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|Subject: Peyton Randolph - forgotten by all but Bartlettians ... Wed 11 Jan 2012, 13:32|| |
The first American president, as every first-grader knows, was John Hancock (George Washington was about 15th or so), and it is often said with much rue and lugubr that it is a shame Washington gets all the credit these days, just because he happened to be in the chair when the current constitution was ratified, dotified, notified, etc etc.
If you spare a thought for poor Hancock (and Griffin, and St Clair, and Gorham, and Lee, and Mifflin, and Boudinot, and Hanson, and McKean, and Huntingdon) then by rights you should be sparing at least a few more for the London-educated lawyer Mr Randolph, who suffered the further misfortune of having been elected America's first President when Congress still referred to its constituent electorates as colonies. He (and his mate Middleton) predated Hancock, and although the place was in a right state at the time, it still didn't possess any - so both ended up as "Presidents of the Continental Congress as The United Colonies of America".
The town of Bartlett in Tennessee has a street named after him, as does Memphis (ironically beside the nearby suburban Bartlett Park). But that's about it as far as recognition goes. Needless to say - he doesn't figure on any bill ...
Anyone else who was cheated out of his or her rightful place on the local currency?
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|Subject: Re: Peyton Randolph - forgotten by all but Bartlettians ... Wed 11 Jan 2012, 17:35|| |
But was perhaps remembered in the 'West Wing'?
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|Subject: Re: Peyton Randolph - forgotten by all but Bartlettians ... Wed 11 Jan 2012, 17:48|| |
Never watched it - it's a sad state of affairs when a fictional president is consistently more popular than the sitting incumbents, and to a degree that a rather tragic 42% of US citizens in a poll a few years ago thought he was in fact the real thing.
How was our friend remembered in the programme?
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|Subject: Re: Peyton Randolph - forgotten by all but Bartlettians ... Wed 11 Jan 2012, 17:58|| |
The president in the series was ................................................... Josiah Bartlett!
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|Subject: Re: Peyton Randolph - forgotten by all but Bartlettians ... Wed 11 Jan 2012, 18:03|| |
Ah, but they forgot to commemorate my man then! Mr Randolph.
Though maybe Peyton Place was his memorial ...
Decemviratus Legibus Scribundis
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|Subject: Re: Peyton Randolph - forgotten by all but Bartlettians ... Sat 20 Apr 2013, 15:34|| |
- @nordmann wrote:
- Anyone else who was cheated out of his or her rightful place on the local currency?
In England (and by extension the rest of the British Isles) during the period of the so-called ‘Interregnum’ a whole year elapsed between the resignation of Richard Cromwell as Lord Protector in May 1659 and the restoration of the monarchy in Charles II in May 1660. Those 12 months produced 3 different heads-of-state, Charles Fleetwood, William Lenthall and George Monck, who are generally overlooked by many histories.
Some historians assume that the office of ‘head-of state’ during those 12 months was simply held by the Cromwellian Council of State. This assumption (although legalistically plausible) is constitutionally inaccurate because to have had any validity, the Lord Protector’s Council of State would have needed a Lord Protector in office. After the Lord Protector had resigned, however, the Lord Protector’s Council of State (without a Lord Protector) was essentially a ghost entity by definition. Although the Council of State did continue to exist during that time it had little or no function either actually or even nominally. Real authority and power lay with the Army and with Parliament. And these bodies duly provided the de facto heads-of-state during the Interregnum. Here’s a list of the acting (or de facto) heads-of-state of England (and the rest of the British Isles) from May 1659 to May 1660:
Charles Fleetwood (first term) 25 May 1659 – 06 June 1659
General Charles Fleetwood (through his marriage to Bridget Cromwell) was Oliver Cromwell’s son-in-law. He came to power essentially through a bloodless palace coup against his brother-in-law Richard Cromwell.
