Yesterday, January 27th was Holocaust remembrance day. This is a day when we come together to remember the victims, not only of the Nazi atrocities but from genocides around the world. It is fitting then that President Trump signed the executive order suspending the US refugee programme (already the most stringent in the world) and banning entry from 7 countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – for 90 days. Not just barring entry for those with criminal records, or if they’re on a watch list but completely.
You see the Executive order was written so poorly it doesn’t distinguish between Mohammed al Mohammed el Mohammed bin Bazir the terrorist, and Mohammed al Mohammed el Mohammed bin Bazir the person with dual citizenship. Two Iraqis with valid visas are currently in the “green room” of JFK airport and have already announced they will sue citing the suspension of due process. CAIR and ACLU have also announced their intention to sue stating the exemption of Christians amounts to a “religious test”.
Trump and the spineless coward that is Paul Ryan claim this is a preventative measure to keep America safe, it completely ignores the fact that between 1975 and 2015 no refugee from those 7 states engaged in a terrorist attack, not only that but the report from the Cato institute found that no one with any family ties to those 7 states carried out a terrorist attack.
However, the same set of statistics show that nearly 3,000 Americans were killed by citizens from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Turkey in the same time period — with the bulk of those killed being victims of the 9/11 attacks.
What is noticeable is the fact Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and Lebanon aren’t on the list despite the fact the 9/11 hijackers all came from there, not only that but Trump’s vast business empire have links to those countries that should be on the list but aren’t. This all confirms what we have suspected and what the ethics department in Washington predicted, that Trumps businesses which he refuses to put into a blind trust and has instead invented a multi layered amount of bullshit (and a stack of blank pages that could form part of his wall) is a factor in his decision making.
This ban amounts to a complete betrayal of America’s founding principles and also her actual founding. America is the country built by immigrants, the American dream is that you can come to it with nothing and reach the top, to create a better life for your children that you yourself had as the plaque beneath the statue of Liberty says:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
” My worthy colleague from Pennsylvania has spoken with great ingenuity and eloquence. He’s given you a grim prognostication of our national future, but where he foresees apocalypse I see hope. I see a new nation ready to take its place in the world. Not an empire, but a republic. And a republic of laws, not men. […] My belief says that the hour has come. My judgment approves this measure and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, all that I am and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready to stake upon it. While I’ll live, let me have a country. A free country.”
Ok, we have to talk. 2016 was what we’re probably going to see described on some History documentary in 20 years time as ‘The gathering storm’. First there was Brexit, then celebrities started dropping like foreign legion soldiers in that scene from Carry on Follow that camel then came, what will be seen as the key moment…
Donald J Trump, was elected as President.
We knew we were in for something special, lets not forget Trump has pretty thin skin and any slight, by anyone remotely famous, usually results in a few choice words on a late night twitter binge by Trump. In fact in 2008 Clinton released the now infamous “3AM” attack advert showing her ready to lead from her bed if needed. The advantage Trump has is he’ll already be awake, in a dark room lit only by his phone’s screen, writing “John Oliver once again being overrated. HBO has contributed nothing of worth since Sopranos. Sad!”
I was hoping that maybe the realisation of the awesome responsibility and even as some occupants have described the loneliness of power would have taken the edge off President Trump, that maybe he would have listened to what Lincoln described as the better angels of his nature, that he may be more Presidential.
That was the first mistake.
Instead what we had in the awkward transition period from November to January was a President-elect who didn’t really seem to do much, he was only accessible via twitter when he took aim at the defence industry, Carrier, GM, China, and then there’s comparing the CIA/NSA/DIA to Nazis for “leaking” the dodgy research on Trump’s connections to the Russian Government.
Then came Friday.
Per the 20th Amendment at noon on January 20th Donald Trump took the oath of office, a man who looked like he wanted the world to end for the hours leading up to it became more energised as he went through the oath, leading to the address.
“Oratory should raise your heart rate. Oratory should blow the doors off the place.”
