Xefros Tritoh is a Page of Time. also, class roleplay is real.
I’m still too sick to record for the Joey video, so while I don’t have the time to make a full-scale analysis post on everything about Xefros right now (theres a lot) I figured I’d make two crucial things about reading his character clear:
A) Xefros’ unhealthy relationship with Dammek is the latest example yet of unhealthy Class Roleplay dynamics. If anyone remembers, I speculated weeks ago, before the game dropped, that Xefros’ relationship to the role of Butlering might well turn out to be both unhealthy for him and reflective of Classpect behavior.
As it turns out, I seem to have been correct. Specifically, Xefros is roleplaying a Knight through his unwilling assignment of the role of the Butler.
B) Xefros is a Page of Time.
Let’s explore them in order, considerably more briskly than with the Joey post. There’s more to say about Xefros, obviously, but unfortunately, I just don’t have the….
Something I have in common with Xefros, fittingly enough.
Sunk in storm off Cape Hatteras coast at the end of 1862, the wreck of innovative Civil War ironclad USS Monitorwas discovered in 1973 and partially recovered in the early 2000s, with its distinctive turret being raised on August 5, 2002. The turret and other artifacts now reside at the Monitor Center at the Mariner’s Museum and Park in Newport News, VA.
“The Original Monitor after her Fight with the Merrimac. Near the port-hole can be seen the dents made by the heavy steel-pointed shot from the guns of the Merrimac. Hampton Roads, Virginia. Stereo.”, 7/1862. NAID 559269
Post-NaNoWriMo, I’ve volunteered beta-reading services. It combines my love of reading with my love of asking too many questions. The push for diversity in publishing has created attempts at diversity in writing, and thus requests for diverse beta-readers.
Of my eleven beta-reads, eight of them were given to me based on my blackness perspective. I am not upset about this at all. If you’re not black and you’re making an effort to include black characters in your things and want to make sure you’re not being the worst possible person about it, good on you. Of those eight manuscripts, five of them have black main characters, and four of those have struggle-based narratives.
“The struggle™,” for anyone unaware is basically living life through the impacts of institutionalized racism. Sometimes this means arguing respectability politics and combating “too black” and “not black enough” lines in our own community. Sometimes it means dealing with the backlash of promoting our own standards of beauty. Sometimes it’s having to explain and defend our social justice movements. Sometimes it’s living through the aftermath of a race-based shooting. Sometimes it’s the politics involved in choosing a PWI vs an HBCU. And sometimes it’s swallowing the mountain of micro-aggressions and casual racism only we can see worked into our daily lives.
I’m noticing white writers seem to lump together slavery and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960′s. It’s probably because those are the standard narratives for the black experience as taught in grade school. And so writing black characters has become a reflection on the pain associated with blackness. And writing these things becomes a way to illustrate one’s own “wokeness” or “hipness” or “down-with-the-causeness.” You get my very uncool point.
Writing with a focus on this aspect of black life, while important on some level, is damaging on another. Black women especially are saddled with the resilience stereotype: that we have been through so much without our backs being broken and we can continue to do so there is no real rush to relieve us of our burdens. Our strength is a defining characteristic and without something to fight, it is useless. Without something to overcome, what remains of our personality?
It’s also true that many of our well-known pieces of literature are struggle-driven narratives. The Color Purple. A Raisin in the Sun. Beloved. Native Son. Literary culture (with its broad, white base) is endeared to them for their dramatic profundity, the skill with which these authors paint true ugliness so deep it becomes beautiful. And for some reason, we are stuck in this place. The only stories people know to tell about us, are about our pain.
Now if you’re really woke, you’ll notice the glee with which black women entrenched in the fight greet images of black whimsy. It goes beyond the standard-issue “the laughter of children is a joy forever” reaction. We are seldom represented outside of our own circles as people capable of happiness or frivolity. Watching us dance at a protest literally gives us energy. It’s why Lupita going from Patsey in 12 Years a Slave to Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens (and heavens to murgatroyd, John Boyega) gave black girl nerds LIFE. It’s why NBC’s production of The Wiz Live! was hailed in the community as it was. What a novelty to not see ourselves in roles where blackness isn’t an armor or a tragic diary entry. This is what it looks like to have fun.
