The Commonwealth at the U.N.
I am reposting this from my blog
because I think you might enjoy it
I was thinking to myself today about how to find something to write for this blog and it occurred to me that the Commonwealth probably had something on at the United Nations which is about 2 miles from were I live.
So I called the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations reasoning that they could put me in touch with who ever represents the Commonwealth at the UN. I spoke to a nice young man who was for some reason unable to help me. He suggested that I, (this is a paraphrase though it is in quotes) “call the embassy of a commonwealth country (pause) which you have obviously done (pause) I mean call another one.” He really was very nice and tried to help, I just couldn’t resist relating the story and I hope this doesn’t cause him any trouble.
Being the intrepid soul that I am, I was not deterred by this spot of confusion. I hopped on a bus and headed down to the United Nations were I figured the person at the information desk could help. It turned out I was right, but first I had to explain to the nice lady that I didn’t want the Commonwealth of Independent States, which I explained used to be the USSR, but rather the Commonwealth of Nations, which I explained used to be the British Empire. After digging around her computer for a while she asked if I meant the Commonwealth Secretariat, which I told her yes was indeed what I wanted.
(The weirdest part of that is that the term Commonwealth Secretariat had confused the nice man at the British Mission)
The information lady then carefully wrote down the address and phone number of the office I wanted. (She also told be where to apply for UN press credentials which I plan to do)
So I headed over to 800 Second Avenue Suit 400A which is not only home to the Commonwealth Secretariat representative to the UN, but is the location of the Joint Office for Commonwealth Permanent Missions to the United Nations. (Evidently some of the smaller commonwealth countries have decided rather intelligently to share office space to keep costs down.) Here I meet Janet G. John who is the front person for the whole operation. She was very nice and gave me a nice stack of brochures most of which dealt with the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality, but also included an interesting brochure on the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation, an interesting pamphlet titled “About the Commonwealth Foundation,” and smallest of all a leaflet on the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Program on the Harare Declaration of 1995.
Ms. John also told me that there are Commonwealth Caucus meetings that are open to the public and told me to use the Secretariat Web sit to get information on this. It seems the Caucus tries to promote democracy, good government, and the rule of law. I am hopping to start covering the Caucus meetings regularly as I think it would be interesting for everyone.
I want to thank Ms. John for her help, she was a gem.
LEAD-UP TO THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGARThe Court Martial of Sir Robert Calder
(Portrait of Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Calder
At this time Nelson was not without some cause of anxiety: he was in want of frigates, and the eyes of the fleet, as he always called them; to the want of which the enemy before were indebted for their escape, and Buonaparte for his arrival in Egypt. He had only twenty-three ships; others were on the way, but they might come too late; and though Nelson never doubted of victory, mere victory was not what he looked to; he wanted to annihilate the enemy's fleet.
Yet Nelson at this time weakened his own fleet. He had the unpleasant task to perform of sending home Sir Robert Calder
, whose conduct was to be made the subject of a court-martial, in consequence of the general dissatisfaction which had been felt and expressed at his imperfect victory. Sir Robert Calder and Sir John Orde, Nelson believed to be the only two enemies whom he had ever had in his profession; and from that sensitive delicacy which distinguished him, this made him the more scrupulously anxious to show every possible mark of respect and kindness to Sir Robert. He wished to detain him till after the expected action, when the services which he might perform, and the triumphant joy which would be excited, would leave nothing to be apprehended from an inquiry into the previous engagement. Sir Robert, however, whose situation was very painful, did not choose to delay a trial from the result of which he confidently expected a complete justification; and Nelson, instead of sending him home in a frigate, insisted on his returning in his own ninety-gun ship--ill as such a ship could at that time be spared. Nothing could be more honourable than the feeling by which Nelson was influenced; but, at such a crisis, it ought not to have been indulged.
THE LIFE OF HORATIO LORD NELSON
by Robert Southey (1774-1843)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HORATIO NELSON
Finally, the Victory
LEAD-UP TO THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
200 years ago on this day:47 years old today, Vice Admiral of the White and Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet. (Considered by the Admiralty to be the Royal Navy’s most prestigious command.)
He arrived off Cadiz on the 29th of September--his birthday. Fearing that if the enemy knew his force they might be deterred from venturing to sea, he kept out of sight of land, desired Collingwood to fire no salute and hoist no colours, and wrote to Gibraltar to request that the force of the fleet might not be inserted there in the GAZETTE. His reception in the Mediterranean fleet was as gratifying as the farewell of his countrymen at Portsmouth: the officers who came on board to welcome him forgot his rank as commander in their joy at seeing him again. On the day of his arrival, Villeneuve received orders to put to sea the first opportunity. Villeneuve, however, hesitated when he heard that Nelson had resumed the command. He called a council of war; and their determination was, that it would not be expedient to leave Cadiz, unless they had reason to believe themselves stronger by one-third than the British force. In the public measures of this country secrecy is seldom practicable, and seldomer attempted: here, however, by the precautions of Nelson and the wise measures of the Admiralty, the enemy were for once kept in ignorance; for as the ships appointed to reinforce the Mediterranean fleet were despatched singly, each as soon as it was ready, their collected number was not stated in the newspapers, and their arrival was not known to the enemy. But the enemy knew that Admiral Louis, with six sail, had been detached for stores and water to Gibraltar. Accident also contributed to make the French admiral doubt whether Nelson himself had actually taken the command. An American, lately arrived from England, maintained that it was impossible, for he had seen him only a few days before in London, and at that time there was no rumour of his going again to sea.
THE LIFE OF HORATIO LORD NELSON
BY ROBERT SOUTHEY (1774-1843)
The Grand Young Duke of York
Are we spoilt in New Zealand, or what?
First, the future King William V comes to our shores for his first Royal engagements. Now, His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York, has arrived upon the shores of the Most Loyal Dominion. You can see a picture or two, and read the account of His Royal Highness's visit to Linton Army camphere
. His Royal Highness inspected the Duke of York's Own, of which he is Colonel-in-Chief, and attended a barbeque for soldiers and their families. The Regiment were pleased and honoured to host him, and delighted when he turned up wearing a New Zealand army uniform, with the badges of the regiment. A nice touch. He will attend the Trafalgar Service in Nelson Cathedral on Saturday (taken by my favourite bishop, the Rt. Rev. Derek Eaton), unveil the refurbished Cathedral windows, and return to the United Kingdom on Sunday.
