Monday, May 23, 2016

Scorpions in a Bottle: The Britannic Design

Today's section of Scorpions in a Bottle commences chapter 5, on the Britannic Design, the legislation that reshapes Britain's North American colonies into the Confederation of North America.

* * *

While the Four Viceroys were working to restore the authority of the Crown in the Thirteen Colonies, and Greene’s followers were making the Wilderness Walk to Jefferson, the North ministry faced the task of putting the Carlisle proposals into effect. The chief obstacle to North’s efforts was the King himself.

Throughout the American Crisis, King George had been the strongest advocate of using harsh measures to bring the colonists to heel. Lord North had been personally unhappy with the hard line taken against the American colonists, but he had believed it was his duty as leader of the government to defer to the monarch’s wishes. It was only with the outbreak of the Rebellion that it became clear to North that the King’s judgment was faulty, and that it would be necessary to defy the monarch if he hoped to restore the colonies to British rule. [1]

The success of the Carlisle Commission in the face of the King’s displeasure encouraged North trust his own judgment. Despite demands from the King’s allies in Parliament for widespread reprisals against the colonists, North pursued his own policy of reconciliation. In an address before the House of Lords on November 12, 1778, he said, “Mistakes have been made in these chambers, as they have been in Boston and Philadelphia, but it will do little good to dwell on them. Instead, we must seek ways to preserve old institutions, and this will involve a serious reconsideration of the nature of our government, and of its relations with our North American brothers.” [2]

Several members of North’s government, notably Lord Germain, refused to support his “brotherhood policy” and resigned their Cabinet posts. North took advantage of Germain’s departure to bring the Marquess of Rockingham, a noted reconciliationist, into his government as Secretary of State for America. Lord Germain, meanwhile, became the leader of the “King’s friends,” who opposed North’s lenient policies towards the Americans.

Rockingham’s instructions to the Carlisle Commission and the Four Viceroys encouraged them to do everything in their power to “encourage a spirit of Forgiveness in our Friends, and restrain the impulse towards Vengefulness.” Rockingham also instructed that no further rebel leaders should be arrested for treason and sent to London for trial. Since the end of the Rebellion, ten of the most notorious rebels had arrived and were being tried: Hancock, the two Adams cousins, and Robert Treat Paine from Massachusetts; Washington, Jefferson, Henry, and Richard Henry Lee from Virginia; Roger Sherman from Connecticut; and the pamphleteer Thomas Paine from Pennsylvania.

The treason trials had become a cause célèbre among London radicals, as the rebels took the stand to defend their actions. Washington in particular created a favorable impression as he described his evolution from a loyal subject of the Crown to the commander-in-chief of the rebel armies. Thomas Jefferson was able to smuggle a copy of his Apologia out of Newgate prison and it circulated widely among radical circles in spite of efforts by the government to suppress it. [3] In the end, despite the opposition of the radicals, all of the defendants were found guilty. All but Washington, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, were publicly hanged, drawn and quartered in January 1779. [4]

Lord North was forced to navigate a precarious middle path between the radicals, led by John Wilkes, and the reactionaries, led by Lord Germain. The need to oversee the restoration of order in North America, as well as the growing financial crisis in Britain due to the costs of the Rebellion, delayed work on drafting a final settlement for the American colonies. [5] In addition, Rockingham believed that it would be best to allow the passions inflamed by the treason trials to cool.

It was not until the early months of 1780 that the North ministry was able to devote its attention to the North American settlement. On the advice of Rockingham, North invited several American reconciliationists to London to consult on drafting the settlement, including Galloway and Dickinson. As he had proposed at the secret Cabinet meeting of February 1778, North chose Galloway’s Plan of Union as the template for a government for the North American colonies. However, the events of 1775-78 led to significant changes to Galloway’s initial plan.

Fearing that the creation of a single unified government for all thirteen colonies would increase the likelihood of a future second Rebellion, North proposed that three separate governments be established: one for the Southern colonies, one for the Middle colonies, and one for the New England colonies. Each regional confederation of colonies would be governed by a council chosen by the colonial governments for three-year terms and a governor-general appointed by the Crown. On the contentious issue of Parliamentary taxation, North agreed to compromise on the principle of Parliamentary supremacy by granting the councils the power to veto tax bills with a two-thirds supermajority.

Drawing on Franklin’s 1754 Plan of Union, each confederation would have the power to treat with the Indians: making war and peace, and regulating trade and purchases of land. It would also have the power to legislate for the colonies and levy taxes on them. Any legislation passed by a confederation government could be vetoed by Parliament within three years of its passage. Each council would include representatives from the other two confederations, and each would send nonvoting representatives to Parliament.

In order to resolve any issues that might arise between the confederations, there would be an annual meeting of the three councils, during which they would function as a Grand Council for all the colonies. The question of a permanent meeting place for the Grand Council proved to be a difficult one. Philadelphia would have been the logical choice, but the association of the city with the Continental Congress made it unacceptable to the North ministry. Thomas Moffat of Rhode Island suggested New York City, but this was rejected by the Southerners, who were led by John Connolly of Virginia and Robert Wells of South Carolina. Wells’ suggestion that a new capital be built on the Potomac River was rejected by the Northerners.

The issue was resolved by Connolly, who proposed Pittsborough, Pennsylvania as a compromise. Although the city had been founded just 20 years earlier, its location at the forks of the Ohio River made Pittsborough an attractive choice. The Ohio country was already being opened to settlement before the outbreak of the Rebellion, and it was clear that new colonies would soon be planted west of the Appalachian Mountains. It is likely that Connolly’s suggested was also motivated by the fact that he owned considerable land in western Pennsylvania that would gain in value once the North American capital was established there.

Unusually, the bill that the North ministry sent to the Commons for consideration was not given the straightforward descriptive name that was common for Parliamentary legislation at the time. The working title had been the North American Government Act, but at Dickinson’s suggestion the bill was given the name “The Britannic Design.” In the working draft of the Design, the union of colonies was referred to as the Confederations of North America. However, an error in the final draft of the Design left the final S off of Confederations, and this was never corrected. The new colonial union was known thereafter as the Confederation of North America.

The polarized state of opinion in Britain was reflected in the reaction to the Design when details of the legislation reached the public. The May 10, 1780 issue of Lloyd’s Evening Post denounced the Design: “Having expended so much blood and treasure in bringing the rebels to heel, are we now to grant them all they demand short of independence itself?” Lord Germain spoke out against the Design in a speech to the House of Lords, calling it “infamous” and “an insult to the many brave men who gave their lives to preserve our Constitution.”

By contrast, Edmund Burke praised the Design, saying, “Lord North has seen the wisdom of granting a generous peace to the Americans. This act will do more to ensure comity between England and America than a thousand hangings could have done.” The Courant and Westminster Chronicle, which had been highly critical of the North ministry’s handling of the American Crisis, described the Design as “well-conceived to end the troubles which have afflicted relations with the Americans.” [6]

Despite the opposition of Germain and the other allies of the King, it soon became clear that the Design had broad support in both houses. Nevertheless, in the course of the Parliamentary debate on the bill, it underwent several modifications. Most importantly, a number of members, mainly in the House of Lords, feared that the proposed New England confederation would be too likely to rise in rebellion again. Since the middle colonies were regarded as more loyalist, it was decided to combine them with the New England colonies to produce an enlarged Northern Confederation with its capital at New York City. The Southern Confederation would include all the colonies south of Pennsylvania and the Delaware colony, and its capital would be Norfolk, which had been Clinton’s headquarters since the end of the Rebellion.

