Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Today -100: February 11, 1914: Of Chicago bribes, Belgian court dress, obliging weddings, Mexican bandits, Irish Home Rule, tricked London police, and impersonation and vilification

In the run-off to alderman elections in Chicago, the party machines are having to cope with the question of how to bribe the new female voters: candy instead of cigars, coffee wagons instead of booze.

A while back an (unnamed) Belgian woman “in Court circles” ordered a gown. Before it was finished, an episcopal letter was issued banning the wearing of dresses which are too, as they say in French, boobalicious. So the woman decided she couldn’t wear the dress and refused to pay her dressmaker, who sued. A judge ruled in the customer’s favor, but was reversed by the appeals court, which noted that the gown complied with the measurements of Belgian court dress regulations.

Headline of the Day -100: “To Wed to Oblige Kaiser.” German Foreign Minister Gottlieb von Jagow announces his engagement to the Countess Luitgarde Ernestine zu Salms-Laubach. For some reason it bothered the kaiser that his last two foreign ministers were bachelors.

Maximo Castillo, the Mexican bandit who suffocated the passengers on a train in the Cumbre Tunnel after holding it up a few days ago, is captured. Pancho Villa promises a public execution.

A new session of the British Parliament, which will focus on Irish Home Rule. The Tories say they will only agree if Ulster is excluded from the act, or there’s a referendum. If Ulster is not excluded, Austen Chamberlain says, civil war is certain. Prime Minister Asquith rejects the idea of holding another general election, saying that if the Liberals won, the Ulsterites would not lay down their arms, and if the Conservatives won, they’d have to deal with some very disappointed Irish people. But he’s still being wishy-washy over whether he might agree to Ulster exclusion or to Ulster being included in the Irish Parliament but with a referendum several years later to see how they were liking it.

The Swedish government resigns over King Gustaf’s refusal to stop mouthing off about political matters (especially military spending) without consulting his government ministers first.

Alfred Charles Sam (“Chief Sam”) has a scheme to bring negroes from the US to the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana). He’s off buying a steamship now. A white guy who transacts the company’s business says that the officers are all Gold Coasters whose names he could tell you, but you couldn’t pronounce them, much less remember them, so why bother? Passengers have to be stockholders in the company, and the company will sell them food on the ship and provisions in Africa and they’ll get 99-year leases. While not quite a Nigerian-prince-email scam, the 60 people who will get to Africa will not wind up at all pleased.

Headline of the Day -100: “Mrs. Pankhurst Tricks Police Again.” British police arrest Mrs. Pankhurst after a meeting and after a fight with her followers. Only it’s another woman in Mrs P’s clothes.

The Senate passes a law against “impersonation and vilification.” This is from the discovery that the Wall Street stock broker and lobbyist David “The Wolf” Lamar’s practice of impersonating members of Congress was not actually illegal. The bill would outlaw imitating any member of Congress or federal officer over the telephone.

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