Welcome, Your Royal Highness. Prince Andrew is a man I admire tremendously. He has managed to maintain his dignity and down-to-earth nature at once, discharges his duty cheerfully, and keeps out of the Press. A Loyalist's dream. A Gentleman.
God Save the Duke of York, and all Loyal hearts say "Amen!"
Our new G-G is no Liberal
I’m embarrassed by my earlier criticisms of our new Governor-General, but in my defense, I didn’t know who she was, what she believed in, how she felt about the country and its history – and I certainly didn’t know she could come across so convincingly and so effortlessly as a compelling monarchist. Yesterday, Liberalism temporarily died in this country under her vice-regalness and the pageantry of our British past.
I now admit the Liberals made a stellar choice. I had no idea they were going to pick a conservative as the Queen’s representative. But apparently neither did they, for they could not have been too amused by the message of her gracefully delivered investiture speech. I only got around to reading it this morning, but that speech put them all to shame.
She talked about freedom, “how precious that freedom is”, her “lesson in learning to be free”, that “freedom has marked our history and our territory, it has marked our summer breezes and our howling winds, that every “Canadian woman, every Canadian man prizes that freedom and would defy anyone who tried to take it away – of that I have no doubt.”
She talked about adventure, how freedom “helped create the spirit of adventure that I love above all in this country”, how “that spirit of adventure drove women and men to cross the ocean and discover a new world elsewhere”; “today, we are the sum of those adventures.”
Freedom and adventure? You mean not tolerance and diversity? You mean not public healthcare? You mean not modernism, which to every Liberal means a little bit of colour here, a little bit of orientation there, as Mark Steyn recently quipped. No politician ever talked about freedom and adventure in this manner, at least not since the Fathers of Confederation did back in the 19th century. Christ Jesus, it sounded almost American. It was probably only a speech an immigrant could make, so comfortable and granted we who were born here take our privileged lives. But not her, she actually believes it. She actually means what she says. She remembers what it was like living under the tyranny of a ruthless dictatorship.
I also just learnt that she is on the public record of being against multiculturalism, how it lends to the ghettoization of society. Her speech was about “looking beyond our differences”, about eliminating “the spectre of all the solitudes” and promoting “solidarity among all the citizens”…what? I say what? Is she not reading the script? Didn’t the Liberals vet her speech? I thought we were a mosaic of peoples, not a melting pot. Whatever the hell is she talking about?
I could go on and on. She talked about duty. Duty? What’s that? She talked about her respect for Her Majesty. She talked about the sacrifice of our veterans. She talked about the opening of markets. She talked about the sense of honour and trust in the self-reliant West, about how she admires that it’s still possible to conclude a business contract in those parts with little more than a handshake…
I don’t want to exaggerate here. Madam Jean may not be a conservative. But a God damn Liberal she is not. No Liberal that I know ever spoke the words that she did yesterday. In one speech, she cut through so much B.S., I can’t believe my ears. Or my eyes. Did you see her outfit during last night’s evening gala. She looked like a Roman chariot godess. My my, who is this lady? What has she done?
Setting Foot On English Soil
By way of public events and posts to The Monarchist, we've all recently had the chance to look back on the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson's undeniable influence upon the Empire and, later, the Commonwealth.
Tomorrow, or today depending on where in the world you are, marks another historic event. Like Trafalgar it involves warfare that significantly altered the course of history.
For it was 939 years go to the day that William, Duke of Normandy, fell face first on English soil near Sussex, took England with 'both his hands' and, in a short span, became William I and William The Conqueror
As conqueror the finer details of his reign, and opinions of it, are still points of contention. Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall, perhaps, best sums up such contention; William was ruler of the land, but English hearts never accepted him.
But one thing we all accept of William I is that, through the reigns of many different Monarchs and countless generations, no one has conquered England or Great Britain since.
Swearing in of Canada's 27th Governor-General
Newly sworn-in Governor General Michaelle Jean and her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond listen to proceedings. What surely must have been quite the sacrifice, our new G-G relinquished her French citizenship only a couple of days ago to serve as the Queen's representative in Canada. And the French were only too happy to oblige apparently, as can be imagined, a French citizen faithfully serving the Queen of England is an intolerable constitutional situation. You know I meant Queen of Canada, but my apologies if the French don't see it that way.
Anyways, I understand it was quite the regal show. All the red carpetry pomp and music befitting a vice-royal investiture. Just not sure if all that red in the Senate Chamber is monarchist red anymore. It's beginning to look a lot like Liberal red. Really, really much so.
UPDATE: I just watched the ceremony on television and really appreciated the pageantry of it all. For all our faults as a country, we do still get some things right. The Governor-General's Foot Guard, the Mounties on horseback and carriage, the 21 Gun Royal Salute, Speech from the Throne...all the requisite symbols are there. And low and behold the people, the crowds on Parliament Hill, really appreciate it.
Beaverbrook seems to be grossly misinformed about the outcome of history's great Battle of Trafalgar on October 21st, 1805. Anyone else proudly subscribing to this absurd myth, and so wilfully defiant as to believe that Nelson and the English were the victors, should read this contemporary French account published in the newspaper Le Moniteur, republished on the website of the Maritime Historical Society:NELSON KILLED IN DUEL WITH VILLENEUVE!
ENGLISH FLEET DESTROYED AT TRAFALGAR.
Head Quarters, Cadiz, Oct. 25
The operations of the Imperial Navy mirror in the Atlantic those of the grand Imperial Army in Germany.