Sir Guy Carleton, the Governor of Quebec, arrived in London during the debate over the Design. He proposed that his colony should also be included in the Design, to act as a further loyalist counterweight to the rebellious Thirteen Colonies. In order to prevent the Quebec Council from being outvoted by the councils of the other two confederations during Grand Council meetings, it was further decided to create two additional loyalist colonies from the territory of Quebec. The lands of the Ohio country that had been added to the colony by the 1774 Quebec Act were separated, and after some debate were given the name Indiana after the Indians who made up most of its inhabitants at the time. Its capital would be the French settlement of Kaskaskia on the Mississippi River, later renamed Fort Radisson. The lands north and west of Lake Superior were also separated and given the name Manitoba. Due to the lack of white settlers in the proposed Confederation of Manitoba, the western half of Rupert’s Land was also added, over the objections of Hudson’s Bay Company, which held title to the area. To satisfy the Company’s shareholders, it was agreed that the Company would be compensated for any cultivable land that was sold to prospective settlers. Eventually, the eastern half of Rupert’s Land was ceded to Quebec under the same terms. The capital of Manitoba would be the Company headquarters at York Factory on the coast of Hudson Bay, later renamed North City.

Franklin’s original Plan of Union had included an executive called the president-general who would be appointed by the Crown, and whose assent would be required for any legislation passed by the Grand Council. With the number of confederations increased to five, it was decided that a similar executive would be required to oversee annual meetings of the Grand Council in Pittsborough, and to serve as a permanent representative of the British government. With the Four Viceroys in control of the North American colonies, the new executive was named the Viceroy. It was widely expected that Burgoyne would be named to the post, which prompted the King to raise him to the Peerage as Duke of Albany, a name that commemorated his decisive victory in the Rebellion. [7]

Additional minor modifications were made to the Britannic Design to secure passage by Parliament. The confederation councils were limited to no more than twenty members, the supermajority required to veto Parliamentary taxation was increased from two-thirds to three-quarters, and the office of Lieutenant-Viceroy was created. With the final provisions of the Design now fixed, Lord North’s allies in the Commons spent two months maneuvering past the obstructions raised by the King’s allies, gaining final passage on January 9, 1781. A last-ditch effort by Lord Germain to block passage in the Lords was frustrated by Lord Shelburne, and the Britannic Design was sent to the King for his assent on January 23. Rumors filled London that the King would refuse his assent, or even that he might abdicate. Reportedly, it was Lord Germain himself who convinced the King that he would do more harm to the Constitution by his refusal to act than by giving his assent to the Design, and he finally agreed on January 26.

1. Winthrop Wadsworth. King George III and Lord North: The Struggle for the American Soul (London, 1971), pp. 401-12.

2. Henry Collins. Lord North and the Rise of Parliament (New York, 1956), p.98.

3. Warner Jones. In Defense of Liberty: The 1778 Treason Trials (Mexico City, 1966).

4. Governor Theodorick Bland of Virginia, who had served under Washington in the Rebellion, personally interceded to allow him to serve out his sentence under house arrest at his Mount Vernon plantation. Washington remained there until his death in 1793. William Branch Bruce. The Life of Governor Theodorick Bland of Virginia (Norfolk, 1891), pp. 227-29.

5. Since the attempt to raise revenue in the American colonies had provoked the Rebellion, the North ministry gave up on this approach. Instead, it was decided that some of the cost of the Rebellion would be made up by ceding the Floridas back to Spain in return for a payment by the Spanish of £5 million.

6. Sharon Poorman. Designing the Design: Lord North, John Dickinson, and the Drafting of the Britannic Design (New York, 2013).

7. Sir Guy Carleton was named Baron Dorchester at the same time.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Scorpions in a Bottle: The Lafayette Convention

The latest section of Scorpions in a Bottle continues the story of the founding of the state of Jefferson, carrying on from the Settlement of Jefferson. We now look at the circumstances surrounding the Lafayette Convention, in which the settlers draft a written constitution for their new not-quite-state. This section completes chapter 4 of Scorpions, "The Wilderness Walk".

Next up: the Britannic Design!

* * *

As subjects of the King of Spain, the Jeffersonians were in theory under the command of the royally-appointed governor of Tejas, and subject to Spanish law and administration. In practice, Cabello did not insist on strict adherence to Spanish law. Initially, the American exiles were so worn from their arduous two-year journey that Cabello was content to allow them to settle in place and recover from their ordeal. After the Apache War, the Jeffersonian militia was sufficiently large and experienced that Cabello preferred to avoid risking an open break with the new settlers. Martinez Pacheco quietly accepted his bribes and did not disturb the Jeffersonians, while Muñoz was content to allow the status quo to continue. [1]

For their part, the Jeffersonians organized their settlement along the lines they were familiar with from the Thirteen Colonies. Towns had their own councils, and these councils sent delegates to a settlement-wide council headed by Greene. Greene’s council included delegates not only from the American exiles, but also from the French settlers in Lafayette and the Spanish ayuntamiento of Nacogdoches. (Since deliberations in the Jefferson Council were conducted in English, it became customary for delegates from the French and Spanish settlements to be bilingual, a custom that was later carried over into the Mexico City Constitution.) As newer arrivals from the British colonies established their own settlements, these also sent delegates to the Jefferson Council. By 1790, the Jefferson Council had expanded to include 44 delegates from 10 settlements in Spanish Tejas. [2]

Greene’s death in February 1790 brought about a crisis among the Jeffersonians. Since the departure of the original group from Williamsburg ten years before, Greene had been the undisputed leader of the exiles. His death created a power vacuum that various factions within the settlement competed to fill. The most important division among the Jeffersonians was between those settlers who had come from New England and those who had come from Virginia and the Carolinas. The New Englanders tended to be more radical, more committed to the ideals of the Rebellion, more overtly anti-British, and more abolitionist. The Southerners, by contrast, were more moderate, more pragmatic, less anti-British, and more pro-slavery. The Southerners also made up an absolute majority of the Jeffersonians, while the rest of the settlement was divided among New England, Francophone, and Hispanophone minorities who had little in common with one another. [3]

James Madison, although a Virginian by birth, had been a protégé of Jefferson’s during the Rebellion, and he remained strongly committed to his late mentor’s ideals. In the growing disputes among the Jeffersonians, he found himself siding with Hamilton and the New England faction. In his pamphlet “The Tyranny of the Majority”, he warned his fellow Southerners that they risked tearing the fledgling settlement apart if they used their numbers to force their own policies on the other settlers. What was needed, Madison argued, was a written constitution to serve as a blueprint for a government, which would make explicit which powers it exercised, and just as important, which powers it was denied. [4]

Hamilton and Madison agreed that the Jefferson Council, being essentially an ad hoc body assembled haphazardly by the original settlers in the year after their arrival, lacked a mandate for the drafting of a frame of government. Instead, the two men and their allies promoted the idea of a convention called for the specific purpose of drafting a new constitution for the settlement. The selection of Lafayette for the site of the convention, rather than Jefferson City, was intended to emphasize the idea that the new constitution would represent the interests of all the free inhabitants of Jefferson, Catholic as well as Protestant, Francophone and Hispanophone as well as Anglophone.

The convention was called to order on Wednesday, June 19, 1793, and Madison was chosen by the delegates to preside over the meeting. The delegates to the Lafayette Convention were strongly influenced by the late John Adams, who had published a treatise called Thoughts on Government shortly before the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. Adams had advocated for separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and for a bicameral legislature in which a popularly elected lower house would choose the members of an upper house.

Over the course of the next two months, the Lafayette Convention, guided by Madison and Hamilton, created a government for the Jefferson settlement based on Adams’ prescriptions. The various towns and settlements of Jefferson were divided into 42 electoral districts, each with roughly one thousand free inhabitants, which would send one representative to the lower house of the legislature, the Chamber of Representatives, for a term of two years. The Chamber in turn would choose a fifteen-member upper house, the Senate, whose members would serve for five years. All legislation would originate in the Chamber, and would then either be confirmed or vetoed by the Senate.

