Review of Heart’s Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes

I recently had the privilege of reading Heart’s Safe Passage by one of our fellow bloggers here at Regency Reflections, Laurie Alice Eakes.

Here’s a little description of the novel:

It’s 1813 and all Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia. When Belinda, her pregnant sister-in-law, presses Phoebe to accompany her onto a British privateer in order to cross the Atlantic and save her husband from an English prison, Phoebe tries to refuse, then finds herself kidnapped.

Captain Rafe Docherty is a man in search of revenge. His ship is no place for women, but he needs Belinda in order to obtain information about the man who destroyed his family and his life. Between Belinda’s whining and Phoebe’s hostility, Rafe can’t help but wonder if he made the right choice.
When it becomes apparent there is an enemy among them on the ship, the stakes are raised. Will they reach the English shore in time? Can love and forgiveness overcome vengeance?

It seems like every time I’ve turned around over the past year, I’ve been hearing bits and pieces about this book. Before reading it, I knew several things: the hero was a bad boy on a dangerous mission, the heroine was a headstrong midwife, and they went to sea.

Well, the story proved to be much more than a bad boy meets a good girl and they live happily ever after. “Sweeping” is the best word I can think of to describe it. It starts off in Virginia, where the heroine heads to sea against her will and due to the scheming of a cruel sister-in-law. From Virginia, Phoebe’s whisked away to Bermuda, then England, and even France. Despite the wide scope of geography covered in the novel, Eakes does a masterful job creating mood and setting. I felt like I was personally visiting every country she described and living through the War of 1812. Eakes understanding of the American, British, and Scottish mindsets is nothing short of amazing.

Furthermore, the characters of Rafe and Phoebe are richly drawn. Neither is perfect, both make mistakes, and both struggle along the path to forgiveness and redemption. They have so much to overcome both physically and emotionally, that at times I wondered if they would ever make it. But they DID make it, and it’s a wonderful story readers won’t soon forget.

So while the book doesn’t qualify as a Regency in the strict sense, Regency fans will likely enjoy this wide-range historical novel. I recommend picking up a copy soon.

 

Originally posted 2012-03-14 10:00:00.

My Carriage Awaits… Maybe

Vanessa here, writing with tongue in cheek about Regency transportation.

News of the heroine’s abduction has made its way to the hero. With a quick prayer for strength, he yanks on his tailcoat and readies to chase after the villain and reclaim the lass. How will the hero get to his sweetheart in time? It all depends upon the hero’s fortune and location.

Poor vicar standing in his country parish.

More than likely, he’s going to walk. To keep a carriage for his personal use and maintain his household (a cook and a valet/groom) he’d have to have a living of at least 700 pounds per year above his keep. (Modest household annual expenses cost about 350 pounds.) If the tithe from his parish weren’t enough, maybe his noble patroness would lend him the use of one of her carriages.

Man of good income standing in the drawing room of his country manor.

He’d rush to his steward to send word to his grooms to ready his vehicle in the coach house.  The coach house was an independent building kept on the hero’s lands that housed his carriage(s), similar to what a garage does today. There the vehicles could be kept clean and safe from the weather or critters. The hero couldn’t keep the carriage in a stable. Being so near the feed would invite mice. Varmints do bad things to the fabrics of the interiors. It simply wouldn’t do for the hero to arrive in a shabby condition.

American Heritage Dictionary: Carriage in a Coach House.

Man of moderate income living in London.

He’d rush to his groom or valet, whoever was in closer proximity within the few feet of his leased rooms. The hero would instruct his servant to hire a gig (a generic term for any two-wheeled vehicle with seating for two) or a hackney (the “cab” system of Regency London) if the villain kept the heroine within the city. If the villain had fled London, the groom would be sent to the nearest stable or coach house to rent transport. This is not instant and could take hours to arrange.

Man of good income living in London.

He’d rush to his groom or steward, whoever was in the closest proximity within the first level of the hero’s leased town home and follow his man out to the mews in the alley behind the house. The hero’s horse(s) and carriage would be kept there. Mews are similar to the coach houses, just smaller.

So the hero has “called” for his mode of transportation, but what are his options?

