Battle of Rastatt, 5 July 1796

Battle of Rastatt, 5 July 1796


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Battle of Rastatt, 5 July 1796

The battle of Rastatt (5 July 1796) was a minor French victory during General Moreau's invasion of Germany in the summer of 1796. On the night of 23-24 June Moreau had crossed the Rhine at Strasbourg and established a bridgehead on the east bank. General Latour, the Austrian commander on the Upper Rhine, had been caught out, and most of his troops were to the north, around Mannheim. Over the next few days the French expanded their bridgehead, and on 26 June they won a minor victory over the Austrian troops in the area (combat of Renchen) which forced Latour to retreat to Rastatt, twenty five miles to the north of Strasbourg.

The French had established their bridgehead on the narrow plain between the Rhine and the mountains of the Black Forest. Latour, at Rastatt, was defending the line of the Murg between the mountains and the Rhine, but further south the French were already across the mountains, having reached Freudenstadt. The Murg traces a rather peculiar route through the mountains. It rises at Obertal, four miles from the east flank of the Black Forest. It flows east from Obertal to the edge of the mountains, then turns north and flows through the Black Forest, passing through Gernsbach and Gaggenau, before emerging on the Rhine plain at Kuppenheim. It then flows north-west to the Rhine, passing through Rastatt on its way.

In the aftermath of the French victory at Renchen Moreau had a chance to overwhelm Latour's isolated command at Rastatt, but he missed that chance, spending six days reorganising his army. St-Cyr was given command of the centre, Férino of the right and Desaix of the left.

While Moreau was making his preparations the Archduke Charles, with the main Austrian army, was moving south from the Lahn, where he had just forced a second French army, under General Jourdan, to retreat back across the Rhine. Aware that speed was of the essence the Archduke led his cavalry and Hotz's division on a rapid march south, and by 5 July he had reached Durmesheim, five miles to the north of Rastatt.

By 5 July Latour had managed to gather most of his scattered army together around Rastatt, and mistaking Moreau's slowness for weakness, he decided to attack the French left, which was posted between the Black Forest and the Rhine. Moreau responded by moving part of his centre to support his left. The Austrian attack seems to have faded rather quickly, for the rest of the battle was dominated by Moreau's counterattack.

This battle involves an unusually complex match of respective left and right wings. The French force involved was made up of their left wing (Desaix), between the mountains and the Rhine and part of the centre (St-Cyr). The French right wing was facing south and was not involved in the battle. The Austrian force began the battle facing the French left, with the Austrian right near the Rhine and the Austrian left on the western edge of the mountains, so Desaix's right, part of the French left, faced the Austrian left.

Moreau decided to outflank the Austrian left by marching down the Murg valley. Taponier's division was to attack down the valley, leaving Stein at Freudenstadt on the eastern slopes of the mountains. The Austrian left ran from Kuppenhein, where the Murg leaves the mountains, along a wooded ridge to Gernsbach. Austrian sharpshooters on this line could harass Desaix's line, which ran west from Ebersteinbourgh (south-west of Gernsbach).

Taponier's attack began at five in the morning. His division forced three Austrian battalions to retreat from Gernsbach north to Ottennau. Further west General Decaen, who had command of Desaix's right wing, forced four Austrian battalions under General Deway to abandon Kuppenheim. General Lacourbe then swept the Hungarians and Grenadiers off the left bank of the Murg between Kuppenheim and Gernsbach, completing the defeat of the Austrian left.

Once the attack on the Austrian left was under way, Moreau decided to send two columns to attack the Austrian right, on the plains next to the Rhine. Sainte-Suzanne's brigade was to attack towards Rastatt from the woods at Soudweier, while to his left General Delmas's division was to attack along the line of the Rhine from the wood of Otterdorf (west of Rastatt).

Sainte-Suzanne's brigade emerged from the woods on time, at about 4pm, but Delmas was delayed on the march. This allowed Latour to concentrate his artillery against Sainte-Suzanne, and this brigade suffered heavy casualties. Eventually Delmas reached the fighting, and the combined French force was able to capture the wood of Rastatt. To their right Jobat's brigade captured the village of Niederbuhl, one mile to the south-east of Rastatt.

With his left beaten and his right in danger Latour decided to retreat across the Murg, using the bridge at Rastatt and a number of fords. This was an orderly retreat, covered by the Austrian artillery and a large force of cavalry. The French 2nd Regiment of Chasseurs took part in a successful fight in the streets of Rastatt, but they were unable to interfere with the retreat. On the night of 5-6 July Latour retreated north to Ettlingen (just to the south of Karlsruhe), where he met up with the Archduke Charles and his advance guard.

The Archduke was now in a slightly vulnerable position, with most of his army several days to the north, but Moreau didn’t mount a pursuit of the Austrians. Instead he spent the next three days in the lines at Rastatt, and by the time he did advance north the Archduke had been joined by most of his army from the north. When the French did advance they had to fight a much stronger opponent (battle of Ettlingen or Malsch, 9 July 1796).

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Battle of Rastatt, 5 July 1796 - History

The letter of President Thomas Jefferson described below has long been known only from its contemporary publication in several local newspapers. Only a smudged "press copy" survives in the Jefferson Papers. The original letter has not been seen since 1801 and was presumed lost. Then, on March 23, 2002, a volunteer at the historic Hollingsworth House in Elkton, Maryland, discovered the letter (along with a copy of the Delaware Baptist Association's letter to which Jefferson responded) in a bundle of papers removed from the attic storeroom. The property had belonged a noted early merchant family of Elkton, and was acquired in 1999 by the town of Elkton and leased to the Historic Elk Landing Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation. The contents have been donated by Holingsworth descendants to the Foundation. A full restoration of the Hollingsworth property is in progress. The Board of Directors of the Historic Elk Landing Foundation, after careful consideration, has decided to offer this exceptional Jefferson letter for sale in order to support ongoing restoration efforts and to augment the long-term educational, historical and interpretive goals of the Foundation.

JEFFERSON, Thomas. Autograph letter signed ("Th:Jefferson") as President, to the Delegates of the Delaware Baptist Association, Washington, D.C., 2 July 1801. 1 full page, 4to. [With:] DELAWARE BAPTIST ASSOCIATION. Letter signed ("J. Boggs, Clerk," and "J. Flood, Moderator") to President Thomas Jefferson (a retained copy), Bryn-sion Meeting House, Delaware, 8 June 1801. 2 pages, 4to, verso docketed: "For the Mirror" (a Wilmington newspaper).

JEFFERSON AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT PROTECTIONS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: THE NEW PRESIDENT INVOKES "THE ALMIGHTY" WHO "HATH WILLED THAT THE HUMAN MIND SHALL BE FREE" IN THE UNITED STATES AND "IN WHOSE HOLY KEEPING MAY OUR COUNTRY REMAIN"

HE REJOICES IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF "LIBERTY, EQUALITY OF SOCIAL RIGHTS, EXCLUSION OF UNEQUAL PRIVILEGES CIVIL & RELIGIOUS, & THE DOMINATION OF ONE SECT OVER ANOTHER"

JEFFERSON REAFFIRMS HIS BELIEF IN THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, SIX MONTHS BEFORE HIS FAMOUS "WALL OF SEPARATION" LETTER

A truly remarkable letter of the Third President, forcefully and unequivocally stating the importance of the First Amendment of the Constitution ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. "). Here, in eloquent phrases which strikingly parallel some Jefferson had used earlier--in his Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia (drafted in 1776) and his Notes on the State of Virginia --Jefferson affirms the Establishment clause's promise of religious freedom, endorses the separation of church and state and emphatically asserts that the role of governments must be strictly limited to "the enforcement of social conduct" while "the right to question religious principles" must remain forever "beyond their [governments'] cognizance." This letter, written from a White House he had occupied for only three months, constitutes invaluable direct evidence of Jefferson's personal interpretation of the Bill of Rights as it pertains to religion, and provocatively parallels another, very famous letter he addressed to a Baptist group in Danbury, Connecticut.

In that letter, written just six months after the present letter, Jefferson again extolled the First Amendment for, in his words, "building a wall of separation between Church and State" (Jefferson to a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, 1 January 1802, in Writings , ed. M.D. Peterson, p.510). That simple metaphor "has become a household phrase in the United States because the Supreme Court has declared it to be a shorthand expression for 'the authoritative declaration of the scope and effect' of the religious section of the Bill of Rights, the establishment clause of the First Amendment" (J. H. Hutner, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic , Washington D.C.: Library of Congress, 1998, p.92). In 1947, Justice Hugo Black of the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking new interpretive insights into the founders' intent in the Establishment clause, turned to that particular letter. Jefferson's vivid metaphor--a "wall of separation"--for the absolute separation of church and state, became the fundamental basis for Black's majority decision in Everson v. Board of Education , which held that "Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church," and "Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. " This fundamental issue--the respective role of religion and government in American society, the subject of the present letter--remains the focus of heated and passionate debate a half century later, and that continuing intellectual and moral debate lends added importance to any of Jefferson's letters, like the present, which reveal or elucidate his evolving personal religious beliefs, his deep commitment to the preservation of religious freedom and his interpretation of the Bill of Rights.

A BAPTIST CONGREGATION SALUTES A NEW PRESIDENT
Just three months after his inauguration as President--following the most bitterly contested election in American presidential history--a group of small Delaware Baptist congregations, probably very cognizant of Jefferson's life-long efforts to secure and preserve religious freedom in Virginia and in the larger world, and of his commitment to maintain the Constitutional separation of church and state, addressed an eloquent congratulatory letter to the new President. Saluting the chief executive in Republican fashion as "Friend and Fellow-Citizen," the letter reads:

[INDENT WHOLE LETTER]With Emotions of Gratitude to the Almighty Ruler of the Universe, who manageth the affairs of this terrestrial Globe, and under whose divine Auspices we taste the sweets of that Liberty which thousands are destitute of, we lift up our hearts, and render the Tribute of Thankfulness to him, who hath given us leave to worship according to His revealed word, and the dictates of our Consciences, and none to make us afraid.

We not only think is our duty to obey those who rule the affairs of Government according to Justice and Equity, but, also, to pray for them, that God would give unto every one the spirit of his respective Station.

