and cries withstanding,
By the grace of God Most High,
By the strength of Him, Protector
Who, in strength and power, was nigh.
Laud and honour to the Father,
Equal honour to the Son,
Adoration to the Spirit,
Ever Three and ever One,
While unending ages run.
These were the words to the school hymn at St. Alban's College down in Argentina, which I briefly had the privilege of attending and which is currently celebrating its centenary year (more on that in another post). It was down beneath the Southern Cross that I first became more closely acquainted with good Saint Alban, who was the first Christian martyr of Britain.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 02:42 PM
May 07, 2007
The Queen in Williamsburg
THE QUEEN HAS once again visited Williamsburg, Virginia's ancient capital, after an absence of half a century. His Excellency Mr. Timothy Kaine, the Governor of the Commonwealth Virginia, was good enough to call a public holiday in the state, giving public workers the day off in celebration of the Queen's visit. During the trip, Her Majesty spoke to the General Assembly of Virginia, the oldest legislature in the New World, in Richmond (the current capitol), as well as meeting privately with the friends and relatives of the victims of the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech. In Williamsburg, she received an honorary degree from the College of William and Mary and was the guest at a luncheon at the Governor's Palace, once the official residence of her predecessors' viceroys in Virginia.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:00 AM
May 05, 2007
"We Live in Hope"
Ian Smith, the Grand Old Man of Africa, Speaks
Here is an interesting nine-minute-long clip from a documentary on Ian Smith, the former Prime Minister of Rhodesia, featuring the Hon. Mr. Smith himself, now eighty-eight years of age, as well as Kathy Olds, a landowner, and Ernest Mtunzi, a former aide to ZAPU terrorist leader Joshua Nkomo.
"What we believed in was responsible majority rule, as opposed to irresponsible majority rule and I stand by that," Mr. Smith tells the interviewer. "I think it is important that before you give a person the vote you ensure that his roots go down, that he's part of the whole structure of the country."
"Smith is an African," Ernest Mtunzi says. "He understands the African mentality. [...] Smith was being realistic. If you give people something before they're ready, they're going to mess it up. And that has happened."
Why did he and Muzorewa finally give in to British and Soviet demands for universal suffrage? The Lancaster House accord which was agreed by the various Zimbabwe-Rhodesian factions guaranteed a certain number of white Members of Parliament, and Smith was convinced that these, along with the Matabele people, would never give in to Mugabe.
"We were satisfied," Smith explains, "that what we were doing was absolutely in keeping with the traditions and the culture and what was expected of us."
Of course Mugabe eliminated the Matabele threat by sending in his "5th Brigade" which committed brutal widespread massacres in Matabeleland, relayed to us in this clip by Kathy Olds.
"Africa is a continent which is subject to a great deal of friction and argument and change," Smith concludes. "That's part of the world generally but more so Africa than anywhere else. So because of that we live in hope. We think that the people they in the end will say we've had enough."
"In the interest of our people and of other people this part of the world, let's work together. [...] Let's just accept that we are all part of Africa, all part of the world. Let's all work together and the more we can get people to accept that philosophy I think the greater the hope for the whole world."
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 10:15 AM
April 01, 2007
The Tragedy of the Falklands War
An article (two versions of which are reproduced here below) recently printed exemplifies one of the tragic aspects of the Falklands War: the Anglo-Argentines who, out of loyalty to their homeland, were forced into waging war against their mother country. The subject of the article, Mr. Alan Craig, happens to be a former student of St. Alban's College, a fine institution in the Provincia de Buenos Aires (currently celebrating its centenary) which I had the great privilege of briefly attending. (C.f. How Andrew Cusack Became a Tea Drinker). Another sad aspect of the Falklands War is that if there are any two nations which should enjoy the bonds of friendship, it is Britain and Argentina. It is a shame when two countries which should be natural companions, perhaps allies, have deep-seated and long-lasting emotions in the way. (One thinks of Germany and Poland in particular).
Interestingly, Argentine textbooks contain maps of the Falkland Islands in which all the towns and geographical features have contrived names en Castellano. Port Stanley, for example, is called Puerto Argentino, while the Falklands themselves are known to Argentines as las Malvinas.
I remember one day in geography class at St. Alban's, exhibiting the typical brash arrogance of a youthful Anglo-Saxon, raising my hand, being called on by the teacher, and pronouncing "Sir, I have studied geography all my life, and I spend a lot of time reading maps. I don't believe there exists such a place called 'the Malvinas' though the Falklands...". I was going to continue that the Falklands "are roughly the shame shape and size and in the same place as this map depicts" (or something to that effect) but I had been interrupted by such a hail of paper, pens, and whatever moveable objects my fellow students could get their hands on (I think Nico, that Russian bastard, had actually thrown a book) that I found it more prudent to take cover underneath my desk rather than continue upon the particular oratorical course upon which I had embarked.
Nonetheless, we pray eternal rest to all the soldiers who fell on those windy isles a quarter-century ago, and that those who survived will live in the peace which their sacrifice has earned for them.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 07:48 PM
Flags of the British Nations
It is interesting how little-valued accuracy was in the depiction of flags "back in the day". In this illustration, for example, the flags of Wales and "Ireland (North)" are mere inventions while the Scottish and Indian ones are arguable yet imprecise.
The "Ireland (North)" flag is handsome, but nonexistent. Northern Ireland had an official flag in use from 1953 until the Parliament of Northern Ireland was prorogued in 1972. (It was never recalled, and has since been superseded by the Northern Ireland Assembly). The flag of "Norn Iron" was a banner of the province's coat of arms.
The flag of Scotland shown here is not actually the national flag (depicted above as the "St. Andrew" flag) but rather the Scottish royal standard, which is often (and improperly) used as an alternative national flag.
The Indian flag depicted is actually the flag of the Viceroy of India, which (admittedly) was sometimes used as a national flag for India. More often, however, a blue or red ensign was used, defaced with the Star of India.
The Canadian flag depicted here was changed in 1957, when the arms of Canada were themselves changed. The maple leaves in the bottom compartment of the sheild were specified to be "gules" (red). Up to that point, they had previously almost always been rendered "vert" (green). The Canadian flag itself was very controversially and unpopularly replaced by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson with the Maple Leaf Flag. The Leader of the Opposition, the Rt. Hon. John Diefenbaker, derided the Liberal premier's decision:
"We have had a flag. Flags can be changed. But flags cannot be imposed — the sacred symbols of a people's hopes and aspirations — by the simple capricious personal choice of a prime minister of Canada. Now then, whenever the overwhelming majority of Canadian people want a new version, and when the design is meaningful and acceptable to most Canadians, that's democracy. … I asked him [Prime Minister Pearson] this question: as to whether or not, under the circumstance, he would permit or he would arrange for a national referendum and his answer was no."
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:41 PM
March 20, 2007
Hail Glorious Saint Patrick
THE FEAST OF IRELAND'S patron saint is an occasion for parading if ever there was one. For this, we can send part of our thanks to the British Army, which happened to initiate the most famous St. Patrick's Day Parade of them all, namely, New York's. It was 1762 when a number of Irish troops in the service of the Crown took it upon themselves to parade up Gotham's own Broadway on the 17th of March. (More recently, the Duke of Edinburgh was invited to partake in the New York parade during his 1966 visit to America). Despite the lamentable outbreak of separatist republicanism in much of Ireland, the sons of Erin continue to take the Queen's shilling and serve proudly in Her Majesty's forces, and true to form they are sure to mark their patron's feast day.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:54 PM
March 10, 2007
Sir James Henry Mussen Campbell, Bt., 1st Baron Glenavy, PC, QC. was born in Dublin in 1851. Campbell graduated from the University of Dublin (Trinity College) a Bachelor of the Arts in 1874. He was called to the Irish bar in 1878, being made a Queen's Counsel in 1892. Campbell was elected to parliament in 1898, being called to the English bar a year later. He was made Solicitor General for Ireland in 1903, as well as being appointed an Irish Privy Counsellor. He rose to become Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in 1916, being made a baronet the following year, and Lord Chancellor of Ireland the year after that (1918). Sir James was ennobled as 1st Baron Glenavy upon relinquishing office in 1921.
Ireland was partitioned in the following year, and Lord Glenavy became the first Cathaoirleach of the Seanad Eireann (Presiding officer of the Irish senate). In 1923, he chaired the judicial committee investigating the establishment of a new courts system for the Irish Free State. His proposals were implemented the following year in the Courts of Justice Act 1924, forming the Irish courts as they remain today. Having served one six-year term in the Seanad, he did not seek re-elected in 1928, and died three years later in 1931. Holding the largely honorary position of President of the College Historical Society ("the Hist"), Dublin University's debating society, from 1925, he was succeeded upon his death by his fellow Irish Protestant, Douglas Hyde, who himself later became the first President of Ireland from 1938 until 1945.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 10:27 PM
March 03, 2007
The Men Who Saved Quebec
The British Crown's toleration of Catholicism in Quebec was cited by the rebel colonists of the 1770's as, ironically, an 'intolerable act'. That the Church of Rome, that bastion of backwards conservatism and slavish hierarchy, could be tolerated in the lands under the power of the British parliament riled the Whigs—the enlightened liberal progressives of the day. Indeed, Benjamin Franklin was even so foolish as to go to Quebec as an emissary of the 'Continental Congress' to persuade the natives to rebel against the Crown; Congress's proposals to ban Catholicism and prohibit the use of the French language ensured he was not successful.
The modern orthodox opinion of historians on the Quebec Act of 1774—the act that granted toleration to the Church—is that it was merely a persuasive exercise to keep les Canadiens from rebelling. A 1989 book challenged this perspective, arguing instead that a handful of British aristocrats were determined to ensure that Quebec did not become another Ireland: where Protestant ascendancy was thrust upon an unwilling nation of Catholic nobles, merchants, and peasants.
The following review by Gary Caldwell was published in a Canadian journal in 2001.
WHY REVIEW A BOOK published twelve years ago? I will explain. But first, let me tell you what it's about.
When Britain took possession of Canada at the Treaty of Versailles in 1763, it faced an "imperial challenge:" how to integrate into the empire a society fundamentally different from England - in language, religion, and legal and political institutions. At the time, England was vigorously intolerant of Roman Catholicism or "popery," the religion of its major enemies, France and Spain. British Protestantism was closely tied to the dominant Whig political ideology born of the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89. This doctrinal legacy prescribed that all British subjects were possessed of very definite and equal liberties, liberties endowed upon and limited to those who conformed to the Whig-Protestant definition of being British.
Hence the problem of 1763. English law and constitutional practice allowed only for protestant public officials and elected representatives. This meant excluding the entire French-speaking population, some 70,000 to 80,000 (the "new subjects") as compared to some 300 Protestants established in the colony (the "old subjects").
There were two schools of thought as to what should be done. The Whig position, favoured by much of the English political leadership and commercial class on both sides of the Atlantic, was not to accommodate the new subjects. It amounted to an attempted destruction of the local culture and to exclusion of the French-speaking population from all juridical, political and social positions, the hoped-for consequence being assimilation in one, perhaps two, generations. In short, what had been imposed in Ireland with the "protestant ascendancy."
The opposing school of thought, still marginal in 1763, believed such a policy both impracticable and undesirable. James Murray, Lord Shelburne, Lord Dorchester (Gary Carleton), H. T. Cramahe, Alexander Wedderburn, Lord Mansfield and William Knox not only held that a Protestant ascendancy in Quebec would ruin the colony, they also believed that Quebec society was deserving of being preserved. Murray and Dorchester, who knew Quebec and its people, were adamant: the Canadians were a good "race"—in Murray's words, "perhaps the best and bravest race on the globe" (p. 48)—and if protected they and their society would flourish and be loyal to the Crown. As it happened, all of these administrators and Crown legal officers, with the exception of Cramahe, were Anglo-Irish or Scottish; not one of them was of English origin.
But how were the Canadians and their culture to be accommodated? There were, as Lawson demonstrates, three distinct dimensions to this accommodation. The first was to respect the prevailing legal code and custom in civil and property matters; the second, to refrain from putting into place an English representative assembly because it would be the instrument of the 300 or so English and American voters in the colony. By far the most important was the third dimension, tolerance in Quebec of Roman Catholicism, which meant the nomination of a Bishop, the tithe and the right of Catholics to hold public office. Dorchester and the others successfully won these concessions in London by 1770, and they were contained in the Quebec Act in 1774, to the horror of much of English public sentiment, and especially the Americans who were more resolutely against "popery" and more Whig than the English themselves.
When Benjamin Franklin arrived in Montreal in 1775 with the invading army of the Continental Congress, he carried secret orders to ban the popish religion and the French language. Fortunately, the Americans were stopped in Quebec by no other than Dorchester, back from getting the Quebec Act through Parliament. At the head of an army of old and new subjects he broke the 1775-76 siege of Quebec.
Lawson's interpretation is insightful in putting the events into the context of the Irish question. The major players in promoting the accommodation that became the Quebec Act had in mind "the Irish Imbroglio," and were determined not to repeat the error of the "protestant ascendancy" in Ireland. The Quebec Act emerges clearly as the culmination of thoughtful and courageous policy formulation, a model of generous statesmanship. Hence, as Lawson goes on to argue, the "toleration" of Roman Catholicism in the Quebec Act paved the way for the British Acts of Toleration of 1778.
Lawson also helps understand why Murray, Dorchester and the others came to the conclusions they did about the Canathan problem. These men were essentially empirical conservatives who found the answer "in the past"—Quebec society as they had known it in the 1760s—and the "elastic nature of the British Constitution." And here Lawson runs smack into the prevailing wisdom in Canadian historiography.
Lawson is insistent on the coincidental nature of any link between the Quebec Act and the American Revolution, affirming that there is no evidence that the inspiration for the Quebec Act was to placate the Canadians so as to keep them apart from the Americans. As this alleged link is one of the most tenacious myths in the Canadian historical consciousness, it is worth citing Lawson:
What can be done to dispose of this myth once and for all? Fifty years ago both Coupland and Burt said that they could find no evidence to justify such an assertion with Lanctot repeating the message in the 1960s, and nothing has yet come to light to contradict them (pp. 123-124).
When I first read this book in the early 1990s and realized how revolutionary his thesis was, I contacted Lawson to talk about his work. In passing, I mentioned that I supposed that The Imperial Challenge must have created quite a controversy in Canadian academic circles. His reply was "No, it has attracted very little attention in Canada." (I never saw him again. I had arranged to see him a few years later, but just before I arrived in Edmonton he was admitted to hospital for terminal cancer and died shortly afterwards.) In subsequent years, I have been to McGill-Queens Press in Montreal to buy copies of his book to give to friends. Inquiring as to sales, I was told that only a few hundred copies had been sold. And, so far, I have encountered only one reference to Lawson's book (in Yves Lamonde's Histoire sociale des politiques au Quebec).