The most contentious issue facing the Lafayette Convention was the nature of the executive branch. Should the executive be a single man or three men? Should it be chosen by popular vote or by the legislature? Given the factionalized state of the settlement, it was agreed that choosing a single executive would exacerbate tensions, and therefore a three-man executive would be preferable. Madison favored an executive chosen by the legislature, and he was able to sway the convention to his side. The executives, known as governors, would be chosen by the Senate from among the members of the legislative branch, and would serve for a term of five years. A proposal to limit the governors to a set number of terms, either one or two, was opposed by Madison, and again he was able to persuade the convention to vote his way. [5]

The judicial branch would consist of a seven-member High Court, who would serve for life, and who were nominated by the governors and confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

If the machinery of government established at Lafayette seems unnecessarily elaborate for a settlement with only 42,000 free inhabitants, it must be remembered that Jefferson was growing at an extraordinary pace, due to both immigration and natural increase. The delegates to the convention were well aware of the fact that they were creating a government not only for the present, but for an indefinite future that might well see Jefferson expand across North America and become a nation of millions. With that in mind, the delegates at Lafayette added a provision to the constitution allowing for the expansion of the Chamber of Representatives to reflect the results of a decennial census of the settlement. [6]

The delegates dealt with the issue of slavery by not dealing with it at all. The institution was not mentioned at all in the Lafayette Constitution. As it happened, both supporters and opponents of slavery could point to sections of the constitution that they interpreted as giving them the power to either protect or limit the institution should the issue arise in the future. [7]

All of the townships in the Jeffersonian settlement restricted the franchise to male property owners, and this was reflected in the constitution, which established a £5 property requirement for voting in elections to the Chamber of Representatives. Although some modern historians see this as evidence that the Lafayette Constitution was fundamentally undemocratic, it should be remembered that land in Jefferson was so cheap that a household could acquire £5 worth of property within three years of being established. It has been estimated that out of 8,000 free adult males residing in Jefferson in 1793, about 7,500 met the £5 franchise threshold, which made Jefferson the most democratic society in the world at the time. [8]

The delegates to the Lafayette Convention ratified the final draft of the constitution on August 23. A referendum among enfranchised Jeffersonians took place on Tuesday, October 15, with nearly 80% voting their approval. Elections for the Chamber of Representatives were held on Wednesday, December 4, and the winning candidates assembled in Jefferson City on Sunday, January 19, 1794.

The newly-elected Chamber did not include either Madison or Hamilton, both of whom expected to be chosen for the Senate. Their expectations were realized when the Chamber cast its ballots for the Senate, with each Representative offering fifteen names. Although neither man received the votes of all 42 Representatives, Madison finished first with 39 votes, and Hamilton second with 33. When Madison and Hamilton met with their 13 Senate colleagues on January 25, all agreed that they two of them would serve as governors, along with Representative Samuel Johnston of North Carolina, who had been a leading figure in the colony during the Rebellion.

The formation of the new government would soon be tested by the coming of war between Spain and Great Britain. As a consequence of that war, the Jefferson settlement would find itself suddenly thrust upon the world stage.

1. Guerrero. The State of Jefferson.

2. Ibid., pp. 214-17.

3. Dana Wycliff. The Cultural Struggle in Early Jefferson (Mexico City, 1910).
4. James Madison. The Tyranny of the Majority (Jefferson City, 1791).

5. Celia Fernandez. Decision at Lafayette: The Making of the Jefferson Constitution (Jefferson City, 2009).

6. Robert Wymess. Prelude to Greatness: The Jeffersonian Constitution of 1793 (Mexico City, 1970).

7. Collier. The Lost Opportunity, pp. 284-87.

8. William and Edina Geisinger. “Property and Voting Rights in Early Jefferson,” Journal of Jeffersonian History, LXXII (May, 1994), pp. 442-51.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Scorpions in a Bottle: The Settlement of Jefferson

Work on Scorpions in a Bottle continues, in spite of delays occasioned by another bout of vertigo. Today's section carries on the story of the State of Jefferson from the Wilderness Walk. I had to do some actual research for this bit on conditions in Spanish Texas in the 1780s. Fortunately, now that I live in a college town, I have access to the stacks at Penn State's Pattee Library.

* * *

The land the American exiles had chosen as their new home, although sparsely populated, was not an ungoverned wilderness. In the century before the Rebellion, Spanish authorities in Mexico City had become concerned about encroachment from French Louisiana, and had made various attempts to establish missions among the local Indians of Tejas. For the most part, these missionary efforts were unsuccessful. When the French ceded Louisiana to Spain in 1762, the need to maintain a settled presence in Tejas had receded, and most of the Spanish settlers had been concentrated around the new provincial capital of San Antonio, though there were also important settlements at Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga and Nacogdoches. The arrival of some 2,000 American exiles in 1782 effectively doubled the settled population of Tejas.

Given the traditional Spanish hostility to Protestantism, Governor Cabello’s willingness to allow the exiles to settle in his province may seem puzzling. However, it must be remembered that a majority of the arrivals were either French Catholics or high church Anglicans from Virginia and the Carolinas. Hamilton records that Father de Gray requested a dispensation from Cabello for the Americans, emphasizing the cruel treatment they had endured at the hands of the British. It is likely that Cabello was swayed by the palpable hatred most of the exiles exhibited towards the British; he was clearly hoping they would serve as a barrier to British expansion into Mexico (as indeed they ultimately did). [1]

Greene and the settlement’s other leaders made a concerted effort to earn Cabello’s trust. A number of the American settlers converted to Catholicism, most notably James Monroe. Greene sent a letter on Cabello’s behalf to Charles Carroll in Maryland, informing him that Catholic colonists would be welcomed in the new settlement, where they would enjoy complete religious liberty and Cabello’s personal protection. The result was a steady stream of new Catholic settlers from the Thirteen Colonies, as well as from Quebec and Nova Scotia.

The arrival of the American exiles proved opportune in one respect. For some time, the Spanish authorities in Tejas had been growing concerned about the depredations committed by the nomadic Apaches, which had been ongoing for decades. Brigadier Teodoro de Croix, the Commandant General of New Spain’s frontier provinces, had determined that war against the Apaches would be necessary. The arrival of the American exiles, many of them veterans of the North American Rebellion, provided Croix with just the force he was looking for. For his part, Greene saw Croix’s proposed war as an opportunity to prove the value of the new settlers to the Spanish administration. In the spring of 1784, Hamilton led a force of 300 American settlers to serve as auxiliaries in Croix’s Apache War. The war was a success; those Apaches who survived were conquered by the Comanche. [2]

The new settlement, which soon gained the name Jefferson, proved attractive to other Americans. As might be expected, many were former rebels who had been reluctant to take part in the initial hazardous overland trek, but were eager to leave British rule and live among friends where their republican sympathies were welcomed. More surprisingly, some were Loyalists who were unhappy with the final settlement that had been worked out between the British government and the reconciliationists, and who refused to live under the resulting Britannic Design. The settlement also attracted European idealists of various stripes, most notably Albert Gallatin of Geneva. By far, though, the most numerous emigrants were neither rebel nor Loyalist, but were simply land-hungry North American settlers, often younger sons of Southern plantation owners. The latter tended to appear at Henrytown with their own Negro slaves, intent on establishing their own slave plantations in the new settlement.

