Tag Archives: Britain

Guilt by Association

“You will Do well to try to inoculate the Indians, by means of Blankets, as well as to Try Every other Method, that can Serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race. — I should be very glad [if] your Scheme for Hunting them down by Dogs could take Effect; but England is at too great a Distance to think that at present.”  Lord Jeffrey Amherst to Colonel Henry Bouquet- July 16, 1763. 

Let the Yanks take all the blame...

Let the Yanks take all the blame…

A small passage from an insignificant letter…from the Royal Governor of North America to a soldier under his command during Pontiac’s Rebellion- its ramifications are infamous.  The astoundingly befuddled plans of two British officers(most North Americans had already been exposed) has been inexplicably  linked  to American Indian policy of the late 19th century.  There is not a scrap of evidence that any US officer advocated using biological warfare against any Indian nation; yet, popular sentiment holds it as an indisputable fact.  Our government committed many wrongs in its dealings with American Indians- this is not one of them.

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Guilt by Association

“You will Do well to try to inoculate the Indians, by means of Blankets, as well as to Try Every other Method, that can Serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race. — I should be very glad [if] your Scheme for Hunting them down by Dogs could take Effect; but England is at too great a Distance to think that at present.”  Lord Jeffrey Amherst to Colonel Henry Bouquet- July 16, 1763. 

Let the Yanks take all the blame...

Let the Yanks take all the blame…

A small passage from an insignificant letter…from the Royal Governor of North America to a soldier under his command during Pontiac’s Rebellion- its ramifications are infamous.  The astoundingly befuddled plans of two British officers(most North Americans had already been exposed) has been inexplicably  linked  to American Indian policy of the late 19th century.  There is not a scrap of evidence that any US officer advocated using biological warfare against any Indian nation; yet, popular sentiment holds it as an indisputable fact.  Our government committed many wrongs in its dealings with American Indians- this is not one of them.

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Tough Loss

Why did the British lose the War of 1812… consensus history teaches that the Napoleonic wars kept mighty England from crushing the upstart Americans.  As expected, consensus historical lessons are wrapped too tightly, strangling the complexities from our past.  America won the war, but Britain lost it just as much.  We cannot pin this all on the French.

Right on the nose !

  • Poor strategy and execution– As in the Revolutionary War, Britain attempted a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy.  Simultaneous invasions would divide American forces and allow the British to defeat the disorganized American armies.  Unfortunately, the invasions were far from timely; poorly organized and executed, British forces were unable achieve any strategic success during the invasions of upstate New York and Maryland.  The third invasion at New Orleans ended in disaster.  The first graduates from the American military academy (like Winfield Scott)  were able to rally American forces, including the unreliable militiamen, to resist the uncoordinated assaults.
  • Political disunity– The government of Spencer Perceval had taken a stand against American attempts to trade with France their during the war.  Perceval’s ministers enacted the Orders in Council and did little as the tensions with America continued to rise.  Diplomats serving in Washington did a poor job communicating Britain’s positions on key issues.  Perceval’s assassination on May 11, 1812 brought to power Lord Liverpool, who sought to ease tensions with America.  The repeal of the Orders in Council just two days before America’s declaration of war was not accepted by all British ministers.  The disunity in  Liverpool’s government continued as the hostilities escalated.
  • Swatting flies– The British military machine was not built to fight an enemy like the United States.  The British army was recruited and trained to fight on the sweeping fields of Europe, not the wilds of North America; geography proved to be a keen enemy in both wars Britain fought in America.  The small, but powerful American fleet did not give the Royal Navy its Trafalgar of the west.  The power frigates of the US fleet held their own in ship to ship combat.  These small victories boosted American morale during the dark days of the conflict.  The British dependence on its Indian allies on the frontier proved as detrimental as in the Seven Years War.  The United States used its home field advantage to keep the British war machine from operating efficiently.

No contest, one on one.

But it is said that we are not prepared for war, and ought therefore not to declare it. This is an idle objection, which can have weight with the timid and pusillanimous only. The fact is otherwise. Our preparations are adequate to every essential object. Do we apprehend danger to ourselves? From what quarter will it assail us? From England, and by invasion? The idea is too absurd to merit a moment’s consideration. –Henry Clay, 1811

 

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Picking the Wrong Fight?

Pop history proclaims that eager “War Hawks” … in the United States forced the War of 1812 upon the American people.  Jeffersonians long antagonistic to the British empire wanted to strengthen our bonds with the French through a war.  Claims are also made stating that expansionists wanted to use the war as a vehicle to finally take possession of Canada.  Could all this be possible?  Did American statesman foolishly risk our republic for such dubious motives?……the historical record can answer those questions….

Here are my suggestions…

Does James Madison sound like a saber-rattling tyrant … in his war message delivered June 1, 1812 ?

We behold, in fine, on the side of Great Britain, a state of war against the United States, and on the side of the United States a state of peace toward Great Britain…Whether the United States shall continue passive under these progressive usurpations and these accumulating wrongs, or, opposing force to force in defense of their national rights,  is a solemn question which the Constitution wisely confides to the legislative department of the Government.  In recommending it to their early deliberations I am happy in the assurance that the decision will be worthy the enlightened and patriotic councils of a virtuous, a free, and a powerful nation.