I was curious enough to go back recently to the reviews written when the book came out. There were 16 in Canada in French and English, in the United States and in the United Kingdom; all reviewers were quite positive except one (who wrote two of the reviews). They all commented positively on the extent and depth of the documentation, as well as the fresh reading from parliamentary debates, the personal archives of the principal players, and the press of the day. As for his interpretation of how the Quebec Act came to be, there is no suggestion that he was wrong in any respect. The negative reviewer suggests only that it is pretentious of Lawson to think he has added much to existing work on the Quebec Act. Of the 15 reviewers, a full half explicitly accredit Lawson with drawing out the intention of avoiding the error of Ireland.
Why, then, did a book, critically acclaimed by the author's peers, which sheds considerable light on a pivotal period in the history of Quebec and Canada, drop out of sight in Quebec, and I suspect in the rest of Canada? Lawson calls into question the conventional wisdom on a very important subject in Canadian history, and no one takes notice. For instance, two prominent Canadians, Gerard Bouchard and John Raulston Saul, social thinkers who are presently reinterpreting Canadian history, make no mention, to my knowledge, of this book. A book that should have caused waves has generated scarcely a ripple.
Perhaps my assessment, as a non-professional historian, is faulty and I would welcome a demonstration of where I have erred. What are the factors that explain the untimely eclipse of Lawson's work? Could it be simply that Canadian intellectual discourse is shallow, that a seminal work can be dropped into the water and hit bottom generating nothing more than a superficial ripple of perfunctory reviews and listings in compendiums? This is one possible explanation; a more certain explanation lies in ideology.
The ideological axe, starkly put, goes as follows. Quebec's nationalist, republican-leaning contemporary intellectuals are loath to entertain the idea that a coterie of British Conservatives (half of them aristocrats) literally saved Quebec society by helping to keep it strong enough to withstand the renewed neo-liberal assault led by Lord Durham three quarters of a century later and, then, begin to rehabilitate the Quebec polity (under British institutions) in 1867. Such an idea being beyond the pale (again, the ghost of Ireland), they maintain the myth that the Quebec Act was political opportunism inspired by the American threat. What will it take for Quebec nationalist thinkers to recognize and appropriate the historical reality that Dorchester twice—in the Quebec Act and the siege of Quebec—saved Quebec? It is no exaggeration to assert that, had it not been for this one Anglo-Irish aristocrat, Quebec would likely have become anglicized and, subsequently, integrated into the American empire.
As for English-speaking Canada, the current crop of orthodox historians has long consigned our British imperialist past to the Marxist dust-heap of history: nothing good could possibly have come of it, all imperialisms being, by definition, bad. They are not about to disturb their orthodoxy that in contrast to Imperial Britain, which was incapable of any genuine sympathy for Quebec—only Canadian nationalist intellectuals are enlightened and respectful of Quebec society. So, they too maintain the "political opportunism" interpretation of the Quebec Act, despite its having been refuted by Lawson and his predecessors. Essentially, what we are seeing is a refusal to acknowledge a debt owed to dead white male Protestants (from Ireland and Scotland). But gratitude is not, as the contemporary French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut has pointed out, a hallmark of modern progressive thinkers.
I write this review knowing full well that it is too late for Lawson's work to be rehabilitated. The Imperial Challenge is among the titles in this year's McGill-Queen's clear-the-warehouse sale.
Gary Caldwell is the author of La culture publique commune: les regles de jeu de la vie publique au Quebec et les fondements de ces regles.
Previously: Hitchcock in Quebec
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:09 PM
February 09, 2007
Hitchcock in Quebec
QUÉBEC, THAT STRANGE and charming province, is a most intriguing nation. It is where the British, French, and American tendencies clash and combine to form that most pecular of all American varities: le Québécois. Of course, since the 1960s Québec has become more French; no, not more French but more like France in that every year it plunges deeper into the depths of self-loathing: that hatred of one's own tradition and history which has so marked out "the new Europe". It is a race to assert one's self by destoying any living connection to one's past. Un jeu du fou. More's the pity, as this once-vibrant melting pot of traditions expressed itself in interesting ways.
A splendid display of this Québec can be found in Alfred Hitchcock's 1953 drama I Confess. The film had been recommended to me often and I finally got around to seeing it tonight. I won't give away any of the plot, which is a good one, but Hitchcock lives up to his reputation with his excellent framing of the scenes. (Though I must admit, half of it is merely the settings in the Ville de Québec themselves). They include a peek into the Québécois Parliament. Above the Speaker's dais is displayed not only the Sovereign's arms, but also a crucifix, exhibiting our loyalties both temporal and spiritual. In the court room you find yet another blend of the Anglo and the French. As you no doubt recall from our handy little map, Quebec is a country with a mixed legal system. Founded as Nouvelle-France it had the civil system derived from the Romans. Captured by the British and later transformed into part of the Canadian Confederation, it has accrued layers of the Common Law so dear to we Anglos. The officials of the court wear British-style robes — the judge even has a tricorn hat — but over the jury looms a large crucifix. English government and French culture tempered by Catholic truth; not a bad mixture.
Anyhow, if you haven't seen the film yet, here are a few snaps to enjoy until your Hitchcockian thirst is satiated.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 11:02 PM
January 30, 2007
'Franco's British Friends'
IN CASE YOU were in need of someone to raise a glass to, why not the 14th Duke of Hamilton and his friends? A reader and friend of ours from the fair Dominion of Virginia sent us a link to this program, which is available for listening to until next Monday, about "a famous flying ace, a top racing driver and an aristocrat" who together lent a helping hand to Christian Spain in her hour of need.
Famously, the four Douglas-Hamilton brothers (below) all simultaneously held the rank of Squadron Leader in the RAF. In the BBC program linked to above, one of the living Douglas-Hamiltons relates the tale of when all four brothers individually flew to a certain aerodrome and when the tower radio operator heard "Squadron Leader Douglas-Hamilton requesting permission to land" one time after another, he thought someone was pulling his leg.
Air Commodore Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton and 11th Duke of Brandon, KT, GCVO, AFC, PC, DL, FRCSE, FRGS, also served as Chancellor of the University of St Andrews.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 07:04 PM
January 27, 2007
A Sienese Gem Lost
STEALING A GLANCE at the photo above, the viewer would easily be forgiven for mistaking the vista for that of a subway entrance in turn-of-the-century Siena, Italy. The proud medieval tower lurks over a comely metal-and-glass structure of continental flavor. However the city fathers of that ancient Italian municipality never deigned to erect an underground railway. The precise locus of the vista is far removed: it is the corner of Park Avenue and 33rd Street, and the building behind the subway entrance is not the town hall of Siena, but rather the armory of the 71st Regiment, New York National Guard.
When the earlier Romanesque Revival armory of the Seventy-First Regiment burnt down in 1902, it was decided to build the new armory on the same, though slightly enlarged, site. The 1905 construction was built to the design of the architectural firm of Clinton and Russell, and was clearly inspired by the Palazzo Pubblico (the town hall, photo at right) of Siena, on that city's Piazza de Campo. While the Seventh Regiment Armory contains the finest interiors of any military building in City, and probably the entire Empire State, the exterior of the Seventy-First's armory was far superior. Even though the interior was not to the same lofty standard as the Seventh, it was by no means lacking, for it had all the wood-panelled rooms filled with military regalia from times gone by which one expects of New York's armories from the period.
Clinton & Russell's design for the 71st Regiment Armory.
Soldiers enjoined in a game of cards in the E Company chambers of the Seventy-First Regiment Armory.
January 1, 1917: A soldier of the 71st bids farewell to his sweetheart as he prepares to leave for Camp Wadsworth, S.C. and then on to Europe, and war.
The subway beneath Park Avenue had a station adjacent to the armory on 33rd Street, which was architecturally signified by the faience eagles, made by Heins & Lafarge, which bedecked the station walls. Whenever you see a subway station's street number held on a shield by an eagle, it means that a National Guard armory was once located above, or nearby. The eagles and shields from a closed platform of the Union Square-14th Street station have been reassembled elsewhere in the large station.
Despite the grandeur of the armory, the building was still somewhat unloved. Only thirty years after it was erected, Time magazine rather unfairly called it "Manhattan's ugly old brownstone 71st Regiment Armory". It was, of course, a place of history. True to its original purpose, it was not only the home of one of the more prominent regiments of New York's National Guard, but also served as the headquarters of the state's reknowed 27th Division — "O'Ryan's Roughnecks" — which included the 71st, the 7th, and other New York regiments. The massive drill hall was not only a functional site for military training but also a prominent civic meeting place. Exhibitions, expositions, labor rallies, fairs, and meetings were held in the hall, which had a capacity of 11,000 people. For example, it was here, in 1964, that the carpetbagging son of a bootlegger named Robert Kennedy won the nomination to the U.S. Senate from the state Democratic caucus. A year later, during the Great Northeastern Blackout, the armory took in 2,500 stranded souls until the lights came back on.
With it's efficacious design, high standard of construction, and architectural beauty, the 71st Regiment Armory was singled out for destruction by the 'monotony monitors' (as my old Latin teacher used to call them). During the 1960s, they demolished this little corner of Siena on Park Avenue. The site lay fallow for a decade before it was redeveloped with a skyscraper, containing a public high school as part of the developer's deal with the City. To add insult to injury, the Board of Education named the school after the pacifist and socialist Norman Thomas; salt in the wounds of New York's fading military heritage. So if ever you're strolling down Park Avenue in Murray Hill and you come upon an ominous modern skyscraper where socialism and capitalism combine, try to think of better days, and pray they soon return.
Category: New York Militaria
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 07:05 PM
January 23, 2007
The Cardinal Duke of York
The great Marco Foppoli has designed (and very kindly passed along to me) the badge for the committee which has been assembled to commemorate the two-hundredth anniversary of the passing of the Cardinal Duke of York, or King Henry IX and I as was his style according to the Jacobite succession. I'm not entirely sure what events are being planned, but I believe there will be a conference in Rome around the anniversary in August.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 07:38 PM
December 24, 2006
Drink Audit Ale in Heaven With Me
I pray good beef and I pray good beer
This holy night of all the year,
But I pray detestable drink to them
That give no honour to Bethlehem.
May all good fellows that here agree
Drink Audit Ale in heaven with me,
And may all my enemies go to hell!
Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel!
May all my enemies go to hell!
Hilaire Belloc, Lines for a Christmas Card.
WITH THESE SIMPLE and lovely lines, the great Hilaire Belloc superbly expressed the esprit de Noël of the Christian curmudgeon. It amounts, more or less, to "Rend honor to the Holy Child, and to hell with the rest". His Lines for a Christmas Card are obviously meant in a jovial and light-hearted spirit (naturally, we Catholics would not wish Hell on any poor soul), and completely intelligible but for this curious line, "May all good fellows that here agree / Drink Audit Ale in heaven with me". What on earth is Audit Ale?
Before the Reformation, the English year was a calendar of feasts, festivals, and holidays—holy days, even. Four of these holy days, spaced fairly evenly throughout the year, were marked for such things as the collection of rents and the paying of feudal tributes. These four were Lady Day (March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation), Midsummer Day (June 24, the Feast of St. John the Baptist), Michaelmas (September 29, the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel), and Christmas (December 25, of course, the Feast of the Nativity of Christ).
Now, events such as the collection of fees and taxes and the giving of feudal tribute tend towards the dour, and so often a feudal lord would have a special ale brewed for these occasions, to ensure a certain amount of merriment among the commonfolk once their tribute had been paid and the burden lifted. This tended to be called 'audit ale', since it was brewed around the time of audit. They were not, you will be happy to learn, the only seasonal brews around. There was 'leet-ale' for when the manorial court, or court-leet, convened, and there was Whitsun-ale for Whitsuntide, and there were church-ales which went towards the upkeep of the parish church and alms for the poor. Indeed, in village of Sygate in Norfolk, there is an inscription on the gallery of the church which reads:
God speed the plough
And give us good ale enow . . .
Be merry and glade,
With good ale was this work made.
Also, interestingly, the very word 'bridal' comes not from the -al suffix English developed up from Latin, but rather from the Old English brýd-ealo: bride-ale or wedding-ale.
With the advent of Protestantism—and most especially the Puritan variant thereof—feasts, seasons, and other joviality generally became frowned-upon. England was forced to be less English, as the monotonous bores took over. Still, remnants of the feasts and seasons remained. Lady Day was the first day of the year in the British Empire until 1752, when the Gregorian calendar was finally adopted. Similarly, the fiscal year in the United Kingdom begins on April 6, because that day in the Gregorian calendar corresponds to Lady Day in the old Julian calendar. In Oxford and Cambridge, meanwhile, colleges still brewed special ales for the time when grades were released; either to celebrate the achievement or to soften the blow. These brews kept the old moniker of 'audit ales' and Belloc most likely uses the term in this derivation. Even in my own time at St Andrews we often sipped home-brewed ale from ancient, battered pewter tankards, though we rarely needed the excuse of holy days to continue the tradition.
So this Yuletide perhaps you will consider home-brewing, and brew a special ale for the festal season now that the penetential time of Advent is passing. But, if you're otherwise engaged, head into town and make sure to have a beer, and raise your pint to that Wondrous Babe whose birth brings us such mirth and cheer.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 11:36 AM
December 16, 2006
Governors Island Revisited
EVERY ONE OF the myriad plans put forth for the 'redevelopment' of the venerable old Governors Island in New York Harbor has so far either stalled, been neglected, or otherwise poo-pooed. In this, we have something to rejoice. As I have often said, realistically speaking there is little that can be done to it which will not neglect or disgrace the island's long military heritage. The officially-approved ideas put forth so far have been horrific: an amusement park, a casino, a 'technology park', as well as a number of other vapid proposals.
Naturally, we'd be enthused if it returned to its former role as swankiest post in the entire Army and the home of Army polo, but don't hold your breath. West Point being the single exception, if it has even a touch of history, tradition, or class, Congress and the Department of Defense will do their best to get rid of it. After all, the National Guard has been pulled out of the Seventh Regiment Armory, the Navy has withdrawn all but a few institutions from Newport, and the Army has left the ancient Presidio of San Francisco; how long will it be until Fort Leavenworth's foxhounds are brought out back and shot by the Monotony Monitors?
Gen. James H. McRae greets polo players on the island, 1927.
The Veteran Corps of Artillery on the Parade Ground, Governors Island.
Nonetheless, while meandering through a book on the history of Governors Island from the 1637 to 1922, I came across a rather excellent depiction of one of the early plans for the improvement of the island, devised just after the First World War. Owing to landfill from subway and tunnel excavations, the island expanded during the period, and it was thought that something proper ought to be done with it rather than just fill it with utilitarian military huts and barracks.
