Little Bits of History

July 27

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 27, 2017

1816: The Battle of Negro Fort is fought. During the War of 1812, the British established a fort on Prospect Bluff along the Spanish side of the Apalachicola River. The British Royal Marines were partnered with several hundred African-Americans, many freedmen. They comprised a total of four infantry companies. After the War, the British paid off the Colonial Marines and withdrew from the post. The African-Americans stayed and the fort was known as Negro Fort. By 1816, the Fort was a refuge for escaped slaved from Pensacola and Georgia and there were about 800 freedmen and women living there who werefriendly with the natives of the area.

The US built Fort Scott on the Flint River for use by their Army. Andrew Jackson decided to use the river to move goods through the Apalachicola, Spanish territory. He hoped to avoid involving Spain in his plans. During one of these resupply mission, two gunboats stopped near Negro Fort and sailors disembarked in order to refill canteens. They were attacked and all but one American was killed. In response, Jackson asked for permission to attack the fort. He was given permission to do so. This day’s battle along with Jackson’s eventual takeover of Florida were seen as national “self-defense” by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams.

Jackson with his Creek allies brought two gunboats to Negro Fort. These were manned by 100 infantry and another 150 soldiers came over land. Master Loomis was in charge of the two gunboats and moved them upriver for a siege bombardment. There were at least 200 freedmen armed with ten cannons and many muskets. They were allied with the Seminole and Choctaw warriors under their own chief. General Gainse requested a surrender and Garson, the leader of Negro Fort, refused. Garson claimed the British military had commanded him to hold the fort at any cost. The Americans believed the Fort to be heavily defended.

Between five and nine rounds were fired from the gunboats to check for range. The first hot shot (heated shot used to start a fire at the landing site) cannonball was fired by US Navy Gunboat No. 154. The shot entered the fort’s powder magazine and exploded, destroying the entire post. Almost all the occupants were killed or wounded and it is the single deadliest cannonball shot in US history. The ground troops charged into the fray and captured the surviving defenders. Garson survived and was executed by firing squad for a prior attack. The Choctaw Chief was handed over to the Creeks who killed and scalped him. This was the first major engagement of the Seminole Wars and Jackson’s Conquest of Florida.

Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe that people make their own luck by great preparation and good strategy. – Jack Canfield

I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Vincent van Gogh

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 27, 2015
Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh

July 27, 1890: Vincent Willem van Gogh shoots himself in the chest. He was born in Zundert, Netherlands in 1853 and was a major Post-Impressionist painter of far-reaching influence. He drew as a child but did not start painting until his late twenties and still produced an oeuvre of far reaching depth and breadth, including portraits (including self portraits), landscapes, and still lifes.  He produced over 2,100 artworks including 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches, and prints. He was born into a middle class family and as a young man worked for art dealers which allowed him to travel extensively. He then worked as a missionary and during that time began to sketch people. He moved to Paris and then to the south of France. His paintings became more vivid with bright, cheerful colors as he succumbed to anxiety and depression.

In December 1888, van Gogh cut off his ear and presented it to a barmaid. He was found the next morning in his room, seemingly in very ill health and was taken to the hospital. By 1889, his mental health had deteriorated to such an extent that a public petition led to his being committed in a hospital. By March, with his health improved, he was almost able to travel to his brother’s wedding but at the last moment, instead requested to be confined in an asylum. Theo van Gogh tried to persuade his brother to stay with friends, but finally relented, even paying the fees for the asylum. He was discharged in May 1890 and stayed with his brother and sister-in-law before going to Auvers-sur-Oise, a commune of artists north of Paris, to live at one of the local inns.

