In 1899, provoked by the blistering satire of his final novel, Russian authorities forced Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy into exile.
Happy Endings 20: Tolstoy a Canadian Life by Ed & Jackie RoseIn writing Resurrection, he had originally intended to aid members of the Dukhobor sect to emigrate to Canada where they could practice
their beliefs freely and without persecution. But instead, with the
Tsarist Government emboldened1 by the Russian Orthodox Church's
decision to excommunicate him, Tolstoy opted to accompany them. It was in hindsight a step that had become inevitable ever since the banning of his Christian anarchist tract The Kingdom of God Is Within You five years earlier.
Also inevitable and also a result of the success of his novel-writing was his marital breakdown. Because his unbalanced union was also a source of tension and conflict - and for a very good reason. After his wife Sonya had transcribed and edited his novels, he ingraciously informed her that he was giving all the proceeds to the poor . With the insensitive delivery of that painful revelation any semblance of marital harmony was destroyed, because in Sonya's eyes Leo had undone the magic of their partnership. The relationship was never quite the same and then a
final fracas Sonya made the decision for him and he set off to find a new day in Canada.
But the disastrous Russo-Japanese War changed everything and Tolstoy was able to return to Russia after the Revolution of 1905 overthrew the Tsar. Thanks to Father Gapon, he spent the final happy years of his life in his homeland, and was even able to reconcile with Sonya . This was because in the new Era, women were granted property rights and his wife was afforded her full monied status as co-author of the Tolstoy novels .
In 2010, on this day a string of bizarre coincidences marred a ceremony marking the seventieth anniversary of the Katyn Forest massacre in which twenty-two thousand members of the Polish Officer Corps were executed by the Soviet Secret Police (NKVD).
Article written by Ed & Jackie SpeelThe execution of the Polish Officer Corps was expressly ordered in writing by the professional head of the NKVD, Lavrentiy Beria's in an official document of 5 March 1940 which was approved and signed by the Soviet Politburo, including its leader, Joseph Stalin. Three years later, the Government of Nazi Germany announced the discovery of mass graves in the Katyn Forest, a revelation which led to the end of diplomatic relations between Moscow and the London-based Polish government-in-exile.
In fact, the Soviet Union continued to deny responsibility for the massacres until 1990, when it officially acknowledged and condemned the perpetration of the killings by the NKVD. Because although the Polish government-in-exile failed to obtain justice, the brave actions of Polish nationals such as Lech Walesa and Karol Wojtyla contributed towards the final collapse of the Soviet System.
John Paul II had consecrated Russia after a Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca attempted to assassinate the Holy Pontif as he entered St. Peter's Square to address an audience in 1981 (the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a belief in the Roman Catholic Church that a specific act of consecration on the part of the Pope has been required by the Virgin Mary in return for which there would be world peace). Both the Central Intelligence Agency and an Italian parliamentary commission concluded that the Soviet Union was behind the conspiracy in retaliation for the Pope's support of Solidarity, the Catholic, pro-democratic Polish workers' movement (their "Top Secret" reports stated that certain Communist Bulgarian security departments were utilised and Soviet military intelligence - and not the KGB - were responsible).
It was widely rumoured in the Catholic Church that the Pope1 was intending to use the anniversary of the Katyn Forest massacre to announce that the consecration of Russia was the "Third Secret of Fatima". Such a move would redefine the relationship with the Russian Patriach and the possibility of removing the schism with the Orthodox Church.
Also en route to the ceremony was a delegation of high ranking Russian and Polish officials. In his own speech, Polish president Lech Kaczynski was expected to confirm deeper integration with both the European Union and also NATO.
A tragic and bizarre aircraft crash at North Smolensk Airport killed all of the principals. Under Annex 13 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Guidelines, the investigations were conducted by the Russian Government which acted under the direct, personal orders of President Medvedev. A conclusion of "pilot error" was reached which did nothing to dispel the global circulation of conspiracy theories.
In 1796, on this day American pioneer, slave trader, land speculator, soldier and statesman James "Jim" Bowie was born in Logan County, Kentucky.
1st President of TexasHe would spent much of his early life in Louisiana where he was raised and later worked as a land speculator although his rise to fame began in 1827 on reports of the Sandbar Fight. What began as a duel between two other men deteriorated into a melee in which Bowie, having been shot and stabbed, allegedly killed the sheriff of Rapides Parish with a large knife. This, and other wild exaggerated stories of Bowie's prowess with the knife, led to the widespread popularity of the "Bowie" knife.
Bowie's legendary reputation was cemented by his role in the Texas Revolution. He joined the Texas militia, leading forces at the Battle of Concepcion and the Grass Fight. In January 1836, he arrived at the Alamo, where he commanded the Texian volunteer forces until an illness left him bedridden. Fortunately, he made a miraculous recovery after the dramatic relief mission. But confined to a cot he had the dubious distinction of becoming the sole surviving hero after William Travis, Davy Crockett and Sam Houston were all tragically killed during the fierce fighting.
Yet the battlecry "Remember the Alamo" held a powerful resonance at the birth of Texan Statehood and on October 22nd Jim Bowie became the first President of the new nation at the age of just forty. A legal dispute with the State of Louisiana quickly followed but investigations soon established that Bowie had not been involved in the Sandbar Fight at all. What was established however was the unedifying fact that Bowie a much better dead hero than living leader1.
In 1794, on this day Matthew Calbraith Perry the fifteenth President of the United States was born in Newport, Rhode Island.
