Some time ago this blog mentioned a new biography of Herbert Butterfield, the analyst of "Whig history". I was greatly surprised to see a piece about about Butterfield by David Gordon on the Mises website. It is, in fact, a review of yet another study of the historian, by Kenneth B. McIntyre. Somehow, I had not connected Butterfield with libertarianism but the article concentrates largely on his views on foreign policy and they had a certain amount in common with the views usually expressed by contributors to the Mises site. The piece is well worth reading even if it raises the odd smile.
One wonders, though, what history on the Continent would have been like if the Mongols had not invaded. For in 1222, the barons of Hungary extracted a very similar document from King Andrew II, the Golden Bull. Then in 1241 the Mongols invaded and destroyed what was a well set up kingdom.
The following year Batu Khan withdrew after a reasonable amount of destruction and mass slaughter because the Khan of Khans, Ögedei Khan, had died and his successor had to be elected. Hungary was rebuilt with many more fortresses, as these had largely withstood the onslaught. But political development became somewhat different and the Golden Bull did not occupy the same place that Magna Carta did.
The Conservative History Journal has had many postings about Dorothy L. Sayers, one of the best-known detective story writers and creator of Lord Peter Wimsey, popular theologian, literary scholar, playwright and undoubtedly a conservative in all her thoughts.
She is mentioned in the piece on scouting, described as being more anti-Semitic than John Buchan (one of TH's favourite postings), referred to in a general posting on the conservative nature of detective stories, quoted on various matters here and here and discussed as author of The Man Born to be King and of an essay on English character. Undoubtedly, there will be postings in the future.
That being so, Tory Historian feels only mildly guilty at being a day late in wishing Miss Sayers happy 119th birthday.
On the day in 1982 the Prime Minister announced to a packed House of Commons that a ceasefire has been agreed between the British and the Argentinian forces. Those were the days, when Prime Ministers and members of the Cabinet made important announcements in Parliament not on TV.
Mrs Thatcher told the Commons land forces commander Major-General Jeremy Moore had decided to press forward to the capital last night after a series of successful attacks on enemy troops.
"Large numbers of Argentine soldiers threw down their weapons - there are reported to be flying white flags over Port Stanley," she said.The report goes on:
The prime minister was welcomed outside Downing Street by a jubilant crowd cheering and singing when she returned from Westminster.
Mr Hanrahan - who is with the UK troops close to the frontline - said the Falklands felt strangely quiet after weeks listening to the noise of war.
"The sound of the heavy guns, the bombs, the machine-gunning is gone. The island is still and once again Stanley is under British control," he said.Today, the Metro newspaper and others report that while the Falkland Islands are celebrating the ending of the war and their own liberation, the Argentinian President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is heading to New York to address the somewhat ridiculous and anachronistic UN Special Committee on Decolonisation (one wonders whether they ever discuss the case of Tibet) on the subject of the Falklands (known to the Argentinians as Las Malvinas) and British "colonization" in 1833. It will be interesting what the UN Special Committee, whose existence will now be better known than it has ever been, will decide.
Meanwhile Tom Chivers, not one of my favourite columnists but talking a reasonable amount of sense for once, asks what exactly is President Fernandez de Kirchner hoping to achieve.
The next event of the Conservative History Group will take place on July 5, when D. R. Thorpe, prize-winning biographer of Macmillan, Eden, Douglas-Home and Selwyn Lloyd, will talk about Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's infamous "night of the long knives", whose fiftieth anniversary falls on July 13, this year.
The notice sums up:
In July 1962, following a slew of disappointing by-election results, Harold Macmillan dramatically sacked seven members of his Cabinet. It was seen as a ruthless cull, and marked the beginning of the end of the Macmillan government. The Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe scathingly remarked: 'Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life.'It will be interesting to hear Dr Thorpe's analysis of the event and whether it did, in fact, signal the beginning of the end or, alternatively, extended the life of the government.
The meeting will be held at 7 pm, July 5, in the Thatcher Room in Portcullis House. It might be a good idea to register here though, I imagine, it will be possible to get in without it. Please remember security in Parliament and allow time for that.
Also a link to an excellent article on the Diamond Jubilee by S. M. Maclean, a good friend of this blog, on The Organic Tory and the Adam Smith Institute blog.
Some time ago I heard about a letter General Eisenhower wrote on the eve of D-Day (D-day --1) to be used in case the invasion went horribly wrong. In it he completely shouldered the blame for the failure. As it happens, though the fighting of the first few days was hard and bloody, the invasion was seen to be a success very soon and the letter did not surface for another month. Interestingly, he dated the letter July 5 though it was clearly written on June 5. Even General Eisenhower's nerves were playing up.
Here is the text of the letter with some analysis.