In 1492, Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue

Arms of the Portuguese Prince Henry, the Navig...

Image via Wikipedia

Another Columbus Day has come. And again we celebrate the (re)discovery of the New World. And look what has been erected on that discovery! If you didn’t know; Columbus was a student of Prince Henry the Navigator’s school.

Those students made almost all of the voyages of discovery from the Iberian Peninsula. By the way, Prince Henry of  Portugal was the Grandson of John of Gaunt, time-honored Lancaster. The English always make it into these stories of the sea, don’t they?

So we know that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. But why? His crews were afraid of starving or falling off the edge of the world. His ships were ridiculously small. What exactly was the point? Nobody in Portugal had even heard of Brazil, nor were they all that enthused about an overseas empire. So, why?

Trade, that’s why. Everybody knew where India and China were (at least all the cool cats that knew the world was round). They had since Marco Polo made that remarkable trip, if not before. They liked the silk and other good things that came from China. But there was a problem.

You see there were pirates in the Mediterranean, then one had to get through the totalitarian Ottoman Empire, the Safavid Persians, and various and sundry other Islamic States. If you remember Spain had just managed to reconquer Spain from the Moslems and just plain didn’t want anything to do with them. So they decided to take a shortcut and sail west to go east. Yeah, their calculations were off a bit about the size of the world, but that’s why.

Now let’s think about this a little, Spain went way out of its way to avoid the clowns and founded both the New World and New Spain in the process: and got themselves into a shooting war with England that would eventually cost them their world power status. See A Cloud Smaller Than a Fist.

A few hundred years later, the United States won its Independence from Great Britain. The United States’ very first war was a regime change in Tripoli. There are still Islamic pirates, they still hold slaves and all in all they are still living in the 7th Century. And still today, Iran threatens war on Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. Some things never change.

Only now with their oil wealth, instead of modernizing and improving their people’s lives and such, they seem intent on conquering the world and seem to believe the world will use its modernity to help

They have found some fellow travelers, who had best hope they lose because they aren’t going to enjoy winning for long. Ask the survivors of the Kingdom of the Visigoths in about 1000 AD.

So there you have it. The cause of Columbus sailing the Ocean Blue.

In Other News:

  • General Robert Edward Lee, the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, dies peacefully at his home in Lexington, Virginia. He was 63 years old.

Lee was born to Henry Lee (Light Horse Harry) and Ann Carter Lee at Stratford Hall, Virginia, in 1807. His father served in the American Revolution under George Washington and was later a governor of Virginia. Robert Lee attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated second in his class in 1829. He did not earn a single demerit during his four years at the academy. Afterward, Lee embarked on a military career, eventually fighting in the Mexican War (1846-48) and later serving as the superintendent of West Point.

  • On the morning of October 12, 1915, the 49-year-old British nurse Edith Cavell was executed by a German firing squad in Brussels, Belgium.

Before World War I began in 1914, Cavell served for a number of years as the matron of a nurse’s training school in Brussels. After the city was captured and occupied by the Germans in the first month of the war, Cavell chose to remain at her post, tending to German soldiers and Belgians alike. In August 1915, German authorities arrested her and accused her of helping British and French prisoners-of-war, as well as Belgians hoping to serve with the Allied armies, to escape Belgium for neutral Holland. As I wrote on the centenary of her execution, here, there was no doubt at all of her guilt. And you can watch (no sound BTW) the procession for her state funeral at Norwich Cathedral in 1919 here.

  • On this day in 1776, British Generals Henry Clinton and William Howe lead a force of 4,000 troops aboard some 90 flat-boats up New York’s East River toward Throg’s Neck, a peninsula in Westchester County, in an effort to encircle General George Washington and the Patriot force stationed at Harlem Heights.

This was the largest British amphibious attack before Normandy.

After hearing of the British landing at Throg’s Neck, Washington ordered a contingent of troops from the Pennsylvania regiment to destroy the bridge leading from the peninsula to the Westchester mainland. The destruction of the bridge stranded Clinton and his men at Throg’s Neck for six days before they were loaded back onto their vessels and continued up the East River toward Pell Point.