Eventually, a whole complex of neo-Georgian brick buildings was constructed, including Liggett Hall, the longest building in the world at the time of its completion, and the only single building which could house an entire regiment. Before that plan was finalized, however, someone thought of surrounding old Fort Jay, a Revolutionary-era star fortification, with a similarly shaped castellar structure in that particular American military style of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The result was brilliant.
Click [here] for a larger image of the castle depiction. Just imagine what it would have been like to sail into New York Harbor and to be greeted by a castle and a little village on an island, right smack dab next to the towering skyscrapers of lower Manhattan. Genius.
My only qualm with the plan is that I would orient the main gate towards the rest of the island, rather than towards the sea. Then, a little main street could roll from the castle on its height to a parade ground at the other, lower, end of the island. It would give the units stationed there an excuse to march from their barracks in the castle down to the parade ground—and really, shouldn't life be organized so as to have more parades and military marches? I certainly believe so.
Regardless of how enjoyable that would have been, what actually did end up getting built on the island after the war was certainly commendable nonetheless, as you can see in my previous post giving an overview of Governors Island.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:24 PM
December 09, 2006
Old Guard on Governors Island
A photo of the Old Guard of the City of New York on Governors Island, with Manhattan in the background, taken on St. George's Day, 1933. [Click here for larger photo]
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:49 AM
November 25, 2006
The Old Guard of the City of New York, raising the flag at the Battery on Evacuation Day, 1897. The day commemorates November 25, 1783, when the last royal troops left New York in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Paris.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:00 AM
November 16, 2006
Old Dominion Will Receive Her Majesty
"The Duke of Edinburgh and I look forward to our state visit to the United States of America in May 2007 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement."
The Speech from the Throne, 15 November 2006
With these words spoken yesterday in the House of Lords, the Queen revealed the plans for her visit to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the upcoming celebrations surrounding the quatercentenary of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Her Majesty is no stranger to Virginia, nor even to Jamestown, as her very first visit to the New World took place in 1957 when she attended the 350th anniversary celebrations at Jamestown. Following that 1957 official visit to the United States, the Queen opened her parliament at Ottawa for the first time since her accession to the Canadian throne.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:11 PM
November 09, 2006
The 'Day of Fate'
THE NINTH OF November is sometimes known in Germany as 'Schicksalstag' or the 'Day of Fate' owing to the series of events significant to modern German history which took place on the day in 1848, 1918, 1923, 1938, and 1989.
1848: Liberal revolutionary Robert Blum is executed for his part in the rebellions of that year.
1918: Kaiser Wilhelm II is dethroned in the November Revolution, marking the end of the German monarchy.
1923: Hitler attempts his failed 'Beer Hall Putsch' which signficantly raises the profile of his tiny National Socialist German Workers' Party.
1938: Synagogues and private property belonging to Jews are violently attacked in the 'Kristallnacht' pogrom.
1989: The politburo of Communist East Germany decides to relax the border-crossing restrictions between East and West Germany, leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The first and last events (1848 and 1989) were encouraging events, while the three in between (1918, 1923, and 1938) were progressively worse. Indeed, it could easily be said that 1938 could not have happened without 1923, and that 1923 could not have happened without 1918, so these occurrences are not unrelated.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:00 AM
November 02, 2006
Children of a Common Mother
The 22-yard-tall Peace Arch stands between the city of Blaine in Washington state, and the city of Surrey in the province of British Columbia, demarcating the boundary between the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada. The monument, built in 1921, commemorates the 1814 Treaty of Ghent re-establishing peace between the United States and the British Empire.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 02:42 PM
Nicholas II, Tsar of All the Russias and George V, the King Emperor.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 02:40 PM
October 23, 2006
Poor Old Bram
ONE HAS TO feel a certain amount of sympathy poor old Abraham de Peyster. The city fathers, in their infinite and unending wisdom, sought fit to erect a statue of Bram in Bowling Green, the old town square of New York down at the beginning of Broadway, many moons ago. However, having set Bram very nicely upon that green, the first public park in all New York, the city fathers have of late refused to let old Heer de Peyster rest. In 1972, the park was 'renovated' which entailed the statue's forced removal. He ended up four years later in Hanover Square, a quite suitable though less prominent location, where he gazed across the square towards India House. It was then that old rivalries flared anew.
The good old days in Bowling Green.
In a situation quite similar to that of the Year of Our Lord Sixteen-Hundred-and-Sixty-Four, when New Amsterdam became New York at the sight of English warships in the Bay, the British began eyeing old Bram's place of comfort, and they wanted it for themselves. Poor Old Bram could only sigh as the city fathers decided to move him yet again, this time to make way for the British Memorial Garden. As a consolation, however, it has been decided to move him to a place of greater prominence, namely City Hall Park, or 'the Commons' as it was known in de Peyster's day. He has taken advantage of the move to go on holiday though, as he currently sits on Randalls Island enjoying a little rest, relaxation, and refurbishment. We look forward to his arrival at City Hall, and hope they give him a good spot. Still one can't help but think he'd prefer to be back in Hanover Square, where he could keep to himself with naught but a few bankers and businessmen to bother him, and he could peacefully watch the old men slipping in and out of India House for luncheon.
Berenice Abbott took this famous photo of de Peyster in Bowling Green.
Who was the old codger, you ask? De Peyster was born in old New Amsterdam, but spent nine years working on the family farm in the old Netherlands. He returned in 1684 to what had already become New York, becoming a loyal British subject and a prominent citizen of the Province. He was of a thriving mercantile clan, and any significant position which existed in the colony, it was more than likely that Abraham de Peyster held it at one time or another. He was an alderman, mayor of the city, colonel of the militia, member of the King's Council (the upper chamber of New York's provincial legislature), and even acting governor at one point. De Peyster was a wealthy man, and founded a New York dynasty. It was his great-great-great grandson, one John Watts de Peyster, who commissioned the statue of the ancient patriarch from the American sculptor George Edwin Bissell. Bissell depicted de Peyster "sporting a lavish cloak, wig, army boots, and sword in hand denoting his political and military roles in the colonial government". De Peyster was quite proud of his swords, leaving his favorite to his eldest son and dividing the rest among his descendants. The de Peysters are still around, actually, though I suppose it depends on your definition of 'around'; I believe they are currently based way down in Palm Beach.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 10:02 AM
October 16, 2006
James II, Our Catholic King
THIS PAST SATURDAY was the anniversary of the birth of King James II and VII of England and Scotland. The third son of Charles I, he was baptised into the Anglican church six weeks after his birth and was created Duke of York at eleven years of age. In 1660, James married Anne Hyde, the daughter of the Earl of Clarendon, by whom he fathered eight children, though only two survived past childhood. In 1664 the Duke of York equipped an expedition to relieve the Dutch of responsibility for their colonies in North America, and henceforth New Amsterdam and New Netherland were known as New York after their new Lord Proprietor.
A miniature of James, Duke of York, c. 1660.
Sometime during the year 1670 both the Duke and Duchess of York were received into the Catholic Church and stopped attending Anglican services, though the conversion did not become public knowledge until the Test Act (requiring officeholders to receive communion in a Church of England service and take an oath against Transubstantiation) was passed three years later. James was forced to renounce his offices, such as Lord High Admiral of England, though not his titles. At any rate, Anne, the Duchess of York had died in 1671 only a year after her conversion. He married Princess Maria of Modena in 1673.
The Protestant oligarchs felt threatened by the prospect of a Catholic king and thrice tried to pass laws barring James from succeeding to the throne. However his elder brother Charles II, the reigning king, dissolved parliament each time before the bill was to be passed. King Charles II died in February 1685, (having reconciled himself to the Catholic faith before his end) and thus the Duke of York was proclaimed James II of England and VII of Scotland. A private Catholic coronation was held at Whitehall Palace on April 22 before the public coronation the following day on the feast of Saint George, which was performed according to the rites of the Church of England.
James II's seal for use in New York, in which a colonist and a native show their loyalty to the King. James had appointed the Catholic Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick, Governor of New York in 1682.
The Protestant oligarchs' fears that James would end their hegemonic grip on Scotland and England proved well-founded as in 1687 he issued a Declaration of Toleration as King of Scotland, allowing Catholics, Episcopalians, and other non-Presbyterians to hold public office and the right of public worship, and a Declaration of Indulgence as King of England removing the laws penalizing non-attendance or non-communion at Church of England services, permitting non-Anglican worship in private homes or chapels, and abolishing religious oaths for public offices. Furthermore, James had allowed Catholics to hold positions at the University of Oxford for the first time since the Protestant Revolution. More provocatively, he tried to transform Magdalen College Oxford into a Catholic seminary. He had already reckoned with the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth who proclaimed himself king two years earlier but had been captured, tried, and executed for treason. With the birth of a Catholic son and heir, Prince James Francis Edward, in 1688 a cabal of seven Protestant nobles issued an invitation to William of Orange, the Protestant Stadtholder of the Netherlands. A few months later, William of Orange duly arrived and usurped the throne, having already married James' daughter Mary from his first marriage. The two ruled jointly as William and Mary.
Unwilling to create a popular martyr as had happened with the executed Charles I, William allowed James to escape and fled to France where Louis XIV gave the exiled monarch the use of a palace and an ample pension. James was intent on returning to his birthright, however, and took advantage of the Irish parliament's refusal to recognise William's usurpation of the throne. The King landed in Ireland in March of 1689 at the head of a Franco-Irish army but was defeated by William in the famous Battle of the Boyne in July 1690, and returned to his place of exile in France.
There, Louis allowed him to live in the château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and offered to get James elected King of Poland but James felt this would prevent any chance of a Stuart again holding the throne of England. From that time onwards, James led a simple life of penance in reparation for his sins (he had had a number of mistresses in his younger days) and finally died in 1701. He was entombed in the Chapel of St. Edmund within the English Benedictine church on the Rue St. Jacques in Paris, while his brain was sent to the Scots College in Rome, his heart to the Visitandine Convent at Chaillot, and his bowels divided between the College of St. Omer (the exiled English Catholic school, now Stonyhurst in Lancashire), and the nearby parish church of St. Germain where they remained until they were desecrated by a Revolutionary mob and lost forever. His monument at Saint-Germain, however, was rediscovered in 1824 and is proudly displayed there to this day. There is also a monument to James and the Stuarts in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome (c.f. Roma - Caput Mundi).
While I am told that Padre Pio asserted that either Edward VII or George V had a deathbed reception into the Church, so far as it historically verifiable James II was the last Catholic king (and as neither Edward nor George reigned over New York, James is even more certifiably so for us). There is a lovely coronation ode to James which I just might bring to your attention someday. But for now, reflect and remember our monarchs of old and pray that God in His mercy might grant us good Catholic rulers in stead of the shabby lot we elect today.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 10:03 AM
October 13, 2006
Old Yale Boathouse Faces Wrecking Ball
AND SO, THE onward march of progress continues. Yale University's old Adee Boathouse on New Haven harbor is to face the wrecking ball to make way for traffic improvements to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge which carries Interstate 95 across the Quinnipiac River. Despite some quite extraordinary plans to physically cut the building from the shore and float it across to the opposite side of the river, it now appears that the boathouse is to be demolished.
The Adee Memorial Boathouse was built in 1911 in a Tudor style at the confluence of the Quinnipiac River and New Haven Harbor. In later years when the Harbor grew both more crowded and more polluted, the Yale rowing teams moved to the more placid Housatonic where the Glider Boathouse now stands. The building then housed offices until the I-95 'improvement' involving the reconstruction of the bridge threatened its existence. It was named for George Augustus Adee, a keen oarsman from the class of 1867 who ended up as a banker and lawyer, dying in 1908. The boathouse opened in 1911 with room for fifty rowing shells. Designed by the firm of Peabody & Stearns, the building cost $100,000 in total.
Originally, the boathouse was surrounded by water on all sides, being built on a series of piles driven into the water. The only physical connection was a small bridge linking the shore to the boathouse entrance, but later landfills filled in the space on one side of the bridge.
The New York Times described the building's façade as "a rich tapestry of alternating plum-colored and blackened brick, with rust-colored terra cotta trim and multipaned windows". Bulldog gargoyles and the Yale coat of arms also grace the old boathouse's exterior.
Thankfully, the State of Connecticut has earmarked $30,000,000 to build a replica of the boathouse at Long Wharf, incorporating as many architectural elements of the building as can be feasibly salvaged. It is believed this will include the bulldog gargoyles, a carved wooden chimney breast from the second floor, and a great deal of the terra cotta decorative work.
Previously: An Old Boathouse in Spuyten Duyvil
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 02:29 PM
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 11:27 AM
October 02, 2006
Birds of a Feather?
Were Hitler, Roosevelt, and Mussolini really just different cuts of the same cloth? In a new book, Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939, Wolfgang Schivelbusch makes precisely that argument. Interestingly, the National Socialists in Germany looked with fondness towards Roosevelt's style of rule. The Nazi party newspaper Völkischer Beobachter actually praised "the adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies" while Mussolini also saw a bit of himself in FDR. Roosevelt wouldn't give the time of day to Herr Hitler but was actually quite fond of Signor Mussolini, calling him "that admirable Italian gentleman".
That there were massive differences between the three is obvious. (Mussolini and Hitler came to the brink of war over Austria, and later they both had a war with Roosevelt). Nonetheless, the similarities are worth pointing out, and David Gordon has written a review of the book over at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Give it a read.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:30 AM
Heraldry is as much part of the future as present
by JOHN HALDANE
THE SCOTSMAN | Saturday 9 September 2006
A COUPLE of weeks ago St Andrews was treated to the sight of a colourful parade of heralds, hereditary standard bearers, nobility and clan chiefs, representatives of the University, leaders of the Christian churches, and sundry others, processing through the town to the accompaniment of the pipes. The occasion was the opening by the Princess Royal of the 27th International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences, featuring the first meeting of European heralds since the middle ages.
This weekend St Andrews sees another ritual procession: this of Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre gathering for an investiture in the 15th century chapel of St Salvator's College. Once again gowns, insignia, and banners of medieval inspiration will be on view as Scottish members are joined by representatives from abroad and from the Sovereign Military Order of St John - with the pipes again adding a distinctively Caledonian note.
Such events, and the groups and individuals they bring together can easily be seen as part of a world of childlike, or even childish, fantasy. Trying to live as if in a realm of castles, chivalarous knights, noble heroes, fair ladies, courtly love and sacred adventures, all rendered for posterity in chronicles and ballads.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:05 AM
September 07, 2006
The Jefferson Guards
I recently stumbled upon this image depicting a militia regiment gathered in front of New York's City Hall. The unit in question is the Jefferson Guards, 38th Regiment, New York State Artillery, amassed in bearskin caps and red-plumed shakos (red being the traditional color of the artillery). I confess I'd never heard of the Jefferson Guards before, but this is not entirely surprising. The Armed Forces of the State of New York – today composed of the New York Army National Guard, the New York Air National Guard, the New York Guard, and the New York Naval Militia – was once composed of a vast array of assorted regiments, battalions, and companies (a quite literal example of the 'little platoons' praised by Burke). These militia companies varied greatly in form, from little more than glorified social clubs to the crack units of the day.
