The Immortal Memory

The Battle of Trafalgar by J. M. W. Turner (oi...

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If you wish to accuse me of being a bit tardy, I will accede. This perennial post of mine, most years since the very first, should have been yesterday’s post. I simply forgot. So unlike in naval combat, in blogging late is better than never.


If you remember, I referred a while back to President Jefferson’s open letter regarding the return of Louisiana to France from Spain, where he commented that “on that day we shall have to marry ourselves to the British fleet and people”, and later commented “that from that day forward France shall end at her low water mark”. This is the day that France (and Spain) would forever lose control of the sea to Great Britain.

Today is the anniversary of a battle to rank with Salamis, with Waterloo, and with Yorktown. For today the English speaking peoples with their concepts of individual liberty and rights took control of the sea.

That battle is Trafalgar. The battle was fought off of the south-west coast of Spain between the British Squadron with 27 Ships-of-the-Line and the combined French and Spanish fleets with 33.

The Franco-Spanish fleet was under orders to sail for Brest to help accomplish the invasion of England, which was, by far, Napoleon’s most steadfast enemy.

Remember these were sailing ships, completely dependent on the wind. and at Trafalgar, there was very little. The French and especially the Spanish were short-handed and had to fill their ship’s companies with soldiers. The British on the other hand had been blockading the coast for years and had been drilled mercilessly. Their commander, himself, had not been off the flagship for more than two years.

Alfred Thayer Mahan in his classic The Influence of Sea Power upon History puts it this way: “Those distant, storm-tossed ships, never seen by the Grande Armee, were all that stood between it and world domination.

And so today, in 1805, the battle was joined. The British had the weather gage and a very unusual plan. Because of the light wind, they would divide their battle line in two, with each squadron approaching the Franco-Spanish line at an acute angle. With a well-trained enemy, this would have been nearly suicidal but, under these conditions it allowed the British to engage the entire fleet and win the battle in a single day.

The British were under the command of a man who had had his introduction to naval war in the American Revolution, he fought in several minor battles off Toulon, was integral in the capture of Corsica, was captain of HMS Captain at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent. At the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, he lost his right arm, he won a decisive victory over the French at The Battle of the Nile and against the Danes at the Battle of Copenhagen.

At Trafalgar the British fleet went into battle with this signal flying from the flagship:

That flagship is, of course, the HMS Victory, which is now the oldest naval ship in regular commission in the world.


An aside, the second oldest, USS Constitution (and the oldest afloat) was launched on 21 October 1797. Over last weekend she sailed across Boston Harbor to Fort Independence on Castle Island where she fired a twenty-one gun salute, as she returned she also fired a salute at Coast Guard Sector Boston, the former Edmund Hartt’s Shipyard, where she was built. Here she is, afloat and underway

CASEY SCOULAR/U.S. NAVY


The Admiral in command is Horatio, Lord Nelson.

Or to give him his full name:

Admiral Lord Nelson

The Most Noble Lord Horatio Nelson, Viscount and Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough in the said County, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of the Fleet, Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s Ships and Vessels in the Mediterranean, Duke of Bronté in the Kingdom of Sicily, Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, Member of the Ottoman Order of the Crescent, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of St Joachim

as it is inscribed on his coffin in St. Paul’s cathedral, for he was killed by a French marine during the battle.

The first tribute to Nelson was fittingly offered at sea by sailors of Vice-Admiral Dmitry Senyavin’s passing Russian squadron, which saluted on learning of the death.

King George III, upon receiving the news, is reported to have said, in tears, “We have lost more than we have won”.

And the Times reported:

We do not know whether we should mourn or rejoice. The country has gained the most splendid and decisive Victory that has ever graced the naval annals of England; but it has been dearly purchased.

For us, as Americans, much of the development of our country, the end of slavery, and the freedom of all American republics from, the Canadian Arctic to Tierra del Fuego owe their self-government to the victory by Lord Nelson and the continuing efforts throughout the nineteenth century of the Royal Navy.

Even today, we note that HMS Queen Elizabeth, the new British strike carrier is working up off the coast of North America, as she learns in cooperation with our navy, how to project force in the twenty-first century

And so tonight in the Royal Navy and the Commonwealth navies, and at least in some places in the United States Navy and even in other navies and places will be drunk the one naval toast that is drunk in total silence:

The Immortal Memory of Lord Nelson and those who fell with him”

The traditional music to follow the toast is: Rule Britannia.

 

Video Monday

I think video Monday is here. First with a hat tip to both International Liberty and The Conservative Woman.

TCW kindly added a couple more, Rounds 1 and 2 of Keynes v Hayek. Enjoy.