  • On this day in 1946, Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, the man who commanded the U.S. and Chinese Nationalist resistance to Japanese incursions into China and Burma, dies today at age 63.

All courtesy of This Day In History.

 

Kipling: And Current Events

English: Three-quarter length portrait of Rudy...

English: Three-quarter length portrait of Rudyard Kipling, photographic postcard, by Bourne & Shepherd. Image courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University.http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl/oneITEM.asp?pid=2022961&iid=1088883&srchtype=VCG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Take up the White Man’s burden
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper–
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
“Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Have done with childish days–
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!

 

Rudyard Kipling wrote this poem in 1899 to welcome the United States to the ranks of the imperialist powers after we defeated the Spanish and took over the Philippines. All my life I have been told that it is racist and terribly politically incorrect. Politically incorrect it is, to me that is a feature because if it was politically correct it would be a lie but, racist maybe we should talk about because, like so many things, I think we need to reevaluate..

 

In the ancient world there were empires. They ranged from the Egypt of the Pharaohs, to the Sassanids, the Babylonians, the Chinese, the Persians, and the rest. Then came the Greeks and the Phoenicians. All were based in the last analysis on slavery, and on serfdom, you were what you were born to be.

 

Then came Rome. It was a little different because no matter who or what you were it was barely possible to rise to become a citizen. Remember how we learned that the proudest boast of the ancient world was Civis Romanus Sum? One of the ways to get that citizenship was 20 years enlistment in the Army, which also kept you fed, paid (sometimes in salt which it is said, which was worth it’s weight in gold) and if you lived paid you a pension as well. Best deal there was in the ancient world. In the middle of this, in the middle east, Christ was born, lived, was crucified, and resurrected. Within just a few years of that event Rome received its first check from the Germanic barbarians. “The Way” spread widely from Spain to China and the Arctic to below the equator.

 

Right about the time that Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire, Mohammed was born and while Christianity has always looked to the betterment of men here and in the next life, Islam has always been about conquest and enslavement. Thus was set up the conflict that would occupy the next fifteen centuries. Islam spread rapidly over the middle east, Africa, southern and southwestern Asia, and hit its high water marks in Southern France and at the Gates of Vienna. And then it subsided as western Civilization rose.

 

First the Italian and Spanish navigators trained by Prince Henry of Portugal (who was John of Gaunt’s grandson) decided to find a way around Islam to carry on the spice trade with India and China, only to find a new continent blocking them. At the same time the English were picking up the quest started centuries earlier by the Vikings and starting to break out of Europe, hoping to find the Northwest passage to Asia but like the Iberians finding their way blocked and founding colonies as well. Thus was set up the climatic battle between Spain and England, in truth it mostly had other more overt causes but the real results happened in the new world.

 

After the Armada, Spain found itself hemmed in to the north in the New World by the English colonies in North America. And then, in the worst possible development for Spain those colonies won their independence and turned into an assertive and brash new republic, inspiring most of New Spain to follow suit. Thus ended The Spanish Empire as a real empire, remnants like Cuba and the Philippine would live on until 1898 but the real empire ended as South America broke away with democratic ideal but insufficient education to make it work very well.

 

And so those remnants fell into the lap of the United States in 1898 and Rudyard Kipling sent his greeting to us as we joined the club. And ever since it’s been considered racist. But is it?

 

Because the sketchiest overview of world history shows something very odd. When the Europeans and the North Americans descended from them, and more specifically the Northern Europeans, especially the English, and the Americans take charge, human life gets better for everyone, people eat better, live longer, have more personal freedom and nearly any other measure you would care to use. If you would have an extreme report, study the lives of women. But study any group you like, where the British and Americans are, life is better by any objective measure. And never forget either, that chattel slavery in the west ended only because of the Anglo-Americans, In the Middle east and Africa it has never ended. Kipling nailed the cause, our people have been willing to

 

Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

 

And our pay has been to be insulted and swindled, tortured and murdered. And finally it seems as if our people have had enough. For the first time since the Armada in 1588 neither the British nor the Americans are leading the free world. In truth, no one is because who else is there? And what is happening in the world that we have abandoned?

