History, Holidays & Observances on December 12

Today: British opposition grows to the American Revolution, Marconi makes the first transatlantic radio signal, the Paris Climate Agreement is signed, the First Crusade is fought, Christmas Music . . .

And More

Holidays and Observances on Dec. 12

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Catholic title for the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with a Marian apparition and a venerated image enshrined within the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Pilgrimages have been made to this shrine almost uninterrupted since 1531, with several million people a year visiting the site in the modern era, making the basilica the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world.

Major Events on Dec. 12

1781 – British Parliamentary Opposition to the American War of Independence begins

The American Revolution didn’t end because America defeated Britain. It didn’t end because of America’s victory on 19 Oct. 1781 at Yorktown – indeed, King George III strongly advocated reinforcing British units in America and continuing the war after that loss. The war ended because, in Britain’s Parliament, opposition to the war and the administration of Lord North’s government reached critical mass.

After Yorktown, the first political skirmish in Parliament against the war came after the Second Battle of Ushant, a British naval victory over the French on this day. The battle was far from American shores in the English Channel. A small British fleet was dispatched to intercept what turned out to be a significantly larger French convoy of ships carrying reinforcements and supplies to France’s Caribbean holdings. In a quick strike, the British fleet captured fifteen of the supply ships before it withdrew from the battle.

When news of the battle at Ushant reached Britain, the Opposition in Parliament questioned the decision to send such a small force against the convoy, and forced an official inquiry into the administration of the Royal Navy. This was the first of a succession of Opposition challenges which would ultimately bring about the fall of the government of Lord North on 20 March 1782.

When Lord North’s government fell, that was the functional end to the Revolutionary War. All that remained was to negotiate the terms of peace.

1901 – The inventor of the radio, Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio signal

Guglielmo Marconi, an autodidactic Italian inventor, had been experimenting with wireless transmission of radio signals as a teen. By the age of 20, he had invented all of the components needed to send and receive wireless signals. His major hurdle was how to increase the power, and thus the range, of the signals. On this date in 1901, using an antenna raised to a height of 500 feet by a kite, Marconi claimed to have received a radio signal – the letter “S” in Morse Code – sent from Cornwall, England to Signal Hill in Newfoundland, a distance of 2,200 miles apart.

There was no independent verification at the time and many were skeptical. Many scientists believing that such transmissions required line of site. Marconi would prove the skeptics wrong the next year when he was able to repeated the results in a better organized and documented test.

2015 – Paris Agreement relating to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is adopted.

The Paris Agreement, signed this day by most member nation of the UN, represented the high water mark for internationalists and socialists who dreamed of using the canard of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change as a backdoor to establish a measure of world government and access to the wealth of the West. President Barrack Hussein Obama was all in, signing up the U.S. to this treaty without Congressional authorization and, similarly unauthorized, transferring hundreds of millions of U.S. tax dollars into a new, UN administered Green Fund.

The Paris Agreement amounted to socialist redistribution of primarily America’s wealth on an intentional scale. Further, it envisioned multinational taxation – all flowing to the UN – and a Court of Climate Justice able to render binding verdicts against climate sinning nations. As I wrote in 2015, “it would be in irreconcilable conflict with our laws and Constitution.”

The fact that President Donald Trump withdrew America from this obscenity may, in the long run, be the most consequential act of his administration.

Notable Events on Dec. 12

1098 – The leaders of the First Crusade did a poor job of planning for logistics. Consequently, when, on this day, the Crusaders finished the Siege of Ma’arrat al-Numan (in modern day Syria), many of soldiers who breached the walls and took part in slaughtering the town’s 20,000 inhabitants, were starving. A priest, Fulcher of Chartres, was present and chronicled what happened next:

I shudder to tell that many of our people, harassed by the madness of excessive hunger, cut pieces from the buttocks of the Saracens already dead there, which they cooked, but when it was not yet roasted enough by the fire, they devoured it with savage mouth.

1917 – In Nebraska, Father Edward J. Flanagan founded Boys Town as a farm village for orphaned boys. Besides spawning a 1938 movie with Spencer Tracy, Boys Town has expanded its mission and grown over the years. Today, the organization provides care to children and families at nine locations across the country.

1941 – Hitler adopted a policy of genocide of the Jews at a meeting of the Reich Chancellery. Goebbels one of the small number of high ranking party members present for the meeting, made the following entry in his diary for 12 December (original in German):

Regarding the Jewish Question, the Führer has decided to make a clean sweep. He prophesied to the Jews that, if they yet again brought about a world war, they would experience their own annihilation. That was not just a phrase. The world war is here, and the annihilation of the Jews must be the necessary consequence.

1991 – The Russian Federation withdrew from the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR. The dissolution of the Soviet Union was complete.

2000 – The United States Supreme Court released its decision in Bush v. Gore, bringing finality to the 2000 election that saw Al Gore trying to recount and challenge enough votes in Florida to overturn the results. Can you possibly imagine the U.S. today, after Sept. 11, the attacks by militant Islam, and the climate lunacy of the Paris Agreement, if Gore had won the 2000 election?

Born on Dec. 12

1863 – Edvard Munch, a Norwegian painter who lived life on the edge of mental illness. His best known work, The Scream, has become one of the world’s most iconic images.

Died on December 12

1889 – Robert Browning, one of the foremost poets of the Victorian era and husband to another great poet, Elizabeth Barret Browning.

Today Browning’s critically most esteemed poems include the monologues Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, Fra Lippo Lippi, Andrea Del Sarto, and My Last Duchess. His most popular poems include Porphyria’s Lover, How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix, the diptych Meeting at Night, the patriotic Home Thoughts from Abroad, and the children’s poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin. . . .

Browning is [also] popularly known . . . for certain famous lines: “Grow old along with me!” (Rabbi Ben Ezra), “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp” and “Less is more” (Andrea Del Sarto), “It was roses, roses all the way” (The Patriot), and “God’s in His heaven—All’s right with the world!” (Pippa Passes).

2006 – Peter Boyle, an actor most famous for two comic roles, first as the monster in Young Frankenstein where he truly impresses Madeline Kahn (Oh sweet mystery of life), then as the grandfather in the popular sitcom, Everybody Love Raymond.

Christmas Music

Little Drummer Boy is a popular Christmas Carol written by the American classical music composer and teacher Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1940. First recorded in 1951 by the von Trapp Family Singers.

O Christmas Tree was not originally a Christmas Carol. A German folk song that originated in the 16th century, it is about a fir tree. Over the years, it has become associated with Christmas.

And for your extended listening, . . . Mannheim Steamroller