The English fleet is annihilated - Nelson is no more. Indignant at being inactive in Port, while our brave brothers in arms were gaining laurels in Germany, Admirals Villeneuve and Gravina resolved to put to sea and give the English a fight. They were superior in number, 45 to our 33, but what is that, to men determined to fight and win. Nelson did everything to avoid a battle, he attempted to enter the Mediterranean, but we chased him, and caught him off Trafalgar. The French and Spaniards vied with each other to get into action first. Admiral's Villeneuve and Gravina were both anxious to lay their ships alongside the Victory, the English Admiral's ship. Fortune, so constant always to the Emperor, did not favour either of them - the Santissima Trinidad was the fortunate ship. In vain did the English Admiral try to avoid action but the Spanish Admiral Oliva prevented his escape, and lashed his vessel to the English flagship. The English ship was one of 186 guns; the Santissima Trinidad was but a 74. Lord Nelson adopted a new system, afraid of meeting us in the old way, in which he knows we have superiority of skill, as we proved by our victory over Sir Robert Calder. He attempted a new mode of fighting. For a short time he confused us, but what can confuse his Imperial Majesty's navy for long? We fought yard-arm to yard-arm, gun to gun. Three hours did we fight in this manner, the English began to be dismayed: they found it impossible to resist us, but our brave sailors were tired of this slow means of gaining a victory and decided to board her, their cry was "al'abordage." Their courage was irresistible. At that moment two ships, one French and one Spanish, boarded the Temeraire. The English fell back in astonishment and fright. We rushed to the flag-staff and struck their colours. All were so anxious to be the bearers of the news to their own ship, that they jumped overboard and the English ship, by this unfortunate act by our brave sailors and their allies, was able, by the assistance of two more ships that came to her assistance, to make her escape only to sink later.
Meanwhile Nelson still resisted. It was now a race to see who should first board and have the honour of taking him; French or Spanish. Two Admirals on each side disputed the honour and boarded his ship at the same moment.
Villeneuve flew on to the quarter-deck and with the usual generosity of the French, he carried a brace of pistols in his hands. He knew the Admiral had lost his arm, and could not use his sword so he offered a pistol to Nelson, they fought, and at the second shot Nelson fell. He was immediately carried below. Oliva, Gravina, and Villeneuve attended him with the accustomed French humanity. Meanwhile 15 English ships of the line had struck, four more were obliged to follow their example and another blew up. - Our victory was now complete, and we prepared to take possession of our prizes, but the elements were by this time unfavourable to us and a dreadful storm came on.
Gravina made his escape to his own ship at the beginning of it but the Commander in Chief, Villeneuve, and the Spanish Admiral, were unable to do this and remained on board the Victory. The storm was long and dreadful but our ships being so well manoeuvred, rode out the gale. The English, being so much more damaged, were driven ashore, and many of them were wrecked. At length when the gale ceased, 13 of the French & Spanish line returned safely to Cadiz; the other 20 have, no doubt, gone to some other ports and will soon be reported. We shall repair our damage as speedily as possible and then go again in pursuit of the enemy, and afford them more proof of our determination to wrest from them the Empire of the Seas, and to comply with his Imperial Majesty's demand of Ships, Colonies and Commerce.
Our loss was trifling while that of the English was immense. We have, however, to lament the absence of Admiral Villeneuve, whose courage carried him beyond the strict bounds of prudence, and, by boarding the English Admiral's ship, prevented him from returning to his own.
Having acquired so decisive a victory we wait with impatience the Emperor's order to sail to the enemies shore, destroy the rest of his navy, and thus complete the triumphant work we have so brilliantly begun.And you all thought you knew the story of Trafalgar.
Nelson vs Napoleon 200 years on
So I was checking out the antique shops in downtown Toronto today, and came across one stuffed to the rafters with Napoleon this and Napoleon that, quite the fulsome display of despot worshipping to say the least. So I says to the keeper: "Got any Nelson, monsieur? I'm somewhat culturally antagonistic to all this Napoleon, but if you have anything in Nelson, we can definitely talk price." By this, I could tell I had tweaked a nerve as he was obviously a den worshipper who stood in awe of the man, an older gentleman who probably had studied all his battles, read countless books,...besides this was Canada and why wasn't I being characteristically docile. "No I have nothing in Nelson and nothing English", was the curt but friendly reply.
He went on: "Did you know that Napoleon was a bigger man than Nelson?". How is that possible, I thought, Nelson won. But he was talking about physical stature, that Napoleon was a taller and heavier man in size. I knew that Nelson was only 5 foot four, but I had no idea that Napoleon was two inches taller. I thought the guy was a total midget, like 5 foot nothing at the most, but there I was conceding to a Frenchman that Napoleon was a bigger man than Nelson. Even when they lose, the French somehow know how to declare victory. What a glorious bunch. Yeah, Napoleon's a bigger man than Nelson, alright. In your dreams, Frenchee.
Admiral Collingwood: Forgotten hero
LEAD-UP TO THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
Nelson's Hero and Second in Command
The combined fleets of France and Spain, after spreading terror throughout the West Indies, returned to Cadiz. On their way thither they bore down upon Admiral Collingwood, who had only three vessels with him; but he succeeded in eluding the pursuit, although chased by sixteen ships of the line. Ere one-half of the enemy had entered the harbour he drew up before it and resumed the blockade, at the same time employing an ingenious artifice to conceal the inferiority of his force. But the combined fleet was at last compelled to quit Cadiz; and the Battle of Trafalgar immediately followed.
The brilliant conduct of Admiral Collingwood upon this occasion has been much and justly applauded. The French admiral drew up his fleet in the form of a crescent, and in a double line, every alternate ship being about a cables length to windward of her second, both ahead and astern. The British fleet bore down upon this formidable and skilfully arranged armament in two separate lines, the one led by Nelson in the Victory, and the other by Collingwood in the Royal Sovereign. The latter vessel was the swifter sailer, and having shot considerably ahead of the rest of the fleet, was the first engaged. "See," said Nelson, pointing to the Royal Sovereign as she penetrated the centre of the enemy's line, "see how that noble fellow Collingwood carries his ship into action!" Probably it was at the same instant that Collingwood, as if in response to the observation of his great commander, remarked to his captain, "What would Nelson give to be here?" The consummate valour and skill evinced by Collingwood had a powerful moral influence upon both fleets. It was with the Spanish admirals ship that the Royal Sovereign closed; and with such rapidity and precision did she pour in her broadsides upon the Santa Anna, that the latter was on the eve of striking in the midst of thirty-three sail of the line, and almost before another British ship had fired a gun. Several other vessels, however, seeing the imminent peril of the Spanish flag-ship, came to her assistance, and hemmed in the Royal Sovereign on all sides; but the latter, after suffering severely, was relieved by the arrival of the rest of the British squadron; and not long afterwards the Santa Anna struck her colors. The result of the battle of Trafalgar, and the expense at which it was purchased, are well known. On the death of Nelson, Collingwood assumed the supreme command; and by his skill and judgment greatly contributed to the preservation of the British ships, as well as of those which were captured from the enemy.