And it isn’t just about black people reading black representation. Allowing us happiness in literature is another way to humanize us to non-black audiences. This is a thing that shouldn’t need to be facilitated, but the world’s a hard place, so here we are. We live in a society where a white child’s obsession with a toy gun is treated as a sweet and perfectly innocent rite of passage in a beloved cinematic Christmas classic. A black child with a toy gun is automatically deemed a threat, and he is executed for it. Black lives are rarely envisioned innocently or without tension. As such, black children are seen as having no capacity for imagination what with all that serious, bitter blackness within them. The reasons for this are myriad and complex and deeply rooted in centuries of problematic racial depiction. But literature is in a unique position to address and aid in the repair without volatility.
So when you’re doing your research on how to write us, it shouldn’t be just on how to non-offensively write our dialect or describe our skin tone without food analogies or how many times is too many times to use “nigger.” If you’re going to write diverse characters, that means giving them the full spectrum of humanity and not just using them as statements and plot devices. And humanity for black characters – women and girls especially – means letting them dance or build airships or be alien pirate matriarchs or battle dragons for once instead of the patriarchy.
Defaulted to Logyn. Warning for mild dub/con (no smut).
MAIDS AND MASTERS
Loki was bored and his usual
source of entertainment was off-world trying to start an intergalactic
incident. Well, Thor said he and his
idiotic friends were going camping, but Loki doubted that the trip would go so
smoothly. Not that Loki would have a hand in making it worse. No, this time he’d
let Thor screw up all on his own. Which is why Loki was bored.
So with no brother or annoying friends
to prank, and no visiting dignitaries to con or seduce, Loki decided to turn to
his next favourite pastime; terrorising the palace staff. For the better part
of the week he humiliated his tutors, bested his the master-at-arms, and
frightened his chambermaid so badly that she resigned her post and retired
halfway across the realm.
The following morning Loki was reclining
on his leather chaise lounge, so dark green it may as well have been black, congratulating
himself on a prank well played, when her replacement knocked on his chamber
door. She greeted Loki with an awkward curtsy before going about her duties.
Pranking mood or not, Loki generally ignored his servants, but he found his
eyes following the new girl as she went about changing his linens. She was so
much younger than her predecessor, younger even than Loki himself. That alone
was enough to pique Loki’s curiosity.
As he and his brother had gotten
older, so had their personal attendants, no doubt an effort on their mother’s
part to discourage improper relations. Not that it really discouraged Loki too
much, as his tastes in bed-partners varied from week to week. And this young
maid, if she looked half as good in his bed as she did making it, Loki could
imagine keeping her in his bed all year long.
Dear sisters and brothers, dear seekers of the ultimate Truth, I wish
to give a talk on spirituality. As we all know, spirituality is a vast
subject, and here, in an hour, I can never do justice to it. But let me
at least make a beginning.
In spirituality we come to learn of two significant terms:
‘meditation’ and 'dedicated service.’ All of us here are fully aware of
these two terms. Some of you may use the terms 'knowledge’ and 'work.’
Knowledge is the result of meditation. When we dive deep within, we see,
we feel and we grow into the highest Knowledge. Work, when it is done
in a divine spirit and for a divine purpose, is dedicated service. The
combination of meditation and dedicated service makes a man perfect.
In this world, many are of the opinion that spirituality cannot offer
a balanced life, but I wish to say that they are badly mistaken. It is
spirituality alone that can offer us a real life, a balanced life, a
practical life. Who is practical? He who knows the truth and who knows
how to apply the truth in his daily life. A spiritual person is he who
tries to know the truth today, to discover the truth tomorrow and to
apply the truth the following day in all his multifarious activities. A
spiritual person is someone who goes to the very root of the Truth, for
he knows that if there is no root there cannot be any tree. And the root
of the Truth is love. A spiritual person meditates not for his own sake
alone; he meditates for all and sundry. He meditates for his dear ones,
and he meditates for every human being on earth. His is a life of love
Each individual has his own way of reaching the ultimate Truth. One
may find it easier to reach the Truth through dedicated service, by
loving God in each human being, by seeing and feeling the divinity in
humanity. Another may want to dive deep within and first reach the
Source, and then work on the earth-plane. Both are doing the right
thing. But the person who does not aspire and does not want to aspire in
any way — who is useless in society — is either a fool or a dead soul.