Matthew C. Perry
15th US PresidentThe son of Captain Christopher Perry and Sarah Perry, he was also the younger brother of Oliver Hazard Perry, famous for capturing an entire British squadron at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Commissioned as midshipman in 1809, he launched an illustrious naval career that would last almost half a century, culminating in the opening of Japan.
Commodore Perry returned to the United States in 1855, a national hero who commanded almost universal respect and a remarkable reputation for forceful negotiation. The man of the hour, he was ran for office, winning the Presidency in 1856.
The arrival of such a powerful figure in the White House certainly augured well for the country. Because during his single term of office, the disintegration of the Union began to accelerate with frightening speed. Of course the expectation was that Perry would impose a quasi-military solution upon the south just as Andrew Jackson had done so during the Nullification Crisis.
He certainly tried, grasping at solutions that had worked in the past. But it didn't quite work out that way, because the famous gunboat diplomacy which had worked with such success in Tokyo Bay met a rather different response in Charleston Harbour.
In 1865, jubilant with the exhilerating news that General Grant had convinced Robert E. Lee to surrender all of the Confederate Armies, President Abraham Lincoln departed Washington City for the Appottomax Court House where he would deliver a keynote speech that recognised the significance of this remarkable gesture of peace and national reconciliation.
Our American CousinSurrounded by the Army of the Potomac at Lynchberg, Lee had chosen to surrender only the Army of North Virginia (over which he had direct command). The change of mind to surrender all of the Confederate Armies (which were nominally under his command) was prompted by the successful meeting at the McLean House.
In his personal memoirs, Grant would note that "What General Lee's feelings were I do not know.
We soon fell into a conversation about old army times. He remarked that he remembered me very well in the old army; and I told him that as a matter of course I remembered him perfectly, but from the difference in our rank and years (there being about sixteen years' difference in our ages), I had thought it very likely that I had not attracted his attention sufficiently to be remembered by him after such a long interval.
Our conversation grew so pleasant that I almost forgot the object of our meeting".
The feelings of the Maryland-born racist John Wilkes Booth could safely be described as less ambivalent and not pleasant at all. Only the year before, he had concocted a plot to kidnap the President and ransom him in exchange for Confederate Prisoners of war.
Now he set upon a new assignment, he would follow Lincoln to Virginia, although he had not yet decided whether to shoot the President, or the traitor he was now refering to as "Our American Cousin", Robert E. Lee. Or perhaps both. And so he decided to take along with him George A. Atzerodt, David Herold, and the former Confederate Soldier Lewis Paine. Just in case he needed to pull together a multiple assassination cross-fire team, because even a crazy could never be _too_ sure of success acting as a Lone Gunman.
In 2006, in announcing his electoral platform as a Democratic Party Candidate for the US Senate, the actor and human rights activist Ramón Estévez1 pledged to withdraw the State of Ohio2 from the All America Battle Royale for 2007/8.
Watch the Trailer of Battle Royale
Battle RoyaleA long-established part of American life, every year under the "Battle Royale" program states (or, in the case of small close-together states like Vermont and New Hampshire, or Connecticut and Rhode Island) randomly select a junior high school. Co-written with Eric OppenThe nineth-graders are put in an isolated locale with explosive collars to keep them under control and then given randomly-selected weapons (or "surprises" like boxing gloves) to have them fight to the death until one survives.
Privately, even the most vocal supportes of Estévez expressed doubt as to whether a pacifist could enter the Senate let alone deliver on his campaign pledge. Particularly when his own son Carlos Irwin Estévez3 was a gun-toting hedonist who had risen to fame (as a former winner) through the program.
In 2034, on this day former President Albert Gore Jr. died at his home in Tennessee of arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease. He was surrounded by his wife Mary "Tipper" and their four children. He had just recently celebrated his 86th birthday.
Al Gore's ObituaryGore was elected President of the United States in 2000 after the controversial 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore, which ruled that a Florida statewide recount would not violate the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The subsequent recount determined that Gore had won the election by 110 votes.
A new story by Charles R. TestrakeAfter the exuberance of the Clinton years and drama of the 2000 election, the Gore presidency was considered by many to be anticlimactic. The economic boom of the 1990's began to dissipate and the unemployment rate rose to 5%. The Gore administration responded with a serious of tax increases to fund public works projects and also began to retighten regulations on the banking industry which had been loosened during the Clinton years.
In June 2001 a major international scandal broke when it was revealed on FOX News that Gore had ordered a CIA black ops unit to violate Pakistani borders to assassinate accused Islamic terrorist Osama bin Laden. Initially Gore denied complicity in bin Laden death, but after intense media pressure was forced to admit that he had ordered the assassination in the interests of national security. Pakistan subsequently broke off diplomatic relations with the U.S. for the remainder of the Gore presidency, and several Republican Congressmen introduced resolutions for impeachment in the House of Representatives. However none of these resolutions came to anything.
By 2004 Gore's approval rating had slipped below 40%, yet he still decided to run for reelection. Gore had to fend off a strong primary challenge from former Connecticut Governor Howard Dean before losing the general election to George W. Bush in another close fight.
"In spite all the good work my father achieved, spring will be a little late this year"In the years immediately following his presidency, Gore managed to recover much of his lost popularity with the release of his environmental film "An Inconvenient Truth," which earned him an Academy Award and the Noble Peace Prize. By the end of 2007 he had become the chief critic of the disastrous Bush presidency. He seriously considered challenging Bush for a third time, but in the end decided to back the candidacy of the junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who defeated Bush in the biggest electoral landslide in American politically history. The Republican Party has yet to regain the presidency.
