Getting Prepared: An Untrained Housewife Guide (The Untrained Housewifes Guides Book 1)

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Organization is God's method of growth, of progress, of perfecting his creations. Through organized government He is working out the salvation of the races. In a truly Christian government we will have the aggregate forces. It will be conceded that man is an organized being; that he is the subject of inherent laws, both physical and spiritual; that God in making him subject to laws initiated government -- the government of man as an individual. He made man accountable to himself, and that he might be responsible as well as accountable, he made him a free agent.

This free agency involved the power to use or abuse his faculties, to obey or disobey the laws of his being, with the right to use and obey only. Free agency, then, implies power without the right to act in disobedience of natural or inherent laws, with both the power and the right to act in harmony with such laws. The right of self-government then, as involved in human free agency, we understand to be the right of an individual to use and enjoy himself -- all his faculties, physical and spiritual -- subject only to natural and inherent laws.

If man had been created to live in isolation, self-government, as towards God and himself, would be the ultimate of government. But God has set us in families and neighborhoods and thus necessitated the extension to our social relations of those self-governing laws which inhere or are God-imposed upon the individual. The government of the individual man and the government of man in the mass, is the same in principle. The law that rules the individual in his relations with others, is the law that should govern the state in its relations to the individual citizen. The individual, exercising his rights of self-government, does by others as he would have others do by him -- regards the rights of his neighbor in property, industries, associations and opinions as he would have his neighbor regard his.

A Christian government simply makes this regard for individual rights a matter of individual obligation, in order that any not disposed to act justly may be coerced into good citizenship and restrained from abusing their power to do wrong. As families, neighborhoods and numbers combine, the diversity of interests, industries, and needs complicate government action, but in no wise release it from the fundamental law of right that governs the individual citizen.

As the individual cannot divest himself of his right of self-government -- its exercise being a duty as well as a right -- so the State cannot rightfully take it from him, by assuming to discharge the responsibilities and perform the duties involved in its exercise. Neither can the individual usurp the rights of his neighbors, but he can combine with them in the exercise of self-governing powers, on the basis of individual, self-governing right, and thus organize civil government. Such a government can have no other nor higher powers than the individuals composing it had to confer.

The stream cannot rise higher than its fountain, and the fountain of a Christian, or God-provided government, is the sovereignty of the individual over himself -- not over his neighbor. Hence the axiom -- "All governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whither is civilization tending? Christian men and women are prone to forget, that while the ark of civilization is jostled on men's shoulders, as was the "ark of the covenant" on the shoulders of oxen, its temple is being builded after the divine plan without sound of axe or hammer. Whither should civilization tend?

Through individual suffering and national disorder, through revolution and reconstruction, the grand ultimate of Christian civilization is coming to us in a Christian government -- a government controlled by moral forces in which, self-governed and self-governing, the subject shall exercise and enjoy all his natural and inherent rights and the ruler no more; a government which recognizes Christ's teachings of love and duty as practical rules and not abstract principles to be admired in theory and ignored in the life of the individual and the State.

For us component members and working forces in this world of intelligence and feeling, our individual action either helps or hinders its divinely ordered course. The question is eminently one of working forces. These forces are divine and human, co-operative or antagonistic. In their co-operation is progress; in their antagonism civilization is like a ship struggling against adverse winds with mainsails furled -- its advance is necessarily slow.

Again, the gems of progress are with the individual, and while a nation seems to stand still under the shadow of some great wrong, in the soul of a Garrison, or the heart of a loving woman, the fires are lighted which, in the course of a generation, may purge the State and elevate a whole people to a higher plane of civilization. This explains why progress in civil government is so slow. Truth promulgated first by individuals, must permeate the masses, reconstruct social thought, and win upon the convictions of a governing majority to secure its embodiment in constitutional law.

Venerated customs and established habits of life and thought obstruct the track, and to the work of introducing the new is added the labor of eliminating the old and cherished. Another reason for the slow development of Christian government is to be found in the exclusion of large classes of virtuous and intelligent citizens from participation in its responsibilities and duties.