Horse: If the hero has a long way to travel and time is of the essence, nothing beats horse back. If the weather is bad with snow on the ground, road travel by carriage would be nearly impossible. The road conditions were poor enough in good weather.

The hero would have no choice but to travel by horse. At a gallop, a horse could average 30 miles per hour, which is faster than the 5 to 7 miles per hour in a carriage. Thoroughbred, Percheron, Belgian, Clydesdale, and Shire breeds were available during the Regency. Hopefully, the heroine wouldn’t mind him on horseback. Maybe she fancies being saved by a knight in Damask waistcoat armor.

Know your Horseflesh

Barouche: This is a large vehicle typically drawn by two horses. The seated occupants face each other. A large hood could fold over the passengers but could be driven open, for every one to see the occupants. Closed, this vehicle was good option for medium distances, 25-50 miles.

The Barouche Carriage

Landau:  This is a four-wheeled carriage known for being driven open to show off the occupants. It’s typically drawn by a pair, four-in-hand. The top is soft and folds into two sections exposing the interior. Our hero’s rescue plans may be thwarted in an open carriage, not to mention the dangers of the heroine’s reputation being sullied to the world.

1819 Ackermann’s Repository Landaulet Landau Carriage

Georgiantimes.homestead.net – Know your Landau Parts

Chaise: This is an open carriage with seating for one, two, or even three (if the driver rides one of the horses, postilion style.) Our hero would have to be creative with his rescue plans to use the smaller versions of the chaise. Hopefully, the heroine is alone, no little sister in tow. Thus unusual riding arrangements won’t be needed.

Chaise Illustration by Pearson Scott Foresman

The Post Chaise: This is a four-wheeled closed carriage driven by a team of four. The driver had to ride one of the horses. The post chaise could have windows, even in the front, perfect for searching the landscape. It also had a luggage platform, which could carry supplies or a portmanteau for a change of clothes. If the hero has to travel a far distance, this is the vehicle of choice, and it’s perfect for ferrying a group of servants or secondary characters.

Courtesy of the Suffolk Museum – The Post Chaise

The Rear of the Post Chaise

Coach and Four: This is a four-wheeled closed vehicle drawn by four horses. There is a luggage box in the front. The driver would sit or straddle this depending on the coach design. The back also had a luggage box or basket. The interior hosts hidden compartments for bags of ransom money or a flintlock.

If this is our hero’s lot, he will languish with worry with his head nestled on the Padua silk lining the walls as he drives his fist into the upholstered brocade fabric of the seat backs. Carriage interiors could be contrived with anything the hero or his patroness could afford: silk, tapestries, glass windows, lanterns for lighting, etc. Leather was typically used for open carriages because of the smell arising from the chemicals used in tanning and treating the hides.

Wealthy members of the Ton used the Coach and Four for daily transport. The less wealthy would use these for long distances. If money is of no concern for the hero with his 30,000 pounds per year, this would be in his coach house or mews.

Even if the hero is tight with his coins, for a long journey this would be the hero’s best option.

The Coach and Four with Servants on the Roof

Cocking Cart: This is a two-wheeled open carriage led by one horse. The hero would have to drive this. There is only room for him and the heroine. This is a less expensive option, so a hero of modest means could lease this.

GeorgianTimes.Homestead.net – Cocking Cart

Curricle: This is a two-wheeled open carriage pulled by two horses (preferably well matched so that the carriage doesn’t jerk.) This vehicle is typically controlled by our hero, not a groom, though the hero could have a groom drive. These vehicles are built for speed, but these speeds were no more than 5-10 miles per hour.

The Curricle

Dogcart: This is a two-wheeled or four-wheeled vehicle with back-to-back seating for four. The dogcart is another less expensive option but not very speedy. If the heroine has a best friend or little sister in tow, he may not have the option of enjoying the heroine’s fine eyes if the hero and heroine cannot share the same seat.

The Dogcart

Phaeton: This is an open carriage with four-wheels with one or two seats. A high phaeton as shown below would be so tall, the villain would see our hero coming. Also, some were prone to tipping. Tipping would probably doom the rescue.

The High Phaeton

The hero’s dilemma is great as is his choices for transport. With the exception of the Victoria and the Corbillard, the illustration shows an abundance of carriage choices known to the Regency World.