 

You know as well as I. Moslems are killing everyone in sight except those they wish to keep for slaves. North Korea and soon Iran will be threatening with (and likely using) nuclear weapons, if they manage to detonate an EMP weapon, the civilized west will regress a 100 years in an instant without a population that has the skills to survive in that much harsher environment.

 

And this is what our Progressive politicians with their anti-western/anti-colonialist rhetoric have been promoting for the last century. Anybody who read history could see what they were promoting, but our people have become lazy, and didn’t want to look, they wanted an easy life, where they could sell a little freedom for a lot of security. They shall (as always) have neither. For if you sow the wind; ye shall reap the whirlwind.

 

But, what of the future? Well, who knows, until early 2017 the United States has a President who doesn’t believe in the mission, and so is unlikely to pick up the mantle he threw away in disgust, is there anyone else? China is still an autocratic empire, which is what Russia aspires to. Europe is bled out from the civil wars of the twentieth century and slowly dying, and Canada and Australia have never learned how to lead. These are the developed countries that have some sort of vision of themselves and the world.

 

The mideast continues to be the cockpit of the various flavors of Islam battling amongst themselves for control but willing enough to unite to oppose anybody else. Anybody who expects anything like humane leadership from these satrapies is most likely delusional, and Africa is what Africa has always been, except for a brief period in the nineteenth century, a dog’s breakfast of dueling tribes and chieftains.

 

May God Help Us All

 

The Church Militant; a Remembrance and a Path ahead

I originally published this article last fall as the “Bedrock of Freedom”. I’m republishing it today as a reminder of what our discussion this week has been about. I realize that it is written from an American point of view and quite a few of my readers are from elsewhere in the world but, I think you will see that the themes I am working with here run all through Western Civilization.

The other purpose is to remind you that we are approaching a fork in our road ahead. One fork, which is a far more trodden path will lead us, as it did Rome, and Constantinople downward, or we may take a road rarely travelled and revive and and restore the vigor of our civilization.

As is so often the case, Sir Winston Churchill, said it better than anyone else when he said:

The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us now. 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 say, “This was their finest hour.”

For now, as then, these are the stakes we are fighting for.

The Bedrock of Freedom is the Church Militant with its foundation of the Judeo-Christian Ethic, let us delve into this foundation.

Granted, what we were taught in history class (very superficially, I might add) was that the Church Militant fought Crusades, burnt heretics, pagans and other assorted ne’er do wells (in their sight), and was very corrupt and cruel. Which, while true, is certainly not the ‘truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’.[1]

Consider, the church in this timeframe also converted nearly all of Europe to Christianity; conquered (and pretty much lost) the Holy Land, fought off or subverted the various flavors of Vikings and Moslems, and discovered the new world. It also survived the Great Schism and the Reformation and the Black Death, while it did not exactly champion it, it also tolerated and made possible the Enlightenment, in the process rediscovering and colonizing the New World. Oh, and not so incidentally, fought a bunch of intramural wars.

I personally think we need to think about the foundations of a society that could take the broken remains of an ancient empire and achieve all of this and become the greatest, maybe only, outside of Judaism, itself, force for the freedom of the individual the world has ever seen.

These two items are ineradicably linked. The Judeo-Christian tradition is the tradition of the free individual. From Abraham, to Moses, to King David, to Jesus Christ, to St Peter, to Charles the Hammer, to Martin Luther, even to Washington, Lincoln, and Churchill, our heritage is the man, often alone, always saying ‘Hier ich stehe, ich kann nicht anders.’[2] Because they believed, deep in their soul, that they were right, and that some hills are worth dying for. Who comes after Churchill: the great Liberation triumvirate, Reagan, Thatcher and Pope John Paul II who were fairly old at their zenith?  And then??

Foundations are important. Why? Because we all have to pick the hills that are that important to us. I suspect we have all seen the sad sight of the house built on sand 30 years ago. It looks like it will fall down tomorrow. We’ve also seen the Tower of London (at least in pictures) 900 or so years old, and looking like it’s ready for the next 1000. That’s what a foundation does, when it is properly constructed.

