What if the People who started the War for American Independence WERE like the thuggish patriots we see today?   Leave a comment

Not an outlandish question since the people who are generally called “Patriots”

were not a tolerant group, and Loyalists suffered regular harassment, had their property seized, or were subject to personal attacks. Unless the British Army was close at hand to protect Loyalists, they often suffered bad treatment from Patriots and often had to flee their own homes. About one-in-six Americans was an active Loyalist during the Revolution, and that number undoubtedly would have been higher if the Patriots hadn’t been so successful in threatening and punishing people who made their Loyalist sympathies known in public.

Wealthy Loyalists left for Great Britain in contrast to most ordinary Loyalists, who went to Canada.  As a preface to a future post, these displaced Loyalists would come to play a large role in the development of Canadian society and government.

Most of what is known about the Loyalists are those who fought against independence or who fled the newly independent colonies since they are the best documented members of this group.  The silent majority remain a mystery.  Although, one might be surprised by who exactly the Loyalists tended to be (e.g., they were the “mountain men” in the South).  Also, being loyal didn’t preclude one from wanting independence (see Canada comment above): only that they wanted any independence to come from a peaceful and lawful process.

The most notorious Loyalist, Benedict Arnold, had been one of the most effective “Patriot” military leaders when he decided that the objective of war had been achieved.  Peace and reconciliation made more sense than continuing a war that bankrupted the nation and led to the revolt at Morristown.  The Town of Deerfield, MA had a town vote in 1781 which instructed their representative to the Massachusetts General Court to urge the state to “Effect an accomodation Settlement & Peace between Great Britain & the United States of America without the futher effusion of Blood.”[1]

The issue is that the war was forced upon a nation which may have been coerced into an imprudent course of action. The goal of independence was achieved, but was the aftermath worth the resulting chaos which led to Shays’ Rebellion and ultimately the adoption of the US Constitution? Given the reactions of most of the founders to Shays’ Rebellion and their addressing rebellion in the Constitution, would they agree that those who call themselves “Patriots” while fighting perceived tyranny would be a folly?

Or as Samuel Adams said:

in monarchies the crime of treason and rebellion may admit of being pardoned or lightly punished, but the man who dares rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death.

I also ask this question as an descendant of one of those members of the Pennsylvania Line at Morristown.  Was he forced to be there, away from his home, for the whims of people who pressed him into service.  I am pretty certain he would have preferred to be back on the farm where he was truly needed.

[1] Sheldon, George. A History of Deerfield, Massachusetts. Deerfield, MA: Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, 1895: Vol. II, p.739.

Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges   Leave a comment

Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de Saint-GeorgesI want to push my fav character from black history, Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, since this is black history month.

OK, I want to push my fav character from black history, Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, since this is black history month, and I just posted that MTV video on the subject.

A short and abbreviated summary of is accomplishments focusing on his musical talents:

Born in Guadeloupe, he was the son of George Bologne de Saint-Georges, a wealthy planter, and Nanon, his African slave. Among his many accomplishments he was a champion fencer, a virtuoso violinist and conductor of the leading symphony orchestra in Paris. During the French Revolution, Saint-Georges was colonel of the Légion St.-Georges, the first all-black regiment in Europe, fighting on the side of the Republic.
Not sure how much about him is factual and how much his reputation has been fictionalised. He has been called the “black Mozart”, which kind of denigrates his abilities as a musician to be compared to Mozart. His musical abilities were eclipsed by his swordsmanship until François Gossec dedicated a set of six Trios to Saint Georges in 1766 that led to the revealation that the famous swordsman also played the violin. Some of the most important musicians in Europe contributed and respected the Chevlier’s musical abilities.  Dedications in Gossec’s and violinist Antonio Lolli concertis that were also dedicated to the Chevalier suggest that Lolli polished his violin technique and Gossec was his composition teacher. There is no basis to the not always reliable François-Joseph Fétis’ claim that Saint-Georges studied violin with Jean-Marie Leclair, however similar traits in technique indicate Pierre Gaviniès as one of his mentors.
In 1769, the Parisian public was amazed to see Saint-Georges, the great fencer, among the violins of Gossec’s new orchestra, Le Concert des Amateurs. Two years later he became its concertmaster, and in 1772 he created a sensation with his debut as a soloist, playing his first two violin concertos, Op. II, with Gossec conducting the orchestra. “These concertos were performed last winter at a concert of the Amateurs by the author himself, who received great applause as much for their performance as for their composition.”
According to another source, “The celebrated Saint-Georges, mulatto fencer [and] violinist, created a sensation in Paris … [when] two years later … at the Concert Spirituel, he was appreciated not as much for his compositions as for his performances, enrapturing especially the feminine members of his audience.”

