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Decapitated French king Louis 16: Probably the best king the French failed to value

Talleyrand said during the revolution that culminated in a period of utter Terror: “The French had no idea that in the Regency, in their long history, they never had it so well and lived that well” 

Louis 16 succeeded to his infamous grandfather Louis 15. Louis 16 is another case of orphaned kid: his mother died when he was 10 and his elder brother died at the age 14.

During his upbringing, he was not taken care of and mostly ignored by his grandfather, his aunts and his sisters. They all considered that his elder bother and even his 2 younger brothers to be far more brilliant and capable for ruling.

The British David Hume esteemed greatly the precocious intelligence of this future king when he saw him as kid. Ben Franklin would describe Louis 16 kindness as “His eyes expressed the milk of human tenderness.

When Louis 15 died, in the most horrible of deaths by measles, Paris celebrated and all joints opened their doors for this happy great news. As they celebrated when Louis 14 died. Two successive rules of lapidating the treasury and engaging in frequent wars had exhausted the French citizens.

Louis 15 was the epitome in ineptitude. He reigned for 59 years, the longest of any monarch in history, and he spent his life fucking little girls of less than 14 years old that the various noble and immoral classes and institutions offered to him in order to keep him busy.

The girls stayed prisoners until they gave birth and were sold at high prices for noblemen.

Louis 15 lost the French colonies in India and Canada to England and signed the humiliating treaty to end the 7-year war with terms that weakened the French navy to its minimum and other trade imbalances.

Louis 15 is famous for instituting the “Black cabinet“, the secret service agency or “”Secret du Roi” that was located in Versailles close to his bedroom apartment. This agency was constituted of 32 members and was headed successively by Prince Conti, Jean-Pierre Tercier and Marshal de Broglie.

This secret service agency figured out ways to tacitly ship weapons to the new American insurgents.

This secret agency ran havoc in Europe by controlling, managing and creating events, scandals and subversive situations.

This most inept king stank awfully for 10 days and only his 3 sisters were permitted to care for his decaying body. The body was placed in a double lead box containing chaux to prevent the nauseous smell from emanating. The convoy avoided crossing Paris and was buried silently.

Prime minister Choiseul ruled unperturbed for 12 years. Russia Catherine II referred to him as Ëurope coachman” and the Queen of Austria adulated him for arranging the marriage of her daughter Marie-Antoinette to the French Dauphin, in direct line for succession.

This astute and dynamic minister wrote about his monarch Louis 15:

“His was the most inept of a person. A soulless and without spirit man. He loved making harm as little kids love to make animals suffer. He lacked any kinds of vigor to make decisions and his vanity was incomparable. He knew he had no potential for anything and totally inconsequential and let his ministers and sweethearts rule the kingdom.

Louis 15 believed that his amorous activities solidified his authority. He believed that everyone must obey his current sweetheart and mistress because she was honoured by his intimacy…”and on and on

Louis 16 was officially sacred absolute monarch in June 1775 at Reims. He went through the traditional motion of touching 2,400 patients, a touch that should heal many of the sick persons.

His first decision was to lock up the latest mistress of Louis 15, Madame du Barry, in a monastery. She was later beheaded by the revolutionaries in 1792.

Once, the people in Paris threw a lavish fiesta and 136 persons died. Louis 16, still a Dauphin (first in line for succession) refused to receive his allotted salary until all the bereaved families got their compensation.

Louis 16 was expert in drawing maps and had passion for geography and marine activities like building ships and constructing ports. He was also expert in fabricating locks and keys.

He could go hunting for 8 hours straight and kept detailed diaries of his daily activities and expenses.

Louis 16 was a rotund colossus with blue eyes and jovial face, though he was endemically a melancholic person and faithful to his wife. Sex was not a pleasurable or exciting activity for this hard working king who read abundantly books and all state reports and who enjoyed eating.

He restituted the rights of the Huguenots (French protestants) that Louis 14 had revoked in the edit of Nantes, a century ago.

He rebuilt the French navy to become at par with the British navy and dispatched two military campaigns to America to support the insurgents, which culminated in the surrender of the British troops in Yorktown.

He was the first and only monarch who recognized the independence of the USA even before the battle of Yorktown in 1778.

Beaumarchais, the author of the famous play “The Barber of Seville“, was the main agent who exported through a fictitious company all the necessary military equipment and everything else to the American insurgents.

