Posts Tagged ‘France’

Reminiscences of an Old Northern New York Settler

August 17, 2012

REMINISCENCES OF AN OLD NORTHERN NEW YORK SETTLER

Gouverneur, Aug. 18. —  In the town of Fowler, about seven miles east of this village, there lives the son of an old pioneer, David H. Balmat, son of Joseph Bonaparte’s land servant in this section. Mr. Balmat is more than 80 years of age, but is still active and takes a prominent part in the affairs of his town.

He is one of the few representatives in this section at least, of the original French settlers, his father having come here in 1796, two years before Jean Baptiste Bossout established a ferry across the Black river. It was in the Reign of Terror in France that the pioneer came to this country to avoid the bloodshed there.

David Balmat was born in the town of Carthage in 1822, a little time before his father became land agent to Bonaparte. The Balmats were people of much consequence in France and the older Balmat was the owner of a large vineyard. His mother’s sister was the Duchess of Oldenburg and as he was a moderate revolutionist, fell under the ban of Robespierre. These facts were the cause partly for sending his son to the new country.

A Wonderful Memory.

Mr. Balmat has a wonderful memory and recalls many incidents which occurred early in his time.

“I do not remember Bonaparte, of course,” said the old man, when interviewed, “for he was gone before I was born. My father was his agent and used to often make trips to the southern part of the State to make his reports to him. My father was one of the first settlers of this country and I think there are three or four families now remaining to represent the early Frenchmen who came to this North country. Among them are the Bossouis, and the Devoises while others have passed away.

“My father purchased land of the French company near the mouth of Beaver river, and the land was wet; the settlement was abandoned and given up. At this time the whole of this northern part of the State was a wilderness with only a few log roads here and there. My father at one time with two Indians started out from Utica, which was then a small place, and went to Beaver river. They followed the Oswegatchie to its source, then down it again in search of beaver and sent as far as Heurelton now Is. They then passed through Black lake, up the Indian river, and made a portage into the Black river. They were gone for over three months and returned loaded with beaver skins, as this section abounded in beaver at that early period.

Stories of Bonaparte.

Mr. Balmat remembers distinctly many of the stories which his father told him of Bonaparte. One of these occurred on Bonaparte lake. The ex-King brought up a number of gentlemen and ladies from his home in New Jersey and wanted his agent to accompany them around the head of the lake. They were rounding the head of a point, when two deer were seen on the shore. They rowed near shore and Balmat took a shot. The two deer jumped into the woods, but one was wounded. Bonaparte in his eagerness to get to shore jumped overboard and walked to shore with the mud almost up to his neck. When they found the deer Bonaparte insisted upon Balmat’s putting it on his shoulder, and the ex-King carried it to the shore, with his fine clothes dripping with blood. At another time Bonaparte with a number of guides went up the lake for a day. An old sea captain was along. When they had gone half of their way a heavy south wind sprang up and Balmat said to the ex-King, “Emperor, it looks mighty like rain.” The old sea captain was equally as certain that it was not, but, relying on the agent’s experience the King sought shelter on the shore. Soon it began to rain in torrents, but they had made a shelter from the storm. While it was raining quite hard the ex-King spoke up and said, “Well, captain, you may be a good prophet on the sea, but you’re not worth a d_ _ n on land.”

David Balmat’s grandfather was Major Goodar, who came from France during the Revolutionary war here with Lafayette with aid for the patriots.

“My father used to say,” said Mr. Balmat, “that Bonaparte was one of the commonest and plainest men that he ever met, although he dressed in fine clothes. At one time he met Bonaparte in the woods after burning off a large tract of land. Balmat was black with the ashes. When the ex-King met him he immediately extended his hand and compelled his agent to shake hands. He then sat down on a blackened and charred log and talked, saying that he cared nothing about these clothes, as there were others.”

Mr. Balmat lives on a large farm and is much respected in his old age. He is an unassuming old gentleman and is gifted in his speech. He is rather proud of his physical powers at 84 years, but says that he is not so strong as his cousin, David Hewitt. David is 94.

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Aug 19, 1906

SPECIAL TO THE POST-STANDARD.

GOUVERNEUR, March 1. — David H. Balmat, one of the early pioneers of St. Lawrence County, died yesterday at his house in Talcville, aged 85 years. Around his family hangs the romance of the time of the first Napoleon and of Joseph Bonaparte, who traversed this part of the state during the early part of the nineteenth century.

David H. Balmat was the son of John D. Balmat, born in Paris, France, in 1875 [? 1775] and of Nancy, daughter of Major Goodar, born near Utica. John D. Balmat died in Fowler in 1862 and Major Goodar, the father of his wife, came over from France with Lafayette and was wounded at the battle of Brandywine. To this couple was born the subject of this sketch in 1822.

When Joseph Bonaparte came to this country and sought asylum in the vicinity of the lake, which he afterwards called Lake Bonaparte, he  carried with him letters from the great Napoleon to John D. Balmat, and for a number of years Mr. Balmat was his constant companion and guide, and the son often spoke about his father telling of the grandeur of the surroundings of Bonaparte.

David H. Balmat was the owner of extensive farm lands which are undermined with extensive talc deposits, some of  which are considered the richest in the world, and which are operated by the Union Talc Company. His is survived by four children. The funeral will be held at the family home in Fowler to-morrow.

The Post Standard (Syracuse, New York) Mar 2, 1907

“If You See General Ike, Tell Him We’re The Boys Who Can Do It.”

June 6, 2012

Mason City Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) Jun 6, 1944

D-DAY — from History.com

During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.

Delta Democrat Times (Greenville, Mississippi) Jun 6, 1944

First Wave Of Assault Troops Mowed Down

By James C. McGlincy
United Press War Correspondent

LONDON, June 7. — Some of the first assault troops who stormed the French beaches were mowed down by German crossfire but succeeding waves climbed over their bodies until a foothold was established, an eye-witness who returned from the beachhead reported today.

Bert Brandt, 28, an Acme News photographer, spent a half hour on the beach yesterday and several hours more cruising within gunshot of the landing scene.
“It was hotter than hell over there,” Brandt said. “I was at Anzio but Anzio was nothing like this.”

He said the Germans laid down intensive fire on the beaches with well-emplaced machine-guns. American casualties were spotty, heavy on some beaches and light on others.

On one beach, Brandt reported, the German machine-gunners waited until the landing craft lowered their ramps and then poured deadly fire into the barges. The opposition met by the first wave delayed the landing of demolition parties scheduled to follow with heavy equipment.

The German defenses finally crumbled under the weight of attack and by the time Brandt left the beachhead at 3 P.M. yesterday, the Americans were firmly ashore and beginning to advance inland.

“The whole thing was an unbelievable sight,” Brandt said. “Planes criss-crossed overhead constantly. You never could look up without seeing a formation of planes somewhere, P-38s and P-47s zoomed right overhead all the time blasting the German defenses.

“Some boats were burning and a pall of smoke hung over the beach. I saw some of the bodies of our soldiers who had been killed in the first landings floating in the water. Some of the boats were swamped in the choppy seas.