Shortly after the announcement of Gore's death his daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff, appeared on the front lawn of the family home. With tears in her eyes she made the following statement: "This morning my father departed this world at peace. A State Funeral will be held in Washington in a few days time, but in lieu of flowers we ask mourners to please make a small donation to the Gore Climate Change Foundation. In spite all the good work my father achieved, spring will be a little late this year".
In 2008, Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe accused British prime minister Gordon Brown of conspiring with opposition leader Tendai Biti to overthrow Mugabe's regime.Plot against Robert Mugabe by Chris OakleyAs proof of his allegations Mugabe produced a letter supposedly written by Biti to senior members of Biti's political party, the Movement for Democratic Change. Prime Minister Brown responded by issuing a countercharge that Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party had forged the letter itself in an attempt
to not only discredit the Zimbabwean pro-democracy movement but also Great Britain.
According to the Zimbabwe Times, the allegedly letter reads: "The swearing in will be done by the Chief Justice at State House and this must be planned in some detail. We have already sent invitations to President Bush, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Prime Minister Kelvin Rudd, Chancellor Angela Merkel and our international partners and other key stakeholders in the People's Project. Soon after the swearing in, President Tsvangirai will immediately take occupation of the President's Office and State House. Our British friends have already taken the President, his wife and the rest of the first family through a crash course on ethics, etiquette and basic protocol associated with this high office. Our international partners also continue to send us their assurances that they will guarantee our assumption of power, including with force of arms if need be".
On this day in 1947, Xavier March contracted tuberculosis; this illness would keep him confined to a hospital bed in Munich for almost a year. It was right around this time that he met his future wife, Klara Eckart.
In 1970, Beatles member Paul McCartney held a press conference to formally deny rumors that the group, which had suffered from disarray for some time, was disbanding.
The Beatles would remain together until the murder of John Lennon on December 8, 1980, and the three survivors would perform together for a final time at Lennon's funeral. Sales for their memorial performance would equal those of any of the group's prior releases.
In 1990, prototype testing begins for liquid-fuelled boosters intended for use on the planned Generation II space shuttles. Performance demands are rigorous, as the Generation II's are intended to be capable of reaching geosynchronous orbit rather than merely low Earth orbit, addressing one long-standing complaint about the first-generation shuttles. The decision to move to liquid fuel addresses another: if necessary, it will be possible to throttle back or even halt the burning of fuel in the new boosters, something which could not be done with solid-fuelled rockets.
The Generation I shuttles will continue to fly until the Generation II's are ready. A classified NASA report warns, however, that they remain vulnerable to catastrophic failures. In a footnote, it observes that such a failure might well have occurred on the scheduled Jan. 28, 1986 flight of the Challenger, had engineers for shuttle contractor Morton Thiokol not persuaded their superiors and NASA authorities to delay the launch on account of dangers posed by the cold weather on that date. The Challenger mission planned for that date, carrying Christa McAuliffe, billed as the 'first teacher in space,' launched a week and a half later, on February 9, and proceeded without incident; afterwards, based on the engineers' concerns, the shuttles were subjected to a series of modifications intended to protect the shuttles, and particularly the critical O-ring seals on the solid rocket boosters, from degradation due to temperature; however, there remains concern that the seals may fail, especially as the shuttles age.
On this day in 1982, Jim Cornette announced the formation of the Enforcers, a stable whose goals were to keep the NWA world title around Tommy Rich's waist and enable Cornette to dominate the NWA.
The group consisted of 468-pound bruiser George Gray, better known as 'The One Man Gang'; former World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental champion Ken Patera; Detroit brawler George 'The Animal' Steele; and a rising Canadian superstar named Bret Hart.
In 1991, wealthy Connecticut-based investor James Sinclair is tipped off by friends in Washington that President Kemp plans to reintroduce his legislation returning the U.S. to the gold standard, and that Congress is likely to pass it this time.
Armed with this information, Sinclair, who has emerged as the number-one figure among the gold speculators supporting Kemp's idea, orders his operatives to purchase as much in the way of gold and gold-backed securities as they can prior to the President's move.
In 1891, Major Mark Wainwright, commander of the soldiers who had accompanied former President Cleveland to Topeka, breaks out of the camp where he and his men are being kept, and frees a dozen other soldiers, as well. Together, they sneak into the governor's mansion and attempt to spring Cleveland from his guarded room. The former president, though, wishes to stay in an attempt to negotiate with the rebel leader Simpson. 'I cannot give up on peaceful solutions yet,' he tells Wainwright, 'but save your men and get out of the state. Get back to Washington and tell them that I am confident that an answer to this situation can be found without further bloodshed.'
The major reluctantly agrees, and he and his small group slip out of Topeka and head east. When 'Sockless' Simpson is informed of the escape, he harangues Cleveland for several minutes about honor, which the former president sits through patiently. When Simpson finally winds down, Cleveland says, 'Sir, as much as you may question my honor, I am still here when I had the perfect opportunity for escape. My honor in this matter, therefore, has been put on display. Yours, on the other hand, is still a matter of debate. Now, you may continue to berate me, or we can begin working on a solution to all of our problems.'