As strange as it may seem, considered as a whole they were an almost completely organic military and, while they would be ill-suited to the armed exigencies of today, I refuse to believe that our little realm is better off for their general disappearance. Certainly the V.C.A. and the Old Guard, among others, survive to this day (in a somewhat different form, naturally), but what of the Empire Light Cavalry and the German Horse Guards? The Ulster Guard, the Weschester Chasseurs, and the New York Highlanders? The gallant Seventh Regiment of New York survived even into the 1990's before its dissolution was ensured by the monotony monitors who now, fifteen years later, seek to destroy the great and blessed monument of an armory on Park Avenue which the Seventh built and guarded for over a century. We mourn their disappearance, just as we detest the continued and increasing disdain for the proud military heritage of the City and State of New York, but the entire culture which created and sustained them is gone, too.
Category: Militaria – New York
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:29 AM
August 21, 2006
Gabriel Garcia Moreno
WE LIVE IN an age which is almost completely devoid of Christian statesmen. In their stead, we are today ruled by faceless bureaucrats and vapid masters of spin. Once gentlemen sought public office in the hopes of ensuring order and the public good while knavish men sought the same in their lust for power. The politicians of today, meanwhile, are of neither inspiration but rather seem all too often to have engaged upon the 'career' of 'public servant' because they lack any of the skills necessary to succeed in any real, productive employ or station. Given the sad state of affairs in our day, we must look to the past – to another age and another country – in our search for models of Christian leadership in the temporal realm. In this search, the name of Gabriel García Moreno, President of Ecuador, stands taller than any other in the Americas.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:12 AM
August 04, 2006
The Great Seal of Carolina
THE ROYAL CHARTER which erected the Province of Carolina created the colony as a county palatine, similar to Durham, Chester, and Lancashire back in England. However, instead of being ruled by a Count Palatine (or Prince-Bishop in Durham's case), Carolina, named after England's martyr-king Charles I, was to be ruled by eight Lords Proprietor, the eldest of which would hold the title of Lord Palatine of Carolina. The charter even allowed for the granting of titles…
…to Men well deserving the same Degrees to bear, and with such Titles to be Honoured and adorned, AND WHEREAS by our form of Government It was by our said Predecessor Established and Constituted, and is by us and our Heires and Successors for ever to be observed, That there be a certain Number of Landgraves and Cassiques who may be and are the perpetual and Hereditary Nobles and Peers of our said Province of Carolina, and to the End that above Rule and Order of Honor may be Established and Settled in our Said Province.
The granting of the titles of 'landgrave' and 'cassique' never really took off, but the Lords Proprietor did have a rather splendid Great Seal for their own private fiefdom in the New World, an impression of which is happily preserved by the good people of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History down in the Palmetto State.
The obverse (above) shows the arms of the Province of Carolina with two cornucopias in saltire. Joseph McMillan, Director of Education for the American Heraldry Society, has posited that this is the probable origin of the cornucopia depicted in the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina, the larger of the two Carolinas. The motto reads "Domitus Cuitoribus Orbis" which perhaps some learned reader could translate properly. The reverse (below) depicts the eight heraldic shields of the Lords Proprieter, surrounding a simple Cross of Saint George. Some readers may recall this configuration being used, in a much simplified form, in the heraldic achievement recently devised by the College of Arms for the Senate of North Carolina, mentioned and depicted previously on this site. The arms of the North Carolinian Senate also show the cornucopias in saltire in the crest above the shield.
UPDATE: After the jump...
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 02:22 PM
Hommage à la mémoire de Claus Philip Maria Schenk comte von Stauffenberg, homme d'honneur et de foi, qui participa à l'attentat contre Hitler, le 20 juillet 1944 dans le cadre du plan 'Walkyrie' destiné à renverser le régime nazi.
The arms of Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Count von Stauffenberg, beautifully depicted by the French heraldic artist Laurent Granier.
Previously: Long Live Our Holy Germany!
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 02:10 PM
July 26, 2006
A Royal Gathering
Click here for a photo of most of the world's reigning monarchs and a number of other royalty, gathered to celebrate the jubilee of the King of Thailand's accession to the throne.
A few weeks ago, Fr. Rutler informed me that the Queen of Thailand, upon acceding to the throne, made a vow never to perspire. No word on whether she's kept her vow.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 01:26 PM
July 19, 2006
An Old Military Academy on Long Island
EDUCATION HAS been one of the long-standing traditions of the Christian faith, as has service, and what better expression of education and service is there than the Catholic military school. La Salle Military Academy in Oakdale, L.I. was just one of these institutions, founded by the de la Salle Christian Brothers in 1883. The school was actually founded here in Westchester as the Westchester Institute, but moved in 1926 to Indian Neck Hall on Long Island, built by F.G. Bourne (whose upsate shack was Singer Castle on Dark Island) and once one of the largest estates on the Island. The main building was a 110-room mansion overlooking Great South Bay, designed by Ernest Flagg who, coincidentally, was responsible much of the Naval Academy at Annapolis including the great chapel containing the tomb of John Paul Jones, sometime admiral of the United States and Imperial Russian navies.
The setting proved attractive to many wealthy Catholic families of New York and New England and elsewhere in the United States, who sent their sons to La Salle. Among its graduates are a number of congressmen, governors, and even a Latin American dictator. However, the popularity of military education waned during the latter half of the twentieth century and, while other northeastern academies like Valley Forge and New York Military Academy managed to stay the course, La Salle had dropped its military ethos in the mid-1990's and lacked a fundamental vision. The school closed in 2001; another name to add to the long list of defunct American military schools and – much like Governors Island and the Seventh Regiment Armory – yet another sign of the fading appreciation for the living military heritage of the Empire State.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 12:56 PM
July 07, 2006
Marshal Foch and the Old Guard
This calling card of Marshal Ferdinand Foch, Supreme Allied Commander during the First World War, was for sale in November of 2005. The text reads Le Maréchal Foch, Ancien Commandant en Chef des Armées Alliées, remercie le Major E.H. Snyder et la "Old Guard" de la Ville de New York or, in English, "Marshal Foch, Former Commander in Chief of the Allied Armies, thanks Major E.H. Snyder and the Old Guard of the City of New York".
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 01:41 PM
July 04, 2006
The Veteran Corps of Artillery
I PROMISED MYSELF I'd wake up this 4th of July morning and head down to the Battery for the annual Independence Day artillery salute by the Veteran Corps of Artillery. However, the gods of slumber ordained that I remain in bed asleep and so in recompense I thought I'd bring you, dear readers, an informative post about the Corps itself. While this site has featured a fair amount on the Old Guard (c.f. here, here, here, and here) we mustn't let our readers be mistaken that we are somehow ignoring the VCA. After all, the Veteran Corps of Artillery, State of New York, founded in 1790, is more senior to the Old Guard, founded in 1826 (though in fact an amalgamation of the two older militia companies, if I recall correctly). While there is more of the Old Guard available from online research, I am more familiar with the VCA owing to my Uncle Matt's membership thereof. And of course, like the Old Guard, the VCA operates on a seperate ranking structure, so that one could be a Major General in the Army, National Guard, or New York Guard, and yet be a mere private in the Veteran Corps of Artillery.
The VCA was organised on Evacuation Day (November 25) in 1790 at the City Arms tavern by the corner of Broadway and Thames Street, to provide a corps of artillery to guard New York against any potential attempt by Mother Britain to remonstrate her wayward daughter America. The earliest record currently existing of any public display by the Corps dates from Evacuation Day 1793, when a salute was fired to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the evacuation of British forces from New York. The annual Independence Day salute began on the following 4 July 1794, when, as one Captain Chapman of the VCA wrote in 1838, "National Morning Salutes, which have been faithfully and timely performed for the past forty-five years," were made, and which I am happy to report have carried on to the present day.
While the Corps remained mostly ceremonial, worsening relations between Great Britain and the United States eventually led to it being reorganised by Governor Tompkins as a formal corps of artillery in 1809, armed with brass 12-pounder guns. It was then known as the Artillery Corps of Exempts, referring to its members exemption from required militia service in recognition for their service in the Continental Army and being over forty-five years of age. The members served completely voluntarily. At the unfortunate outbreak of open hostilities between Great Britain and the United States in 1812, the Corps was the first militia unit in the City to offer its service to the Union. Along with a number of companies from the 9th Regiment of Artillery, they were assigned to the North Fort on Hubert Street in the city, while also manning in part the State Arsenal on the corner of White and Elm Streets. General Dearborn, it was noted, "observed with peculiar pleasure the Corps of Veteran who, at an advanced period in life evince a determination to be first in the defense of their country and its rights".
The old State Arsenal on the corner of White and Elm, New York.
In 1858, the Veteran Corps of Artillery was assigned to the 4th Regiment of Artillery, New York State Militia, as Battery G. With the outbreak in the South of the second revolution, the other components of the 4th Regiment served in the Union Army. However, opposition to the North's war was brewing widely in New York which, up to the commencement of hostilities, was known for its strong sympathy for the South. The mounting tension at home finally broke into four days of open violence in July 1863 in what became known as the New York Draft Riots. Battery G, which, being composed primarily of veterans, had remained in New York, yet again manned the State Arsenal and defended it from rioters.
John Ward Dunsmore
Mess Tent, Veteran Corps of Artillery, Tuckahoe, N.Y.
1917, Oil on canvas, 8" x 11"
New-York Historical Society
With America's entry into the Great War in 1917, the members of the Veteran Corps of Artillery recruited an anti-aircraft unit of fourteen hundred men to defend New York against the possibility of attack, however remote. The VCA sent three of its officers to Britain and France to study the antiaircraft methods being used there. One of these, Capt. Robert H. Wilder, was the first American officer to die in a gas attack on the Western Front. One of the main contributions of the Veterans, however, was the task of translating reams of French anti-aircraft material into English. Part of their completed work became the standard manual for air defense for the United States Army.
Gentlemen of the V.C.A. with Mayor Rudolph Guliani on the front page of the New York Times.
Today, under the command of Gen. David Ramsay, the Veteran Corps of Artillery continues in its ceremonial duties and forms the Guard of Honor to the Governor of New York. They remain one of only nine historic units which are liable for duty in war under the orders of the President (c.f. U.S. Code Title 32, section 104, "Retention of Ancient Privileges and Organization"). One of the VCA's traditions, maintained at their annual Mess Dinner commemorating the Battle of New Orleans, is to pass around a huge snifter of brandy which is monikered 'Artillery Punch'.
Above, at St. Patrick's Cathedral, and below, in the Veterans Room of the Seventh Regiment Armory.
Images are from the Veteran Corps of Artillery (http://www.vca1790.org), New York Public Library, and New-York Historical Society.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 04:08 PM
June 12, 2006
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys), to give its full name, is a rather interesting outfit, being Scotland's only cavalry regiment and indeed the senior Scottish regiment in the entire British Army. The oldest antecedents of the regiment date back to the late 1600s, though it only took its current form as SCOTS DG (the official abbreviation) in 1971. The R.S.D.G.'s cap badge displays the French Imperial Eagle captured by the Scots Greys (the main antecedent of the current regiment) at Waterloo. More interestingly, however, is that the cap badge is always, even to this day, worn on a black facing, in mourning for Czar Nicholas II.
The Czar was Colonel-in-Chief of the Scots Greys from 1894 until his grizly murder at the hands of the Bolsheviks. Indeed, at regimental dinners at which the band is present, 'God Save the Czar', the old Russian Imperial Anthem, is still played in memory of His Imperial Majesty and his family. In 1998, the Commanding Officer and a regimental party were present at the interrment of the Czar's remains in St. Petersburg. The Czar is pictured above in his uniform as Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment. Unique amongst the British cavalry regiments, the full dress uniform of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards includes the bearskin cap, a privilege inherited from the Scots Greys.
The Scots Greys were also the subject of one of Lady Elizabeth Butler's great paintings, 'Scotland Forever!' (below, and in larger form here), depicting their charge at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and further described here by our own Man About Mayfair. Of course, the fact which we have no doubt will bring even greater reknown to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is its privilege of counting the great William Calderhead, M.A. (Hons), St Andrews 2004, among its officers.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:37 AM
May 24, 2006
The Perils of Over-Restoration
A rather good article I was reading in the Oxford American (via V&V) reminded me of a building I stumbled upon in the Historic American Buildings Survey, digitized at the Library of Congress. No. 403 Royal Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans was designed by one of the first master architects in America, Benjamin Latrobe, who also designed the Baltimore Basilica, the Mother Church of the United States. Resting at the corner of Royal and Conti streets, the building was constructed by the Louisiana State Bank (later subsumed into la Banque de la Louisiane) and features a domed banking hall in the center. After having outlived its usefulness under its original purpose, it became a private residence, with the central banking hall turned into a living room, before being turned into an events venue as it remains today.
The photographs at the top and above were taken in 1934 and the building exudes a rather charming dilapidation. It's an honest building, and looks and feels its age. Fast forward to the present day (below) and the building has certainbly been over-restored. Not a lick of peeling paint, the whole building looks fresh and new and, in my mind, a tad artificial; all this despite being a fairly old structure.
What's worse is that the old courtyard to the rear has been covered over with an exceptionally awkward roof so that it can be used for events in all weather. The interloping roof is a completely insensitive addition to an otherwise comely and graceful building. Indeed, without it, one imagines the building might make a fine private residence.
Historic preservation is hugely important in America, which has lost the majority of its built heritage. Yet proprietors of historic buildings need to learn that maintaining the structural integrity of a building need not mean that it must maintain the newly-built look. Indeed, much of the French Quarter suffers from this zeal in restoration, excepting most prominently Preservation Hall jazz hall.
Building plans after the jump.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:45 AM
May 19, 2006
Some New York Coinage
IT MAY INTEREST our readers to know that before the Feddle Gummint started throwing its weight around, the Great State of New York was in the habit of minting its own coinage. One of the most famous of the coins produced during the era is the 1787 'Nova Eborac', so called for its abbreviation of Nova Eboracum; that's 'New York' in the language of our ancient Roman forbearers. All decent people being lovers of monarchy, the New Yorkers of yore found themselves in a slight predicament. Their king had granted them independence four years earlier, but George III (the forgetful man!) neglected to indicate who would be king once he relinquished the sacred office. Every country must have a king — if not, then whose face would go on coins and such? "Not to worry," saith the designer of the Nova Eborac. "We'll stick a king on and just not say who he is." And so they did, as seen on the obverse of the above Nova Eborac. The reverse depicts a figure who looks suspiciously like the Britannia on the old British coins. Old habits die hard. Around this Britannia-esque figure is the inscription VIRT. ET LIB for Virtus et Libertas – Virtue and Liberty.