Each seeker should feel that it is his bounden duty to realise the
Highest. But each seeker must know that God-realisation, the realisation
of the ultimate Truth, need not and cannot be the sole monopoly of any
one individual. Everyone is destined to reach the Highest. But there is a
way that leads a seeker to his destination quite fast, and that is the
way of the heart. If we empty the heart and welcome the eternal Guest,
our eternal Beloved, He comes in and fulfils His own transcendental
Reality in our day-to-day existence. The other way, the way of the mind,
is lengthier and more difficult. But if we can silence the mind, then
Peace, Light, Bliss and Power in infinite measure can enter into us
We are all seekers. In our inner life, our spiritual life, we have
already travelled millions of miles. Although we may at times fall
victims to our animal qualities and indulge in quarrelling, fighting and
other negative and destructive actions, still we no longer cherish or
appreciate the animal in us. We know that what we actually want from our
lives is Peace, Light and Bliss. The animal in us has played its role,
and now the human in us is playing its role. We are cherishing the hope
that today’s human qualities will be transcended and transformed into
divine Reality. When we meditate, we feel that this is no longer a hope,
but a certainty. When we meditate deeply, profoundly, in the very
depths of our heart, we feel that there is no such thing as
impossibility. As we have transcended the animal kingdom, so also must
we transcend our human weaknesses, imperfections, limitations and
In the Western world, meditation is not as common as prayer, but I
wish to say that prayer and meditation are like two most intimate
brothers. If we pray soulfully, we can get what meditation offers us.
When we pray, we feel that something from within, from our very depths,
from the inmost recesses of our heart, is climbing high, higher,
highest. And we feel that somebody is there to listen to our prayer, or
somebody is there to receive us at the pinnacle of our aspiration’s
height. When we meditate soulfully, devotedly, in pindrop silence, we
feel that a divine Guest is descending into our heart to guide us, to
illumine us, to perfect us and to fulfil His own transcendental Reality
within us. We feel that the Infinite is entering into the finite for
their mutual fulfilment.
In this world there is a need for peace. This peace comes only from
within, and we can bring it to the fore only through meditation. If we
can meditate soulfully for ten minutes every day, we will energise our
entire being with Peace. Peace houses light, bliss, fulfilment and
satisfaction. We can have Peace not by possessing the world or leading
the world, but by becoming a lover of the world.
Now when we become a lover of the world, we may commit a most
deplorable mistake: we may expect something from the world in return for
our love. We are ready to accept the limitations and imperfections of
the world as our very own. But if in spite of our best efforts, our best
intentions, our deepest love and compassion for the world, the world
does not listen to us or does not offer us enough gratitude, at that
time we make an inner demand on the world. At the beginning of our
service, we demand everything from the world in return for our offering,
our life of sacrifice. If we give something, we expect the same amount
in return, if not more. Then there comes a time when we give as much as
we have, we give to the utmost of our capacity, and we expect in return
only an infinitesimal measure of what we have given. But even if we
expect just an infinitesimal quantity of appreciation from the world, I
wish to say that we are bound to be unhappy; we are bound to be wanting
in peace. Let us give to the world unconditionally what we have and what
we are: Love. The message of love we get only from our daily prayer and
meditation. We know that love means oneness, inseparable oneness. And
in oneness there is no expectation, no demand.
There are two ways to love. One way is to go first to the human love
and then reach upward to the ultimate Love, the divine Love. The other
way is to reach the divine Love first and then enter into and transform
the human love. The divine Love always inspires us, guides us and moulds
us into something immortal, which we can offer to humanity. The human
love frustrates us, disappoints us, and finally constrains us to try to
enter into the kingdom of divine Love.
We have to love life and also love truth. Truth and life can never be
separated. When we try to separate truth and life we cannot make any
progress. In our human love, frustration may loom large. But in the
divine life, love is constantly building us and shaping us into the very
image of God.