In Auvers, his health was not improving and his letters to his brother were filled with dread in early May. But by the end of the month, he reported that he was doing much better. His letters through June were optimistic. But by the middle of July, he was reporting illnesses again. Theo noticed the downturn in the tone of the letters and wrote letters of encouragement. On July 23, Vincent wrote about a revived interest in painting. On this day, van Gogh left after breakfast and still had not returned home by dusk. As darkness fell around 9 PM, he returned to his home holding his stomach. He was asked if he was all right, but clutching himself, he climbed the steps to his bedroom. Groans brought others to his bedside where he claimed he had tried to kill himself.

The wound was attended to but there was no surgeon available. The bullet which had missed any vital organs, remained lodged near van Gogh’s spine. The gun was never found and it is unclear even where van Gogh was when he shot himself. His brother arrived the next day as soon as he was informed of the event. While Vincent survived the initial shooting, he could not survive the infection which followed. He died at 1.30 AM on July 29 at the age of 37. There is some supposition that van Gogh did not fire the gun and it was an accidental shooting by a young boy. Modern day psychologists have tried to diagnose van Gogh and give a name to his illness and they have not reached a consensus.

I am giving my canvases my undivided attention. I am trying to do as well as certain painters whom I have greatly loved and admired. – Vincent van Gogh, July 23, 1890 letter to Theo

I tried to kill myself. – Vincent van Gogh

My body is mine and I am free to do what I want with it. Do not accuse anybody, it is I that wished to commit suicide. – Vincent van Gogh, when questioned by police about the shooting

The sadness will last forever. – Vincent van Gogh’s last words

Also on this day: What’s up Doc? – In 1940, Bugs Bunny made it to the silver screen.
Reign of Terror – In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre was arrested.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – In 1586, Sir Walter Raleigh brought tobacco to England.
Olympic Bomb – In 1996, a bomb went off at the Atlanta Summer Olympics.
Bank of England – In 1694, the bank was established.

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Bank of England

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 27, 2014
Bank of England

Bank of England

July 27, 1694: The Bank of England receives a Royal Charter. In 1690, France steamrolled over England with the naval battles proving to be England’s downfall. She desperately needed to rebuild her navy. King William III’s government was unable to borrow funds but needed £1.2 million (at 8% interest). To get funds, subscriptions were incorporated by the name of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England (its official name). The bank was given exclusive rights to the government’s balances and was the only limited-liability corporation permitted to issue bank notes. Lenders gave the government cash (bullion) and were issued notes against the government bonds, which could be lent again. The monies were raised in twelve days and half was used to rebuild the navy.

With all the construction, supplying businesses sprang up – from nail making to agriculture needed to feed the new sailors. The nave quadrupled in size and an industrial boom fueled the economy. All this led to increased power at home and eventually to a global naval presence. The bank was the brainchild of William Paterso who put forth the idea three years earlier. Nothing was done until Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax resurrected the idea. The Royal Charter was granted on this day with the passage of the Tonnage Act 1694. The first governor of the bank was Sir John Houblon. The charter was renewed in 1742, 1764, and 1781.

The bank was originally located in Walbrook, in the City of London but moved to Threadneedle Street in 1734. During the 1700s, the idea of a National Debt came into play and this was also managed by the Bank. The gold standard was upheld until February 27, 1797 when war debts climbed and the nation’s gold reserves were so meager that the bank was not permitted to pay out gold. That lasted until 1821. Another crisis took place in 1780 when rioters in London attempted to storm the building. Every night – until 1973 – a detachment of soldiers patrolled the perimeters to protect the nation’s supply of gold.

Today the Bank of England is an independent public organization owned entirely by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the government. They are one of eight banks authorized to issue banknotes in the United Kingdom. They have a monopoly on issuing banknotes in England and Wales and regulate the commercial banks of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee does what their name implies but works with both the Treasury and Parliament. Mark Carney is the current governor and has been since July 1, 2013. He is Canadian and will serve an initial five year term rather than the normal eight years. He is seeking UK citizenship. He is the first non-British person to hold the post. The bank has reserves of £403,003,000,000. The British pound sterling is used throughout the UK and in nine British territories.