Accept, Sir, our Congratulation on your appointment to the Chief Magistracy of the nation. While we view the happy consequences of the American Revolution, (viz, Liberty, Peace, Equality of Birth, the destruction of created Titles, Emancipation from British Tyranny, the nonestablishment of ecclesiastical Dignity and the preponderance of one society over another), we unitedly adore the great Jehovah for his Kindness in conferring on us such inestimable priviledges.

May you, dear sir, long continue to preside over the people thus happy. And may the God of Battle, who hath granted us the victory over our Oppressors, who presideth over heaven and all worlds, preside over you may his munificent Hand cover your head, and his counsel guide your heart in all those difficulties in which, by your exalted Station you are naturally involved. And when, like the grand Luminary of the day, you shall have finished your course of service on the stage of Action, may your immortal Spirit soar aloft into the heavenly world of unremitting Felicity.

The Baptists' letter is intriguing in several respects: first, it harks back to the Revolution in Biblical terms ("victory over our oppressors"), as the event which won for Americans the "sweets" and the "inestimable privileges" of liberty enjoyed by all Americans. These carefully enumerated blessings are "Liberty, Peace, Equality of Birth, the destruction of created titles, Emancipation from British Tyranny, the nonestablishment of ecclesiastical Dignity, and the prepoderance of one Society [church] over another." Secondly, the Baptists' letter explicitly invokes the deity, both as the "God of Battle," ultimately responsible for granting Americans the victory over "our oppressors," and again as the "Almighty Ruler" who presides over Americans' consequent enjoyment of the "sweets of liberty," most particularly the freedom to worship Him "according to His revealed word" and the dictates of individual conscience, without the risk of sanctions or prosecution from other religious groups: "with none to make us afraid." Finally, the Delaware Baptists affirm their duty as citizens to accord obedience to those legitimately in control of the civil government, but add the condition that such compliance shall be accorded them only so long as the Chief Magistrate and his deputies shall rule "with Justice and Equity."

A JEFFERSONIAN RESPONSE
In his carefully composed reply (for which no preliminary draft exists), Jefferson eloquently states his own profound appreciation for the freedom of thought and belief conferred on Americans by the Constitution, expresses gratitude to a Supreme Deity, and avows the fundamental importance of religious freedom and non-sectarianism, and the separation between church and state as provided in the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

[INDENT LETTER]. I join you, fellow-citizens, in rendering the tribute of thankfulness to the Almighty ruler, who, in the order of his providence, hath willed that the human mind shall be free in this portion of the globe: that society shall here know that the limit of its rightful power is the enforcement of social conduct while the right to question the religious principles producing that conduct is beyond their cognisance.

I rejoice too with you in the happy consequences of our revolution, namely our separation from the bloody horrors which are depopulating the other quarters of the earth, the establishment here of liberty, equality of social rights, exclusion of unequal privileges civil & religious, & of the usurping domination of one sect over another.

The obedience you profess to those who rule under such an order of things, is rational & right: and we hope the day is far off when evils beyond the reach of constitutional correction, & more intolerable than their remedies in the judgment of the nation, may fix a just term to that duty.

I thank you, fellow-citizens, for your congratulations on my appointment to the chief magistracy, and for your affectionate supplications on my behalf, to that being, whose counsels are the best guide, & his favor the best protection under all our difficulties, and in whose holy keeping may our country ever remain. Accept, I pray you, my salutations and respect.

THE ATTEMPT TO DEFINE "THE LEGITIMATE POWERS OF GOVERNMENT"
Jefferson, as one recent scholar writes, "was a remarkably consistent and zealous defender of religious freedom" (David N. Mayer, The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson , Charlottesville, Univ. of Va. Press, 1994, p.158). His enduring and very public committment to religious liberty may be traced back at least as far as his proposed Constitution for Virginia, drafted in 1776, stating that "all persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain [subsidize] any religious institution" ( Papers , ed. Boyd, 1:363). Jefferson's draft arrived at the convention too late for consideration, but demonstrates that even at that early date, Jefferson intended to protect both the free exercise of religion and to prevent the establishment of any religion in ascendancy over others, as had been the case for many years in Virginia. During the ensuing heated debates on the disestablishment of the Church of England in Virginia, representatives of the dissenting sects, especially the Baptists, played a central role. Jefferson served on the Virginia legislature's Committee on Religions, and his notes from that period concerning disestablishment again demonstrate that he "had in mind the widest possible latitude for religious freedom, extending it not only to all Christians, whether Catholic or Protestant, but also to Jews, 'Mohamedans,' 'pagans,' and atheists" (Mayer, p.159).

Those principles are powerfully embodied in Jefferson's draft of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1777), eventually adopted by the state legislature largely through the efforts of James Madison in 1785, while Jefferson was in France. The statute has been termed "the supreme expression of the eighteenth-century enlightenment in the life and works of Thomas Jefferson" (M. D. Peterson, "Jefferson and Religious Freedom," Atlantic , December 1994). Authorship of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was, in fact, one of only three accomplishments Jefferson listed in a famous epitaph he composed for himself (the other two being the authorship of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the University of Virginia). In its preamble, (Section 1) Jefferson categorically states that freedom of religion is an inherent, natural right, and in a passage which strikingly parallels one used in Jefferson's letter to the Delaware Baptist Association, the statute asserts that "Almighty God hath created the mind free." Farther on, it proclaims, in terms quite similar to those of the present letter, that "the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction."

Another passage, from Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia , also parallels the phraseology of the present letter. There, in a famous passage, he states the principle that religion must remain a wholly private affair between each individual and his God, and that conscience, and religious belief, cannot be coerced: "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." Historically, he adds (in a passage widely interpreted as anti-Christian), "millions of innocent men, women and children since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites." No religion, he argued, should need to ally itself to the existing civil government, for, "it is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand for itself." Religious pluralism, in which each and every sect existed freely and without either endorsement or persecution by the state, was, he believed, the natural concomitant of true religious freedom.

THE BAPTISTS IN DELAWARE
The Baptist Church played a particularly significant role in the development of religious freedoms in the United States, progressing--during the course of the 17th to late 18th century-- from outright persecution in certain colonies to a grudging tolerance in the wake of the Revolution and, subsequently, to explicit guarantees of the right to worship embodied in the constitutions of certain states and, finally, by the First Amendment of the Federal Constitution.

The Baptists encountered quite different treatment in the various colonies: in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and the Three Lower Counties (Delaware) they were guaranteed full freedom of religion, but in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia especially, Baptists were energetically persecuted, taxed or tithed by the civil government, while Baptist ministers were frequently subject to arbitrary arrest, imprisonment and expulsion. Taxes levied on Baptists and other dissenters were usually assigned to the established Congregationalist or Anglican church.

In spite of these formidable difficulties the Baptists attracted converts and established a network of congregations. According to one early chronicler, in 1780 "there were not less than two thousand persons baptized in the New England States only," and from 1780 to 1789, some 200 new churches "were organized in different parts of the United States" (Benedict, General History of the Baptist Denomination in America and Elsewhere , London, 1813). As if in direct confirmation of the sentiments expressed by the Delaware Baptist Association in their letter to Jefferson, Benedict observes that the Revolution "was peculiarly auspicious to the cause of religious liberty in Massachusetts, and the other Colonies, where religious establishments were enforced with rigor. All denominations unitedly engaged in resisting the demands of Great Britain," he states, from which it became apparent that Britain's tyranny was "no more unreasonable nor unjust" than that of the predominant sect, "whether Congregational or Episcopalian" towards dissenters. "The Baptists and other dissenters did not fail to make a proper use of this argument."

In Delaware, Baptists had first established a settlement and congregation at Iron Hill in 1703, on a tract of land obtained from William Penn, and known as the Welsh Tract since it was founded by emigrants from Wales who had been severely persecuted. From this initial settlement, the congregation spread rapidly. The Wilmington Baptist Church, according to Benedict, dated from 1769. The Bryn-sion Baptist congregation was founded about 1755 at Duck Creek, some 70 miles southwest of Philadelphia, and its brick meeting house (from which the Delaware Baptist Association wrote to President Jefferson) was built in 1771. According to Jeffrey Mask, Professor of Religion at Wesley College, the Delaware Baptist Association was probably founded in 1795 such associations of small congregations for fellowship and mutual assistance were not uncommon.

John Boggs (1741-1802), one of the writers of the Association's 1801 letter to Jefferson, became a Baptist in 1771, was ordained in 1781 and, according to Benedict, "was much inclined to itinerate" as a preacher. The other signer of the letter to Jefferson, Joseph Flood, appears quite controversial. Minister of the Wilmington Baptist congregation in 1797, he was "excluded for immoral conduct, and afterwards went to Norfolk, in Virginia, and was the cause of much evil and confusion."

JEFFERSON'S 1801 RELIGIOUS DILEMMA
At the time when he received the letter from the Delaware Baptists, the subject of religion, the place of religious freedom and even the nature of his own personal religious convictions were very much on Jefferson's mind. For years Jefferson had studiously kept his own religious convictions private, except in a handful of private letters to close friends, in spite of his powerful efforts on behalf of religious freedom, noted above. Partly due to his personal reticence, he had become the target of charges of infidelity or indifference to religion as early as the election of 1796. But it was not until the bitterly partisan election of 1800 that his Federalist enemies and the partisan newspapers they controlled "unleashed a frenzied barrage of vituperative attacks upon his personal character and public record" (Sheridan, p.21). Voters were exhorted to choose "God-and a religious President" in preference to "Jefferson. and no God" if he became President, they asserted hysterically, "murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught and practiced" (M. D. Peterson, Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation , pp.637-638).

Even Jefferson's widely read Notes on the State of Virginia , composed in 1781-1783 and originally intended only for private distribution, was meticulously sifted by zealous critics seeking ammunition against Jefferson. They seized upon his speculations about marine fossils and his suggestion that blacks might have once formed a separate and distinct race as evidence that he denied the divine inspiration of scripture and the biblical accounts of the deluge and creation (Eugene R. Sheridan, Jefferson and Religion , 1983/1998, p.23). And his critics took great offense at Jefferson's offhand remark in the Notes regarding the religious establishments in the New York and Pennsylvania: "Religion is well supported of various kinds, indeed, but all good enough all sufficient to preserve peace and good order." And Jefferson unwittingly opened a Pandora's box when he generously offered passage to America on an American naval vessel to that notorious revolutionary and critic of organized religion, author of The Age of Reason , Thomas Paine.