Seems rational

It’s about honor, you fools

War Hawk and Speaker of the House Henry Clay… stated the case for war clearly in 1811

What are we to gain by war, has been emphatically asked? In reply, he would ask, what are we not to lose by peace?—commerce, character, a nation’s best treasure, honor!  Let those who contend for this humiliating doctrine, read its refutation in the history of the very man against whose insatiable thirst of dominion we are warned.  Let us come home to our own history. It was not by submission that our fathers achieved our independence.

Looking to our history

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Men of Harlech

Respect for the bravery of British troops at Rorke’s Drift… January 22, 1879.  This was not another war of colonization, the Brits were actually trying to halt ZULU aggression in Natal.  11 Victoria Crosses were awarded for the fighting that day- the most for any unit on a single day of combat in British history.  The defense is skillfully depicted in the 1964 film “Zulu”

Dogged Defense

Dogged Defense

B Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot earned its pay…this day in 1879.  The Welsh pride can still be felt-  this recording of the regimental band singing “Men of Harlech”  on the 120th Anniversary of the battle is chilling- the recording is in Rorke’s Drift church.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRtnWVvDX6k

Click above for the audio

 

120th Anniversary

120th Anniversary

 

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Picking the Wrong Fight?

Pop history proclaims that eager “War Hawks” … in the United States forced the War of 1812 upon the American people.  Jeffersonians long antagonistic to the British empire wanted to strengthen our bonds with the French through a war.  Claims are also made stating that expansionists wanted to use the war as a vehicle to finally take possession of Canada.  Could all this be possible?  Did American statesman foolishly risk our republic for such dubious motives?……the historical record can answer those questions….

Here are my suggestions…

Does James Madison sound like a saber-rattling tyrant … in his war message delivered June 1, 1812 ?

We behold, in fine, on the side of Great Britain, a state of war against the United States, and on the side of the United States a state of peace toward Great Britain…Whether the United States shall continue passive under these progressive usurpations and these accumulating wrongs, or, opposing force to force in defense of their national rights,  is a solemn question which the Constitution wisely confides to the legislative department of the Government.  In recommending it to their early deliberations I am happy in the assurance that the decision will be worthy the enlightened and patriotic councils of a virtuous, a free, and a powerful nation.

Seems rational

It’s about honor, you fools

War Hawk and Speaker of the House Henry Clay… stated the case for war clearly in 1811

What are we to gain by war, has been emphatically asked? In reply, he would ask, what are we not to lose by peace?—commerce, character, a nation’s best treasure, honor!  Let those who contend for this humiliating doctrine, read its refutation in the history of the very man against whose insatiable thirst of dominion we are warned.  Let us come home to our own history. It was not by submission that our fathers achieved our independence.

Looking to our history

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Patriots, Tea, History…

Modern political activists invoke history… to justify and rationalize their activism- but often lose the real lessons of the events.  The Boston Tea Party was not a simple protest against taxation; it was a complex disagreement over duties, exemptions, tariffs, and trade balance.  Current political rhetoric cheapens the truly historic events of that December in 1773.

Standing room only

Standing room only

Samuel Adams called for action that winter… “Be in readiness in the most resolute manner to assist this town in their efforts for saving this oppressed country…”    Adams and the Sons of Liberty understood what was happening in Boston affected all the colonies- expressing the idea of country three years before it was declared.

One lump or two?

One lump or two?

The meeting on December 16 was the largest… political meeting to date.  Speakers came and went in a vain attempt to dissuade direct action- the leaders were waiting for a decision from the Royal Governor.  The speakers couldn’t go on all night- Thomas Hutchinson wasn’t going to indulge the Sons of Liberty-  Adams gave the prearranged signal for action.. “This meeting can do nothing more to save this country…”  

Rabble rouser

Rabble rouser

Disguises of all sorts were donned by the… Sons of Liberty that night.  Some wore feathers, others just heavy overcoats, their faces blackened with soot.  Whatever the method, the result was nothing short of historic- Samuel’s  cousin John Adams declared… “This destruction of the tea is so bold, so daring, so intrepid, and so inflexible, and it must have so important a consequence that I can’t but consider it an epoch in history.”

be in “readiness in the most resolute manner to assist this Town in their efforts for saving this oppressed country”. – See more at: http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/committees-of-correspondence#sthash.yKkJhcU4.dpuf
be in “readiness in the most resolute manner to assist this Town in their efforts for saving this oppressed country”. – See more at: http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/committees-of-correspondence#sthash.yKkJhcU4.dpuf
be in “readiness in the most resolute manner to assist this Town in their efforts for saving this oppressed country”. – See more at: http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/committees-of-correspondence#sthash.yKkJhcU4.dpuf
be in “readiness in the most resolute manner to assist this Town in their efforts for saving this oppressed country”. – See more at: http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/committees-of-correspondence#sthash.yKkJhcU4.dpuf
“be in readiness in the most resolute manner to assist this Town in their efforts for saving this oppressed country.” – See more at: http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/old-south-meeting-house-history#sthash.F5EeBbdA.dpuf
“be in readiness in the most resolute manner to assist this Town in their efforts for saving this oppressed country.” – See more at: http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/old-south-meeting-house-history#sthash.F5EeBbdA.dpuf
“be in readiness in the most resolute manner to assist this Town in their efforts for saving this oppressed country.” – See more at: http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/old-south-meeting-house-history#sthash.F5EeBbdA.dpuf
“be in readiness in the most resolute manner to assist this Town in their efforts for saving this oppressed country.” – See more at: http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/old-south-meeting-house-history#sthash.F5EeBbdA.dpuf

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