Monday, October 28, 2013

Today -100: October 28, 1913: Of holidays, ritual murder, amnesty, home rule within home rule, Wackes, hairpins and krazy kats


Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan endorses Winston Churchill’s proposal of a “naval holiday,” as long as, you know, everyone else is also doing it.

The trial of Mendel Beilis continues in Kiev. Another day of “testimony,” mostly hearsay from Catholic and Orthodox priests about the Jewish practice of ritual murder. Days can go by without Beilis’s name even being mentioned, as the prosecutors put the entire Jewish race on trial.

Tammany candidate for NYC mayor (I’d say Democratic candidate, but Tammany is more realistic) Edward McCall demanded that John Hennessy (who worked for Sulzer as a graft investigator) put the charges he’s making against McCall (buying his seat on the state Supreme Court with money he got from a police inspector, acting as Boss Murphy’s messenger boy to former Gov. Sulzer, etc) in writing so he could sue him (the former justice has heard of libel laws but not slander laws, I guess). Hennessy does, and now McCall says he, er, won’t sue, and he doesn’t want anyone to mention “that creature”’s name in front of him again.

Woodrow Wilson gives a speech: “the United States will never again seek one additional foot of territory by conquest.” This is being taken to mean that the US will invade Mexico to “restore order,” but won’t stay there or, you know, annex anything.

First Mexican dictator Huerta tried to keep presidential rival Felix Díaz out of the country during the election, then he ordered him to leave Vera Cruz for Mexico City. Díaz rather sensibly resigned from the army rather than comply and has now asked for protection from the Americans and is safely lodged on a battleship.

Britain’s Liberal government has been suggesting flexibility on Ulster, but not exclusion from Home Rule. More like home rule within home rule, with Northern Ireland having control over its own education, police, etc.

In Saverne, Alsace (or Zabern, Elsaß if you prefer), one of two German-speaking provinces of France acquired by Germany in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War, a Lt. Gunther Freiherr von Forstner tells one of his unruly soldiers to stop fighting other soldiers in the barracks but if he got into a scuffle with the locals – who Forstner refers to as “Wackes,” a derisive term for Alsatians – he could shoot them, in which case Forstner would pay 10 marks each. When this story gets out, it will not go over especially well.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Hatpin is Fatal.” Mrs. Josephine Karmuenisk, wife of a saloon-keeper in South Chicago, stabs a hold-up man behind the ear.

The cartoon Krazy Kat premiers in Hearst’s New York Evening Journal.

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