Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Childbirth in Regency England

From Historical Hussies:
Once the mother was in labor, the birthing or lying-in rooms were heated and completely shut up to prevent the flow of air. Fear of drafts causing the mother to catch cold created the practice of building up the fire, putting blankets over all the windows and doors, and covering every crevice. Not only would have that been uncomfortable and not allowed for adequate oxygen but it would have been a breeding ground for bacteria so it likely caused the very problem they were trying to prevent.
Many accounts report the mother lying in bed directly on her back, while only a few cite having the mother lie on her side. Apparently, the upper classes were more likely to lie in beds more than the poor who are generally depicted sitting in birthing chairs. This may have been due to the desire to keep the lady more modestly covered but certainly would have made it difficult to push effectively. (Read more.)
And here is an article on breastfeeding in Regency England. To quote:
 Generally, wet nurses were paid to feed the babies of the wealthy. Much thought and care went into their selection, and their milk was examined for texture, color, viscosity, and taste. Some thought that aspects of a wet nurse’s personality could be passed through her milk, and therefore her character had to be impeccable. Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen’s mother, sent all her children to the nearby village of Deane to be nursed in their infancy.  Although Cassandra Austen visited her babies daily, they did not return to the family fold until they were around 18 months of age.

The popularity of wet nurses stemmed from the fact that royalty often wanted large families. Wet nurses were hired to feed the newborn so that the royal mother would soon regain fertility and become pregnant again. When royals stopped breastfeeding their children, other women from wealthy families soon followed suit and began to farm their babies out to wet nurses.  This practiced continued until the end of the 19th century, when it largely died out. (Read more.)

Confederate Attack on Washington, DC

As the war stretched on, lower class white women faced an uphill battle to survive.  The Confederate government stepped up efforts to conscript men, and the absence of male providers coupled with ongoing problems with inflation and shortages, led many women to seek paid employment.  The Confederate government hired seamstresses as “pieceworkers” in Atlanta.  They produced coats, pants, and shirts for $.50 to $1.50 per hand-stitched garment.  However there was never enough work to go around, and Atlanta’s pieceworkers competed with women who took the train into the city daily from nearby communities.  Atlanta’s Confederate Arsenal employed women who earned $.75 to $1.00 per day rolling and sewing cartridge bags.  A growing number of children, ages eleven to fifteen, also entered factory work.  They earned a pittance at the Arsenal, usually $.35 to .55 cents per day.  While family members pooled their resources, prices continued to rise.  By 1864, a bushel of sweet potatoes cost $20 and fabric to make a woman’s dress ran $108.  Not surprisingly, lawlessness became an increasing problem.  Desperate civilians, including women and children, stole vegetables from gardens, chickens from henhouses, food and clothing from local stores.   One frustrated resident wrote a letter to a city newspaper suggesting that high prices injured the cause of Confederate independence as much as did Yankee invaders, “by causing the poorer classes, to a great extent,” to call for “peace upon almost any terms.” - See more at:
I grew up near the Monocacy battlefield. From Smithsonian:
Professional soldiering seems not to have appealed to Jubal Early; he resigned from the U.S. Army in 1838, just one year after graduation from West Point, and went back only briefly in 1846 to do his duty in the Mexican War. He had argued caustically against secession and for the Union until his state seceded, whereupon he became an equally caustic supporter of the Confederacy and a colonel in its army.

It soon became clear that he was that rare commodity, a forceful and courageous leader of men in battle. This had been so at First and Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. As his commands increased in size, however, his touch became less sure and his luck more spotty. Yet such was General Lee's confidence that in 1864 Early had been given command of one of the three corps in the Army of Northern Virginia.

