June 21st, 2006

surya

WWF, a lesson in pseudo-history, and some real history

A couple of things that came up at Walking With Fire ought to be noted.

We went to America's Stonehenge (biggest fraud ever!) one day, and there was a large map on the wall about all the "explorers" who have been sent around the world. A couple caught our eye: Prince Madoc, a Welshman who discovered America in 1170 and settled in Kentucky; and Sir Henry Sinclair, a Templar Knight who discovered Nova Scotia in 1397.

All we had when looking at the maps were the names, so I wrote them down in hopes of eventually figuring out who they were. And wouldn't you know it, the Internet has come through again.

Also, we came across a memorial to Captain James Mugford in Marblehead, who was killed on May 17, 1776. His grave was at the top of Old Burial Hill, on a monument that describes his ship, the Franklin (60 tons and four 4-pound guns), and the capture of the HMS Hope, a 300 ton, 10 gun ship. The Hope was one of the most valuable prizes of the revolution, amounting to about $1,349,343.15 in prize money.

Captain Mugford had been pressed into service on a British frigate, where he learned of the Hope's arrival and destination. His wife managed to get him released from his impressment by indicating that they were only recently married and that she needed the support. He immediately boarded a fishing ship called the Franklin, outfitted the ship for battle, and got his own crew (he had not received an actual commission at this point, only applied for it, which makes him technically a pirate, and the prize money was never properly paid out).

When the Hope appeared, he sailed alongside her, still pretending to be a fishing boat. He then grappled the English ship, called his crew from below decks, and boarded her. Then he sailed off to Boston with her.

All this was done within sight of the British fleet anchroed at Nantasket Roads.

The siezure of the powder on the Hope also prevented the British, at Nantasket Roads, from opposing Washington's entry to Boston in March 1776 (the British had evacuated, and were partially pending the supply of powder from the ship to counterattack). Washington also had only nine rounds of powder to each man at this point, and could never have repelled the British, had they attacked.

Two days after the siezure, the Franklin was sailing through Sherley Gut alongside the USS Lady Washington and was attacked by a number of British ships (about 100 or so men in 12 or 13 ships, compared to the 21 men on the Franklin and 7 men on the Lady Washington). Mugford was mortally wounded, the only loss of life on the American side, his last words being an answer to the question, "Are you wounded?"

"Yes, but don’t let the enemy know the situation, and if I die act as if I were alive and am still commanding."

The Franklin escaped, and Mugford was buried with full military honours on Old Burial Hill.

A good description can be found about half-way down this page, utilizing primary sources to describe the battle in which Mugford lost his life (search on "May 17" to find the specific spot). Apparently, before he died, Mugford personally cut off the hands of about 5 pirates trying to board.

A couple of sources.
surya

My foot, and a morning devotional.

Well, It's official: my foot (and sock, and part of the inside of my boot) is Collapse )

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It still hurts, but isn't nearly as tender to the touch as it was this morning, so I'm walking generally without my cane right now.

Of course, I've decided that I need to learn how to walk with a cane. My shoulder is killing me because I've put all my weight on it all morning, and I did a lot of moving around this morning before making it in to work.

The ritual this morning was all right, but I was distracted far too much by my foot to really get into it. I imagine I probably didn't seem like the nicest person this morning, but then again, I got in my fill of ritual before anyone else showed up, surprisingly enough.

I got there early (I'd planned enough lee-way to get woken up and moving this morning that the incident with my foot didn't really slow me down. . . It actually probably woke me up faster) and sat in the labyrinth for a while, alone.

I'd been reading MacDonnell's Vedic Mythology the night before, which is what made me decide to go into the ritual the next morning in the first place. Particularly, I was reading about Usas, where I came across the line: "She is besought to arouse only the devout ... worshipper, leaving the ungodly ... to sleep on."

And I could not help but feel spoken to.

So this morning, I raced her as the daughters of heaven, the shining mothers of order, changed colour and showed the sun his path.

And as I saw the sun come up entirely, I found myself asking, "When does Usas give way to Surya?"

So I wrote to Usas, for Usas. I find that I absolutely must get a copy of the Rgveda so I can study the meter and speak well to this particular goddess. What I wrote, I would be embarassed to show her.