In 1975, Josephine Baker, an entertainer and spy for the African-Semitic Resistance, dies in Paris. Baker had been such an excellent entertainer that she had been allowed into the racist German Reich to sing and dance for the Nazis; while there, she used her position to pass along valuable information to the Greater Zionist Resistance and its successor, the African-Semitic Resistance.
In 1998, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom issues a call for all good subjects of the realm to attend their local Church of England on Easter morning. Arthur Pendrake's appeal is growing throughout Great Britain, and the queen is feeling the pressure of his popularity. Prime Minister Pembroke is also feeling threatened - Pendrake has begun speaking of a return to an absolute monarchy and abolition of Parliament. He deploys a couple of the agents that the Central European Empire has put at his disposal to destabilize Arthur's organization.
In 2005, billionaire H. Ross Perot, a secret member of the Save Earth movement, provides four teams with jets to let them reach the four sectors that handle Claw transformation into human appearance. Dave and Jeanne Lange are assigned to the nearest one, in the jungles of Venezuela, and begin their trek through the jungle to reach it shortly after nightfall.
In 1915, Ch'Kel'Mlar, Chief Doctor of the hospital being evacuated by the Harlequin, is taken along with Captain Smith up to the ship, with the last of the Q'Barian patients. Although Captain Smith would like to stay behind to restore some sense of order to the Q'Barian world, Ch'Kel'Mlar tells him it is useless, and continues his tale of the cause of all this chaos.
In 2004, the Sheridans present their tamed Titanian Projection Virii to Australian Prime Minister Howard and his cabinet, giving them a small show of the two doctors singing and dancing. Howard, delighted at something good coming from the space program for once, grants the Sheridans a large sum of money to keep developing their P.V. project.
In 1994, South African troops begin marching Tanzanian prisoners to their country for imprisonment. The Tanzanian Death March, during which prisoners were given little rest and less water and food, killed off thousands of prisoners in a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions; but South African President Terreblanche had little regard for the concerns of other nations.
In 1919, Emiliano Zapata seizes power in Mexico through the support of his Communist patrons in the United States of America. With Comrade Zapata in place, U.S. policy to replace capitalist regimes throughout the regime with more friendly communist ones hits its full stride.
In 1868, the overconfident British are defeated by Abyssinians at the Battle of Magdala. The defeat forced the British to rethink their strategy in Africa; from this point on, they concentrated on the western half of the continent and left the east to its own devices.
In 1834, the discovery of a woman's personal torture chamber in a wealthy New Orleans home led to the downfall of slavery in America. Delphine Lalaurie had kept slaves merely for the purpose of causing them pain, it seemed; when news of this depravity came to light, anti-slavery advocates declared, 'if a member of the fairer sex can be so corrupted by this institution, what can it be doing to our nation?' By the end of the decade, slavery had been eradicated in the United States.
In 1090, Yusuf Nabi, Turkik poet, died in his homeland. His fame was limited to his own people, the Turks, as he was very nationalistic in his writing. But, his writing inspired many of them to rise up and seek their own land, equal among the nations of Islam, in 1123.
In 1388, at the Battle of Näfels, the Habsburgs crushed a heavily out-numbered force of the Glarus and their allies, the Old Swiss Confederation.
Habsburg Victory at the Battle of NafelsThe victory, which established Habsburg Control over the Central Alpine region, was won by a force of about five thousand men under the command of the Graf Donat von Toggenburg and the Knight Peter von Thorberg. A second column, with about fifteen hundred men under the command of Graf Hans von Werdenberg-Sargans, had also marched over the Kerenzerberg Pass.
Whereas the opposition was a force of only four hundred Glarner troops and a few dozen men from both Schwyz and Uri. But following up the easy victory was much more difficult and the Empire struggled to create an Austrian Puppet State. Within a century, they were forced to place a Habsburg Swiss monarch on the throne, creating a Kingdom of Switzerland.
In 1241, the seemingly unstoppable progress of the Mongol invasion of European gathered further momentum as the combined defending forces of Poles, Czechs and Germans under the command of the Polish duke Henry II the Pious of Silesia (supported by feudal nobility and a few knights from military orders sent by the Pope) were slaughtered at the Battle of the Field of Legnica also called Walstadt.
Mongol march to the Great Sea begins with a famous victory at LiegnitzHeavily armed in both plate and chain, and utilizing weapons such as broadswords, shields, and lances, the Europeans confronted a mobile force carrying daggers, maces, and swords, although their primary weapon was the bow. And the Mongols made maximum advantage of their primary assets of speed and maneuverability by tricking the Duke who was easily lured by a false retreat into an enemy ambush. The Duke himself was struck down and beheaded while attempting to flee the battlefield with three bodyguards, and the Mongols paraded his head on a spear before the town of Legnica. The Mongols cut the right ear off of each fallen European in order to count the dead; they filled nine sackfuls.
The remainder of European nobility faced the same fate. Two Mongol Armies led by Batu and Subutai had invaded Hungary, and a third led by Kadanhad won an unbroken series of victories at Sandomierz, Tursk, Chmielnik and then Krakow. Warned that King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia was two days away with an army of fifty thousand, they had quickly turned from Wroclaw to intercept Henry's forces before the European armies could meet.
The famous victory was another strategic triumph for Subutai and his master plan to destroy the European armies one at a time rather than allowing them to mass in force. Once again, the traditional European warfare method of hand-to-hand combat between knights ended in catastrophe when it was deployed against the Mongol forces, as the Mongols were able to keep a distance and advance with superior number. Subutai and Batu Khan began to plan for the winter invasion of Central Europe, marching all the way to the "Great Sea" (the Atlantic Ocean).