The appearance of the new Southern slaveowners reignited the issue of slavery in the new settlement. Most of the slaves who had been brought on the original Wilderness Walk had either escaped during and after the journey, or been freed by their masters after the establishment of Jefferson. Hamilton and James Madison spoke out in favor of abolishing slavery altogether. Many Jeffersonians, though, regarded Negroes as inherently inferior and incapable of participating in the new society being established along the Trinity River. They favored maintaining the institution of slavery. As more settlers arrived from the Southern Confederation, this attitude became the majority sentiment in Jefferson. [3]

News of the American settlement in Tejas soon found its way to King Charles III in Spain. Initially, Charles approved of the new settlement, particularly after accounts of the Apache War reached him. However, he became disturbed by the settlement’s quick growth. By 1786, the American population of Tejas had surpassed 10,000, far outnumbering the province’s Spanish population. With the threat posed by the Apaches gone, the settlement was also growing beyond its original grant in the Trinity valley, spreading west to the Brazos and Colorado Rivers, and approaching San Antonio itself. The king issued a proclamation forbidding further entry into Tejas by North Americans. [4]

By the time the new proclamation reached Tejas, Cabello had departed to take up his new appointment as Viceroy of Peru. His successor was Rafael Martinez Pacheco, an overbearing man with a long, troubled history in Tejas. Matters might have reached the breaking point then had not Greene taken advantage of the new governor’s cupidity. A series of bribes persuaded Martinez Pacheco to look the other way while shiploads of new settlers continued to arrive from Charleston and Norfolk. [5] By the time Governor Martinez Pacheco was relieved of his post in 1790, the Jefferson settlement had grown to 20,000 inhabitants (including 4,000 Negro slaves). By then, royal scrutiny of the new settlement had ended. Charles III died in December 1788, and was succeeded by his less-capable son, Charles IV. Charles preferred to leave the administration of the government to a succession of first ministers. Martinez Pacheco’s successor, Lt. Col. Manuel Muñoz, was an elderly man in poor health who was unable to govern Tejas effectively. Between them, King Charles and Govenor Muñoz allowed the Jeffersonians operate with total autonomy. The Jeffersonians took advantage of this benign neglect to craft a new instrument of government for themselves.
1. Nicholas Oldro. Cabello y Robles and the Jeffersonians (Jefferson City, 2010).

2. Bruce Silcox. The Apache War of 1784 (Mexico City, 1932).

3. Baldwin Collier. The Lost Opportunity: Slavery in Jefferson City, 1782-1795 (New York, 1948).

4. Christopher Halling. King Charles III of Spain: An Enlightened Despot (London, 1971), pp. 416-17.

5. Russell Guerrero. The State of Jefferson: 1782-1820 (Jefferson City, 2008), pp. 188-91.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Scorpions in a Bottle: The Hudson Campaign

It's time to do a little backtracking with Scorpions in a Bottle. I began my account of the Hudson Campaign in media res, as it were, with Burgoyne facing disaster in October 1777, just before the timeline's point-of-divergence. The present section is the prequel, showing Burgoyne setting out from Canada in high spirits and certain of victory. With this section done, the third chapter of Scorpions, "The Rebellion Ends", is now complete.

* * *

As the year 1777 dawned, the North ministry found itself facing unexpected difficulties. The campaign in America, initially completely successful, had ended in disappointment. Instead of capturing Philadelphia, and thus ending the Rebellion, Lord North and his ministers heard of the setbacks in Trenton and Princeton. It was recognized that a simple show of force would be insufficient to put down the Rebellion. It would be necessary to employ as much military strategy as a comparable engagement with a European power would merit.

Fortunately for Lord North, the hour had brought forth the man. General John Burgoyne had returned to London several months before the evacuation of Boston, and so was able to bring firsthand knowledge of conditions in America to the North ministry, along with a first-rate military intelligence to analyze the situation and recommend a course of action. Burgoyne recognized that the Americans’ greatest strength, the vast extent of the area under their control, could also be their greatest weakness. Provided that sufficient forces could be brought to bear, the thinly-settled territory could easily be split asunder, and the centers of the Rebellion isolated from each other. Once this was done, the rebellious areas could be overcome piecemeal.

The optimal strategy, as Burgoyne well understood, was to build on the army’s strengths. The strong positions in Canada and New York City provided a ready-made platform from which to seal New England off from the remaining colonies. Burgoyne himself would lead one army south from Quebec, while a second traveled east from the Iroquois country, and Howe led a third north up the Hudson from New York. All three armies would meet at Albany, securing control of New York province and leaving New England isolated. This plan was approved by Lord Germain, and Burgoyne sailed to Canada to take command of an army of some 7,000 men, including regiments of Hessian soldiers, French Canadian militia, and Indian auxiliaries. [1]

General Howe, who had remained in America, also initially favored a pincer attack on Albany, but by the spring of 1777 he had decided instead to carry out an amphibious attack on Philadelphia, leaving Clinton in command of a small force in New York City with orders not to leave the vicinity of the city. Although Lord Germain sent Howe a letter saying he expected Howe to move up the Hudson, Howe chose to regard this as a suggestion rather than an order, and proceeded with his attack on Philadelphia. In June 1777, as Burgoyne was moving his army south down Lake Champlain, Howe was preparing to embark his troops for the move on Philadelphia. Howe finally set sail on July 23, making landfall at the head of Chesapeake Bay on August 24.

Burgoyne was aided by a leadership dispute among the Americans. General Horatio Gates sought command of the Northern Department for himself, and he spent much of 1777 intriguing to replace General Philip Schuyler. The two traded command of the area several times, depriving the rebel forces of consistent leadership. During his periods of command, Gates’ natural indolence left the rebels unprepared in spite of their knowledge of Burgoyne’s impending attack. In late June Burgoyne’s forces easily drove the rebels out of Fort Ticonderoga, at the south end of Lake Champlain.

Once Burgoyne began moving south from Lake Champlain, he found that he had run out of easy victories. For the next four weeks, his men faced a grueling struggle to advance though a wilderness festooned with rebel booby-traps. A detachment of Hessian soldiers was repulsed on a foraging expedition to Bennington, New Hampshire on August 14, losing several hundred men. Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Barry St. Leger’s force, moving east down the Mohawk Valley, was halted at Fort Stanwix and forced to turn back. By September, Burgoyne’s provisions were dwindling, and most of his Indian allies had deserted him.

Had Burgoyne continued to face General Schuyler, all might have been lost. Fortunately, the capture of Fort Ticonderoga allowed Gates to regain command of the rebel army, and once again his indolence proved vital to Burgoyne’s success. After taking command of the rebels, Gates was content to rely on his predecessor’s preparations. They were sufficient to halt Burgoyne, but not to defeat him. [2] An attack by Burgoyne on September 12 ended in stalemate for the two opposing armies. As was often the case in the Hudson campaign, Burgoyne’s chief strength was the weakness of his enemies: a quarrel between Gates and General Benedict Arnold deprived the rebel commander of his most energetic and able subordinate. For the next three weeks, Burgoyne dug in and prepared to receive a rebel counterattack. It was only gradually that Burgoyne realized that Gates had no intention of launching his own attack, and was content to sit and wait at Saratoga while Burgoyne’s army slowly melted away. Burgoyne on October 7 chose to launch another attack on the rebel positions. Had he faced only Gates, the attack would almost certainly have succeeded in dislodging the rebels. Unfortunately for Burgoyne, Arnold had chosen to remain with the rebel army in spite of his quarrel with Gates, and his quick thinking and daring leadership allowed the rebels to repulse Burgoyne’s advance, and even threatened to drive the British army from its fortified redoubts. It was only nightfall, and Arnold’s incapacitation after being wounded in the leg, that prevented a complete rout. [3]

1. Wesley Van Luvender. The Military Thought and Action of John Burgoyne (New York, 1944), pp. 117-23.

2. Robert Sidney. Horatio Gates: The Man Who Lost the Rebellion (New York, 1970), pp. 45-59.

3. Bamford Parkes. Benedict Arnold: The Rebel Genius (New York, 1965), pp. 210-22.

Friday, April 1, 2016

TOP SECRET: It's on for Cleveland!