At the heart of banking is a suicidal strategy. Banks take money from the public or each other on call, skim it for their own reward and then lock the rest up in volatile, insecure and illiquid loans that at times they cannot redeem without public aid. – James Buchan

I have always been afraid of banks. – Andrew Jackson

The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks. – Lord Acton

The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. – John Kenneth Galbraith

Also on this day: What’s up Doc? – In 1940, Bugs Bunny made it to the silver screen.
Reign of Terror – In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre was arrested.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – In 1586, Sir Walter Raleigh brings tobacco to England.
Olympic Bomb – In 1996, a bomb goes off at the Atlanta Summer Olympics.

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Reign of Terror

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 27, 2013
Maximilien Robespierre

Maximilien Robespierre

July 27, 1794: Maximilien Robespierre is arrested. The French Revolution (1789-1799) took France from an absolute monarchy to a form of government based on citizen rights. The Revolution led to the Reign of Terror and later brought about changes throughout Europe. France went from monarchy, to republic, to a return to a constitutional monarchy, and two empires. Finally she emerged as modern day France – a republic headed by a President who appoints a Prime Minister. There is also a bicameral National Assembly.

On September 5, 1793 the period known as the Reign of Terror began. Fifteen months after the Revolution started, disagreements over leadership arose. Both the Girondins and the Jacobins wished to control France. Girondins were a political faction with shared ideals rather than a true political party. Jacobins were also united by principles, only more “left wing” since they sat on the left side of the Parliament Hall. They slowly amassed power and the initial support of the citizens of France.

Robespierre was born in 1758 to a dysfunctional family. He was a gifted student and studied law. He was granted a judgeship in 1782 when he was just 23 years old. He renounced his role as judge after refusing to pronounce the death penalty. He returned to the practice of law representing the poor. He believed in representative government and was sent to Paris. There he joined the Jacobin Club. He vehemently opposed the Austrian War. King Louis XVI was executed and Robespierre rose in power in the National Convention.

With the king’s death, the country was thrown into chaos. Robespierre attempted to root out the enemy within Paris. There is no accurate count of the number of enemies Robespierre found. Guillotine executions were in the thousands with numbers from 17,000 to 40,000 cited. Even within the Jacobins, there were disagreements and as power shifted once again, Robespierre was arrested. During the struggle to detain him, he was shot in the jaw (it may have been a suicide attempt). He did not have long to suffer. He, himself, was under the guillotine blade the following day. He was 36.

“To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is cruelty.”

“This is no trial; Louis is not a prisoner at the bar; you are not judges; you are – you cannot but be – statesmen, and the representatives of the nation. You have not to pass sentence for or against a single man, but you have to take a resolution on a question of the public safety, and to decide a question of national foresight. It is with regret that I pronounce, the fatal truth: Louis ought to perish rather than a hundred thousand virtuous citizens; Louis must die, so that the country may live.”

“Terror is only justice: prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country.”

“Crime butchers innocence to secure a throne, and innocence struggles with all its might against the attempts of crime.” – all from Maximilien Robespierre

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: On October 10, 1789 Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin offered the following six articles for consideration at the National Assembly. 1. All offenses of the same kind would receive the same punishment regardless of the rank or status of the offender. 2. All death penalty sentences would be carried out by decapitation. 3. The guilty party’s family should not be discriminated against or tainted by guilt. 4. Only judges could publicly reprimand. 5. The condemned person’s property should not be confiscated. 6. The body of the condemned should be given to the family (upon request) to be buried and no reference to the nature of death should be registered. The guillotine was not the doctor’s invention, rather it was created by a committee headed by Antoine Louis. Death was supposed to be quick and relatively painless. Guillotin was embarrassed by his name being associated with the device and tried to get the device called something else.

Also on this day: What’s up Doc? – In 1940, Bugs Bunny made it to the silver screen.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – In 1586, Sir Walter Raleigh brings tobacco to England.
Olympic Bomb – In 1996, a bomb goes off at the Atlanta Summer Olympics.

