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The Bonnie Earl of Moray and Signing a Blank Form

George Gordon has a mixed history. He has signed on to Presbyterian principles and earlier saved King James the 1st of Scotland from the clutches of a pro-Catholic rebellion. Naturally, the King pardons George of his past misdeeds and makes him the 1st Marquess of Huntly. (That position is slightly above an Earl but below a Duke.) Unfortunately, he can't leave the intrigues alone and gets himself involved in a minor war in which is stabs to death the Scottish Earl of Moray and sets fire to his castle. No one is sure of all the details, but everyone knows who did it. Out of this murder will come a song that will be sung into the modern day... the Bonnie Earl of Moray. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Over the years George Gordon jumped from Protestant to Catholic and back again. When he died he professed his faith as a Catholic, but if he was always a Catholic, why did he save King James who was a Protestant? George was caught in treason when he signed two blank letters that were given over to Spanish agents, apparently to be used for nefarious purposes by the King of Spain. The letters were intercepted but King James refused to punish him. I don't know why George Gordon signed his name to blank letters. I don't sign blank forms even when my wife tells me it is OK to do so. I love my wife but she is not perfect, so I read every form carefully, no matter how many times she sighs.

The Japanese Invasion of Korea, Round 1

Over the years the Koreans have been plagued by a rag-tag group of coastal raiders called "Japanese pirates." These pirates are of multiple ethnicities including Korean pirates living at the edges of society. These pirates don't have designs on mainland territory, but the newly unified government of Japan DOES have territorial ambitions and in the initial invasion, Korea loses its capital city of Hanseong (present day Seoul). The Koreans have a secret weapon, though. The turtle ship is an improvement on an old design using iron plates set up as a canopy over top of the ship and enclosing it. The ship looks like a large turtle with oars used to propel it. Cannon balls tend to glance off the iron canopy and the plates are embedded with spikes to repel boarders. The turtle ship is considered the world's first ironclad. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The custom in Japanese sea battles is to bring a ship alongside an opposing ship, hook on and have the marines jump the gap to hack and slash their way to victory. The turtle ship is not a perfect defense against boarders but it gives the Koreans some definite advantages based on how the Japanese conducts war. China will support Korea and eventually push the Japanese into the south of the Korean peninsula. Peace talks will break down and Round 2 of the Japanese Invasion will begin.

FYI: Those who play the Age of Empire video game series will recognize the turtle ship as a valuable weapon for game play. In the real world the Koreans had less luck with it, although the turtle ship was worth the effort.