Those of you who are also on the Soros payroll will doubtless have already received the following instructions with your monthly stipend. However, due to my status within the Organization as a Low-Level Information Source, I have been tasked with disseminating the details of Operation American Splendor to our allies within the New World Order:


1 April 2016

In order to further our long-term goal to eradicate the world's sovereign nations, particularly the United States of America, and establish a One World Government, the following operation (code name AMERICAN SPLENDOR) has been advanced to ACTIVE STATUS. This is a PRIORITY ALPHA operation, meaning that all Organization members not engaged in ALPHA PLUS or higher activities are required to suspend activity and devote all resources to AMERICAN SPLENDOR.

The object of AMERICAN SPLENDOR is to disrupt the Republican National Convention being held in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio from July 18 to 21. This will allow our agents within the Republican National Committee to suspend the convention and appoint former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nominee.

Members of the Organization and allied organizations within the NEW WORLD ORDER taking part in AMERICAN SPLENDOR will take up positions outside the Quicken Loans Arena starting at 8:00 am on the morning of July 18, 2016. Those taking part in AMERICAN SPLENDOR will assume the appearance of gun rights activists protesting the banning of firearms within the Quicken Loans Arena. AMERICAN SPLENDOR participants should carry hand-lettered signs with pro-gun messages (see APPENDIX A for sample sign texts). AMERICAN SPLENDOR participants should also carry loaded firearms, including pistols, machine pistols, single-shot rifles, and semi-automatic rifles. Any Organization members lacking firearms can purchase them at sporting goods stores and gun shops. Members who have criminal records that would prevent them from purchasing weapons at retail outlets that carry out background checks can instead purchase weapons at gun shows (see APPENDIX B for list of gun shows being held between 1 April and 30 June 2016).
AMERICAN SPLENDOR participants should attempt to engage actual pro-gun activists present outside the Quicken Loans Arena to persuade them that the gun ban within the arena is unconstitutional and should be ignored. On the evening of July 19, while the roll call of the states is taking place, AMERICAN SPLENDOR participants and as many actual pro-gun activists as can be persuaded should attempt to storm the Quicken Loans Arena and take up positions on and around the convention floor. AMERICAN SPLENDOR participants will then open fire on convention delegates and members of conservative media outlets (see APPENDIX C for list of approved conservative media targets).

After five minutes of sustained gunfire, AMERICAN SPLENDOR participants will divest themselves of all firearms and pro-gun possessions and assume the identities of convention delegates. While law-enforcement personnel are arresting remaining actual pro-gun activists, AMERICAN SPLENDOR participants will exit the Quicken Loans Arena along with surviving convention delegates, then make their way to pre-arranged rendezvous points in downtown Cleveland hotels (see APPENDIX D for list of rendezvous points). At rendezvous points, AMERICAN SPLENDOR participants will be provided with temporary identity kits and transportation out of Cleveland.

In a separate communication, the Soros Organization has outlined preparations for selected friendly media outlets to respond to Operation American Splendor with calls for a national state of emergency, a ban on pro-gun organizations, and mass arrests of pro-gun activists. The Organization will also be activating a sleeper agent in California to eliminate radio host Alex Jones, who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to detect and expose dozens of previous false-flag operations aimed at eliminating private gun ownership and American sovereignty.

Remember, folks, this is all top secret information. If details of Operation American Splendor become widely known among conservative activists and media outlets, the attempt to disrupt the RNC and make Governor Romney the Republican presidential nominee could suffer complete failure. So, mum's the word!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Scorpions in a Bottle: The Greene Expedition

The latest section of Scorpions in a Bottle follows the former American rebels as they make the dangerous trek from Virginia to Spanish Texas that would later be immortalized as the Wilderness Walk. This section follows on from the account of the Loyalist reaction of 1778-79.

* * *

The southern expedition was more successful. Under the command of Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island, this expedition gathered near Williamsburg in the spring of 1780, intending to travel overland to the province of Tejas in New Spain. Three quarters of its members were from the Southern colonies, and included a number of slaveowners who brought their Negro slaves with them. This led to some friction with members from the northern colonies, who believed that the overland route would be dangerous enough without the added difficulty of keeping watch on hundreds of slaves to prevent their escape en route. Governor Bland attempted to persuade General Clinton to forbid the Greene expedition to remove any Negro slaves from the colonies -- not out of humanitarianism, but for fear that the expedition’s slaves would escape their control and join Marion’s raiders in the western hills. Despite these efforts, the Greene expedition included roughly 500 slaves, along with some 3,000 to 4,000 white colonists. [1]

Greene’s reasons for taking the more difficult overland route, rather than sailing to New Orleans or the mouth of the San Antonio River, were twofold. Firstly, he intended to augment the expedition’s numbers by traveling through the Southern colonies and recruiting disaffected former rebels. Secondly, he hoped to blaze a trail through the wilderness that would allow later settlers to follow him to the new settlement. The first aim proved successful: uncertainty concerning the numbers of the Greene expedition are due mainly to colonists who joined after the departure from Williamsburg, who may have numbered anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 people. The second aim was, on the whole, a failure. The difficulties encountered by Greene’s expedition made the overland route unpopular, and practically all colonial emigration to Tejas after 1782 arrived via ship.

Greene’s original plan would have seen the expedition travel by road from Williamsburg to St. Augustine, Florida before traveling west along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans. However, news of the British government’s decision to cede Florida to Spain forced the expedition’s leaders to revise their plans on the fly, and the decision was made in July to strike west into North Carolina. The expedition reached Kings Mountain, South Carolina, and paused to reorganize, before continuing west. However, by September a combination of unfamiliar terrain and skirmishes with the local Indian tribes made it clear that they would be unable to reach the Gulf Coast by winter, and the expedition turned back to winter in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Setting forth again in April 1781, the Greene expedition was able to travel west after engaging Indian guides among the Cherokee. The expedition struck the Mississippi River in August, then traveled downstream to Baton Rouge, which they reached in early September. The journey was difficult, and almost half the people on the expedition had either turned back, or died from disease. Baton Rouge had been under Spanish rule since the North ministry ceded the Floridas in 1780, and most members of the expedition wanted to settle there permanently. Had they done so, the subsequent history of the North American continent would have been very different. However, the arrival in November of a second party of 800 former rebels, who had traveled by ship from Charles Town, South Carolina, convinced the surviving members of the Greene expedition to press on to Spanish Tejas in the spring. [2]

During their stay in Baton Rouge, the leaders of the Greene expedition came into contact with the Acadians, French settlers from Nova Scotia who had been forced from their homes during and after the Seven Years’ War. Many Acadians feared (presciently, as it proved) that the aggressive, land-hungry British colonists would soon expand into Spanish Louisiana, and they looked with interest on the expedition’s plans to establish a new settlement in Tejas. As a result, when the Greene expedition resumed its journey in April 1782, it was accompanied by some 200 Acadians and other Francophone residents of Louisiana.

For decades, French settlers in Louisiana had engaged in illegal smuggling with Spanish colonists in Tejas. These contacts between French and Spanish colonists proved fortunate for the new arrivals, since it allowed them to establish friendly relations with the Spanish settlers upon their arrival in Tejas in the summer of 1782. Particular assistance was provided by Father Jean Baptistee de Gray, an Acadian priest who had been expelled from Nova Scotia during the Seven Years’ War. With de Gray’s assistance, the exiled Americans were granted permission by Governor Domingo Cabello y Robles to establish several settlements on the Trinity River, including Jefferson City, Arnold, and Henrytown, the latter a port at the mouth of the Trinity River. The Acadians established a separate settlement called Lafayette near the Spanish settlement of Nacogdoches. By November 1782, the new settlements had been well-established, and the American exiles set to work creating a new society in a strange land. [3]

1. In his account of the Greene expedition, Hamilton claimed that the Negro slaves were never meant to be transported to the new settlement, but were supposed to be sold en route to help finance the journey. Farewell to Change, p. 117.