The first French secret agent to contact the insurgents in Philadelphia was Chevalier de Bonvouloir. He met the 5 leading  insurgents, including Ben Franklin, Francis Daymon and John Jay in Carpenter’s Hall and sent coded letters to the French ambassador in London who dispatched them to Vergenne, the French foreign affairs minister.

Chevalier de Bonvouloir was a crippled short man. His parents sent him to the Antilles early on in order to safeguard the status of the family from a handicapped unwanted child.

The Congress sent Silas Deane as its clandestine representative to France in order to enrol volunteers and de La Fayette got in contact with him before his first trip to America.

This massive aid to the American insurgents and the reconstitution of the navy exhausted the treasury and a few ministers of finance were sacked and replaced in order to establish an equilibrium in the budget.

In one harsh winter season, Louis 16 ordered distributing supplies to the poorer classes in France.

In 1786, accompanied by the navy and war ministers, Louis 16 inaugurated the construction of the grandiose artificial port in Cherbourg.

Louis 16 could easily retain his power as an absolute monarch if he wished to: He had the means militarily, institutionally and was loved by the people outside Paris. He preferred not to shed blood and agreed on a Constitutional monarchy as stated by the national Assembly.

When he was in Versailles, guarded by loyal Belgium troops, he opted to spare the blood of his citizens, during the women march that was organized by Chaderlos de Laclos, and followed La Fayette to Paris where he became practically hostage to the revolutionaries.

As Louis 16 escaped Paris in the night, La Fayette got in contact with Thomas Paine, the American revolutionary who settled in Paris and was against any kinds of monarchy and who wrote the pamphlet “Common Sense” that triggered the Boston Tea Party insurgency, said “This should be a great new to you. You won’t have to care for this Royal family and its security. You have a wonderful opportunity to declare the “Republic

The monarch was caught in Varenne,  and he could easily continue his flight in crossing the bridge if he allowed the military to open the way by opening fire on the crowd. La Fayette had to come and secure the return to Paris for his monarch.

In many critical occasions, the king ordered his guards not to fire on the mob. In one incident, 500 Swiss guards were killed  and massacred by the mob because he ordered them not to defend themselves.

Captain Napoleon Bonaparte was watching this bloody scene from a window. At the first opportunity, Bonaparte fired his canons on the mob and became one of the 3 consuls, before snatching power and becoming an absolute dictator for 16 years.

Thomas Paine convinced the French Assembly to vote for the exile of the king to New Orleans, in the French Louisiana Territory before napoleon sold it in 1803.  Again, the infamous and bloody Marat (who will be assassinated by a woman royalist in his bath) turned the table sover and the Assembly voted for the decapitation of the monarch

The famous Alexis de Tocqueville, who analyzed the American political system in the 19th century, also analyzed the French system during the Regency (or Louis 16 period) concluded that the administrative institutions were so well running smoothly that for 50 years after the revolution not much has been reformed or altered to the institutions.

Louis 16 was the ideal monarch to submit to the Constitutional monarchy system, a system he openly and publicly agreed to and promised to defend. The French in Paris begged to differ and never had confidence in this monarch.

“Allah has nothing to do” with “Arabs” crisis, and neither is the Koran

First, Allah has nothing to do with the current crisis and uprising in the Arab Spring mass disobedience movements.

Second, the Koran has nothing to do with the extremist and salafist Islamic factions  and movements. (To be developed in the follow up article)

There are basic factors that drive progress in societies and the recurring violent crisis resulting from changes in the anthropological shift.

1. The rate of literacy (learning to read and write) and what is called alphabetization of society is the prime factor in the drive for change. Once the rate has reached 50% among the population, a mass revolution is not far from emerging against the status quo

Once that many people can read tracts, pamphlet and daily papers in their own language, it becomes inevitable to start demanding reforms.

That’s what happened in 17th century England, 18th France and 20th century Russia.

That’s what happened in Iran, a decade before the Islamic revolution.

That’s what happened in Tunisia and Egypt.

Mind you that the Near Eastern societies or Levant (of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine) had exceeded the 50% literacy rate in the 30’s, particularly in the cities,and witnessed frequent mass disobedience movements against the mandated powers of France and England and against the feudal classes.

Mind you also that the First Palestinian Intifada of 1935 was started because England refused any election, not even on the municipal level, on the pretext that the Jews constituted less than 20% of the population.

This mass disobedience lasted 3 years and England was forced to dispatch 100,000 troops to quell this virulent and steadfast revolution. As WWII was about to start, and in order not to bog down in Palestine such a large number of troops, England began to train Zionist Jews in Palestine on acts of terrorism and sabotage of bridges and communication lines.

