Sunday, May 31, 2009
A very different story was long told by the late Empress Zita of Austria-Hungary, widow of the last Hapsburg Emperor Charles I. According to her foreign agents were trying to drive a wedge between Emperor Francis Joseph and his more liberal son (though when conisdering these terms keep in mind that even Queen Victoria was a liberal compared to good ol' Frankie Joe). When they went so far as to suggest that Rudolf might overhrow his father and become Emperor himself the Crown Prince refused to go along with a plot and as a result these enemies of the Hapsburg empire had to kill Rudolf to keep the conpsiracy a secret. They then murdered the Crown Prince and Baroness Vetsera at Mayerling and made it up to look like a suicide so that it would quickly swept under the rug and forgotten.
For a long time this was dismissed as an effort by the matriarch of the Hapsburg Imperial Family to deny the "shame" of a suicide in their ranks. However, in the early 90's the bodies were re-examined and facts came to light which made the accepted story of a suicide simply impossible. It was found that Marie had been beaten to death and that the remains of Rudolf showed signs as well of a violent struggle before his demise. Still not wishing to back down too far most simply said that this new evidence only meant that the deaths of the pair are an unsolved mystery. However, the evidence fits perfectly with the story long told by Empress Zita who did not have a history of dishonesty to say the very least. To add further doubt to the "accepted" version of events the gun that was found had been fired 6 times even though Rudolf is the only one to have been shot and the weapon was not even his own. In short, it is impossible that the death of the Crown Prince had been a suicide and everything points to the story of Empress Zita being absolutely correct.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
However, while Prince Harry is fostering Anglo-American solidarity in the War on Terror the disgraceful French Republic is insulting the British monarch and the brave veterans of two countries. Perhaps someone should tell them the Hundred Years War is over. President Sarkozy has been planning the upcoming commemoration of the June 6, 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy; the first step in the liberation of France and the begining of the end of Hitler's "Festung Europa". He is reportedly eager to make this a Franco-American affair and get as much face time as he can alongside global super-star and self-styled "messiah" President Obama. However, he failed to invite HM Queen Elizabeth II; thus insulting not only the Queen herself but all of the WW2 veterans of the United Kingdom and Canada in one foul swoop. Why would the French show favoritism to Obama over HM the Queen? It is plain and simple pandering to the current fashionable trend of Obama worship.
It is worth remembering that Barry Obama was not a twinkle in his daddy's eye in World War II nor has he ever served his country in uniform. Queen Elizabeth II, on the other hand, did serve in uniform, with the British military, during World War II when the British Empire was fighting to liberate the seemingly ungrateful French from Nazi domination. It is a positively outrageous development and if President Obama had any sense of justice and gallantry he would refuse to attend if the Queen (head of state of the most faithful ally of his country) were not immediately invited along with the profuse apologies of Sarkozy. However, I will not hold my breath for that to happen as Obama's own prejudice against the British is well known. It seems the younger generation is willing to hog the limelight for themselves while slighting the Queen who is the only one among them who is actually a World War II veteran.
Down with the rotten republic and God Save the Queen!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
(note: the flag above is that of the old Kolmar Union of Denmark, Norway and Sweden)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
King Charles II, never one to miss a pretty face, quickly warmed to his new sister-in-law and those who knew her descibed her as charming, kind and intense; seemingly the ideal royal wife. However, religious divisions in the country worked against her and she was immediately attacked many Protestants who accused her of being an agent of the Pope (Clement X had suggested the match); secretly plotting some sinister attack on Great Britain. Others, however, looked at the age of James II and did not expect he would have any children by his Catholic wife and that the Protestant succession was secure in his eldest daughter who was wed to the Dutch Prince of Orange. Their fears seemed to be groundless as Mary and James had no luck with pregnancy with several children being stillborn or not living past infancy.