“There were tremendous rafts just floating offshore jammed with trucks, tanks and ambulances. On one beach we landed tanks from LCT’s. Then some waves of Infantry went in, followed by engineers and then more Infantry.

“On the beaches the men crouched behind jeeps, tanks, anything they could find for cover. At one point they made their way to the German concrete defense wall, and that was the first cover they found.

“Right off the beach were tall cliffs which were scaled by the rangers. They captured gun positions within 15 minutes after they went in.”

Despite fierce resistance, Brandt said, everyone was calm and the operation was well organized. On the landing boats going over, the troops were so confident, Brandt was worried. He saw Pvt. Charles Blackledge, Columbia, Miss., sitting amid bangalore torpedoes, bazookas, TNT and other deadly weapons reading a little black-covered Bible.

Daily News (Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) Jun 6, 1944

He snapped a picture of one boy asleep on top of a jeep five minutes before landing. As the troops went overside into smaller boats for the assault, one yelled: “If you see General Ike, tell him we’re the boys who can do it.”

Two negro jeep drivers stood at the rail looking at the looming continent.

“Yassuh,” one laughed, “theah she am!”

One small boat which supported the landing was commanded by Lt. Richard Margetts, San Diego, Cal. Its crew included Lt. ?g? Chester Hendrickson, Grove City, Minn., Cox. Robert Jaggers, Stantonville, Tenn., Seaman 1c Gilbert Aguilar, Houston, Tex., and Seaman John Hornyal, Bridgeport, Conn.

After piloting an assault craft ashore and back to the larger ship, Seaman 1c Forrest Hillegas, Allentown, Pa., called: “Anybody got a cigaret? I think I’ve got one coming after that.”

Daily News (Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) Jun 6, 1944

Brandt hitch-hiked back on a boat returning with wounded in order to get his pictures out. In a corner of the returning craft a wounded boy sat sobbing. He told Brandt:

“For three years I’ve been training for this and what happens? As soon as I get off the boat I get hit. I didn’t even get a chance to fire a shot at a German.”

Anniston Star (Anniston, Alabama) Jun 7, 1944

Robespierre’s Passion – Literary Vanity

May 8, 2012

Image from About.com – European History

ROBESPIERRE’S ORATORICAL POWERS.

His first and only passion was literary vanity. There never was the chief of a party, sect, or government who, when a crisis had arrived, was so incurably a rhetorician, and a rhetorician of the flattest, muddiest, and dullest kind. On the eve of the 9th Thermidor, when it was a question of conquest or annihilation, he brought to the tribune a prepared speech, which had been written over and over again. It had been polished and repolished; it was tawdry with false ornaments, glazed with academical varnish, heavily draped with the symmetrical antitheses, long-drawn out periods, exclamations, apostrophes, and all those other regulation trappings belonging to the business.

In one of the most celebrated and important of his reports I have counted 24 different figures of speech, imitations of Rousseau and other old writers of antiquity, some of them marvels of prolixity, addressed to the dead, to Brutus, to the young Bars, others to absent persons, to priests, to aristocrats, to the unhappy, to French women, others having for topics abstractions, as Liberty or Friendship. With a conviction which nothing could shake, and with supreme self-conceit, he believed himself to be an orator, because on all occasions he worked the old apparatus, and jerked it with the same old wires. Never is there to be found one single spontaneous accent in all this labored eloquence.

Here are all the worn-out receipts of an art long ago on the decline, references to Greek and Latin, Socrates and his hemlock, Brutus and his dagger, and a jumble of classical metaphors, as “the torch of discord,” “the ship of state,” and a mixing up of words with false attempts at style, exactly like those a shallow rhetorician would use when addressing the benches of his college. Occasionally Robespierre puts on an air of immense bravery, as befits a man who struts when on parade, but then again he pipes a feeble tune on a flute, because at that time it was supposed that he was overflowing with sweetness. — Tain’s Psychologie des Chefs Jacobins, in Revue des Deux Mondes.

The New York Times (New York, New York) Oct 5, 1884

Cinco de Mayo – Celebrating the Decisive Battle of Puebla

May 5, 2012

THE DECISIVE BATTLE OF PUEBLA.

Mexico’s children everywhere are celebrating today the 59th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla; popularly known as the Cinco de Mayo — 5th of May.

To Americans in general, and to Texans particularly, this battle is of peculiar interest because of its decisive effect in checking the French invasion of Mexico at a most critical time for America. Taking advantage of the fact that the American Union was engaged in civil war, Napoleon III, pursuing his plan to give the French empire supremacy in the New World as well as in the Old, had begun war against the Juarez government of Mexico, in support of the self-styled “government” of Miramon which had been defeated and overthrown in December, 1860, in the battle of Calpulapan.

Previous military operations had resulted in the advance of the French army under Gen. Lorencez, together with a Mexican “conservative” force under Gen. Taboado, to the town of Amazoc, just east of Puebla, on May 2, 1862. The next day, the Mexican national army under Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza — who was born on the Bay of Espiritu Santo, Texas, in 1829 — retreating before the French advance, entered the City of Puebla. On the 4th, Lorencez advanced to Los Alamos, within sight of PUebla, where he camped astride the Vera Cruz road. He had about 6,000 French troops, and 300 Mexican cavalry. The same day, Zaragoza made his preparations for defense. The Arteaga division — commanded temporarily by Gen. Negrete — occupied the Loreta and Guadalupe forts, northwest of Puebla. The infantry of the Toluca brigade of Gen. Berriozabal continued the line from Guadalupe toward the Vera Cruz road. The San Luis Potosi brigade extended the line to the right. The extreme right, on the Amozoc road, was held by the Oaxaca division of Gen. Portorio Diaz. The Mexican cavalry was placed near Azcarate’s brickyard. The artillery was commanded by Gen. Rodriquez. The city itself was held by Tapia’s bridgade, commanded temporarily by Gen. Escobedo. The total Mexican force was about 5,000 men, a great number of whom were recruits.

The French advanced at 4 o’clock in the morning of May 5th, a strong column marching to the northwest for the attack on the forts of Guadalupe and Loreto. After cannonading the forts for two hours, an assault was made on them; the French massing between the two forts as they advanced. Meanwhile, Berriozabal had been sent with his infantry to reinforce Negrete at the forts, together with some cavalry under Gen. Alvarez. After a hard fight the French were repulsed, and retreated. Another French column arriving at this moment, the lines were reformed, and a second, and much more determined attack was made on the two forts and the Resureccion chapel south of Guadalupe. This attack, and a following one, also were repulsed; the Mexican cavalry charging upon the defeated assailants.

On the southeast front, Gen. Diaz ???s? sustained a hard attack, which ???iled like the others. The French returned to their Los Alamos camp at nightfall, and a few days later retreated to Orizaba, followed by Diaz for some distance.

The French loss was 131 killed, and ?45 wounded and sick. The Mexican loss was 87 killed, 132 wounded and 12 missing. By order of Juarez, the sound prisoners were sent back to the French lines; and later all sick and wounded also were returned, provided with money for the journey. All French medals and decorations taken were returned; the Mexicans keeping only one French flag, captured from a famous ????? regiment. This banner is still in the citadel of Mexico.