One Thomas Machin, however, clearly thought this was a bit silly and so decided to simply put the Governor on the coins he produced. His coins (seen on the right) show Gov. George Clinton on the obverse and a depiction of the arms of the Empire State on the reverse (they also grace the banner of this webpage). A chap named Ephraim Brasher went a little further and depicted neither the anony-king nor the governor but instead put depictions of heraldic arms on both side of the coin; New York on the obverse and the United States on the reverse. These coins are known as 'Brasher's Dubloons' and the front and back can be seen below.
Previously: New York Currency
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 11:33 AM
May 14, 2006
A New York Funeral
These photos are from the funeral procession of Gen. Daniel Sickles in 1914. Above, the General's coffin leaves St. Patrick's Cathedral. Below, the procession down an avenue (I can't tell which one), eventually to be transported to Washington and buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The Old Guard of the City of New York provides the Guard of Honor.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:32 PM
The Dewey Arch II
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:12 PM
May 06, 2006
'Voltaire's Castle' Up For Sale
Want to live in a French philosophe's petit chateau but don't want to put up with high taxes, soaring unemployment, and immigrant neighborhoods in a permanent state of rebellion? Then boy have I got the house for you! The seventeenth-century Château des Thons, which tradition claims is where the dastardly 'Enlightenment' thinker Voltaire carried out his affair with Madame de Chatelet, was shipped during the 1920's to the peaceful village of Upper Brookville, L.I. in the Great State of New York and is currently on the market. The house features Louis XIV panelling, a sweeping staircase, a tower, and a good few fireplaces.
One of my favorite Voltaire anecdotes is his confident claim – hilarious in hindsight – that "One hundred years from my day there will not be a Bible in the earth except one that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity seeker." Two hundred and twenty eight years after his death, the Bible is still a best-seller and the most widely-read book in the world.
Sotheby's Int'l Realty: 17th Century French Chateau – Upper Brookville, NY – $6,995,000
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 11:44 AM
May 04, 2006
Clerics of the Old School
Msgr. Lavelle and others review the 69th N.Y. Regiment from the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral, 21 June 1916.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 04:42 AM
April 14, 2006
Recent American Heraldry
The Army Institute of Heraldry on 7 April 2006 approved a new coat-of-arms (left) and Distinctive Unit Insignia (right) for the 104th Military Police Battalion. According to the information provided by TIOH (as the Institute goes by), the red in the shield represents the unit's role as a Field Artillery Battalion during World War II, while the green signifies the military police. The taro leaf represents the unit's service in Hawai'i during the Spanish-American War, while the fleur-de-lis stands for service in France during both World Wars.
The black silhouette of the World Trade Center, a unique heraldic innovation, honors members of the unit who died in the Twin Towers on September 11, as well as the members of the battalion deployed to Manhattan. The service of earlier component units are represented in the canton. The red cross of St George symbolizes the War of Independence, while the blue saltire of St Andrew (akin to that of the Confederate battle flag) symbolizes the Civil War.
In blazonry, the language of heraldry, the shield is "per bend Gules and Vert, a bend wavy Argent, to chief a taro leaf and fleur-de-lis in bend Or; issuing from base the silhouette of the Twin Towers Sable edged of the fourth; on a canton of the last a cross Gules surmounted by a saltire Azure". The crest is that which is standard to all New York Army National Guard units, depicting the Halve Maen on which Hudson explored New York harbor and his eponymous river. It is blazoned "from a wreath Argent and Gules, the full rigged ship “Half Moon” all Proper".
Meanwhile, the President of the Senate of North Carolina petitioned the College of Arms in London for a coat of arms for the upper house of the state legislature. The devisal by Letters Patent of Arms, Crest, and Supporters was made 25 November 2005 by Garter, Clarenceux, and Norroy and Ulster Kings of Arms. The eight little shields (known as escutcheons in blazonry) on the main shield allude to the eight proprietary Lords of the Province of Carolina. The colonial grant for Carolina was one of the most feudal, allowing the Lords of Carolina to grant minor hereditary titles of nobility, and in terms of heraldry allowed for the appointment of a Carolina Herald to grant arms independently of the College of Arms in England. The noble coronet atop the shield is apparently one of the heraldic ornaments worked out in 1705 for landgraves and cassiques in the Province of Carolina.
The shield of the coat of arms of the Senate of North Carolina is blazoned as "Argent on a Cross between four Escutcheons bases inwards Gules four Escutcheons bases also inwards Argent" while the crest is "Issuant from a Coronet of a Noble of the former Province of Carolina Or a Cap of Liberty Gules raised upon a Pole Or between two Cornucopiae in saltire Argent replenished proper". The supporters are "On each side an Aborigine of North Carolina as depicted by John White in the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First that on the dexter a Warrior supporting with his exterior hand a Long Bow and holding an Arrow girded at his back a Quiver that on the sinister a Woman holding in her exterior hand a Gourd all proper".
An interesting note: the lower house of North Carolina's General Assembly was known as the House of Commons until the conquest of the South during the Civil War.
Images from the United States Army Institute of Heraldry and the College of Arms respectively.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 04:39 PM
April 13, 2006
Father & Son
These photos of Czar Nicholas II and his son, the Czarevich Alexei, are from the Romanov family photo album which somehow ended up in the Beinecke Library at Yale University. Nicholas and Alexei, along with their entire family, were murdered by the Communists in the basement of a house in Yekaterinburg, Russia on the night of July 17, 1918. The family having since been canonised (or 'glorified', as it's called in the Russian church) as saints, a cathedral now stands on the site of their murders.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 02:05 PM
March 23, 2006
I don't know how that translates into Russian.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 03:55 AM
March 20, 2006
Your Royal Highness, Cead Mile Failte
Thus wrote Francis Finnegan of the Ancient Order of Hibernians to H.R.H. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, (above, in the uniform of the Irish Guards) inviting him to partake in New York's St. Patrick's Day festivities in 1966 during his visit to North America. The invitation was made in recompense for the opprobrious breach of propriety in 1861 when Col. Michael Corcoran, Commanding Officer of the New York 69th committed an act of insubordination when he refused to order his troops to take part in the official festivities welcoming the Prince of Wales to New York. Corcoran was dropped from the Officers Roll of the New York State Militia for the offense, and was to be court-martialled but for the outbreak of the Civil War.
Finnegan, the public relations director of the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade organised by the Ancient Order of Hibernians every year, assured the Duke of Edinburgh that he would not be mistreated as the Prince of Wales had been one hundred and five years previous. "Alas," TIME magazine reported, "he arrived in Manhattan too late on St. Patrick's Day to march in the Fifth Avenue parade, even though he did sport a fine green tie. Britain's Prince Philip, 44, in a green tie? 'Just a coincidence,' chuckled the consort." (TIME, 25 March, 1966).
The 1861 visit of the Prince of Wales to New York was a spectacular event, despite the insults of Col. Corcoran. A ball was held, just as for the Queen Mother during her 1954 visit to New York, as well as a parade and pass-in-review.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 05:20 AM
Visit of King Peter
King Peter of Yugoslavia visits the University of St Andrews, September 1941. Above, on South Street outside Parliament Hall and St. Mary's College gate. Below, in St. Mary's quad.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 04:10 AM
February 21, 2006
The Eastchester Covenant
The Town of Eastchester, New York was settled in 1664 and in the following year the English inhabitants thereof drew up a covenant binding all the townsfolk. Among the various articles within this foundational tract are sensible pronouncements guaranteeing the rights of private property, forbidding trespassing, and a promise to "indeavor to keepe & maintayn Christian love and sivell honesty". My favorite part, however, is article 15, stating that "no man shall entertain obnoxious foreigners".
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:00 PM
February 20, 2006
More Wilsonian Piffle Brought to Light
A very interesting article entitled 'Two of the Famous Stories About Woodrow Wilson -- And They're Not True' by Thomas Fleming. An excerpt:
[On the day Congress declared war on Germany in 1917] Major Palmer S. Pierce of the U.S. Army's general staff testified before the Senate Finance Committee about the war department's emergency request for three billion dollars.
The chairman of the committee, Senator Thomas S. Martin of Virginia, was also the Senate Democratic majority leader. Martin scowled at Pierce and asked him to explain how the army was going to spend this stupendous sum, the equivalent of perhaps $50 billion in today's dollars.
Pierce began listing how much it cost to build training camps, buy rifles, artillery, airplanes -- then added nervously: "And we may have to have an army in France."
"Good Lord!" Senator Martin said. "You're not going to send soldiers over there, are you?"
Few comments better exemplify the almost incredible naivete that underlay the American decision to declare war on Germany.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:51 AM
February 18, 2006
The Two Germanies
A recent post by Aelianus entitled The Two Germanies brought to mind a little-known idea which surfaced towards the end of World War II. I read in the biography of Empress Zita that a plan was hatched to divide what we now know as Germany, combining Bavaria and Austria to create a Catholic state under the restored Hapsburgs and leaving northern Germany to be a Protestant kingdom with, odd as it might perhaps seem, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Of course it's not really that odd when one considers that the real name of the Mountbatten family is Battenberg, changed to disguise their Teutonicity during the Great War when the fervor of hatred against our cousin the Hun ran willy-nilly. While Mountbatten was born in Windosr Castle and served as First Sea Lord as well as the final Viceroy of India, he was really entirely German in terms of ancestry. His parents were Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and the Rhine, while Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and the Rhine was his grandfather. By right, he was His Serene Highness Prince Louis of Battenberg, but cherishing their adopted country, the family were intimidated into dropping all German styles and titles in 1917.
Lord Mountbatten apparently took the proposal seriously enough that he began to brush up on his German, and informed Empress Zita, living in exile in the Dominion of Canada during the Second World War, of its prospects for both their families. Of course, with Yalta, nothing was ever to come of it and the closest Lord Mountbatten ever came to power, aside from his reign as Viceroy of India, was in 1967 when he was alledgedly asked to lead a coup overthrowing the Labour government. Mountbatten was highly reluctant, and nothing came of the plot. In 1979, while summering at his usual holiday home in the Irish Republic, Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb, along with the Dowager Lady Brabourne (aged 82), the Hon. Nicholas Knatchbull (aged 14), and Paul Maxwell (aged 15), a local boy working on the Mountbatten's boat. He was a Knight of the Garter, a Knight Grand Cross of Bath, Order of Merit, Knight Grand Cross of the Star of India, Knight Grand Cross of the Indian Empire, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, and the Distinguished Service Order.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 07:21 PM
February 14, 2006
A Journey to Mells
A good number of we happy St Andreans were down in the West Country recently — Somerset to be precise — for the wedding of two of our dear and closest friends [to be covered in a later post]. Being in Somerset, Alec, "Ishmael", Clare and my good self decided to hop over to the little village of Mells last Friday to see the grave of Msgr. Ronald Knox and to sup at what is known as one of the best pubs in all of England.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 07:46 AM
February 01, 2006
Sir John Cowperthwaite
St Andrean Responsible for Hong Kong's 'Economic Miracle'
Sir John Cowperthwaite was the main figure responsible for Hong Kong's economic transformation, lifting millions of people out of poverty. While scholars like Milton Friedman and F. A. Hayek put an intellectual case for the free markets, it was Cowperthwaite who provided the textbook example showing economically liberal policies leading to swift economic development. His practical example provided confidence to the Thatcher and Reagan governments, and was a key influence in China's post-Mao economic liberalisation.
Cowperthwaite read classics at St Andrews and Christ's College, Cambridge. While waiting to be called up by the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), he went back to St Andrews to study economics. This Scottish education imbibed him with the ideas of the Enlightenment, especially the work of Adam Smith, who had been born nearby in Kirkcaldy. He was a liberal in the 19th century sense, believing that countries should open up to trade unilaterally. In 1941, he joined the Colonial Administrative Service in Hong Kong. When it fell to the Japanese, he was seconded to Sierra Leone as a district officer, before returning in 1946 to help the colony's economic recovery. "Upon arrival," the Far Eastern Economic Review put it, "he found it recovering quite nicely without him." He quickly worked his way up the ranks and was made Financial Secretary in 1961, in charge of its economic policy for a decade.
When he became Financial Secretary, the average Hong Kong resident earned about a quarter of someone living in Britain. By the early 90s, average incomes were higher than Britain's. Cowperthwaite made Hong Kong the most economically free economy in the world and pursued free trade, refusing to make its citizens buy expensive locally-produced goods if they could import cheaper products from elsewhere. Income tax was never more than a flat rate of fifteen percent. The colony's lack of natural resources, apart from a harbour, and the fact that it was a food importer, made its success all the more interesting. Cowperthwaite's policies soon soon attracted the attention of economists like Milton Friedman, whose television series Free to Choose featured Hong Kong's economic progress in some detail.
Asked what is the key thing poor countries should do, Cowperthwaite once remarked: "They should abolish the Office of National Statistics". In Hong Kong, he refused to collect all but the most superficial statistics, believing that statistics were dangerous: they would led the state to to fiddle about remedying perceived ills, simultaneously hindering the ability of the market economy to work. This caused consternation in Whitehall: a delegation of civil servants were sent to Hong Kong to find out why employment statistics were not being collected; Cowperthwaite literally sent them home on the next plane back.
Cowperthwaite's frugality with taxpayers' money extended to himself. He was offered funds from the Hong Kong Executive to do a much needed upgrade to his official residence, but refused pointing out that since others in Hong Kong did not receive that sort of benefit, he did not see why he should.
Cowperthwaite's hands off approach, and rejection of the in vogue economic theory, meant he was in daily battle against Whitehall and Westminster. The British government insisted on higher income tax in Singapore; when they told Hong Kong to do the same, Cowperthwaite refused. He was an opponent of giving special benefits to business: when a group of businessmen asked him to provide funds for tunnel across Hong Kong harbour, he argued that if it made economic sense, the private sector would come in and pay for it. It was built privately. His economic instincts were revealed in his first speech as Financial Secretary: "In the long run, the aggregate of decisions of individual businessmen, exercising individual judgment in a free economy, even if often mistaken, is less likely to do harm than the centralised decisions of a government, and certainly the harm is likely to be counteracted faster."
His ability to pursue policies which, at the time, were deeply unfashionable, was helped by having supportive Hong Kong Governors, Sir Robert Black and Sir David Trench, who both had free market sympathies. Moreover, Cowperthwaite was formidable at arguing his case: as Dennis Healey recalled: "I always retired hurt from my encounters with the redoubtable Financial Secretary."
