Monday, February 29, 2016

Today -100: February 29, 1916: Of armed ships, protectorates, non-slaves, and Henry James

The Canadian Parliament rejects women’s suffrage.

Germany tells the US it will only attack armed merchant ships without warning if it has “proof” they are armed, which it implies would consist of the ships actually shooting at them. That seems less like the clarification they’re pretending it is than backpedaling, since presumably subs were never required to warn ships that were already shooting at them that they would shoot back.

The US Senate passes the treaty establishing a de facto protectorate over Haiti, whose finances and police are now under American control. The US will also have the “right” to intervene militarily, just as in Cuba.

Headline of the Day -100:

Justice Clarence Shearn of the NY State Supreme Court. In this case, the Rev. Burton Lee, a former chaplain at Sing Sing, and his estranged wife had a separation agreement which said that each would get custody of one of their children. He broke the agreement, refusing to return the kid she got after a visit. He claims that under English Common Law fathers owned their children, so any such contract is void, citing Barry v. Mercein (1842), which said that husbands and wives couldn’t enter into contracts because wives had no separate legal existence (as English legal authority William Blackstone explained this principle in the 18th century, “The husband and wife are one, and that one is the husband”). However, Justice Shearn says that we have “emerged from the dark ages when women were the same as slaves and chattels.” Good to know.

Henry James (The Ambassadors, Wings of the Dove, The Turn of the Screw, The American, The Portrait of a Lady, etc), dies in London at 73.

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