Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Marquis de Montcalm

One of my heroes is Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm. Montcalm was born exactly 300 years ago, on February 29, 1712. When he was 12, he joined the French army and served in the War of the Polish Succession (1733-36). On October 3, 1736, Montcalm married Louise-Angelique Talon de Boulay. They had 10 children, but only 6 survived to adulthood. Throughout his life, Montcalm's heart was always with his family, even when he was absent.

Montcalm fought in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48). When the war was over, he was allowed to raise a cavalry regiment, the Regiment de Montcalm. In 1756, France and England declared war on each other, beginning the Seven Years' War. Montcalm was sent to New France (Canada) as commander of French regular troops. Montcalm besieged and took Fort Oswego (1756) and Fort William-Henry (1757). He also shattered a British army attacking Fort Carillon (1758).

But the British were not Montcalm's chief enemies. The French-Canadian leaders made life difficult for Montcalm. Governor Vaudreuil was a man with, it seems, little character and a big ego. He was not a bad man per se, but was surrounded by evil counsellors like Intendant Bigot and M. Pean. Bigot and Pean were bureaucrats who stole money from the King. They did not like Montcalm's candor in exposing their official stealing.

1759 saw Montcalm defending Quebec against James Wolfe. Both were killed in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

Montcalm held the line against not only the British, but also the corrupt Canadian bureaucrats. He held to principles of Biblical warfare. But a characteristic that is not often seen in other generals was his modesty. Louis XV awarded him the Cross of Saint-Louis. He wrote to his wife about this honour, adding, "But I think I am better pleased with what you tell me of the success of my oil-mill."

Montcalm's priorities were his family and his church, and he never forgot them, even in the heat of campaigning or the battles with the Canadian bureaucrats.

Recommended reading: The Passing of New France: A Chronicle of Montcalm by William C. H. Wood. This is an excellent study of Montcalm and the French & Indian War.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

On the "Buckley Rule"

“Nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable”—William F. Buckley, Jr.

This statement is held up by conservatives as the “golden rule” about the best way to vote. See which candidates are likely to win. Test them for being “conservative” (whatever that means, for the definition has changed over time and even changes between people). If they have a shot at winning and are more conservative than the other, vote for them.

The Means.
The goal is to elect a conservative candidate (more on the problems of that later). But are the means accurate?
“20Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:”—Daniel 2:20-21
In these verses, Daniel makes it quite clear that God, not man, sets up and removes kings.
First, who says that man is always going to back a winner? How many voters would have backed an obscure monk against the whole church hierarchy? But Martin Luther changed the world. How many good leaders would have been (or even have been!) rejected if this philosophy had been followed?
Second, man is put in the place of God by determining who is electable. Apart from the fact that man is often wrong (see above), this puts him in a place where he has no right to be. We are to obey God, and let God take care of the results. If we try to foresee the results, we run into big problems. If voting for an “electable” candidate is right, how can you gainsay fortune-telling? Both endeavor to see into the future and act accordingly.

The Goal.
While the means are flawed, the goal they are trying to reach is not even right! The goal is to elect a conservative candidate. Conservatism is thus made an end in itself. The litmus test should be the Word of God, and if a candidate is faithful to the word of God, Christians should vote for him, whether his party is Republican, Democrat, Tory, or anything else.
But don’t conservatives tend to be closer to the Word of God with sound money, sanctity of life, etc.? This is probably true, but never hand someone a so-called blank check. That is, don’t slither out of your duty by saying “they’re conservative (or Libertarian, etc.), so they must be right.” Instead, evaluate all candidates individually by the Word of God, whether Libertarian, Cameronian, or any other. And if no candidate is Biblically qualified, don’t vote for anyone! But…but that’s wasting your vote, isn’t it? Nope. God (not man) sets up kings (and presidents). If you obey God, that’s all God is concerned about, not whether you throw away a privilege by obeying Him.

The Conclusion.
I will conclude with a quotation from Mr. Kevin Swanson from his lecture on Overpopulation and the Coming Demographic Bomb, given at the Baby Conference. He is discussing pragmatism, and how “Super Uzzah” demonstrated it in 2 Samuel 6. “Super Uzzah” tried to save the day by catching the Ark from falling and God killed him for it.
“‘But…but…but…but God, I was just trying to…I was just trying to save the country! Oh God, I…I voted for somebody who didn’t fear God, hate coveteousness. I…I…I voted for somebody who’s the better of two evils, God. I…I…I know he promised that he was only going to kill 800,000 babies a year instead of 1.2 million a year. But God, he was going to kill less babies, that’s what he said, anyway. And…and I really believed him and stuff. And God, I really wanted to save the nation and so I voted for Hitler instead of Stalin! I knew Stalin was going to kill 20 million! I knew Hitler was only going to kill 6 million! And I…I did it, God! I did it! I voted for the lesser of two evils! Hitler over Stalin! And God, I did it! I saved 13 million people!’”
“I’m sorry; God doesn’t appreciate that, because God wants you to vote for a man who fears God and hates coveteousness. He’s not asking how many babies you think he’s going to kill, He’s asking you ‘Does the man fear God?’”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rout of Moy

Today (actually tonight and early tomorrow morning) marks the Rout of Moy, one of the most impressive instances of "One man of you shall chase a thousand" (Joshua 23:10a).

