Sunday, April 20, 2014

Today -100: April 20, 1914: Mexico has yielded as much as her dignity will permit


Huerta refuses to accede to Wilson’s demands. Foreign Minister Portillo y Rojas explains that the US flag wasn’t even flying from the Dolphin’s launch, so it was never insulted, and Mexico offered a mutual salute, which was rejected. “Mexico has yielded as much as her dignity will permit. Mexico trusts to the fairmindedness and spirit of justice of the American people.” Good luck with that.

Vice President Marshall has some helpful advice for Mexico: “Mexico can’t have a republic until Mexico has different laws, different sentiments and different people... you can’t have a pie without any filling”.

Former President Taft predicts a long war with thousands dead, requiring up to 500,000 troops to occupy every major city in Mexico and fight the inevitable guerilla warfare because it’ll be the Philippines all over again.

A report in The Annalist says that Americans own more property, including banks and mines and whatnot, in Mexico than do the Mexicans, $1,057,770,000 versus $793,187,242.

IWW leader Big Bill Haywood tells a Carnegie Hall audience that the war would trigger a general strike against it in the US. “The mine workers of this country will simply fold their arms, and when they fold their arms there will be no war.” He suggests sending the bankers to fight the war. Spoiler alert: there will be no general strike, and bankers will not be sent to fight in Mexico.

The Justice Dept is already looking into prosecuting Mr. Haywood under the sedition and/or treason laws.

An envoy from Mexican Dictator Huerta will meet Carranza and Villa to ask if they’ll help him in the event of an invasion by the US and, hey guys would you stop sniggering for just a minute, guys this is serious... [translated from the Spanish].

The Constitutionalists say they’ll be okay with the US occupying Tampico and Vera Cruz, but won’t be okay with it if shooting starts.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Edison Is Fatter.” Thomas Edison returns from a vacation in Florida with several, evidently newsworthy pounds.


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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Today -100: April 19, 1914: Why should I take Wilson’s orders?


Huerta sends a note to the US saying that he refuses to take orders from Pres. Wilson to fire a salute on behalf of the Mexican nation when Wilson doesn’t even recognize him as president of that nation. Wilson has set a deadline of 6 p.m. today, Mexico City time (which is 7:40 D.C. time) after which he will go to Congress to ask it to authorize military action, which will involve at the very least seizing Mexican ports and establishing a “belligerent blockade,” which is different from a “pacific blockade” in that it involves stopping ships from other countries.

It’s not quite War of Jenkins’ Ear silly, but this is a threat to go to war to force a country to fire a salute to the US flag. Mexico would be happy to do so if assured of a return salute, and the US would be happy to return the salute, but won’t agree to do so as a condition, because Mexico is totally at fault and should be offering a... wait for it... “unconditional salute,” and because signing a protocol would be a tacit recognition of the Huerta regime as a government, as opposed to some random group of Mexicans the US is demanding fire cannons.

Unconditional salute. Sheesh.

The Constitutionalists have kept pretty quiet about this whole thing until now, since on the one hand they’re happy to see Huerta humiliated but on the other would rather not see an American military intervention. Pancho Villa, for whom keeping quiet is not a natural state, now says it’s Huerta’s ox being gored. He reckons Huerta, being a coward, will give in to the US. But if there is a war between the US and the Huerta regime, Villa will keep Americans and other foreigners safe within his territory.

Graf Charles von Wedel resigns as governor of Alsace-Lorraine, as a result of the military-civilian clashes in Zabern last year.

Henry Ford orders his employees not to live in tenements or crowded rooming-houses and not to take in boarders. He wants them to buy homes. So Ford increased their pay, but is telling them how they have to spend it. “We will give every one time to correct his living conditions,” or be fired. He now has 45 investigators interviewing all his employees about their living conditions, religion (why? is there some religion Ford doesn’t approve of?), leisure pursuits, bank savings, etc.

An article in the NYT Sunday Magazine says that nation-wide prohibition is closer than people realize. Half the population of the US already live in dry territory.

Suffragettes burn the Belfast Corporation’s tea room. A tea room? Now they’ve gone TOO FAR.

Headline of the Day -100: “Roosevelt Guide Insane.” The guy who helped TR in his pell-mell race down the Adirondacks when he heard McKinley had died.

Orville Wright has been keeping some inventions under his hat while waiting for the results of his patent-infringement lawsuits. Having won those, he now brings out a new airplane stabilizer, which will help prevent all those sudden dives. So I guess he knew how to prevent all those recent plane crashes, but was waiting until he was sure he could money out of it.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Today -100: April 18, 1914: We have not plots, we have not nihilism in this country


The NYT says that Huerta’s first reaction to the demand for a 21-gun salute was to prepare a declaration of war.

Mexico’s foreign minister decides to complicate the whole thing by saying that the Huerta Junta will take the US’s return salute as tactic recognition of his government.