On this and other evidence, "Jefferson's opponents triumphantly proclaimed, the conclusion was clear: Jefferson was an atheist, an infidel, or at best a deist who was hostile to Christianity and therefore unworthy to serve in the highest office" (Sheridan, p.22). To them, Jefferson studiously made no direct reply "believing as a matter of principle that he was accountable to God alone for his religious convictions and realizing as a practical matter that nothing he could say would silence his detractors. As a result, charges that he was an irreligious enemy of Christianity plagued Jefferson. especially during his first term" (Sheridan, p. 23).

In hindsight, we now know, Jefferson was anything but an enemy to organized religion, as his enemies insisted, nor was he hostile to Christianity. During his term as President, in fact, he was a frequent contributor to different churches, and frequently attended services, usually those held in the House of Representatives, where different ministers preached (for pertinent details, see Hutner, pp.84-91). These public acts, though, represent neither cynical political image-building, as some have argued, nor dutiful and devout traditional Christianity. Jefferson appears to have experienced, as a young man, a profound crisis of faith that resulted in his abandonment of the Anglican faith, and, very much a product of the Enlightenment, he gravitated towards a rather undefined "natural religion." But beginning in the latter years of the 1790s, though, under the influence of his readings of Joseph Priestley and an important private correspondence in 1800 with Benjamin Rush, who attempted to convince his friend that republicanism and Christianity were organically connected, Jefferson's convictions underwent a significant transformation (on this remarkable shift, see Sheridan and Dumas Malone's chapter "The Religion of a Reasonable Man," in Jefferson The President: First Term , pp.190-205).

As a result, at the beginning of Jefferson's first term, "public criticism of his alleged atheism and infidelity had caused him to reexamine his attitude toward Christianity. The fierce party conflict of the 1790s had disrupted the social harmony he valued as one of the main pillars of republicanism and made him sensitive to the need for a more effective system of ethical principles to inform the moral sense of the new nation. " (Sheridan, p.32). Therefore, by the date of this letter and the related letter to the Danbury Baptists, Jefferson's private religious beliefs and his pragmatic political needs came into unexpected convergence. While he remained unable, as before, to accept the divinity of Christ, and found the concept of the Trinity unacceptable, he nevertheless came to view the ethical teachings of Jesus--if "demystified," or reduced to their innate simplicity and purity--as the "outlines of a system of the most divine morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man." In 1804, while still President, he began compilation of a series of extracts from the New Testament that he entitled "The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth" for his own edification (ms. now in the Alderman Library, Univ. of Virginia). Sheridan comments that this study was "in response to his personal religious needs and his concern with the problem of maintaining social harmony in a republican nation." Perhaps it is in such a light--without imputations of cynicism or political expediency--that we should also view Jefferson's regular attendance at services in the House of Representatives during his Presidency, his extensive financial contributions to a number of churches, and, in addition, his public letters to the Delaware Baptist Association and the Danbury Baptists. Both of those letters, he certainly knew or suspected, would almost immediately be published in the local press. And, in fact, his letter to the Delaware Baptists was published not long afterwards in the Wilmington Mirror of the Times and subsequently in several other papers.

A "SECT OF ONE"
Late in life, years after leaving the Presidency, Jefferson confessed to an old friend, Ezra Stiles, that his personal beliefs had never accorded comfortably with those of any particular church or denomination: "I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know," he wrote. While much has been written on the complex subject of Jefferson's evolving religious faith, its impact upon his political and social philosophy and his ideas of the degree of separation appropriate to church and state in a republican society, there is little doubt that letters such as this, which contribute substantially to our knowledge of his faith and his philosophy, will continue to be widely and carefully studied, analyzed, debated and appreciated.


Battle of Rastatt, 5 July 1796 - History

Fifteenth Century (1401-1500)

Sixteenth Century (1501-1600)

1544 Charta cosmographia. Apian 1544 217kb

1550 Tabula nouarum insularum. Munster 1550 296kb

1556 Universale Della Parte del Mondo Nuovamenta Ritrovata. Giacomo Gastaldi. Venezia, 1556.

1556 [New France] Giacomo di Gastaldi, 1556. Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.

1562 Map of the Western Hemisphere Diego Gutierrez, 1562.

1584 Peruviae aviferae regionis typus. Ortelius 1584 531kb

1587 Orbis terrae compendiosa descriptio. Mercator 1587 244kb

1587 Abraham Ortelius, Americae sive Nova Orbis, Nova Descriptio. [Antwerpiae], Francisci Hogenbergi, 1587.

1595 Vera Totius Expeditionis Nauticae . . . Jodocus Hondius, possibly Amsterdam, ca. 1595

1597 Granata Nova et California. Corneille Wytfliet, Lovanii, 1597.

c. 1599 “A Chart of the World on Mercator’s Projection.” EDWARD WRIGHT, In The Principall Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation , compiled by Richard Hakluyt. London, 1598-1600.

1600 Novi orbis pars borealis. Quad 1600 379kb


U.S. Constitution

The foundation of the American government, its purpose, form, and structure, are in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitutional Convention adopted the Constitution on September 17, 1787.

The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. It guarantees greater constitutional protection for individual liberties and lists specific prohibitions on government power. There are 27 Constitutional Amendments in all. The 27th Amendment, which was originally proposed in 1789, was not ratified until 1992.

Where to View the Constitution

You can view the original, parchment copy of the U.S. Constitution at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. You can also view an online copy of the U.S. Constitution or order a printed copy of the Constitution.


Believe it or Not: Since Its Birth The USA Has Only Had 17 Years of Peace

It all started with the American War of Independence from 1775 to 1783. Now, to most Americans that conflict was more than necessary. Had it not taken place it is doubtful that King George III of Great Britain and his Parliament would have simply waved goodbye to the Thirteen Colonies and wished them well for the future.

The young American nation that, at the time, still consisted of 13 separate sovereign states that had banded together for a common cause needed to stand up for themselves to get all of the things stated in the Declaration of Independence. This can be seen in Thomas Jefferson’s eloquently phrased key passage in the document that detailed the fundamental rights denied to the American people by the British:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

War breaks out. The British marching to Concord

The new nation eventually got what it wanted in 1783 with their victory over the British. However, war continued. There were altercations with the native American people, particularly with the Cherokees at first. There was also domestic strife with the white settlers during the Whiskey and Shay Rebellions concerning taxes and civil rights that lasted well up until 1796.

Then, the young nation enjoyed periods of peace in 1796 and 1797, and again from 1807 to 1809. There was another period of respite from 1828 to 1830.

George Washington reviews the troops near Fort Cumberland, Maryland, before their march to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania.

And after that, it was all out war well into the twentieth century when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt finally said enough. One of the country’s most celebrated leaders brought the US into a period of “splendid isolation,” a similar foreign policy to one held by its former mother country, Great Britain, in the late eighteenth century, albeit more successful.

During the period from 1935 right through 1940, the US focused on domestic policy to shore up the nation after the Great Depression. Congress and the American people just did not want to get involved on the international stage anymore.

The country had reached its maximum geographic expansion, and local enemies like Mexico had been defeated. The only remaining battle was at home, and it came in the form of empty stomachs and unemployment.

Crowd at New York’s American Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression.

From Isolation to the Pax Americana

Across the pond to the east, Adolf Hitler’s armies meanwhile overran almost all of Europe. To the west, Imperial Japan flexed its military muscle, carving out a vast Asian empire for itself. Still, America slumbered. The nation that had fought so hard for so many years was finally at peace. From now on it would be a war of words, and financial and manufacturing aid to the British in their fight against Germany.

But not for long. It took all of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s cajoling and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to rouse the sleeping giant out of its slumber. In December 1941, the US entered a war that would last four years.

Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island shortly after the beginning of the Pearl Harbor attack.

The US entry into World War II marked the beginning of almost uninterrupted conflict right up to this day. After the Allied victory over the Axis Powers of Imperial Japan, The Third Reich and Mussolini’s Italy, the US entered a phase that some historians like to call the “Pax Americana,” or “American Peace.”

And as in its predecessor, the “Pax Britannica,” the Americans, like their British cousins, in their role as policeman of the world could not enjoy a period of uninterrupted peace. It is the price of being at the apogee of world power.

Street art in Caracas, depicting Uncle Sam and accusing the American government of imperialism.Photo: Erik Cleves Kristensen CC BY 2.0

However, oddly enough, the timeframe after the Second World War when Pax Americana began was called the “Long Peace.” It was, in effect, nothing of the sort. But it must here be said that there were extended periods without direct military action because the primary standoff was between the USSR and the US during the Cold War–and it was a confrontation of saber rattling.

So, this all begs the question–is the US a truculent bully?

First, one has to take into account that the US is a relatively young nation compared to European standards. Most European countries have been at war in one form or another since Roman times. Second, a look at other nations and their wartime performance during the period after the American Revolution shows many similarities to the US.

A U.S. Navy aircraft shadowing a Soviet freighter during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962. Part of the Cold War

Take the UK, for example. During its tenure as the so-called policeman of the world between 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars, to 1914, the outbreak of WWI, the country was at war for all but fifteen years. That’s 85% of the time. However, if you take the timeframe of all of American history from 1776 to today, then the UK was at war for all but 23 years, amounting to 90% of the time–almost the same as the US.

For France, the picture is very similar, albeit a little less so. During the same period, the country was at war for 185 years out of 242, amounting to almost 80% of the time.

Battle of Waterloo 1815, Napoleonic Wars

Of course, it is difficult to define war precisely. In some respects, some of the years involved isolated conflicts. However, in most cases, there were also multiple conflicts in different places and the occasional exchange of fire during the peacetime years. So what is unconditional peace and what is all-out war? It is difficult to say.

Having said that, one thing is clear. And that is that the US was at war for most of its history. Numerous presidents attempted to take on a more isolationist stance–FDR was the only one who managed it. Does that make the US a warmonger?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Selective Training and Service Act.

The country’s enemies would say so. Yet, on the other hand, many of the liberties Americans take for granted are thanks to the sacrifices made by US servicemen and women during these many wars or conflicts. We must always remember that had FDR maintained an isolationist policy and had the Japanese been less combative in the early 1940s, things might look a lot different today.


