Monday, October 26, 2020

Today -100: October 26, 1920: Monkeys:1, Monarchs:0

Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, dies in Brixton Prison on the 74th day of his hunger strike, at the age of 41. And in Cork Gaol, a second hunger striker, Joseph Murphy, dies after 76 days, not that it’s a competition or anything.

The London Evening Standard says MacSwiney “persisted in his design of suicide” and no one else bears any responsibility. But the Westminster Gazette says MacSwiney has beaten the government.

Pope Benedict, helpful as always, has referred the question of whether hunger strikers are suicides to a committee.

Also dead: King Alexander of Greece dies of blood poisoning from a monkey bite, as one does, at the age of 27. He tried to break up a fight between his dog and his monkey earlier this month. This leaves a succession problem. Alexander was placed on the Greek throne in 1917 by the Allies after they deposed his father Constantine for being too pro-German. Constantine never officially abdicated, just fled the country, as was the custom, so most of the royal family would refuse the crown. Constantine himself is considering trying to return to Greece and the Greek throne, which would be resisted by the Allies and by Prime Minister Venizelos, who after all was nearly assassinated earlier this year by pro-Constantine monarchists. Alexander has no offspring... yet. His wife is pregnant, but she’s a filthy commoner so their daughter Alexandria won’t be officially royal, at least until World War II when she will meet and marry another exiled royal in London, Prince Peter of Yugoslavia. Tito deposed them, so she never actually set foot in Yugoslavia.

Gov. James Cox says he would consult with the Senate about the League of Nations and “merely the executive will” will not control the terms of admission. He says he will accept reservations. He thinks that after election day the partisan spirit that has infected discussions of the League will go away. He also thinks there’s been a “psychological change” in the people in favor of the League, especially among women voters. “The people have come to realize that the fight against the League is a conspiracy.”

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