And now here he was, on the brink of history, about to quench the boundless thirst for recognition that glittered ceaselessly from his black eyes. Pursuant to Lee's instruction, he had chased one Federal army away from Lynchburg, Virginia, and clear into the West Virginia mountains where it disappeared. He met another near Frederick, Maryland, on the Monocacy River, and swept it aside. On fire with the glory of it all, forgetting his limited objective, Early now rasped out his orders to Maj. Gen. Robert Rodes, commander of the leading division: throw out a skirmish line; move forward into the enemy works; attack the capital of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln himself visited the fort and watched the sinuous dust clouds raised by enemy columns approaching from the northwest. "In his long, yellowish linen coat and unbrushed high hat," an Ohio soldier who had seen him at the fort wrote, "he looked like a care worn farmer in time of peril from drouth and famine." Far away to the south, the relentless Grant had refused to be distracted from his slow strangulation of Lee's army. On the whole, Lincoln approved; he had, after all, tried for three long years to find a general who would devote himself to destroying the enemy armies instead of striking attitudes and defending Washington. But it must have occurred to the President, that afternoon, that maybe Grant had gone too far. (Read more.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Poetry of Madame Royale

From Anna Gibson:
The following are some excerpts from translations of some of the poetry that Marie Thérèse wrote during her imprisonment in the Temple and were kept by the family of Madeleine Bocquet-Chanterenne. Although simply written, her words reflects the pain and sorrow that the young girl experienced in her often terrifying and lonely captivity.

I was your king's daughter
separated from all my family.
I languish in this sad jail
Alas! I say with good reason
Even though I am alone and sad
My jail would appear happy to me
If I was in this place with my brother.
(Read more.)

Shakespeare and the Franciscan Order

From Homiletic and Pastoral Review:
Despite Elizabethan persecution of Roman Catholics, the dramatic genius—who, according to Harold Bloom, invented the human personality—gave several pivotal roles to characters from an order that had virtually disappeared from England several generations earlier during Henry VIII’s first dissolution of the monasteries. These characters, while not leading protagonists, were much more than bit parts. Shakespeare took a political risk in overtly portraying them in their traditional garb onstage, where the royal censor, the Master of the Revels, might well have objected, demanded their removal, and even prosecuted the playwright’s company. What reasons, dramaturgical, political, or religious, might have led Shakespeare to take such a risk to his livelihood and person? (Read more.)
(Via Stephanie Mann.) Share

Monday, July 21, 2014

In Defense of Franz Ferdinand

From the Prague Post:
Karl von Habsburg is a grandson of the last Habsburg emperor, Charles I (1916–18), and is the current head of the House of Habsburg. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Charles I’s uncle, by a Serb nationalist in Sarajevo 100 years ago triggered World War I. Franz Ferdinand is often depicted inaccurately, Karl von Habsburg told LN.This is also true of his relationship with Emperor Francis Joseph I (1848–1916). It was much better than generally believed, he added.
Franz Ferdinand, successor to the throne, was absolutely loyal to the emperor, Karl von Habsburg said. Nevertheless, he had his own political ideas he wanted to implement at the moment he would have become the emperor, he added. Asked whether Franz Ferdinand would have been able to reform the monarchy, von Habsburg said he was a personality with a very exact idea of the internal state of the monarchy. As he knew both its weak and strong points, he prepared some reform plans, von Habsburg said.

His relations to the Lands of the Bohemian Crown (which roughly correspond to the present-day Czech Republic) was very positive, he added. He was able to recognize the weakness of the dualism (the division of power between Germans and Hungarians in the empire), from which he could derive some conclusions, von Habsburg said.

It is a well-known fact that he wanted to give a better position to the Slavic nations of the monarchy, he said, adding that this was to be a sort of trialism (a federation or union of three states within the empire), Karl von Habsburg told the paper. Franz Ferdinand knew about the problem (of Czechs' position inside the monarchy), and he advocated some change, he added. Eventually, this caused his assassination by a Serb nationalist terrorist because a strengthening of Slavic nations within the Austro-Hungarian monarchy would have weakened Serbia's effort to gain dominance of all Slavic nations, von Habsburg said. (Read more.)

Chinese Hackers

From The New York Times:
Chinese hackers in March broke into the computer networks of the United States government agency that houses the personal information of all federal employees, according to senior American officials. They appeared to be targeting the files on tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret security clearances.