This historical depiction is unaltered other than that the Mongol invasion continues into Central Europe (it has been widely suggested that the invasion would have failed even without the fortuitous death of Ögedei Khan).
In 1965, on this day the thirty-eighth Vice President of the United States Hubert Humphrey, Jr. was shot at the Jack Tar Capitol House Hotel in Baton Rouge.
Tragedy in Baton RougeThe Secret Service had received warnings that right-wing organizations would make an attempt on Humphrey's life because of his integrationist beliefs. But the Vice President had refused to cancel the trip because of a commitment he had made to the Governor of Louisiana, John J. McKeithen. In the event both men were critically injured by shots fired by three gunman in the ballroom of the hotel.
Humphrey made a partial recovery and although a shadow of his former self, had intended to serve out his term of office. However by early 1968 it was becoming increasingly clear that the President's own position was becoming untenable. The administration now required an alternative "Beat Kennedy" Candidate in order to prevent the hated New York Senator from seizing the nomination. To be continued..
In 1625, days after a spontaneous beginning to the experiment, Bacon announced by letter to the King his findings on the ability to preserve raw meat through freezing.
Bacon Announces Preservation of Meat by FreezingAccording to biographer John Aubrey, the idea had come to him suddenly while riding with the King's physician through the snow in Highgate. They attempted the experiment immediately, purchasing a fowl from a peasant woman at the bottom of the hill. Bacon prepared to stuff it with snow, but the physician warned him of the medical dangers of chill, and Bacon duly protected himself with gloves borrowed from the coachman.
A new story by Jeff ProvineHis frozen bird proved preserved and ready for cooking when it was thawed upon Bacon's return to his home. Following his philosophy, Bacon attempted the experiment repeatedly and duly observed results, measuring rates of decay after various times with what grew into an enormous stock of frozen food. He wrote a letter to King James noting its practicality in preserving food for warfare or famine, and the king rewarded him with a small sum. The money was a pittance in comparison to Bacon's massive debts, but the fame would prove more than enough to keep the scientist's name in the popular memory until his publication of New Atlantis, which served as a model for an idealized scientific community.
Despite his incredible mastery of experimental science (what would become known as the "Baconian Method"), Bacon was not mindful of his expenses and spent most of his life buried in debt. He received puritanical tutelage at home and higher education at Trinity College, Cambridge, with his older brother Anthony, where he studied under future Archbishop of Canterbury Dr John Whitgift and met Queen Elizabeth, who affectionately referred to him as "the young Lord Keeper". Bacon extensively traveled abroad, learning much about political science during his time in France, Italy, and Spain. When his father died in 1579, young Bacon returned to England finding that he had only one-fifth of his expected inheritance, and the money he had borrowed became officially debt. He took up practice of law to support himself and entered Parliament after a few years of struggles. Bacon rose through politics quickly to become Attorney General and then Lord Chancellor, but was found guilty of repeatedly taking gifts as a judge (a common practice at the time). Also accused of sodomy and pedantry, he bowed out of political life, as well as much of his family life when he discovered his wife Alice Barnham carrying on an affair with John Underhill.
Instead, Bacon dedicated himself to science. Upon the publication of his thoughts on Utopia, Bacon found himself a chance to return to the social scene not as a politician, but with a seat as an official scientific researcher for the king. Charles I had been intrigued with his freezing techniques for food as useful in the war effort against Spain. Bacon had campaigned for a Minister for Science and Technology during the reign of Elizabeth, and now his ideas had come to fruition. While his research primarily was dedicated to preservation through freezing, alchemy, and boiling (building the groundwork for Germ Theory to be understood over the next century by microscopist Henry Powers), Bacon also used his political contacts in the increasingly Protestant Parliament to ensure the continuation of his office.
Minister Bacon died in 1634, reportedly writing at his desk with quill in hand, and the Ministry of Science did indeed continue. Many thought that the seat would be given to Thomas Hobbes, but the philosopher's proposed research into political theory did not match Bacon's posthumous requirements for direct application. Instead, the seat went to a young physician, Thomas Browne, who would be instrumental in developing battlefield medicine. Later, the ministry would be held by great thinkers such as Henry Powers, Robert Boyle, and, especially known, Isaac Newton, whose works in optics, metallurgy, mathematics, and many other fields would set London apart as a great center of development. As per Bacon's sentiments, all of the new science has since been handed down through the engineers of the Ministry of Science, who determine practical applications such as Powers' use of pressure (particularly steam) to drive an engine, Newton's interchangeable parts for mass production, and Charles Babbage's later use of automation.
In 1865, driven from office by the West Point Conspirators, Jeff Davis flees across the Mississippi River to establish a short-lived Western Confederacy. The less fortunate Abraham Lincoln is shot by British Redcoats on the border with liberal Canada and dies in the arms of Harriet Tubman.
West Point ConspiracyThe eventual prospect of a decisive Union military victory had been dashed by the arrival of fresh Anglo-French divisions after the third consecutive defeat for the Federals at Antietam1. The Union Commander-in-Chief George McClellan was relieved of duty, choosing to run on an anti-war platform as a Democrat Candidate in order to force a contest with Lincoln in the 1864 Presidential Election. Both Lincoln and Davis were determined to fight on and their continuing, intransigent leadership into 1865 made political compromise close to impossible.