All of this became even more critical in 1685 when James became King and Mary of Modena became Queen consort of Britain. From the outset their were troubles and worries about rebellion as King James II tried to introduce religious freedom for Catholics and dissenting Protestants and uphold the powers of the monarchy. Queen Mary of Modena was not very politically involved but when she did advise her husband she advised him toward that which he was already naturally inclined to; friendship with France, support for Catholicism and staunch defense of royal authority. Sadly, it was Mary's greatest happiness that was to be the downfall of her husband as, in 1688, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy who was, naturally, baptized as a Catholic and even had the Pope named as his godfather.
Immediately Protestants claimed that the child was an imposter and called for the overthrow of the King and Queen. Even James' own daughter in Holland announced she believed her half-brother to be illegitimate. The King ordered an investigation simply to silence the critics but it did no good. With the threat of revolution and a Dutch invasion looming James sent Mary of Modena and his young son to safety in France. In due course his army mutinied, he was captured and finally allowed to escape into exile to join them there; thus begining the long years of the Stuart exile. Queen Mary of Modena was a staunch Queen-in-exile and a strong support to her husband. She gave birth to a daughter in exile and when James II died she persuaded King Louis to recognize her son, James III, as the legitimate King of Great Britain and Ireland. She devoted the rest of her life to religious devotion and to supporting the Jacobite efforts to restore the Stuarts to the British throne. She died in 1718 of breast cancer in Paris. Her tomb was later destroyed by republicans in the French Revolution.
Obviously the communists who were sponsored by the Soviets in the north would not have gone along with this but preventing the Soviets from having a sphere of influence in Korea at all would have been ideal (they were kept out of Japan thanks to MacArthur) but a return to monarchy was at least considered as a possibility in the south because President Syngman Rhee suppressed the former dynasty because he was afraid that they might be restored and he considered them a threat to his power. However, such a restoration may have helped in the reunification of the country based on the concept of legitimate authority. Prior to becoming part of the Empire of Japan there is no doubt that the last, legitimate government for all of Korea was the Yi monarchy and calling upon this history and the traditional monarchial establishment might have been able to unite all Koreans via their shared history rather than subjecting them to the communist-capitalist divisions of the western world concept of politics.
If, for example, Crown Prince Euimin had been restored in Seoul as King or Emperor of Korea they could have used the weapons of shared history and Korean nationalism to combat the communist revolutionaries. Would it not have been at least possible that a campaign led by the Crown Prince to reject both foreign republican models in favor of the traditional Korean political system would have been more successful in undermining the communist campaign and keeping Korea united? If such wisdom had been shown the ill-effects of the Cold War and the north-south division and war might have been avoided and the world would never have been faced with the dangerous situation before us today.
The National Anthem of the Netherlands: Het Wilhelmus
Monday, May 25, 2009
-Marie Alice Heine, Dowager Duchess of Richelieu became Princess of Monaco when she married Reigning Prince Albert I in 1889.
-Julia Mullock married HIH Prince Yi Ku of Korea, head of the Yi Imperial dynasty, in 1959. As they were not married according to Korean rituals the marriage was not listed in the official imperial record.
-Marie-Chantal Miller became a Princess of Denmark and Crown Princess of Greece when she married the Greek Crown Prince Pavlos in 1995.
-Lisa Najeeb Halaby became Queen Noor of Jordan when she married HM King Hussein of Jordan in 1978. -Grace Kelly became Princess of Monaco when she married Reigning Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956. -Hope Cooke became the Crown Princess of Sikkim when she married Crown Prince Palden Thondup Namgyal who was the last King of Sikkim.
Leave a comment to list your favorites.
The Crown Prince was given command of the German 5th army on the western front and, despite what many now think, he was a capable battlefield commander. He earned high marks for his leadership in the Ardennes during the initial German invasion and, while he may not have been a military genius, he was certainly capable, worthy of his rank and undeserving of the ridicule he was and is subjected to. In early 1916 his forces led the offensive against Verdun for which he has often also been much and unjustly criticized. Wilhelm had put forward a reasonable plan to take the city but his superior, General Erich von Falkenhayn, rejected it because he did not so much want to take Verdun as to bleed the French army. After 2 months of this butchery the Crown Prince tried to convince the high command to call off the offensive but, again, he was ignored.