The hackers gained access to some of the databases of the Office of Personnel Management before the federal authorities detected the threat and blocked them from the network, according to the officials. It is not yet clear how far the hackers penetrated the agency’s systems, in which applicants for security clearances list their foreign contacts, previous jobs and personal information like past drug use.
In response to questions about the matter, a senior Department of Homeland Security official confirmed that the attack had occurred but said that “at this time,” neither the personnel agency nor Homeland Security had “identified any loss of personally identifiable information.” The official said an emergency response team was assigned “to assess and mitigate any risks identified.”

One senior American official said that the attack was traced to China, though it was not clear if the hackers were part of the government. Its disclosure comes as a delegation of senior American officials, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, are in Beijing for the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the leading forum for discussion between the United States and China on their commercial relationships and their wary efforts to work together on economic and defense issues. 

Computer intrusions have been a major source of discussion and disagreement between the two countries, and the Chinese can point to evidence, revealed by Edward J. Snowden, that the National Security Agency went deep into the computer systems of Huawei, a major maker of computer network equipment, and ran many programs to intercept the conversations of Chinese leaders and the military.

American officials say the attack on the Office of Personnel Management was notable because while hackers try to breach United States government servers nearly every day, they rarely succeed. One of the last attacks the government acknowledged occurred last year at the Department of Energy. In that case, hackers successfully made off with employee and contractors’ personal data. The agency was forced to reveal the attack because state disclosure laws force entities to report breaches in cases where personally identifiable information is compromised. Government agencies do not have to disclose breaches in which sensitive government secrets, but no personally identifiable information, has been stolen. (Read more.)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

All That Remains

A powerful film about the Catholics of Nagasaki and the nuclear holocaust. To quote:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
~1 Corinthians 13:13~

“All That Remains”, is a powerful true story of atomic bomb survivor Takashi Nagai, pioneering scientist, Christian convert, and dedicated peace-activist.

Takashi Nagai, a descendent of a Samurai family, a patriot and a pioneering scientist emarks upon a quest for the “ultimate truth” – the meaning to life and death. It is a journey of discovery that will change his life forever. An extraordinary story of persecution, courage, faith and love unfolds as he uncovers the Christian legacy of Nagasaki and meets his own destiny.

Along the journey we meet Paul Miki and the 26 martyrs of Japan and learn how the building of Urakami cathedral – the grandest cathedral in the East came to symbolize the enduring faith of the Nagasaki Christians. Then Takashi meets Midori, the woman who will finally transform a sceptical man of intellect, into a man of the heart.

But on one sunny, August morning in 1945, everything vanishes in a blinding flash of light, and the world is turned into a burning inferno. The second atomic bomb to be used in warfare has just exploded over Nagasaki. Midori is one of the estimated 80,000 souls killed instantly.

Now the scientist is forced to turn to God, as he must become a father and a teacher, not just to his two young children, but to an orphaned nation, sick and debilitated by war.
It is his faith that will guide him back to Atom bombed Nagasaki, and it will be his faith that will him inspire him to help rebuild a city from rubble and ash.

Having been diagnosed with leukemia (a result of prolonged exposure to X-rays), he dedicates the rest of his short life to promoting world peace through his work as a writer. After a battle against censorship, his first book “The Bells Of Nagasaki”, becomes an instant bestseller though out Japan, as a people, defeated and demoralised by war, re-discover through his words, the healing of power of love.

Now confined to his bed and sensing his time is running out, Takashi begins to write his final and most poignant book, “Leaving My Beloved Children Behind”, a serious of letters addressed to his children.

“All That Remains” is an inspiring story of supreme sacrifice and a testament to the strength of faith and the power of love.

We’ve also just launched our All That Remains blog page which will act as a production diary, so we’ll post more in-depth updates, more behind the scenes glimpses etc. The blog will continue to run for the entire length of the production. (Read more.)

Yellowstone Volcano

From Freedom Outpost:
It’s not a case of if Yellowstone erupts, but when. Eventually, the pressure will build and the magma will rise, forcing its way out of the ground. The effects will be felt around the globe in lower temperatures and failed harvests. Some even predict a nuclear style winter from the massive ash fallout that an eruption at Yellowstone would bring. (Read more.)