Illustration from The Dictionary of P. Larousse

Closing Thoughts

Transportation options varied in the Regency from walking to horseback to carriages. As income dictates whether the average Joe can afford a Chevette or Cadillac, it also weighed heavily on all members of Regency society. Plausible cases can be made for any of the hero’s options, but it should be consistent with his status, time frame, geography, and even the weather.

Hopefully, the hero has chosen wisely and is now on his way to save the heroine. Let’s pray he gets there in time.

References:

http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/pptopics.html

http://www.rubylane.com/

http://www.susannaives.com/nancyregencyresearcher/

http://main.thebeaumonde.com/

http://www.britannica.com/

http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com

http://historicalhussies.blogspot.com

http://janeausteninvermont.wordpress.com

Driving horse-drawn carriages for pleasure: the classic illustrated guide to coaching, harnessing, stabling, etc. by Francis T. Underhill

An Economic History of London, 1800-1924 by Michael Ball, David Sunderland.

 

Originally posted 2012-03-12 10:00:00.

The Pursuit of Stuff

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
           John 10:10 NIV 

Laurie Alice here. Often when I was a child, we neglected to lock the house door leading from the attached garage and into the kitchen.

We didn’t think about how vulnerable we were. Crime didn’t happen in our quiet neighborhood. Yet one night when the door stood unlocked, someone slipped into our house and stole my mother and sister’s purses off of the dining room table.

Not one of us, not even the dog, heard a thing, yet while we were sleeping, a thief invaded our home and took our possessions.
Even now, decades later, I feel sick to my stomach thinking about that incident. What utter horror to realize how, too easily, this thief could have taken more, including our lives.
Why someone takes what is not theirs to have more at other’s expense I do not comprehend, yet the world is full of thieves come to steal from our lives. We fall under the false idea that, to have an abundant life, we must have more shoes, a wider screen TV, chairperson of that special committee on which we sit, instead of remaining in a position as a worker bee.

During the Regency, life was no different. The “stuff” people wanted might have been different—a high perch phaeton instead of a cool new car, an invitation to Almacks instead of that committee chairship, a hand-painted fan from China instead of a Louis Vuitton handbag—but the sentiment is the same. The end results are the same now and then. In our pursuit of false roads to abundant life, we rob ourselves of what Jesus wants for our lives.

He promises abundance, the fullness of life. That may not come in the form of material possessions or a honored status. Jesus gives us a richness of life, a purpose well beyond the realm of stuff and into the completeness of everlasting life.

Originally posted 2012-03-09 10:00:00.

A Review of “Jane Austen Knits”

The only thing more enjoyable than having a good hobby is having two good hobbies – and being able to indulge them both at the same time. That’s why I was so excited when I first got a glimpse of Interweave Knits’ special issue “Jane Austen Knits”. Regency history and needlecraft? The combination was as enticing as chocolate and coffee. (Some things are just made to go together.) But does “Jane Austen Knits” live up to its promise?

The Articles

If you’re more a history buff than a knitter, this is where you’ll find the meat of the publication. The magazine includes 8 articles and essays, ranging from the scholarly (“The Mighty Muslin” and “Regency Fashion in Color”) to the journalistic (like the profile of a woman who sells sewing patterns for Regency-era clothing).

My favorite of the articles is the essay that graces the last page of the publication: “Jane Austen, Multitasker” by Rebecca Dickson. It’s a loving profile of Austen herself, highlighting her work ethic both in her writing and in her needlecraft. Austen’s example is an encouragement to any woman trying to pursue a dream while also handling the mundane details of life.

The Patterns

This magazine contains a generous 36 patterns, and they’re all beautifully photographed. Instead of trying to reproduce period-accurate clothing, the patterns are instead simply inspired by Austen’s work, taking Regency details and translating them into wearable modern clothing.

Despite this modernization, I can certainly see Georgiana Darcy wearing her namesake shawlette, a gorgeous lace affair, or Elizabeth Bennet carrying the Diamond and Cross Reticule to a ball a Netherfield. More modern patterns include the sleek Elinor Tunic, and the exquisitely detailed Lambton Top and Fiori Pullover. Most of the rest of the patterns fall somewhere between the sensibilities of the 1800s and those of today.