We have spoken about peace and love. If someone asks us to speak
about peace, we will be able to speak most eloquently. But speech does
not help us to establish the kingdom of peace on earth. It is our silent
prayer and soulful meditation that can give us the peace of mind which
our little world, our own personal world, badly needs, just as the
entire outer world needs it. To begin at the beginning with ourselves is
the only way we can eventually bring peace to the world. If I do not
have peace myself, how can I offer peace to others? Impossible!
We have a body, which we regard as the only reality. When we satisfy
the need of the body for earthly food, for nourishment, we feel that we
have fulfilled our task. But in our inner life also we have someone to
feed every day, and that is our soul, the divine being within us, the
conscious representative of God on earth. Although we feed our body
every day, somehow we fail to feed this divine child within us. Since we
never do the first thing first, we remain unsatisfied here on earth.
First we must go deep within, and then — from within — we must go
without. The inner life must constantly embrace, guide and inspire the
outer life. The outer life is eventually liberated by the inner life,
which already has liberation in fullest measure.
The inner life and the outer life can and must run abreast. The inner
life will constantly receive messages from above, messages of Infinity,
Eternity and Immortality. Infinity, Eternity and Immortality are not
vague terms. When one becomes an advanced seeker, he sees and feels
infinite Peace, Light and Bliss within himself. One need not be a
God-realised soul to have this experience. All of us have Peace, Light
and Bliss in infinite measure in the very depths of our aspiring
But right now the door of our heart is locked by ignorance. We have
to open the door and dive deep within to go beyond ignorance to where
our own Peace, Light and Truth reside.
We are God’s children, His chosen instruments. God abides within us
as a constant Dream, and we live in God as His only reality. He lives in
us as a Dream that will ultimately be transformed into reality; and we
live in Him as a reality that will grow into His ever-ascending,
ever-blossoming Dream. We are all seekers, and we are all in a boat. Our
journey can never come to an end, for God, the eternal Pilot, is our
Pilot, and we are in His Boat. He is the Boatman, He Himself is the Boat
and He is the Golden Shore of the Beyond.
- Sri Chinmoy, Fifty Freedom-Boats to one Golden Shore, part 2
Can you rec me some good Antarctica books (fiction or nonfiction)? I study Antarctic geology and I've read Shackleton's Boat Journey by FA Worsley and At the Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft. Genre isn't super important but I'd love more firsthand accounts of expeditions.
HECK YES I CAN. Okay so these are all nonfiction and not many first-hand accounts, and this list is by no means exhaustive (everyone feel free to add things!) but they’re all fun reads:
Antarctica: Exploring the Extreme by Marilyn Landis is a good overview of ALL the various historical exploration of the continent. Only downside it that it is an overview, not a narrative, so while it’s packed with interesting information, I kept losing focus when the author shifted from one expedition to another.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing is a classic of the genre and one I’m super glad to have read, even though Shackleton, as a human being, didn’t strike me as sympathetically as Scott and his men did. I actually haven’t read that firsthand account that you mention, but Lansing does a good job of giving a broad perspective while telling a gripping story.
Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration by David Roberts is the story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, the lesser-known Australian counterpart to Scott, Shackleton, and Amundsen’s high-profile expeditions. The AAE’s story is pretty goddamn incredible- the fact that a number of the party had never before seen snow before setting out is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen by Stephen Bown is about Amundsen’s life as a whole, and, as such, the famous South Pole trip isn’t a major focus, but the rest of his exploits are equally fascinating. A good look at an explorer who gets overshadowed by the far more dramatic Scott expedition in english-language history.
The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard is, of course, about that very dramatic expedition. We all know the tragic story of Scott’s Terra Nova expedition, but Cherry lived it, and his book bleeds feeling. Heart-wrenching, gripping, and personal. If you want more books/info about that expedition in particular, first you ought to follow @tealin (who is something of an expert, and has recommendedA First-Rate Tragedy by Diana Preston, as well as the writing of “Ranulph Fiennes, Susan Solomon, and anything ever written by Karen May” and has given more in-depth recs here, as well.) as well as her Scott-specific blog @worstjourney (and check out a preview of her upcoming graphic novel project about the expedition here! It’s gonna be amazing!)