In the fall of 1916 he was given command of his own army group (aptly named 'Army Group Crown Prince') which consisted of 3 armies in the center of the western front. By 1917 the Crown Prince could see that the war was going to destroy victor and vanquished alike no matter who they might be and he began to speak out in favor of ending the war as things stood. His forces won a great victory at the Aisne in 1918 but Wilhelm could see that Germany did not have the strength to continue and that they would be overwhelmed by the Allies. He advised retreat but yet again the high command would hear of no such thing.
When the war finally did end with the armistice and the abdication of the Kaiser the Crown Prince requested to return home with his troops but the republican government refused. He went into exile in Holland as his father did. He was allowed to return to Germany in 1923 and continued to support the restoration of the Hohenzollerns but it never came to be. He died in Hechingen in 1951 of a heart attack.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Tonight the glittering crowds are gathering for the F1 gala. So far Princess Caroline and Prince Ernst August have not attended any of the events surrounding this year's race but princely girlfriend Charlene and Charlotte will ensure that glamor is not absent from the festivities.
When the revolution broke out and the First Republic was established Cathelineau rallied a small, ragged army of peasants and waged a guerilla war against the revolutionaries. As time went on his strength grew and soon his forces were capturing villages and castles in some of the most fierce fighting. His troops fought out of loyalty to the monarchy and the Church and also out of righteous anger caused by the horrid, absolutely grissly atrocities committed by the republicans against the innocent people of the Vendee; including women, children, the elderly and even animals. They left nothing alive. Actions such as these, over time, prompted some of Cathelineau's men into reprisals but former salesman himself always behaved with the utmost gallantry.
As Cathelineau's successes grew he joined forces with other counterrevolutionary leaders and was ultimately made their commander as generalissimo of the Catholic and Royal Grand Army. However, Cathelineau put himself in great danger by the very bravery that so inspired his troops. In the summer of 1793 while he and his men were storming the city of Nantes the heroic general was shot down by a republican sniper. Without his leadership the royalists were defeated and soon they broke up into different factions. After the Bourbon restoration, in honor of the heroism and sacrifices of the "Saint of Anjou" the Cathelineau family was given noble rank. One of his grandsons served as an officer in the French Imperial Army during the Franco-German War of 1870.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
The National Anthem of Liechtenstein: Up Above the Young Rhine
Friday, May 22, 2009
The National Anthem of Kuwait: Al-Nasheed Al-Watani
The alleged conspiracy was as follows; Burr used his position to get General James Wilkinson, commander of the US Army, appointed Governer of the newly acquired Louisiana Territory, a man who had himself been accused of trying to break away Kentucky and Tennessee from the Union. Burr allegedly conspired with the British minister Anthony Merry for money and support in gaining control of Louisiana in return for increased British influence in the region and Royal Navy dominance in the Gulf of Mexico. He did give Burr some money for the enterprise but he was not supported by London and was eventually recalled though Burr promised the plan would go ahead in any event.
Burr also had land grants from Spain for land in Texas which he also spoke of taking control of and while visiting New Orleans he gained the support of some prominent Mexican exiles who wished to rest the region from Spanish control as well as the local Catholic bishop. Reports soon spread that Burr was raising a private army and was planning to take control of a vast but vague region on the western and southwestern frontier over which he would establish his own government and rule as a king or emperor in grand, Napoleonic fashion. However, different people heard different stories. A Spanish official claimed that Burr had approached him as being sympathetic to the cause of Spain in the New World and that his plan was to take control of the United States and that they should support him as the expanding USA was an obvious threat to the security of New Spain. As with the British, the Spanish government refused him support.
Burr established a base on an island in the Ohio River in what is now West Virginia to gather supplies, munitions and troops for his enterprise. When the Governor of Ohio moved against them Burr was forced to relocate south where General Wilkinson was promising to supply him with troops once he reached New Orleans. By this time alarm bells were going off in Washington as voices were raised warning President Jefferson that Aaron Burr was gathering an army to be used against the US government and to provoke war with Spain in order to carve out his own empire. Jefferson alerted the US Congress and orders went out to arrest any armed men marching for the Spanish border.
