Monday, February 29, 2016

History: The Year is 1741

I've uploaded year 1741 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Pamela's Virtue and the Gift of Fear -- The first modern novel (with a plot) was published last year. This is the sequel. It is a romance and a bit racy. I talk about rape and the Gift of Fear.

The Negro Conspiracy and the Irish Famine -- Several fires in New York cause a conspiracy panic. Several people are executed.

A Famous Backstabber is born! -- Benedict Arnold is born! His name means betrayal.

Pamela's Virtue and the Gift of Fear

The sequel to the first modern novel is published this year. Up until now, novels have been a series of short stories rather than a single unified plot. Robinson Caruso came close to being a modern novel, but it reads like a travelogue. Now comes the first novel with a plot line, "Pamela... or Virtue Rewarded" by Samuel Richardson. Richardson is a printer who is encouraged to write an essay on virtue. Instead, he writes a romance novel for young girls which includes real character development. Pamela is 16 years old and works as a servant in a gentleman's home. Her master makes a number of advances but she manages to keep her virtue... just barely. He eventually offers her marriage and she accepts. In volume 2, Pamela is making cookies and jams while trying to fit into English high society. The third volume is published this year. The series is hokey even for its time, but it is an instant best seller... and it is considered a little racy... which really helps sales. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Samuel Richardson made extra money writing letters on behalf of illiterate, love-sick girls, so he developed a sense for what worried them. Apparently, they were worried about rape. Women in general and young girls in particular were extremely dependent upon a man for shelter, and protection. Even with a presumed gentleman, a young girl could end up in a wrestling match until he came across with the ring. Nowadays, women have forgotten how to manage men. Look at any movie from the 1950s and you'll see forceful feminine models. Instead of crying at their desk when Mr. Jones offers to do things to her that no other man can do, she stands up and shouts, "Mr. Jones! You are a married man!" Without making a direct accusation, everyone knows he is being crude. On the other hand, rape is violence and entirely different. I suggest reading, "The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect us from Violence" by Gavin de Becker. We are all given small clues that we ignore but our instincts are telling us to run! He teaches how to listen to your instincts. It applies to men and women, and I believe his advice has saved my life at least once. [5]

The Negro Conspiracy and the Irish Famine

It is a Wednesday in March when the Lieutenant Governor's mansion located at Fort George catches fire. The fire spreads to a chapel and another building. It is considered an accident. The Next Wednesday, a fire at a captain's home, and the third Wednesday, a fire at a port-side warehouse. New York is in hysterics. They believe it is a conspiracy to burn the city to the ground and there are plenty of people to blame... like the Irish and the Negros. Manhattan has the second largest slave population of the 13 colonies at about 20%. (Number one is Charleston, South Carolina.) At the scene of the 10th fire, a slave is seen leaving so the investigation focuses on slaves. That is where Caesar and "Negro Peg" come into the picture. Caesar is a slave working at Fort George which is the location of the 1st fire and he is in love with "Negro Peg" who lives over a dock-side tavern. The tavern is a general meeting place for people who are drinking away their troubles. Well... they sure have trouble now. After the 13th fire there is a quick investigation and trial, 34 defendants are executed including the four white ringleaders. [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Did it really happen? The fires happened, certainly. Was it a negro conspiracy? I doubt it. It looks more like an accidental fire at the Lieutenant Governor's mansion. The two Wednesday fires afterward were probably a coincidence. After that, people panicked and blamed anyone who was different. They were already very fearful of a Spanish invasion and the flood of Irish Catholic immigrants was not helping. (The Spanish were Catholic. Generally the Irish were Catholic. See the connection? Me neither but it made sense to them back then.) Ireland was going through a famine after extreme cold and rain caused a massive crop failure. (This was not the potato famine. That was much, much later.) There were a lot of Ulster Irish Protestants already in the Colonies so because of all the fear, uncertainty and doubt about the Irish Catholics, the Irish Protestants started calling themselves the Scotch-Irish. The Scotch-Irish will become vital to the American Revolution and to the building of Washington, DC. [9]

A Famous Backstabber is born!

Benedict Arnold is born in Connecticut. He will become one of the bravest, competent and most trusted generals of the American Revolution. He will stand side-by-side with Ethan Allen at the assault on Fort Ticonderoga... and then resign his commission over a disagreement. His name will come to mean the very essence of betrayal when he attempts to sell Fort West Point to the British. George Washington's "Secret Six" spy ring will uncover his scheme before it goes too far. (His plan will include capturing Alexander Hamilton and George Washington as they arrive at West Point.) But Benedict Arnold will escape. For a while, Arnold will work for the British forces against his fellow Americans. He will die years later in England, suffering from the gout. Although he will have a stately funeral and resting place, his body will be exhumed in order for the church to make renovations. A clerical error will direct his body to a mass grave. His final resting place will be unmarked, and his memory unlamented. [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
So why would he do it? Benedict Arnold was a man of ability, driven by a need for praise. When he did not get what he thought he deserved, he felt betrayed and, in turn, betrayed others. But that is only a partial explanation. Benedict Arnold was a Major General of the Continental Army. That was a substantial recognition of his abilities. Perhaps more relevant was that he married his second wife, Peggy Shippen, a Crown Loyalist. She was also a looker, a socialite and she threw parties on a grand scale that put Benedict Arnold deep in debt. I'm not blaming his wife. Benedict was an adult, after all, but in his effort to please her, he exceeded his finite resources. It is sometimes the small things that trip us up... a need for praise, a desire to look better than we really are, and when the bill comes, we lie... just a little. Then we lie more and before we know it, we are selling little bits of our soul. [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1741, Wikipedia.

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