We of the West had the foundation of most of the greatest thinkers in the history of the world and it seems as if we built our new house beside that foundation for no good reason, except maybe we were bored and thought the vices of the new neighborhood would be more fun than the strictures of the old way of doing things.

My mind tells me that it is a man’s duty to lead; maybe that’s where the problem begins. A hundred years ago the progressives such as Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt, Marx and others were preaching their new religion. It wasn’t really new; it was really the old aristocracy with a seductive new song. But it was pretty, and entailed much less responsibility and hard work than the old self-reliant ways, and so many chimed in. But they were outliers.

Then in 1914 Europe from Ireland to the Urals went to war with itself and the world would never be the same again. The flower of that generation was killed in the trenches, the Romanov’s, the Hohenzollern’s and the Hapsburgs all dethroned, this actually may not have been that great a loss except for the tradition and stability they represented. Nobody but the British Empire and the United States resembled themselves after the war and even then the Empire was mortally wounded. America has carried the torch (with help from the Anglosphere) ever since. Can anyone imagine Hitler toppling the Kaiser?

I suspect that the losses in that generation were on the order of the Black Death. But with a huge difference: the Black Death was indiscriminate: it took all ages and sexes with an emphasis on the weak, the Great War however took almost exclusively men in their late teens and twenties with an emphasis on the brave and the leaders, In other words, the champions of their societies. This was also true for the United States although not as strongly, mostly because of our limited involvement, only in 1917-18.

What did the West lose? The best and the brightest of that generation would have led the world from the late twenties through the roughly the fifties. Could there have been a far better alternative to Hitler in the Imperial German Army? I certainly would hope so. How about a better Premier than Petain, a better President than Nixon. Only God knows.

Many have said that the war was the end of the 19th century and/or the Victorian Age and I agree. However, has anyone carried that thought out to its conclusion? What marked the Victorian age if it wasn’t the mighty endeavors mounted in going out into the world and righting at least some of the wrongs found there? How about ending slavery in the west (mostly by the Royal Navy)? Ending the slaughter of innocents around the world (at least sometimes)? Perhaps, the great revolutions in America and France and the quiet one in Great Britain?  Maybe, fighting diseases and the great discoveries and inventions. And always, always doing their duty. Who but a 19th century general would have called duty the most sublime word in the language?[3] When else could the Charge of the Light Brigade have been written (or carried out!)? Or Kipling’s poetry or Sassoon’s?

Our generation, today? Not so much.

What so marked these people from about 1776 to 1914? Freedom, nothing else. Freedom (in large measure) from want, freedom to think, freedom to succeed and also, of course to fail. How will one know one has won if one can’t lose?

What’s the foundation of all these things? It is the absolute and complete sovereignty of the individual, with his rights given by God, himself. The bedrock under that foundation: The Judeo-Christian tradition, expressed primarily in the Church Militant. There exists today in what I tend to call the Church Pacifist or the Church Supine merely the faint echoes of that faith. Where are the Christian soldiers, are they still marching onward? This leaves the questions: Can we go back? Should we? How? That is a question for the sovereign individual to answer.

If we should, again America will have to lead. The Great War didn’t hurt us as badly as it did Europe. We were the first to answer these questions and have the opportunity to put the answers into practice. Thus,

We were the First. We are the guardians of the flame. Not perfect beings, but in all the world the only ones, it seems, still naive enough, still brave enough, still daring enough to put our money where our mouths are. We are the only ones who are still willing to defend the dream with our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor.’ [4]

And so it becomes our burden, if we choose to accept it, of leading the world back to the society that we of the West created and teaching that world not only the rights, but the duties and obligations that freedom carries. If we do not, undoubtedly we go back to the ninth century, or further.


[1] Obviously, this is the oath a witness takes at a trial

[2] Martin Luther

[3] Robert E. Lee, General, CSA, at Fredericksburg in the American Civil War watching the slaughter of the Army of the Potomac.

[4] Cassandra, Villainous Company, 04 July 2008

The Bedrock of Freedom

19th century maquette of Knight Templar St Mau...