General Wilkinson, hoping to save himself, turned traitor on Burr and began supplying information on the plot to the President, which he tweaked in order to make himself look innocent and to portray Burr as threatening to overthrow Jefferson's administration rather than looking to take territory from the Spanish. The President finally ordered Burr's arrest and he was forced to flee to Mississippi. However, it did him no good and he was finally captured and taken to Washington DC to stand trial. However, since the plot had never had a chance to fully develop, and the actual intent and target was widely disputed, Burr was acquited of treason but his future in North America was effectively over. He went into exile in Europe and died, heavily in debt in 1836. General Wilkinson had a very stormy career and ruined himself during the War of 1812 with a disastrous invasion of Canada. He also went into exile and died in Mexico in 1825.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The National Anthem of Japan: May Your Reign Last Forever
King Philip V of Spain increased them and raised them to the status of royal guards, charging them with his own protection, guarding palaces and such duties as well as their previous task of maintaining law and order and protecting the peace in Spain itself. New recruits were organized from an office in Liege and 4 to 500 men per year were enlisted and sent to Spain to serve in the Walloon Guards in the Flanders, Brabant and Brussells regiments. Their proud tradition of service lasted until 1794 when Belgium was conquered by the armies of the French Revolution, however, although the line infantry and cavalry regiments were dispersed the Walloons serving as royal guards lasted until 1820 when the final Royal Walloon Guard regiment was dissolved. Throughout their history the Walloon Guards fought in the Wars of the Polish and Austrian Successions as well as the Peninsular War. One of their last and more famous commanders was the first Duke of Valencia who later went on to great fame fighting for Isabella II in the Carlist Wars. Their honorable service and their reputation for being the bravest and toughest reminds one of the words of the great Julius Caesar who said of his wars in Gaul, "Of all these, the Belgians are the strongest".
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Almost as soon as he set foot on Greek soil King Otto faced considerable discontent and many, many problems. For one thing, although he agreed that any future heirs of his would be raised Greek Orthodox, Otto refused to abandon Roman Catholicism which earned him the wrath of many Orthodox Greeks. He also had to built a new country almost from scratch and that required a considerable increase in taxes to staff new positions, build infrastructure and things like schools and hospitals to put Greece on the road to becoming a modern country rather than the underdeveloped Turkish vassal it had been. This also aroused discontent as did the number of Bavarians that Otto brought with him to help get things up and running. His wife, whom he married in 1837, was not terribly popular either.
One thing that no one can deny is that King Otto cared about Greek greatness. Despite the opposition of the major European powers he almost immediately began to call for the restoration of traditionally and ethnically Greek territories but was thwarted at almost every turn. Religious problems were myriad with the Greek Patriarch still living in the Ottoman Empire, Russia backing up the Orthodox position and other European powers sending in Protestant missionaries along with the resentment of the King's Catholicism. One camp portrayed the new regime as determined to destroy the Orthodox heritage of the country while the other portrayed Greece as primitive and religiously intolerant. The threat of revolution was never far and as soon as the King sent his Bavarian troops home there was a mutiny which forced Otto to grant a constitution. The King was also thwarted in his efforts to expand Greece by entering the Crimean War against Turkey to annex those areas populated by Greeks into a restored Byzantine Empire. The British took swift action to prevent such a conflict and the King's prestige dropped further.
In 1862, while away from the capital, there was another coup which declared the King deposed and a new provisional government established. The major powers somewhat sympathized and urged King Otto to accept the situation, which he reluctantly did, taking a British ship away from Greece and going into exile in his native Bavaria. He wore traditional Greek costume for the rest of his life and died in Bavaria in 1867.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
About the only criticism of the Queen that has any merit at all was that she did tend to spend money too lavishly but she was never arrogant or haughty and always displayed a great deal of concern for the poor. It must also be remembered that she was in a time and place in which extravegance was the norm. In any event, her spending was never nearly enough to cause France any serious distress. The blame for that must fall on the foreign policy of the government, particularly the Seven Years War and the upcoming aid to the American revolutionaries. In 1774 Louis XV died and Marie's husband was crowned His Most Christian Majesty King Louis XVI. She was not crowned with him but became the Queen of France. In 1778 the Queen was greatly relieved to finally give birth to her first child, a daughter, with more to follow.