The result of the battle was decisive for Mexico. It delayed the occupation of the City of Mexico for more than a year, and led to the failure of the French expedition and of Maximilian’s empire. Gen. Zaragoza, the victor, was given a sword by his country, and received other honors; but worn out by the strains of the campaign, he died at Puebla on the following 8th of September. The city where he died is known officially as Puebla de Zaragoza. There are many other places in Mexico which bear his name.

San Antonio Express (San Antonio, Texas) May 5, 1921

Napoleon Wanted a Friend

April 30, 2012

LOUISIANA ROMANCE.
—–
History of the Purchase of the Great West from the French Emperor.
—–
NAPOLEON WANTED A FRIEND
—–
Rather Than See England Have the Territory He Would Donate It to America — Purchase Proposed by Him.
—–

New York Commercial Advertiser.

There is an incident in American history that is as full of startling features, or even romance, as anything that ever transpired in a nation’s existence, and it is doubly interesting at this time when Hawaii is knocking at our doors for admission. It involves the circumstances of the Louisiana purchase, a mighty transaction, which gave the young republic “Louisiana and all that portion of the American continent extending northward to the tides that flow into the Pacific.” In detail these words meant Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota — that portion west of the Mississippi river — nearly all of Kansas, both the Dakota states, the Indian Territory, the greater part of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Oregon — in all 900,000 square miles.

Image of James Monroe from Archiving Early America

For the incidents in this narrative that relate to the American part, the writer is indebted to Gen. George W. Monroe, a near relative of President Monroe, who permitted extracts to be made from letters written by his distinguished kinsman, our minister to France, when the Louisiana purchase was effected, and on the French side to data from the memoranda of M. Cambaceres, the close friend of the Vicomte de Saint-Denis whose grandson allowed the papers mentioned to be examined.

The treaty of Amiens, made in March, 1802, between France on the one side and Great Britain, the Batavian republic and Spain on the other, did not long endure. It was ruptured in May, 1803. Foreseeing its disruption, England, the mistress of the seas, began hostilities by seizing everything French on the ocean that she could. The work was commenced even before the breaking of treaty relations between herself and France. The latter country had no adequate means of retaliation at hand. Her fleet was totally unequal to that of Great Britain, and while the army of France was fairly capable and effective, nobody knew better than did the First Consul Napoleon that the arms were as obsolete as the tactical and the method of organization. But it was in money that France was most lacking.

The embargo against England had greatly damaged the trade in woven fabrics with that country and the wine merchants of south France so clamored that Napoleon was compelled to make his edicts less rigorous to them.

Meantime Great Britain was preparing for a death grip with the hated Corsican. It was not a time when great national loans were a feature of finance. Where the money to float his immense schemes was to come from the ruler of France could not tell. He needed 100,000,000 francs, not in assignats, but in gold, something all Europe would recognize as beyond question. This was the condition of France’s master Jan. 1, 1803.

The first consul was absorbed, preoccupied. He had directed that attendance of Cambaceres, the archchancellor, and Lebrun, Lord Treasurer of France, for that evening. He wished to discuss the money question with them. Bonaparte had many very unusual qualities, but one which was unique in his great character. He never asked for advice. “Relate to me,” he would say to an official, “the precise conditions with which I must contend. I will find the means to deal with them.” And he always worked the problem out alone.

A dispatch that day from Admiral Villeneuve (who was in command of the French fleet then cruising in West Indian waters) contained very disquieting information. It informed the Minister of Marine, and through him Napoleon, that from a sure source he had learned of England’s intention to attack France through her colonies, and the first blow would fall upon the thriving young City of New-Orleans. The information had been conveyed to the American Minister, Mr. Monroe, who was to have audience with the First Consul Jan. 3 and consider what steps the two nations might jointly take to ward off the threatened blow. IT was almost as great a peril to the young Republic as it was to France. With the mouth of the Mississippi River in possession of France’s hereditary foe and the bitter enemy of the sixteen States constituting the American Union, the great tide of commerce then setting southward from Pittsburg to the sea would be suddenly cut off or greatly injured and restricted.

Up to this time the commercial conditions between the two countries had been of the most liberal nature. France had made to our enterprising tradesmen southward concessions of the fairest and most friendly character. New-Orleans, indeed, was a free port to inland commerce, which was in the hands of Americans alone. This liberality was creating the Cities of Cincinnati and Louisville, and the smaller river towns were thriving. It was making the young West rich. Should all this prosperity be checked in a day? “Do everything in your power,” wrote President Jefferson to our Minister at Versailles, “to protect and foster the inland trade of our people with the Southwest.”

“I will see if the Americans cannot help us,” said Cambaceres, as he was taking leave of the First Consul that evening.

Image from KNOWLA

“Do you know, I have been thinking of that, too,” replied Bonaparte, as he placed his fine, white hand on his former colleague’s shoulder. “I have something in my mind that may change the fortunes of France. Do not speak to Mr. Monroe until my audience with him, which will be after the morning levee is over Jan. 3.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Monroe at this time did not understand the French language well enough to follow a speaker who talked as rapidly as did Bonaparte. So the intervention of an interpreter was necessary.

“We are not able alone to defend the Colony of Louisiana,” the First Consul began. “Your new regions of the Southwest are almost as deeply interested in its remaining in our hands as we are in retaining it. Our fleet is already not equal to the needs of the French Nation. Can you not help us to defend the mouth of the Mississippi River?”

“We could not take such a step,” said Monroe, “without a treaty offensive and defensive. Our Senate is really the treaty making power, and it is against us now. The President, Mr. Jefferson, is my friend as well as my official superior. Tell me, General, what have you in your mind?”

Napoleon did not at once reply. He was walking the room, with his quick, nervous step. It was a small private consulting cabinet, adjoining the Salle des Ambassadeurs. The great man had his hands lightly clasped behind him, his head inclined forward, his usual position in deep meditation. “I acquired this great territory, to which the mouth of the Mississippi is the gateway,” he finally began. “I have the right to dispose of it if I will. France cannot now defend and hold it. Rather than see it in England’s hands, I would give it to America. But why will your country not buy it from France?” There Bonaparte stopped.

In a second Mr. Monroe’s face was like a flame. What a diplomatic feat it would be for him! What a triumph for the Administration of Jefferson to add such a territory to the Nation’s domain! The Southern Senators and members, with those of Pennsylvania, whose City of Pittsburg was doing a great Southwest trade, would favor the purchase, for the production of cotton was beginning to be immensely profitable. All the really valuable cotton land not in the States already was in the territory mentioned.

Image from IMSA

The purchase would strengthen the South beyond words. Then, too, the United States would control the Mississippi River, which now drains twenty-three States. And he — James Monroe! What a place would his be in his country’s history! His name would be linked indissolubly with the creation of a new national domain. Already had Virginia given to the Republic the immense Northwest Territory — now comprising the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, part of Minnesota, and all of Wisconsin. Then she had followed this bestowal of a kingdom by the gift of Kentucky, the superb. And now — and now there came, for the third in the brief life of the Nation, an opportunity for him — a Virginian, too — to render as grand a service to the common country as had ever been given by any son — save one — that Virginia had borne or reared!