It is in 1938 that Ben Gurion started his extensive and detailed plan of mass terror activities against the Palestinians once Israel declares its Independence. The plan was carried out in its minute details, especially evacuating the Palestinians from cities and villages bordering the shore line to deny the Palestinians any support from the sea.

2. The second factor is the rate of fecundity. If the rate is way above 3 per family, it is an indication that the majority of females in a society is still illiterate. The women play the role of “manufacturing” kids in high numbers so that 50% of them might survive the age of 5.  That was the trend in almost every society around the world in the 19th century.

Once the fecundity rate drops to 2, women and mothers are seeking higher quality of life to their offspring and investing in their education and well-being.

The qualitative shift to higher concern for offspring is correlated with the lower quantitative level of fecundity.

Mind you that a drop under 2 means that the society is losing hope in a better future for their offspring and the demographics starts its aging process.

For example, the median age in Tunisia is 29, in Egypt 24, in France 40 and in Germany 44.  You should not expect an older median population to take to the street and demonstrate with the same endurance and zeal as with the younger population.

I conjecture that the atrocious WWI was the result of high illiteracy rate among women in the rural areas and the peasants constituted a large reserve of illiterate soldiers who were easily enrolled in the army under fraudulent “facts” and evidences.

3. The third factor is an anthropological substrate: What were the family values, particularly the inheritance system between the genders, the trend to considering sons and daughter at a par in mental capability, responsibility and competence.

4. An important characteristics in the anthropological structure is the rate of endogamous marriages: marriages among close relatives and cousins. This characteristic bolster the patrilinear structure where the status of a family is linked to the status of the father.

In these kinds of community, the tribal and clannish bonding override the other community benefits and concerns.

In Tunisia and Egypt, endogamous marriages rate were around 35%, which restrained the acceleration of the upheavals. This high rate is prevalent in almost every Arabic Islamic State.

In Egypt, there is a steady decline of endogamous marriages and reaching about 25%.

In the 20th century, the modern western and industrialized societies enacted laws to encourage exogamy and forced the churches to adopt these civil laws that prohibit marriages to the second and third degrees in family close relationship.

5. The fifth factor is inevitably the lack of work opportunities for the youth who got university degrees and are left to loaf around. The high unemployment rate in the Arabic States is an endemic problem.

Progress is measured by the kinds of jobs that motivate people to work. And the right to work is primordial in the youth mind in order to plan out their future and viability of remaining in their homeland.

Question: Are Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirate States and the other two monarchies of Morocco and Jordan about to witness any mass upheavals?

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates rely on oil revenues: The citizens don’t pay taxes and “No taxes, no representation” 

The Gulf Emirates, as is the case of Libya, are scarcely populated and the oil revenues can take care of allowing stipends to be distributed to the “citizen/chattel”.

What happened in Libya was the result of the people in the eastern part (Benghazi) being punished by Gadhafi and totally ignored for 2 decades. Nothing has changed in Libya: the citizens are demanding oil stipend money to be distributed “equitably”

Saudi Arabia  is in deep trouble, a reserve of fanatic extremist neglected population who were unleashed for over 3 decades in foreign Islamic lands, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria…

Oil stipend is lavishly spent on the 5,000 members of the Royal extended family and the rate of unemployment and barely surviving people are extremely high.

Morocco will end up a Constitutional monarchy, unless civil war breaks out since the Al Qaeda-type followers are spreading like wild fire in northern Africa

Jordan has always been backed by foreign powers and can easily be put on fire if this monarchy fails to compromise on a Constitutional monarchy.

Note 1: The first part was inspired by the interview of Daniel Schneidermann with Emmanuel Todd on Arret sur images and published in a book: “Allah has nothing to do“, and “Le rendez-vous des civilizations” (The meeting of civilizations) by Todd and Youssef Courbage

Note 2: Historian Emmanuel Le Roy-Ladurie analyses the trend using long-term statistical dada

Humiliation behind “greatness”? Empress Catherine of Russia. Part 2

The first article described the period of Catherine/Sofia/Fredericka Holstein-Gottrop-Romanov ventured out of Prussia in 1744 (she was 15 years old) to be betrothed to the immature and senile child Peter of Russia; how she suffered humiliation and then managed to bid her time to acceding to power in 1762 as the most powerful monarch of all the Russian Empire.

Most of this period was dominated by King Frederick II, known by history as “Frederick the Great”; Frederick was ruling Prussia and raised and training a strong army for expansion. Empress Elizabeth was the sole powerful monarch in Russia until her death in 1761. Elizabeth had acceded to power by overthrowing young Ivan VI.