On my own to-knit list? The simple Short Stays vest, the Woodhouse Spencer and, someday, when my knitting skills improve, the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Meryton Coat, a beautifully stranded jacket inspired by the military uniforms of the era.

Conclusion

So, did “Jane Austen Knits” fulfill my hopes for a publication that promised to combine two of my favorite hobbies? Emphatically, yes. And, if you share my love of knitting and of Regency history, I’m happy to point out that it’s now on sale over at Interweave. I should also note: I bought my own copy of this magazine and haven’t been compensated for this review in any way. All opinions in this post are my own.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

Originally posted 2012-03-07 10:00:00.

Sporting Madness ~ The Existence and Growth of Organized Competition


Even the president of the United States takes time to fill out his basketball predictions.

Ah, Spring. When a young American man’s fancy turns to brackets and basketballs and he is likely to put more consideration into picking which college to root for than he did selecting which college to attend. There’s a reason it’s called March Madness.

 

Kristi here, and the fascination with sports is not a new one. The Regency era saw a culture on the cusp of the organized sporting events. While many games remained unofficial skirmishes, there were several championship challenges emerging by the beginning of the Victorian era. And of course, all of them got gambled on.

 Royal Ascot – Horse Racing

Ascot, 1791

In 1711, Queen Anne acquired land near Ascot in which to hold horse races. The first race had a purse of 100 guineas. By 1813, races at Ascot were such a part of the fabric of England that Parliament stepped in, passing an act to ensure the racing grounds remained a public racecourse.

 

Prinny, the future King George IV, made Ascot one of the most fashionable social occasions of the year. After ascending to the throne, he had a new stand built for the exclusive use of guests of the royal family. The Royal Enclosure still exists today and admittance to it is very difficult to obtain.

An example of a modern day hat worn by an attendee in the Royal Enclosure.

The Royal Ascot was, and still is, a four day event. It was the only racing event held at the racecourse during the 19th century. England’s elite would gather to watch horses above the age of six barrel through the course in pursuit of the Gold Cup.

The grandeur of the original races continues today in the strict dress code requiring formal day dresses and those infamous hats for the attending ladies. Men must still wear the morning suits and top hats as a nod to the Regency era.

During the early 1800s, fashion was always important to the upper class and the Royal Ascot was certainly no exception. The importance of dressing right for the races even lent its name to the traditional wide morning tie, now known as an Ascot Tie.

The Royal Ascot takes place in June, one of the last hurrahs of Spring Season.

 Players Vs Gentlemen – Cricket

A Cricket Game at Darnell

This amateur against professional game of cricket actually skipped over the true Regency. It began in 1806, disappeared for a while, and then re-established as a yearly tradition in 1819. It remained in place until 1962 where is phased out again only to be revived in recent years, with matches in 2010 and 2011.

At the time of conception the Gentlemen, or amateurs, were largely aristocratic men who had played during their school years. The Players were professionals, paid to play by various county cricket clubs.

Cricket Ball. Image courtesy of Ed g2s

Unlike professional athletes of today, the professionals weren’t hired to play each other but rather to play the gentlemen that were members of the cricket clubs. Rather like a tennis pro or golf pro at a modern day country club.

The game lasted for three days and usually took place at Lord’s. Not including the most recent matches, the Players had 125 wins to the Gentlemen’s 68. Today the Players are professional athletes from England’s competitive cricket circuit and the Gentlemen tend to be pulled from the University cricket teams.

 Intercollegiate Sports – The Boat Race

The Boat Race, Oxford V. Cambridge, 1841

Colleges had always prized physical skill in addition to mental learning, but it wasn’t until the early Victorian era that they began to officially meet each other on the playing field. Prior to this point, most collegiate athletic competitions were between houses within the college.

Cricket and Rowing competitions between Oxford and Cambridge both started in the 1820s.

The Boat Race, as it is still referred to today, began in 1829 and has had a tumultuous history ever since. It would be another twenty-five years before the race settled into being an annual event, but the spirit and drive that propels people from different schools to meet on the field, or river in this case, of athletic competition was alive and well during the Regency. Currently Cambridge is on top, with 80 wins to Oxford’s 76. This year’s race will be held in April.