Sam Seaborn, ‘The West Wing’ S2 E7 (The Portland Trip)
An Inaugural address is the first real taste of how the next 4 years will be; the words uttered during them have become part of the fabric of US History. From Lincoln and his “malice to none”, Roosevelt and “nothing to fear but fear itself”, and Bush’s “thousand points of light”, they set the tone of the Presidency. Trump has never given what we would think of as an address; yes there’s been campaign speeches but how much of what he’s said has actually been in the speeches is anyone’s guess. I even hoped that his team contained a capable writer (not that I can really judge but this post isn’t going to be seen by millions, or 3 people if you’re CNN)
This was my second mistake.
Trump’s speech was like a monkey sneezing on alphabet spaghetti, it was more like a caricature of what we all joked would be a Trump speech if it was written by a Tea Partier on an acid trip. There was guff about opening hearts to patriotism then a lot about God, a concept that Trump has rarely mentioned, he did well to try to keep that aspect of US elections out of his campaign; which is what made it more jarring. More concerning to anyone familiar with Modern US History or any interest in World War two was the overuse of the phrase “America First”.
For those who don’t know, America First was a non-intervention pressure group active in the USA until 1941 (and the attack on Pearl Harbor) they preached strict non-interference with the War in europe, no lend-lease, no escorting convoys part way, nothing at all. It also is heavily tainted with anti-Semitism and outright nazism. Trump for all his boasting isn’t necessarily a dumb guy, we’d be wrong to think of him as a punchline in a “made in China” suit but Interwar US political movements may, and probably aren’t his strong point.
However Trump like all modern leaders rarely write their own speeches and the architect of his inaugural was Steve Bannon a white supremacist who almost certainly knew what “America First” originally meant and how it is still used in far right (screw this “Alt-right” nonsense and call them what they are) circles and it was the dog whistle, the call to them saying “we’re in”. I mean we’ve probably seen the videos from the Deploraball or the meetings with the Nazi salutes and “Hail Trump”. We know what we’re dealing with now.
Trumps speech could be played in black and white, it could be played in black and white and the only thing missing would be the red banners and the Koniggratzer march. Leni Riefenstahl‘s reanimated corpse behind a camera wouldn’t have looked out-of-place.
The following contains dodgy psychoanalysis from a person whose total knowledge of the area is that if you’re a therapist and an analyst you don’t want to shorten that down on a business card.
You would think after that he would get down to work and start ‘Making America great again’ but he wasn’t done.
See Donald has a problem, he’s the stereotypical rich guy, he’s been surrounded by yes men, he’s probably never once doubted his ability, or had anyone close to him doubt it. He’s Mr. Burns, but younger and with more “hair” [Citation needed]. He craves the attention and credit for everything he has a deep-rooted desire to be loved. When Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep publicly humiliate him and people laugh or agree that hurts, he’s known to be thin-skinned he can’t comprehend that he’s this object of ridicule it doesn’t bother him when it’s you, or I, over twitter, but these are celebs, they’re people he craves the love from more. When he’s mocked by them it hurts. It hurts.
When CNN posted pictures showing the crowd at the inauguration he flipped, it wounded him that this liberal elite were sneering at him he had his press secretary go out in front of the Press Corps and humiliated him trying to justify and berate the media for the lies it shattered this worldview that he’s loved, that everyone is shouting “Boo-urns” at him even God turned up and held the rain up while he spoke (he didn’t and it didn’t)
We’re not dealing with an ordinary “bad” President. We’re dealing with an egotistical maniac who deep down is craving attention and I suspect just wants recognition, we’re dealing with a man who likes the trappings of the Presidency but not the responsibility, we’re dealing with a populist. A dangerous man who will do untold damage to the fragile republic. We’re dealing not with satan, but with the guy who runs to 7/11 to buy satan a pack of cigarettes.