Ever since General Sherman was repulsed in the West, the military high commands had decided it was time to seek a military rather than a political solution that would stop the slaughter. Indeed, McClellan was the most popular of the Federal army's commanders with its soldiers, who felt that he had their morale and well-being as paramount concerns.
Negotiations were underway as soon as it became clear that Lincoln would win in 1864. Problem was not so much agreeing a ceasefire, but looking beyond that to a general settlement. The possibility of a compromise emerged in the meeting at Appotomax (pictured) with General Lee's insightful suggestion that a new compact between the States must be forged. His logic was that whilst the continuation of slavery might be morally repugnant, it was equally true that the original compact was predicated upon the continuation of the institution, and ultimately, it was the Federals use of authority to force the issue that had led to the break-up of the Union.
In 1782, the decisive French naval victory at the Battle of the Saintes marked the beginning of the end of British rule over the Sugar Islands.
Sugar StateBecause the crushing of Royal Naval Forces under the command of Admiral Sir George Rodney by the Comte de Grasse's French Fleet enabled the French and Spanish to proceed with the planned invasion of Jamaica. Within eighteen months, the seven thousand islands, islets, reefs, and cays of the Caribbean region would be admitted into the Union as a single maritime polity known as "The Sugar State". And the infant American Republic would confront a whole set of fresh challenges that threatened to wreck the ship of state.
The Founding Fathers made a pragmatic choice in proposing the appointment of Alexander Hamilton (pictured) as First Governor. In theory he was uniquely qualified for the position. Born out of wedlock on the Leeward Island of Nevis, he emigrated to the Eastern Seaboard as a young man. Initially loyalist in outlook, he was radicalized as a student at King's College in New York City (now Columbia University) and would later serve as George Washington's Chief of Staff.
In the medium term, white sugar farmers would have to confront the rise of enslaved African labourers long before the cotton plantation owners in the southern states of the interior. But a more pressing problem was the almost immediate outbreak of a quasi-war with Great Britain. With States coffers drained by the War of Independence, the new nation would need to raise big money fast in order to build a navy capable of defending their maritime forward position. By the time of the 1800 election, the situation was critical. And so immediately after the inauguration, Governor Hamilton travelled to Washington for a fateful confrontation with the third US President, Colonel Aaron Burr.
In 1865, on this day Confederate General Robert E. Lee issued the fateful order for the Army of Northern Virginia to disband and to take to the wilderness to act as guerilla fighters. His aide Walter Taylor apparently suggested the idea to him, and Lee, grief-stricken by the recent death of his wife Mary, and of the death of his son William as a Union prisoner, approved it.
American GuerillasFor the next 5 years, a reign of terror ruled the South as shootings, lynchings, and bombings became the norm. Anyone suspected of Union sympathies or those who collaborated with the occupation forces were frequently killed as an example to others, and the Union Army gradually laid a heavier and heavier hand on the South, taking civilians as hostages and conducting frequent reprisals.
After the assassination of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, Democrat Horatio Seymour defeated former general Ulysses S. Grant for the Presidency. Seymour immediately opened talks with the rebel leaders, most notably Nathan B. Forrest and John Mosby. A deal was struck with the rebels that the South would recieve limited autonomy, with the ability to opt out of trade deals and tariffs, but in return, slavery would be phased out over 20 years, with slaveowners receiving compensation. On January 1st, 1870, the agreement (now referred to as the Washington Agreement) officially took effect, and is now regarded in the South as a quasi-Independence Day.
In 2010, it was announced on this day that Supreme Court Justice George H.W. Bush, age 85, will retire from the bench after twenty-three years on the court.
"Skin" Comes off the Bench by Brian VisaggioFollowing the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Bush decided to join the US Navy, becoming the youngest naval aviator at just eighteen. His lanky physique earned him the nickname "Skin". Attending Yale after the war, he played as the star pitcher on their baseball team (a sport his eldest son would eventually run as MLB commissioner), and eventually graduated in 1948 with a Bachelor's in Economics.
After a career in the oil industry, in 1966 was elected to the House of Representatives, beginning a long life of public service inspired by his father, Senator Prescott Bush eventually taking on the jobs of Ambassador to the United Nations and Director of the CIA, culminating in an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination in 1980. Selected as Reagan's running mate, he impressed his former rival as an intelligent and capable thinker, well-versed in constitutional principles, eventually culminating in the President nominating the sitting VP to the bench itself after the retirement of Justice Lewis Powell. Proving a thoughtful and serious jurist, he served through four presidents, including his own successor as vice president, Orrin Hatch.
In 1861, on this day Major Anderson at Fort Sumter had withdrawn his men completely from contact with Charleston, knowing that keeping them in proximity with those civilians would trigger some fight that would probably escalate into further trouble.
Showdown at Fort Sumter Part 2 by Raymond SpeerPresident Jefferson Davis came to the correct conclusion about Lincoln's motives, but having done that, ceased to do anything else and sat by impassively. Davis' rival wanted the first shot fired by the secessionists. Unfortunately, Lincoln had a very good chance of making those wishes come true because the local Confederate state government (South Carolina) preferred forcing out the garrison from the fort. As Davis appraised the situation, it was possible that South Carolina would shrug aside the costraint of the confederal gov't and fire cannon on the feds on their own volition.
The Secretary of State of the Confederate States of America made the strongest presentation against a Southern action against the fort at a last Confederate Cabinet meeting on the evening of April 10, 1861. He had the inestimable value of access to Major Anderson's signals to Abraham Lincoln in which the major wrote that he planned to offer no resistance. Before that meeting, most meetings with Davis had assumed hat the South would fire at the fort. From that evening on, the order was that the reprovision of the fort would be allowed to take place.