The Washington Family, 1789-1796

Edward Savage's The Washington Family quickly became a veritable icon of our early national pride. In the winter of 1789–1790, President Washington and his wife posed for Savage in New York City, then the nation's capital. Mrs. Washington's grandchildren, adopted by the Washingtons after the deaths of their parents, probably also sat for their oil portraits in New York. Savage began to incorporate the separate life studies of their faces into a group portrait engraved on a copper plate. After a stay in England, he resumed the family portrait in Philadelphia—this time, however, in large format as an oil on canvas. The Washington Family was exhibited in 1796.

Savage's catalogue states that Washington's uniform and the papers beneath his hand allude to his "Military Character" and "Presidentship" respectively. With a map before her, Martha Washington is "pointing with her fan to the grand avenue," now known as Pennsylvania Avenue. An enslaved man dressed in livery and a supposed vista down the Potomac complete the imaginary scene.

Savage's self–taught ability to distinguish between satins, gauzes, and laces is nothing short of astonishing. However, the anatomy alternates between wooden and rubbery, and the family strangely avoids eye contact. Despite Savage's lack of experience, his huge Washington Family remains one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by a federal artist.

More information on this painting can be found in the Gallery publication American Paintings of the Eighteenth Century, pages 146-158, which is available as a free PDF at https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/research/publications/pdfs/american-paintings-18th-century.pdf

Provenance

The artist[1] purchased from his estate, 14 November 1820, by Ethan Allen Greenwood [1779-1856], Boston[2] sold 1839 to Moses Kimball [1809-1895], Boston, with the contents of the New England Museum and Gallery of Fine Arts[3] sold December 1891 to (Samuel P. Avery, Jr., New York)[4] sold 1892 to William Frederick Havemeyer [1850-1913], New York.[5] National Democratic Club, New York[6] sold 15 December 1922 to (Art House, Inc., New York)[7] Thomas B. Clarke [1848-1931], New York his estate sold as part of the Clarke collection 29 January 1936, through (M. Knoedler & Co., New York), to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh gift 1940 to NGA.

[1] Ethan Allen Greenwood, John R. Penniman, and William M.S. Doyle, "Inventory of the estate of Edward Savage, late of Princeton in the County of Worcester deceased, lying and being in Boston in the County of Suffolk," 12 September 1817, no. 51 (with his paintings of Christopher Columbus and Liberty). This inventory of the contents of Savage's museum in Boston is filed with the inventory of his property in Princeton and his administrator's accounts at the Worcester County Probate Court, Worcester, Massachusetts (photocopy, NGA curatorial file, photocopy courtesy of Georgia Barnhill, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester), series A, case 52130 see Louisa Dresser, "Edward Savage, 1761-1817," Art in America 40, no. 4 (Autumn 1952), 157-158, n. 5, and Georgia Brady Barnhill, "'Extracts from the Journals of Ethan A. Greenwood': Portrait Painter and Museum Proprietor," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 103, part 1 (October 1993), 97.

[2] Bill of sale signed by Savage's son Edward Savage, Jr. (1795-1858), Boston, administrator of his father's estate Ethan Allen Greenwood Papers, American Antiquarian Society (photocopy, NGA curatorial file, courtesy of Georgia Barnhill). The price of $1,000 was for "One Marble Statue of the Venus de Medicis and the large Painting of the Washington Family." On Greenwood see Barnhill 1993, 91-178.

[3] Watkins 1917, 127-128 according to Ryan 1915, 1-2, Moses Kimball (1809-1895) bought a large part of the collection of the New England museum when he was "about thirty" and opened the new Boston Museum and Gallery of Fine Arts in 1841. A draft of a document written by Greenwood in 1839, which would have transferred ownership of the museum to Robert Gould Shaw and the Reverend Edward T. Taylor, is in the Ethan Allen Greenwood Papers, American Antiquarian Society, quoted in Barnhill 1993, 101. This transfer did not take place.

[4] Letter from Moses Kimball to Samuel P. Avery, Jr., 28 December 1891, confirming the sale, in Savage's Painting of Washington and Family (album, NGA library). Kimball said that the painting, which he owned for more than fifty years, came to him "in the collection of the New England Museum that I purchased." Also in the album is a letter of 23 November 1892 from Charles H. Savage, the artist's grandson, to Avery, giving the history of the painting.

[5] "An Old Portrait of the Washington Family," New York Sun, 31 December 1892 (in Savage's Painting of Washington and Family, album, NGA library) recounted the painting's history. "From this dismal seclusion [in the Boston Museum] the old painting was recovered by Mr. Samuel P. Avery, Jr., about a year ago, and after a good scrubbing with soap and water and solvent it was brought to this city. Mr. William F. Havemeyer has recently bought it to add to his extensive Museum of Washingtoniana." Havemeyer owned the painting by 3 January 1893, when collector Thomas B. Clarke wrote to Charles Henry Hart asking whether it would be an appropriate loan for the exhibition of retrospective art they were planning for the World's Columbian Exposition they were on the advisory committee (New York Public Library, Papers of the Columbian Exposition, Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C.) ultimately the painting was not included in the 1893 exhibition. Havemeyer's dates are in Who Was Who in America, Historical volume, 1942, 1:535.

[6] Charles Henry Hart, Edward Savage, Painter and Engraver, and his Unfinished Copper-plate of "The Congress Voting Independence", Boston, 1905, 10.

[7] The name of the seller and the date of purchase are recorded in a copy of Portraits by Early American Painters of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries Collected by Thomas B. Clarke, Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1928, annotated with information from files of M. Knoedler & Co., NY (copy in NGA curatorial records and in NGA library). The receipt for payment by Art House, Inc., dated 15 December 1922, is signed on behalf of the National Democratic Club by F. Newlin Price (NGA curatorial file).


State of Franklin

In March 1785, the Franklin Assembly appointed John Sevier, previously the leader of the Watauga Association, as governor of Franklin. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC. In 1775, the General Assembly issued a manifesto condemning the establishment of the State of Franklin. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.

At the end of the American Revolution, North Carolina&rsquos western lands stretched from the crest of the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River and contained two established settlements. One of these, a struggling line of fortified stations along the Cumberland River, dealt with a constant threat of Indian attacks. Along the Watauga and Nolichucky rivers, the larger, and by far the more established, settlement was located. There, three county governments and several thriving towns served the needs of perhaps as many as 5,000 inhabitants, and separated from North Carolina by the rugged terrain of the Unaka Mountains, the population had only tenuous ties to the state government.

For some time, the North Carolina legislature had sought eagerly to rid itself of the responsibility for administering these remote settlements, but the state&rsquos western lands represented its only real asset. The legislators&rsquo innovative solution, later known as the &ldquoLand Grab Act,&rdquo opened all of North Carolina&rsquos western lands for sale. Four million acres were claimed between October 1783 and May 1784, three million of which were claimed by members of the legislature or their business partners. Many of the resulting warrants were questionable, and some were obviously fraudulent. Even so, the legislators promptly passed an act ceding its western lands to the federal government and included a provision guaranteeing the validity of all land warrants issued under North Carolina law.

While the Confederation Congress considered how it should respond to the cession, North Carolina voters reacted quickly. The ensuing elections shifted power in the legislature, and as one of their first acts, the new legislators repealed the cession. The framers of the Land Grab Act soon regained their power, but by then a different set of circumstances in the west confronted them.

Encouraged by congressional land acts that anticipated a speedy formation of new states from ceded lands, various statehood movements emerged in the Trans-Appalachian West. Most had minimal impact but for the western North Carolina counties of Washington, Sullivan, and Greene&mdashheavily populated and with a tradition of self-government&mdashstatehood had seemed logical. In response to North Carolina&rsquos cession, the three counties in August 1784 organized as the State of Franklin. Undeterred by the subsequent repeal of the cession, they issued a declaration of independence listing their grievances against the North Carolina government. Foremost was the distance that separated them from the state capital, which aside from the obvious inconveniences also made timely responses to Indian attacks nearly impossible. Equally important, Franklinites correctly perceived that North Carolina legislators by and large held western inhabitants in clear contempt. Thus justified, the Franklin movement moved forward.

Aside from Washington, Sullivan, and Greene counties, the boundaries of the proposed state were unclear. But the possibility did exist that the new state would extend its boundaries, in which case the State of Franklin, not the federal government, would determine the validity of land warrants. North Carolina&rsquos legislators were thus reluctant to renew the act of cession while the Franklin movement had any chance of success.

For the Franklinites success depended on sound leadership, something sorely missing from their constitutional convention in late 1784. Delegates put forward the Houston Constitution that called for a unicameral legislature, guarantees of religious freedom, and requirement that routine legislation be submitted to the citizens for debate and approval. Adult males were granted the right to vote without property qualifications, yet they were subject to specific moral restrictions lawyers, ministers, and doctors, however, were excluded from public office. Many features of the Houston Constitution were not unique, but as a whole, the document represented a radical approach to self-government. Ensuing debate created ominous divisions among the Franklinites, and the document was ultimately rejected. In its place, a constitution modeled largely on that of North Carolina was adopted. Yet few delegates were satisfied.

One person among the Franklinites, however, provided a much-needed charismatic leadership: John Sevier. He was a leader of the Watauga Association, and his popularity and influence had increased during the Cherokee offensive of 1776. But it was at the Battle of King&rsquos Mountain that Sevier established his reputation as a leader. It was only natural that Franklinites turned to him once again. At the first meeting of the Franklin Assembly in March 1785, Sevier was appointed governor, four new counties were created, and William Cocke was dispatched to Congress to request for admission as the 14th state. Sevier met with Cherokee leaders in June 1785 at Dumplin Creek in hopes of gaining additional land south of the French Broad River. Although the Cherokee later claimed they only agreed to permit white families already living in the region to remain, Sevier and the Franklinites interpreted the treaty differently and claimed the entire region between the French Broad and the Little Tennessee rivers open for settlement. New settlers moved in immediately, although only the State of Franklin legitimated their land claims. Even that slim thread of legality was destroyed when the United States met with the Cherokee at Hopewell in November and completely ignored the Dumplin Creek negotiations. According to the boundaries established at Hopewell, the town of Greeneville, capital of the State of Franklin, was located well within the boundary of the Cherokee Nation.
The lack of recognition and respect at Hopewell was only one in a series of reversals for the Franklin movement. Congress had already voted to reject the new state&rsquos request for admission, and factionalism&mdashwhich had never been far from the forefront&mdashsoon intensified. County courts created under the authority of the new state clashed&mdashsometimes violently&mdashwith those that continued to function under North Carolina authority. Intermittent hostility with the Cherokee degenerated into a warfare marked in which both sides committed atrocities. By the end of 1787, a sizable portion of the population had rallied under the leadership of John Tipton and called for a return to North Carolina sovereignty. When Tipton persuaded a North Carolina county sheriff to seize some of Sevier&rsquos property for back taxes, the Governor of Franklin responded by leading a small army to Tipton&rsquos home in February 1788. Although the clash included only of a brief siege and an inconclusive skirmish, it is now known as the Battle of Franklin.