For lack of intelligent, moral force at the ballotboxes, our ship of State well nigh foundered. It only saved itself by practically acknowledging the claim of four millions of slaves to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Injustice to women, though it threatens neither bloodshed nor "dissolution of the Union," is a costly injustice whose removal promises more for the moral and intellectual progress of our country than the enfranchisement of the negro [ sic ].

The State could not afford the disfranchisement of the negro [ sic ], still less can it afford the disfranchisement of its women. Conceding that virtue and intelligence are the life and security of the State, and ignorance and injustice its bane, our government has escaped Scylla only to encounter Carybides if, enfranchising a million of ignorant bondmen, with their non-co-operative masters, it fails also to enfranchise, and thus bring to its support, the morality, loyalty, and intelligence represented by the half of the community excluded on the ground of sex.

An earnest protest against intemperance and oppression; a persistent worker in the educational field; holding two thirds the membership of the Christian churches -- who can doubt what would have been the influence of woman in the past, or what it will be in the future as a political element in the government of State? With only the right of petition, free speech and pen, against the enfranchised forces of intemperance, ignorance and oppression; in face of reproach and prophecies of demoralization to herself, woman has made her record bright with benefits to her sex and country; has won the endorsement and co-operation of good men and secured from the State government, human concessions of rights which have already opened to her wider fields of remunerative industry, arts, sciences, professions from which, scarcely a quarter of a century since, she was absolutely excluded.

These concessions have placed in her hands a proportion of taxable property and financial consideration which make her enfranchisement a claim of honor as well as right. The mothers of the State, especially the war-widowed mothers, who are still discharging to minor children the duties of both father and mother, have special claims to enfranchisement. The moral and intellectual interest of their children are a higher claim to representation than any mere property qualification of the government.

If possession of the dollar pleads for the enfranchisement of men who are neither husbands nor fathers, surely the child is a better reason for the enfranchisement of the mother from whom he must learn the fundamental principles of just government. What would be thought of the farmer who should call all his hands together and gravely lecture them on their responsibilities as harvesters, to secure the crop with the greatest dispatch and in the best possible condition, and then, to prepare them for their best endeavor, should tie their right hands behind them?

And this is what our government has done for woman. It has withheld from her all power to make good laws or veto bad ones; and yet holds her responsible for the morals of society and the proper training of her children. It legalizes dram-shops at her very door to compete against her for the souls and bodies of husband and sons. This exclusion from participation in a government which controls even her home and the tenure by which she holds it, is bad economy for the government, and in face of its assumed character of protector, convicts it of either criminal weakness or bad faith, or both.

It is bad economy, inasmuch as it robs the State and the home of wealth which she is pre-eminently qualified to create and apply for common good, and of a manly self-respect which cooperative womanly intelligence is fitted to infuse. Her exclusion from participation in the humanitarian interests controlled by government, is a grievous wrong done to humanity itself. The assertion that a legitimate participation in the affairs of government degrades men morally, and would degrade woman, is either a libel, or a confession that the government has no claim to the title of Christian. If a libel, such an assertion is a crime against the State: as a "confession of faith" its influence is to hand over the offices of the government to men who seek to gratify their greed for spoils and power in the selfish use of its franchises.

For good men who hold such a faith, and men who hold on to "reputations above reproach,["] alike refuse to enter the lists. Excluded from pursuits that give invigorating mental occupation, dissuaded from healthful, industrial pursuits, as irreconcilable with grace and beauty and position, woman, with a temperament more active and impressible than man's, must needs find something to fill her hungry mind and restless hands. What wonder, then, that in our cities and villages, where household work is largely done by servants, women turn to the gayeties of fashionable life as their only resource?

Why wonder that many should make it the business of their lives to deck their persons and display their accomplishments, when in their society men of their own class and kin habitually banish from their conversation all allusions to the nobler pursuits and purposes of life, and pay homage to grace and beauty and uselessness, as if these were the end and exaltation of womanly existence?

What wonder that with only such a career open to them, women should be found who systematically and suicidally thwart the laws of their being and become criminals to escape maternal cares, which would transfer them from the intoxicating scenes of fashionable life to the cares and confinement of the nursery?

