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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 125, June 27, 1851

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Identifier: DX01029468

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 125, June 27, 1851

Description: Comments on past European rulers, from Elizabeth I of England to Napoleon Bonaparte of France.


The blood of poor Mary of Scotland clings to it [to Elizabeth I]. The whole career of that unhappy queen, from the time of her setting foot on that inhospitable land, to the hall in Fotheringay castle [Fotheringhay Castle] was a series of unmitigated brutalities. Will not some novelist revenge us on John Knox, that “ruffian of the Reformation”? (Brave old [Samuel] Johnson for that epithet!) [Walter] Scott might have done it & should. The wife-killing Earl of Leicester [Robert Dudley] counselled poison, for Mary & Elizabeth desired it also; pity is it that that villain has ‘scaped, & poor Tony Foster been gibbeted for him. The echo of “the three strokes” that severed the fair neck of poor Mary Stuart out-sound aught else in Elizabeth’s reign. / I knew not till now that the vulgar Scotch pedant James the Second First deserves place in the same circle in the Inferno with Dante’s preceptor Brunetto Latini. His answer to [Walter] Raleigh’s wife [Elizabeth Throckmorton Raleigh], when supplicating for that noble life, is revoltingly characteristic. “I maun hae the land, to gie to Kerr!” The Wretch Kerr! / There are few things in history, of which Englishman may be prouder, than the contrast shewn in the death of Charles Stuart & that of Louis the 18th [16th]. Solemnly & justly was Charles tried, solemnly was he done to death; — the “martyr” of deposition. Poor Louis was butchered by a rabble of half mad hell-hounds. / There have been but two kings of the English People. Saxon Alfred — (what a solemn love the word carries with it!) & [Oliver] Cromwell. Him you respect, for that he was an earnest Lion-hearted Englishman, ruled his country well & made it feared & honored. [William] Shakspere made Henry V, so he’s not admissable

/ I’m sorry Shakspere had a hand in writing Henry 8. Say what we will it is an apology for that incarnation of self will and tyranny. How England feared that monster? What a false glitter and halo was their about right divine then? Not a man found in broad England to take a knife and for the honor of outraged humanity do that justifiable tyrannicide. / Napoleon found France a nation of enfranchised slaves, and left them a nation of soldiers. He deserved assassination the hour he commenced intrigue for Royalty, and ten thousand times afterwards. He was a cold-blooded, callous hearted despot; — his military skill simply that of overpowering

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1851-06-27

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Diaries


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