2. Richard Bennett. The First Group: Pioneers in the Wilderness (Mexico City, 1933).

3. Rafael Coronado. 1782: The Founding of Jefferson (Jefferson City, 1982).

Saturday, March 5, 2016

1860 squared

Republican insiders are desperate to keep Donald Trump from becoming their presidential nominee. At the moment, their efforts are focused on keeping Trump from winning an outright majority of delegates. If they succeed, that would put us in the fabled realm of the "brokered convention", where behind-the-scenes dealmaking would allow the Republicans to deny Trump the nomination and award it instead to a mutually agreeable compromise candidate. The model is the 1920 Republican convention, which was deadlocked among several candidates until Warren G. Harding emerged as an acceptable compromise candidate, receiving the nomination.

The trouble with the "brokered convention" scenario is that it doesn't always work. The most notorious example is the 1860 Democratic Convention. In 1860 the slavery issue haunted American politics like a vast, scary, haunty thing. It had already broken up the Whig Party, and now it was the Democrats' turn. At their convention in Charleston in April, proslavery Southern Democrats were adamantly opposed to the frontrunner, Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas, and they successfully blocked his nomination. However, the proslavery faction were not strong enough to put forward a candidate of their own, and neither side could agree on a compromise candidate. After 57 ballots, the convention adjourned without nominating a candidate.

Six weeks later, the Democrats convened again in Baltimore. This time, the proslavery delegates walked out, and the remaining delegates nominated Douglas. The proslavery delegates held their own convention, where they nominated Vice-President John Breckenridge. Thus, there were two different Democratic candidates, splitting the vote and allowing the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln, to win the general election.

Now the Republican establishment is faced with not one, but two outsider insurgent candidates, Trump and Texas Senator Ted "Backpfeifengesicht" Cruz, both of whom are running ahead of their own preferred candidate, Florida Senator Marco "Empty Suit" Rubio. Neither Trump nor Cruz is likely to back down and support an establishment candidate, or each other for that matter. So the Republicans may well find themselves facing their own deadlocked convention.

If we see a repeat of 1860, we could be looking at not two, but three subsequent "rump" conventions. The regular convention reconvenes in Cleveland in August after the Rules Committee has rejiggered the eligibility requirements to ensure a Rubio nomination. Both Trump and Cruz boycott the Cleveland convention and hold their own conventions. The Make America Great Again convention meets in Las Vegas and nominates a Trump-Christie ticket; the Trust in God convention meets in Houston and nominates a Cruz-Huckabee ticket; and the regular convention in Cleveland nominates a Rubio-Kasich ticket.

The result is chaos on an epic scale. Which candidate ends up on which state ballot? It'll be up to each state's Secretary of State whether to put one, two, or all three Republicans on the general election ballot. If Trump isn't on, say, the Pennsylvania ballot, then a lot of Trump supporters will stay home on election day, which would be very bad news for downticket Republicans, especially for incumbent U.S. Senator Pat Toomey's re-election. Multiply that by 50, and you get a nightmare scenario for the Republicans. Losing to Hillary Clinton would be the least of their problems; they might well lose control of both houses of Congress and more state legislative seats than you can shake a short vulgarian finger at.

I'm not saying this is what's going to happen, but I do believe that it might happen, if the Republicans get their "brokered" convention.

Be careful what you wish for.

Sobel Wiki: And Close the Door

This month's featured article at the Sobel Wiki is on the Conservative Party, one of the two original major parties in the Confederation of North America.

In our own history, British politics in the 19th century was dominated by two parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals, both the product of mergers of earlier parties. This has led to the use of "conservative" and "liberal" to describe the dominant political ideologies of modern developed nations. This also influenced the development of political parties in British Commonwealth nations. For instance, when Canada was confederated in 1867, the names and ideologies of the British parties were adopted by Canadian politicians.

Thus, when Sobel described the formation of political parties in the C.N.A. in the early 19th century, they were called the Conservatives and the Liberals. This is actually an anachronism: the name Conservative wasn't adopted in the U.K. until 1834, and Liberal wasn't adopted until 1859. It may be that the names came into use in the Sobel Timeline Britain around the same time as they did in the C.N.A. Sobel mentions a Liberal government in Britain falling in 1835 and being replaced by a Reform-Conservative coalition. It appears that the economic shock of the late 1830s disrupted British politics to the point where these names fell out of use, and the older names Whig and Tory were revived. British politics in the Sobel Timeline was still dominated by the Whig and Tory Parties in the 20th century.

As for the C.N.A.'s Conservative Party, it and its rival Liberal Party appear as separate confederation-level parties in the 1810s and 1820s, during the period of the First Britannic Design, when the C.N.A. is a loose collection of semi-autonomous British dominions. The same economic shock that disrupts the British party system in the late 1830s unleashes various forms of chaos on the confederations of North America. It is in response to this chaos that the North American parties lead the push for political centralization that results in the Second Britannic Design of 1842.

Under the first forty years of the Second Design, the Conservatives and Liberals take turns controlling the new national government, both becoming corrupt. The corrupt equilibrium is upset in the late 1860s when the Conservatives push through electoral reforms expanding the franchise and reapportioning Grand Council seats. The reforms are meant to solidify Conservative rule, but they end up allowing a populist third party, the People's Coalition, to appear and flourish. The Coalition's gains come, ironically, at the expense of the Conservatives -- by 1883 the Coalition has displaced the Conservative Party as the official opposition, and by 1893 the Conservatives have ceased to play a role in national politics. By 1903 the party has dwindled to the point where it can no longer nominate a candidate for governor-general, and it effectively shuts down.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Schrödinger's vulgarian

Aficionados of quantum mechanics will be familiar with the paradox of Schrödinger's cat, which was posed by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. Since one version of quantum mechanics holds that different outcomes of a quantum event exist simultaneously until the event is observed from outside, Schrödinger pointed out that a cat in a box whose life depended on such a quantum event would be simultaneously alive and dead, until somebody opened up the box and looked inside.

Now consider Donald J. Trump, short-fingered vulgarian and Republican presidential candidate. Trump has been leading polls among Republican voters for the last six months, has won the last three Republican primary contests, and currently has 82 pledged delegates to his name, more than all the other Republican candidates combined. As Trump's chances of winning the Republican primary increase, two possible futures are coming into existence, depending on whether or not he wins the general election in November.

In the Trump-wins outcome, he is remaking the GOP into a right-wing populist party along the lines of Marine Le Pen's National Front and Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom. In this outcome, Trump is a transformative figure, the Franklin Roosevelt of the Right, harnessing the widespread xenophobia of the American electorate to creat a national-populist majority, and altering the contours of the American political system.

In the Trump-loses outcome, he is destroying the GOP by pandering to an extremist xenophobic minority. In this outcome, Trump's extremism leaves downticket Republicans with the equally unattractive choices of either embracing his radical xenophobia, or trying to distance themselves from it, either of which would alienate an important Republican voting bloc and risk handing hundreds of Federal, state, and local elections to the Democrats.

Eight months out from the general election, it's impossible to know which outcome to expect when Trump faces off against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Will Trump end up steamrolling Clinton as he has all of his Republican opponents, or will his tactic of out-crazying his opponents fail against a candidate who doesn't have to be crazy to win votes? One can make a case for both outcomes, and we won't know for certain until November 8 rolls around and the nation actually votes.

In the meantime, Trump the Transformer and Trump the Destroyer co-exist in the person of the blustering candidate. Only time will tell which one we're currently watching.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Scorpions in a Bottle

Those of you who are not long-time readers of the Johnny Pez blog may be wondering: "What is this Scorpions in a Bottle of which you speak?

Basically, it's a project I embarked on some time ago to write a sequel to Robert Sobel's classic work of alternate history, For Want of a Nail ... Sobel wrote his book back in 1971, and the alternate timeline he created ends there. I felt that there was a crying need to extend Sobel's timeline to the early 21st century, so that's what I'm doing.