What wonder that in the pettinesses taught by their disfranchised condition, such women should shrink from responsibilities beyond their grasp and duties made irksome by false estimates and unnatural views of life and its noble possibilities? What wonder that men who marry such women, and aid, instigate and abet them in their career, should find their reward at last in domestic infelicity, ruined reputations and beggared ambitions? Possibly, with the sad experience of dissipated husband, father, brother, the disenchanted women shrinks from the doubtful responsibility of guiding boyhood's steps amid the pitfalls opened by customs beyond her reach or licensed by laws she cannot veto.

God help the state if there be no clay potent to remove the moral blindness of men who urge the results of their own course towards woman as evidence of her unfitness for the responsibilities which belong to her right of self-government. Never has justice been done to a disfranchised class; and even though its interests might be protected to-day, the exigencies of the future would develop interests and combinations of interests in which the enfranchised would suffer with the disfranchised, because of the powerlessness of the latter.

The temperance interest is a case in point. Man may at present be more competent than woman to engineer the financial affairs of the state, yet, lacking woman's vote in the moral and social, he may fail in the saving of expenditures. She may fail to calculate the expense of a prison, but he can rely on her moral influence -- with a ballot in her hand -- to save the need of it.

In every department of life, God has so intwined the interests of the sexes that they cannot be ignored by either man or woman without loss to both. If in the prosecution of her individual interests woman needs to be enfranchised; if in attaining to the perfect development and vigor of her moral and intellectual faculties, she needs to exercise her self-governing faculties, man has no less need of her co-operative moral sense, her quicker perception of humanitarian interests, and her faithful mother-heart, in the practical accomplishment of a truly Christian government.

I had not at my command the leisure and quiet necessary to the preparation of anything; and to select anything suitable from my unpublished and incomplete jottings, or my published articles, which being chiefly editorial would require redressing and furbishing, would have been equally impossible, though in your kindness suggested as "acceptable.


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But with the rude conveniencies [ sic ] of a pioneer settlement came sickness, bereavement and the border troubles which resulted in years of domestic privations and public service for the new State, in the interest of humanity, especially of its mother-fountains. And now, at 71 years of age, and an invalid of two years standing -- I am answering your question of with an explanation and a suggestion. Did you ever dream of finding yourself in respectable company denuded of your shoes and stockings, perhaps with your nightcap on your head; or that in dispersing you had unwittingly exchanged garments with a guest and were out of taste, or in -- a fix?

I have felt something like this in reading personal history and biographical notices -- floating in the press and collected in local histories -- of persons and incidents with whom I have been associated as an actor, or of which I have been a part. And I confess, as one sister may to another -- that I am appealing to you against such a fate in your forthcoming History of which I have seen only the brief mention in proceedings of the late Legislature.

I inclose to you a statement which contains some leading facts for the verity of which there are in your vicinity men who will vouch. It may be too late. If so, I shall regret that I had not before taken thought and courage to come out from behind the old haunting fear of seeming to seek publicity, which I felt, and justly, would lessen my personal influence and prejudice the cause of woman.

In reply to your kind suggestion, that recollections of life in Kansas, in ante-bellum days, from my pen, would gratify you and be acceptable to your readers, I promise a cordial effort to realize both. The freedom implied in your considerate assurance, that you would not limit my contribution to a summary, nor exact dates, or dictate subjects, but leave me free to draw on my fund of facts, chronicled or unchronicled, alone renders my compliance with your request possible, weighted as I am by physical conditions which will more or less interfere with, if not detract from, the interest and spirit of my pen tracks.

Many an incident petty in itself, gave a zest to that pioneer experience that redeemed it from insipidity; while many another apparently isolated fact, has proved its significance of results already gathered up and preserved by the careful historian. In jotting impressions of the past they present themselves or are suggested by journalistic notices of the day -- without worry or special research, which would probably defeat the object by indefinitely postponing its accomplishment -- I will undoubtedly give occasion for criticism, which kindly made will be as cordially entertained.