From that point on, the State of Franklin deteriorated quickly. Sevier attempted yet failed to gain interest in annexation from the Spanish governor at New Orleans. In July, Sevier was arrested for treason and taken to Morganton for trial. When a heavily-armed group of Sevier&rsquos followers arrived a few days later to rescue him, the sheriff in Morganton wisely looked the other way. Sevier afterward lived south of the French Broad, where ardent followers organized what they called Lesser Franklin. That creation, too, soon faded away.

In February 1789, Sevier and other Franklin leaders took the oath of allegiance to North Carolina. The way was now clear for the North Carolina legislature to cede its western lands to the federal government and be recognized as having all legal claims to North Carolina land warrants. This time Congress acted promptly. Many former Franklinites, including John Sevier, held important positions in the territorial government established for the North Carolina cession. Their involvement was an important factor in the effective administration of that government at the local level. Statehood was eventually realized in 1796, when the North Carolina cession, with the various communities that had once formed the State of Franklin as its nucleus, became the state of Tennessee.


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In celebration of Black History Month, we commemorate those of African origin who were known for their piratical deeds. An estimated 25% and 30% of the tens of thousands in the piratical trade were black. This month, we will highlight the most notable.

Jacob Hendrikszoon, aka Diego de los Reyes, aka Diego el Mulato, aka El Mulato, aka Mulat, aka Diego Martin, aka Diego de la Cruz, aka Dieguillo, aka Cornieles (pictured below on the left), a mulatto from Cuba, earned the nickname “Diego Lucifer.” He was born in Havana, Cuba. Though known by many monikers, El Mulato is his most common nickname. It refers to his possible mixed descent from an African and a European parent. He was active as a privateer in the service of the West Indies Company of the Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century. According to a report of Don Francisco Riaña Y Gamboa from May 1635, Lucifer was born in Sevilla and married a Dutch woman though Lucifer claimed he was born in Havana and was brought up by Dutchmen. In December 1627 Jacob Hendrikszoon Lucifer became the captain of the vessel Ter Veere following the death of his father Hendrik Jacobsz and was part of a fleet that sailed under the command of Piet Heyn who had captured the Spanish Silver fleet in 1628. In 1633, Lucifer was master of a Dutch vessel and was sailing near Los Organos where he encountered a Spanish vessel commanded by Don Miguel de Redin. The Dutch vessel had 46 cannon on board her and immediately attacked the vessel. The Spanish vessel sustained a damage and lost much of her rigging. Don Miguel de Redin died of a gunshot in his leg during the attack. 15 Spanish crewmen also died of their wounds. After several hours Lucifer abandoned the attack and quickly sailed away to meet up with other Dutch vessels that were part of a fleet that was waiting for the Spanish Flota. The Island of Curaçao was attacked by a Dutch fleet in 1634. The West India Company saw Curaçao as an excellent base of operations and wanted to conquer it . This fleet of four vessels commanded by Admiral Walbeeck (Balbeque) sailed into the bay of St. Anna in July. Men were sent ashore who began to build fortifications near the entrance to the bay. Four cannon were transferred from the vessels to these fortifications. 12 more cannon were used to protect the entrance to the harbor. The Spanish forces present during this attack were few in number. They retreated to a village nearby which they fortified against attack. Walbeeck sent Lucifer to scout out the area around the village with seven sloops. After inspecting the fortifications around the village Lucifer unsuccessfully broached negotiations with the Spaniards. French pirate Pierre LeGrand was then sent to further scout out the area with 13 or 14 men.
After several skirmishes with the Spanish forces and several retreats, the Spanish surrendered and were transported off the island to the coast of Venezuela and released. In 1638 Lucifer served under Cornelis Jol (Houtebeen or Pie de Palo) at the battle near Cabañas which consisted of 12 vessels and five freibooters. They met a fleet of Spanish vessels of five ships and one sloop under the command of Admiral Don Carlos de Ibarra at the end of August. After a long and bloody battle with many casualties and much damage to vessels of both fleets Cornelis Jol managed to capture the vessels. In this same year Lucifer is reputed to have asked for a pardon of the Spanish Crown which was granted. He offered to go to Havana immediately following this but he failed to arrive there. In 1639, he captured a ship that was sailing from the Island of Providence to England. He asked one of the passengers to visit his mother in Havana for him. In 1641 Lucifer was again active as a privateer in Dutch service against Spanish vessels. In September that year he intercepted a Spanish vessel near Havana. This vessel was sailing from Cartagena when she was attacked by Lucifer. After a long and bloody battle with many Spanish casualties he managed to capture her. Curaçao was his base of operations at that time and he had five ships under his command.

In 1241, William Maurice, a pirate, was the first man to be hanged, drawn, and quartered in England (pictured below on the right).

Also in 1241, Lübeck and Hamburg form the Hanseatic League, a merchant guild, to oversee maritime commerce and protect against pirates.

On February 14, 1797, The Battle of Cape St. Vincent was waged as one of the opening battles of the Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808), as part of the French Revolutionary Wars, where a British fleet under Admiral Sir John Jervis defeated a larger Spanish fleet under Admiral Don José de Córdoba y Ramos near Cape St. Vincent, Portugal.

On February 14, 1949, Dan Seavey, the most notorious Great Lakes pirate, who pulled off his most famous escapade when he took over a docked schooner named the Nellie Johnson by inviting the Johnson’s crew to drink with him, staying mostly sober himself, then throwing the drunken sailors off their ship and sailing it to Chicago, where he sold the Nellie Johnson’s cargo, died in a Peshtigo, Michigan nursing home at 84.

On February 14, 2011, the Institute for Defense Study and Analysis reported that piracy, especially in mid-ocean areas, was on the increase. It was evident that present measures in force are unable to contain acts of piracy. Issues such as the legalities involved and inadequacy of maritime forces available vis-à-vis the spatial extent of piracy were hindering anti-piracy operations. Therefore, land-based operations could be the only viable solution to deter piracy. A fresh look was required at the international level to deal with this scourge effectively.

On February 14, 2012, twelve armed pirates operating from a 20-foot dhow attacked a fishing vessel operating approximately 35nm SW of Masirah Island, Oman. The brown pirate dhow was named Hander, and was believed to be operating in the region. Pirates took the eight crew hostage and stole the vessel’s stores, including personal belongings, cash, diesel and food.

On February 14, 2017, Japan offered to send patrol ships to deal with a growing piracy threat in the southern Philippine waters bordering Indonesia and Malaysia.

Also on February 14, 2017, Iranian warships interdicted Somali pirates attempting to hijack an Iranian trade vessel in the Bab al Mandab Strait. The Iranian Navy’s 44th Fleet encountered 11 speedboats carrying Somali pirates while patrolling the Gulf of Aden. Two of the ships in the fleet, the Alvand destroyer and Bushehr logistic warship, deployed to the Red Sea on October 6, 2016 to protect Iranian trade vessels from piracy.

On February 14, 2020, the container ship Maersk Tema was attacked by pirates off the coast of Guinea while under way and making 20 knots off São Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea. At about 0805 hours GMT, at a position about 100 nm to the northwest of São Tomé, she dropped speed to 3.5 knots. She then drifted northeast at half a knot for the remainder of the day. The ship was boarded but the crew initiated emergency procedures. The local authorities responded.

And, since we make our home at the precipice of the Graveyard of the Atlantic, here are this day's list of shipwrecks of the Outer Banks:


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In celebration of Black History Month, we commemorate those of African origin who were known for their piratical deeds. An estimated 25% and 30% of the tens of thousands in the piratical trade were black. This month, we will highlight the most notable.

Jacob Hendrikszoon, aka Diego de los Reyes, aka Diego el Mulato, aka El Mulato, aka Mulat, aka Diego Martin, aka Diego de la Cruz, aka Dieguillo, aka Cornieles (pictured below on the left), a mulatto from Cuba, earned the nickname “Diego Lucifer.” He was born in Havana, Cuba. Though known by many monikers, El Mulato is his most common nickname. It refers to his possible mixed descent from an African and a European parent. He was active as a privateer in the service of the West Indies Company of the Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century. According to a report of Don Francisco Riaña Y Gamboa from May 1635, Lucifer was born in Sevilla and married a Dutch woman though Lucifer claimed he was born in Havana and was brought up by Dutchmen. In December 1627 Jacob Hendrikszoon Lucifer became the captain of the vessel Ter Veere following the death of his father Hendrik Jacobsz and was part of a fleet that sailed under the command of Piet Heyn who had captured the Spanish Silver fleet in 1628. In 1633, Lucifer was master of a Dutch vessel and was sailing near Los Organos where he encountered a Spanish vessel commanded by Don Miguel de Redin. The Dutch vessel had 46 cannon on board her and immediately attacked the vessel. The Spanish vessel sustained a damage and lost much of her rigging. Don Miguel de Redin died of a gunshot in his leg during the attack. 15 Spanish crewmen also died of their wounds. After several hours Lucifer abandoned the attack and quickly sailed away to meet up with other Dutch vessels that were part of a fleet that was waiting for the Spanish Flota. The Island of Curaçao was attacked by a Dutch fleet in 1634. The West India Company saw Curaçao as an excellent base of operations and wanted to conquer it . This fleet of four vessels commanded by Admiral Walbeeck (Balbeque) sailed into the bay of St. Anna in July. Men were sent ashore who began to build fortifications near the entrance to the bay. Four cannon were transferred from the vessels to these fortifications. 12 more cannon were used to protect the entrance to the harbor. The Spanish forces present during this attack were few in number. They retreated to a village nearby which they fortified against attack. Walbeeck sent Lucifer to scout out the area around the village with seven sloops. After inspecting the fortifications around the village Lucifer unsuccessfully broached negotiations with the Spaniards. French pirate Pierre LeGrand was then sent to further scout out the area with 13 or 14 men.
After several skirmishes with the Spanish forces and several retreats, the Spanish surrendered and were transported off the island to the coast of Venezuela and released. In 1638 Lucifer served under Cornelis Jol (Houtebeen or Pie de Palo) at the battle near Cabañas which consisted of 12 vessels and five freibooters. They met a fleet of Spanish vessels of five ships and one sloop under the command of Admiral Don Carlos de Ibarra at the end of August. After a long and bloody battle with many casualties and much damage to vessels of both fleets Cornelis Jol managed to capture the vessels. In this same year Lucifer is reputed to have asked for a pardon of the Spanish Crown which was granted. He offered to go to Havana immediately following this but he failed to arrive there. In 1639, he captured a ship that was sailing from the Island of Providence to England. He asked one of the passengers to visit his mother in Havana for him. In 1641 Lucifer was again active as a privateer in Dutch service against Spanish vessels. In September that year he intercepted a Spanish vessel near Havana. This vessel was sailing from Cartagena when she was attacked by Lucifer. After a long and bloody battle with many Spanish casualties he managed to capture her. Curaçao was his base of operations at that time and he had five ships under his command.