No man born of woman was a better judge of his fellows than Bonaparte. He read the thoughts of the man before him as though they were on a written scroll. He saw the emotions of his soul. “Well, what do you think of my plain?” asked General Bonaparte.

“The matter, Citizen General, is so vast in its direct relations to my country and what may result from it that it dazes me,” the Minister replied. “But the idea is magnificent. It deserves to emanate from a mind like yours.” Mr. Monroe spoke with deep feeling. He never flattered. The look of truth was in his eyes, its ring in his voice. The First Consul bowed low.
“I must send a special dispatch at once to President Jefferson,” said Monroe, “touching this matter. My messenger shall take the first safe passage to America.”
“The Blonde, the swiftest vessel in our navy, leaves Brest at once, with orders to the West Indian fleet. I will detain her thirty-six hours, till your dispatches are ready. Your messenger shall go on our ship,” the First Consul said.

“But how much shall I say the territory will cost us?” The great Corsican was just ending the conversation. It had been full tow hours long. He came up to the American Minister, and, after a moment, spoke:

“Between nations who are really friends there need be no chaffering. Could I defend this territory, not all the gold of the world would buy it. But I am giving to a friend what I cannot keep. I need 100,000,000f. in coin, or its equivalent in bullion. Whatever action we take must be speedy. Above all, let there be absolute secrecy and silence,” and Bonaparte bowed our Minister out. The audience was ended.

“Now, what can be going on between the master of France and the American?” asked Prince Metternich, the Austrian Ambassador, as he offered his snuffbox to his confrere and rival diplomat, Nesselrode. The dark-faced Russian shook his head as he daintily dipped his finger and thumb into the “Prince’s Mixture,” a famous snuff at that time.

Within the hour it was known to every Ambassador and Minister in Paris that Bonaparte had been closeted for two full hours with the American envoy, while Lord Whitworth, British Ambassador, with Metternich and Nesselrode, waited for an audience. Nothing but affairs the most urgent could have caused such a causerie. What could it mean? “I suspect it concerns England,” wrote Lord Whitworth that night to Addington, Prime Minister, in a confidential note, relating the incident; “but how or in what way I cannot perceive.” By the end of the week the circumstance had been communicated to the English Minister at Washington, with orders to keep a particularly close watch upon events.

Monroe wrote very fully of the matter to Jefferson and also to Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina. He knew Macon to be one of the ablest statesmen of his time. The negotiation was kept a profound secret until Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Macon could sound a majority of their own party in Congress. The New-England delegation alone made any active objection. Mr. Burr, Vice President, brought over New-York and Pennsylvania. “We have too much territory now to defend,” said Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts. Mr. Adams followed in the same strain. Indeed, mr. Quincy declared in the debate in secret session on this question that he the Louisiana Purchase, without his State’s consent, in his opinion, would justify Massachusetts in retiring from the Union.

Image from the International Napoleon Society

The main difficulty was for the United States to procure the ready money. Bonaparte had consented to reduce his demand to 75,000,000f. But this was no small sum to the struggling young nation, which needed money on all sides. The Revolutionary veterans were clamoring for arrears of pay, still due, and pensions. Then the country was trying to build a navy. It had the Ohio, the Indiana, and the Northwestern frontier to defend. Hard cash was dreadfully scarce. The Nation was land poor. But with Stephen Girard as chief agent, the then young Dutch house of Hope conducted the business to a successful ending, aided in London by their correspondents, the Barings — sons of old Franz Baring, a successful money dealer, whose successors had gone into banking. The accepted bills for 25,000,000f. at four months, drawn against the United States Treasury, bearing 6 per cent. interest, were sold at par. They were divided into sums of 50,000f. and 100,000f. for the convenience of purchasers. When the London bankers learned that the Dutch capitalists were quietly purchasing these bills, two brokers, representing the Bank of Scotland and the Rothchilds respectively, offered to take one-half the sum total. But the bills were already placed. Their bids were declined.

It was a great stroke of business for Stephen Girard. He made about $100,000 in commissions alone. It led to his appointment to be naval agent for the French fleets in the United States, an office of great dignity and profit, for he was the person with whom the French Government places its money for the maintenance of its fleets on the North American and West Indian stations. So it happened that Mr. Girard had always on hand great sums in gold, subject to the orders of the commanding officers of the French fleets on the stations named.

In many ways the Louisiana purchase was a good diplomatic stroke for our country. It gave the United States a credit and standing abroad that has never been lessened or lowered. IT was the re-creation of France. The First Consul had long seen the need of rearming and reorganizing the forces of that country. He summoned the most expert arm-makers in France and said: “I wish you each to furnish me with a model musket, the best pistols for horsemen, a musquetoon, [our carbine,] and a sabre after a model to be given you. I wish the arms to be ready for a test in sixty days.” The result was the finest military firearms that had ever been known. The musket adopted weighed a little over nine pounds. IT carried a bullet eighteen to the pound. Its barrel was 42 inches, fitted with the bayonet that is still in use. The lock was extremely fine, and, with good flints, sure of fire. The French military firearms became famous all over the world. The recoil of the old Tower musket of England, and its equivalent on the Continent was so terrible that soldiers dared not fire it from the shoulder, but shot from the hip. The new arm of Napoleon burned four drams of superior powder, against six in the old piece. The trigger pull was reduced to that of the fowling piece of the time, and the new musketry drill prescribed a careful aim.

On Dec. 2, 1805, the French Army tested its new small arms and fire drill in actual battle, for the first time, at Austerlitz. The fire of the French infantry that day was so deadly that the allied armies could not stand up against it, nor answer it, and the new twelve-pounder, light field gun, also used in action for the first time that day, was a revelation to the Austrian and Russian Generals, in its rapidity of fire, ease in handling, and its new iron carriage.

“The re-equipment of our armies, which the money obtained by the sale of Louisiana made possible, gave the French soldier such confidence in the superiority of his weapons over those of his enemy that he became irresistible,” said Gen. de Lafayette, in 1824, to Gen. Schuyler of New-York and to President Monroe.

This country owes much to the royalist armies of France, but the debt was well-nigh paid with the money that made the Corsican the master of Europe and the French Empire the mightiest in Christendom. But if France won all Europe, the American Republic gained a new empire, the greatest ever attained by negotiation since diplomacy was a science.

The New York Time – Feb 13, 1895
Galveston Daily News – May 25, 1895

Icaria: Another Failed Utopia

November 14, 2011

Image from America and the Utopian Dream – Yale University

The Icarian Community.

(Chas. Gray in Annals of Iowa.)

Doubtless comparatively few citizens of Iowa are aware that within its borders, in the county of Adams, about seven years ago, expired the last dying embers of a communistic movement which at one time was probably the greatest socialistic enterprise the world has ever seen, numbering its enthusiastic admirers and supporters by the thousands. I refer to the French colony, established about three miles east of Corning, in about 1858, under the name of “Icarian Community.” At no period of its life in America did Icaria boast so large a membership as many other socialistic communities which have at various times existed in the new world; indeed the zenith of its prosperity seems to have been reached before the Icarians departed from France with the intention of establishing a colony in America, in February, 1848.

