I had to learn more about the two pivotal events in his life, the Albigensian crusade of his childhood and Henry’s entire reign. I suppose not surprisingly, I came away from the first with a much better opinion of his father than historians generally have, and in the case of Henry, I grew to respect him because he was a better man at heart than most other medieval English monarchs. He seems to be all but forgotten by the British public today, probably for no other reason than he was no warrior king like Richard I, Edwards I and III, and Henry V, and yet everywhere today you see more of his legacy than all of them put together. As for the kind of man Simon was, we don’t know what he looked like, we can just go by the very general description of one chronicler that he was tall in body and handsome in face. Another one noted he had a courteous and pleasant way of speaking. Put these two together and I don’t see the modern tendency to portray him as grasping, harsh and imperious. But there has always been this natural inclination, even in his own day, to see him like his father, who was not afraid to employ fire and sword against the Albigensian heretics. It’s probably fair to say he had a breadth of personal qualities, both good and bad, that made him stand out amongst the average nobleman of that era. (Read more.)Share
Monday, March 2, 2015
Sunday, March 1, 2015
ShareA poem that was written by Madame Royale while she was kept in the Temple Prison. It was written in her own writing, and is addressed to Madame Renée de Chanterenne, who was brought in to be a companion to her after her Aunt’s execution.
« Dans ce triste séjour d’horreur,
la vertu qui plait à mon cœur
me paraissait toujours bannie ;
le ciel a retenu ma vie
trop souvent prête à s’exhaler
par les pleurs qu’il voyait couler ;
il finit d’être inexorable,
à cette vertu douce aimable
il faut (qu’enfin il peut) la voir
triompher d’un triste devoir
elle apaise et calme mon âme
l’échauffe de sa douce flamme
et me console en ce séjour
par la clarté d’un nouveau jour
elle fuyait loin de ma vue,
ce moment ci me l’a rendue
le ciel m’en fait maintenant jouir
tout ici me l’a fait sentir
chaque chose me la rappelle
Je n’y vois plus de cœur rebelle
enfin elle vit près de moi
tout en reçoit la douce loi,
faudra-t-il donc que je la nomme
cette vertu qui pare l’homme,
qui console les malheureux
qui change l’horreur de ces lieux,
qui revient dans cette contrée,
pour être à jamais adorée
qui près de moi dans ces moments
revient adoucir mes tourments
elle vit dans la tour du temple
toute à l’envie suit mon exemple,
sensibilité c’est son nom
elle règne dans ma prison
de mon cœur elle fait le charme,
il ne craint plus aucune larme
depuis qu’il me voit près de lui
qu’âmes sensibles pour appui. »
Born in France in 1761, a young Marie Grosholtz was raised by her widowed mother—her father, a German soldier, having died of gruesome war wounds. The two moved to Switzerland where Marie’s mother was housekeeper for Philippe Curtius, a skilled physician. Curtius taught Grosholtz the art of wax sculpture. HistoryToday writes that Curtius had a talent for wax modelling and amassed his own collection of wax heads and busts.
Grosholtz was adept at waxworks, and sculpted notable figures of the day, including historian and philosopher Francois Voltarie, and statesman Benjamin Franklin.
Word of her talent spread and she was invited to join the Royal Court in Versailles where she became the art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister, Madame Elizabeth, in 1780. She traveled in elite circles, meeting aristocrats, intellectuals, and French revolutionaries.Share
It is said that shortly after the onset of the French revolution Grosholtz was ordered to create plaster casts and death masks of victims of the guillotine, many of whom she had known and befriended during her years in Paris. The official Madam Tussauds website writes that during the Reign of Terror, Grosholtz and her mother were thrown into prison, and she was “forced to prove her allegiance to the Revolution by making death masks of executed nobles and her former employers, the King and Queen.” She casted a mold of the head of Louis XVI after his execution, as well as the severed heads of Queen Marie Antoinette and Maximilien Robespierre, the most well known political figure of the revolution. (Read more.)