From 1972 to 1981, Cowperthwaite was an advisor to Jardine Flemming & Co in Hong Kong. He retired to St Andrews with his wife Sheila and was an active member of the Royal & Ancient. For many years, he spent six months of the year with his wife traveling the world visiting friends and relatives. He was an old school civil servant and, much to the frustration of economists, resisted requests to write an autobiography about his time in Hong Kong, believing that his duty was to serve, not to reveal the minutiae of government business.
- John James Cowperthwaite KBE OBE CMG, Financial Secretary of Hong Kong, born 25 April 1915; died 21 January 2006.
This is the obituary from the Globalisation Institute
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 12:49 PM
January 27, 2006
The Restitution of Romanian Castles
The castle of Bran (above), and the castles of Peles (below), and Pelisor (bottom) are to be restituted by the Romanian government to the Habsburgs and the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringens respectively, and then purchased back by the government for over $60 million, according to Adrian Iorgulescu, the Romanian Minister of Culture. The castles were illegitimately seized by the Communist authorities after they took power in 1947, and after buying them back the government will keep the castles as museums.
The Habsurgs are the Imperial Family of Austria as well as being the Royal Family of Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria, Illyria, and Jerusalem, and the Ducal Family of Tuscany, Krakow, Lorraine, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, the Bukovina, Transylvania, Upper Silesia, Lower Silesia, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Guastalla, Auschwitz, Zator, Teschen, Friuli, Ragusa, and Zara. The Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen family, on the other hand, are a cadet branch of the senior Swabian branch of the Hohenzollerns, and are the Royal Family of Romania, which has been a republic since the Communist takeover in 1947 and has since, sadly, failed to restore its monarchy. Unlike the more reknowned Hohenzollerns of Brandenburg, the Romanian Royal Family are not Protestant.
UPDATE: A reader corrects: "The Hohenzollern-Sigmaringens are not the cadet branch, but in fact the surviving senior branch, which position they inherited upon the extinction in the male line of the true senior line, the Hohenzollern-Hechingens, in 1869. Historically they are of minor importance in comparison to their apostate cousins, but still a storied family. Schloss Sigmaringen, by the way, is a magnificent seat, romantically restored in the 19th century. They own it still, but do not tend to live within its forbidding walls. I was shown round it once in dead of winter: an unforgettable experience."
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 11:22 AM
January 22, 2006
The 7th Regiment in Washington Square
Entitled "National Guard – 7th Regiment New York State Militia", this mid-nineteenth century view shows the famous 7th Regiment of New York, nicknamed the Silk-Stocking Regiment, parading in Washington Square. In the background can be seen the University of the City of New York and the Church of St. Thomas, which has since moved to Fifth Avenue in Midtown.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 11:02 PM
January 18, 2006
The Tomb of Francisco Franco
I attended a little get-together on the East Side back on New Year's Day and met one of our loyal readers who requested more Francoiana, and thus I make this very rare concession to public opinion. I wonder if this splendid view can't officially be considered P.O.D. (pious and overly devotional in Catholic blogspeak) until the good man is canonized, which could take centuries, if done at all. At any rate, a bit more reflective than most of our previous Franco appreciations, which have highlighted the Generalissimo's more humorous side.
Dedicated specifically to our friends at a certain New York law firm.
Photo Credit: AP (I think)
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:07 PM
January 13, 2006
The World of Law
Today I stumbled upon this nifty little map (slightly modified) on Wikipedia showing the different legal systems of the world. (Click on the map above for the full version). Civil law is predominant, but of course Common Law is the best, and happens to predominate throughout the English-speaking world. Four economists have also claimed that economic prosperity and the common law system are linked. As one can see from the map, Scotland does not share the same legal system as the rest of the United Kingdom but instead has its own unique system of law, the maintenance of which was stipulated in the 1707 Treaty of Union uniting Scotland and England.
The Wikipedia article on Common law has a paragraph on New York law, which interestingly states:
To be specific, the patroon system ended along with the later manorial courts originating from the British period when New York abolished these psuedo-feudal law features in 1849. Scarsdale, the neighboring municipality to the north of here, is supposedly the last manor granted in the British Empire and recently celebrated the three-hundredth anniversary of the 1703 grant. There were a number of other manors granted in New York, such as Fordham and Pelham nearby. The City of New Rochelle consists of land purchased by the Huguenots from Thomas Pell. One of the stipulations was that New Rochelle would present Pell and his successors with a fatted calf every year on St. John's Day (if my memory serves me correctly). I understand the practice was continued into the 20th century before sadly lapsing.
Meanwhile, some Europeans are catching on to the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States has usurped legislative powers contrary to the Constitution. The Chancellor of Austria and Prime Minister of Denmark are worried that the European Court of Justice might be tempted to do the same, and Paul Belien offers his thoughts at the Brussels Journal.
The state of New York, which also has a civil law history from its Dutch colonial days, also began a codification of its laws in the 19th century. The only part of this codification process that was considered complete is known as the Field Code applying to civil procedure. The original colony of New Netherlands was settled by the Dutch and the law was also Dutch. When the British captured pre-existing colonies they continued to allow the local settlers to keep their civil law. However, the Dutch settlers revolted against the English and the colony was recaptured by the Dutch. When the English finally regained control of New Netherlands — as a punishment unique in the history of the British Empire — they forced the English common law upon all the colonists, including the Dutch. This was problematic as the patroon system of land holding, based on the feudal system and civil law, continued to operate in the colony until it was abolished in the mid-nineteenth century. The influence of Roman Dutch law continued in the colony well into the late nineteenth century. The codification of a law of general obligations shows how remnants of the civil law tradition in New York continued on from the Dutch days.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 02:43 PM
January 05, 2006
Old Dominion, New Mace
THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
VIRGINIA is the birthplace of Anglo-America, and as such it has managed to maintain higher standards of propriety than most other places in the States, including its long-time rival, New England. Governors, for example, still wear morning dress for their inaugurations rather than the lamentable business suit which has usurped events even so high and mighty as the inauguration of the President of the United States. (Carter abolished morning dress for the inauguration, Reagan wore it for his first with a stroller instead of tailcoat, but since then it's been suits all around). Roger Scruton, Britain's greatest living Conservative thinker, recently moved with his family to Virginia to enjoy the fruits of American freedom since one of his favorite pasttimes, outlawed back in the Mother Country, thrives in his new home. The origin of Virginia's traditional nickname, 'the Old Dominion', is from King Charles II who granted the Colony that title of Dominion as a recognition of its steadfast loyalty to the Crown during the trying days of the Interregnum.
Some traditions, however, have been mournfully discontinued. Virginia's House of Burgesses was the first legislative body in the New World but its name was changed to the House of Delegates during the Revolution. (North Carolina, meanwhile, kept its House of Commons until it was defeated by the United States in the Civil War). Nonetheless, the House sat in the antiphonal pattern akin to the British and Commonwealth parliaments until 1904 when it adopted the dastardly French republican semicircular seating plan. To my knowledge, it was the last American legislature (outside of Canada, of course) to arrange its seating in the traditional way.
The House of Delegates does, however, have a mace, though not nearly as old as that of the Virginian City of Norfolk. The original mace was presented to the House of Burgesses by the Royal Governor of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia in 1700. That mace, alas, has since been lost. The current mace dates only from the Edwardian period, and is constructed of silver covered in 24-karat gold. It was purchased by the Jamestown Foundation and presented to the House of Delegates in 1974. It is processed by the Serjeant-at-Arms into the current House chamber in the Virginia State Capitol (seen above) whenever the House is in session and removed to the old House chamber in the same building every day at the adjournment of the House.
Maces of America: Part I: The University of the South — The 'New South' Scorns an Old Mace | Part II: The City of Norfolk in Virginia — A 250-Year-Old Mace in the Old Dominion | Part III: The House of Representatives of South Carolina — The Mace of the Palmetto State
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 02:30 PM
January 03, 2006
I had meant to post this film of
Uncle Matt coming to visit Teddy Roosevelt visiting his neighbors for Christmas on the actual holiday itself but neglected to. Perhaps readers would instead prefer this footage of TR's reception by the Crowned Heads of Europe.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:18 PM
December 28, 2005
Governors Island is one of New York's hidden gems. Not only is it a place which has a long and storied history, but it remains, however underappreciated, a place of great beauty, not to mention a place of great potential. The fact that this island in New York Harbor has been the property of the government for the preponderance of its existence has shielded it from the destructive forces of commerce which have savaged so much of what is beautiful and historic in the remainder of the city.
Let us explore this intriguing isle...
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:34 PM
November 20, 2005
Requiescat in Pace
Generalissimo FRANCISCO PAULINO HERMENEGILDO TEÓDULO FRANCO y BAHAMONDE SALGADO PARDO DE ANDRADE, Caudillo de España por la gracia de Dios, Jefe del Estado, requiescat in pace.
4 December 1892 — 20 November 1975
I searched through the Franco section of the Cusack archives and found this photograph of the Caudillo with His Imperial Highness the Archduke Otto, the son and heir of Blessed Charles of Austria, as well as being a sometime Member of the European Parliament for Bavaria (until recently). We've already seen a photo of Franco with the artist Salvador Dalí who described him as nothing short of a saint.
I apologise for not spacing out more widely our appreciation of the Generalissimo, but I felt obliged to observe the day of his death.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 10:58 AM
November 17, 2005
The Caudillo in Action!
Franco takes the helm! But of course our readers already know what a sporting yachtsman the Caudillo was.
And of course Franco knows how to be reverent in church. Who's that in the back? Late arrivals, there's always one!
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:40 AM
November 02, 2005
Bill and Ted
His Imperial Majesty Wilhelm II, the German Emperor, and His Excellency Mr. Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States of America.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 12:13 PM
October 25, 2005
Ardolph Loges Kline, one of my grandfather's predecessors as Commander of the Old Guard of the City of New York, on the 89th Anniversary of the Old Guard, April 22, 1915. Kline was the acting Mayor of New York who started the annual tradition of lighting the Christmas Tree in City Hall Park (or 'holiday tree' as it is now officially called). This ceremony has since been eclipsed in popularity by the Rockefeller Center tree lighting, but still takes place every year.
Here we have C.H. Heustis on his 85th birthday in 1922. Heustis served in General Burnside's brigade during the Civil War, later becoming a broker on Wall Street. He never missed a single meeting or parade of the Old Guard once he joined.
From the Bettmann archive.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 10:34 AM
October 21, 2005
Happy Trafalgar Day!
Twas on this day two centuries ago that the Royal Navy under Lord Nelson gave the combined French and Spanish fleet a right good whalloping, thus ensuring that freedom and responsible constitutional government would flourish and spread for two centuries afterward.
So today we raise a glass to Lord Nelson, and spit on the name Bonaparte! (And Hitler, and Stalin, and Brussels, and any such nastiness the continent dare throw against the English-speaking peoples of the world!).
When Britain first at Heav'n's command,
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never shall be slaves.
The nations not so blest as thee,
Shall in their turns to tyrants fall;
While thou shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.
Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never shall be slaves.
Still mor majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful from each foreign stroke;
As the loud blast that tears the skies,
Serves but to root thy native oak.
Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never shall be slaves.
Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame,
All their attempts to bend thee down;
Will but arouse thy generous flame,
But work their woe, and thy renown.
Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never shall be slaves.
To thee belongs the rural reign,
They cities shall with commerce shine;
All thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles thine.
Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never shall be slaves.
The Muses, still with freedom found,
Shall to thy happy coast repair;
Blest Isle! With matchless beauty crowned,
And manly hearts to guide the fair.
Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never shall be slaves.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 12:01 AM
October 16, 2005
The Old Guard
The above photograph shows a 1963 service in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York. Closest to the sanctuary are four members of the Veteran Corps of Artillery, State of New York, but behind them can be scene a member of the Old Guard of the City of New York. The VCA, of which my Uncle Matt (a frequent commenter upon this site) is a member, is older, being founded in 1790. The Old Guard dates from 1826, and Uncle Matt's father (my grandpa) was Commadant of that august group. There's a great photo of my father as a small child gazing up at his father in Old Guard uniform including the tall bearskin busby. Perhaps Pop will scan it sometime, else I will get around to it when I'm back in the States.
With all its traditional pomp and circumstance, the Old Guard of the City of New York turned out to observe the one hundred and fifth anniversary of its organization. There was the usual parade with major generals, colonels, majors, and captains marching as privates under the banners of this battalion and proud of their place in its rank and file. After the parade church services were held in the old chapel on Governors Island.
(A bad copy from The Sun, Fort Covington, NY, 1931)
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:44 PM
September 14, 2005
September 14 is the twenty-third anniversary of the assasination of the Catholic general and politician Bachir Gemayel by Syrian agents, only nine days before he was to be inaugurated as President of Lebanon. Gemayel was the son of Pierre Gemayel, the founder of the Lebanese Kataeb (Phalange) which Bachir eventually led himself, and was also instrumental in unifying the Christian militias of the country into the Lebanese Forces, which joined with the conventional Lebanese Armed Forces in their 100-day attempt to expel the Syrians from Lebanon in 1978.
A massive bomb exploded in the Kataeb headquarters on September 14, 1982, killing the President-elect and twenty-four other souls. The assasination only further escalated the violence of the Civil War, a conflict which was taken to regretable extremes by all the parties invovled.
Gemayel and daughter.
The Kataeb and the Lebanese Forces, mostly supported by Maronite Catholics as well as other Christians and many Druze, fought to preserve the freedom and integrity of the Christian community in Lebanon. The waxing power of the PLO and other exiled Palestinian groups and refugees, Shi'ite unrest over perceived slights, and interference by Syria in Lebanon combined to create a tinderbox which eventually exploded into violence in the 1970's. The increasingly hostile situation led to large-scale emigration by Christians from Lebanon to the United States, the U.K., Canada, and Australia. (Hence why, contrary to what one might think, the majority of Arab-Americans are actually Christian). Unfortunately, the emigration caused even further destabilization, lessening the Christian population, increasing the Muslim proportion, and weakening the chances for peace. Lebanon's 16-year civil war only ended in the early 1990's. The land of cedars has since then become somewhat prosperous, despite continued, but waning, Syrian influence.
Gemayel's legacy continues, and his face could be seen on many of the posters carried by the anti-Syrian marchers, who were Muslim and Christian alike, during the demonstrations earlier this year. Fiddleback Fever muses on the death of Gemayel and the Feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 03:18 PM
September 12, 2005
What To Do When You Find a Hohenzollern in Your Study
The man of letters, of course, needs a place in which to withdraw from his various dalliances in the social realm and to concentrate on the dominion of learning; a private place in which to enjoy a book, broadsheet or other periodical, or perhaps to brood in a comfortable chair with a dram of scotch and some sound music. The ladyfolk, needless to say, have no place in such a bailiwick, not even to clean, for the wise gentleman knows that a study which accumulates in dust likewise accumulates in a certain intangible value. After all, what man of letters does not relish in removing his 1928 Burns and Oates edition of Martyrs of the Upper Volta from the shelves, blowing the dust from the cover, and charging inwards to read of some blessed soul who met his end in a steamy cauldron?
