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The King's Ambiguous Sexuality and the Jefferson vs. Adams Campaign of 1880 *

King Henry the 3rd of France has not fathered any children, leading his critics at court to suggest that he is a little light in the loafers. (It is more than a suggestion, actually.) To foster this impression, the King dresses in a sexually ambiguous manner and surrounds himself with men who dress better than the women. These men are called "the Favorites" and it is obvious that the King is taunting his critics. It is just this sort of foolishness that leads to trouble. There is a lot of tension between the Favorites and the House of Guise so they decide to stage a mock battle to let off a little steam. It turns into mayhem. Two men lay dead. Two more die days later. King Henry is playing a dangerous game and it's going to get more men killed, including himself one day. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
During the 1880 American presidential campaign, Vice-president Thomas Jefferson hired James Callender (a well-known scandalmonger) to write hit-pieces on his opponent in the election, President John Adams. Callender wrote that Adams possessed a "...hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman." This, along with other gems got Callender thrown in prison for a violation of the Aliens and Sedition Act. (Callender was a Scotsman.) After Callender was released from prison, he demanded that Jefferson, now President, appoint him as Postmaster of Richmond, Virgina. Jefferson refused. This led to a series of attacks on Jefferson that resulted in the accusation by Callender that Thomas Jefferson was sleeping with his slaves. Oddly, Callender died of drowning in 3 feet of water, definitely drunk, but was it murder? I'm not sure anyone cared. Long after the election, when both former Presidents were retired, Adams and Jefferson kept up a long and warm correspondence. They died on the same day, July 4th, 1826. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Bring Me the Heart of Don Juan

Don Juan of Austria ("Austria" meaning the Hapsburg dynasty) must bring the Dutch rebellion under control. After the recent Sack of Antwerp by unpaid Spanish troops (mostly from Catalan), Don Juan has called for reinforcements from Italy. At the Battle of Gembloux (SHAHM-bloo), in modern day Belgium, the forces of William of Orange are spanked hard. In fact only 20 Spanish soldier are killed. 6,000 on the Dutch side die in the first cavalry charge. It is a route that strikes at the heart of the rebellion. Then Don Juan dies of camp fever (probably typhus). His body is chopped up into several large pieces, salted and returned in secret to Spain. Intrigues have cast a shadow over his character, but once King Philip reviews his letters, he decides that Don Juan was pure of heart. Unfortunately only his body was returned to Spain. The heart of Don Juan was placed in a small casket and entombed in the wall of a cathedral in Belgium where it remains to this day. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In all wars right up to World War 2, the number one killer of the military was disease on the battlefield. The Bible recounts armies being repelled by disease as they besieged cities. It killed Edward, the Black Prince of England, very, very slowly. Certainly the Mongols were decimated by the Black Death as they sat outside of Genoan holdings in Crimea. Disease was often seen as a judgement from God. In many cases it is easy to understand that point of view. One might also think that God provided a miracle drug when early antibiotics were introduced. People who were once goners, rose from their beds restored to health. Is it any wonder that doctors got a reputation as minor deities? As patients become more educated in their medical expectations, doctors have climbed down from their lofty pedestals. It is good to have a firm ego in place as a doctor, but it should stop somewhere short of divine.