The Mother of All Heists and the Difficulty of Doing the Right Thing *

During this period, Portugal is a province of Spain so in the war between England and Spain, the English have been attacking the Portuguese spice trade. This year the super-ship "Madre de Deus" (meaning the "Mother of God") is captured by the English navy and brought into the port of Dartmouth as a prize. In the letter of mark from Queen Elizabeth the 1st, she is to get a percentage of the cargo of any ship captured from Spain or Portugal, but before she can collect, the English sailors walk off with the VAST majority of the cargo. She sends Sir Walter Raleigh to protect her interests but by the time he arrives, 72 percent of the ship's cargo is gone, gone, gone. [14] [15]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI... the ship's hold was MASSIVE and it was FULL! I can imagine what the sailors were saying to themselves, "The Queen will never miss this little bit." The value of the original cargo was estimated at half a million pounds sterling, which was half the annual budget of Great Britain at the time. I don't know why the English sailors looted that ship so thoroughly. Maybe it was compensation for the risks they took since half the sailors on average would die on such a voyage, but smaller ships had made the same journey without such looting at the end. It must have been the utter size of that single treasure and watching man after man succumbing to temptation. The most difficult thing in the world is doing the right thing when everyone around you is doing it wrong... even your own friends. [16] [17]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1592, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. marquess - definition of marquess. The Free Dictionary (2015). Retrieved on 9 June 2015. “A British nobleman ranking below a duke and above an earl or a count.”
  2. George Gordon, 1st Marquess of Huntly - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 June 2015. “Subsequently in April 1589, Huntly raised a rebellion in the north, but was obliged to surrender, and after a short imprisonment in Borthwick Castle was again freed. He then involved himself in a private war with the Grants and the Mackintoshes, who were assisted by the Earls of Atholl and Moray; and on 8 February 1592 he set fire to Moray's castle of Donibristle in Fife, and stabbed the earl to death with his own hand.”
  3. Bonnie Earl of Moray. YouTube (2015). Retrieved on 14 June 2015. “The Selkie Girls perform Bonnie Earl of Moray, a traditional Scottish folk song about the murder of the Earl of Moray. The ballad touches on a true story stemming from the rivalry of James Stewart, Earl of Moray (pronounced Murray), and the Earl of Huntly, in 1592. The exact circumstances that led to Moray's murder by Huntly are not known for certain.”
  4. George Gordon, 1st marquess and 6th earl of Huntly. Encyclopedia Britannica (2015). Retrieved on 14 June 2015. “He set fire to Moray’s castle of Donibristle in Fife on Feb. 7, 1592, and Huntly himself is said to have taken part in stabbing the earl to death. This outrage, which originated the ballad 'The Bonnie Earl of Moray,' brought down upon Huntly his enemies, who ravaged his lands. In December the 'Spanish Blanks' (eight blank papers, two of which bore Huntly’s signature, which were taken from a man leaving for the Continent) led to another charge of treason against him.”
  5. Marquess of Huntly. everything2.com (November 1, 2005). Retrieved on 14 June 2015. “Faced with an overwhelmingly Protestant nobility George Gordon was obliged to sign the Presbyterian confession of faith in 1588, but nevertheless conspired to procure a Spanish invasion of Scotland and a restoration of the Roman Catholic faith. Despite such behaviour however he remained a favourite of king James VI, who appears to have regarded him as a useful counterbalance to the remainder of the Protestant Scottish nobility. It was very likely at the instigation of the king that the 6th Earl murdered James Stewart, 2nd Earl of Moray at Donibristle castle in Fife on the 8th February 1592, an outrage which both inspired the composition of the ballad 'The Bonnie Earl of Moray', and the heaping of retribution on the perfidious Earl of Huntly who found his lands remorselessly ravaged.”
  6. Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-98) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 June 2015. “The Japanese invasions of Korea comprised two separate yet linked operations: an initial invasion in 1592, a brief truce in 1596, and a second invasion in 1597. The conflict ended in 1598 with the withdrawal of the Japanese forces from the Korean Peninsula after a military stalemate in Korea's southern coastal provinces.”
  7. Battle of Chungju - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 June 2015. “The Battle of Chungju or the Battle of Tangeumdae was the last battle of the Chungju Campaign fought between the Koreans and Japanese during the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592. Chungju is located just south of the Han River and Seoul, Korea's capital. The failure to defend it led to the capture of the capital weeks later.”
  8. Turtle ship - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 June 2015. “Their most distinguishable feature was a dragon-shaped head at the bow (front) that could launch cannon fire or flames from the mouth. Each was also equipped with a fully covered deck to deflect arrow fire, musket-shots, and incendiary weapons. The deck was covered with iron spikes to discourage enemy men from attempting to board the ship.”
  9. Battle of Busan (1592) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 June 2015. “The occupation of Busan by the Japanese remained until November 1597, when the death of Hideyoshi prompted the retreat of the Japanese.”
  10. Battle of Sacheon (1592) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 June 2015. “The naval Battle of Sacheon took place on May 29, 1592 and was the first battle of Admiral Yi's 2nd Campaign in the Imjin War, between Japan and Korea, when the Turtle Ship was first used.”
  11. Turtle Ship. Age of Empires II: The Conquerors expansion (VIDEO GAME) (2015). Retrieved on 15 June 2015. “The Turtle Ship is a Korean slow heavily armoured battleship that is most effective for destroying enemy warships at a close range.”
  12. Wokou (Japanese Pirates) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 16 June 2015. “The identity of the wokou is subject to some debate, with various theories about the ethnic makeup and national origin of the pirates.”
  13. The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty. sillok.history.go.kr (2015). Retrieved on 16 June 2015.
  14. Rogério Miguel Puga (December 2002) (PDF). The Presence of the "Portugals" in Macau and Japan in Richard Hakluyt's Navigations. Bulletin of Portuguese/Japanese Studies. 5. pp. 81–116. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. 20120205191440/http://redalyc.uaemex.mx/redalyc/pdf/361/36100506.pdf. 
  15. Madre de Deus - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
  16. Dutch East India Company - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 16 June 2015. “The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out trade activities in Asia.”
  17. Scurvy - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 16 June 2015. “Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans.”

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