Bonus, a few I have not yet read (or not finished) but have been sitting on my shelves awaiting my attention:
Scott’s Last Expedition: The Journals by Robert Falcon Scott. Self-explanatory, I think.
Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery by Nathaniel Philbrick. About Charles Wilkes’ 1838 expedition, intended to chart the entire Pacific Ocean, that ended up putting a name on Antarctica, among many other things. Haven’t read it yet but I’d trust this author with a lot, as he also wrote one of my favorite nonfiction books, In The Heart of the Sea.
The Last Explorer: Hubert Wilkins, Hero of the Great Age of Polar Exploration by Simon Nasht. I was given this book and have not yet read it, but he was apparently the first person to use an airplane in the Antarctic.
Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica by Nicholas Johnson. I’m pretty sure my father gave me this book so I would stop talking about how I wanted to go to Antarctica. Johnson worked as a cook at McMurdo Station in the early 2000s, and his descriptions of living in Antarctica make it sound like the worst combination of low-wage service job, boarding school, and being in the military ever. It includes exciting descriptions of the kind of bureaucratic red tape you’d expect when working for what is, in fact, a major defense contractor. I’m officially disillusioned.
Gems are the first alien race humans have encountered so diplomacy is important. Despite being one of Earth’s best Captains, Yellow still isn’t sure why she’s the one who ends up on the missions with Blue Diamond (a rather important Gem). Captain Yellow slowly learns more about the Gems and their society while also discovering that seemingly everyone she knows is sleeping with a Gem. She’s just glad she hasn’t managed to insult anyone. Yet.
Written for #bellowdiamondweek. Human/Alien AU!
Day One: Ships/Windows - Captain Yellow answer a distress call on the outer edges of the Milky Way.
“US Air Force (USAF) Second Lieutenant (2LT) Sandra McDonald completes her portion of the Iraq/Boston Marathon at Tallil Air Base (AB), Iraq, as she passes her baton to USAF SENIOR MASTER Sergeant (SMSGT) Vic Talinni to start his portion of the 26.2 mile course. Both are deployed with the 407th Expeditionary Communications Squadron (ECS) at Tallil AB in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, 4/18/2005″
World’s First Porsche Centre for Classic Cars Opening
The world’s first Porsche Classic Centre is just about to open: from 26 November 2015, the Porsche Classic Centre Gelderland, just outside of Arnhem/Netherlands, will be offering services for classic cars of all ages from Porsche. This is the first time that service, workshop and sales exclusively for the classic sports cars have been brought together under one roof. A small number of additional certified Porsche Classic Centres are set to follow around the world and produce an even more closely knit Porsche Classic network.
More than 70 per cent of the vehicles ever produced by Porsche are still running today. To ensure that these classic cars receive optimum support and overhaul facilities, Porsche is establishing an international dealer and service network with some 100 centres to reach completion by 2018. This mainly involves Porsche centres which will provide support for sports cars of earlier eras in addition to the current models and will be certified as Porsche Classic Partners. Porsche customers and potential customers can expect the complete range of Porsche Classic services from the Partners. These services will not only include the supply of some 52,000 original spare parts, complete and partial overhauls but also repair and maintenance work and the sale of classic cars. The Porsche Classic Partners will be setting up a separate area for this purpose with classic vehicles on display and current spare parts together with technical literature and information.
STS-1: The First Space Shuttle Mission, April 12, 1981
Thirty-five years ago on April 12, 1981, the Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbia launched as part of STS-1, the first Space Shuttle mission, with the crew consisting of mission commander John Young and pilot Robert Crippen. It was NASA’s first crewed space flight since the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission of 1975.
How Britain Won the War of 1812: The Royal Navy's Blockades of the United States, 1812-1815
The title is a bold one, and it’s not mine. It belongs to a book published in 2011, written by one Brian Arthur, which offers the most comprehensive look at the economic impact of the War of 1812 to date. In doing so, it dispels one of that little-known and ill-understood war’s most lingering myths.