What sports competitions do you get excited over? What was the last major sporting event you went to see?

Originally posted 2012-03-05 10:00:00.

SPRING A TIME OF NEW BEGINNINGS

Isn’t it wonderful that God gives us spring to follow cold, dreary winter? We are accustomed to spring coming. It happens every year at the same time. We don’t doubt it. We accept it. God promised as long as the earth remains we would have seed time, and harvest, summer, and winter.

We accept it because He has proven it for thousands of years. We know that we know. What would happen if we treated every problem in our lives with the same faith? It will come to pass because God says it will. Nothing happens to us that does not go through God’s hands first. If we are chosen to walk through a difficult place. We should realize that God knows our strengths and weaknesses and trusts that we will come through said place stronger. He will never put us in a place we cannot come out of victorious.

I once saw a mama dog take her litter of six puppies into a patch of tall grass and leave them. The mama dog came out of the tall grass and sat on our lawn watching the place she left them. The puppies cried and whined wanting her to come get them. She sat there waiting until they used the senses God gave them to pick up her scent and follow it back to safety. I am happy to say all the puppies made it out, AFTER they quit crying and whining.

God stretches and grows us to mold us in His image because He knows if we look, sound and act like Him, nothing can defeat us. When we go through the winters in our lives we have the promise that spring will come. Everything is cleaner and greener and bluer in spring. It is filled with new life and joy. One must realize that as wonderful as spring is, if we didn’t have the winter to keep the insect population down and the rains to replenish the earth we wouldn’t have the beautiful colors of spring to enjoy. If we look at our daily lives in the same way we will understand if it never rains we’ll never grow. Next time your life seems like winter will never end and the rains will never cease, remember Gods promise in Genesis 8:22. Winter will die and spring will be birthed without fail.

Every glass that is half empty is also half full. What matters is the way we see it. It is cold and rainy in the winter but the tiny seeds underneath the ground need it to grow. How many times have we unconsciously prayed on a rainy day, “Lord please let the rain stop.”? If we controlled the weather, would we ever let it rain? Unless we are having hot flashes, would we ever let an ice storm develop? I think I am very glad God hasn’t asked me to be in charge of the seasons. I am afraid my selfish love for spring would end up destroying the world He made.

Originally posted 2012-03-02 10:00:00.

Happy Leap Year Day!

 

Leap Year A La Regency

Thirty days hath September, 
April, June and November; 
All the rest have thirty-one, 
Excepting February alone 
Which hath but twenty-eight, in fine, 
Till leap year gives it twenty-nine. 

Just as young people desiring to bypass all the rigmarole to get married in Regency England could hightail it to Scotland, women could also thank the Scots for making it a law allowing women to propose to men one day a year, every four years on Feb. 29.

Tradition has it that this law came on the books back in 1288—and that if a man turned a woman down, he must pay a fine, anything from a kiss to a pair of gloves or even a silk dress. Another tradition has it that the spurned woman must be wearing a visible red petticoat if she wanted the fine paid. Tradition aside, there is no written evidence on the books of Scottish Parliament’s having passed such a law.

Another legend has it that it was over in fifth century Ireland that St. Brigit asked St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men, since, supposedly, men were laggards in this area. After a bit of negotiating, St. Paddy allowed it every four years on Leap Year Day.

The American Farmer, published in 1827, quotes this passage from a 1606 volume entitled Courtship, Love and Matrimonie:

Albeit, it is nowe become a parte of the Common Lawe, in regard to the social relations of life, that as often as every bissectile year doth return, the Ladyes have the sole privilege, during the time it continueth, of making love unto the men, which they may doe either by wordes or lookes, as unto them it seemeth proper; and moreover, no man will be entitled to the benefit of Clergy who dothe refuse to accept the offers of a ladye, or who dothe in any wise treate her proposal withe slight or contumely.