In 1746, Prince Charles Edward Stuart a.k.a. "Bonnie Prince Charlie" was staying at Moy Hall, the house of Lady Anne Farquharson-Mackintosh. Lord Loudoun heard of this, and set out to capture Bonnie Prince Charlie with 1,500 soldiers of the Independent Companies and his own 64th Highlanders. They marched by night to keep this attack a secret. However, fifteen year old Lauchlin Mackintosh ran from Inverness to Moy Hall to warn Lady Mackintosh that Charles was in danger.

When she heard the news, Lady Mackintosh sent the Prince away with thirty men. She had already assigned four men under Donald Fraser, blacksmith, to watch the roads to Moy Hall. When Loudoun's force came along, the five could see it. Fraser tried a daring ruse to delay Loudoun's men. He fired his gun and shouted for the MacDonalds and Camerons to charge while the other four discharged their muskets. Loudoun's men fled in terror, believing that they had run headlong into the main Jacobite army. The blacksmith was known ever after by the nickname of "Captain of the Five".

Following this rout, Loudoun and his force fled across the Spey River, leaving Inverness in Jacobite hands. The Jacobites would use Inverness as their base until they were destroyed at Culloden.

For Loudoun's report of the battle, see W. Drummond Norie, Life and Adventures of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, volume 3, pages 102-106

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rulers: Barometers of Countries

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn."--Proverbs 29:2

To find out God's blessing or judgment on a nation, just look at its rulers. If God's blessing is on a nation, her rulers will be operating on Biblical principles. Power will be decentralized, as the family and church occupy their roles without interference from the state.

On the other hand, if God has cursed a nation, that too will appear in her rulers. The family and church will become mere departments of an all-controlling state. The state and her rulers will promise solutions to all problems and ills, free medicine and guaranteed jobs--even world peace. Give us all power, and we will create paradise on earth, they say. Power will become more and more centralized until God destroys the nation utterly.

Hosea under inspiration of the Holy Spirit says "I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath." Hosea describes God's judgments on Israel, First, by giving them a king and Second, by taking away the king and the entire nation into captivity.

A poem of c. 1715 illustrates this as well.

"When Israel first provok'd the living Lord,

HE punish'd them with famine, plague, and sword;

Still they sinn'd on--HE, in his wrath, did fling

No thunderbolt amongst them, but a King;

A George-like king was Heav'n's severest rod--

The utmost vengeance of an angry God

God in his wrath sent Saul to punish Jewry,

And George to England, in a greater fury!"

Based on our leaders, is God blessing or cursing these United States?

Poem from J. C. O'Callaghan's excellent study, History of the Irish Brigades in the Service of France.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Madame de la Tour

"But that which ye have already, hold fast till I come"--Revelation 2:25

Illustration by Charles William Jefferys

"In the 1640s, the French settlements in Acadia were subject to a bitter feudal conflict between Charles Menou d’Aulnay and Charles de Saint-Etienne de La Tour, the two noblemen who claimed sole authority over the colony. While de La Tour was absent in April 1645, Menou d’Aulnay attacked his fort on the St. John River (now at St. John, NB) with 200 men and artillery. Mme. Fran├žoise-Marie Jacquelin de La Tour (1602-1645) rose to the occasion and led the fort’s small garrison of about 45 men for three days. The fourth day, the fort finally fell by treason. Mme de La Tour was spared the massacre that followed, but died three weeks later of unknown but probably natural causes. This brave and determined woman was one of Canada’s first heroines as well as the first European woman to raise a family in present-day New Brunswick." pg 45, Canadian Military Heritage by Rene Chartrand

Madame de la Tour defended her husband's house and property against the rival d'Aulnay, like Margaret of Airlie last month. But notice what else M. Chartrand includes in his description of her: "the first European woman to raise a family in present-day New Brunswick." There is an important lesson here for all of us and that is, that while dramatic things (defending a settlement for four days) are remembered, the so-called mundane things (raising a family) are not. But God has called us to "hold what we have" and not seek to make a name for ourselves by our gallant deeds. We are to do the holding, and leave the results to God. She was faithful in holding her post, and did not worry about "what works" (a good lesson for a presidential election year!).