“I had control of that vehicle right in the palm of my hands. If the guidance failed or started to stray or went somewhere we didn’t like or the ground didn’t like, I could flip a switch, and I could control seven, over seven and a half million pounds of thrust with this handle and fly the thing to the Moon myself. And I guarantee you, I had practiced it and trained for it so many times, I almost dared, I almost dared her to quit on me. Every breath she breathed, I breathed with her. She was, she was uniquely something special, and what a hell of a ride she gave us.”
Lisa: [I]f you’re the police, who will police the police?
Homer: I dunno. Coast Guard?
Mere days after a grand jury ruled not to indict the police officer who shot Michael Brown another grand jury, this time a New York grand jury, declined to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo over the death of Eric Garner, the reason for Garner being thrown to the ground? He was selling loose cigarettes and therefore skipping tax on them.
In the immediate aftermath of the Brown shooting many claimed that if the police wore body cameras it would and could save lives. In a town in california the police department introduced body cameras in the first year the use of force by officers declined 60%, and citizen complaints against police fell 88%. So you would think that if officers used cameras incidents like Brown would stop, or at least be so clear cut that an indictment would be pretty easy to secure?
Well, a pretty powerful rebuttal of that claim happened yesterday, because the death of Eric Garner was caught on film, and yet no indictment, though, not exactly.
Ramsey Orta was the man who videod the entire incident, he’s now awaiting trial having been indicted by a grand jury for possession of a firearm it’s alleged that Orta entered a motel known for drug activity and when confronted by the police he put an object into the waistband of a 17 year old girl. That object was a gun, that didn’t have Orta’s fingerprints on it. Not only that but DNA testing on the firearm hasn’t even been done and according to Orta the police officers referred to the video numerous times and claimed “Karma is a bitch.” Now I’m not going to comment further but that should highlight the flawed grand jury system.
Had Officers Wilson and Pantaleo been indicted it would result in a trail, in that case justice could be seen to be done, it wouldn’t rely on secret hearings that are generally sealed from public scrutiny. Part of the Anger over Ferguson and New York is because Justice isn’t seen to be done. It gives the impression that the police are a law unto themselves. Especially when the Medical examiner determined it was homicide, and the method of restraint was outlawed by the NYPD 20 years previously.
But this all hides another problem, grand juries are flawed, it involves a DA trying to secure an indictment of a local police officer, there is undoubtedly a conflict of interest. That’s why the statistics are so skewered between successful indictments between federal prosecutors and local prosecutors. For example In Texas, Harris County grand juries have cleared Houston PD officers in shootings 288 consecutive times. In Dallas, only one police officer was indicted from 2008 to 2012, after grand juries reviewed 81 shootings involving 175 officers.The last Chicago PD officer indicted was in 2007 and in Houston more than a quarter of the 121 civilians Houston Police Department officers have shot in the last five years were unarmed.
The police are given equipment to end human life, and they do so knowing that the odds are stacked in their favour and they can do so with almost complete impunity. Between the Brown shooting and yesterdays announcement a 12 year old, Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a police officer. The police officer had previously served in another force and resigned because he was mentally unfit for duty his instructors noted he fell to pieces on the firing range was incapable of coherent thoughts and his performance was substandard. Yet he was allowed to rejoin another force, drive to reports of a child with a gun, get out his car and open fire immediately. There was no warnings to Tamir, he was just snuffed out, the work of a jittery cop who shouldn’t have been there.
The Grand Jury will soon meet to determine if charges are to be pressed, again this is all caught on video, it’s therefore no surprise that expectations are already set that he will walk free.
The saga or what to do with the remains of Richard III have taken yet another twist. Firstly was the granting of a judicial review into the final burial location of the king by a group called the Plantagenet alliance.
The Alliance are rivaling the Richard III society for “steady on a bit” around the King. They claim to be the “only ones who can speak for him¹” the reason for this claim is down to the fact they are non direct descendents of the King their membership which the BBC states is around a dozen or so think that because they’re related indirectly to Richard then this gives them the right to speak for him. However this standpoint is easily refuted by the annoying fact that non direct descendents of Richard quite possibly number the millions. What it has done though it throw all the preparation into chaos. While I don’t for a minute think they will get their wish to see Richard Buried in York which was allegedly his wish but i can’t abide by the argument that Leicester only want the remains for tourism.