Her stock rose a few points when she produced an heir to the throne but Louis and Marie Antoinette seemed plagued by a myriad of minor scandals among their courtiers and Marie Antoinette was particularly vulnuerable to baseless criticism. The French accused her of not being 'French enough' and her Austrian relatives accused her of not being 'Austrian enough' when France gave them problems. It was all quite unfair as the Queen was never involved in politics and never influenced political decisions by her husband much one way or the other. She was also the victim of numerous, baseless attacks and smear-campaigns by the anti-monarchy crowd to the point that a minor industry seemed to have grown up around making up the most lewd and atrocious accusations about the Queen.
As to the woman herself Marie Antoinette was a devoted mother, a supportive wife, a kind and caring person and a woman with great curiosity. She loved to read and was interested in a fairly wide array of subjects. Nonetheless, as France slipped ever closer to revolution the Queen was blamed for the most absurd problems which she could never have had anything at all to do with. It was clear she was simply becoming a popular scapegoat. This finally caused her to throw up her hands in disgust and stop being involved in politics at all, even in the most indirect way. When the revolution finally broke she displayed great courage and great loyalty to her husband and family. The long list of horrors she was forced to endure do not need to be dwelt on here but she endured them all with amazing courage, grace and fortitude.
When Louis XVI was executed she was crushed and went into deep mourning. Her health declined rapidly afterwards. Unconcerned with plots to rescue her she had already been robbed of her husband and family, all that she held most dear in the world, and seemed to be preparing herself for martyrdom. When she was finally brought to trial she was charged with a list of crimes so far-fetched, baseless and absurd as to positively stagger the imagination. Yet, her bold defense of herself was so moving she actually won over some of her most bitter enemies in the crowd. Nonetheless, the outcome had never been in question, it was a show-trial from start to finish and on 16 October, 1793 she was convicted of "treason" and executed on the guillotine.
Monday, May 18, 2009
The Royal Anthem: King Christian Stood By the Lofty Mast
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I cannot fathom a country changing its national flag. For example, there is no way that the people of Texas would ever, for any reason, abandon the Lone Star. I could not imagine any circumstance, ever, that would provoke any sizeable portion of the US population to even consider ditching the Stars & Stripes for a new model. Because a flag is not just a piece of decorative cloth. When I look at the Lone Star flag I don't just see a "design", I see the 1st Texas Infantry that carried that flag into the cornfield along Anteitam creek in 1862, suffering the highest casualty rate of any regiment in American history. I see 185 men at the Alamo standing behind a line in the sand saying 'we will stay here and fight to the death rather than be pushed one step farther'. Likewise, your true-blue American types look at the Stars & Stripes and they don't just see a flag, they see the siege of Ft McHenry, they see marines storming the halls of Montezuma and the sands of Iwo Jima, they see Normandy beach.
I simply cannot fathom how anyone in Australia, no matter how despicable a republican traitor they might be, could wish to throw away the flag their forefathers fought under at Tobruk, the flag that flew when the ANZACs stormed the beaches of Gallipoli or even hold such anger against the Union Jack which was the flag of the British Empire of which they were a part. Why would they be ashamed of that? I would dismiss it as being too ridiculous to ever come to fruition were it not for the fact that others have already done it, such as the proud Dominion of Canada. I like the Maple Leaf flag, it's a nice design, but my head wants to explode whenever I try to understand how a country could change the national flag that their fathers and forefathers fought for, saluted and carried into battle. The Red Ensign was good enough for the brave men who fought at Vimy Ridge; why did it suddenly become not good enough for a new generation?
Changing the national flag of an independent, long-established country must require a sentiment that is simply beyond my comprehension because I cannot for the life of me bring myself to any degree of understanding of it. Why not just change the name of the country while you're at it? But of course, I shouldn't say things like that because someone in the traitor's camp just might be sick enough to take it seriously. Issues such as talking about changing the flag of Australia is yet another reason why I am...