Olympic Bomb

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 27, 2012

Eric Robert Rudolph

July 27, 1996: A pipe bomb explodes. Olympic Games are awarded to cities around the world. There are summer and winter games to be hosted. The 1996 Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia. Part of the city’s preparations for the event was to build the complex needed to host the world’s best athletes. Part of the building included the Centennial Olympic Park as the “town square” of the Olympics. The square was used as a meeting place and as a venue for entertainment of the crowds not actively watching sporting events.

On this night, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack were playing for thousands of spectators. At some point after midnight, a US military ALICE pack or field pack was planted under a bench near the sound tower. It contained three pipe bombs surrounded by nails and with a steel plate as a directional device. The bombs were made of nitroglycerine dynamite and used an alarm clock and Rubbermaid containers. The bag was found by security guard Richard Jewell who immediately alerted others. The area was being cleared when the bomb exploded at 1:20 AM. Fortunately, it had tipped over and there was less damage than might have occurred. Alice Hawthorne was killed when she was struck in the head with a nail. Turkish cameraman Melih Uzonyol died of a heart attack as he raced toward the scene to report on it.

President Bill Clinton claimed it was an “evil act of terror” and vowed to catch the perpetrator. Jewell was named as a person of interest and was tried and found guilty in the press. He was harassed and followed about during his daily life. He was also investigated by the FBI who found him innocent. He was eventually exonerated and sued NBC News, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Piedmont College (his former employer). He won his cases but saw little financial gain with most of the money going to lawyers or taxes.

There were no further suspects. In the following year, two more bombings of a similar nature took place around Atlanta. One was an abortion clinic and the second was a lesbian nightclub. When another abortion clinic was bombed, critical evidence came to light. Finally Eric Robert Rudolph was named as a suspect, but he had fled to the Appalachian Mountains. On May 5, 1998 he was listed as one of America’s ten most wanted. He was finally arrested on May 31, 2003 in Murphy, North Carolina. On April 8, 2005 he pled guilty to all four bombings.

We will spare no effort to find out who was responsible for this murderous act. We will track them down. We will bring them to justice. – Bill Clinton

In the summer of 1996, the world converged upon Atlanta for the Olympic Games. Under the protection and auspices of the regime in Washington millions of people came to celebrate the ideals of global socialism. Multinational corporations spent billions of dollars, and Washington organized an army of security to protect these best of all games. – Eric Robert Rudolph

Even though the conception and purpose of the so-called Olympic movement is to promote the values of global socialism, as perfectly expressed in the song Imagine by John Lennon, which was the theme of the 1996 Games even though the purpose of the Olympics is to promote these despicable ideals, the purpose of the attack on July 27 was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand. . – Eric Robert Rudolph

The plan was to force the cancellation of the Games, or at least create a state of insecurity to empty the streets around the venues and thereby eat into the vast amounts of money invested. . – Eric Robert Rudolph

Also on this day:

What’s up Doc? – In 1940, Bugs Bunny made it to the silver screen.
Reign of Terror – In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre was arrested.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – In 1586, Sir Walter Raleigh brings tobacco to England.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 27, 2011

Tobacco plant

July 27, 1586: Sir Walter Raleigh returns from the Virginia colony with a new plant for the amusement of English society – tobacco. Raleigh was an English writer,  poet, courtier, explorer, and apparently importer. He was born in 1552 or 54 and was raised Protestant. His family suffered under the rule of Catholic queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII who retaliated against the Catholic purges of her father with Protestant purges of her own. The Raleigh family was grateful when half-sister Elizabeth I took over the thrown.

Raleigh was sent to establish a colony in the New World and while Roanoke failed as a colony, it did pave the way for future, more successful settlements. The original colonists were not farmers, but seekers of gold and riches and they were woefully unprepared for settling in the New World. They did trade with the natives and one of the crops was the tobacco plant.