19th century maquette of Knight Templar St Maur who signed the Magna Carta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A note: This is pretty much of a reblog of an early post of mine which seems relevant and an area not often discussed.

The Bedrock of Freedom is the Church Militant with its foundation of the Judeo-Christian Ethic, let us delve into this foundation.

Granted, what we were taught in history class (very superficially, I might add) was that the Church Militant fought Crusades, burnt heretics, pagans and other assorted ne’er do wells (in their sight), and was very corrupt and cruel. Which, while true, is certainly not the ‘truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’.[1]

Consider, the church in this timeframe also converted nearly all of Europe to Christianity; conquered (and pretty much lost) the Holy Land, fought off or subverted the various flavors of Vikings and Moslems, and discovered the new world. It also survived the Great Schism and the Reformation and the Black Death, while it did not exactly champion it, it also tolerated and made possible the Enlightenment, in the process rediscovering and colonizing the New World. Oh, and not so incidentally, fought a bunch of intramural wars.

I personally think we need to think about the foundations of a society that could take the broken remains of an ancient empire and achieve all of this and become the greatest, maybe only, outside of Judaism, itself, force for the freedom of the individual the world has ever seen.

These two items are ineradicably linked. The Judeo-Christian tradition is the tradition of the free individual. From Abraham, to Moses, to King David, to Jesus Christ, to St Peter, to Charles the Hammer, to Martin Luther, even to Washington, Lincoln, and Churchill, our heritage is the man, often alone, always saying ‘Hier ich stehe, ich kann nicht anders.’[2] Because they believed, deep in their soul, that they were right, and that some hills are worth dying for. Who comes after Churchill: the great Liberation triumvirate, Reagan, Thatcher and Pope John Paul II who were fairly old at their zenith?  And then??

Foundations are important. Why? Because we all have to pick the hills that are that important to us. I suspect we have all seen the sad sight of the house built on sand 30 years ago. It looks like it will fall down tomorrow. We’ve also seen the Tower of London (at least in pictures) 900 or so years old, and looking like it’s ready for the next 1000. That’s what a foundation does, when it is properly constructed.

We of the West had the foundation of most of the greatest thinkers in the history of the world and it seems as if we built our new house beside that foundation for no good reason, except maybe we were bored and thought the vices of the new neighborhood would be more fun than the strictures of the old way of doing things.

My mind tells me that it is a man’s duty to lead; maybe that’s where the problem begins. A hundred years ago the progressives such as Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt, Marx and others were preaching their new religion. It wasn’t really new; it was really the old aristocracy with a seductive new song. But it was pretty, and entailed much less responsibility and hard work than the old self-reliant ways, and so many chimed in. But they were outliers.

Then in 1914 Europe from Ireland to the Urals went to war with itself and the world would never be the same again. The flower of that generation was killed in the trenches, the Romanov’s, the Hohenzollern’s and the Hapsburgs all dethroned, this actually may not have been that great a loss except for the tradition and stability they represented. Nobody but the British Empire and the United States resembled themselves after the war and even then the Empire was mortally wounded. America has carried the torch (with help from the Anglosphere) ever since. Can anyone imagine Hitler toppling the Kaiser?

I suspect that the losses in that generation were on the order of the Black Death. But with a huge difference: the Black Death was indiscriminate: it took all ages and sexes with an emphasis on the weak, the Great War however took almost exclusively men in their late teens and twenties with an emphasis on the brave and the leaders, In other words, the champions of their societies. This was also true for the United States although not as strongly, mostly because of our limited involvement, only in 1917-18.

What did the West lose? The best and the brightest of that generation would have led the world from the late twenties through the roughly the fifties. Could there have been a far better alternative to Hitler in the Imperial German Army? I certainly would hope so. How about a better Premier than Petain, a better President than Nixon. Only God knows.