From this period until the death of Lord Collingwood no great naval action was fought; but he was much occupied in important political transactions, in which he displayed remarkable tact and judgment. Being appointed to the command of the Mediterranean fleet, he continued to cruise about, keeping a watchful eye upon the movements of the enemy. His health, however, which had begun to decline previously to the action of Trafalgar in 1805, seemed entirely to give way, and he repeatedly requested government to be relieved of his command, that he might return home; but he was urgently requested to remain, on the ground that his country could not dispense with his services. This conduct has been regarded as harsh; but the good sense and political sagacity which he displayed afford some palliation of the conduct of the government; and the high estimation in which he was held is proved by the circumstance that among the many able admirals, equal in rank and duration of service, none stood so prominently forward as to command the confidence of ministers and of the country to the same extent as he did. After many fruitless attempts to induce the enemy to put to sea, as well as to fall in with them when they had done so (which circumstance materially contributed to hasten his death), he expired on board the Ville de Paris, then lying off Port Mahon, on 7 March 1810.
Lord Collingwood's merits as a naval officer were in every respect of the first order. In original genius and romantic daring he was inferior to Nelson, who indeed had no equal in an age fertile in great commanders. In seamanship, in general talent, and in reasoning upon the probability of events from a number of conflicting and ambiguous statements, Collingwood was equal to the hero of the Nile; indeed, many who were familiar with both give him the palm of superiority. His political penetration was remarkable; and so high was the opinion generally entertained of his judgment, that he was consulted in all quarters, and on all occasions, upon questions of general policy, of regulation, and even of trade. He was distinguished for benevolence and generosity; his acts of charity were frequent and bountiful, and the petition of real distress was never rejected by him. He was an enemy to impressment and to flogging; and so kind was he to his crew, that he obtained amongst them the honorable name of "father". Between Nelson and Collingwood a close intimacy subsisted, from their first acquaintance in early life till the fall of the former at Trafalgar; and they lie side by side in St Paul's Cathedral.
Subject or Citizen
One of the more contemptible red herrings used by republicans is their taunt that it is more dignified for individuals to be citizens of a state than subjects of a sovereign. This of course conveniently ignores the reality that, whether we reside in a constitutional monarchy or an enlightened republic, we are all citizens of the modern democratic nation-state. It also ignores the reality that loyalty to state, whether we pledge allegiance to a king or a flag, is only one aspect of citizenship – the national aspect, but it is common to both. In both cases, individual citizens are subject to the collective will of the people, regardless of whether that collective will is represented by a reigning monarch or not.
The other aspects of citizenship include the constitutional (our legal status as equal citizens under the law with certain inalienable rights), the political (our desire as taxpayers to be engaged participants of the political sphere), the cultural (our natural inclination to preserve our heritage and identity) and the social (our responsibility to contribute to the well-being of civic society and the social good by being economically self-reliant, providing for our families and freely giving to charitable causes). Given the breadth of the meaning and notion of citizenship then, are we really to believe that none of this applies to us because we are “subjects” of the Queen?
Besides, the idea of an enlightened citizenry is not a modern invention as some republicans claim, but a comparatively ancient Athenian one, older than even the Dark Ages, when as liegemen we were once little more than peasant slaves, living for scarce other reason that to serve and obey our feudal masters. No longer are we mere vassals of the state, where our survival is dependent on an absolute deference and loyalty to our lord protector. Society has come a long way since the Dark Ages alright. In fact, we have been re-empowered as individuals so much so, that we seem to be moving past the whole concept of citizenship altogether.
An argument can be made that we have degenerated from subjects and citizens to spectators and consumers; spectators of the political scene and consumers of government services. Why do you think we can be bought with our own money when the time actually comes for politicians to “consult” us? Because we let them, that’s why. Because it’s easier to be a customer, than it is to be a citizen. Because it’s easier to allow the state to serve you, than it is for you to serve the state. If this is true, we are no longer citizens then. We are subjects of the state.
Nelson would be appalled
I was in Ottawa over the weekend and popped into the Rideau Club
for its 140th anniversary, a black tie affair whose guest of honour happened to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
. It was quite the shindig I have to say, though probably not nearly as much as the Rideau Club Trafalgar Day dinner promises to be next month. At least those were my thoughts until one of the conversations that evening turned to the politics of celebrating Nelson’s victory over the French, and how such an event might be perceived by French Canadians. Suddenly I imagined how dreary it all could turn out, without the obligatory, jeering French jokes such an occasion should naturally inspire.
Such is the confused state of our citizenship, however, where the national, legal, political and cultural dimensions of our shared identity collide to produce nothing patriotic whatsoever. It is times like this that we are reminded that in a collective sense, we Canadians are a mere geographical expression, a fragmented lot, a community of convenience, rather than of common belonging. I’m all for convenience, I suppose. Right up to the point where we are told to forget our history, erase our traditions and disregard our heroes.
Damn the French. And damn us to bloody hell, if our apprehensions prevent us from honouring the immortal memory of men like Nelson.
Check out detailed results here
And my stubborn flag-waving can be read here
It's all still up in the air. Labour is in a better position, but the special votes could change everything.
Wellington needs a Duke
You might be thinking that in the spirit of the times, and the lead-up to the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, I would be referring to the Napoleonic Wars. But I'm not. I'm talking about New Zealand's election tomorrow, and how I fervently hope that Prime Minister Helen gets her Waterloo and becomes politically exiled to -- you guessed it, St. Helena. Oh Lord, we humbly beseech thee.