Image of Etienne Cabet is from the le bibliomane moderne blog.

Etienne Cabet, founder of Icaria, was conspicuously identified with the revolutionary movements in France during the early portion of the last century. In 1840, after his return to Paris from political exile in England, he published his “Voyage en Icarie,” similar to More’s “Utopia,” in which an imaginary traveler discovers an ideal community based on the socialistic tenets which form the greater part of the foundation of all communistic doctrines. The French people, on account of the then recent political upheavals, seem to have been in just the right mood to accept Cabet’s ideas as promulgated in the “Voyage en Icarie,” and soon many thousands were enrolled under his banner, with the avowed intention of establishing a community in the new world where the precepts of Icaria might be put into practice. To this end a large grant of land was secured in the then newly admitted state of Texas, and in February, 1848, sixty-nine enthusiasts, constituting what its members proudly termed the “advance guard,” set out from Havre, France, for America. On arriving at their destination, near the present site of Dallas, Texas, they were disappointed in finding that the land grant, instead of being one large tract as they desired and had expected, consisted of portions of sections scattered over a large area. This fact, combined with their utter lack of knowledge of agriculture, as exemplified in western ranch life, and the further fact that they were stricken with an epidemic of malarial fever, determined them to give up their present site for a colony in Texas and seek other and more congenial quarters.

Nauvoo, Illinois, having just been deserted by the Mormons, was the most promising field, and the remnant of the Texas colony, joined by a second party from the main body of Icarians in France, in all about 250 or 300 persons, settled in the former stronghold evacuated by the disciples of Joseph Smith. This was in 1849. Cabet himself was with the colonists, having arrived with one of the later contingents from France. Nauvoo, however, was only a temporary camping ground, for soon a large tract “of land was secured in Adams county, Iowa, whither a portion of the colonists came later. During the sojourn in Nauvoo the membership was increased to about 500 and the financial fortunes of the Icarians seem to have been recuperated for a time at least, until dissensions arose which led to a separation of the two factions engaged in the controversy. The trouble seems to have arisen chiefly from Cabet’s desire to arrogate too much dictatorial authority to himself. As a result of this disruption Cabet, at the head of the minority party, went to St. Louis, Mo., where he died a few days after their arrival there. His followers, something less than 200 in number, sought employment, established themselves in a colony based upon communistic theories, and led a precarious existence for about five years, when the experiment was wholly abandoned. This branch was known as the Cheltenham wing of Icaria, so named from the estate upon which they settled near St. Louis.

The misunderstanding at Nauvoo which led to the separation of the two factions, and also the death of Cabet, doubtless had much to do with the loss of enthusiasm on the part of the great mass of his disciples in France, who were anxiously awaiting the selection of a permanent abiding place for Icarians when they would join the commune. Evidently the cold, hard facts of existence could not be harmonized with the Utopian dream of the founder. At any rate, no more recruits came to America from France.

In 1860 the major faction remaining in Nauvoo, consisting of something more than 225 persons, removed to Adams county, Iowa, settling upon the land previously acquired there, and incorporating under the laws of the State as an agricultural society. The community owned a tract of 3,000 acres, but the same was heavily mortgaged, and at that time a suitable market for farm products was a long distance from Icaria. Corning constituted the local trading point. However, by cultivating the sheep-raising industry and taking advantage of the excessively high price of wool during the civil war, together with a surrender of more than half their land, the Icarians finally succeeded in getting out of debt.

Here, then, in Iowa, really began the permanent work-aday life of these communistic enthusiasts. A large edifice was erected which served as an assembly room for the Icarians and also as a dining hall. Here were held all the public gatherings of whatever nature, and they were not a few. An amateur theatrical was often produced, and not infrequently a social ball enlivened the tedium of their existence. Outsiders were frequently invited to attend these social gatherings. Surrounding the assembly hall were the residences of the members, who preserved the family relation sacred. Everything in the community was held in common, and all funds went into a common treasury. A president had general supervision over the affairs of the society in its relation to the outside world, while the duties and assignments of members were made by a board of directors; thus, one attended to making the purchases of food, another of clothing, another directed the labor of the members, etc. Matters of more than ordinary import were discussed in the general assembly, where a majority vote decided the action to be taken. Except in particular instances, women were excluded from the privileges of the ballot, and the usual age restrictions were placed upon the men. So far as I have been able to learn there never was occasion for complaint because of any member failing to fulfill his duties along the lines of manual labor. The peculiar zeal or enthusiasm of the members seems to have been such that each regarded his own portion of the work in building up the community as a sacred duty—a labor of love and sacrifice for the well-being of others, and all entered into the spirit of this idea with commendable zeal, to the extent that the assets of Icaria at one time*reached the sum of $00,000 or $70,000. While a majority were employed in agricultural pursuits, yet other vocations were represented in the community, each member having the right to exercise his preference in the matter of occupation so long as the interests of the colony were subserved and the daily requirements were met. A tailor looked after the wearing apparel of Icarians, and a shoemaker performed a similar office in his line. A flouring mill, sawmill, blacksmith shop and other industries were fostered. The importation of Percheron horses at one time furnished no mean source of revenue to the Icarians, who were among the first to recognize the demand for imported stock in the agricultural country where they were located. The journalistic field was filled by the publication of various periodicals during the life of the colony. The ‘”Revue Icarienne” was an exceptionally well edited journal, and for many years had a wide circulation in France among the devotees of Cabet. In the houses that constituted the homes of these Frenchmen were not a few men of superior intelligence who had had the advantages of education, and the library of the community contained something more than 2,000 volumes of the best literature. The remnant of this fine library is now in possession of Tabor college, in Fremont county, Iowa.

Revue Icarienne newspaper image from the Western Illinois University website

Necessarily, in a community founded upon such principles as those of Icaria, where each individual enjoyed the same privileges as the other, the matter of dress and other expenditures was placed upon a sensible basis. Plain, but serviceable clothing was worn; good, wholesome food was served, and the right sort of literature was placed in the hands of its members. In matters of religion each individual might exercise his own ideas. Sunday was observed in the usual orthodox way and a moral atmosphere permeated the colony, though no religious dogmas in any way entered into the tenets of Icaria. In this particular Icaria occupied a field peculiarly apart from most socialistic experiments, the very foundations of which are usually certain religious theories. A portion of the time when the adjoining country was sparsely settled, Icaria furnished its own schools. While in a sense exclusive, in its dealings with the outside world the community always exercised tact and judgment, commanding and receiving the respect of all. Its members participated in the political movements of the country, and at the time of the civil war, if I am correctly informed, every male member qualified to enlist was enrolled in the Union army, where they made enviable records as soldiers. Mr. E. F. Bettannier, the last president of the colony and still a resident of this county, has always been an active Republican; and, indeed, such has been the political affiliation of every one of the Icarians—a rather peculiar fact. As the accumulation of wealth could not operate for the aggrandizement of the individual, there was small ambition among the members to build up great riches, and a reasonable degree of prosperity seemed to be very satisfactory to all concerned, though their early experience had impressed upon them the importance of keeping out of debt.

