Saturday, September 14, 2013

Today -100: September 14, 1913: Of ultimata, vivisection, and big Tims

China gives in to Japan’s ultimatum. (Update from a later issue: not all of it, such as the demand that the governor of Kiang-Su province be fired).

An anti-vivisection movement has been developing in Britain (in the US, not so much). The Home Office releases a report saying all animals being cut open or experimented upon by Dr. Moreau and the other 598 licensed vivisectors (vivisectionists?) in the UK are “suitably lodged and well cared for,” so that’s okay then.

“Big Tim” Sullivan, NYC Tammany leader/organized-crime boss/former state legislator/US congresscritter (he wore many hats, straw ones if Google Images is anything to go by), dies at 51. He had escaped from his brother’s house, where he was confined due to syphilitic insanity, and was hit by a train. So thank you, NYT, for saying that for the last 13 days he “had been lying in the Morgue – in three Morgues, in fact” BEFORE explaining that that was because they moved his body around, not because different body parts were in different morgues. There are theories that he may have been murdered and his body placed on the train tracks. It took 13 days to identify the body because no one tried, despite its having good clothes and diamond & gold cufflinks with his initials, and despite his face being untouched, and despite the fact that the coroner was a friend of his. He was about to be buried in Potter’s Field when a passing cop recognized the corpse. In November 1912 he was elected again to Congress (he had served 1903-6 before resigning to spend more time with his graft) but never re-took his seat, given the, you know, tertiary syphilis. Since he was declared mentally incompetent, his congressional pay went to his conservators. I can think of a few members of congress...

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