What then could throw arcadian bliss into disarray quite as much as the sudden appearance of Kaiser Wilhelm? A Hapsburg? You may as well have invited! A Bourbon? Well, fair enough, they have been known to lose their heads. But a Hohenzollern? You've got your work cut out for you.
Once considered the seminal work on dealing with Spontaneous Hohenzollern Appearances (or 'SHA'), Dr. Leo von Fulbreck's Treatise on the Treatment of Hohenzollernitosicity (to use the old, politically-incorrect term for SHA), has since been discredited, perhaps unjustly due to the Sparticist leanings of the Thuringian professor. The 1919 U.S. War Department guide War Department Field Guide 24-R: Recommended Courses of Action in Event of Hohenzollern Situation (and its appendix 24-R(II) dealing with the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen branch) perpetuated the essence of von Fulbreck's theories shorn of their ideological slant. The Second-World-War-era Your Enemy: the Sudden Hun-henzollern released by the British Department of Information, however, is generally considered unreliable. Combing through all this mess, I have endeavoured to deliver as part of my contribution to learning the most well-researched, as well as concise, recommended course of action regarding the spontaneous appearence of Hohenzollerns in one's study:
1. Give the man a stern, intense, but unprovocative stare (as exemplified in above illustration) and he will eventually be moved to tears, mourning the loss of Tanganyika.
2. Simultaneously ring the bell (or, if one's home is electrically-equipped, press the buzzer) and ask one of your staff to contact the Doorn Home for the Dethroned and Bewildered to inform them that one of their patients is on the loose.
3. Offer a stiff drink and wait for the men from the Doorn Home to arrive.
With any luck that should suffice, and unfortunate mishaps will hopefully be avoided.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 04:44 PM
September 03, 2005
The Owl Shop, New Haven
Making one of my occasional forays into the neighboring state of Connecticut yesterday afternoon I was introduced to a little corner of paradise. A friend and I were going to partake in an evening with a club at Yale of which he was formerly president. As a mark of his completed tenure in the office he desired to purchase a pipe to donate to said organization, which brought us to an institution with which I was previously unacquainted.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 02:06 PM
August 31, 2005
The Daily Telegraph's recent remembrance of Maurice Cowling relays the following tale:
At Peterhouse, Cowling enjoyed being a thorn in the side of Lord Dacre of Glanton (the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper) who - partly through Cowling's influence - had been elected Master in 1980. He was a founder member of a college dining club, The Authenticators, nicknamed after Dacre's authentication of the fake "Hitler Diaries".
There's nothing so spiteful as an academic rivalry! I remember meeting the late Lord Dacre in Oxford about two years before his death. He was by then an ancient man, and the organiser of the assembly tried to make us feel impressed and privileged that we were able to meet such a man. I'm afraid, however, we took advantage of the Baron's poor hearing and kept on whispering to eachother "Don't mention the Hitler diaries!" (in the manner of Basil Fawlty's "Don't mention the War!" on Fawlty Towers). What can I say, we were young. At any rate, I hope the Authenticators still exist.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:41 PM
August 29, 2005
The Story of Notre Dame de Bon Secours
The background story to Nôtre Dame de Bons Secours, from the Catholic Community Forum:
In 1727, French Ursuline nuns founded a monastery in New Orleans, Louisiana, and organized their area schools from it. In 1763 Louisiana became a Spanish possession, and Spanish sisters came to assist. In 1800 the territory reverted back to France, and the Spanish sisters fled in the face of France anti-Catholicsm. In 1803, short on teachers, Mother Saint Andre Madier requested reinforcements in the form of more sisters from France. The relative to whom she wrote, Mother Saint Michel, was running a Catholic boarding school for girls. Bishop Fournier, short-handed due to the repressions of the French Revolution, declined to send any sisters. Mother Saint Michel was given permission to appeal to the pope. The pope was a prisoner of Napoleon, and it seemed unlikely he would even receive her letter of petition. Mother Saint Michel prayed,
O most Holy Virgin Mary, if you obtain for me a prompt and favorable answer to this letter, I promise to have you honored at New Orleans under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor.
and sent her letter on 19 March 1809. Against all odds, she received a response on 29 April 1809. The pope granted her request, and Mother Saint Michel, commissioned a statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor holding the Infant Jesus. Bishop Fournier blessed the statue and Mother's work.
Mother Saint Michel and several postulants came to New Orleans on 31 December 1810. They brought the statue with them, and placed it in the monastery chapel. Since then, Our Lady of Prompt Succor has interceded for those who have sought her help.
A great fire threatened the Ursuline monastery in 1812. A lay sister brought the statue to the window and Mother Saint Michel prayed
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, we are lost if you do not come to our aid.
The wind changed direction, turned the fire away, and saved the monastery.
Our Lady interceded again at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Many faithful, including wives and daughters of American soldiers, gathered in the Ursuline chapel before the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, and spent the night before the battle in prayer. They asked Our Lady for the victory of the American forces over the British, which would save the city from being sacked. General Andrew Jackson and two hundred men from around the South won a remarkable victory over a superior British force in a battle that lasted twenty-five minutes, and saw few American casualties.
It is still customary for the devout of New Orleans to pray before the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor whenever a hurricane threatens New Orleans.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:49 PM
August 23, 2005
The Mace of the Palmetto State
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF SOUTH CAROLINA
The mace currently used by the lower house of the General Assembly of South Carolina is another fine example of pre-revolutionary legislative regalia. It is a reminder of tradition in a state which takes great pride in its history and heritage. Furthermore, this ancient inheritance is still in everyday use. In 1880 the tradition of the Speaker's procession was restored and since that year every legislative day has begun with the mace being borne by the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House, followed by the Speaker. When the Speaker reaches his chair in the House chamber, he exchanges bows with the Sergeant-at-Arms, who then places the mace upon its holster before the rostrum, exchanges bows with the Speaker once more, and thence the legislative day is called to commence. Whenever the House and Senate meet in joint session, the Mace is carried at the head of the procession.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:48 PM
August 20, 2005
Second international polo match between the United States and the Argentine Republic, 1928.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 10:04 PM
July 25, 2005
Fun with Franco!
In honor of Spain's patronal feast, that of St. James the Greater, and because I've been reading Stanley Payne's The Franco Regime 1936-1975 I've decided to bring you, our dear readers, a bit of Francophilia to brighten your day.
• "In an interview with an American history professor," writes Payne, "[Franco] declared that his role had been analogous to that of the sheriff in the typical American western, a cinematic genre that he enjoyed. Franco went on to observe with considerable mirth that the Spanish, rather than being rebellious and difficult as they were often portrayed, were generally patient and long-suffering. 'The proof of that,' he said breaking into a sudden loud cackel, 'is that they have put up with [soportado] my regime for so long!'" (p.398, S. Payne, The Franco Regime 1936-1975).
• Remarkably, General Franco persisted in surviving much longer than even his supporters anticipated. On his deathbed at last, Franco was told that General Garcia wished to say goodbye. "Why?" Franco replied. "Is Garcia going on a trip?" (Anecdotage.com)
Hey look! Franco has a friend over to play! The Generalissimo is seen here with artist Salvador Dali, who was later ennobled as the Marquis de Pubol.
• A foreign journalist went to Spain to find out the truth about the Franco regime. One fellow agreed to tell him, but insisted they meet secretly. The journalist then asked him "What do you think about Franco?" Looking cautiously around, the fellow replied "To tell the truth... I like him!"
• Much was made last year about the statue of Saint James portrayed as the Slayer of the Moors ('Matamoros') at his cathedral in Compostela:
On Sunday, in a ceremony that will resound with ancient symbolism, King Juan Carlos will pay homage to the Moor Slayer on his saint day by making the annual National Offering at Santiago. The dictator Gen Francisco Franco once sent his only Moroccan general, Mohamed ben Miziam del Qasim, to make the offering. Sensitive officials covered the base of the statue with cloth to hide the decapitated heads of his compatriots.(The Daily Telegraph, July 22, 2004)
And finally, since if I were to build a yacht I would have it christened the Matamoros, I bring you the following, which ought to be filed under "Magazines We'd Like to See":
Happy Saint James Day everyone! ¡Viva España!
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:35 PM
July 18, 2005
A 250-Year-Old Mace in the Old Dominion
The mace of the City of Norfolk in the Commonwealth of Virginia is believed to be the oldest civic mace in any of the United States still in use by the city for which it was made. Robert Dinwiddie, the Lieutenant Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of Virginia, commissioned the English silversmith Fuller White to make the silver and wood mace for the City of Norfolk, at the time the largest town in the crown colony. The inscription around the base of the bowl of the Mace denotes the generous donation:
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:33 PM
July 17, 2005
SIR: Your article on G.K. (Summer 1986) brought back a happy personal memory of that great and kindly man. It was 1930 in Rome, where I was a pupil at a "finishing school" – in this case an English convent. G.K. sometimes came to visit our Reverend Mother; we knew him by sight and, once seen, who could forget the huge man in the big black cloak?
Part of our "finishing" process was to be taken round the museums and galleries of the Eternal City. One day we were being shepherded through the Vatican Museum. My friend and I somehow managed to get separated from the rest of our party and in one of the galleries whom should we see but Mr. G.K. Chesterton. He was about to leave so we followed him down the stairs in the hope of being able to get his autograph. At the foot of the stairs he turned. "As we had such young legs", he said, "could one of us be so kind as to run back to the gallery where he had left his cloak, and would the other see if she could find him a carrozza [a cab, lit. 'carriage']?" We needed no second bidding. I raced back up the stairs, found the familiar black cloak where he had left it and triumphantly returned it to its owner. Meanwhile my friend had found a vacant carrozza. G.K. thanked us both, climbed into the carrozza and drove off. In the excitement we had forgotten about the autographs! Next day a letter arrived at our convent. He addressed it to "The Young Ladies suffering education at the convent at No. 10 Via Boncompagni." Inside was a sheet full of auto-graphs and a little poem.
To be a real prophet once
For you alone did I desire,
Who brought the prophet's mantle down
And called his chariot of fire!
I have the precious autograph still and what a strange Chinese-looking affair it is! –– MRS. L. RIPLEY, BRIGHTON
[From Post Box, This England, Winter 1986]
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 10:02 PM
July 10, 2005
Thoughts on the Sixtieth Anniversary of the End of the Second World War
"What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"
Sir Winston Churchill, To the House of Commons, 18 June 1940.
It was with these words that Churchill, speaking not just to the House of Commons but to Britain and the whole world via the BBC, signalled the gravity of the crisis at hand, and the necessity to persist in fighting the Nazi menace. It makes it all the more alarming to think back of those days, not just to merely hear, but to listen to this speech and to think of the sixty years which have passed since the war in Europe was brought to a conclusion. The Prime Minister explicitly stated what was at stake in the struggle.
Sixty years ago, a war was fought and won to defend Christian civilization, the British way of life, the long continuity of British institutions and the Empire. In the past sixty years, all have been viciously assaulted. In the past sixty years, all – save Christian civilization – have been almost entirely destroyed.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 03:11 PM
March 28, 2005
The Reconquest of Madrid
On this day in 1939, Madrid was reconquered by the Christians, the final victory in the Spanish Civil War. The price of victory, however, was high:
- 12% of all Spanish priests were martyred. (In one diocese, Barbastro, this was as high as 85%). - 72,344 officially executed by the Socialist/Communist/Anarchist government, with many more informally killed or massacres. - Around 20,000 churches and chapels damaged or destroyed
As Warren Carroll points out in his history of the war, after giving thanks at a Te Deum service at the Church of Saint Barbara in Madrid, Franco prayed:
Lord, benevolently accept the effort of this people, which was always Thine, which, with me and in Thy name, has vanquished with heroism the enemy of truth in this century.
And then Franco laid his sword upon the high altar, vowing to God never to take it up again unless Spain itself was faced with invasion. (A vow he kept).
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 05:07 PM
January 11, 2005
Warner on the Gotha
Whilst rummaging through my room at home in New York last week, I came across this article which I had cut out of the ill-fated European in 1998 written by none other than Mr. Gerald Warner, KM. I was fourteen years old in 1998 and the European folded about a year later. Click here to read in jpg form. (A large file, some browsers may require resizing to view the text at a readable size).
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 05:12 AM
November 25, 2004
The Remarkable Hapsburgs
Last night, Fr. Emerson popped up from Edinburgh and gave a talk on the Hapsburg dynasty. It was tremendously interesting. I learned so much I hadn't known before and it opened up a terrific number of avenues of information down which I have only begun to stroll.
I had no idea how remarkable a man Franz Ferdinand was. All they teach you in America is "This is the guy who got shot" instead of "This man would have been the savior of all that is good and holy in Europe."
I have seen and read a lot of what Europe is today; Fr. Emerson gave us a glimpse of what Europe was yesterday, before the utter destruction of the social order of the continent by that moment in Sarajevo and everything that came after it. Knowing what Europe was, how depressing to see it now!
It also filled me with some optimism, oddly enough. I used to be partly in the school of thought that's convinced that Europe is lost. If this is how Europe was, surely it could be again? Perhaps, perhaps not.
Anyhow, after the talk, Fr Emerson enlightened me as to a few of the architectural marvels of Mitteleuropa. Above is the Cathedral of St. Barbara in Kuttenberg (Kutna Hora), resembling a galleon in full sail.
And the same in 1921.
Krummau (Cesky Krumlov) is home to a remarkable castle that runs along a ridge across the river from the old town.
This adds a whole slate to my list of places to visit. I really need to get to Italy and Germany/Austria, and now Bohemia as well.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 01:08 PM
November 16, 2004
The Ark and the Dove
Yesterday, whilst plotting reaction deep within the Cellar Bar on Bell St, the subject of the Catholic landing in Maryland came up. The event took place on March 25, 1634, when the passengers of the Ark and the Dove disembarked upon the shores of Terra Mariae, held a Mass, and then hewed a Cross out of felled trees, raising it while saying the Litany of the Holy Cross.
I think that when I eventually found my university, which may very well be sited in Maryland, March 25 will have to be an annual University feast with a Tridentine mass and ecclesiastical procession during the day and a massive feast in the evening. Surely these three elements of Angledom, Catholicism, and America make March 25 a festival of the apex of civilization?
The Ark and the Dove were the subject of a rejected proposal for the Maryland state quarter.
Anyhow, descendants of the passengers of the Ark and the Dove might be interested in joining the Society of the Ark and the Dove, the insiginia of which can be seen below. (Image courtesy of the Hereditary Society Community).
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:35 PM
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 06:32 PM
October 12, 2004
Today we bring you the story of a man known as both Brother Louis of the Trinity, OCD, and Admiral Georges Thierry d'Argenlieu.