The story goes that a gallant US navy, involved in its first
ever full-scale maritime conflict, punched well above its weight, embarrassed the far larger, more experienced
and better-funded Royal Navy with a string of plucky victories, and savaged
British trade on the high seas. The conflict proved that the US Navy had what
it took to beat a world power, and provided an example of the fighting quality
of American seamen.
Unfortunately, one broadside of hard facts leaves such a
pride-inducing narrative holed below the waterline.
For starters, while it’s undoubtedly true that the entirety
of Britain’s Royal Navy was far larger than that of the United States in 1812,
the idea that Britain could bring its full weight down upon
the USA in isolation is ludicrous. Regardless of what US-centric narratives of the war
may say, the conflict of 1812 was never more than a sideshow to the British,
eclipsed as it was by the momentousness of the latter part of the Napoleonic
Wars. The Royal Navy in 1812 was required not only to continue to suppress
France and her allies, but also to maintain the defence of far-flung British
colonies across the globe, as well as protect vital supply links with the other
nations fighting Napoleon. As the US Naval Institute states;
Captain William Hoste, a
protege of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson’s and a master of frigate
operations, held the Adriatic in awe in 1812-14. Napoleon had rebuilt his fleet
after its heavy defeat at Trafalgar in 1805, and the British had to devote much
effort to blockading French ports and supporting land operations in Europe,
especially in Iberia. There was great concern about the Toulon-based French
fleet. The Royal Navy was stretched in the Mediterranean, and there was
particular anxiety about enemy sorties from Toulon in 1811 and 1812. British
naval resources were also strained elsewhere. (Jeremy Black)
Because of all this, Britain had 85 ships in American waters
at the start of the war. Even this is an unrepresentative figure however, since
a number of these squadrons were on station in the Caribbean, and presented
little direct threat to the US Navy. In
reality the Royal Navy’s North America and West Indies Station consisted of one
small ship of the line, seven frigates and fourteen smaller sloops or
schooners. The US Navy, meanwhile, had eight frigates and fourteen sloops.
Sender as it was, a numerical advantage in terms of ships
was the only thing going for the supposedly mighty Royal Navy in 1812. The
Americans had two major advantages. The first was that in the years before the
war the United States had embarked on a shipbuilding project which resulted in
the commissioning of three heavy frigates. These ships mounted 56 to 60
24-pound cannons, while the British equivalents possessed only 38 to 50 18-pounders.
The US ships were also of the latest design, their heavy timber flanks more
resistant to the lighter British roundshot. The second American advantage lay
in the fact that, while they had more ships, the Royal Navy was severely short on
manpower. Indeed, the Royal Navy’s illegal seizing of American sailors to crew undermanned
British ships was part of the reason for America’s declaration of war in the
first place. Britain’s Mediterranean and Channel fleets received the lion’s
share of sailors for the war with France while those ships stationed in American
waters were typically under-crewed. What crew there was were also typically
inexperienced and below-average regarding the “requirements of the
The eve of war therefore sees Britain’s navy with the most
ships, but with the Americans possessing better-armed, better-built and
better-crewed vessels. It should be little surprise, therefore, that the
American Navy appeared to come off well during the war’s opening broadsides. Indeed, most of the initial US victories in the naval war were won by the three
new heavy frigates, which overpowered their smaller British rivals. Far from a
British Goliath tumbling before the little American David, the British
Admiralty issued orders that British ships were not to engage the larger American
frigates unless they possessed a clear numerical advantage over them. The
previous battle experience and numerical advantage of US crews had also given
their brigs and sloops an edge over the overstretched Royal Navy.
From the start of the war, the Royal Navy’s strategy was
that of blockading. Obviously there was to be no large-scale invasion of the US
with the objective of conquest or major annexation. The Americans had started
the war, and the British government wished to bring an end to it via terms
which gave no concessions on their part, whether regarding territorial claims
in Canada or the right to impressment. With the termination of the war in mind,
the Royal Navy set out from the start to strangle the US economy and force it
to end the war by blocking up its ports and fisheries. This thy did with a
high degree of success. The individual ship-on-ship victories won early in the
war by the US Navy had no tangible effect beyond raising American morale and
convincing the British government to deploy slightly larger and less aged ships
and crews to the American theatre. As the Speaker of the US House of
Representatives admitted, “brilliant as they are… they [our naval
victories] do not fill up the void created by our misfortunes on land.” By
May 31st 1814 the entirety of the eastern seaboard was subjected to a British blockade.