In 1773, when Gossec took over the direction of the prestigious but troubled Concert Spirituel, he designated Saint-Georges as his successor as director of the Concert des Amateurs. Less than two years under his direction, “Performing with great precision and delicate nuances [the Amateurs] became the best orchestra for symphonies in Paris, and perhaps in all of Europe.

In 1781, due to the massive financial losses incurred by its patrons in shipping arms to the American Revolution, Saint Georges’s Concert des Amateurs had to be disbanded. Not one to let it go without a fight, Saint-Georges turned to his friend and admirer, Philippe D’Orléans, duc de Chartres, for help. In 1773 at age 26, Philippe was elected Grand Master of the ‘Grand Orient de France’ after uniting all the Masonic organizations in France. Responding to Saint-Georges’s plea, Philippe revived the orchestra as part of the Loge Olympique, an exclusive Freemason Lodge. Renamed Le Concert Olympique, with practically the same personnel, it performed in the grand salon of the Palais Royal. In 1785, Count D’Ogny, grandmaster of the Lodge and member of its cello section, authorized Saint-Georges to commission Haydn to compose six new symphonies for the “Concert Olympique.” Conducted by Saint-Georges, Haydn’s “Paris” symphonies were first performed at the Salle des Gardes-Suisses of the Tuileries, a much larger hall, in order to accommodate the huge public demand to hear Haydn’s new works.

 He has been portrayed in fiction. I thought I had posted about him being in the Nicolas Le Floch book/episode, Le dîner de Gueux (Beggars Banquet) where he is the champion of Louis XV in a fencing match. Not sure if some of his life has been “enhanced” by Roger de Beauvoir’s 1840 romantic novel about him called, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, or if it is truly as incredible without needing embellishments.  His musical talents are quite impressive, but he was more than just a musician.  The Chevalier was a man of his times in reality the way Nicolas Le Floch is in the fictional series.
Not sure why he is not better known other than he is “French”, but that shouldn’t detract on his reputation in modern times. It sure didn’t when he was alive.
The wikipedia article on him is quite impressive.


There’s only one Orval allowed around here   1 comment

And the obnoxious commenter should make like the people who brew it.

Who needs guns?   Leave a comment

Ok, I know people in the US like to knock the French, but they did resist the Germans.  I’m not sure how similar other resistance and partisan groups armed themselves, but this turned up while doing research to learn more about the Maquis and FFI after watching Un Village Française

The following is from this page

 Everyday tools, turned weapons

PictureAmerican OSS and British SOE agents familiar with popular british weapons like the sten, helped train the french forces of interieur (more organized french offensive), as well as the parisians of the french resistance. Fast learners, the french took their battle to the streets no official contact just some slam bam and run attacks here in their, lowering the enemy moral, and making them more hesitant. Guns weren’t the only weapons the maquis used everyday people took up what they knew, wood axes, kitchen knives and even walking sticks became weapons. The ruthless Vichy helped Germans track down more jewish and communist citizens, so you can say they was a little extra incentive to band together and take back what was rightfully theirs. Brothers, Sisters, husbands and wives, neighbour v. neighbour, everyone with reason to pick up arms didn’t there was as much bloodshed in the city as german v. FFI as there was French v. French, weapons the same tools used just months before for hunting game and birds, used for freedom and liberation, the same used for murder and oppression. Weapons of vichy was there hope that one day this will as be over, that you will just wake up and all it was, was a bad bad dream, one word Hope, hope in their hearts, and a rifle in his hand, and a man or woman, is undefeatable, for no task big or small will stop him(or her), or his(her) dream from becoming a reality

Anyway, despite what gun nuts would like to promote, resistance was not limited by a lack of weaponry.  And having weapons also didn’t guarantee success.

Just ask the Germans!


