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!