The Mad Monarchist
The National Anthem of Cambodia: Nation, Religion, King
Eastern Jewel moved to Shanghai and there first became involved with the Japanese military as an espionage agent were her Qing dynasty connections with the upper echelons of Chinese, Mongol and Manchu society proved invaluable. Throughout her life she suffered from something of an identity crisis but the one thing that never wavered was her devotion to monarchism; be it her loyalty to the Emperor of Japan or her zeal to see the restoration of the Qing Imperial Dynasty of which she was a member. The last Emperor of China was her cousin and always welcomed her at his court-in-exile. She played a major role in persuading the last Emperor to go with the Japanese to Manchuria to establish the new monarchy of Manchukuo.
When open warfare broke out again between the Chinese and Japanese, Eastern Jewel, then going by the name of Kam Bik Fai, became an officer in the Manchukuo Imperial military and formed and led her own anti-guerilla cavalry force known as the Anguo Army. As she cleared bandits and red guerillas out of Manchuria, Eastern Jewel became a media sensation in Japan where she was known as the "Joan of Arc of Manchukuo". However, the media attention all but ruined her chances to return to the spy game which was a problem following her being wounded and unable to remain with her army. She opened a resteraunt in Tientsin as a front for Japanese espionage work and she was still there when the war ended and Japan surrendered. She tried to return to Japan but was captured by the Chinese republican forces and executed in 1948.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
The National Anthem of Brunei
Friday, May 15, 2009
Feeling supremely confident Saladin split his forces to take Ascalon and the supposedly defenseless Holy City of Jerusalem. However, Baldwin summoned the Templars who joined him in defeating the troops at Ascalon and then rushing to overtake Saladin at Ramleh. The Christian knights were vastly outnumbered but were devoted to their young monarch who, despite his disease, led from the front and they were encouraged by their faith with the Bishop of Bethlehem on hand with the relic of the True Cross. In a stunning and, to the eyes of many, miraculous battle Baldwin IV and his army totally defeated Saladin's forces. The Sultan himself only escaped because his guard sacrificed their lives to give him time to get away. Saladin tried and tried again but the leperous teenage king bested him at every turn; at Belvoir castle in 1181, before Beirut and at Kerak castle in 1183. In those final campaigns Baldwin's leprosy was so advanced that he was blind, could not walk, was covered in bandages and had to be carried on a litter, yet he still led his troops in the field. King Baldwin IV survived longer than anyone had expected him to but finally died on March 16, 1185 not long after the death of his mother. With the brave warrior-boy-king gone Saladin soon came back and in his next major campaign conquered Jerusalem which prompted the calling of the Third Crusade.
I leave out the State of Israel because the problems there have very little (if anything) to do with the form of the government. Saudi Arabia is also a rather unique case but even in that case I would prefer to see the House of Saud maintain their position given that the only thing likely to replace it would be a theocratic republic in the mold of Iran. Everyone knows the Pope is going to advocate for peace, dialogue and tearing down the security wall, which is good to push for the ideal, but I cannot help but being pessimistic as to how realistic such 'reaching out' is. I won't go into the whole mess, but I think that Islam as a whole, especially the radical elements, know that such calls for peace on the part of Christians are coming from a position of weakness, and there really can be no denying that. Muslims have now surpassed Christians in number around the world and Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe and Canada. Muslims also have the advantage of having a very clear world-vision to advance alongside their religion whereas the "Christian" world has mostly abandoned its own culture as well as its religion and for the most part those elements that are left are not working together. However, monarchy should not be forgotten amongst the turmoil because history has shown, including such cases as Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, that stemming the tide of radical Islam must go hand-in-hand with defending the Islamic monarchies. That holds true even in Saudi Arabia where the government seems to be pushing a brand of fundamentalist Islam that often comes back to bite the hand that feeds them as in the case of Osama bin Laden.