So, wherever or however the tradition developed, by the time of the regency, Leap Year as a year or a day of female initiative in the romantic sphere was well-known. 1812, 1816 and 1820 were all leap years. Even though the Gregorian calendar had made the bissextile year (having an extra day) official back in 1582, Britain ignored the date of Feb. 29, so legally it didn’t exist. British law conveniently “leaped over” the date, probably because of so many negative superstitions associated with it, especially concerning livestock and crops. Ignoring this day resulted in a tradition of “anything goes”—hence women proposing to men. According to the Encyclopedia Americana 2004 Edition (Volume 17), King Henry VIII’s reign had an English law passed making February 28 the official birthday of “leaplings” or “leapers,” those born on Leap Year Day .

LEAP YEAR, OR JOHN BULL’S PEACE ESTABLISHMENT

[Published March, 1816, by S. W. Fores, 50, Piccadilly]

This British political cartoon satirizes the royal marriage of Princess Charlotte of Wales (the Prince Regent’s daughter) to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg on May 2, 1816.

The British Parliament settled £60,000 on the newlyweds, with £50,000 more for the prince should his bride pass away. The cartoon depicts the English nation on its hands and knees, a bit in his mouth, driven by Her Royal Highness with a horsewhip.

John Bull is the national personification of England, the way “Uncle Sam” is to the United States. He is loaded down with packages labeled with all the heavy tax burdens imposed on the populace at the time. After more than a quarter century of war with France, Britain’s people were financially exhausted. The Prince Regent’s extravagant lifestyle and building projects only filled them with disgust and caused a growing number of riots (one reason the Prince Regent preferred spending time at his seaside retreat, the Royal Pavilion at Brighton).

In the cartoon, Prince Regent George supports himself on crutches formed of dragons from his Brighton money pit. “Push on!” he shouts, “Preach economy! And when you have got your money, follow my example.” “Oh! my back,” groans John, crawling under the weight of his heavy burdens. “I never can bear it! This will finish me.”


 Sources: English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the Nineteenth Century/Chapter 3, Wikisource.org; Smithsonian Magazine.com; http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Society/leap-year.html; http://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Leap-Year-Superstitions/; http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/historical/a/leap_year_2.htm; http://voices.yahoo.com/leap-year-2008-history-facts-798349.html?cat=37

 

 

Originally posted 2012-02-29 05:00:00.

1812: A Turning Point in British History

For those of us immersed in the Regency time period, the year 1812 holds numerous significant incidents–incidents that set history on a course from the old world and into the new. Power changed hands in government and wars, the Industrial Revolution dug in its heels, and Great Britain, for all it became the most far-flung empire in history, began to receive its first glimpse of a shocking truth—they would not always rule the waves.

George, Prince of Wales

 By 1811, few people denied that the king was permanently mad and could no longer be head of state. The Regency bill passed making his eldest son, also a George, the Prince Regent, or the head of the government. The king, however, still showed enough glimpses of restoration to health that “Prinney” didn’t assume full powers of his role until 1812.

 A gamester and profligate spender, the Prince Regent was forever petitioning Parliament for money. This placed him in the power of Parliament and the role of royalty in actually running the government of the kingdom began to diminish.

 While Prinney assumed his role as head of Great Britain, a man known as Captain Ludd assumed a different kind of leadership role mostly in the north. The Luddite Rebellion fills books it is such a complex subject, a small war that ultimately took soldiers into Nottingham and York and Lancashire to put it down. Many men died.

 The simplest way to explain the Luddite Rebellion is that the weavers, mostly those making stockings, couldn’t make a living. They usually had to rent their looms, the prices for their products were controlled, and they couldn’t change a thing. The Industrial Revolution was bringing in steam looms, machines that were too much competition. So the Luddites started smashing up looms and not letting people work. They sabotaged the industrial looms and spinning machines. Violence reigned powerfully for several months and took about a year to put down in full.

Smashing of the Looms

 A way of life was coming to an end. The cottage industry of weaving with one or maybe three looms at home was no longer viable in a world quickly becoming mechanized through steam power.

 May 11, 1812 saw a horrendous incident when a man stormed into Parliament and shot the prime minister in front of witnesses. Many thought this a French plot, but it was a disturbed individual who thought he hadn’t been served justly by the government. Although the consequences of this assassination weren’t to be known for many years, it brought in a different government that delayed necessary reforms in laws and taxation that would have happened sooner had Perceval lived.