This argument isn’t really that good, yes having the tomb would generate more tourism for the cathedral but Leicester already has an attachment to Richard, he spent his last night in the city and it was Leicester where his body was placed. There are already plans to create a museum to Richard and the task to find his remains and if he were in Leicester it would be free to see the tomb and not cost 10-15 pounds to see. It also flies against statements made by York Minster that they don’t want the remains and would rather see them in Leicester per the terms of the original exhumation license. Other arguments from the alliance aren’t worth mentioning more than once since they really are grasping at straws (for the record they’re here)
Now the design for the tomb has been unveiled this has added another layer of controversy on an already confusing story. The tomb is a large limestone block with the cross carved rather deep into it. The block is placed on the white rose of York and in the black border is Richard’s name, dates and motto. The head of the Richard III society has called it inspiring but Phillipa Langley has come out against it and announced £40,000 of funding from the society has been withdrawn. Which is odd since the Cathedral wasn’t asking for the money in the first place.
Langley has claimed it’s because the tomb is aimed at a Cathedral and not a Medieval warrior king. Which is correct since a tomb reminiscent of the period would look out of place in what is a Victorian Cathedral which looks more like a large parish church than a Cathedral.
In all this you can’t help but think those that want to do their best for Richard are infact doing the polar opposite. Let Richard rest in peace, and let the rest of us enjoy his legacy and learn more about him, without hysterics from more vested interests.
The flagship of Vice Admiral George Carew, the 91 gun carrack, Mary Rose heels over suddenly to port, as the crew scramble to safety water rushes through the open gun ports accelerating the sinking, the upper decks are in chaos as sailors try desperately to survive over the noise of cannons crashing across the decks, the giant brick oven collapsing and the moans and cries of the men crushed under them.
Those who made it to the open decks were doomed, heavy anti boarding nets covered the decks, the men trapped under it unable to break free were dragged under with the ship. as the hulk of the ship slipped between the waves, of 400 men, only 35 survived.
Years of modifications to the ship meant she was riding too low in the water, and as she attempted a tight turn the ship caught the breeze and leaned over to the point the water rushed in to the dangerously close to the waterline gun ports.
Edward Hall’s Chronicle gave the reason for the sinking as being caused by
“to[o] much foly … for she was laden with much ordinaunce, and the portes left open, which were low, & the great ordinaunce unbreached, so that when the ship should turne, the water entered, and sodainly she sanke.”
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about the ship, for example the belief that it is named after the sister of Henry VIII. There is no evidence to support this, however during this period it was uncommon to find a ship named for someone. Most ship names held religious connotations, such as Grace Dieu and a similar ship to the Mary Rose, Peter Pomegranate was named after St Peter and the family badge of Catherine of Aragon.
Another myth that won’t go away is that this was the first engagement the Mary Rose fought in. By the time of the sinking the ship was already a veteran, having fought her first action in 1512, 33 years before the sinking. Although it was practically rebuilt in the 1530’s.
Although efforts were made to raise the ship almost immediately after her sinking, the angle at which she settled ruled out any reasonable attempt at salvage. The wreck remained in the Solent, time and tide resulted in the exposed parts of the ship deteriorating and the shifting sand buried what was left. Because of the changing sands the wreck was rediscovered in 1836 before being lost under the sands once more until 1971.
Following fundraising efforts Mary Rose once again rose above the waves and the long process of conservation began.
The Mary Rose was an archaeological goldmine, artifacts gave an intimate insight into the life of an ordinary Tudor sailor. Her remains and the artifacts can be seen at the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth
“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.”
On the third floor of No. 19 Rue de Tournon, Paris, a body is found face down. That body is the mortal remains of John Paul Jones, a hero to some, a pirate to many.
Born in a small cottage on the South west coast of Scotland overlooking the Solway Firth on July 6, 1747 Jones began his career at sea joining trade and slave ships out of Whitehaven, Cumbria.