Many have said that the war was the end of the 19th century and/or the Victorian Age and I agree. However, has anyone carried that thought out to its conclusion? What marked the Victorian age if it wasn’t the mighty endeavors mounted in going out into the world and righting at least some of the wrongs found there? How about ending slavery in the west (mostly by the Royal Navy)? Ending the slaughter of innocents around the world (at least sometimes)? Perhaps, the great revolutions in America and France and the quiet one in Great Britain?  Maybe, fighting diseases and the great discoveries and inventions. And always, always doing their duty. Who but a 19th century general would have called duty the most sublime word in the language?[3] When else could the Charge of the Light Brigade have been written (or carried out!)? Or Kipling’s poetry or Sassoon’s?

Our generation, today? Not so much.

What so marked these people from about 1776 to 1914? Freedom, nothing else. Freedom (in large measure) from want, freedom to think, freedom to succeed and also, of course to fail. How will one know one has won if one can’t lose?

What’s the foundation of all these things? It is the absolute and complete sovereignty of the individual, with his rights given by God, himself. The bedrock under that foundation: The Judeo-Christian tradition, expressed primarily in the Church Militant. There exists today in what I tend to call the Church Pacifist or the Church Supine merely the faint echoes of that faith. Where are the Christian soldiers, are they still marching onward? This leaves the questions: Can we go back? Should we? How? That is a question for the sovereign individual to answer.

It is for the sovereign individual to decide but, there are guideposts available, such as the leadership offered by the Catholic bishops on infringements of individual liberty.

If we should, again America will have to lead. The Great War didn’t hurt us as badly as it did Europe. We were the first to answer these questions and have the opportunity to put the answers into practice. Thus,

We were the First. We are the guardians of the flame. Not perfect beings, but in all the world the only ones, it seems, still naive enough, still brave enough, still daring enough to put our money where our mouths are. We are the only ones who are still willing to defend the dream with our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor.’ [4]

And so it becomes our burden, if we choose to accept it, of leading the world back to the society that we of the West created and teaching that world not only the rights, but the duties and obligations that freedom carries. If we do not, undoubtedly we go back to the ninth century, or further.


[1] Obviously, this is the oath a witness takes at a trial

[2] Martin Luther

[3] Robert E. Lee, General, CSA, at Fredericksburg in the American Civil War watching the slaughter of the Army of the Potomac.

[4] Cassandra, Villainous Company, 04 July 2008 Read this post; it may be the best exposition of what America is I have ever read

A Reminder

Just a reminder of who we are and how we got here:

The Exceptional Breed Called Americans

During the age of colonizing the New World, a number of Old World countries established colonies in the New World. It is the British colonists, now known as Americans, who have surpassed all others and have become a unique and exceptional people. The British colonists were indeed a special breed of people. Just to establish a foothold in a savage land required both bravery and faith. These people left the Old World for a variety of reasons, freedom not being the least of them. There was little they were able to bring with them in addition to some implements for clearing the land and agriculture. Many died on the three month voyage from the Old World and others soon after arriving. Just staying alive during the early years was a major task in and of itself.

From this beginning, they have risen to become the greatest nation in the history of the world. What was it that made them different from all the rest? The first British colony was Jamestown followed by Plymouth Rock a few years later. These first colonists brought with them two items which they considered to be indispensable: guns and Bibles. The guns were necessary for providing protection and physical food, while the Bibles provided them with food for their souls. These two items are still necessary for every true patriot. When Japanese Admiral Yamamoto was asked why Japan did not follow up the attack on Pearl Harbor with an attack on America itself, his answer was, “Because we knew the American citizens were all armed.”

One of the first ships to arrive in the new world was a ship named Mayflower, which carried 120 pilgrims. Upon arrival they realized there would be no governmental authority to provide the protection they enjoyed in England. They found it necessary to establish a governing document to which the colonists would voluntarily submit. The document they agreed to is known as the Mayflower compact.

“In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-writ­ten…Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith… a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mu­tually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due sub­mission and obedience.”

This idea of the citizens forming a government by and of themselves was a unique concept in the world of their day and one they would not easily give up. It was a few years later when another ship arrived named the Arbella. A sermon preached on board ship by a man named John Winthrop outlined their vision of the land they intended to establish. The part that has lasted and been quoted for over three hundred years says:

“For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken…we shall be made a story and a by-word throughout the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God… We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us til we be consumed out of the good land whether we are a-going.”