Louis 15th was the monarch of France.

Catherine of Russia kept a detailed diary since childhood until she died.

She mastered 3 languages:  French (the most dominant language in all of Europe during the 18 and 19th centuries), German, and then she learned Russian.

She communicated with most of the famous authors and thinkers of her time and supported them financially and politically when in dire need.  She changed from Lutheran to Russian Orthodox Church for political reasons and to be able to accede to the throne; her father sent her a cold letter blaming her for that conversion.

The chamberlain to Empress Elizabeth welcomed the party at the Russian border and wrote:

The daughter is plain but healthy; she is taller than most women 5′ 5″; she resembles her father in facial characteristics:  She has a large nose and heavy chin, but she is taller than normal women.  I noticed from her gait that she suffered frost bites in several toes of her left foot. The mother is a complete snob and cares only of how she look. 

The mother reprimanded her daughter for missing her dad saying: “Your father is an insignificant person, focus to learn the Russian language and don’t think to returning to Prussia for visits.  The guest felt very comfortable in our heated sleighs; they were using carriages in wheels that left many bruises on their bodies.

The mother felt humiliated from the first meeting with Elizabeth who didn’t even look her way or addressed her; she had to wait over 2 years in Russia, relegated close to the servants’ apartment, until her daughter got married in late 1945.

Catherine gave birth to Paul in 1954; she had named him Pavel but Elizabeth changed his name to Paul and didn’t permit Catherine to see and care for her child until her death in 1761; thus, this overwhelming anger of Catherine toward Elizabeth and of her idiot of nephew Peter “who stood there grinning as Elizabeth snatched the baby from my arms”

Catherine wrote in her diary:

“Elizabeth is the bossiest lady I have ever met.  She catered for the minute details and never allowed me to dress as I wished”.

Elizabeth was a tall, svelte, beautiful woman with blue eyes before she died of overweight and aged prematurely.  Elizabeth confronted Frederick II militarily for over 7 years in order to halt Prussia expansion at the detriment of Austria”.  The Russian treasury was depleted when Elizabeth died in 1761.

Peter III was the new Emperor and he used to strut in Prussian army uniforms and declare that Prussia is the better than Russia in every thing and that Frederick II is the greatest monarch.  Catherine never dared to challenge Elizabeth but bid her time until the strong-willed Empress died.

Catherine dreaded that Elizabeth might demand from Peter to divorce her and be sent back to her family that no longer cared for her presence.

In the mean while, Catherine worked on her connections with the highest personality  in the noble class, the military, the clergymen, and foreign diplomats.  She had countless love affairs, especially with military officers such as Gregory Orlov and much later with Gregory Pushkin. A military coup organized by Catherine removed Peter from power, less than a year later, before his official coronation.  Peter was strangled in prison.

The day of the revolt, Catherine went straight to the main cathedral in St. Petersburg and got acclaimed by the archbishop as the new monarch.

The treasury was depleted and the treasurer’s report extended two quick alternative solutions to replenishing the coffer.  The first option was to wage war against China and capture vast lands and serfs.  The second option that Catherine preferred was to seizing vast fertile lands owned by the Orthodox church.

For the next 8 years, Catherine pursued this policy of regaining church lands to the crown.

In 1768, Turkey had enjoyed 5 years of good economic expansion and was buying weapons from France.  Catherine decide to expand in the south before Turkey becomes too powerful militarily.  The Russian army had a string of successful military victories that kept Europe on its toes.

The end result was devastating:  First, treasury was empty again; the treasurer wrote “All the money collected east of the Volga River is not covering the cost of breaking horses sent to the Turkish front.”  The Russian army was tied up in front of Turkey and whatever land acquired could not be used to generating any profit.

In 1970, the plague reached Moscow:  It had already killed over 20,000 in Austria the previous year.  For two years, the plague in Moscow left over 100,000 dead.  It was the custom to quarantine entire districts:  No entrance or exit to these closed areas.  People died of famine more than the plague, especially infants, for lack of food supply.

The well-off in Moscow had long vacated the Capital and a rudiment of police force still existed there.  In 1771, the downtrodden in Moscow overflow the center city and even managed to enter the Kremlin fortress.  Looting and killing of officials was rampant.  Catherine sent regiments headed by Gregory Orlov in September to recapture order.

