Monday, August 17, 2020

Today -100: August 17, 1920: Of reversals, secret ciphers, warships, lynchings, child soldiers, and deadly baseballs

Warren G. Harding says a Republican victory in November would result in a “complete reversal” of Wilson’s foreign policy, although he refuses to give any details. When asked about Poland, he says he hasn’t read a newspaper today, and only the president and secretary of state really know what’s going on in the world. Harding is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork, is sentenced by a military court-martial for possession of the secret police cipher (I assume that means a police cipher which is secret, not the cipher of the secret police), and of having a document likely to cause disaffection, namely the resolution of the Cork Corporation pledging allegiance to the Dáil Éireann, and of making a seditious speech. He told the court that the trial was illegal and anyone taking part in it is liable to arrest under the laws of the Irish Republic. He also tells says he will set his own term of imprisonment through hunger strike and “shall be free, alive or dead, within a month.” He doesn’t understand how long it actually takes to starve to death.

British soldiers seize a man named Patrick Lynch from his home, I think in Dublin, and kill him, which is a bit on the nose if you ask me.

The US is sending warships to Danzig. To protect US citizens and their interests, Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels says, though some suspicious souls suspect a broader intervention into the Russian-Polish war.

A lynch mob seize a suspected child murderer after setting fire to the town hall and the jail to get at him. But he makes a little speech about how only a degenerate would do such a thing and they decide to let the legal process run its course. Which is how lynch mobs work in Canada (specifically St Catharines, Ontario).

A 15-year-old appears in Brooklyn Children’s Court, charged with shooting craps. He is released when it comes out that he’s a World War I veteran, having enlisted at 13.

Ray Chapman, the Cleveland Indians’ shortstop, is hit in the head in the fifth inning by a pitch from Carl Mays of the New York Yankees. He’s not dead yet, but will be, the first and only Major League Baseball fatality.

The Indians win the game, if you were wondering. 4-3.

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