However John Paul Jones is more known for his actions during the revolutionary war. As Captain of the USS Ranger he was ordered to France carrying dispatches telling of General Burgoyne’s surrender to the commissioners in Paris. On the voyage over, two British prizes were captured. Ranger sailed from Brest 10 April 1778, for the Irish Sea and four days later captured a prize between the Scilly Isles and Cape Clear. On 17 April, she took another prize and sent her back to France.
On April 23, 1778, Jones and 30 of his crew landed at his old stomping ground of Whitehaven. As reported by the Lloyds evening post:
“Whitehaven, April 23.
LATE last night, or early this morning, a number of armed men (to the amount of
thirty) landed privately at this place, by two boats, from an American privateer, as
appears from one of the people now in custody. Whether he was left through
accident, or escaped by design, is yet uncertain.
Thus much has however been proved, that a little after three o’clock this morning he
rapped at several doors in Marlborough street, (adjoining one of the piers) and
informed them that fire had been [benn] let to one of the ships in the Harbour,
matches were laid in several others; the whole would be soon in a blaze, and the
town also destroyed; that he was one belonging to the privateer, but had escaped for
the purpose of saving, if possible, the town and shipping from destruction. The alarm
was immediately spread, and his account proved too true. The Thompson, Captain
Richard Johnson, a new vessel, and one of the finest ever built here, was in a flame.
It was low water, consequently all the shipping in the Port was in the most imminent
danger, and the vessel on which they had begun the diabolical work, lying close to
one of the steaths, there was the greatest reason to fear that the flames would, from
it, be communicated to the town. The scene was too horrible to admit of any further
description; we shall therefore only add to this part of this alarming story, that by an
uncommon exertion, the fire was extinguished before it reached the rigging of the
ship, and thus, in a providential manner, prevented all the dreadful consequences
which might have ensued.
The man who remained on shore was examined by the Magistrates, Merchants, &c.
about eight o’clock in the morning. The following is the purport of his affidavit:
“The Ranger privateer is commanded by John Paul Jones, fitted out at Piscataqua, in New-England, mounted by 18-six pounders, and 6 swivels, but is pierced for twenty guns. She has on board between 140 and 150 men; sailed from Piscataqua for Brest the 1st of November, 1777, arrived at Nantz the 2d of December [November]. Took in the passage two brigs, one commanded by Captain Richards, the other by Captain Goldfinch.
“Sailed from Nantz for Quiberon Bay; lay there about three weeks and returned to
Brest; left that Port about three weeks ago, in which time she has taken one ship
from London to Dublin, (having on board Gen. Irwin’s baggage) and sent her to Brest.
She also took and sunk a brig laden with flax-feed, a schooner with barley and oats,
and a sloop from Dublin to London, in ballast.
“On Sunday, or Monday night, from the intelligence she gained by a fishing boat, she
sailed into Belfast Lough, with an intent to attack an armed vessel, (the Drake sloop
of war) stood within half gun shot of her, hailed her, and then stood out again.”
David Freeman, the person who was examined and gave the above information,
says, that the name of the Commander of the Ranger is John Paul Jones, the First
Lieutenant Thomas Simpson, Second Lieutenant Elisha Hall, Sailing-Master David
Cullen, Lieutenant of Marines Samuel Willinsford.
The above John Paul Jones, alias John Paul, it further appears, served his
apprenticeship to the sea in a vessel called the Friendship, belonging to this port,
was afterwards in the employ of some Merchants here, latterly had a brig out of
Kircudbright, and is well known by many people in this town. David Freeman, it is
said, has also declared, that the said Paul Jones commanded the party which landed
here this morning, and was himself on shore.
While this infernal business was transacting, the ship laid to with her head to the
Northward, distant about two miles, until the boats put off to go on board, which was
between three and four o’clock. By this time some of the guns at the Half-moonbattery were loaded, two of which were fired at the boats, but without the desired
effect. The boats then fired their signal guns, and the ship immediately tacked and
stood towards them till they got along-side, and then made sail to the North
The Incendiaries had spiked most of the guns of both our batteries, several matches
were found on board different vessels, and other combustible matter in different parts
of the Harbour.