Abraham Lincoln had skated to the verge of war, and like the frontier rustic he was, the new Union President jubilated in Northern praise of his "victory". That success made no practical difference in Lincoln's chances to reduce the South. Lincoln still spurned all commissions and emissaries sent to him by Davis or any other Southerner. As soon as April 12, Lincoln was planning the use of Northern resources to quell the South.
In the big picture, the Fort Sumter imbroglio proved utterly unimportant. The April 17, 1861, seizure by the Virginia Militia of the US Naval Base at Norfolk was argued by the North to be a Southern theft of Northern property without compensation, and that was all it took to justify Northern aggression against the South.
Few noticed when Fort Sumter was taken by the South on June 1, 1861, when the War was already underway. The Northern garrison did not make a serious show of commitment.
In 1865, on this day Confederate General Robert E. Lee mounted his horse Traveler and with a deep sigh ordered the dissolution of the Army of North Virginia.
Trump CardThis informal cessation of hostilities between regular forces marked a new phase in the American Civil War. By ordering his troops to continue the fight as guerrillas in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the General had played the trump card that President Abraham Lincoln most dreaded.
But in a sense, he was only following the orders of the fleeing Confederate President Jefferson Davis who had issued his own call for guerrilla struggle. In anticipation of that order, hundreds of Lee's men had already vanished into the hills on their own initiative. And yet Lee had not taken the decision lightly, he had convened a council of war in which he had been advised that "a little more blood more or less makes no difference now". Nevertheless events in Virginia would soon mirror those in Missouri, where a full-scale guerrilla war of terrifying ferocity had dragged the state into a whirlpool of vengeance.
In his diary, Union General Ulysses S. Grant had noted "I was afraid every morning that I would wake up from my sleep to hear the Lee had gone .. and the war was prolonged". He was absolutely right, Even a cursory review of Lee's record indicates that he would never surrender to the abolitionists, despite his own fear that "we would bring on a state of affairs that would take the country years to recover from".
- As a Brevet Colonel of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, shooting John Brown dead at the climax of the Harper's Ferry Raid
- Refusing to honour the terms of his father-in-law's will which would have freed the slaves under his control
- After entering Pennsylvania, permitting his men to round up many former slaves and free blacks and send them south into slavery
- Refusing President Lincoln's offer of the Command of Union Forces at the outbreak of war
Having boasted that he could continue the war for another twenty years, his heart condition suggested otherwise (he suffered several mild heart attacks on the battlefields). Just five and a half years later "Marse Robert" died in the vastness of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a remote and harsh location which mirrored his own stubborness.
In 1981, on this day Robert Sands was elected as Member of Parliament in a by-election for the Fermanagh and South Tyrone district of Northern Ireland, on a ticket for "The Worker's Party of Ireland".
"Our revenge will be the laughter of our children" by Gerry ShannonSands' election is historical for several reasons. At age 29, he is the youngest MP ever elected in the United Kingdom, but he is yet another electoral success for the Marxist-Leninist Worker's Party - a further vindication of the far left strategy persued by party leaders Cathal Goulding and Sean Garland following the split in the republican Sinn Féin party in 1970. The party most notably has a parliamilitary wing, the Official Irish Republican Army, of which Sands was a member until it's permanent ceasefire in 1972.
In his victory speech, Sands claims: "Our revenge will be the laughter of our children". In this oft-repeated phrase by his admirers in the decades after, Sands made clear his intention to destroy the inequality amongst the working class of the Unionist-dominated state forever when he took his seat in the power-sharing government in Stormont. (The power-sharing executive had been in place since the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973).
He would keep his seat through subsequent elections until resigning to become a candiate in the 1990 presidential election for the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland. Sands was the shared nominee for the Worker's Party and Labour. Sands would win, and would serve the fourteen years of two terms as President until leaving office in 2004 - quite possibly the most popular holder of the title of President thus far in the history of the Irish Republic. Outside of political life, Sands would also become a semi-regular author of several collections of short stories and poetry, mostly written in Irish.
In 1859, the first edition of Charles Darwin's satirical novel Planet of the Apes is published.The Darwin Laws by Eric LippsDarwin, an amateur naturalist, had sailed on the second voyage of the HMS Beagle in 1831-'32. At one point, the Beagle, having sustained damage in a storm off the Horn of Africa, had put in at Cape Town, South Africa, where Darwin had observed captured specimens of orangutans and chimpanzees and heard travelers' rumors of another, larger ape native Africans called a gorilla, which white Europeans then believed to be mythical. Darwin conceived the idea for a satire imagining a future in which intelligent, civilized apes of several types, corresponding to the three recognized human races, ruled over speechless primitive humans. Although a rough draft was completed in 1835, Darwin, fearing it might anger the Church of England, delayed for many years seeking its publication. In the meantime, he refined the novel, drawing on ideas obtained from correspondence with fellow naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace.
Darwin's book instantly became a controversial success. Nineteenth-century racists such as England's Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Frenchman Charles de Gobineau praised it as a vivid warning of what might happen if 'the lesser races' prevailed, and especially if there were interbreeding between whites and non-whites. In the United States, the book played a substantial role in the emergence of the Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan. Later, however, several U.S. states would pass laws aimed at banning any text suggesting that the supremacy of the white race should, will or can be overthrown in favor of rule by a nonwhite race .