Fleetwood was the leader of the Wallingford House party named after Fleetwood’s home from where he and other army officers had plotted the coup. The Wallingford House party had been concerned that Richard Cromwell’s Third Protectorate Parliament was becoming too independent of the Army and so sought to reassert Army control. The coup took place on 22 April 1659 when Cromwell bowed to Wallingford House demands that Parliament be dissolved. This was then replaced by the pro-army ’Rump’ Parliament which was recalled on 7 May and Richard Cromwell’s formal resignation followed on the 25th.
Fleetwood’s coup against his brother-in-law was in some respects a pre-run of the later Glorious Revolution of 19 years later when William of Orange and his wife Mary Stuart would oust Mary’s brother James II in 1688. Fleetwood and the rest of the Wallingford House party, however, had not reckoned with the fact that the recalled Rump Parliament, although pro-Army, was nevertheless still a Parliament. And the voice of the re-called Rump Parliament was its Speaker William Lenthall.
William Lenthall (first term) 05 June 1659 – 13 October 1659
The Rump Parliament did not take long to seek to assert its authority despite the existence of the Wallingford House party. On 5 June it appointed Commissioners of the Great Seal of England. The 3 commissioners were in effect the equivalent of the Lord Chancellor and their authority derived from Speaker Lenthall. The following day Parliament voted that all commissions should be signed by Lenthall rather than Fleetwood and the day after that on 7 June it formally appointed Charles Fleetwood, as Lieutenant-General and Commander-in-Chief of forces in England and Scotland. The next day on 8 June a Parliamentary Committee was constituted for nominating and commissioning officers for the Forces. In other words Parliament was letting General Fleetwood know that as far as Parliament was concerned he and the Army were subordinate to Parliament and its Speaker.
These measures Fleetwood and the Wallingford House party seem to have accepted because the measures of themselves did not directly impinge upon their running of the army. It could also be said that being formally appointed by Parliament was good public relations for Charles Fleetwood in terms of constitutional legitimacy. General Fleetwood and Speaker Lenthall were thus able to co-exist as ‘joint heads-of-state’ for the rest of the summer and into the autumn although such co-existence was almost entirely in the mind and on the part of Fleetwood. It became increasingly clear that William Lenthall did not see himself as Fleetwood’s puppet and neither did the Rump Parliament see itself as the rubber stamp of Wallingford House.
The ambiguity came to a head, however, on 11 October when Parliament passed an act against taxation without parliamentary consent. This was Parliament re-asserting its full and traditional sovereignty and duly the next day it passed an Act appointing commissioners for the government of the Army. This was the final straw for Fleetwood and the Wallingford House party as it seemed to them that yet again Parliament was seeking to control the Army rather than the other way around.
Charles Fleetwood (second term) 13 October 1659 – 24 December 1659
Unlike in May, however, this time the Wallingford House party opted for an out-an-out military coup. Fleetwood’s ardent lieutenant General John Lambert struck quickly and surrounded the House of Commons with his troops and dispersed all the members. This was an even more despotic act than even Pride’s Purge had been 11 years earlier. On that occasion in 1648 Colonel Thomas Pride had barred admission to the House of Commons to opponents of the Army leadership. This time, however, all MPs regardless of political opinion and including Speaker Lenthall were barred. The Mace (the symbol of the Speaker’s authority) was also taken off him. Fleetwood and Lambert and the rest of the Wallingford House party now ruled as an out-and-out military junta.
The military dictatorship lasted just over a month before it began to unravel. Although Fleetwood (and particularly Lambert) were popular with the Army rank and file, the country at large was tired of Army rule. There were frequent scuffles involving soldiers and apprentice boys etc. In London soldiers even began going on patrol unarmed (yes, unarmed) in the belief that they were less likely to receive verbal abuse or physical assault that way.