"But Johnny," you may be saying, "you can't write a continuation of someone else's work just like that. It's under copyright. You'd need permission from Sobel's estate." True. That's why I contacted Sobel's estate and secured their permission. I am fully authorized to write and publish a sequel, which I have tentatively decided to call Scorpions in a Bottle, which was Sobel's original title for his book. Having accomplished this, only two obstacles remain before me: actually writing it, and finding an actual publisher.

The writing is ongoing, and I've posted written sections of Scorpions in a Bottle on this blog. This particular post will serve as a sort of running tally of what bits I've written so far, and an outline of what remains to be done.

Here's what I've done so far (with links, because blog):

Prologue: The Albany Congress
1. The American Crisis
2. Outbreak of Rebellion
3. The Rebellion Ends
   A. The Hudson Campaign
   B. The Battle of Saratoga-Albany
   C. Joseph Galloway
   D. The Carlilse Commission
   E. The Restoration
4. The Wilderness Walk
   A. The Loyalist Reaction
   B. The Greene Expedition
   C. The Settlement of Jefferson
   D. The Lafayette Convention
5. The Britannic Design
   A. Drafting the Design
6. The Dickinson Era
7. The Trans-Oceanic War
8. The Conquest of Mexico
9. The Jackson Era
10. The Rise of the Parties
11. The Crisis Years
12. Mexico in Transition
   A. John Mason
   B. Miguel Huddleston
   C. The Rise of Pedro Hermión
   D. The Henrytown Convention
13. The Rocky Mountain War
14. The Kramer Associates
   A. Bernard Kramer
   B. The Guatemala Canal
   C. Omar Kinkaid
15. The Era of Faceless Men
16. The Fall of the Republic
17. The People's Coalition
   A. The Norfolk Convention
   B. Woman Suffrage

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Scorpions in a Bottle: The Loyalist reaction

The last excerpt from Scorpions in a Bottle marks the end of the chapter on the British victory over the Americans. We continue on from there to describe the Loyalist reaction, which Sobel notes included the lynching of "some one thousand" former rebels in 1778-79. I provide a few details of that dark time here:

* * *

It seems to be a law of nature that a people suffering oppression will respond to liberation by oppressing their former tormentors. For three years, Loyalists in the American colonies had been subjected to various forms of harassment by supporters of the Rebellion. Now that their own side was ascendant, they took advantage of the reversal of fortune to revenge themselves in kind for the slights they had suffered.

The most notorious instances took place in Virginia. As soon as General Clinton established his military headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, in September 1778, he was besieged by Lord Dunmore, the colony’s Royal Governor, demanding that he be reinstated. Lord Dunmore had been forced to flee Virginia in 1775 after issuing a proclamation declaring martial law and offering freedom to any slave who deserted a rebel master. He had left for Britain in 1776, but with the restoration of British rule to the colonies he returned. The Ministry had continued to issue Dunmore his salary as Royal Governor of Virginia during his sojourn in Britain, and he was finally able to prevail upon Clinton to restore him to power in the colony, supplanting Governor Pendleton.

Clinton had ordered the arrest of several prominent rebels, including Washington, Jefferson, and Henry, and they had been sent to London to face charges of treason against the Crown. Dunmore was not satisfied with these limited measures. He was determined, he said, “to see treason extirpated root and branch from this country.” Although Clinton prevented Dunmore from carrying out mass arrests of former rebels, the governor was later accused of encouraging lynch mobs that killed at least 600 men who had served on Committees of Correspondence and Safety and in the Continental Army. Some former Continentals began organizing their own militia to fend off the lynch mobs, and clashes between the two groups threatened to develop into civil war. At the behest of Bland and other moderates, Clinton finally removed Dunmore from office, appointing Bland in his place.

By then, however, the rebel militia had become too powerful to disarm, and too distrustful of British rule to disband. They found a leader in Francis Marion, a South Carolinian who had fought against the Cherokee during the French and Indian War and received a captain’s commission in the Continental Army. Apart from a battle with the Royal Navy in June 1776, Marion had seen no action during the Rebellion. However, his commission in the rebel army resulted in his arrest after the restoration of British rule, and the forfeiture of his property. After escaping a lynch mob in November 1778, Marion fled to Virginia, where he soon joined the rebel militia being organized against Dunmore. Marion’s experience fighting the Cherokee allowed him to successfully ambush several lynch mobs, and the militiamen elected him their general early in 1779. When Clinton sent his own troops to put down Marion’s militia, they withdrew into the Virginia and Carolina backcountry. For the next 25 years, Marion’s men eluded capture while carrying out raids against prominent supporters of British rule. [1]

Similar incidents of lesser severity occurred in the other twelve colonies. These served to convince many former rebels that they could expect nothing but further harassment from their fellow Americans, and that their only hope for a decent life was to leave the American colonies. Hamilton later wrote, “The nature of man is to seek revenge for real and imagined wrongs. Reluctantly, then, we must move on. To stay here is, unfortunately, unthinkable.” [2]

By 1780, Hamilton, Arnold, and various other leading former rebels had organized two expeditions. The northern expedition, led by Artemas Ward, set out from Pittsborough in March and traveled down the Ohio River to the settlement of Kaskaskia (later Fort Radisson) on the Mississippi. At this point, Ward chose to cross the Mississippi and travel overland to the west, rather than sail upstream to the former French settlement of St. Louis. Nothing further is known of Ward’s expedition; no word from any member ever reached the British colonies. [3]

1. Sir Douglas Carlisle. The Four Viceroys: Burgoyne, Carlton, Howe, and Clinton (New York, 1967), pp. 43-58.

2. Hamilton, Farewell to Change, p. 98.

3. The mystery of the fate of the Ward expedition has become a perennial subject of speculation, similar to that of the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke. As early as 1797, during the conquest of Spanish Louisiana, some of the men in General Edward Curtis’s army sought for evidence of the expedition’s fate, but in vain. Most likely, the expedition was slaughtered by hostile Indians before it was able to establish a permanent settlement. The most thorough account of the expedition itself, and the efforts to locate it, is Angela Ott. The Ward Expedition: History and Myth (New York, 2007).

Monday, February 15, 2016

Scorpions in a Bottle: Back to normal

In For Want of a Nail, Sobel shows the American Revolution ending in June 1778 with the Continental Congress agreeing to return the Thirteen States to British rule. And then ...

That's basically it. The next thing you know, almost all the American armies have surrendered to the British, and the Thirteen Colonies are under martial law while everybody waits for Parliament to come up with a permanent settlement. How did thirteen separate revolutionary governments each decide to surrender power and accept subordination? We never find out.

Clearly, this is a matter that needs explaining in my sequel to Sobel, Scorpions in a Bottle. This is what I came up with:

* * *

(this section carries on from the Carlisle Commission section)

With the Rebellion at an end, and the American colonies once more restored to British rule, Galloway held that the Congress had completed its task, and adjourned the body. As direct representatives of the North ministry, the members of the Carlisle Commission found themselves acting as a de facto government for the colonies. The commissioners established themselves in Philadelphia, and in consultation with General Howe, directed the restoration of the ministry’s authority. [1]

Reconciliationist regimes had been established in the Southern colonies, including Maryland and Delaware. In the middle colonies of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, the British Army had succeeded in establishing civil authority in the areas they controlled. However, the story was a different one in the New England colonies, where the Rebellion had begun, and where opposition to the return to British rule was strongest.

