Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Today -100: June 7, 1916: Of guilty but insane captains, dead kitcheners and dead emperors, and inscrutable hugheses

Capt. John Bowen-Colthurst is court-martialed for murder for the extra-judicial execution of Frank Sheehy-Skeffington and two others in Dublin during the Easter Rising. He’s going for an insanity defense, which will succeed. He will be found “guilty but insane,” confined to a loony bin for a year, make a miraculous recovery and be released. He will then emigrate to Canada, where he will receive a full military pension until his death in 1965.

Field Marshal Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, the not-hugely-competent British war secretary, dies when the ship he is taking to Russia hits a German mine and sinks. This leads, naturally, to more cries for all Germans to be interned, because someone must have told the Germans Kitchener’s travel plans. Which they didn’t, although the secret might have been better kept. The British government had encouraged Kitchener to leave the country on a nice long trip, less to confer with the Russians over munitions than from a desire to get The Recruiting Poster That Walked Like a Man away from his office so it could be run properly.

Theodore Roosevelt eulogizes Kitchener as “one of the great figures in that work of spreading civilization which has been the greatest permanent achievement of the civilized powers of the world during recent decades.” You know, conquering Sudan, ruling over the dusky natives in Egypt and India – spreading civilization.

Headline of the Day -100:

The Republican leaders agree on planks to be submitted to the National Convention: 1) military preparedness, including universal military training at schools. 2) “Americanism.” No hyphenated allegiances. 3) Fill more federal government jobs through the civil service. 4) No independence for the Philippines for a long, long time. 5) Protective tariffs. 6) Cheaper government. 7) Expansion of the merchant marine. The platform may matter this year more than these things usually do, since the leading candidate, Justice Hughes, has been, as the Times says, inscrutable.

Two suffrage meetings are held in Chicago to pressure the Republicans into adopting a women’s suffrage plank, but the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association rejects the Congressional Union’s demand for a federal constitutional amendment, because the state-by-state method is working so well. In other news, Iowa voters reject a women’s suffrage amendment to the state constitution.

US marines in the Dominican Republic and Haiti kill 7 and 11 rebels respectively. Which is worth 3 paragraphs on page 8.

Chinese President, Then Emperor, Then President Again Yuan Shikai dies. Officials are denying that he committed suicide, just like last week they denied he’d been poisoned.

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