Orlov realized that the best strategy was to bring food supplies to Moscow.  Teams were organized to gathering corpses and burning them then, collecting the garbage that city governments never “had money” to spend on cleaning the city.  Winter was the other factor that slowed down the dissemination of the plague that died down by the coming spring season.

To make matter worse, a rebellion broke out in the southern region in 1772.  Pugachev, a discharged army officer, was the leader of the revolt; he claimed to carrying the “imperial scars” and to being the incarnation of former emperor Peter (the slain late husband of Catherine).

The rebellion gathered thousands of members and it captured canons and plenty of guns and expanded eastward and entered many cities, including Kazar, the Capital of the Tatar province on the Volga River and 800 kilometer east of Moscow.

The Russian army was tied up on the Turkish front and negotiations for a peace treaty was experiencing a dead lock on Catherine insistence for war reparations.  There were no regiments fit with horses and canons to be dispatched to quell the expanding rebellion.  Catherine dropped the war reparation clause and went after the leader of the revolt.

Paul, the son of Catherine, wrote: “It was the first time I saw a glimpse of a smile on Catherine’s face”:  Catherine entered the court room to listen to the verdict for the hanging sentence of the leader of the revolt.

Once again the crown treasury was empty and Catherine agreed with Frederick II to dividing the Polish Kingdom that had backed Russia in its war against Prussia.  Catherine gained the easter portion of Poland around 1773.  The European nations of France, England, and Austria didn’t like this aggression.

After the treasury was again depleted, Catherine decided to expand into the Crimea Peninsula on the Black Sea.  She first bribed the Turkish king of the province with plenty of gold bars and secured a treaty of favored nation to doing commerce and having a military advisory role.  Russia quickly plotted and started a civil war and then entered heavily the Crimea before Turkey was ready to intervene militarily.

Catherine wrote: “The Crimea is the pearl in my crown”  In fact, Russia secured another water outlet to its navy.

Catherine visited part of her vast empire.  She ventured as far as Kazan by the Volga River (800 km east of Moscow.  The officials of the city boasted that half of Russia commerce is moved on the Volga River. The Empress wrote in her diary: “From my observations of the activities on the river  I know that the city government has far exaggerated the claim.” Currently, it is estimated that two-third of internal trade in Russia is moved on the Volga River.

There were no love affair or any kind of caring between Catherine and her son Paul:  In critical situations, Catherine would summon Paul to attend meetings or parties just to strengthen her legitimacy; in a sense, appeasing the Russian people of a secure succession to the throne. As the second stroke killed Catherine in 1796 at the age of 69 (she had reigned for 34 years) Paul became Emperor.

Paul was harassed by the British because he refused to join the coalition against the French First Consul Bonaparte.  Paul wrote to Napoleon: “You are not an Emperor or a King, but you have proven to be someone who can deliver.  That’s what count to me.

The British Ambassador plotted and assassinated Emperor Paul in 1801.  Three years later, Napoleon annihilated the armies of three emperors (Prussia, Austria, and Russia) who were present at the battle of Austerlitz.

Catherine committed the worst long-term error by focusing on short-term needs to sustaining her hold on power:  She overextended the privileges and rights of the nobility at the expense of the rights of the serfs working the lands.  The nobleman was secured in his title and the ownership of his land (except in cases of treason) and the nobleman could only be judged by his peers.  In the 19th century, Russia was racked by frequent revolts and assassinations of officials. Ironically, Emperor Alexander II was assassinated the day he was to sign the document on the Constitutional Monarchy. The communist Bolchviks took power in 1917 and liquidated the Romanov dynasty.

Catherine was warned plenty of times of the shortsightedness of strengthening the noble classes.  Diderot, the French who published the first encyclopedia, spent three years in St. Petersburg and Catherine met with him for hours almost everyday.  The Empress asked that her discussion sessions be recorded.  Here is a sample of the dialogue:

Diderot: “You have passed laws that made it impossible for serfs to leave their employment, to seeking new masters, and to move without their lords’ permission.”

Catherine: “Only troublemaker of serfs do what you suggested.  For all your new ideas, governing a country is very different from your bookish theories.”

Diderot: “If the world is to change we must begin somewhere.  That place is with new ideas on paper and in books.”

Catherine: “The empty page is always flexible.  I must work with physical human lives.  There are people to be fed and new generations to nurture.  I don’t have the luxury to pause while experimenting.”

In any case, Catherine witnessed the consequences of the French Revolution in 1789 and had plenty of warnings to reform her political system.

I don’t see much “greatness” in just expanding frontiers of an empire simply to replenishing depleted the treasury.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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