 

And here is Mollie Hemingway on the divide in America today

 

About the Norðdæle

As far as I remember, we haven’t noted any anniversaries in history this week. That’s unfortunate but easily remedied. There are a couple of big ones. Last Monday was the 953d anniversary of that little scrap that the village of Battle was named after: The Battle of Hastings. Leaving all of us in the English speaking working world to talk about 1066 and all that. Actually, the fact that we speak English is itself a great victory of the common people over the elites. For centuries after the Conquest, the rulers of England spoke French.

But far less known is the battle almost fifty years to the day before Hastings. The battle of Assandun, between King Cnut and Edmund Ironside in Essex on 18 October 1016. Cnut’s victory here gave him the rule of what we might call the Danelaw, and Edmund’s death a few weeks later gave him the crown of England, to go along with that of Denmark and eventually Norway as well.

These pair of battles highlight something. England was at a crossroads. Would it come to lead a Scandanavian Empire as Cnut and successors tried to build, or would it become part of Europe? Sort of a Brexit type issue, isn’t it? Just as the English Reformation was. It seems to me that England (or even Britain) has always been adjacent to Europe, but rarely a part of it.

But like most of you, I can’t read what documentation there is, my education doesn’t stretch anywhere close to that far. But I know people – in this case, The Clerk of Oxford. And she is willing to tell us out it, and indeed an entire alternate view of English history. I think it fascinating. It’s here, and here is a taste.

October is the season of conquest anniversaries. Four days after the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings falls a less well-known date: on 18 October 1016, a Danish army led by Cnut defeated the English king Edmund Ironside in battle at a place called Assandun in Essex, the last battle in Cnut’s conquest of England. I wrote about that battle in detail, and the sources for our information about it, in this post from 2016, and about a visit to the area here. Like Hastings, Assandun was a battle which won a kingdom; but unlike at Hastings, the leader of the losing army was not killed, and so the aftermath was more complicated. It resulted in a treaty which divided England into two parts: Wessex for Edmund, and what the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle calls the norðdæle, ‘the northern part’, for Cnut.

This division of the kingdom between north and south reflected a regional split in England which by that time already went back more than a hundred years. Parts of northern England had been settled by Scandinavians and under Scandinavian rule at various times since the ninth century, and their culture, language and perhaps political affiliations were still significantly influenced by this settlement. When Cnut’s father Svein Forkbead launched a serious invasion in 1013, he seems to have felt able to count on political support from at least some among the leaders of the north for Danish rule, and he and Cnut treated the north differently from Wessex during their invasions. The division of the kingdom proposed in 1016 thus reflected a pre-existing cultural divide, of which the legacy can still be seen with extraordinary clarity today in the place-names and dialect of northern and eastern England.

Keep reading at the link, and enjoy!

Freedom Beleaguered, On Three Fronts

American and UK flags flying together

Here we do our best to deal in the truth, sometimes gently but often unvarnished. I’ve skimmed the new Brexit deal, not thoroughly read it. I agree with the DUP and with Nigel Farage: It is unacceptable. What that really means that if Boris gets it through Parliament (and it will likely be close) it will be the end of his career and likely the Conservative party as well. Labour too, but that has several other causes as well as its muddled response to the referendum. anti-Semitism, pro-Islam, and identity politics play about as well in the shires as they do in the American heartland. The US Democratic Party also has a wake-up coming next year, I think. Insanity also doesn’t play well. In both countries, we are seeing a major realignment, from left-right to give us back our good old law, for lack of a proper term. It is what has always fueled English speaking revolutions, going back to King Stephen’s time, at least. Nothings changed, and not always have they been peaceful or even mostly peaceful. One could think of the Barons of England standing at Runnymede, in full armor fingering their swords. Regicide was in the air that afternoon.


Somebody else who tells the truth is Daniel Greenfield. Here in FrontPage Magazine, he tells us why our corporations are taking China’s part against the US and specifically against Hong Kong. There are no real surprises here if you’ve been paying attention, but he does an excellent job of pulling it together.

Think there’s a contradiction between ‘woke’ corporate titans like Apple and Disney silencing anyone opposed to China’s crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong?

It’s not hypocrisy, it’s synergy.

The same forces that made the major brands scattered around your kitchen, living room and garage broadcast their support for gun control, gay marriage and illegal immigration are fueling their support for the People’s Republic of China pulling another Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong.

The lefties in Beijing and Berkeley used the same set of ideological tools to force companies to toe the party line. They roped off access to an appealing customer base, the population of mainland China, urban millennials with huge amounts of disposable income, in exchange for ideological compliance.

Communist China is one entangled oligarchy which mingles political party and company. Sound familiar?

The CEO of Nike sits on the board of Disney. The CEO of Disney until recently sat on the board of Apple. The CEO of Apple sits on the board of Nike. Good thing we have a “free market economy” isn’t it?

There’s a lot in that, interlocking boards have been a problem in American business for well over a hundred years.