It appears that this infernal plan, unprecedented, except in the Annals of John the
Painter, was laid at Brest, where, for a considerable sum of money, Paul, or Jones,
(the latter is only an addition to his name,) engaged to burn the shipping, and town of
Whitehaven; for which purpose he was convoyed through the Channel by a French
frigate of 38 guns.
A number of Expresses have been dispatched to all the capital sea ports in the
kingdom where any depredations are likely to be made; all strangers in this town are,
by an order of the Magistrates, to be secured and examined: Similar notices have
been forwarded through the country, &c. and, in short, every caution taken that the
present alarming affair could suggest.
The privateer is the same ship which chased the Hussar cruizer last week, but the
cutter, or smack, did not belong to her.
They took three people away with them and staid some time in a public-house on the
The Hussar, Capt. Gurley, and other vessels, are sent to different ports in Ireland
express with the news.
There has been almost a continual meeting at Haile’s Coffee-room to-day; a number
of men are raising for the defence of the town by subscription; and the forts, guns,
&c. it is expected, will now be put into proper condition
The effect was shocking to the people of Britain, who believed themselves safe, if this pirate can attack a port deep in the heart of the British Isles what could a large force do. Coastal defenses were improved and more men rushed to join the militias. Ships were dispatched to the Irish sea in an attempt to stop Jones. One of them was a 14 gun Brig, HMS Drake.
After an hours battle she too was captured by Jones who then sailed down the west coast of Ireland and returned to France with her prizes in tow on May 8.
Jones was then placed in command of the Bonhomme Richard and on August 14, as a vast French and Spanish invasion fleet approached England, he provided a diversion by heading for Ireland at the head a flotilla including the 36-gun Alliance, 32-gun Pallas, 12-gun Vengeance, and Le Cerf, and two privateers, Monsieur and Granville.
Sailing up and over Scotland news of this force terrified the east coast of England On September 23, 1779, the squadron met a large merchant convoy off the coast of Flamborough Head, east Yorkshire. The 50-gun British frigate HMS Serapis and the 22-gun hired ship Countess of Scarborough.
The Serapis engaged the Bonhomme Richard, and soon afterwards, the Alliance fired, from a considerable distance, at the Countess. Quickly recognizing that he could not win a battle of big guns, and with the wind dying, Jones made every effort to lock Richard and Serapis together during a lull a taunt from one of the British sailors asking if he gave in prompted Jones to remark that “I have yet begun to fight.”
The fighting was fierce and both ships were badly damaged, the ensign on the Bonhomme Richard was shot away one of the officers of the Serapis asked if Jones had struck his colors, Jones remarked that “I may sink, but I’ll be damned if I strike.”
With his shipped locked in a deadly duel and the Alliance raking his ship with shot the captain of the Serapis Captain Pearson surrendered his ship to Jones. While the crew transferred over and following desperate attempts at repair the Bonhomme Richard was beyond repair and allowed to sink. Jones then sailed his battered fleet to the Netherlands.
Following the exploits in British waters Jones’ career began to falter, with commands and ships passing him by he entered the service of the Imperial Russian Navy, again he was passed over for commands, and political enemies plotted against him, inventing charges of “Sexual misconduct” which were disproved.
Leaving Russia a year after joining he offered his services to Sweden who eventually declined. Ending up in Paris he was given an assignment to secure the release of US captives held by the Dey of Algiers. However Jones died before carrying out this duty.
A small gathering of servants and Friends accompanied his body the 4 miles to Saint Louis Cemetery Jones’s the body was preserved in alcohol and interred in a lead coffin “in the event that should the United States decide to claim his remains, they might more easily be identified.” where with the passage of time and the French revolution his final resting place was forgotten.