Tomorrow night, all eyes of the Commonwealth will be on New Zealand. Far better that New Zealanders dispense with this communist-lite interloper and restore Helengrad back to the Wellington we all know and love. Wellington needs a Duke. Let that man be the good doctor, Don Brash. The man who will bring back knighthoods. The Tory of our times. The Kiwi of our hopes.
Fair Winds and Following Seas
LEAD-UP TO THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
On this day 200 years ago:
- September 15, 1805
- Departed Portsmouth, England previous day.
- At Sea: VAdm. Nelson and Capt. Hardy with Ship's Company
- Aboard His Majesty's Ship Victory
- Flagship of the British Mediterranean fleet.
- Enroute to assume command of the fleet off Cadiz, Spain.
- Presently commanded by VAdm. Cuthbert Collingwood.The King's Mission in Nelson's Words:"The national emergency continuing, and the Combined Fleets of France and Spain having united and taken refuge in Cadiz, I have now been prevailed upon by the Prime Minister and all the Chief Officers of the State, to take command of a special force intended for their destruction."
Nelson's oft-repeated quote: "Depend on it...I shall yet give M. Villeneuve a drubbing!"
Nelson's last walk
LEAD-UP TO THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
On this day, 200 years ago:
Early in the morning of Saturday 14th. September, 1805, at about 6.00am, the post chaise [horse-drawn carriage] carrying Vice Admiral Lord Nelson passed through the great Landport Gate on the north side of the complex fortifications ringing the naval town of Portsmouth. Swinging sharply to the left, along the foot of the ramparts to the huge tree-fringed Townmount Bastion, it then turned right into the High Street. There, it drew up in front of the bow windows of The George Hotel and deposited its weary passenger, who had been on the road since 10.30 the previous evening
But there was little time for resting. After a quick breakfast, Nelson was on the move again: this time to the Dockyard to pay a courtesy call on Commissioner Saxton and then back to The George before noon, where he was joined by two members of the Government who had come to wish him God-speed, George Rose, the President of the Board of Trade and George Canning, the Treasurer of the Navy.
By now, news of his arrival had spread and a large crowd had gathered in the narrow streets outside the hotel. The usual point of embarkation for officers was at the Sally Port, just a few hundred yards away, at the seaward end of the High Street. But the crowd was so dense that a passage through would be difficult and so it was decided to take an alternative route. Leaving the Hotel by a back door, Nelson then endeavoured to elude the populace by taking a by-way to the beach; but a crowd collected in his train, pressing forward to obtain a sight of his face: many were in tears, and many knelt down before him and blessed him as he passed. England has had many heroes; but never one who so entirely possessed the love of his fellow-countrymen as Nelson. All men knew that his heart was as humane as it was fearless; that there was not in his nature the slightest alloy of selfishness or cupidity; but that with perfect and entire devotion he served his country with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his strength; and, therefore, they loved him as truly and as fervently as he loved England.
They pressed upon the parapet to gaze after him when his barge pushed off, and he was returning their cheers by waving his hat. The sentinels, who endeavoured to prevent them from trespassing upon this ground, were wedged among the crowd; and an officer who, not very prudently upon such an occasion, ordered them to drive the people down with their bayonets, was compelled speedily to retreat; for the people would not be debarred from gazing till the last moment upon the hero--the darling hero of England!
A long hard row away was the Victory
. From the jostling crowd came the cheers ringing across the water, as Nelson waved his hat in reply and, turning to Hardy, said quietly:
'I had their huzzas before - I have their hearts now!'
Farewell my beloved England
Lead-up to the Battle of Trafalgar
200 years ago on this day:
NELSON'S PRIVATE JOURNAL
September 13, 1805"The national emergency continuing, and the Combined Fleets of France and Spain having united and taken refuge in Cadiz, I have now been prevailed upon by the Prime Minister and all the Chief Officers of the State, to take command of a special force intended for their destruction. Friday night (Sept. 13), at half-past ten, I drove from dear, dear Merton; where I left all which I hold dear in this world, to go and serve my king and country.
May the great GOD, whom I adore, enable me to fulfil the expectations of my country! and if it is His good pleasure that I should return, my thanks will never cease being offered up to the throne of His mercy. If it is His good providence to cut short my days upon earth, I bow with the greatest submission; relying that he will protect those so dear to me whom I may leave behind! His will be done. Amen! Amen! Amen!"
M'Lud Beaverbrook is very harsh upon a poor Colonial. We are fighting for the soul and the future of our country, and he expects me to send cheering dispatches from the front line. Very well. The King's government must carry on.
I have the honour to report to you for the information of Their Lordships that the General Election of September 17 is too close to call. The last poll had National up by 2, the previous one Labour by 8. Even the pundits have thrown up their hands in despair and declared the election "very close".
The Prime Minister is looking more and more desperate. She knows this is her chance, and if she loses, her cowered caucus will have no mercy on her. Have a look at Labour's
latest press releases-They are looking more like a muck-raking Opposition (and not a leal one at that), and less like a government with every passing day.
Good news is that National is back, and win or lose, Parliament is likely to be on a knife-edge. Our electoral system, a form of PR known as MMP, combines local electorates with the all-important Party vote. No-one knows how the Party votes will fall, but the electorates are somewhat easier to predict. A reasonable prediction is here
, and it appears that 12 (ish) of the 15 marginal electorates will fall to National. Good Tories, to a man (and woman). The Southern electorates of Invercargill, Otago and Aoraki, all held by Labour, are very likely to return to the fold. By God, we've got them on the run.
The Prime Minister visited
my university today, and was booed, heckled and left feeling threatened. Mr. Pitt does not hold with thuggery, or with shouting down a woman. I stayed away from the protest/rally, and I'm glad I did. We are fighting for a return to a gentler, kinder and more decent society. This is a university, not a beer garden.
Almost every day, new scandals are surfacing. For a representative sampling of the government's stupidities, see here
, and don't forget it's in two parts, and illustrated.
The abolition of the separate Maori seats is one of National's policies. It is a Constitutional issue, tied up with the status of the Treaty of Waitangi
, racial separatism, and of course, they drag in HMQ as well. See my post
Finally, I shall be standing outside a few of my local polling booths on Saturday, wearing my blue Tory ribbon with great pride.
Win or lose, England expects every man to do his duty.