So long as the older members, who had together borne the hardships and privations of the early efforts of the community, were in control, matters ran along with little friction in the Iowa community. However, when the younger generation arrived at the age where their voices should be heard in the councils, various little dissensions arose, which culminated in 1877 in a split between the younger members and the old. After various unsuccessful efforts to settle the difficulties, an agreement was at last entered into whereby the old party secured possession of the eastern portion of the domain, and the younger party remained at the old site of the colony. An equitable and satisfactory division of land and effects was arrived at, and the old party proceeded to establish themselves in the new location under the name of New Icaria. The young people continued their organization in Iowa until 1883, when the few remaining (several of its members having withdrawn) went to Cloverdale, Cal., where had already gone several ex-Icarians. In California a new society was formed under the name of “Icaria Speranza,” which existed for several years and then disintegrated.

The veterans of the old party, however, secured a new charter under the name of New Icaria and began anew the labors of establishing themselves. At that time (1883) their membership consisted of just thirty-nine persons, I am informed by credible authority. The organization continued very much on the old lines until 1895, when the membership had become so depleted that it was thought best to disband. Accordingly on February 16th of that year E. F. Bettannier, the last president of the society, was appointed receiver of Icaria and its affairs were adjusted as quickly as possible. An amicable division of the property was arranged and in 1901 the receiver made final report to the court and was discharged. At the time of dissolution there were twenty-one members in the community, with sufficient property to place all in fairly comfortable circumstances.

Thus ended one of the great world movements along the line of socialistic reform—an experiment which has so often been launched, and which has as frequently arrived at the same end as Icaria. In some respects this community was radically different from any other of which I have any knowledge, notably in having no religious ideals to unify its membership; but it did not escape the common fate of all communistic settlements. However, it is not my purpose to theorize in this article, but briefly to give the history of one of the unique undertakings which for a time flourished within the borders of our commonwealth.

The requisites for admission into Icaria were an abiding faith in the communistic idea, and the turning over of all one’s real and personal property to the society, for which no compensation was made and which could not be reclaimed, according to the constitution. A member’s time and services were always at the disposal of the community, and he received no pecuniary reward therefor. An absence of three days without consent from the proper authorities rendered a member liable to censure or expulsion. Offenses against the society were punished by public reprimand. In aggravated cases the offender might be deprived of the privileges of membership. Propositions of names for admission must be made when three-fourths of the voting members were present, and a nine-tenths vote was necessary to elect. Novitiates were received on probation of three to six months. Withdrawals could be made on giving fifteen days’ notice of such intention, and expulsions required a nine-tenths vote of all the members entitled to franchise. The expulsion of a member included his wife and minor children, the latter being at all times subject to the will of a majority during the membership of their parents in the community. The president, secretary, treasurer, and board of directors were elected in February of each year, on the anniversary of the sailing of the first Icarians from France to America.

In concluding, it may not be amiss to mention some of the notable persons who have at one time or another been identified with Icaria. Alcander Longley, founder of the Mutual Aid community at Glen-Allen, Mo., was a member some time in the early 60’s. He was identified with no less than nine different communistic settlements and edited a newspaper called the “Communist” at various times and places during his checkered career. Prof. A. A. Marchand, several times president of Icaria and an able editor of  “Revue Icarienne,” was a talented member whose sterling qualities were much admired in Corning. He was one of the first of the vanguard to leave France, and was also a member at the time of the dissolution of the colony, after which he removed to Florida. A. Picquenard, a member of the society at Nauvoo, became celebrated as an architect. Our own state house and the capitol building of Illinois are monuments to his genius. Don Ignatius Montaldo was a friend and companion of Garibaldi and Chateaubriand, the distinguished French author and statesman. Hearing of the Cabet movement, he joined the colony at Nauvoo. After several years he left, but later rejoined in Iowa, where he died. His eldest brother was judge of the supreme court in Spain. Another brother, who was crippled in the Union army, was at one time professor of Spanish in the Naval academy at Annapolis, Md. Antoine von Gnuvain was a descendant of a French nobleman wlio had been decorated with the cross of the Legion of Honor. Mr. Gauvain was educated in Berlin. He edited a newspaper in New York for a time and then joined the Icarians. Ho enjoyed the distinction of being one of the best educated men in Iowa, for a number of years giving private instruction in Greek, Latin, German and French to pupils who eagerly sought his tutelage. E. F. Bettannier, last president and receiver of the colony, has for many years been a conspicuous citizen of Adams county, identified with many of her progressive movements. The satisfactory adjustment of such large interests in closing up the affairs of the community proves him a man of superior business ability. To him the writer is indebted for practically all the facts herein contained, for which acknowledgment is hereby made.

Corning, Iowa, May, 1903.

Adams County Free Press (Corning, Iowa) Jul 22, 1903

*****

For a brief rundown on the Icaria history and colonies:

THE STORY OF ICARIA
Compiled by Mabel Schweers
in Reflections of Icaria
Vo. 7, No 1, Spring 2004
pages 6-10

*****

Previously posted – A similar failed communal experiment: Ruskin Colony: Socialism Fails Everytime it’s Tried

More of the “White Man’s Burden”

November 7, 2011

Another collection of the “White Man’s Burden” from various papers and time periods.

Image from the book cover of A Prairie Populist on the Iowa Research Online website

CARRIES WHITE MAN’S BURDEN.

Populist Delegate Holds Their Baby While His Wife Lobbies.

CINCINNATI, May 8. — Mrs. Luna E. Kelli is one of the most active among the delegates and lobbyists gathering here for the anit-fusion populist national convention. In the near vicinity can usually be seen her husband carrying “the white man’s burden” — in this case their infant.

Mrs. Kelli, who is the editor of the Prairie Home at Hartwell, Neb., is here as a delegate both to the Reform Press association and the populist convention. Her husband is also a delegate to the latter body. At home he is a tiller of the soil.

Mrs. Kelli is particularly active in urging the adoption of a universal suffrage plank, and her husband gives hourly proof that he is assisting her in attaining her desire.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) May 8, 1900

THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN

Practically every western state is facing for this year the greatest tax bill on record. In many instances, the tax has been doubled and trebled in the past six years.

Industry will be called upon to pay this burden and there is no way to get out of it, for the bill has been contracted.

The people are largely to blame for the present state of affairs and they will get no relief until by their voice expressed at elections they have the courage to demand tax reduction and to hold public officials to campaign pledges for economy.

Further, the citizen must get out and vote for men and measures which guarantee economy. If this is not done our tax burdens will grow until it will take special deputies to hunt down individuals and confiscate their property, if they have any, to meet the tax bills. This is not an exaggerated picture.

That the power to tax is the power to destroy has been already well illustrated and taxation today is the greatest single item which prevents and will prevent a return to pre-war conditions. Inasmuch as we have an enormous war tax bill to pay in addition to our other taxes, it is all the more necessary that a reduction in local taxrolls be demanded and secured.

Ada Weekly News (Ada, Oklahoma) Jul 28, 1921

*********

MacNIDER ENLARGES WHITE MAN’S BURDEN
(By Associated Press)

NEW YORK, April 16. — Responsibility for righting the wrongs of the world rests with the people of the United States and Canada, Hanford MacNider, United States Minister to Canada, declared tonight, addressing the annual banquet of the Prudential Insurance Company of America.