In 1241, William Maurice, a pirate, was the first man to be hanged, drawn, and quartered in England (pictured below on the right).

Also in 1241, Lübeck and Hamburg form the Hanseatic League, a merchant guild, to oversee maritime commerce and protect against pirates.

On February 14, 1797, The Battle of Cape St. Vincent was waged as one of the opening battles of the Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808), as part of the French Revolutionary Wars, where a British fleet under Admiral Sir John Jervis defeated a larger Spanish fleet under Admiral Don José de Córdoba y Ramos near Cape St. Vincent, Portugal.

On February 14, 1949, Dan Seavey, the most notorious Great Lakes pirate, who pulled off his most famous escapade when he took over a docked schooner named the Nellie Johnson by inviting the Johnson’s crew to drink with him, staying mostly sober himself, then throwing the drunken sailors off their ship and sailing it to Chicago, where he sold the Nellie Johnson’s cargo, died in a Peshtigo, Michigan nursing home at 84.

On February 14, 2011, the Institute for Defense Study and Analysis reported that piracy, especially in mid-ocean areas, was on the increase. It was evident that present measures in force are unable to contain acts of piracy. Issues such as the legalities involved and inadequacy of maritime forces available vis-à-vis the spatial extent of piracy were hindering anti-piracy operations. Therefore, land-based operations could be the only viable solution to deter piracy. A fresh look was required at the international level to deal with this scourge effectively.

On February 14, 2012, twelve armed pirates operating from a 20-foot dhow attacked a fishing vessel operating approximately 35nm SW of Masirah Island, Oman. The brown pirate dhow was named Hander, and was believed to be operating in the region. Pirates took the eight crew hostage and stole the vessel’s stores, including personal belongings, cash, diesel and food.

On February 14, 2017, Japan offered to send patrol ships to deal with a growing piracy threat in the southern Philippine waters bordering Indonesia and Malaysia.

Also on February 14, 2017, Iranian warships interdicted Somali pirates attempting to hijack an Iranian trade vessel in the Bab al Mandab Strait. The Iranian Navy’s 44th Fleet encountered 11 speedboats carrying Somali pirates while patrolling the Gulf of Aden. Two of the ships in the fleet, the Alvand destroyer and Bushehr logistic warship, deployed to the Red Sea on October 6, 2016 to protect Iranian trade vessels from piracy.

On February 14, 2020, the container ship Maersk Tema was attacked by pirates off the coast of Guinea while under way and making 20 knots off São Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea. At about 0805 hours GMT, at a position about 100 nm to the northwest of São Tomé, she dropped speed to 3.5 knots. She then drifted northeast at half a knot for the remainder of the day. The ship was boarded but the crew initiated emergency procedures. The local authorities responded.

And, since we make our home at the precipice of the Graveyard of the Atlantic, here are this day's list of shipwrecks of the Outer Banks:


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Alloway
Burns was born two miles (3 km) south of Ayr, in Alloway, the eldest of the seven children of William Burnes (1721–1784), a self-educated tenant farmer from Dunnottar in the Mearns, and Agnes Broun (1732–1820), the daughter of a Kirkoswald tenant farmer.[4][5]

He was born in a house built by his father (now the Burns Cottage Museum), where he lived until Easter 1766, when he was seven years old. William Burnes sold the house and took the tenancy of the 70-acre (280,000 m2) Mount Oliphant farm, southeast of Alloway. Here Burns grew up in poverty and hardship, and the severe manual labour of the farm left its traces in a premature stoop and a weakened constitution.

He had little regular schooling and got much of his education from his father, who taught his children reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and history and also wrote for them A Manual Of Christian Belief. He was also taught by John Murdoch (1747–1824), who opened an "adventure school" in Alloway in 1763 and taught Latin, French, and mathematics to both Robert and his brother Gilbert (1760–1827) from 1765 to 1768 until Murdoch left the parish. After a few years of home education, Burns was sent to Dalrymple Parish School in mid-1772 before returning at harvest time to full-time farm labouring until 1773, when he was sent to lodge with Murdoch for three weeks to study grammar, French, and Latin.

By the age of 15, Burns was the principal labourer at Mount Oliphant. During the harvest of 1774, he was assisted by Nelly Kilpatrick (1759–1820), who inspired his first attempt at poetry, "O, Once I Lov'd A Bonnie Lass". In 1775, he was sent to finish his education with a tutor at Kirkoswald, where he met Peggy Thompson (born 1762), to whom he wrote two songs, "Now Westlin' Winds" and "I Dream'd I Lay".

Tarbolton
Despite his ability and character, William Burnes was consistently unfortunate, and migrated with his large family from farm to farm without ever being able to improve his circumstances. At Whitsun, 1777, he removed his large family from the unfavourable conditions of Mount Oliphant to the 130-acre (0.53 km2) farm at Lochlea, near Tarbolton, where they stayed until William Burnes's death in 1784. Subsequently, the family became integrated into the community of Tarbolton. To his father's disapproval, Robert joined a country dancing school in 1779 and, with Gilbert, formed the Tarbolton Bachelors' Club the following year. His earliest existing letters date from this time, when he began making romantic overtures to Alison Begbie (b. 1762). In spite of four songs written for her and a suggestion that he was willing to marry her, she rejected him.

Robert Burns was initiated into masonic Lodge St David, Tarbolton, on 4 July 1781, when he was 22.

In December 1781, Burns moved temporarily to Irvine to learn to become a flax-dresser, but during the workers' celebrations for New Year 1781/1782 (which included Burns as a participant) the flax shop caught fire and was burnt to the ground. This venture accordingly came to an end, and Burns went home to Lochlea farm. During this time he met and befriended Captain Richard Brown who encouraged him to become a poet.

He continued to write poems and songs and began a commonplace book in 1783, while his father fought a legal dispute with his landlord. The case went to the Court of Session, and Burnes was upheld in January 1784, a fortnight before he died.

Full view of the Nasmyth portrait of 1787, Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Robert and Gilbert made an ineffectual struggle to keep on the farm, but after its failure they moved to the farm at Mossgiel, near Mauchline, in March, which they maintained with an uphill fight for the next four years. In mid-1784 Burns came to know a group of girls known collectively as The Belles of Mauchline, one of whom was Jean Armour, the daughter of a stonemason from Mauchline.

Love affairs
His first child, Elizabeth Paton Burns (1785–1817), was born to his mother's servant, Elizabeth Paton (1760–circa 1799), while he was embarking on a relationship with Jean Armour, who became pregnant with twins in March 1786. Burns signed a paper attesting his marriage to Jean, but her father "was in the greatest distress, and fainted away". To avoid disgrace, her parents sent her to live with her uncle in Paisley. Although Armour's father initially forbade it, they were eventually married in 1788.[6] Armour bore him nine children, only three of whom survived infancy.

Burns was in financial difficulties due to his want of success in farming, and to make enough money to support a family he took up a friend's offer of work in Jamaica. Burns was to be the bookkeeper for Charles Douglas who ran the Springbank estate[7] for his brother, the Earl (?) of Mure. The estate was about 1.5 miles SSW of Port Antonio, Portland parish, on the NE coast of Jamaica. It may have been Springbank, but it is now Spring Bank Rd that leads to the ruins of the great house. It has been suggested that that was a position for a single man, and that he would live in rustic conditions, not likely to be living in the great house at a salary of £30 per annum.[8][9] The position that Burns accepted was as a bookkeeper on a slave plantation. Burns's egalitarian views were typified by "The Slave's Lament" six years later, but in 1786 there was little public awareness of the abolitionist movement that began about that time.[10][11]

At about the same time, Burns fell in love with Mary Campbell (1763–1786), whom he had seen in church while he was still living in Tarbolton. She was born near Dunoon and had lived in Campbeltown before moving to work in Ayrshire. He dedicated the poems "The Highland Lassie O", "Highland Mary", and "To Mary in Heaven" to her. His song "Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, And leave auld Scotia's shore?" suggests that they planned to emigrate to Jamaica together. Their relationship has been the subject of much conjecture, and it has been suggested that on 14 May 1786 they exchanged Bibles and plighted their troth over the Water of Fail in a traditional form of marriage. Soon afterwards Mary Campbell left her work in Ayrshire, went to the seaport of Greenock, and sailed home to her parents in Campbeltown.[8][9]

In October 1786, Mary and her father sailed from Campbeltown to visit her brother in Greenock. Her brother fell ill with typhus, which she also caught while nursing him. She died of typhus on 20 or 21 October 1786 and was buried there.[9]

Title page of the Kilmarnock Edition
As Burns lacked the funds to pay for his passage to the West Indies, Gavin Hamilton suggested that he should "publish his poems in the mean time by subscription, as a likely way of getting a little money to provide him more liberally in necessaries for Jamaica." On 3 April Burns sent proposals for publishing his Scotch Poems to John Wilson, a local printer in Kilmarnock, who published these proposals on 14 April 1786, on the same day that Jean Armour's father tore up the paper in which Burns attested his marriage to Jean. To obtain a certificate that he was a free bachelor, Burns agreed on 25 June to stand for rebuke in the Mauchline kirk for three Sundays. He transferred his share in Mossgiel farm to his brother Gilbert on 22 July, and on 30 July wrote to tell his friend John Richmond that, "Armour has got a warrant to throw me in jail until I can find a warrant for an enormous sum . I am wandering from one friend's house to another."[12]

On 31 July 1786 John Wilson published the volume of works by Robert Burns, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect.[13] Known as the Kilmarnock volume, it sold for 3 shillings and contained much of his best writing, including "The Twa Dogs", "Address to the Deil", "Halloween", "The Cotter's Saturday Night", "To a Mouse", "Epitaph for James Smith", and "To a Mountain Daisy", many of which had been written at Mossgiel farm. The success of the work was immediate, and soon he was known across the country.