Both sides also engaged in privateering and attacks on
merchant vessels. The Royal Navy initially struggled to protect its merchant
fleets headed to and from Nova Scotia and Halifax, but quickly became adept at
dealing with American raiders. Over the course of the war a total of 1,175
British traders were captured, but 373 of these were retaken, usually soon
after. The British had therefore suffered a loss of 802 ships by the war’s end,
but only 254 were actually seized by the US Navy, the rest being snatched up by
American privateers. Conversely, the Royal Navy (with little assistance from
privateers) seized 1,407 American ships over the three years of conflict.
The combined impact of the capture of so many American
merchant ships, and the fact that so many more were bottled up in port (along
with, eventually, the three heavy US frigates, which could no longer single out
lone British prey now that Royal Navy ships had learned to hunt in packs)
ultimately crushed the USA’s capacity to carry on the war. The US Navy was only
able to capture around 7.5% of Britain’s merchant fleet throughout the war, a
blow light enough to mean it didn’t impede the flow of supplies to and from
British North America or result in a rise in insurance losses. Conversely, US exports plummeted from $130
million in 1807 to just $7 million in 1814. Even worse for the US, a portion of
this $7 million was actually garnered by New England grain merchants who sold
their stock to the British to feed the redcoats fighting in the Peninsula War.
Throughout the war New Englanders frequently proved willing to do business with
the British in defiance of their own Congress, and even contemplated secession.
By the close of 1813 the Royal Navy had also redressed the
balance in terms of individual ship strength, and wiped away some of the stains of previous defeat:
In the frigate Essex ,
Captain David Porter had successfully attacked British commerce in the South
Atlantic and the South Pacific, capturing 12 whalers and their valuable cargo
off the Galapagos Islands in 1813. This was part of a major extension in American
trade warfare, but two British warships forced Porter to surrender off
Valparaiso, Chile, on 28 March 1814 after they cannonaded his disabled ship
from a distance. Six months later, the British suffered far more casualties
than the Americans when they attacked the privateer General Armstrong in the
Azores’ Faial Harbor, but the Americans eventually scuttled and burned the
addition, the British were often successful in conflicts between individual
ships. On 1 June 1813, HMS Shannon beat the
Boston in a bloody clash fought at close range in which a lack of preparedness
on the part of the American commander was a key factor. On 14 August 1813, the
USS Argus was
captured off Wales by the similarly gunned Pelicanafter
the British gunners proved superior. The
next year, the British frigate Le Rhin captured
the largest privateer to sail from Charleston, the Decatur , which
had boarded and seized the British sloop Dominica in
August 1813. (William Dudley)
As an extension of the blockading strategy, the British
also undertook numerous effective amphibious operations. The impotence of the
US Navy was highlighted by the British ability to land substantial troops almost
anywhere they pleased, which could then strike inland at will. The most famous
instance of these raids was, of course, the burning of Washington DC on August
24th 1814. There were many more however, and they would continue unabated until
peace brought an end to operations. Indeed, it seemed as though the Treaty of
Ghent arrived just in time for the citizens of New York, for a British force
under Admiral Sir George Cockburn was poised to attack it just before peace was
declared. Despite the well-demonstrated British capacity for combined services
operations, amphibious raids, even large ones like the attack on Washington,
were always secondary in strategic considerations when it came to the blockade.
The First Lord of the Admiralty wrote that landings “must be given up” if
such missions interfered or detracted from the blockade.