I am, My Lords,
Your Lordships' most humble and obdt. servant,
Duty is the great business of a sea officer
Sheeesh, can't a guy take a break? One week away, and not a single post? Where is everybody? Pitt? Catesby? Walsingham? Nelson? My Lord Nelson, I did what you asked of me, now it's time to show us the way, to take us down the path of duty, just as you did 200 years ago; show us what you actually did in the service of King and Country in the days leading up to October 21, 1805.
The letter you wrote your wife in 1786, explaining your years at sea as one of duty, that "duty is the great business of a sea officer, all private considerations must give way to it, no matter how painful it may be", was pounded incessantly into my and Walsingham's head, day after day after day, week after week after week, month after month after month, as we countlessly marched or doubled past your plaqued words at Royal Roads
, 200 years after you wrote it.
Ah, Royal Roads
. What a gorgeous, stunning piece of Canadian England. What a fine naval and military institution if there ever was one. No longer extant. As dead as the Nelsonian ethic that it enshrined. Dead, but not forgotten. Forgotten only when we are dead.
Nelson needs no introduction
Though I need not introduce myself to my esteemed and new found colleagues at the Monarchist, let me proudly state that I am on this day, September 6, 1805, the Right Honourable Lord Viscount Horatio Nelson, Vice Admiral of the White and Command-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, Hero of the Nile, and of the naval engagements at Copenhagen and Cape St. Vincent, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Baron of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk and Duke of Bronte in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies….
Of my particular distinctions, I am most pleased by that last one given to me by the King of Naples, though I am ever mindful of British orders of precedence, that foreign titles, no matter how grand and imperious, must follow even the most inconsequential of English honours. But let me tell you I am also very mindful of the paucity of being awarded a mere Barony, for the heroic feat of destroying the French at the Battle of the Nile at Abukir Bay back in 98, strategically cutting Napoleon and his armies off from British interests in India. And all because of a technicality that I wasn’t the overall fleet commander of British forces in the area.
I do not profess my bitterness out of vainglory or arrogance. I am proclaimed the greatest naval commander of all time, immensely skillful in the science of seamanship, almost boundless in personal initiative and audacity and a brilliant tactician to boot. Perhaps. But let me tell you, now that I have been dead for almost 200 years, that Cook and Bligh were more weathered navigators and seamen; that the “Sea Wolf”, Admiral Thomas Cochrane, the Earl of Dundonald was far more audacious than I would ever care to be, having forcibly boarded a Spanish frigate and demanded its surrender with his comparatively tiny, totally out-gunned and totally out-manned brig; and that Admiral Spruance of the United States Navy was an even greater tactician, having faced a greater danger at Midway with his smaller US Task Force, yet having sunk all four Japanese carriers in the process. By the by, I fully support the intended actions of Senator Lugar of Indiana
to sponsor before Congress, a bill that posthumously awards Admiral Spruance a fifth star. In the history of naval warfare, only Admiral Spruance would I consider to be every bit my equal.
But if I may be so bold, let me say that no naval commander has been able to inspire his men like I have, from the lowliest seaman to the highest admiral; no commander has been as gifted with the “Nelson touch”. No naval commander has been able to inspire a nation to such a feverish, Christ-like pitch. Some say I am the greatest field-commander of all time. Personally, I don’t agree. Wellington, my contemporary, and Marlborough, our hitherto hero, are, for example, two very qualified Englishmen who might challenge such an assertion. And Napoleon, Napoleon!
, nothing concentrates the mind and boils the blood of sailors more than that Corsican Frenchman!
As I was saying. Today is September 6th and I’m presently with Lady Hamilton at leave in the countryside at my estate in Merton. It is so distressing to find England gripped with such fear of a Napoleon Armada. I know I shall be called upon soon to defend my country in the service of His Majesty The King. A great battle is looming. I can feel it. Pitt is in charge again. Melville is first Lord of the Admiralty. My dear Collingwood leads the Mediterranean fleet in my absence. Thomas Masterman Hardy is presently my good Captain of HMS Victory. Our Band of Brothers await. It shan’t be long now.
Nelson & Bronte
The media are jumping on the Don Brash is a Throw-back to the 19th century bandwagon,
principly because of this
, and Mr. Pitt is not happy.
I am the throwback to the 19th century around here, and I do not recognise Don as a fellow traveller. He is a social liberal, down with Civil Unions, voted-for Prostitution and supportive of gay adoption. Not characteristics one associates with even the Liberal Party of the 19th century, let alone the Tory.
The 19th century equivalent of The Gay Express
was a dirty book printed in a back-street in Amsterdam, and left until called for in a shady book-shop in Paris which was watched by the Police. Really. I just finished a biography of Oscar Wilde, and I am not kidding.
I would give my eye-teeth for Dr. Brash to really be a throw-back to the 19th century, that is someone of the calibre of the Duke of Wellington, Burke, Pitt, Wilberforce or Lord Shaftesbury. I'd settle for Disraeli. Hell, I'd even settle for a Liberal like Gladstone, in a pinch. But alas, the philosophical descendants of Paine rule us in rebellion, and there is no health in us.
It is amazingly ironic that the media have picked on basic manners as the hall-mark of a return to slavery. Vote Brash and women will return to the kitchen, Africans to their chains, poor minority children to the gutter, and we will have civil debate. How shocking-Men must be allowed the basic human right of shouting at women. It is my right to foam at the mouth, gnash my teeth and scream like a banshee at the nearest female.
The "Back to the Future" brigade also pick on a radio interview in which Dr. Brash wondered
whether having a powhiri, or Maori welcome, as the sole means of welcoming foreign dignitaries was a good idea. He thought some foreign visitors were uncomfortable with a half-naked man sticking his tongue out at them, and said perhaps we ought to have alternative ways of greeting dignitaries as well.
At the last National Party meeting I attended, Brash was unfailingly courteous. He made sure everyone was able to speak. He went down the back to hear the question of a wheel-chair bound and elderly woman, and leant down so that he could be sure of answering it properly. He's a gent.