And the Mouse didn’t eat the entire entertainment industry by being unable to see the endgame. Avengers Endgame brought in $612 million in China. That’s the real endgame that it cares about.

In America and China, a lefty political elite controls the culture. Chinese and American lefties interlock cultural, economic and political power. Disney, once seen as a square family friendly studio, can rule the box offices in America and China because it advances the cultural goals of their political elites. […]

If you’re going to sell thousand-dollar phones made by slave labor in some dusty factory town where the air is poison, you need the sanction of the Communist Party of China and the culture industry of California. And if you’re going to dump your cultural garbage in American and Chinese movie theaters, both owned by the same Chinese corporations, you’ll need to run the stuff by cultural censors.

The ‘enemies of the people’ in Hong Kong are free market Christians who don’t want a police state controlling their lives. Funny coincidence, those are also the ‘enemies of the people’ in America.

Giant multinational monopolies don’t like free markets. They encourage competition.

The last thing the NBA, Disney, Apple, Nike and the rest of the ‘megas’ want is competition. What they want is a walled garden tended by a kindly Zen-Communist tyrant who will give them a virgin territory in exchange for a huge slice of the pie to be shared with local political partners. And, of course, slavish devotion to the tyranny of whatever it is the locals believe in, dialectical materialism, the transcendence of gender, which is a small price to pay by people who don’t have any principles or believe in anything. […]

Identity politics manufactures identities and then convinces its dupes that their lives are hopeless and incomplete until they also implement open borders, gun control, and a ban on fossil fuels.

Sound familiar? Buy into the revolution now. Organizers are standing by to take your call.

That’s also why religious believers are the enemy. They don’t make ideal consumers.

People who have a form of meaning in their lives that isn’t for sale on Black Friday aren’t good consumers. Lefties with thirty genders and a hole the size of Cleveland where meaning should be, are.

OK, I don’t know if the Hong Kongers are actually Christians, although undoubtedly some are. His point is valid in any case. Some of our founders were pretty questionable Christians as well, even apart from some that were Jews. But his point is valid, their identity isn’t tied into their iPhone and such trash, let alone the movies and crap music. What they believe in, just like you and me, is freedom. Can you imagine if a quarter of Americans were in the streets demonstrating against the government? Some 87.5 million of us? That’s what is going on in Hong Kong.

The fact that they are waving three flags is no accident either. The flag of the Royal Colony of Hong Kong, the American flag, and the British Union Flag. Those are historically, and even now, the flags of freedom around the world. The fact that all of us are in this same battle is also significant. The EU as we’ve said before is nothing more than a corporatist empire, that will stifle everything to make a sale, especially freedom and Christianity.

That’s why Brexit is so important now. It was an excellent idea at the time of the referendum, but the last three years have demonstrated just how evil the EU is.

The same is true here, in America, as the Democrats, the Media, and the left-wing corporatists attempt a takeover.

I’ll give Mr. Greenfield the last word.

What matters is that more people, in China and America, are realizing that what they want isn’t a sale: it’s freedom.

 

“Be Brave. Be Water. Be Ready.” It Applies to Americans Too.

Ben Domenech, the publisher of The Federalist has an outstanding column on the Hong Kong protests.  It is a bit long but it also burrows down into the whole thing. It’s not very prone to excerpts, so I’m just going to suggest you read it. As the Hong Kongers say: “Be Brave. Be Water. Be Ready.” And for God’s sake don’t be a coward like LeBron James.

My other favorite from yesterday is from American Greatness, where Edward Ring visualized the Future that Trump portends. Here’s the opening:

Anyone who thinks President Trump’s victory is inevitable in 2020 is not paying attention. The entire weight of America’s profiteering elites is arrayed against him.

But what if he wins anyway? What if enough voters realize they’re being conned by the Democrats? What if enough voters decide they don’t want to feel like unwanted usurpers in their own nation? What if men and women of all ethnicities realize that despite the unrelenting avalanche of lies coming from the Left, America is a welcoming and inclusive nation and that the only way a society can stay healthy is by rewarding personal initiative?

What if a critical mass of independent voters were to conclude that, despite his pugnacity, President Trump cares about all Americans, and actually holds moderate, compassionate, common-sense positions? If these things happen, and they very well might, not only will President Trump get reelected, but control of the House of Representatives will return once again to the GOP. And if these sentiments sweep across the land, then politicians of both parties will realize it is time to stop fighting and get back to serving the American people.

Go ahead and read it and then come back, and we’ll talk a bit.

Quite the vision, isn’t it? Realistic? Perhaps not, but who can say. It reads as almost Pollyanish, embroiled as we are in the divisive culture wars. But who’s to say. In 1776, it was dead certain that Britain would regain its colonies, probably more certain than that the ChiComs will suppress the Hong Kongers. But it didn’t turn out that way, did it?