Having thus made terms with publishers and readers of the GAZETTE -- old friends all around -- I will begin with a reminiscence brief and pertinent to the occasion -- my introdution to Wyandotte -- recalled to mind by a recent reference in one of your State papers, to the experimental navigation of the Kaw in the early day of Kansas settlement.

In memory's gallery, in a setting all by itself, is a clean cut picture of that pleasant three days trip in March, '57, when the genial [William F. Wyandotte was then a paper city, at nurse; little to be seen beyond its site up in the morning sunshine. As we steamed up the river in our neat little craft, our surroundings were cheerful. I might say exhilarating. The company, generally intelligent and happily expectant, was a mixture of fresh recruits from the east with a generous sprinkling of earlier settlers from Lawrence, who had joined us for the up river voyage.

To say that each individual was an animated interrogation point, differing in the manner rather than the subjects of their questioning, will convey a pretty good idea of the general tone of conversation in the little circles collected on deck, in cabin or steerage. The man who hugged capital in his belt, anxious to ascertain the quantity and prospective value of the soil it might be made to represent, was blandly entertained by the man solicitous to transfer at a profit, investments already made.

City agents interested in the sale of town lots were there also, bidding for desirable elements of prosperous growth, so that between the rival town interests and the floating capital there was a very amiable triangular movement of a business character. Women, most eager to learn the home side of the whole matter, questioned and listened, their hopes and fears shadowed in their eager eyes.

While a few disembarrassed souls fell back on their mental resources and stirred the social element with enjoyable success. Of the latter class were Judge Bailey and Realf. No two individuals could have been more unlike in every point of view. The former one of the finest specimens of a man in size, physical development and unstudied ease; the latter studying for effect and nervously "uneasy as a fish out of water," suggested rather than promised an erratic maturity; for he was, in years a minor. The Judge, whose nature was nicely inlaid with a wholesome poetic temperament, was a perfect compendium of the best poetry of the best school of poets -- cheerful, invigorating, restful, patriotic poets.

With a voice and delivery to make even ordinary poetry agreeable, he held his auditors in refreshing sympathy with his favorite authors. Realf, possessed by the most erratic of poetic imaginings and enwrapt in his own compositions, would repeat folio, after folio in a strained monotone that rasped the nerves of a critical reader beyond power to appreciate the merits of his best -- and there were stanzas quite above the ordinary -- poems.

Poor Realf! It may be that intuitive apprehensions for his highly strung and ill-balanced character, had something to do with the innate repulsion I felt in his society. There seemed to be no real life for him. Nothing practical; not a hook to hang fruition on, cropped out in his poetic ravings and I felt a painful sympathy as for one frantically battling in waters beyond his depth.

With all his good qualities he lacked the necessary outfit for the world he was in; what a world it would have been -- a world fitted to him! If the course of true love never runs smooth so neither does the trimmest vessel with a drunken pilot, which misfortune, attached to our beautiful experiment, eventually invited disaster in the shape of a conflict between our towering smoke-stacks and a leaning treetop on the river's bank.

I think it was in the forenoon of the second day, when the women and children were quietly enjoying themselves in the upper part of the cabin and numbers of the men were sitting and standing around the long dinner table at the lower end, that there came a crash as if the heavens had fallen -- shivered over our heads. Clutching hastily at my children I made towards the steerage; suddenly the tumult was arrested by the reassuring tones of an unpretending little woman admonishing us women "not to act like fools.

Judge Bailey's whereabout during this scene, I cannot now recall: he may have been under the table with Mr. If however my doubt should seem to the Judge insufficient for a verdict in his favor, let him speak; we all will be glad to hear him. The Judge is a charming conversationalist, and never speaks but to the edification of his hearers.

The mirth which followed this comic tragedy, with a sanguine mood of the party, the social chats and the evening dance, soon repaired all damages inside; and outside efforts, with the delay of a few hours, finally landed us safely at Lawrence, where friends, old and new, gave us a hearty welcome. Cora M. Downs a regent of the university, a position she will occupy to the credit of her sex.