Tobacco, with its high nicotine content is found in the skeletal remains of ancient peoples only from the Americas. However, it is found throughout both American continents. It has grown in its present state since about 6000 BC. By the current era, it was smoked, chewed, and even used in hallucinogenic enemas. In 1492, Columbus ran into an unexpected land mass on his way to India and found natives with tobacco. The sailors brought some back with them and the first smoker in Europe was promptly jailed.

By 1518 Spain was asking for imports of tobacco and within 30 years Brazil was commercially farming the plant for export. Throughout the 1550s, the spread of tobacco covered much of Europe. By 1564, English sailors were using tobacco, but it was not known off the wharves. Raleigh introduced the habit to English society. Today, tobacco is smoked in cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. There is snuff – dry, wet, or even creamy. Snus is steamed snuff and not smoked and has different health effects because of this. Tobacco water is used as a pesticide. And for medical use, the tobacco from one cigarette mixed with a teaspoon of water can be made into a paste and applied to insect stings to stop the pain and itching.

“Never slap a man who chews tobacco.” – Willard Scott

“Under the pressure of the cares and sorrows of our mortal condition, men have at all times, and in all countries, called in some physical aid to their moral consolations — wine, beer, opium, brandy, or tobacco.” – Edmund Burke

“Why is it that everybody’s suing the tobacco companies and not the alcohol companies?” – Donald Trump

“For whosoever commands the sea commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.” – Walter Raleigh

Also on this day:
What’s up Doc? – In 1940, Bugs Bunny made it to the silver screen.
Reign of Terror – In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre was arrested.

What’s up Doc?

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 27, 2010

Bugs Bunny starring in A Wild Hare

July 27, 1940: Bugs Bunny makes his cartoon debut in A Wild Hare. According to his biography, Bugs was born in 1940 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the hare-brained child of many men, including Ben Hardaway who created the prototype in 1938, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery who developed his personality, Robert McKimson who created his character design, and Mel Blanc, his voice.

Bugs’s pugnacious personality is portrayed against a list of enemies who include Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, and Wile E. Coyote, among scores of others. Bugs Bunny is usually provoked by his nemesis and then when pushed beyond endurance drawls, “Of course you realize, ‘DIS means war!” This set up allowed the audience to enjoy his constant victories without dear Bugs ever looking like a bully.

Bugs Bunny was a star of the Looney Tunes group, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. enterprise. Bosko was their first major star in 1930 and by 1935, they had a megastar on their hands when Porky Pig took center stage. Daffy Duck followed in 1937. Bugs Bunny, however, is one of the most recognized faces, real or imagined, in the world.

The first animated cartoon, in the traditional sense, was “Fantasmagorie” by Émile Cohl released in 1908. Walt Disney introduced Steamboat Willie with Mickey Mouse in 1928 which introduced sound to the mix. The very first computer generated imagery film was produced in 1995 by Pixar Animation Studios. Toy Story was released in November of that year.

“Back then, my idol was Bugs Bunny, because I saw a cartoon of him playing ball – you know, the one where he plays every position himself with nobody else on the field but him? Now that I think of it, Bugs is still my idol. You have to love a ballplayer like that.” – Nomar Garciaparra

“My generation grew up watching ‘Bugs Bunny’ and ‘Roadrunner’ cartoons. But that didn’t make me want to go out and pick up a wooden mallet and hit people on the head.” – Tod Burke

“The rabbit is considered a kind and intelligent creature in Cambodian culture.” – Bugs Bunny

“Sometimes it was hard to tell where my dad’s personality left off and his characters began, … He was a method actor and taught me that I had to ‘become’ the character in order to effectively do the voice.” – Noel Blanc

Also on this day, in 1794 Robespierre was arrested in Paris.
Bonus Link:  In 1586, Sir Walter Raleigh brought some tobacco
back to England.