“Whether we want the responsibility or not,” he said, “or whether the older countries have any desire to turn their eyes in our direction, it is from the North American Continent that the first move will be expected to right world affairs when they become complicated or confuses.”

San Antonio Express (San Antonio, Texas) Apr 17, 1931

CARRY THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN

France has taken possession of seven islands off the Philippines, with the secret approval of the United States.

This country has lost interest in that part of the world, inasmuch as the Philippines are to be given their freedom, if they so desire.

The United States preferred to have French occupy the islands rather than the Japanese.

From now on the French will be called upon to carry the white man’s burden in that region.

Ogden Standard Examiner (Ogden, Utah) Jul 30, 1933

NEW LANDS ON FRENCH MAPS
[Excerpt]

The despatch boats Astrolabe and Alerte that planted the French flag on Tempest, Loaita, Itu Aba, Thi-Tu and Twin Islands and Amboyne coral reef found inhabitants on only two, Thi-Tu and Twin Islands.

Ogden Standard Examiner (Ogden, Utah) Aug 4, 1933

WHITE MAN’S BURDEN.

The mystery of Italy’s African policy seems to be at least partly explained in the latest statement from the government’s colonial department at Rome.

Under-secretary Allesandro Lessona says:

The Ethiopian situation is a problem of vast importance, embracing the whole European civilizing mission, not merely security for our own lands.”

Americans have not been able to see, from any facts provided by the Italian government, that lawful Italian interests were really threatened in Africa.

The Ethiopian government has seemed eager to settle on any fair basis the trivial boundary dispute that Italy makes so much fuss about. But now the situation begins to clear up. Europe has a “civilizing mission” in Africa, and must make life in that dark continent as “secure” as it is in Europe.

If the Ethiopians have a sense of humor, they must laugh as they read that.

Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Indiana) May 11, 1935

THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN

The Indians of California are on the war path again.

It’s not scalps they’re after, this time, nor are they mobilizing to repulse a new invasion of “pale faces.” They are aroused because a law they pushed through Congress at the recent session was vetoed.

The law was an amendment to an act approved in 1928, which authorized the Indians to sue the U.S. for pay for lands, goods, and other benefits promised in the “Eighteen Lost Treaties” negotiated in 1851 and 1852. It would have made possible suits totalling $35,000,000 instead of just ten or twelve millions, as in now the case.

Of course the Indians are not trying to get back the land itself. But, in view of the hazards of land-owning these days, it might be a break for white men if they did. There is the continual struggle against droughts, insects, weeds and taxes. And now there is this new threat in California to try to support the whole State treasury by a tax on land alone — the Single Tax.

Although such was what Kipling meant by the phrase, nevertheless land seems to be qualifying as the real “White Man’s Burden.” And if this latest tax blow falls on land, we might just as well give it back to the Indians to let it become the Red Man’s Burden.

Arcadia Tribune (Arcadia, California) Jul 20, 1936

THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN

President Truman has announced that he is considering asking congress for legislation to permit the entry of European refugees — including Jews — to the United States.

How congress will react to this is a matter for speculation, but it is to be hoped that it will be rejected.

From a humanitarian standpoint we will admit that the victims of the World War should be assisted, but it should be in a way of repatriation rather than absorption.

Not so long ago we had an acute unemployment problem in this country, and it is not impossible that it should recur. What it would be if millions of Europeans were received into this country, no one can foretell. It would certainly require more than a glorified WPA, for most of the refugees would be penniless, and would have to  be provided with housing and maintenance until they could become established.

In view of the disturbance which is now in progress in Palestine, it would seem that the admission of Jews would be taking on a problem with which Great Britain has been unable to cope. We might be inviting an explosive situation such as is now besetting the Holy Land.

Somehow Uncle Sam has fallen heir to a large proportion of the white man’s burden of the entire world. We not only financed and furnished munitions and material for our allies in the late war, but have since made them loans, and now the President proposes to adopt all the unfortunates of war-torn Europe.

If the people of the United States are not to be brought to the economic level of Chinese collies, they will have to demand that Uncle Sam quit playing the role of Santa Claus.

Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, Montana) Aug 17, 1946

J.A. Livingston
Three Major Crises For John Kennedy
[Excerpt]

RECOVERY OR RECESSION

Next week, Secretary of the Treasury Anderson will personally ask Chancellor Adenauer, of West Germany to assume more of the “white man’s” burden and, thus, relieve the drain on U.S. gold. The central bank of West Germany has reduced its discount rate from 5 per cent to 4 per cent in order to discourage the flow of investment funds from the U.S.

2. The new president will have to decide whether the nation is in a recession or recovery is just around the corner. More than 5,000,000 persons will be out of jobs when Kennedy assumes office. Then outdoor work on farms, construction, and the railroads will be at a seasonal low. As many as seven persons out of every hundred may be seeking work.

Mr. Kennedy, therefore, will have to decide whether to cut taxes to stimulate retail sales (see chart), or initiate hurried public works to provide jobs, or both. Such expansionary efforts will unbalance the budget and aggravate international worry about:

3. The soundness of the dollar. Even the richest nation in the world can bite off more economics than it can handle. In recent post-war years, high defense outlays, aid to under-developed nations, and federal social undertakings have overreached taxes. Collectively, as well as individually, Americans have been living on the installment plan.

Big Spring Daily Herald (Big Spring, Texas) Nov 13, 1960

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Previous White Man’s Burden post.

“The Average New Yorker” Becomes a Canteen Worker

February 26, 2009
Sterling S. Beardsley

Sterling S. Beardsley

ACTIVE IN WAR SERVICE

New Yorker Wins French Cross for Untiring Efforts in Red Cross Canteen Service

PARIS, July 28. — The services that the average New Yorker, over the military age, rendered at the front in France, have been recognized by the French army in the award, announced today, of the Croix de Guerre to Sterling S. Beardsley, a New York cotton broker. Beardsley served for nine months with the American Red Cross as a canteen worker in the fighting zone. Marshal Petain was the signer of his citation.

Captain Beardsley gained the nickname of “The Average New Yorker,” in the press dispatches. The idea conveyed was that Beardsley’s situation in life at the time America entered the was was about the average of thousands of New York business men. He was a broker, over forty-two, had been twice refused by the army, had a wife and two children. He bought liberty bonds, contributed to the welfare organizations and joined in various “win the war” activities.

But somehow this work did not suffice him and so he obtained a commission with the Red Cross. He sailed for France in January, 1918. Two months later he was in the midst of the biggest offensive the German armies had ever attempted — the Somme drive of March, 1918.

sterling-passport-red-cross

*CLICK the Red Cross passport letter for larger image.

Beardsley had never made a cup of chocolate or performed any kitchen labor in his life. But the night he reached the front on top of a rolling soup kitchen he started to scour pots and pans. He explained that he “just figured out” that the yought to be clean.

That night the enemy airmen came over where his soup kitchen was set up and he had to sleep in a damp rat-infested wine cellar. Next day he set to work to make coffee, cocoa and soup by the gallon. Two weeks later when he took his clothes off for the first time since his arrival he realized that he had become a first class soup chief.