The First Thanksgiving... in Canada

English explorer, Martin Frobisher, calls for a prayer of Thanksgiving while his ship lays at anchor in Frobisher Bay off of Baffin Island near the Hudson Strait. He is not thankful for the many riches he has found in Canada. He is grateful that he is still alive. He is searching for the North-West Passage to China and India, but he can't even establish a small colony because the ship with all the building materials hit ice and sank earlier. He will pick up a few rock samples and return to England. Assayers will judge these rocks as gold ore. Gold fever hits London and several ships are sent to load up on Canadian "gold." It is later judged to be "fool's gold" or pyrite. The rocks are used to build a wall along the Queen's manor. It is a singularly expensive wall and an epic failure for Martin Frobisher. He will be knighted for his naval work later in his career. [14] [15]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
When observing Canadian Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, Frobisher's earlier contribution is often ignored so I wanted to mention it. Canadian Thanksgiving was established as a national holiday in 1879. I found it heartening to learn that even though Frobisher's expeditions were utter failures, he managed to distinguish himself later in life. He was shot in the war against Spain and carried back to Plymouth, England where he died of his wounds. His internal organs were buried at the local church and his body was shipped to London and buried there... so he has two graves.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1578, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Crawford, Katherine B. (October 2003). Love, Sodomy, and Scandal: Controlling the Sexual Reputation of Henry III. Journal of the History of Sexuality. 12. University of Texas Press. pp. 513-542. "Indeed, the legacy of Henry III, who reigned from 1574 to 1589, has been fraught with sexual innuendo. Assumptions of deviance, formulated in his lifetime, have been used ever since to explain the problems of his reign, which ended with his assassination in the midst of a bloody civil war.". 
  2. Les Mignons - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 May 2015. “In April 1578, the rival court parties of Henry III and Henry, Duke of Guise decided to reenact the battle of the Horatii and the Curiatii. On 27 April, Jacques de Caylus, Louis de Maugiron and Jean d'Arcès (representing the party of the King) engaged in a mock battle with Charles de Balzac, Ribérac, and Georges de Schomberg (representing the party of the Guises). Maugiron and Schomberg were killed in the fighting, Ribérac died of wounds the following noon, d'Arcès was wounded in the head and convalesced in a hospital for six weeks, while Caylus sustained as many as 19 wounds and died after 33 days of agony. Only Balzac got off with a mere scratch on his arm.”
  3. James Callender. Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (2015). Retrieved on 19 May 2015. “Callender was seen in a drunken stupor on July 17, 1803 and later that day, he drowned in the James River. He wrote a letter before his death that was published afterwards that tried to make amends for his past.”
  4. American Experience - John & Abigail Adams. PBS (August 26, 2005). Retrieved on 19 May 2015. “...hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”
  5. Alien and Sedition Acts. u-s-history.com (2015). Retrieved on 19 May 2015. “The Sedition Act, which provided for fines or imprisonment for individuals who criticized the government, Congress, or president in speech or print”
  6. Alien and Sedition Acts: Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress). Library of Congress (OFFICIAL SITE) (2015). Retrieved on 19 May 2015. “Signed into law by President John Adams in 1798, the Alien and Sedition Acts consisted of four laws passed by the Federalist-controlled Congress as America prepared for war with France. These acts increased the residency requirement for American citizenship from five to fourteen years, authorized the president to imprison or deport aliens considered 'dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States' and restricted speech critical of the government.”
  7. St Aubin's Cathedral - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 19 May 2015. “In the cathedral a marble plaque near the high altar conceals a casket containing the heart of Don Juan of Austria, Habsburg governor of the Spanish Netherlands, who died in 1578; his body lies in the Escorial near Madrid.”
  8. John of Austria - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 May 2015. “On 1 October 1578, Don John reportedly died of what contemporaries called camp fever (typhus). His army gave him a funeral due a hero. He had appointed Farnese his successor as Governor General, which Philip confirmed. His body was dissected, returned to Spain, reassembled and placed by Philip to rest in the unfinished crypt of the Escorial, not far from their father.”
  9. Battle of Gembloux (1578) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 May 2015.
  10. Antonio Pérez - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 May 2015. “Pérez is most remembered for his role in the murder of Juan de Escobedo, secretary of Don Juan of Austria.”
  11. Infantry Combat Tactics. Tactique (2009). Retrieved on 19 May 2015. “The Spanish would improve the Swiss square adding the firepower of the harquebus and developing a new tactic and administrative unit, the Tercio at the beginning of the XVI century. The novelty in the Tercio was the strict cooperation between the pikemen and the gunmen in the same tactical formation. With the pikes the Tercio could resist cavalry charges and with the guns they could diminish the capacity of resistance of an enemy block of pikemen.”
  12. The Spanish. MyArmoury.com (1982). Retrieved on 19 May 2015. “Spain was very definitely the dominant military power of 16th Century Europe, primarily because her troops were the only real regulars west of the Ottoman Empire—regular, that is, in the sense that they alone were permanently employed, since Spain was permanently at war. Spanish forces alone provided anything like a proper career-structure for officers, for the same reason, and, partly for this reason, enjoyed the best generalship of the period. Spanish armies of the 16th Century acted as models and training schools for many others.”
  13. Battle of Gembloux - May 1940. Axis History Forum (2015). Retrieved on 19 May 2015. “The Gembloux gap is a wide rural plain with numerous towns, big farms and several woods.”
  14. Jason Andrew Kaufman. The origins of Canadian and American political differences. Harvard University Press, 29-30. 
  15. Thanksgiving: In Canada - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 19 May 2015. “While some researchers state that 'there is no compelling narrative of the origins of the Canadian Thanksgiving day', the first Canadian Thanksgiving is often traced back to 1578 and the explorer Martin Frobisher. Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean, held his Thanksgiving celebration not for harvest but in thanks for surviving the long journey from England through the perils of storms and icebergs.”

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