Neither were the outraged MPs prepared to accept military dictatorship lying down. Well aware of divisions within the Army itself (not to mention rivalry between the Army and the Navy) they immediately began seeking out officers who were less sympathetic to Wallingford House. General George Monck stationed in Edinburgh and commander of forces in Scotland was just such an Army officer. He had previously been a Navy man and was in no way a member of Wallingford House. The dispersed Parliament commissioned him Commander-in-Chief of all Parliamentary forces on 24 November. This effectively put him in charge not only of the Army in Scotland but in Ireland too and also of many non-Wallingford House elements in England. It also meant that the Army now had 2 competing ‘commanders-in-chief’ – General Fleetwood and General Monck. Momentum and authority now began ebbing away from Fleetwood and Wallingford House. Lacking support from the navy and not even supported by all of the army and without a working Parliament to support them the Wallingford House junta rapidly ran out not only of legitimacy but also of funds. Unpaid and weary, the army in England restored the Rump Parliament on 24 December thus effectively ending Fleetwood’s dictatorship.
William Lenthall (second term) 24 December 1659 – 01 January 1660
Speaker Lenthall was now even more of a statesmanlike figure than he had been in October. The Wallingford House party, however, had not altogether gone away. General John Lambert, still highly ambitious (he had once entertained the proposal that his daughter should marry the exiled Charles II) was still hopeful of asserting Wallingford House control over the army and set northwards with an army to confront Monck. Parliament needed to counter this ‘man-on-horseback’ quickly and so in order to prevent another civil war and a possible Lambert military dictatorship they invited George Monck to head a military dictatorship instead.
George Monck 01 January 1660 – 8 May 1660
General Monck crossed the River Tweed on 2 January and headed south towards London. Any thoughts that a battle would ensue between Monck’s and Lambert’s armies, however, were soon dispelled when John Lambert’s soldiers deserted en masse leaving Lambert literally a general without an army. General Monck reached London on 2 February.
Monk’s status at that time is emphasised by Samuel Pepys who wrote in his Diary on 7 February that Monk ‘hath now the absolute command and power to do any thing that he hath a mind to do’. Two days later Pepys wrote that ‘Monk had this day clapt up many of the Common-council, and that the Parliament had voted that he should pull down their gates and portcullisses, their posts and their chains, which he do intend to do, and do lie in the City all night.’ George Monck, however, had no desire to remain military dictator indefinitely and began secret communication with Charles II in the Netherlands with a view to the restoration of the monarchy. On 21 February Monck reversed Pride’s Purge and the MPs who had been excluded in 1648 were allowed to return. This fundamentally undermined the Rump Parliament and even Speaker Lenthall was surprised at the turn of events. In his Diary on 6 March Samuel Pepys noted that ‘Every body now drinks the King’s health without any fear, whereas before it was very private that a man dare do it.’ The following day Lambert was sent to the Tower. On 13 March the House of Lords was re-established and three days later the Long Parliament finally dissolved itself. On 19 March Pepy’s wrote ‘Monk’s lifeguard come by with the Serjeant at Arms before them, with two Proclamations, that all Cavaliers do depart the town; but the other that all officers that were lately disbanded should do the same’. On 15th April Pepys wrote ‘General Monk do resolve to make a thorough change, to make way for the King’.
A new election produced the Convention Parliament which assembled on 25 April and chose a new Speaker Sir Harbottle Grimston. With Monck still military dictator and with the House of Lords re-instated, this House of Commons Speaker, therefore, can not be seen like Lenthall as being a head-of-state. That said - following on from Monck’s earlier overtures towards Charles II, Grimston visited Charles in Breda and parliament declared Charles king on 8 May. Charles arrived in England on 25 May - exactly a year to the day after Richard Cromwell’s resignation.
Interestingly George Monck features on stamps issued by the Turks & Caicos Islands in 1970 marking the 'Tercentenary of the Issue of Letters Patent':
1670 was the year of Monck's death and (at a guess) the 'tercentenary' refers to Letters Patent issued by the Lords Proprietor of Carolina (of which George Monck, Duke of Albemarle was one) regarding the status of the islands. But does anyone exactly what the letters are which are being referred to here?