Law: Criminal and Civil   Leave a comment

I’m getting sick of people who don’t want to follow contractual agreements, in this case terms of service (e.g., Amazon prime members who sell on eBay, people who carry weapons where explicitly prohibited).
Someone needs to point out to these clowns that while they may not be violating a criminal statute, they are violating a law. In this case, contract law, which they should obey as good libertarians since they are agreements by and between individuals.

If anything, violating contract laws should be far worse for them if they truly believe what they profess, since it is not the evil “guvment” which is imposing the conduct, but their own consent.

Additionally, Liberty consists of doing anything which does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of each man has only those borders which assure other members of the society the enjoyment of these same rights.  In other words, you cannot claim a right, such as property rights, without accepting the property rights of another.

Utopian political concepts, which Libertarianism and Anarchy are, tend to expect people to know the rules and follow them.  They do not need a government to impose order.  Instead, order comes from mutual agreement.

The reality is that the guarantee of the rights of man and citizens requires a public force. This force exists for the advantage of all and not for the particular utility of those in whom it is trusted.  That force is exercised through the legal system and the proper use of authority.

Michael Portillo’s Latest Guide.   Leave a comment

I have to admit some serious surprise when I caught Michael’s latest series: Great American Railroad Journeys.  There has been a lot of action here, which usually indicates a new series from Michaelbook

His latest guide Appleton’s General Guide to United States and Canada is much easier to come by than the First Bradshaw Guide.

The Hathitrust page is:

They have two editions, part 2 of 1889 and 1892. Appleton’s guide was published yearly.

Google Books has a link to another Appleton’s Railroad Guide (https://books.google.com/books?id=EqbhAAAAMAAJ).   This is not the guide used in the show, it is Appletons’ Illustrated Railway and Steam Navigation Guide, Containing the Time-tables of the Railways of the United States and the Canadas: A totally different book.

The versions of the Guide on Google books are not the 1879 edition.

You can find copies of the version used by Michael in used book stores. There are also versions available in Print on Demand, but they are different years than the 1879 version used in this series (or don’t say WHICH edition they are).  There was an original copy available here for US$200 (approx UK£ 138), but is been sold.

I should note that the 1892 edition is actually the more interesting version since it has a guide to the Colombian Exposition.

This relates to his first week’s journey:

Question about Founding Father Quotes, in particular the Federalist Papers   2 comments

Q: When I’ve discussed this with gun nuts, they say they can point to the Federalist Papers to justify their views, saying that these documents indicate the intent of the Founding Fathers. My answer is that the Federalist Papers are not the law of the land. Thoughts?

  • A: Correct the Federalist Paper, and any other founding father quote, is not legal authority. Also, these were documents about the debates.

    I am pretty sure that none of the Federalist papers actually condone insurrection, rebellion, or treason. If anything Numbers 9 and 28 comes down firmly against such activity. Number 28:

    THAT there may happen cases in which the national government may be necessitated to resort to force, cannot be denied. Our own experience has corroborated the lessons taught by the examples of other nations; that emergencies of this sort will sometimes arise in all societies, however constituted; that seditions and insurrections are, unhappily, maladies as inseparable from the body politic as tumors and eruptions from the natural body; that the idea of governing at all times by the simple force of law (which we have been told is the only admissible principle of republican government), has no place but in the reveries of those political doctors whose sagacity disdains the admonitions of experimental instruction.

    Should such emergencies at any time happen under the national government, there could be no remedy but force. The means to be employed must be proportioned to the extent of the mischief. If it should be a slight commotion in a small part of a State, the militia of the residue would be adequate to its suppression; and the national presumption is that they would be ready to do their duty. An insurrection, whatever may be its immediate cause, eventually endangers all government. Regard to the public peace, if not to the rights of the Union, would engage the citizens to whom the contagion had not communicated itself to oppose the insurgents; and if the general government should be found in practice conducive to the prosperity and felicity of the people, it were irrational to believe that they would be disinclined to its support.

    I would point to quotes from the founders about Shays’ Rebellion. Most were appalled by that.

    The United States would not have lasted long had the founders been as accepting of treason, rebellion, insurrection, and sedition as people have become of this sort of bullshit now.

    Bottom line, anyone who points to the Federalist Papers to support insurrectionism has no fucking idea what they are talking about.


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