He stayed at his soup kitchen in Compiegne for two months. Then he had orders to move to the Marne. He set up his kitchen in Chateau-Thierry. Forced out of there, he went on to another town where he found a hospital full of wounded with insufficient medical staff. He scrubbed floors and aided the doctors at operations and served soup and coffee from his canteen “on the side.”

Journal Six O’Clock, Lincoln, Nebraska, Monday,  July 28, 1919

sterling-article-heading

PARIS, June 13. Mrs. Belmont Tiffany, of New York; Sterling Beardsley of New York and Palm Beach, and James Oliver and Mooney Wheeler of Pittsburg, worked then days and ten nights at a Red Cross canteen with practically no sleep caring for retreating French and British soldiers and the mass of civilian refugees who streamed through Compiegne during the early days of the German offensive.
Beardsley, whose duty it is to organize Red Cross units in the field and get them started in full operating order, had just arrived in the neighborhood of Compiegne on the eve of the enemy’s drive. He was organizing a canteen at a certain place north of Compiegne. Oliver and Wheeler were with him to take over the outfit after he had established it.

Mrs. Belmont Tiffany was visiting that section of the front and inspecting Red Cross and Y.M.C.A. units when Hindenburg’s blow fell.

Had to Change Location.

In the first stride forward the Germans occupied the place where Beardsley had intended to open his canteen, and a large supply of stores, as well as several motor trucks and automobiles fell into the enemy’s hands. Beardsley, Oliver and Wheeler got away in an automobile, donated to the Red Cross by Mrs. B.D. Spillman of Warrenton, Va., and it was that car that they used for the ensuing two weeks in bringing up their supplies and in distributing them. It was the only piece of rolling stock that the Red Cross had in that region, as the roads were so choked with troops and guns it was impossible to get other machines up from Paris or elsewhere.

Mrs. Belmont Tiffany had been at the front and narrowly escaped being hit in a German bombardment with long range guns. She was taken back to Compiegne by the French staff officer accompanying her on her trip, and there she met Bear[d]sley, who was organizing his base supply station there as a canteen. Mrs. Tiffany volunteered to help him during the rush and her services were eagerly accepted, as Oliver and Wheeler were then only others on the job.

Canteen Sign Hung Out.

A counter was improvised, long stables were set up with boards on boxes, and benches were made, and then the Red Cross canteen sign was placed outside. Hot coffee and sandwiches made from French and American bread and potted meats were served all day and all night, as troops on the march were continually traversing the town and refugees from the territory over which the enemy was advancing were streaming back.

Mrs. Tiffany wielded a hammer and a saw as well as Beardsley in their amateur carpentering to make their storehouse into a canteen. Then when it was ready for business she presided at coffee and sandwich making and in pouring the steaming hot beverage from big pitchers.

Meantime, Beardsley stocked up the automobile with cigarettes, chocolate and tinned goods and toured in various directions out of Compiegne, distributing these articles to the weary soldiers.

Beardsley covered the districts near to the town in the day-time, and then ran up nearer to the front, in the Noyon-Lassigny region, at night. He was practically always under fire from the enemy’s six-inch guns, as the Germans were continually sprinkling roads and villages far behind the lines with shrapnel and high explosives.

On one occasion Mrs. Tiffany was riding with Beardsley as they were carrying coffee as well as sandwiches, and she had to hold the big tub steady as the little automobile skidded around shell holes in the road.

They stopped directly behind a French battery of seventy-five which was emplaced in hastily dug gunpits, directly at the edge of the road. They served the gunlayers and officers with coffee and sandwiches and distributed cigarettes and chocolate, which the French gratefully received. The battery, they were told, had been falling back for eight days, stopping two or three times in every twenty-four hours to shell the advancing Germans. They had not lost a gun, but had suffered heavily in casualties among the gun crews.

Gets Shell as Souvenir.

Mrs. Tiffany stooped and picked up the brass shell case of one of the projectiles which the battery had fired, but the French lieutenant in charge bade her throw it away. Then he snapped out an order and his crew rammed home a shell in the breach of one of the pieces. The lieutenant beckoned Mrs. Tiffany to approach the cannon. Then he showed her a lever and motioned her to move it.

She did, and the wonderful little gun barked viciously; the barrel leaped back in its oil bath recoil absorber, and a three-inch shrapnel projectile went screaming northward four thousand yards among the enemy. The lieutenant picked up the smoking, oily metal case of the projectile just fired, which had been automatically ejected from the breech. He scratched the date, the place, the number of the battery and his name in the brass with his diamond ring and handed it to Mrs. Tiffany as a souvenir.

“I suppose we will be called up on the carpet eventually because we distributed some supplies which were intended only for Americans to French and British soldiers and to women and children — poor French refugees from the country where the fighting was going on,” said Beardsley. “These troops certainly appreciated something to smoke and something to eat when I handed over the chocolate and sandwiches. Frequently they were not permitted to halt at all. Then we would stand at the side of the road and their officers would let them deploy into single file so we could hand everyone of them something.

Cared For Women and Children.

“The poor women and their tiny children coming back were not forgotten either. We gave them some milk chocolate which we happened to have and also evaporated cream and condensed milk for the infants. Some of the poor people were almost starving, as they did not have time to save a thing in many cases. Others, however, seemed to have salvaged everything they owned except the actual real estate. They had huge bundles of bedding containing clocks and pictures and similar articles, and they drove along with them their sheep, goats, cows, pigs and chickens. Of course, they were all attended by innumerable dogs.

“At Compiegne they were placed on board trains for transport to the east and south of France. They insisted that their livestock go right along with them, and I was in many compartment giving out food and supplies in which mothers, babies and aged husbands and fathers were sitting and sleeping among their goats, pigs and chickens. The railroad authorities managed to persuade most of the people to part with their cows, but one woman insisted on taking an animal into the baggage car and riding with it.

“Trains used for bringing up troops to that district were filled with these refugees for the back haul instead of being sent back empty.”

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) Jun 13, 1918

Sterling Beardsley Before the War

sterling-b-steamroller-pic

HUMAN STEAM ROLLER.
That Is the Sobriquet Given a New York Broker.

New York, June 22. — Just because the members of the New York Cotton exchange have christened Sterling S. Beardsley, of the firm of E.F. Hutton & Co., with the ponderous title of “The Human Steam Roller,” there is no reason to doubt the confidential assertions that the stage lost a popular “matinee hero” when this gentleman declared for a life in the brokerage ring. For even in the present, while lending his aid to the efforts to boost cotton toward the eleven cent mark, Mr. Beardsley harbors Thespian ambitions, and along with one Mr. Shakespeare, holds firmly to the belief that “the play’s the thing.”

Today, in point of physical displacement, Mr. Beardsley holds the record of being about the biggest member of the Cotton exchange. In his Harvard days, likewise, he had a weighty influence in affairs of the student body. It is recorded, also, that he made one of his greatest hits in that period by appearing as Fatima in a certain amateur theatrical performance sponsored by the Hasty Pudding club.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Jun 22, 1909

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