In 1925, high school English teacher John Thomas Scopes would be prosecuted in Dayton, Tennessee for assigning Darwin?s book to his students. Billed as a major First Amendment case, the Scopes trial would end in conviction; Scopes would be fined 100 USD. The fine would be paid by the Chicago Tribune, whose acerbic reporter H. L. Mencken would be among the journalists covering the proceedings. The conviction would be overturned later on a technicality, but Scopes would be forced to leave Tennessee following a barrage of death threats. 'Darwin laws' such as the one under which Scopes was tried would finally be ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Epperson v. Arkansas.
In 1483, King Edward IV of England recovered from a debilitating illness that had threatened to kill him.
King Edward IV SurvivesAn extremely capable and daring military commander, he had destroyed the House of Lancaster in a series of spectacular military victories; he was never defeated on the field of battle. Despite his occasional (if serious) political setbacks - usually at the hands of his great Machiavellian rival, Louis XI of France - he was a popular and very able king. While he lacked foresight and was at times cursed by bad judgement, he possessed an uncanny understanding of his most useful subjects, and the vast majority of those who served him remained unwaveringly loyal until his death.
With his daughter's marriage to Henry Tudor of the Lancastrian branch of the Plantaganets, King Edward brought an end to the War of the Roses between the Yorkists and Lancastrians. He continued to rule Britain until his death in 1511.
On this day in 2001, President Colin Powell was confronted with the first major diplomatic crisis of his administration when the crew of a US Navy P-3C surveillance plane was incarcerated by the Chinese government shortly after their plane collided with and destroyed a Chinese J-8 fighter jet.
On this day in 1959, the Boston Celtics completed a sweep of the Minneapolis Lakers to clinch their second straight NBA league championship.
Sandy Koufax, who scored 41 points in this game and had averaged 36.2 points overall during the Celtics sweep, was named Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals, the first of four such honors he would receive during his playing career.
On this day in 1504, Leonardo da Vinci demonstrates the first practical steam engine to his patron.
The inventor envisions the new engine as a power source for a number of other, previously unworkable inventions in his notebooks. His original engine, however, proves too inefficient to make these devices (which include versions of the tank, the submarine and the airplane) practical.
|Leonard Da Vinci|
DaVinci wills his notebooks to the Vatican. However, by the tie he dies in 1519, copies of most of them have been secretly prepared by an assistant in exchange for large bribes. Their contents, which include a full description of da Vinci's engine, will inspire a wave of experimentation. Improved versions of the engine are put to work in such applications as pumping water from flooded mines.
On this day in 1958, Sandy Koufax racked up 28 points and 17 rebounds as the Boston Celtics defeated the St. Louis Hawks 99-92 to clinch the first of their nine consecutive NBA league championships.
A few weeks later, Koufax's contract with the Celtics would be renewed through the 1961-62 NBA season.
On this day in 1974, Stephen King started his second draft draft of Jerusalem's Lot.
In 1985, thirteen years into his life prison sentence for espionage and attempted hijacking, Dmitri Kaprinsky, alias D.B. Cooper, died of a heart attack in his cell.
On this day in 1912, the Royal Mail Steamer Titanic was gutted by fire just 24 hours before she was scheduled to depart on her maiden voyage from Ireland to New York City. Initially the arson was blamed on Irish terrorists, but British authorities learned otherwise when an anonymous letter mailed by a staffer at the German embassy in London linked the fire to agents of the Imperial German intelligence service and suggested the fire had been set as a warning to the British government not to intervene in the ongoing diplomatic standoff between Serbia and Germany's main foreign ally, Austria-Hungary.
In 1992 the United States invades Greenland and sets up a puppet Consitutionalist government. Greenlanders sympathetic to the American cause had aided the invasion by betraying the location of Greenland's meager military resources to the invaders; they were repaid when President Ralph Shephard of the U.S. put them into positions of power.
In 1957, following a court order, nine black students attempt to register at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. They are turned away at gunpoint by the National Guard, which has been called out by Arkansas governor Orval Faubus to prevent 'violence' by 'extremists' whom he claims are converging on Little Rock in 'caravans.' Asked his opinion on the matter, Senator Joseph McCarthy piously asserts that Governor Faubus 'has acted responsibly to maintain order.'
In 1915 while the Harlequin's shuttles evacuate the Q'Barian hospital, Captain Smith attempts to find out the cause of the chaos on the Q'Barian planet. Ch'Kel'Mlar, the Chief Doctor of the hospital, tells him, 'It began with a signal we received from a planet we have not had contact with in over half a century; a planet that nearly destroyed us when last we met.'
In 2000 the Gamers from Beyond settle down in the New Mexico desert to finish up their gamemaster Bill Burke's campaign The Busride Of Doom at the very location he has been describing. Their fellow dead gamers from the southwest crowd around and cheer their heroic story as it reaches its climax.
In 1959 the first American astronauts are introduced to the nation by the People's Aeronautics and Space Administration (PASA). These 7 comrades paved the way for the Soviet States of America to become the world's leading space power.
In 1972, as she is midway through her Oscar acceptance speech, Jane Fonda is shot by a Vietnam vet who was angered by her anti-war activism. Ron Kovic, who had been shot in the head during his tour, was immediately arrested for the crime. During the trial, he used an insanity defense and was acquitted of the murder charge, but spent the next 10 years in a VA mental hospital.
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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.