D'Argenlieu graduated from the Ecole Navale in Brest and was awarded the Legion d'Honneur for his actions in the Great War. After the war, he became a Carmelite friar, taking the name of Louis de la Trinité. As the Second World War commenced, he once again put on the uniform and partook in the defence of France from the pagan Nazis. Once France was vanquished, he escaped to London where he allied himself with General de Gaulle and the Free French Forces, eventually becoming the commander of the Free French Naval Forces. At the Liberation of the Paris, he strode down the Champs Elysée with de Gaulle and Leclerc and attended the Te Deum at Notre-Dame.
Incidentally, he was also the one who suggested the adoption of the Croix de Lorraine as the symbol to differentiate the Free French Forces from those of Vichy France.
In 1947 however, while Governor-General of Indochina, his request to leave the Armed Forces was granted, and he returned to life as a Carmelite, dying at the Priory of Avon in 1964.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 01:51 PM
September 10, 2004
The Other September 11th
¡No Pasaran! has a post very much worth reading on Chile's would-be dictator, Salvador Allende (seen above, helmeted, in the last photo taken of him alive). Many left-wing urban intellectuals both in the Americas and Europe fawn over Allende as the heroic democratically-elected savior of the proletariat who was cruelly overthrown by the reactionary military just moments before a Socialist paradise would have been achieved. Nothing could be further from the truth.
While there can be no question that Pinochet's rule was extremist and questionable in its use of torture, one need only to look at Chile today in comparison to its neighbors and ask themselves what went so right with Chile that went so wrong with Argentina et alia. Anyhow, read the post.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:02 PM
July 20, 2004
Long Live Our Holy Germany!
It was July 20, 1944, sixty years ago today, that Col. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was executed for his masterminding the plot to kill Adolf Hitler. Stauffenberg was a devout Catholic who became convinced that Hitler was an Antichrist.
"Fate has offered us this opportunity, and I would not refuse it for anything in the world. I have examined myself before God and my conscience. It must be done because this man is evil personified."
His uncle, Graf (Count) Nikolaus von Üxküll, recruited him into the resistance movement after the Polish campaign in 1939. After a series of missed opportunities, Stauffenberg finally placed a bomb to kill Hitler. Unfortunately, it was moved to the other side of a strong oak table supporter, shielding Hitler from the full force of the blast. Claus Philip Maria Shenck Graf von Stauffenberg was shot by the Gestapo at half past midnight that same evening.
His dying words were "Es lebe unser heiliges Deutschland!" – Long live our holy Germany.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:27 PM
July 14, 2004
Vive le Roi!
Today we should remember the victims of the French Revolution: the 4,000 prisoners drowned in the Loire by the Republic; the 2,000 Vendéens shot at Angers, half of them women; the 1,500 on the Ile de Noirmoutier; the 1,500 killed in the forest of Vezins; the 800 in the quarries of Gigant; and of course the King, his Queen, and their young son.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 02:50 PM
July 13, 2004
The Death of Marat
The thirteenth of July is also the day that the brave heroine of France, Charlotte Corday, killed the murderous revolutionary swine Jean-Paul Marat. Marat received his M.D. from St Andrews, and his villainy is remembered in the annual Kate Kennedy Procession, in which he is rightfully described as a "paranoid demagogue."
The assasination inspired David to paint his famous depiction of the event. It is one of my favourite paintings, and a brilliant piece of propaganda portraying a bloodthirsty hatemonger as an angelic martyr.
Remembrance via the great Irish Elk.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 07:12 PM
July 09, 2004
Shakespeare the Catholic?
The debate continues:
In the ongoing enterprise to reveal the mysterious person behind the prized poet and playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616), some scholars are focusing on his religious upbringing and beliefs. Some say Shakespeare was once intent on training as a priest at a seminary in northern France at Douai where a college had been established for English Catholics.
In his lifetime, English priests could train only on the continent in Flanders or France. Some guess the arrest and horrific execution of the Jesuit missionary Father Edmund Campion persuaded the young Shakespeare to change course.
Catholic faith and sympathy for those suffering under the anti-Catholic reign of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. Scholars are also marshalling historical evidence that suggests Shakespeare was in fact allied to England's "old faith" — that of the Catholic Church.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 03:55 AM
Muggeridge on Orwell
Read this interesting piece on George Orwell by none other than Malcolm Muggeridge.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 03:31 AM
July 04, 2004
"...the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God..."
Detail from John Trumbull's 'Signing of the Declaration of Independence'.
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Two-hundred-and-twenty-eight years ago today, three men with degrees from St Andrews signed the Declaration of Independence, and thus the United States were born. Those three were Mr. Benjamin Franklin (Hon. LLD, 1759), Mr. James Wilson (M.A., 1762), and the Rev. John Witherspoon (D.Div., 1764). Rev. Witherspoon was President of Princeton University from 1768 to his death in 1794, whereas Wilson became a justice of the Supreme Court after it was established. Both Franklin and Wilson went on to sign the Constitution as well, two of only eight people who signed both.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 10:35 AM
July 02, 2004
George Orwell: a man of remarkable prescience.
"The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to taking life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists, whose real though unacknowledged motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration for totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writing of the younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States..."
- George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism, May 1945
Via In Pectore.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 08:28 AM
June 15, 2004
Those in the United States who think the Soviet Union is on the verge of economic and social collapse [are] wishful thinkers who are only kidding themselves.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the famous historian, said these words two years into the Reagan presidency, reflecting the general attitude of the liberal establishment in America.
One year later, in March of 1983, Reagan made his famous speech in which he called a spade a spade. The Soviet Union was "an evil empire" and "the focus of evil in the modern world."
Roger Kimball notes Anthony Lewis of the New York Times described the speech varyingly as "primitive -- the only word for it," "simplistic," "sectarian," "terribly dangerous." Anthony Lewis sitting in the comfort of Manhattan could afford to make such judgements.
Natan Sharansky couldn't:
In 1983, I was confined to an eight-by-ten-foot prison cell on the border of Siberia. My Soviet jailers gave me the privilege of reading the latest copy of Pravda. Splashed across the front page was a condemnation of President Ronald Reagan for having the temerity to call the Soviet Union an "evil empire." Tapping on walls and talking through toilets, word of Reagan's "provocation" quickly spread throughout the prison. We dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth - a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us.
And it was only a few years later that the whole impressive edifice of communism came crashing down.
When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. This can't be said often enough by people who lived under oppression for half a century, until communism fell in 1989.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:01 AM
June 09, 2004
An Acceptable Marseillaise
It's a tune we all know and love. And who can deny getting a bit sentimental during the scene in Casablanca when they sing it? But as all good traditionalists know, the lyrics to le Marseillaise are downright vulgar, republican, and revolutionary. So here we have reproduced the thoroughly-acceptable lyrics used in the die-hard Catholic region of la Vendée, and supposedly still sung today:
Allons armée catholique,
Le jour de gloire est arrive.
Contre-nous de la République,
L'étendard sanglant est levé,
L'étendard sanglant est levé!
Ontondez-vous dans tchiés campagnes
Les cris impurs diaux scélérats?
Le venant duchque dans vous bras
Prendre vous feuilles et vous femmes.
Aux armes Vendéens! Formez vous bataillons!
Le sang daux Bieux rougira nos seillons!
Perhaps this could be a marching tune for the annual Paris-Chartres pilgrimage?
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 09:44 PM
June 08, 2004
Louis XVII, requiescat in pace...
An interesting story for all my fellow traditionalists.
PARIS - France laid to rest one of its most intriguing mysteries on Tuesday when it installed the tiny heart of Louis XVII - the son of beheaded king Louis XVI and queen Marie-Antoinette - in a royal crypt outside Paris.
European aristocrats were among the 2,500 people who packed into the Saint-Denis Basilica north of Paris to watch the 209-year-old heart in its crystal vase given a final burial after spending a long period as a much-traded curiosity in the wake of the French Revolution.
A 12-year-old descendant of France's former royal family, Amaury de Bourbon-Parme, handed over the heart in a formal Mass broadcast to another 1,000 people watching outside. The presiding priest, Archbishop Jean Honore, paid homage to the "lost child who knew nothing of what he was and of what he is".
Louis-Charles, the so-called "lost dauphin" who would have reigned as Louis XVII, died of tuberculosis at the age of 10 on June 8 1795 in a windowless cell in the French capital's Temple Prison, where he had been incarcerated with his parents before they were guillotined.
"This is a way to give this child-martyr, who passed away in tragic circumstances and around whom mystery swirled for more than 200 years, a proper death," said Charles-Emmanuel de Bourbon-Parme, one of Louis XVII's relatives.
(Agence France Presse)
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 05:21 PM
The Last Will and Testament of Louis XVI
January 21 marked the anniversary of the regicide of Louis XVI, King of France, by the revolutionary authorities. Here is his last will and testament, written a month previous on Christmas Day.
In the name of the Very holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
To-day, the 25th day of December, 1792, I, Louis XVI King of France, being for more than four months imprisoned with my family in the tower of the Temple at Paris, by those who were my subjects, and deprived of all communication whatsoever, even with my family, since the eleventh instant; moreover, involved in a trial the end of which it is impossible to foresee, on account of the passions of men, and for which one can find neither pretext nor means in any existing law, and having no other witnesses, for my thoughts than God to whom I can address myself, I hereby declare, in His presence, my last wishes and feelings.
I leave my soul to God, my creator; I pray Him to receive it in His mercy, not to judge it according to its merits but according to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ who has offered Himself as a sacrifice to God His Father for us other men, no matter how hardened, and for me first.
I die in communion with our Holy Mother, the Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church, which holds authority by an uninterrupted succession, from St. Peter, to whom Jesus Christ entrusted it; I believe firmly and I confess all that is contained in the creed and the commandments of God and the Church, the sacraments and the mysteries, those which the Catholic Church teaches and has always taught. I never pretend to set myself up as a judge of the various way of expounding the dogma which rend the church of Jesus Christ, but I agree and will always agree, if God grant me life the decisions which the ecclesiastical superiors of the Holy Catholic Church give and will always give, in conformity with the disciplines which the Church has followed since Jesus Christ.
I pity with all my heart our brothers who may be in error but I do not claim to judge them, and I do not love them less in Christ, as our Christian charity teaches us, and I pray to God to pardon all my sins. I have sought scrupulously to know them, to detest them and to humiliate myself in His presence. Not being able to obtain the ministration of a Catholic priest, I pray God to receive the confession which I feel in having put my name (although this was against my will) to acts which might be contrary to the discipline and the belief of the Catholic church, to which I have always remained sincerely attached. I pray God to receive my firm resolution, if He grants me life, to have the ministrations of a Catholic priest, as soon as I can, in order to confess my sins and to receive the sacrament of penance.
I beg all those whom I might have offended inadvertently (for I do not recall having knowingly offended any one), or those whom I may have given bad examples or scandals, to pardon the evil which they believe I could have done them.
I beseech those who have the kindness to join their prayers to mine, to obtain pardon from God for my sins.
I pardon with all my heart those who made themselves my enemies, without my have given them any cause, and I pray God to pardon them, as well as those who, through false or misunderstood zeal, did me much harm.
I commend to God my wife and my children, my sister, my aunts, my brothers, and all those who are attached to me by ties of blood or by whatever other means. I pray God particularly to cast eyes of compassion upon my wife, my children, and my sister, who suffered with me for so long a time, to sustain them with His mercy if they shall lose me, and as long as they remain in his mortal world.
I commend my children to my wife; I have never doubted her maternal tenderness for them. I enjoin her above all to make them good Christians and honest individuals; to make them view the grandeurs of this world (if they are condemned to experience them) as very dangerous and transient goods, and turn their attention towards the one solid and enduring glory, eternity. I beseech my sister to kindly continue her tenderness for my children and to take the place of a mother, should they have the misfortune of losing theirs.
I beg my wife to forgive all the pain which she suffered for me, and the sorrows which I may have caused her in the course of our union; and she may feel sure that I hold nothing against her, if she has anything with which to reproach herself.
I most warmly enjoin my children that, after what they owe to God, which should come first, they should remain forever united among themselves, submissive and obedient to their mother, and grateful for all the care and trouble which she has taken with them, as well as in memory of me. I beg them to regard my sister as their second mother.
I exhort my son, should he have the misfortune of becoming king, to remember he owes himself wholly to the happiness of his fellow citizens; that he should forget all hates and all grudges, particularly those connected with the misfortunes and sorrows which I am experiencing; that he can make the people happy only by ruling according to laws: but at the same time to remember that a king cannot make himself respected and do the good that is in his heart unless he has the necessary authority, and that otherwise, being tangled up in his activities and not inspiring respect, he is more harmful than useful.
I exhort my son to care for all the persons who are attached to me, as much as his circumstances will allow, to remember that it is a sacred debt which I have contracted towards the children and relatives of those who have perished for me and also those who are wretched for my sake. I know that there are many persons, among those who were near me, who did not conduct themselves towards me as they should have and who have even shown ingratitude, but I pardon them (often in moments of trouble and turmoil one is not master of oneself), and I beg my son that, if he finds an occasion, he should think only of their misfortunes.
I should have wanted here to show my gratitude to those who have given me a true and disinterested affection; if, on the one hand, I was keenly hurt by the ingratitude and disloyalty of those to whom I have always shown kindness, as well as to their relatives and friends, on the other hand I have had the consolation of seeing the affection and voluntary interest which many persons have shown me. I beg them to receive my thanks.
In the situation in which matters still are, I fear to compromise them if I should speak more explicitly, but I especially enjoin my son to seek occasion to recognize them.
I should, nevertheless, consider it a calumny on the nation if I did not openly recommend to my son MM. De Chamilly and Hue, whose genuine attachment for me led them to imprison themselves with me in this sad abode. I also recommend Clery, for whose attentiveness I have nothing but praise ever since he has been with me. Since it is he who has remained with me until the end, I beg the gentlemen of the commune to hand over to him my clothes, my books, my watch, my purse, and all other small effects which have been deposited with the council of the commune.
I pardon again very readily those who guard me, the ill treatment and the vexations which they thought it necessary to impose upon me. I found a few sensitive and compassionate souls among them - may they in their hearts enjoy the tranquillity which their way of thinking gives them.
I beg MM. De Malesherbes, Tronchet and De Seze to receive all my thanks and the expressions of my feelings for all the cares and troubles they took for me.
I finish by declaring before God, and ready to appear before Him, that I do not reproach myself with any of the crimes with which I am charged.
Made in duplicate in the Tower of the Temple, the 25th of December 1792.
Posted by Andrew Cusack at 12:09 PM
Invitations to the club carried a seal reading: "I'd stake my reputation on it." Dacre was said to have retaliated by comparing Cowling's circle to "a band of social outcasts living in a mountain cave under the command of a one-eyed Cyclops".