Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Friday, 4 July 2008

Society of the Cincinnati

Independence Day! Independence Day! First order of business, my brave gentlemen: let's create a noble order with an hereditary elite!

THE SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI is a curious place for a newly self-declared independent republic to rejoice in its ideals and celebrate its freedom from the shackles of oppressive monarchy and all that it represents. The Society whose members were officers of the Continental and French armies who served during the American Revolution, was essentially an aristocratic order with membership eligibility inherited through primogeniture. George Washington proudly became its first Sovereign of the Order, I mean "President-General".

Louis16-1775

King Louis XVI ordained the French Society of the Cincinnati, which was organized on Independence Day, July 4, 1784

Up to that time, the King of France had not allowed his officers to wear any foreign decorations; but he made an exception in favour of the badge of the Cincinnati, and membership in the Society was so eagerly sought that it soon became as coveted as membership of certain orders of French nobility. In the years after the revolution, membership continued to expand on both sides of the Atlantic. Members were soon serving in all the major offices of the United States and many state governments.

Baron_von_Steuben
Baron von Steuben, an original member of the order, was a Prussian-German Officer who essentially became George Washington's Chief of Staff in the final years of the Revolutionary War

Thomas Jefferson among others were alarmed at the apparent creation of a hereditary elite that excluded enlisted men and in most cases militia officers, unless they were placed under "State Line" or "Continental Line" forces for a substantial time period. Benjamin Franklin was among the Society's earliest critics, though he would later accept its role in the Republic and join the Society under honorary membership after the country stabilized. He voiced concerns not only about the apparent creation of a noble order, but also the Society's use of the eagle in its emblem as evoking the traditions of heraldry. It was in his writings on the Cincinnati Eagle that he also safely attacked its brother symbol, the Great Seal of the United States.

And so on this Independence Day, let's spare a thought for the people, by the people and of the people, who couldn't quite live up to the ideals of America, and couldn't bring themselves to destroying the Old Order, even through that dramatic period of arrested constitutional development.

7 comments:

Red Tory said...

Fascinating. I'd never heard of it before.

Palmerston said...

Me neither. Is this a hoax?

Bolingbroke said...

No hoax, gentlemen. You will find it in Burke's Peerage and Gentry.

Matt said...

It is real. I met one of them 14 years ago. If he is typical of the other members, they are a worthy bunch of men who take their motto, "Omnia relinquit servare rempublicam", seriously.

Shaftesbury said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaftesbury said...

A band of scoundrels & traitors ...

Anonymous said...

You might want to check your facts on that, and read some less biased material. The Society is a patriotic organization--one whose members upheld the democratic ideal in the early years of the New Republic. It is also alive and well today, and they maintain a library... which you could call to obtain accurate information.