Wellington and George Overlooking Waterloo

 On a brighter note, the war with France, that had been dragging on for nearly twenty years and not going all that well for Great Britain, finally took a turn for the better. Arthur Welsley, AKA Wellington, won the Battle of Salamanca in Spain and the tide was turning against the French at last. Of course, Napoleon didn’t help himself by invading Russia. Tremendously weakened his forces and, I think had a damaging psychological effect on the French people. The emperor was no longer invincible.

 Finally for the purposes of this article, is the War of 1812, as we know it here in the United States. In England, it’s a blip on the radar, not even taught in advanced history classes. I once laid out some facts about it to a British friend who said I had to be mistaken. In no way could this fledgling country with about eighteen naval vessels, none great, have beaten down the most powerful maritime power the world had known.

 But it happened. Great Britain was impressing our men because the war with France had so decimated their supply. On the smallest pretext, they boarded our ships and took away anyone they could pretend was really English and didn’t’ care about the rest. They also tried to tell us where and with whom we could trade. We said, Uh, no way, you don’t rule us any more, and did as we pleased. We declared war in June, which was kind of stupid of us rather like a domestic tabby taking on a Siberian tiger.

USS Constitution vs. HMS Guerriere by Anton Otto Fischer

 But we had our privateers. We built the best small, fast, and maneuverable vessels in the world. We armed them and ripped apart the British merchant fleet, taking hundreds of merchantmen until the merchants put pressure on Parliament and the United States signed the Treaty of Ghent on Christmas Eve 1814 and got everything we wanted, including the Northwest Territory. Interestingly, we didn’t win a single land battle, most of them in Michigan and Canada. Not to mention the British burned our national capital.

 Britain faced the fact that she could be defeated on the high seas. Although we had a long way to go to be as powerful as England in the maritime realm, we showed our claws and made this powerful nation back down. To be fair to Great Britain, they were a bit preoccupied with France.

 The Regency is a fascinating turning point in history. 1812 may have the most collective number of those turns of any year of this short but significant time period.

Originally posted 2012-02-27 10:00:00.

Love VS. Love

Image: kenfotos / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kristi here.

I love chocolate. I love my husband. I don’t love these things in the same way, though. It’s one of the frustrating things about the English language. We have the word like and we have the word love and there’s nothing in between. I used to think we should introduce the word “loke” into our vocabulary to establish a level between like and love. Then I could say I loke chocolate and I love my husband.

We toss the word love around a lot in the United States. That can’t be said for every other country in the world. I had a friend from England once that got a bit fed up with our usage of it. When someone said, “I love chocolate” my friend would make a face and say “Why don’t you marry it then?” Not terribly original, but it gets the message across.

The thing is we use the same word when we say we love God, and I think that’s a problem. We have just equated God with chocolate. That’s not good. When we take a concept, like love, and weaken it, we begin to lose the power that word can have.

Photo by Jen Smith

How many times have you seen someone say something like this in a book or a movie: “I love him. Well, I don’t love love him. I love him like a brother or a friend or in that I love my dog kind of way. Not that he’s a dog, I just think of them the same.”

Okay, so the part about the dog isn’t ubiquitous, but you get my point.

Jesus had several words for love when He walked the earth. Unfortunately, this distinction is often lost when we translate the Greek into English. Take the following passage from John 21 verses 15-17.

When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Feed My lambs,” He told him. A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Shepherd My sheep,” He told him. He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.” “Feed My sheep,” Jesus said.

Two different forms of the word love are used in this passage. Agape and phileo. Agape referred to deep, true, unconditional love while phileo was used more for general love more akin to loyalty and affection. If we take those differences into account, the passage above reads more like this:

When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I am your friend.” “Feed My lambs,” He told him. A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I am your friend.” “Shepherd My sheep,” He told him. He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, are you My friend?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Are you My friend?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I am your friend.” “Feed My sheep,” Jesus said.

Peter was saddened because he had to own up to the fact that he wasn’t giving Jesus the true love that his savior wanted.

What kind of love are we offering Jesus? Do we love Him like chocolate? Our dogs? Our family? Or are we giving Him the ultimate love that He offered to us? Let’s start thinking about the meanings behind our usage of the word “love” so that when we say “I love you, God” we really mean it.

Originally posted 2012-02-24 10:00:00.

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