Ultimately the blockade ensured that “the parlous American economy was thrown into chaos with prices
soaring and unexpected shortages causing hardship.” (Donald Hickey) In the past decade a number
of revisionist historians have put the naval and maritime activities during the
War of 1812 into their full perspective, namely that;
British economic warfare had deprived the
US government of the means of continuing the war into 1815. Dramatically lower
customs receipts, a major source of government income, created budget deficits
which forced the government to depend increasingly on public credit. The
curtailing of American coastal trade meant that goods had to proceed to and
from markets by land, taking more time and at greater expense. In Arthur’s
view, the result of all this was unemployment and currency inflation which
created popular hardships and discontent with the war. The US Navy’s few
unblockaded frigates were unable to lift the British blockade and to prevent
British amphibious landings. The number of American merchant ship owners
willing to risk voyages declined sharply meaning there were far fewer vessels
engaged in foreign trade. (William
view only has one serious modern challenger, Wade
G. Dudley, whose work attempts to prove that far from being economically
strangled, the USA ‘was quite self-sufficient – no one starved, and the
implements of war continued to be produced – its government had little money,
thanks to the tremendous expenses associate with warfare, Madison’s embargo,
and the blockade.’ Brian Arthur’s latest addition to the subject,
however, puts down Dudley’s challenge early on - 'Dudley’s conclusion that the
British blockades [commercial and naval] of the United States were
comparatively unsuccessful neither appraises their consequences nor bears close
examination.’ Arthur continues:
The successful British naval blockade, by incarcerating much of the United States Navy, protected Britain’s commercial blockade and facilitated the capture of Washington. The fiscal and financial consequences of the resultant run on American banks far exceeded the value of property destroyed. The Royal Navy’s damage to the American economy, although sometimes indirect, was decisive. Britain achieved its most important war aim in retaining its ‘right’ to stop and search neutral vessels in wartime and to impose maritime blockades on continental enemies, as in 1914 and 1939.
If anything the fate of the American “super frigates” at the war’s end is instructive. Of the three, one was captured by the British and another had been reduced to a disarmed, crewless hulk by 1814. One frigate taken, one stripped, and the third still victorious - it sums up the balanced nature of the War of 1812, the war that nobody won.
Arthur, Brian, How Britain won the War of
1812: The Royal Navy’s Blockades of the United States, 1812-1815 (London, 2011).
Black, Jeremy, A British View of the Naval War of 1812 (2008).
Hickey, Donald, The War of 1812: A Forgotten
Dudley, Wade G., Splintering the Wooden Wall: The British Blockade of the United States, 1812–1815 (Annapolis, MD, 2003).
Dudley, William, review of How Britain won the War of
1812: The Royal Navy’s Blockades of the United States, 1812-1815, (review no. 1215).
“A solitary Firefighter stands watching as smoke rises from the rubble and debris of the World Trade Centers in New York City in the area known as Ground Zero, after the 9/11 terrorists attacks, 9/14/2001.”
Submission – Unofficial Future Map: Metro and Train Connections in Amsterdam by Alain Lemaire
Submitted by Alain, who says:
A map of the combined metro and train network around Amsterdam, showing train services for 2017 (metro line 52 is still not operational). I made this map to show how both metro and train form an integrated network within the region. For that reason, I combined different train services when they use the same line and stop at the same stations within the region portrayed. This map might for example be useful for tourists wanting to get from Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal. The key to the right also highlights which services call at any of the three major stations in the region (Centraal, Zuid and Schiphol). Analogous to the Paris metro and RER map, I used pastels for train services and saturated colors for metro lines (as they’re officially used).
Transit Maps says:
Oh, I do like this, Alain!
Stylish and smart, and packed full of useful information. I can definitely see something like this being deployed at Schiphol to help orient tourists. Personally, I had more trouble with the random guy trying to sell me his “unexpired” train ticket than I did with navigating the trains to Centraal when I was last in Amsterdam, but every bit of extra help is welcome. I especially like the reference matrix of major stations to the right: a very nice addition!
If I have one complaint, it’s that the pastel colours are just a little too light. It’s especially noticeable on the Intercity train labels, which have pastel type against a white background. That very low contrast can make those labels difficult to read, especially for the yellow and orange lines.
Personally, I’d also prefer that the NS lines follow the curve of the M50 Metro line between Sloterdijk and Isolatorweg instead of having their own radii – just because I think it looks neater – but I can see why Alain might want to separate the different service types there as well.
Our rating: Apart from the lightest colours not offering enough contrast for labels, this is an excellent little map that shows how the Metro and rail complement each other in and around Amsterdam. Four stars!