Burns postponed his planned emigration to Jamaica on 1 September, and was at Mossgiel two days later when he learnt that Jean Armour had given birth to twins. On 4 September Thomas Blacklock wrote a letter expressing admiration for the poetry in the Kilmarnock volume, and suggesting an enlarged second edition.[13] A copy of it was passed to Burns, who later recalled, "I had taken the last farewell of my few friends, my chest was on the road to Greenock I had composed the last song I should ever measure in Scotland – 'The Gloomy night is gathering fast' – when a letter from Dr Blacklock to a friend of mine overthrew all my schemes, by opening new prospects to my poetic ambition. The Doctor belonged to a set of critics for whose applause I had not dared to hope. His opinion that I would meet with encouragement in Edinburgh for a second edition, fired me so much, that away I posted for that city, without a single acquaintance, or a single letter of introduction."[14]

Alexander Nasmyth, Robert Burns (1828).
On 27 November 1786 Burns borrowed a pony and set out for Edinburgh. On 14 December William Creech issued subscription bills for the first Edinburgh edition of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect, which was published on 17 April 1787. Within a week of this event, Burns had sold his copyright to Creech for 100 guineas.[13] For the edition, Creech commissioned Alexander Nasmyth to paint the oval bust-length portrait now in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, which was engraved to provide a frontispiece for the book. Nasmyth had come to know Burns and his fresh and appealing image has become the basis for almost all subsequent representations of the poet.[15] In Edinburgh, he was received as an equal by the city's men of letters—including Dugald Stewart, Robertson, Blair and others—and was a guest at aristocratic gatherings, where he bore himself with unaffected dignity. Here he encountered, and made a lasting impression on, the 16-year-old Walter Scott, who described him later with great admiration:

His person was strong and robust his manners rustic, not clownish, a sort of dignified plainness and simplicity which received part of its effect perhaps from knowledge of his extraordinary talents. His features are presented in Mr Nasmyth's picture but to me it conveys the idea that they are diminished, as if seen in perspective. I think his countenance was more massive than it looks in any of the portraits . there was a strong expression of shrewdness in all his lineaments the eye alone, I think, indicated the poetical character and temperament. It was large, and of a dark cast, and literally glowed when he spoke with feeling or interest. I never saw such another eye in a human head, though I have seen the most distinguished men of my time.

— Walter Scott[citation needed]

Burns statue by David Watson Stevenson (1898) in Bernard Street, Leith
The new edition of his poems brought Burns £400. His stay in the city also resulted in some lifelong friendships, among which were those with Lord Glencairn, and Frances Anna Dunlop (1730–1815), who became his occasional sponsor and with whom he corresponded for many years until a rift developed. He embarked on a relationship with the separated Agnes "Nancy" McLehose (1758–1841), with whom he exchanged passionate letters under pseudonyms (Burns called himself "Sylvander" and Nancy "Clarinda"). When it became clear that Nancy would not be easily seduced into a physical relationship, Burns moved on to Jenny Clow (1766–1792), Nancy's domestic servant, who bore him a son, Robert Burns Clow, in 1788. He also had an affair with a servant girl, Margaret "May" Cameron. His relationship with Nancy concluded in 1791 with a final meeting in Edinburgh before she sailed to Jamaica for what turned out to be a short-lived reconciliation with her estranged husband. Before she left, he sent her the manuscript of "Ae Fond Kiss" as a farewell.[citation needed]

In Edinburgh, in early 1787, he met James Johnson, a struggling music engraver and music seller with a love of old Scots songs and a determination to preserve them. Burns shared this interest and became an enthusiastic contributor to The Scots Musical Museum. The first volume was published in 1787 and included three songs by Burns. He contributed 40 songs to volume two, and he ended up responsible for about a third of the 600 songs in the whole collection, as well as making a considerable editorial contribution. The final volume was published in 1803.[citation needed]

Ellisland Farm
Main article: Ellisland Farm, Dumfries

The River Nith at Ellisland Farm.

Ellisland farm in the time of Robert Burns
On his return from Edinburgh in February 1788, he resumed his relationship with Jean Armour and took a lease on Ellisland Farm, Dumfriesshire, settling there in June. He also trained as a gauger or exciseman in case farming continued to be unsuccessful. He was appointed to duties in Customs and Excise in 1789 and eventually gave up the farm in 1791. Meanwhile, in November 1790, he had written "Tam O' Shanter". About this time he was offered and declined an appointment in London on the staff of The Star newspaper,[16] and refused to become a candidate for a newly created Chair of Agriculture in the University of Edinburgh,[16] although influential friends offered to support his claims. He did however accept membership of the Royal Company of Archers in 1792.[17]

Lyricist
After giving up his farm, he removed to Dumfries. It was at this time that, being requested to write lyrics for The Melodies of Scotland, he responded by contributing over 100 songs. He made major contributions to George Thomson's A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice as well as to James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum. Arguably his claim to immortality chiefly rests on these volumes, which placed him in the front rank of lyric poets. As a songwriter he provided his own lyrics, sometimes adapted from traditional words. He put words to Scottish folk melodies and airs which he collected, and composed his own arrangements of the music including modifying tunes or recreating melodies on the basis of fragments. In letters he explained that he preferred simplicity, relating songs to spoken language which should be sung in traditional ways. The original instruments would be fiddle and the guitar of the period which was akin to a cittern, but the transcription of songs for piano has resulted in them usually being performed in classical concert or music hall styles.[18]

Thomson as a publisher commissioned arrangements of "Scottish, Welsh and Irish Airs" by such eminent composers of the day as Franz Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven, with new lyrics. The contributors of lyrics included Burns. While such arrangements had wide popular appeal,[19][20][21][22] Beethoven's music was more advanced and difficult to play than Thomson intended.[23][24]

Burns described how he had to master singing the tune before he composed the words:

Burns House in Dumfries, Scotland
My way is: I consider the poetic sentiment, correspondent to my idea of the musical expression, then chuse my theme, begin one stanza, when that is composed—which is generally the most difficult part of the business—I walk out, sit down now and then, look out for objects in nature around me that are in unison or harmony with the cogitations of my fancy and workings of my bosom, humming every now and then the air with the verses I have framed. when I feel my Muse beginning to jade, I retire to the solitary fireside of my study, and there commit my effusions to paper, swinging, at intervals, on the hind-legs of my elbow chair, by way of calling forth my own critical strictures, as my, pen goes.

—Robert Burns
Burns also worked to collect and preserve Scottish folk songs, sometimes revising, expanding, and adapting them. One of the better known of these collections is The Merry Muses of Caledonia (the title is not Burns's), a collection of bawdy lyrics that were popular in the music halls of Scotland as late as the 20th century. Many of Burns's most famous poems are songs with the music based upon older traditional songs. For example, "Auld Lang Syne" is set to the traditional tune "Can Ye Labour Lea", "A Red, Red Rose" is set to the tune of "Major Graham" and "The Battle of Sherramuir" is set to the "Cameronian Rant".

The death room of Robert Burns

Robert Burns Mausoleum at St. Michael's churchyard in Dumfries
Burns's worldly prospects were perhaps better than they had ever been but he had become soured, and had alienated many of his best friends by too freely expressing sympathy with the French Revolution and the then unpopular advocates of reform at home. His political views also came to the notice of his employers and in an attempt to prove his loyalty to the Crown, Burns joined the Royal Dumfries Volunteers in March 1795.[25] As his health began to give way, he began to age prematurely and fell into fits of despondency. The habits of intemperance (alleged mainly by temperance activist James Currie)[26] are said to have aggravated his long-standing possible rheumatic heart condition.[27]

On the morning of 21 July 1796, Burns died in Dumfries, at the age of 37. The funeral took place on Monday 25 July 1796, the day that his son Maxwell was born. He was at first buried in the far corner of St. Michael's Churchyard in Dumfries a simple "slab of freestone" was erected as his gravestone by Jean Armour, which some felt insulting to his memory.[28] His body was eventually moved to its final location in the same cemetery, the Burns Mausoleum, in September 1817.[29] The body of his widow Jean Armour was buried with his in 1834.[27]

Armour had taken steps to secure his personal property, partly by liquidating two promissory notes amounting to fifteen pounds sterling (about 1,100 pounds at 2009 prices).[30] The family went to the Court of Session in 1798 with a plan to support his surviving children by publishing a four-volume edition of his complete works and a biography written by Dr. James Currie. Subscriptions were raised to meet the initial cost of publication, which was in the hands of Thomas Cadell and William Davies in London and William Creech, bookseller in Edinburgh.[31] Hogg records that fund-raising for Burns's family was embarrassingly slow, and it took several years to accumulate significant funds through the efforts of John Syme and Alexander Cunningham.[27]

Burns was posthumously given the freedom of the town of Dumfries.[26] Hogg records that Burns was given the freedom of the Burgh of Dumfries on 4 June 1787, 9 years before his death, and was also made an Honorary Burgess of Dumfries.[32]

Through his twelve children, Burns has over 600 living descendants as of 2012.[33]

Burns's style is marked by spontaneity, directness, and sincerity, and ranges from the tender intensity of some of his lyrics through the humour of "Tam o' Shanter" and the satire of "Holy Willie's Prayer" and "The Holy Fair".