The King and Queen of Jordan represent about the best that the modern Islamic world has to offer. Pope Benedict XVI represents (I think) the best of traditional, Christian Europe. The problem is that not too many people seem to be following these examples in the Muslim or Christian worlds.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Carrie Prejean is attacked for giving her opinion against gay marriage. Queen Sofia of Spain has been criticized for the same reason (though usually, thankfully, with more tact). Now, it can be argued that this is totally different because royals (these days) are supposed to be non-political. However, where was the outrage when the same Queen said she did not approve of the Spanish tradition of bullfighting? Where is the outrage when the Prince of Wales speaks out about "climate change" and environmentalism. No one seems to object to royals speaking out on those political views. Yet, have someone speak out against gay marriage and suddenly they are vilified in the media. Why does the effort to silence only seem to go one way? It seems that if you have liberal opinions your freedom of speech is championed and upheld by everyone but if you have traditional opinions you will be met with efforts to silence you, discredit you and slander you. In other words, the modern idea of "free speech" seems to be a one-way street.
Monday, May 11, 2009
However, Behaine did not give up. He recruited his own mercenary force of naval and artillery experts to come to the aid of Nguyen Anh. His assistance proved decisive as the forces he assembled gave Anh a definite advantage over his enemies. However, Behaine suffered greatly as he accompanied the army. He was with the forces of Anh's son, Crown Prince Canh, at the epic battle of Qui Nhon where he died of dysentery on October 9, 1799. The war went on and in 1802 Anh succeeded and was enthroned as Emperor Gia Long. He had written an extremely moving tribute to his departed friend at the time of his death and the Emperor further honored him with the most lavish funeral ever given to a foreigner in Vietnam as well as building him a magnificent tomb. He also continued to allow religious freedom throughout his reign because of the kindness the Christian bishop had shown him.
Successive monarchs turned against the Christians, and French (seeing them as the same) but later on full religious freedom was enacted. That all ended with the ultimate victory of the communist revolutionary forces in the 20th Century. In 1983 the communist Vietnamese government destroyed Behaine's tomb, incinerated his corpse and sent the ashes back to France where they now rest in the Paris Foreign Missions Society.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Agustin and his forces then marched on Mexico City and secured the recognition of Mexican independence from the last Spanish Viceroy Juan O'Donoju. General Iturbide had wanted Mexico to be independent but in personal union with King Fernando VII of Spain or upon his refusal under another Spanish Borbon prince who would come to be their monarch. However, Fernando VII refused to make any concessions on the subject of Mexico and along with that attitude no other European prince would dare to accept the crown. The Mexicans who gathered in the National Congress squabbled among themselves until the troops themselves hailed their commander as Agustin I, Emperor of Mexico. The Congress and Iturbide himself finally agreed and on July 21, 1822 he was crowned Emperor of Mexico in the National Cathedral.
Like many military leaders Emperor Agustin had not desired power, but if thrust upon him he expected to be obeyed, but this attitude was met with almost immediate and constant clashes with the divided and chaotic political scene in Mexico City, aided in no small part it must be said by the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico who was a Freemason and quickly spread membership in that secretive order amongst the upper echelons of liberal Mexico City society. One such recruit was an embittered former army officer named Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna who quickly began plotting against Iturbide whom he had previously sworn allegiance to. When the Congress became so difficult to deal with the Emperor said he would abdicate if that was the wish of the people. The Congress, without taking a vote or holding a referendum, said that it was and Iturbide abdicated and in May of 1823 went into exile in Europe, first in Italy and later England.
Almost as soon as he left leading conservatives appealed for him to return, arguing that the people were loyal, that he was needed to combat a threatened Spanish attempt at reconquest and that he would be greeted as a liberator from the political turmoil that followed his departure. Iturbide wrote the government, offering his services as a soldier to defend the country, but was ignored. By the summer of the following year he was finally prevailed upon to return to Mexico but his arrival was forewarned by the republican government who met him at the coast with troops. Despite being applauded by the populace he was quickly arrested by the local republican warlord and executed by firing squad on July 19, 1824. Ironically his political rehabilition later came about during the rule of the dictator Santa Anna who had first led the move to depose him. His remains are now entombed in the National Cathedral of Mexico in Mexico City.