Give them a chance. Dear old Quindaro, holding in thy ragged bluffs the open secret of disappointed ambitions, ruined fortunes and dismantled homes who that enjoyed thy bright, fresh morning and participated in thy waning fortunes, would forget thee. Who, of all thy strayed ones, would have thy later prosperity wipe out the remembrance of privations cheerfully shared, -- of tender tones and kindly deeds, comforting in sorrows and brightening with hope of a happier to-morrow?

Not one who had a friend in his great needs; not one whose small needs, in the day of thy deepest gloom, were sore enough to lighten his heavy heart with gratitude for small favors. And yet I feel sure that not one of the old time castle-builders of that defunct city, would not rejoice to know that those old bluffs -- consecrated by many a conquest for temperance and freedom -- from which time and the elements and a thoughtless vandalism have removed many a once cherished land mark -- were dotted with cottage homes and fruitful vineyards, orchards and gardens, as they surely will be in the thrifty future.

How we toiled up and down those side hill paths, till from the sheer force of habit we would fain have limped on the level highway. But many a brave deed was done there, and many a mean one circumvented, of which the world outside knew nought -- many a deed that might "point a moral or adorn a tale" and reflect credit on actors who would perhaps blush to be called by name. And yet will not an old friend be tolerated in touching up the lights and shadows of that fading past by way of refreshment and in contrast with the self sustaining present prosperity of the new Quindaro -- the Quindaro so largely indebted for its bone, sinew and soul to the dry-nursing of its cremated predecessor?

Strange tales and homely -- already forgotten by some and never known to the many, yet holding still-life pictures of sweet growths o'er bitter fountains trailed -- are whispered by the evening breeze in the moon-lit gorges of old Quindaro -- tales that illustrate the rise and decadence of a city whose founders -- his political antipodes -- were aptly designated by a pro-slavery lawyer of Wyandotte, long since deceased, as "the Philantropists of Quindaro. Three well defined eras marked the brief existence of Quindaro on the bluffs. In the first era, like mushrooms in a spring rain, snug cottages and stone castles rushed up at call of men who had come to stay.

In the second, unlike the Arabs they left their tents and stole sorrowfully away. Its third and last estate, may be best and quickly told in the significant remark of our old friend Judge Nelson Cobb, [43] now of Kansas City, who had just sold the flooring of the Quindaro house, the siding of which had been stolen little by little for kindlings -- I asked the judge if he would sell me the chimney to brick up my cistern.

With a twinkle in his eye he replied, "Yes, Mrs. Nichols, if you will steal it. Doors, windows, casings, everything of its vacated tenements but their stone walls, was fast disappearing from the bluffs. To save a remnant of their property the owners were compelled to remove or sell for removal piece meal, all that could be put to use elsewhere.

And so the surrounding country absorbed in its improvements, the depopulated city. What depopulated it? Not one cause but many had conspired to this end. The roughness of the town site and its approaches -- too lightly estimated in the cost of building and leveling of the streets -- was a heavy tax both on the citizens and town company. The unsettled territory in its vicinity and its connections with the interior settlements by roads that encouraged profanity in im-pious teamsters and cruelty to their animals in pious ones -- were serious obstacles to remunerative commerce in that direction, which only an increased population with developed industries could overcome; and for this redeeming future the almost bankrupt population of Quindaro could not wait.

We might have done better for ourselves, but for the menace of our political relations with the Missouri border -- scowling on our front -- which discouraged industrial ventures of a permanent class, while the value of our commercial relations in that direction was -- not inaptly -- represented in Mrs. The consequent decrease of business through its river connection, followed by the reaction of the money pressure in the east, arrested all business enterprise and forced the citizens to fall back on their reserve funds for subsistence.

For such as had expended their all in laying the foundations for permanent residence, there seemed no solution of the situation, but a courageous retreat. And the stampede that marked this conclusion was an additional evidence of Yankee enterprise. Not withstanding all these embarrassments the new city might have bided for a time and eventually rounded into a quiet, unpretending and enjoyable maturity but for the unsettling fact of its contested land titles, which discouraged industries possible in the circumstances and suited to the location.