Statue of Burns in Dumfries town centre, unveiled in 1882
Burns's poetry drew upon a substantial familiarity with and knowledge of Classical, Biblical, and English literature, as well as the Scottish Makar tradition.[34] Burns was skilled in writing not only in the Scots language but also in the Scottish English dialect of the English language. Some of his works, such as "Love and Liberty" (also known as "The Jolly Beggars"), are written in both Scots and English for various effects.[35]

His themes included republicanism (he lived during the French Revolutionary period) and Radicalism, which he expressed covertly in "Scots Wha Hae", Scottish patriotism, anticlericalism, class inequalities, gender roles, commentary on the Scottish Kirk of his time, Scottish cultural identity, poverty, sexuality, and the beneficial aspects of popular socialising (carousing, Scotch whisky, folk songs, and so forth).[36]

The strong emotional highs and lows associated with many of Burns's poems have led some, such as Burns biographer Robert Crawford,[37] to suggest that he suffered from manic depression—a hypothesis that has been supported by analysis of various samples of his handwriting. Burns himself referred to suffering from episodes of what he called "blue devilism". The National Trust for Scotland has downplayed the suggestion on the grounds that evidence is insufficient to support the claim.[38]

Britain
Burns is generally classified as a proto-Romantic poet, and he influenced William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Percy Bysshe Shelley greatly. His direct literary influences in the use of Scots in poetry were Allan Ramsay and Robert Fergusson. The Edinburgh literati worked to sentimentalise Burns during his life and after his death, dismissing his education by calling him a "heaven-taught ploughman". Burns influenced later Scottish writers, especially Hugh MacDiarmid, who fought to dismantle what he felt had become a sentimental cult that dominated Scottish literature.

Burns Monument in Dorchester square, Montréal, Québec
Burns had a significant influence on Alexander McLachlan[39] and some influence on Robert Service. While this may not be so obvious in Service's English verse, which is Kiplingesque, it is more readily apparent in his Scots verse.[40]

Scottish Canadians have embraced Robert Burns as a kind of patron poet and mark his birthday with festivities. 'Robbie Burns Day' is celebrated from Newfoundland and Labrador[41] to Nanaimo.[42] Every year, Canadian newspapers publish biographies of the poet,[43] listings of local events[44] and buffet menus.[45] Universities mark the date in a range of ways: McMaster University library organized a special collection[46] and Simon Fraser University's Centre for Scottish Studies organized a marathon reading of Burns's poetry.[47][48] Senator Heath Macquarrie quipped of Canada's first Prime Minister that "While the lovable [Robbie] Burns went in for wine, women and song, his fellow Scot, John A. did not chase women and was not musical!"[49] 'Gung Haggis Fat Choy' is a hybrid of Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Day, celebrated in Vancouver since the late 1990s.[50][51]

United States
In January 1864, President Abraham Lincoln was invited to attend a Robert Burns celebration by Robert Crawford and if unable to attend, send a toast. Lincoln composed a toast.[52]

An example of Burns's literary influence in the US is seen in the choice by novelist John Steinbeck of the title of his 1937 novel, Of Mice and Men, taken from a line in the second-to-last stanza of "To a Mouse": "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley." Burns's influence on American vernacular poets such as James Whitcomb Riley and Frank Lebby Stanton has been acknowledged by their biographers.[53] When asked for the source of his greatest creative inspiration, singer songwriter Bob Dylan selected Burns's 1794 song "A Red, Red Rose" as the lyric that had the biggest effect on his life.[54][55] The author J. D. Salinger used protagonist Holden Caulfield's misinterpretation of Burns's poem "Comin' Through the Rye" as his title and a main interpretation of Caulfield's grasping to his childhood in his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye. The poem, actually about a rendezvous, is thought by Caulfield to be about saving people from falling out of childhood.[56]

Russia
Burns became the "people's poet" of Russia. In Imperial Russia Burns was translated into Russian and became a source of inspiration for the ordinary, oppressed Russian people. In Soviet Russia, he was elevated as the archetypal poet of the people. As a great admirer of the egalitarian ethos behind the American and French Revolutions who expressed his own egalitarianism in poems such as his "Birthday Ode for George Washington" or his "Is There for Honest Poverty" (commonly known as "A Man's a Man for a' that"), Burns was well placed for endorsement by the Communist regime as a "progressive" artist. A new translation of Burns begun in 1924 by Samuil Marshak proved enormously popular, selling over 600,000 copies.[57] The USSR honoured Burns with a commemorative stamp in 1956. He remains popular in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.[58]

Landmarks and organisations

Ellisland Farm c. 1900
Burns clubs have been founded worldwide. The first one, known as The Mother Club, was founded in Greenock in 1801 by merchants born in Ayrshire, some of whom had known Burns.[59] The club set its original objectives as "To cherish the name of Robert Burns to foster a love of his writings, and generally to encourage an interest in the Scottish language and literature." The club also continues to have local charitable work as a priority.[60]

Burns's birthplace in Alloway is now a public museum known as Burns Cottage. His house in Dumfries is operated as the Robert Burns House, and the Robert Burns Centre in Dumfries features more exhibits about his life and works. Ellisland Farm in Auldgirth, which he owned from 1788 to 1791, is maintained as a working farm with a museum and interpretation centre by the Friends of Ellisland Farm.

Significant 19th-century monuments to him stand in Alloway, Leith, and Dumfries. An early 20th-century replica of his birthplace cottage belonging to the Burns Club Atlanta stands in Atlanta, Georgia. These are part of a large list of Burns memorials and statues around the world.

Organisations include the Robert Burns Fellowship of the University of Otago in New Zealand, and the Burns Club Atlanta in the United States. Towns named after Burns include Burns, New York, and Burns, Oregon.

In the suburb of Summerhill, Dumfries, the majority of the streets have names with Burns connotations. A British Rail Standard Class 7 steam locomotive was named after him, along with a later Class 87 electric locomotive, No. 87035. On 24 September 1996, Class 156 diesel unit 156433 was named "The Kilmarnock Edition" by Jimmy Knapp, General Secretary of the RMT union, at Girvan Station to launch the new "Burns Line" services between Girvan, Ayr, and Kilmarnock, supported by Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT).

statue of man on a tall base in a park
Burns statue in Treasury Gardens, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Several streets surrounding the Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.'s Back Bay Fens in Boston, Massachusetts, were designated with Burns connotations. A life-size statue was dedicated in Burns's honour within the Back Bay Fens of the West Fenway neighbourhood in 1912. It stood until 1972 when it was relocated downtown, sparking protests from the neighbourhood, literary fans, and preservationists of Olmsted's vision for the Back Bay Fens.

There is a statue of Burns in The Octagon, Dunedin, in the same pose as the one in Dundee. Dunedin's first European settlers were Scots Thomas Burns, a nephew of Burns, was one of Dunedin's founding fathers.

A crater on Mercury is named after Burns.

In November 2012, Burns was awarded the title Honorary Chartered Surveyor[61] by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the only posthumous membership so far granted by the institution.

The oldest statue of Burns is in the town of Camperdown, Victoria.[62] It now hosts an annual Robert Burns Scottish Festival in celebration of the statue and its history.[63]

Burns stamp, USSR 1956
The Soviet Union was the first country in the world to honour Burns with a commemorative stamp, marking the 160th anniversary of his death in 1956.[64]

The Royal Mail has issued postage stamps commemorating Burns three times. In 1966, two stamps were issued, priced fourpence and one shilling and threepence, both carrying Burns's portrait. In 1996, an issue commemorating the bicentenary of his death comprised four stamps, priced 19p, 25p, 41p and 60p and including quotes from Burns's poems. On 22 January 2009, two stamps were issued by the Royal Mail to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Burns's birth.

Burns was pictured on the Clydesdale Bank £5 note from 1971 to 2009.[65][66] On the reverse of the note was a vignette of a field mouse and a wild rose in reference to Burns's poem "To a Mouse". The Clydesdale Bank's notes were redesigned in 2009 and, since then, he has been pictured on the front of their £10 note.[66] In September 2007, the Bank of Scotland redesigned their banknotes to feature famous Scottish bridges. The reverse side of new £5 features Brig o' Doon, famous from Burns's poem "Tam o' Shanter", and pictures the statue of Burns at that site.[67]

In 1996, the Isle of Man issued a four-coin set of Crown (5/-) pieces on the themes of "Auld Lang Syne", Edinburgh Castle, Revenue Cutter, and Writing Poems.[68] Tristan da Cunha produced a gold £5 Bicentenary Coin.[69]

In 2009 the Royal Mint issued a commemorative two pound coin featuring a quote from "Auld Lang Syne".[70]

Engraved version of the Alexander Nasmyth 1787 portrait
In 1976, singer Jean Redpath, in collaboration with composer Serge Hovey, started to record all of Burns's songs, with a mixture of traditional and Burns's own compositions. The project ended when Hovey died, after seven of the planned twenty-two volumes were completed. Redpath also recorded four cassettes of Burns's songs (re-issued as 3 CDs) for the Scots Musical Museum.[71]

In 1996, a musical about Burns's life called Red Red Rose won third place at a competition for new musicals in Denmark. Robert Burns was played by John Barrowman. On 25 January 2008, a musical play about the love affair between Robert Burns and Nancy McLehose entitled Clarinda premiered in Edinburgh before touring Scotland.[72][citation needed] The plan was that Clarinda would make its American premiere in Atlantic Beach, FL, at Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre on 25 January 2013.[73] Eddi Reader has released two albums, Sings the Songs of Robert Burns and The Songs of Robert Burns Deluxe Edition, about the work of the poet.

Alfred B. Street wrote the words and Henry Tucker wrote the music for a song called Our Own Robbie Burns[74] in 1856.

Burns suppers
Main article: Burns supper

"Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!" – cutting the haggis at a Burns supper
Burns Night, in effect a second national day, is celebrated on Burns's birthday, 25 January, with Burns suppers around the world, and is more widely observed in Scotland than the official national day, St. Andrew's Day. The first Burns supper in The Mother Club in Greenock was held on what was thought to be his birthday on 29 January 1802 in 1803 it was discovered from the Ayr parish records that the correct date was 25 January 1759.[60]

The format of Burns suppers has changed little since. The basic format starts with a general welcome and announcements, followed with the Selkirk Grace. After the grace comes the piping and cutting of the haggis, when Burns's famous "Address to a Haggis" is read and the haggis is cut open. The event usually allows for people to start eating just after the haggis is presented. At the end of the meal, a series of toasts, often including a 'Toast to the Lassies', and replies are made. This is when the toast to "the immortal memory", an overview of Burns's life and work, is given. The event usually concludes with the singing of "Auld Lang Syne".

Greatest Scot
In 2009, STV ran a television series and public vote on who was "The Greatest Scot" of all time. Robert Burns won, narrowly beating William Wallace.[75] A bust of Burns is in the Hall of Heroes of the National Wallace Monument in Stirling.