At the back of this controversy is a crucial difference of world-view. Dr. Brash and his conservative fellow-travellers (The one holding the battle-standard in the front is me) assume that there are certain over-arching rules of conduct, and over-arching rules of moral order. One ought
not to shout at a woman. It is more than a question of "appropriateness", it is a matter of moral order which is reflected in manners. One ought
to honour HM The Queen, one ought
to consider one's guests, one ought
to tell the truth. Dr. Brash is revealing, in a very endearing way, his Manse child-hood. He has left the faith behind, as has his post-modern-liberal-Presbyterian-Moderator father, Dr. Alan Brash, but he retains the shadow of respect. I like that.
Liberals tend to be impatient with the Conservative obsession with manners. They would see turning one's back on The Queen as a minor breach of manners, if that. (John Campbell would probably regard it as an affirmation of nationhood). I see it as a sacrilege. They would shout at a woman or not, depending on appropriate context. Dr. Brash, I am relieved to find, will not. Conservatives believe in eternal verities. In permanent things. We believe what we do here matters, and more, how we do it also matters. It relieves my mind that, on this issue, Brash is a real Tory. He even wants knighthoods
back. M'Lud, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Gentleman Don.
.I shall tell you frankly that if he had been going to pick something designed to reassure me I am doing the right thing in endorsing
him, refusing to yell at a woman is it. I have other misgivings
about Dr. Brash, but his moral character is now not one of them. I am content. And I am doing the right thing in voting for the Gentleman over the well, shall we say-unfortunate
Wattle Day 2005
Wattle Day reignites republic debate, ABC, 01/09/05
Prime Minister John Howard says Wattle Day is for all Australians, regardless of whether they are republicans or monarchists.
Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone is a republican and she has urged republicans to adopt Wattle Day on September 1 to promote the cause.
But it appears Mr Howard, a staunch monarchist, disagrees with his Minister.
"I like Wattle Day," he said.
"I think it is an emblem though that belongs to all Australians, irrespective of whether they support or oppose the existing constitutional arrangements."
Now I don't mind Wattle Day either and I'm a Loyalist. I think Amanda is clutching at straws using wattle for soft sell republicanism. Even the ABC commentators including former Republican leader Frank Cassidy said she must be desperate! And that without any prompting!
The view that Wattle Day is for all seems to be the most common one.
Reminds me of these words from a Banjo Patterson poem first published as an open letter to the troops in the Sydney Morning Herald in World War 1:
"We're all Australians Now" - A.B. Patterson (1915)
And with Australia's flag shall fly
A spray of wattle bough,
To symbolise our unity,
We're all Australians now.
If republicans are really hell bent on reviving the long defunct Wattle Day for their own ends then it might be worth Australian Loyalists pointing out that the colours Green and Gold are of Islamic significance appearing on the Arab League flag as they do.
This might be one way of ending the usefulness of this patriotic celebration to the enemy.
The power of the county
Like most people in the world who are not hard-hearted, I have been moved to tears by the images of destruction and suffering in New Orleans. Despite the ambivalent attitude most Canadians have regarding the United States, I am the descendant of Loyalists who lived 150 years in New England prior to the Revolution. I am also the descendant of settlers in New France - the same stock from whom the Cajun people and culture of Louisiana are drawn. After making an online donation to the American Red Cross, I began to consider the ramifications of this event.
The physical and financial fallout are always the first to become fodder for the ruminations, but I am a political scientist and activist. Naturally, my orientation is toward such esoteric questions.
It is not ironic that amid the destruction of the American South, the end of the current political order in Washington will end. What is ironic is that it is not the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina that I speak of, but the destruction wrought by war over a century ago. That is, quite possibly, the undoing of the Presidency of George W. Bush was planted in 1878.
The title of this post, "The power of the county," is a rough translation of a Latin phrase that, I believe, Americans will become as familiar with as Monica Lewinsky, blue dresses, or taped phone calls - Posse Comitatus.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, the US Army occupied much of the former Confederacy in order to stabilize the region. It was, of course, not without its controversies. Beyond the sheer cost of maintaining such a large mobilization, many argued that reintegration into the Union would be held back. Those in the south legitimately concerned about "carpetbaggers" and others with less noble motives regarding newly emancipated slaves, found voice under the rubric of "States Rights."
In 1878, the Posse Comitatus Act was passed, with the effect of placing a wall between the federal government and deployments within the United States. Simply put, Posse Comitatus prevented the President from deploying US forces in any state without the explicit consent and request of the Governor. Natural disasters, riots and the like were the domain of the states, meaning the deployment of National Guard troops by command of the Governor.
So why is this important today? Plainly put, it has already been intimated by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and others that the 4 day delay in federal action in New Orleans was due to the constraints of Posse Comitatus.
This naturally creates the question of whether you believe Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco did, or did not, make a clear and formal request early on. Complications to this include the fact that Governor Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Nagin are not of the President's political party, that up to 1/3 of the National Guard troops from those affected states were deployed to Iraq by the federal government, and that poor African-Americans seem to suffer disproportionately to others.
America returns to the polls in 2006 for midterm elections - including the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. For this political prognosticator, it is not impossible to see a resurgent Democratic party - benefitting from anger over this tragedy, and the protracted action in Iraq - take control of both houses of Congress.
Should this come to pass, all Americans will become very familiar with Posse Comitatus. A bill passed to heal the rift in a war against the states will become the weapon of choice in the new war between the parties over control of the White House
Australian National Flag Day 2005
His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC
Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
National Flag Day – a time of celebration, of recalling our history, of reaffirming and proclaiming our unique national identity as the great southern continent.
One hundred and four years ago the newly federated Australia, emerging from the 19th century and poised on the threshold of a vibrant era of opportunity, sought to create a national flag to symbolically define its nationhood. One can imagine the extraordinary interest in the public design competition which ultimately drew almost 33,000 entries. The winning five designs which were generally identical were adopted as the basis of Australia’s national flag. It has remained thus, largely unchanged, in the years since.
The Australian National Flag continues to be one of the principal symbols of our nation during more than a century of stable democracy, in wars and depressions, as well as the many golden moments of singular accomplishment – including in science, the arts, sport and agriculture. As a diverse community, Australians have achieved distinction in far greater measure than our medium nation status might otherwise suggest.