With undisputed titles, owners of substantial homes would have improved their holdings for present support, adding the unoccupied lands as opportunity invited -- ignoring air lines, bee lines and the suicidal angles of professional street engineers and accommodating public outlets and private inclosures to natures suggestions; terracing and draping the steeps with the graceful vine; planting the levels and slopes to vegetables, flowers and fruit -- kindred and co-operative industries, -- always on the look-out for an opening -- would ultimately have contributed the exchanges and supplies of a thriving community.

In a ten years occupancy, under great disadvantages and with only a limited area, I proved the value of its northern exposure for the culture of fruit. Apples, peaches, cherries, currants, gooseberries and grapes, were never cut off by frost and produced in abundance. I will never cease to regret my Quindaro home, with its mingled memories and defeated possibilities.

And I seldom think of it without a humorous reminder of an incident illustrating the rough-and-tumble conditions and grotesque social relations of that free territory experience. One day in picking my way among the felled trees and rubbish which covered the town site. I came suddenly upon a new settler who was swearing and goading half a dozen yokes of oxen hitched to a immense log, which their non-cooperate efforts ware unable to move. As he paused and turned on discovering me, I expressed a doubt as to the "orthodoxy of his cattle," which seemed utterly devoid of any wholesome fear of God or the devil.

He broke out with the declaration that, "if it hadn't been for Mrs. As he did not pull up stakes, but stayed and "made his pile" he has probably released me from the responsibility of his fortunate location. My chapter -- Mainly introductory -- is already too long. Health permitting I will resume my collections of the early days of Kansas in better time. When I told you that last week I answered 8 letters, and have 10 still lying beside awaiting, not their turn, but supposed forbearance of affection or importance, and that yours, which was the 3rd to come is the 9th to be replied to, can you make any estimate of your supposed good will or the importance of your communication to the friend who read and re-read in its interesting contents?

I think not, for another consideration added to the delay, viz. I get about the house and yard a little, but always with more or less distress from a breaking, tearing feeling across my back which however does not, as it has done, result in enforced abstinence from exercise of my feet. I cannot ride even a half mile for the jarring motion of the carriage, so I am kept at home, but it is a pleasant home surrounded by fine bred cattle, horses and poultry as well as a small flock of high grade merinos with their playful lambs.

I was always in love with the country -- anything but 4 base walls in the desolate prairie. I can sympathize both with your husband's love for farming and your objection to his overwork. But my observation, quickened by experience, tells me that the change from active pursuits to which we have become agreeably habituated, to a life of leisure, is more trying to mental continuity than a degree of physical strain, and acting on this idea I have held on to my life long pursuits, varying or alternating instead of abandoning, either my head or hand labor.

You speak of not having leisure. I never knew what is was to have any disengaged time: there was always something to be done that seemed waiting for me to do it. How often I have wished I could beg, borrow or buy the time I saw others idling away or killing. And there is no less work or more time now, but I have become quite acquiescent in the reconstruction of the message to suit my ability to do. These spinal troubles take the courage down below 0. The Shafters from my Vt. He sent me a gallon of Vt.

It tastes all the better from a friend of the old home. You see I take tea with him every day! You ask about Miss Cobb's Book. York; but their fine type often makes me think of my eyes -- whether they will bear strain as long as I may live. The "Encyclopedia" and Websters unabridged we got as premiums with the N. There have been two books of Kansas, I always meant to have, but waited for spare funds viz. I have no means of learning the prices but by asking the information of you or some other obliging friend.

And of all my Kansas friends -- a half doz. I hope you didn't send the pictures for then they are safe as yet -- in the perspective. I never hear of Mr. I saw a notice of "The Brown divorce trial. Question of alimony deferred. I knew there were good reasons for divorce on her part -- from no word of hers tho'. Bertia lives in Cavendish, Vt. Her stepdaughters, two excellent girls have graduated from good schools and the youngest child of the 3 -- a son of 19 is finishing his school term at the Vermont Academy, a very excellent half way University -- for a farmer.

