French terrorists vs Spanish insurgents

At the start of 1812, insurgents were big news in the French media.

“We learn from Valencia that the small fortress that Marshall Sechet has left in his rear, blockaded by various corps of the army, have successively surrendered, and the siege of Valencia has been seriously prosecuted by General Harispe, who commands under the orders of the Marshall. The Spanish General Blake is attempting to collect a force, in order to make a second attempt to relieve the place, but the uniform terror spread by the armies of France, is sufficient to impede his design; and the insurgents have, by the last account, been driven from the right bank of Guadilaviar. The Polish division has particularly distinguished itself in the late encounters with the enemy.”

USS terror at sea
The USS terror was a mine laying ship that operated with the American Navy during the second world war.

One thing I notice in looking at old documents is the use of the word “terror” in war, as if it were a good thing. The French weren’t alone is using “terror” as an instrument. Even in the US Navy, ships carried the name “USS Terror” as late as World War II. (The Terror was a minelayer, a ship whose primary purpose was to lay sea mines in the water.)

Of course, the word terror does not necessarily mean what we today call a terrorist. But has the definition of the word insurgent changed as well? Continue reading French terrorists vs Spanish insurgents

Dom Joao VI, The damned Prince, King of Contraditions

(This is Gargamelo’s first post with Ptara.)

 

Pop art portrait of Dom Joao VI of PortugalApril 1812, Rio de Janeiro, King’s Palace. 

The Regent and his two sons – meeting with their state secretary and top ministers – have just received the news that Napoleon’s troops have definitely been expelled from Portugal.  That means that there is no longer a valid reason for the court to remain in Brazil.

However, except for the Regents wife, Queen Carlota Joaquina, the royals are in no hurry to return.  Continue reading Dom Joao VI, The damned Prince, King of Contraditions

Madison’s act of belevolence: the Venezuela Earthquake and 200 years of American foreign aid.

James Madison is often quoted as having been against hand-outs,

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”*

Although these probably weren’t James Madison’s exact words, Congressman Madison probably said something similar.

Portrait of James Madison
Portrait of James Madison

Continue reading Madison’s act of belevolence: the Venezuela Earthquake and 200 years of American foreign aid.