We often misapply the City on a Hill speech, but part of that is that we see beyond what Bradford could see. We can see how the American idea appeals all over the world. We have seen what free markets and free men and women can do. We saw a strip of dirt along the Atlantic Ocean, making a poor living as subsistence farmers turn into the greatest and freest and most powerful nation the world has ever seen both economically and militarily,   because of that freedom. And a bit of British gold to lubricate things, because of everyplace in the world, we were and are, the most like them with a trustworthy legal system.

Right now we have the divisiveness and vituperativeness of the left, as we have had (but worse) since Wilson a hundred years ago. This is why our greatest accomplishments – so far –  were in the nineteenth century. We have been swimming upstream against those who wish to shackle, for their own benefit, the people of the United States certainly, but actually all the world. Something for us all to remember, we are the ‘Keeper of the Flame’ of Liberty, if we go down, most likely all the world will follow us into a new dark age, made more sinister by the technology that free men developed. If we stand, the world has a chance.

You all know that I talk to many in Britain, like us, they have their eyeores, but when you really talk to them, they sound like the Hong Kongers, or Americans. I firmly believe that one of two things will happen there, Britain will exit the European Union, or Britain will destroy its left and destroy the European Union. God bless ’em. I said even before the referendum, that its significance is equal to July 4th, 1776, or maybe the Reformation.

In short, do I believe it will happen as Mr. Ring writes? Probably not. But if we stay the course, and continue to lead with our power and might, not only physically, but morally as well, we will win through, and others will follow us to Churchill’s broad sunlit uplands. You would be surprised how many Britons, and I suspect others, as well, read American blogs, for truthful information, of course, but also because of our thinking, and our willingness to speak.

Once again, I am reminded of the first lines of America’s first great anthem.

Let tyrants shake their iron rod
And slav’ry clang her galling chains;
We’ll fear them not. We trust in God;

Fight Her Till She Sinks

Well, you know our problems as well as I do. We’ve got ourselves some iconoclasts running about trying to destroy our heritage by destroying anything (like statues) that remind us of who we are while quoting Marx (sadly Karl, not Groucho). We’ve got a media and deep state that thinks they know better than the people and should rule us, the people who invented the maxim that America being ungovernable is a feature, not a bug. We’ve got a lot of problems but the words of Captain James Lawrence of USS Chesapeake, “Don’t give up the ship, fight her till she sinks”.

Some say he wasn’t the greatest captain in our history, and the crew did give up the ship after he died, but his words live on, not least because Commodore Oliver hazard Perry had the first part made into a flag and nailed to his mast at the famous (and very unlikely) victory at the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813.

That legacy lives on, in Erie Pennsylvania as Salena Zito tells us in American Greatness.

Several large pieces of cobalt-blue glass panels bearing “Don’t Give Up the Ship” and a bold likeness of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry lay broken at the top of the third-floor stairs of the old Park Place building in the city’s main square.

If ever there were a motto that exemplified a place and her people, it would be those five words Perry had stitched on a flag—words that inspired him over 200 years ago when he bore the flag in his unlikely defeat of the British at the Battle of Lake Erie.

Given everything this town has gone through—from her heyday as the industrial powerhouse of the Great Lakes to a city bleeding people, jobs, and opportunity—finding this inspiring reminder in a building that used to produce “Carter’s Little Liver Pills” brought into focus the city’s effort at rebuilding. […]

John Persinger and Matt Wachter could live in any other city in the country and prosper quite nicely. Instead, the CEO and vice president of finance and development are the founding leaders of the Erie Downtown Development Corporation. They, along with Tim NeCastro, CEO of Erie Insurance, the city’s largest employer, have committed themselves to not give up the ship but to stabilize and rebuild it.

All three men are standing along a row of century-old buildings on North Park Row. The bones are good, but the buildings have all seen better days. The three men are discussing the projects they already have underway. These are projects meant to spark a cultural and culinary center, which they hope will, in turn, lead to a citywide metamorphosis.

“This is Perry Square. This is the heart of downtown. It’s often been called the ‘beating heart,’ but we’re not sure how much it beats these days because there’s not a whole lot of activity,” he said of the boarded-up buildings and scant pedestrian activity.

Here’s the odd thing: The moribund heart is surrounded by an arc of life. “UPMC Hamot campus is a few blocks away,” Persinger explains, “where they (are) putting in a new $111 million patient tower.”

There’s more: “Erie Insurance employs 3,000 people right there. They’re building a new office building. You can kind of see it over the tree line.”

And that’s how, I think, we are going to solve our problems if they are to be solved. Not by running to Washington for grant money, not by asking experts, but by going and doing it ourselves. After all, that is how we built this country, and it’s how we will rebuild it, better than ever.

For America, the rule is going to have to be the one Captain Lawrence gave us:

Don’t give up the ship,

Fight her till she sinks.

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