There’s an assassination attempt on John Purroy Mitchel, the Boy Mayor (he’s 34) of New York City. The assassin, one Michael Mahoney, 71, misses and hits Corporation Counsel Frank Polk in the chin, breaking his jawbone and knocking out two teeth, which he plans to have mounted in gold. Mitchel pulls out his own gun, which he carries because Mayor Gaynor died last year from assassination, but Mahoney is wrestled down by a crowd that includes the police commissioner. Mahoney is evidently a crazy lone gunman and not part of a plot. Says the Boy Mayor, “We have not plots, we have not nihilism in this country.” Mahoney circumvented NY’s strict gun control laws by buying his gun in New Jersey.

Obit of the Day -100: Hermann Ahlwardt, founder of the Antisemitische Volkspartei. The NYT obit says he died a disappointed man because anti-Semitism has been declining in Germany.

British suffragettes bomb the theater on the Great Yarmouth pier.

A doctor at the University of Pennsylvania is being prosecuted for cruelty to animals. His name is Dr. Sweet, because of course it is. I’ll spare you the details, mostly because I stopped reading before getting to them, but evidently it’s not the vivisection of dogs that’s at issue, it’s the neglect of them afterwards.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Today -100: April 17, 1914: Of mothers jones, executions, salutes, cholera, and sterilization


Mother Jones is released, by a habeas corpus writ from the Colorado Supreme Court if I’m reading the article correctly.

Leo Frank gets an unexpected stay of execution, on the grounds that he wasn’t in the courtroom when his verdict was read, which was because of fears that he would have been lynched had he been acquitted, but he hadn’t agreed to waive his right to be present. A motion for a new trial because of new evidence is pending.

Headline of the Day -100 (L.A. Times: “Mexico Will Salute, But–.” The Huerta regime says it is willing to do the 21-gun salute, but wants the salute returned. The US will return the salute, but as a courtesy, because it is the done thing, not because Mexico demanded it, and it won’t agree in advance to do what it says it intends to do anyway. And there is some question about whether the salute should be returned by the US after all 21 Mexican guns are fired, or gun for gun, with each side alternating. In 1914, no one seems to think any of this is silly.

The Huerta regime is now claiming that it let Villa capture TorreĆ³n because there was cholera there.

Sen. Vardaman (D-Miss.) is filibustering the re-nomination of a negro, Robert Terrell, to the municipal court of the District of Columbia. Vardaman says he will “continue the struggle until the last ditch.”

A federal court will hear a case about the Iowa law allowing people twice convicted of crimes to be forcibly sterilized.


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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Today -100: April 16, 1914: An incident of no special importance


Pres. Wilson informs Congress of his plans for Mexico: seize Vera Cruz, Tampico and ports on the west coast; establish a “peaceful blockade”; the occupation and blockade to continue until Mexico punishes the colonel who arrested the crew of the Dolphin and a salute is fired. Wilson says the US has been “subjected to a systematic and studied series of insults” by Huerta.

Army and navy recruitment is going way up. Various people have offered to recruit Rough-Riders-type units of volunteers to invade Mexico, including Rice Means, the commander in chief of the Army of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico, and Texas state Rep. John Kirby. Kirby thinks he can do the job just with Texans, and that he can recruit up to 500,000 Texans, but warns that they wouldn’t be willing to give up Mexico once they’ve seized it: “It will have to be made an American territory in order that its inhabitants may learn modern civilization and enjoy peace and the benefits of Christian progress.”

Huerta issues a brief statement saying “The Tampico incident has no special importance.”

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Today -100: April 15, 1914: If the flag of the United States is ever run up in Mexico it will never come down


Sorry about the lateness: Blogger seems to have eaten the original post.

In response to the Mexican Federal regime’s refusal to fire a 21-gun salute to the US flag, as ordered by Adm. Mayo, to apologize for the insult of having briefly detained some American sailors who were wandering around a war zone in uniform, Pres. Wilson is sending the entire North Atlantic fleet to Tampico. Or, to put it another way, Admiral Badger is being sent to back up Admiral Mayo.

Some theories floating around: 1) Huerta is provoking a US military intervention as an excuse to retire semi-gracefully, 2) Huerta is provoking a US military intervention in order to unite the country behind him.

Any wariness in Congress about military intervention has evaporated: “No Senator questioned the right of the United States to occupy Tampico or Vera Cruz as a step to enforce respect for the uniform, and all agreed that a firm course must be followed from now on. Many Senators of long experience and conservative judgment expressed the view that the ordering fo the fleet to Tampico meant armed intervention, but this belief did not seem to lessen their satisfaction. ... There was little inclination to comment on the fact that stronger measures seemed to be in contemplation to enforce a matter of etiquette than were adopted as a result of the murdering of American and foreign residents in Mexico.” Sen. Borah (R-Idaho): “if the flag of the United States is ever run up in Mexico it will never come down. This is the beginning of the march of the United States to the Panama Canal.” Sen. Chilton (D-West Virginia): “I’d make them salute the flag if we had to blow up the whole place.” Sen. James Martine (D-NJ): “No one thinks the president has ordered these ships to Tampico to start a Presbyterian Sunday school.”