For the British Empire, the “Irish question” that had rumbled interminably for centuries, re-emerged as an urgent cause for concern in 1919. It now had a new dimension arising from a separatist rebellion in Dublin, which had occurred two and a half years earlier, in April 1916, which though easily defeated at the time, had transformed Irish opinion so dramatically that independence was now the preferred choice of the majority of the Irish electorate. This was clearly expressed in the General Election of 1918 which saw an overwhelming victory for the separatist Sinn Féin (Ourselves Alone) Party all over the island, who immediately proceeded to form a new parliament (The Dáil) in Dublin, refusing to take their seats in the London Parliament.Share
Before the assassination of ArchDuke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28th 1914 dramatically took the attention of the world away from all other issues, the British House of Commons had been on the point of applying Home Rule to Ireland, a measure that would have devolved a significant measure of self-rule to a Dublin based parliament. At that time that was the full extent of Irish aspirations. The Home Rule Act had been passed after more than three decades of Parliamentary debate and struggle, including several narrow defeats; which had strained relationships between rival communities in Ireland as well as between the two islands that formed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
On the eve of its implementation, after having been approved by the House of Commons and signed into law by the King in September 1914; the measure was shelved for the duration of the war that had been declared just a few weeks before. There was a belief that the fighting would run its course by the end of that year; that everybody would be “home for Christmas” and the Act brought into force after a short (successful) military campaign. How presumptuous those hopes were !!
In reality, the deferral gave huge immediate relief to the Imperial Government, as due to the strong opposition of the Unionist population concentrated in Ulster, there was a real possibility that the Irish situation would descend into all out civil war once implementation of the Home Rule Act began. As the Summer of 1914 changed into Autumn, all sides engaged in the debate and controversies surrounding Home Rule were focused on the more immediate and urgent challenge of fighting Germany and her allies. The vexed Irish question, under the circumstances that now prevailed in Europe; had suddenly become a mere side show and a relatively less important and localised debate.
Each player now had its own perspective of what its role should be in the European conflict that was about to unfold in the months ahead, and their expectations when the war was over. (Read more.)
Saturday, February 28, 2015
ShareCharles J. Colchester also warned Lincoln. He was no solicitous friend, like Swett or Cole. Indeed, Lincoln hardly knew Colchester. But he was important to Mary Todd Lincoln, the president’s wife, and had become a regular visitor to the White House. Oddly, this strange character, a spiritualist and medium, was the one person Lincoln should have heeded. Colchester needed none of his prophetic powers to realize the president was in danger. His information likely came from the best of earthly sources—his friend John Wilkes Booth.
The story of Lincoln, Booth and Colchester—which has been overlooked in the considerable literature on the president’s assassination—began, in a sense, on the afternoon of February 20, 1862. About 5 p.m. that day, the Lincolns’ son Willie died at age 11, apparently of typhoid fever. Sweet-tempered Willie was the most intelligent and best-looking of the four Lincoln boys, and the one most like his father in personality. Both parents idolized him. Having lost their son Eddie 12 years earlier, when he was 3, they were devastated to be revisited by this peculiarly cruel sort of tragedy.
“His death was the most crushing affliction Mr. Lincoln had ever been called upon to pass through,” recalled the artist Francis Carpenter, who lived in the White House for six months while he painted the famous portrait of the president and his cabinet at the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Willie had died on a Thursday. The following Thursday, Lincoln shut himself up in the Green Room to grieve, and he began a routine of withdrawing there each succeeding Thursday. Mary and her older sister Elizabeth Todd Edwards became alarmed over his state of mind, so they arranged for the Rev. Francis Vinton of Trinity Church in New York City to visit the president. Imperious and opinionated, Vinton, a lawyer and soldier by education, told Lincoln he was fighting with God by indulging his grief in this manner.
Lincoln heard Vinton out as if he were in a stupor until the minister said, “Your son is alive.”
“Alive! Alive!” Lincoln repeated, jumping up from a sofa. “Surely you mock me.”
“My dear sir,” Vinton responded as he placed an arm around the president. “Seek not your son among the dead. He is not there. He lives today in Paradise.” Vinton’s hopeful words notwithstanding, the cold comfort of the president’s fatalism was his chief solace. As he explained to his former law partner, William Herndon: “Things were to be, and they came, irresistibly came, doomed to come.” (Read more.)
Friday, February 27, 2015
As a eugenicist, Sanger encouraged the sterilization of persons with less desirable qualities, and strongly encouraged the reproduction of groups with more desirable qualities. Sanger’s disdain for blacks, minority groups, and the diseased and disabled spawned the birth of an abortion corporation that profits off the killing of the weakest and most vulnerable. From its conception, Planned Parenthood was built upon the roots of exterminating individuals deemed “unfit” for the human family.Share
Today, the spirit of Sanger lives on. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the former pro-abortion research division of Planned Parenthood, African-American women are five times more likely to choose abortion over white women. Planned Parenthood clinics are strategically planted in minority communities, targeting blacks and impoverished minority groups, and abortion remains the leading cause of death for the black community....
In 1926, Sanger spoke at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1926 in Silver Lake, New Jersey. Following the invitation, Sanger describes her elation after receiving multiple speaking requests from white supremacy groups. She writes of the experience on page 366 of her book, An Autobiography:
I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan … I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses … I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak … In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.(Read more.)