Continue Reading.

I don’t think we want to throw 400 years of exceptionalism away, do you?

Happy Columbus Day

Arms of the Portuguese Prince Henry, the Navig...

Image via Wikipedia

Another Columbus Day has come . And again we celebrate the (re)discovery of  the New World. And look what has been erected on that discovery! If you didn’t know; Columbus was a student of Prince Henry the Navigator’s school.

Those students made almost all of the voyages of discovery from the Iberian Peninsula. By the way Prince Henry of  Portugal was the Grandson of John of Gaunt. The English always make into these stories of the sea, don’t they?

So we know that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. But why? His crews were afraid of starving or falling off the edge of the world. His ships were ridiculously small. What exactly was the point? Nobody in Portugal had even heard of Brazil, nor were they all that enthused about an overseas empire. So, why?

Trade, that’s why. Everybody knew where India and China were (at least all the cool cats that knew the world was round). They had since Marco Polo made that remarkable trip. They liked the silk and other good things that came from China. But there was a problem.

You see there were pirates in the Mediterranean, then one had to get through the totalitarian Ottoman Empire, the Safavid Persians, and various and sundry other Islamic States. If you remember Spain had just managed to reconquer Spain from the Moslems and just plain didn’t want anything to do with them. So they decided to take a shortcut and sail west to  go east. Yeah, their calculations were off a bit about the size of the world, but that’s why.

Now let’s think about this a little, Spain went way out of its way to avoid the clowns and founded both the New World and New Spain in the process: and got themselves into a shooting war with England that would eventually cost them their world power status. See A Cloud Smaller Than a Fist.

A few hundred years later, the United States won their Independence from Great Britain. The United States’ very first war was a regime change in Tripoli. There are still Islamic pirates, they still hold slaves and all in all they are still living in the 7th Century. And just today, Iran attempted to commit an act of war on Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States. Some things never change.

Only now with their oil wealth, instead of modernizing and improving their people’s lives and such, they seem to intent on conquering the world and seem to believe the world will use its modernity to help

They have found some fellow travelers, who had best hope they lose, because they aren’t going to enjoy winning for long. Ask the survivors of the Gothic Kingdom of Spain in about 1000 AD.

So there you have it. The cause of Columbus sailing the Ocean Blue.

In Other News:

Lee was born to Henry Lee and Ann Carter Lee at Stratford Hall, Virginia, in 1807. His father served in the American Revolution under George Washington and was later a governor of Virginia. Robert Lee attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated second in his class in 1829. He did not earn a single demerit during his four years at the academy. Afterward, Lee embarked on a military career, eventually fighting in the Mexican War (1846-48) and later serving as the superintendent of West Point.

  • On the morning of October 12, 1915, the 49-year-old British nurse Edith Cavell is executed by a German firing squad in Brussels, Belgium.

Before World War I began in 1914, Cavell served for a number of years as the matron of a nurse’s training school in Brussels. After the city was captured and occupied by the Germans in the first month of war, Cavell chose to remain at her post, tending to German soldiers and Belgians alike. In August 1915, German authorities arrested her and accused her of helping British and French prisoners-of-war, as well as Belgians hoping to serve with the Allied armies, to escape Belgium for neutral Holland.

  • On this day in 1776, British Generals Henry Clinton and William Howe lead a force of 4,000 troops aboard some 90 flat-boats up New York’s East River toward Throg’s Neck, a peninsula in Westchester County, in an effort to encircle General George Washington and the Patriot force stationed at Harlem Heights.

After hearing of the British landing at Throg’s Neck, Washington ordered a contingent of troops from the Pennsylvania regiment to destroy the bridge leading from the peninsula to the Westchester mainland. The destruction of the bridge stranded Clinton and his men at Throg’s Neck for six days before they were loaded back onto their vessels and continued up the East River toward Pell Point.

  • On this day in 1946, Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, the man who commanded the U.S. and Chinese Nationalist resistance to Japanese incursions into China and Burma, dies today at age 63.

All courtesy of This Day In History.

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