Burgoyne’s victory at Saratoga-Albany had broken the spirit of the New England militia serving under Gates. These men had returned to their farms and villages, bringing with them tales of Gates’ incompetence and the fecklessness of the Congress. Benedict Arnold, probably the most able rebel military commander in New England, might have been able to rally the New England rebels to continue their resistance had he been able. Arnold, however, had suffered a serious injury at the Battle of Freeman’s Farm, and was recuperating in isolation at his home in Connecticut. With him gone, there was nobody in a position to counter the growing sense of despair among the New England rebels. [2]

At the behest of Galloway and the Carlisle Commission, Dickinson agreed to serve as an envoy to the rebel government in Boston. Dickinson found the city in turmoil, as mobs championing different rebel factions fought in the streets. The city’s leading merchants, fearing the loss of all order, agreed to Dickinson’s proposal for a regiment of British soldiers to be stationed in the city. [3] The Carlisle Commission assigned Howe himself to the command, and on October 17, 1778, two and a half years after their withdrawal, the British Army returned to Boston. Once order had been restored, Howe appointed Elbridge Gerry, by now a leading Massachusetts reconciliationist, as head of the colonial government. [4] Over the course of the next year, Howe was able to use similar measures to bring the other three New England colonies under his authority. With Howe in control of New England, Burgoyne in charge of the middle colonies, and Clinton in the South, the era of the Four Viceroys had begun. [5]


1. Henderson Bundy. The Carlisle Commission (New York, 2005), pp. 78-95.

2. Bamford Parkes. Benedict Arnold: The Rebel Genius (New York, 1965), pp. 217-25.

3. Lord Henry Hawkes. Peace and Victory: The Last Stage of the American Rebellion (London, 1884), pp. 623-35.

4. Robert MacKreith. Lord Howe and the Rebellion (New York, 1965), pp. 303-14.

5. Sir Guy Carleton, Governor of Quebec, is considered the fourth Viceroy, although he did not share in the task of pacification of the rebellious colonies.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

You know you should be glad

The Johnny Pez blog now presents the Beatles performing "She Loves You" live at the ABC Theatre in Ardwick, Manchester on November 20, 1963.

Because Beatles.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Iowa never happened

For the last year, the Iowa caucuses have dominated the political discourse in the United States. Presidential candidates from both major parties have poured money and manpower into the state, and traveled there time after time to pay homage to the awesome power of the Iowa State Fair Butter Cow.

And the result? Both major parties ended up with basically tie votes. Clinton and Sanders were so close that several contests had to be decided by coin tosses. On the GOP side, Cruz, Trump, and Rubio all finished in the low-to-mid 20% range. The arcane caucus rules make it impossible to predict precisely which candidates will come to the conventions with how many pledged delegates, but right now it looks like the two Democratic candidates will wind up with 22 each (plus or minus 1), and the three Republican candidates will all wind up with 7 each (plus or minus 1).

So, as far as determining which candidate will win the nomination in each race, the whole long, complicated Iowa caucus might as well have never happened.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Invisible Man VI: The Furniture That Went Mad

As we pick up the story of The Invisible Man in chapter VI, "The Furniture That Went Mad", it's still the morning of Whit Monday, following the bizarre burglary of the vicarage. The Halls are up with the sun, seeing to the brewing of the Coach and Horses' beer supply in the inn's cellar. Mrs. Hall realizes that she forgot her supply of sarsaparilla, and she sends her husband upstairs to fetch it. On his way to get the bottle, Mr. Hall notices that the inn's front door has been unbolted, and that the stranger's door is ajar. He enters, and finds the room unoccupied, as he had expected. He is surprised to find that all of the stranger's clothing is scattered around the room.

Mr. Hall, (whose first name, we learn, is George), runs down to the cellar to get his wife (whose name, we also learn, is Janny). As they return up the cellar stairs, they hear the faint sound of the front door opening and closing. On the hall stairs, each hears a sneeze, but each assumes it was the other. The enter the stranger's bedroom, and note that the bed is cold, and hence hasn't been slept in for at least an hour.

As the two stare around at the room, the blanket suddenly rises up from the bed and leaps over the foot, exactly as if an invisible hand had picked it up and thrown it. The stranger's hat then levitates off the bedpost and flies at Janny Hall. This is followed by the chair rising off the floor and attacking her, driving her from the room. The door to the stranger's room slams shut and locks.

Janny Hall immediately draws the obvious conclusion: the stranger has used magic to bewitch the room's furniture. The Halls are joined by Millie the Maid, and the three retreat downstairs, and help to revive Janny's frazzled nerves by, as Wells puts it, "applying the restoratives customary in such cases."

The Halls send Millie across the street to Mr. Sandy Wadgers, the village blacksmith, to consult with him on how to deal with ensorceled furniture. Mr. Wadgers agrees that they are dealing with witchcraft, and recommends the use of an iron horseshoe. The four are joined by Huxter the tobacconist and his apprentice, and the six continue discussing the matter until the door to the stranger's bedroom opens, and he emerges, clad as usual in goggles and bandages. The stranger stops to address the assembled villagers. "Look there!" he commands with a pointed finger. They all look and see the bottle of sarsaparilla standing neglected by the cellar door. The stranger then enters the parlour and slams the door in their faces.

Mr. Wadgers recommends that Mr. Hall confront the stranger and demand an explanation. When Mr. Hall does so (after some time spent working up his nerve), the stranger barks, "Go to the devil! And shut that door after you!"

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Invisible Man V: The Burglary at the Vicarage

We take up the story of The Invisible Man with chapter V, "The Burglary at the Vicarage". A vicarage, btw, is the residence of the vicar, the local Anglican parish priest. The vicarage belongs to the local parish of the Church of England, and the vicar and his family (if he has one) live there during his tenure as parish priest.

We met the Vicar of Iping, the Reverend Mr. Bunting, in chapter IV, when the village doctor, Mr. Cuss, had his curious interview with the mysterious boarder at the Coach and Horses Inn. Wells records that the vicar's only reaction to Mr. Cuss's peculiar tale was "It's a most remarkable story. It's really a most remarkable story."

Our story resumes in the early hours of Whit Monday, the day after Pentacost, known in England as Whitsunday. In 1896, the leap year in which The Invisible Man seems to take place,  Whit Monday falls on May 25. This would be a few days after Mr. Cuss's interview with the stranger.

The Rev. Mr. Bunting and his wife are asleep, when Mrs. Bunting is awakened by the sound of their bedroom door opening and closing. She hears the sound of bare feet creeping along the hall outside their room, and she wakes her husband. He does not light a candle, but instead puts on his glasses and a dressing gown and slippers in the dark and slips out of their room. He hears someone in his study downstairs, along with a violent sneeze. Having confirmed that someone has broken into their house, he returns to the bedroom, grabs the poker from the fireplace, and heads downstairs. His wife follows him, but remains for the moment at the top of the landing.

As the Rev. Mr. Bunting makes his way downstairs, he hears the snap of a desk drawer's lock being forced, the drawer opening, the rustle of papers being moved, a muttered curse, and the sound of a match being struck and a candle lit. When the Rev. Mr. Bunting reaches the bottom of the stairs, he can see into his study. He can see the desk with the open drawer and the candle resting on it, but not the burglar.

As the Rev. Mr. Bunting stands indecisively in the hall, his wife joins him. Then he hears the sounds of gold coins clinking. The burglar (wherever he is) has found the household cash: five gold half sovereigns. This the vicar cannot allow, and he rushes into the room and yells "Surrender!"

The room is empty, yet the vicar and his wife are certain they can hear someone inside. The search the room, but can find nobody there. The couple stand there befuddled until they hear a sneeze out in the passageway. They rush out, carrying the candle, and hear the kitchen door slam shut. The vicar opens it, and through the kitchen he sees through the scullery that the back door has opened. They can see the garden beyond the back door in the dawn's early light, but no burglar.

The couple close the back door and thoroughly search kitchen, scullery, and cellar, but they are alone in the house. Sunrise finds them still standing on the ground floor of the vicarage, utterly perplexed.