That isn’t the end of Jones’ story
In 1905 the by U.S. Ambassador to France Gen. Horace Porter, who had searched for 6 years for Jones’ remains exhumed a number of lead coffins. The preserved body was identified and an autopsy conducted. Brought back to America on the USS Brooklyn On April 24, 1906, Jones’s coffin was installed in Bancroft Hall at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, On January 26, 1913, the Captain’s remains were finally re-interred in a magnificent bronze and marble sarcophagus at the Naval Academy Chapel
“The future naval officers, who live within these walls, will find in the career of the man whose life we this day celebrate, not merely a subject for admiration and respect, but an object lesson to be taken into their innermost hearts. . . . Every officer . . . should feel in each fiber of his being an eager desire to emulate the energy, the professional capacity, the indomitable determination and dauntless scorn of death which marked John Paul Jones above all his fellows.”
US President Theodore Roosevelt, in an address to The US Naval Academy, Annapolis (24 April 1906).
Following a complete breakdown in their relationship, and his refusal to take the Oath of Supremacy. Former Lord chancellor, scholar and humanist Sir Thomas More is beheaded upon Tower Hill, London.
A leading adviser to King Henry VIII More assumed the role of Lord Chancellor following the removal of Cardinal Wolsey, More dealt with the issues of state with speed and efficiency. He was also the main opponent of the reformation seeing the works of Luther and Tyndal as heresy and authorizing the burning of many heretics. He also guided Henry VIII in the authoring of ‘Assertio’ to which the Pope granted Henry the title of Defender of the Faith.
As the conflict over supremacy between the Papacy and the King reached its height, More continued to remain unmoved in supporting the supremacy of the Pope over that of the Henry. In 1530, More refused to sign a letter by the leading English churchmen and aristocrats asking Pope Clement VII to annul Henry’s marriage to Catherine, and also quarreled with Henry VIII over the heresy laws. In 1532, More asked Henry to accept his resignation, which he did.
On 13 April 1534, More was asked to appear before a commission and swear his allegiance to the parliamentary Act of Succession. More accepted Parliament’s right to declare Anne Boleyn the legitimate Queen of England, using the precedent of “qui tacet consentire videtur” (who (is) silent is seen to consent.)
Unfortunately for More the Panel was stacked heavily in the Kings favor with both Anne Boleyn’s Father and Brother on the panel the jury took only 15 minutes to find More guilty of Treason, the punishment was to be hanged drawn and quartered, although Henry commuted it to beheading.
The execution took place on 6 July 1535. When he came to mount the steps to the scaffold, he is widely quoted as saying: “I pray you, I pray you, Mr Lieutenant, see me safe up and for my coming down, I can shift for myself”; while on the scaffold he declared that he died “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”
More’s body was buried in an unmarked grave in St Peter ad Vincula within the Tower precinct and his head affixed upon a pike over Tower bridge. The head was later rescued by his daughter Margaret and is said to rest in the Roper Family Vault in St. Dunstan’s Canterbury.
On the 50th anniversary of the declaration of independence, the two key figures of the declaration lie on their deathbeds.
John Adams, the second President of the United States and Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the declaration. Although their friendship soured to the point they were bitter rivals, they rekindled their friendship in 1812 and their letters survive as an important collection in American history.
Jefferson had been ill for around a year and during the last hours of Jefferson’s life he was accompanied by family members and friends. He calmly gave directions for his funeral, forbidding any sort of celebration or parade. Moments later Jefferson called the rest of his family and friends around his bedside and with a distinct tone he uttered:
I have done for my country, and for all mankind, all that I could do,
and I now resign my soul, without fear, to my God, – my daughter to my country.
After falling back to sleep Jefferson later awoke at eight o’clock that evening and spoke his last words, “Is it the fourth yet?“. His doctor replied, ”It soon will be“. On July 4 at ten minutes before one o’clock Jefferson died at the age of 83
Adams died at his home in Quincy. Told that it was the Fourth, he answered clearly, “It is a great day. It is a good day.” His last words have been reported as “Thomas Jefferson survives” although he died earlier in the day.
John Adams (October 30 1735 – July 4, 1826) Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826)