Pancho Villa captures San Pedro. The one in Mexico, not the one south of L.A.

The Automobile Club of America decides to admit women as members, but without voting rights, and no more than 500.

Providence, Rhode Island had planned to appoint two policewomen, but has discovered that cops have to be voters, and RI doesn’t have women’s suffrage.

New York State reduces the number of hours children under 16 may work from 54 to 48 per week, and from 9 to 8 per day. Adult women are limited to 54 hours a week.

NY Gov. Glynn vetoes bills to introduce a new legal plea of “guilty but insane” and to remove the old plea of “not guilty because insane.”

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Today -100: April 14, 1914: Of strikes, parties, salutes, trousers, and Easter


The Calumet, Michigan copper strike is over, after nearly nine months. The owners will generously re-employ strikers who turn in their union cards, but it won’t fire any of the scabs hired during the strike. The miners will supposedly get better working conditions, an 8-hour day, and a $3/day minimum wage. Yay?

A new political party, the American Party, is formed in NY. It will be headed by impeached former Gov. Sulzer, and hopes to field a full ticket of anti-Tammany Democrats.

The Progressive Party wants Theodore Roosevelt to run for governor of New York this year (and then, presumably, president again in 1916). They hope to get him the Republican nomination as well.

Mexico’s Federal Gen. Maass says there will absolutely not be a 21-gun salute to the US flag.

Meanwhile, Dictator Huerta appeals to the Jockey Club to donate trousers for poor men.

In parts of Italy Easter is marked by riots aimed at priests. Not all the incidents are explained, but one clash was over which of two rival confraternities would lead a procession, and another was aimed at a new archbishop in Calabria who had tried to suppress local customs he considered pagan. “Troops were sent for to drive the mob out of the cathedral.”

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Today -100: April 13, 1914: Of salutes, heckling, electric chairs, royalists, and butt eulogies


The Huerta regime agrees to fire a salute to the US flag and kiss Adm. Mayo’s ass, not necessarily in that order.

Suffragettes heckle and disrupt the Independent Labour Party conference in Bradford. Philip Snowden is unable to finish his speech, and a bag of flour is thrown at Ramsay MacDonald (sadly, I don’t think it hit him). Elsewhere, during a church service in Lowescroft, the bishop of Norwich is heckled by chants of “God save Emmeline Pankhurst!” and “Christ is being crucified afresh in the persons of our women.”

I haven’t been following the “Rosenthal murder plot,” which has something to do with corrupt NYC cops. Anyway, four gunmen are about to be put to death in Sing Sing, despite the attempt by someone – a prison employee is suspected – to derail the execution by destroying the dynamo that powers the electric chair.

Several Portuguese royalists are arrested for a plot to restore the monarchy. Well, a monarchy. They’d actually become disappointed with the Portuguese claimants (reading between the lines, because those claimants failed to give money to the royalists) and were thinking about getting a foreign pretender to the throne, maybe an Italian or a Brit. They got to fighting about this and someone tipped off the police.

Headline of the Day -100: “Taft to Eulogize Butt.”

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Today -100: April 12, 1914: Not bloody likely


Admiral Mayo has graciously agreed to give the Mexicans another 24 hours to obey his demand for a 21-gun salute to the American flag.

Oklahoma Gov. Lee Cruce says he will call out the militia to stop racing under the auspices of the Tulsa Jockey Club. The club denies that the governor has any legal authority to stop gambling on horse races. The militia will literally occupy the race track.

There is a movement to reform the death penalty in Germany. Not end it, of course, but replace decapitation by sword, still practiced in Prussia and elsewhere, with the more humane guillotine or gallows or electric chair.

Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, which actually premiered in Germany last year, finally opens in London, with Beerbohm Tree as Henry Higgins and Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle. Shaw left in the middle; Tree explained in his curtain speech that GBS had been upset by all the applause and laughter (Shaw does not like audiences fucking up his timing). The London Times thinks the play contains the first use of the word “bloody” on the London stage (Eliza’s line “Not bloody likely” was responsible for much of that laughter). The bloody inclusion will be debated in the bloody newspapers and magazines for bleedin’ weeks to come (although most newspapers find themselves unable to print the offending epithet), and luminaries such as the bishop of Woolwich and the Oxford Union will express their opinion, because of course they will. At one point the Daily Express brought an actual Covent Garden flower girl named Eliza to the play to test her reaction, and she was bloody shocked.

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