Indeed, as the constitutional lawyers, Quick and Garran, noted in their commentary on the Australian Constitution, “Never before have a group of self-governing, practically independent communities, without external pressure or foreign complications of any kind, deliberately chosen of their own free will to put aside their provincial jealousies and come together as one people. The Australian Commonwealth, the fifth great federation of the world, came into voluntary being through a deep conviction of national unity.”
I commend National Flag Day to all Australians as an occasion to reflect on what our unified nation has achieved so convincingly. It is a magnificent story of innovation, nous and contribution.
Three Australian Hypocrites
I know the world shouldn’t be seen as black and white, that there are a multitude of greys and colours but I really thought that when it came to Monarchism and republicanism you were either one or the other or simply happy with the status quo. Not so it seems, particularly if you’re a republican where hypocrisy is policy.
Of course some of the biggest perpetrators of such hypocrisy are republican politicians. For these lot it goes a little like this; work for the Crown, swear an Oath to it but then work against it. In Australia, two such republicans have made the broadsheets recently; former NSW Premier Bob Carr and the Federal Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone.
Carr’s is the most ironic. After a decade as premier of New South Wales Carr put considerable effort into deposing The Queen. Royal Coat of Arms were torn down or chiselled away from buildings, the Oath of Allegiance was removed from public office – he couldn’t even get the states education of transport systems working but Carr’s government even found time to pass legislation renaming Crown Land to State Land! Some mighty changes for a little man, but he proved his worth this week. No longer holding office, having retired out of fear of losing the next election, he is not entitled to any titles. He’s no longer ‘The Honourable’, but not being able to stick to his Oath we can only speculate that he never was. But of course, his ego feels that ‘The Honourable’ is warranted so Carr has written to our Queen seeking permission to retain the title. Professor David Flint notably points out that ‘The Honourable’ is actually an Imperial title. Carr’s hypocrisy knows no bounds.
But if Carr has one thing going for him, he puts considerable time between acts of hypocrisy. Amanda Vanstone has no such finesse.
At a recent speech she made
to a meeting of Liberal Party members in Victoria, Vanstone attempted to reignite the DOA republican debate in Australia. (Given her dismal performance as Immigration Minister she obviously needs to talk about anything else but her proven inabilities). But Vanstone had a few words of caution to her republican chums about the debate;
She blamed the failure of the referendum in part on a "politically naive" campaign rubbishing the monarchy, which she said was no way to conciliate, let alone persuade anyone.
Of course to prove her worth Vanstone soon opened her mouth: within minutes the ‘Two Tonne Tesse’ had referred to our Queen as “sweaty Betty”! “Some of the guests wished she'd taken her own good advice. Others just walked out.”
In Vanstone and Carr we find two hypocritical politicians, but another hypocrite made headlines in Australia this week. Media ‘personality’ and AFL commentator Eddie McGuire. McGuire’s actions aren’t anywhere as notable as the formerly mentioned politicians but wreaked of hypocrisy all the same. This week McGuire was fortunate enough to be awarded an Order of Australia. The Order of Australia is Australia’s Royal Order, the Queen of Australia is patron and recipients are presented with their award by the Governor on behalf of the Queen. Of course, McGuire didn’t see his receiving of the award as an act of hypocrisy, but just another chance to get his mug in the papers.
Our Growing Team
Contributing authors to The Monarchist from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the other Commonwealth Realms are represented by a self-chosen nom de plume, in line with a deliberate theme of this blog to honour heroes and great figures of British Commonwealth, American and Roman history. Listed below in the order of their joining are the author profiles of:
- Sir Winston Churchill (Blog Patron)
- Lord Baron of Beaverbrook (Blog Founder)
- Sir Francis Walsingham (Joined April 6, 2005)
- William Pitt the Younger (Joined June 6, 2005)
- James Madison (Joined June 7, 2005)
- John Adams (Joined June 8, 2005)
- Robert Catesby (Joined June 17, 2005)
- Lord Viscount of Bolingbroke (Joined June 25, 2005)
- Marcus Porcius Cato the Younger (Joined July 10, 2005)
- Lord Earl of Beaconsfield (Joined July 15, 2005)
- Admiral Lord Earl of Dundonald (Joined July 23, 2005)
- Captain James Cook (Joined July 31, 2005)
- Sir Robert Menzies (Joined August 1, 2005)
- Sir Samuel Griffith (Joined August 1, 2005)
- Admiral Lord Viscount of Camperdown (Joined September 2005)
You will notice at the footer of each post, the various links following the author's namesake (AUTHOR WORKS PERMALINK ...). The "AUTHOR" link will take you to the author's profile, but will only work if your profile "display name" is all lower case (most of you capitalize the first letter). Please edit as appropriate so that this works for your posts. Disraeli will need to change his display name to beaconsfield for this to work for him.
We are always looking for new recruits who identify with our Churchillian theme. Kindly email The Monarchist if you are interested.
God for Elizabeth, the Commonwealth and for the United States of America!
The French Quarter Needs the Anglosphere!
As anarchy has apparently and unbelievably gripped New Orleans and the surrounding area, it is past time that friends of freedom come to the rescue, as Walsingham's parents succinctly articulate in the letter below to the Premier of Saudi Alberta, by far the most generous and richest province of Canada.
Re: U.S. GULF COAST EMERGENCY
It is difficult for us to imagine the destruction and suffering being endured by the people in the affected area. It seems as if the recovery will take billions of dollars and several months if not years.
This country and province try to provide assistance to people anywhere on the globe where situations such as this occur. Now our great and good neighbour, who is called upon and responds quickly and magnificently to trouble anywhere on earth, is itself in need of assistance.
My wife and I are very conservative, but we feel that we owe the people of the U.S. a great deal. (They provide our defence enabling our Liberal government to destroy our military for one thing.) We feel that the Province of Alberta should make a cash donation to the U.S. government (directly to the President or Vice-president) from the people of Alberta to help alleviate the suffering in the affected area.
One billion? Half billion? Certainly no less than 100 million U.S.
It would be a grand gesture if you would deliver the cheque yourself.
Mr. & Mrs. Walsingham
The Arab League has a flag - why not the Anglosphere?
What symbols unite us?