It is a grand work. More patriotism and statesmanship crops out of its details than any history of the same dates, the Union thro', to my thinking. The proportion of insane is greater than in any other State. This will surely be a question in the future when labor demands equality of rights. The property owned by a criminal before conviction is not taken from him nor should be after, I believe.

Read Col. My paper is full. I am very smiling over the changes I assure you can afford to smile. We learned this from a gentlemen here from there. With warm regards to Gov. In your paper of Nov. Is not this a mistake? The constitution of Vermont originally provided for the submission of all amendments of its constitution by a permanent council, which held its conventions every tenth year. Up to this body, under the title "Council of Censors," had been a permanent department of the State Government, its office being to pass upon the constitutionality of all laws and amendments of laws which had been officially promulgated since the convention of its predecessor; also to recommend for legislative action any amendment or repeal of laws inconsistent with the constitution, or inimical to the public weal; and to prepare for submission to the voters of the state such constitutional changes, if any, as to them seemed wise or expedient.

This council -- its office and title suggestive of much legal talent gone to seed, -- was a conservative brake to the car of progress in political reforms, which compelled Vermont to "make haste slowly. In this convention Hon. Charles Reed of Montpelier -- a member -- urged the submission of a woman suffrage amendment. Happily, I doubt not, for the woman's cause, the council provided for its own extinguishment by a popular vote amending itself from the constitution.

But, as though to stave off to the latest possible moment the suffrage which they saw looming up in the near future, they also submitted a provision prohibiting any amendment of the constitution within the next ten or twelve years. Both amendments having been adopted, no suffrage amendment could have been submitted prior to The Legislature of that year took the first step to woman's enfranchisement -- a step which the old fogies in Council would not commend to favorable legislation, for the avowed reason that it might prove the "inch that takes an ell.

The present biennial legislature is the second elected since the expiration by limitation, of the Censorial prohibition of constitutional amendments by the people through their legislature. The leading spirits of that last Council -- who from their local influence had a large following -- and I may add have nearly all passed with their amendment from life and its issues -- were from the first our bitter opponents. With the new generation and the more intelligent policy of the present educational forces, Vermont women will soon take the ell given them by the "inch" already conceded.

What a blessed leveler is poverty to the vulgar demoralizing pride that seeks position through false pretence of superabundant means. In the impecuniosity of that grand collapse of the city of Quindaro, we extended our empty hands warm with human sympathy, and eyes smiled into eyes that lighted with a glad sense of brave companionship. No man or woman was ashamed to confess the honest shifts compelled by circumstances pressing alike on all. In that time of lean larders and collapsed purses, woman's wit and woman's thrift and sympathy were factors of some account in the general summing up.

We counseled together in our straits; congratulated and imparted to each other the inventive skill which made the best of what we had -- "made something out of nothing," as the saying is and trimmed it with our ingenuity, and were dimly conscious of enrichment in the growth of moral independence, and courageous endurance. We of the feminine gender turned our Sunday skirts -- frayed and faded -- wrong side out and topside down. We repaired the masculine ward-robe; binding the worn cuffs and in the worn places of coat body and sleeves, inserting new; reseating the pants and cutting off and turning the legs before the knees quite came through, -- thus saving the expense of a new outfit; I should have said averting the rags and nudity which befel many a scoffer at yankee economy.

I have not forgotten that such repairing was not a new thing under the sun, and that it is stiff practiced, as I hope it will long be, by good housewives. Indeed I find it quite impossible to dissociate such repairs from good housewifery. But not then, as in our "better days;" were there better suits hanging in our closets to fall back upon for Sunday and holiday wear. Not now as then, when a citizen of the district is sent to represent his fellow citizens in the Legislature, does his clothing represent his wife's ability to make garments "good as new" of soiled and worn ones. But scant as were our wardrobes, money in hand was equally rare as proved by our friend W.

It was a genial face -- it could in no circumstances have been otherwise -- which met me in my kitchen the evening prior to his contemplated journey, and a somewhat embarrassed utterance that apologized for an "untimely call. Nichols had it she would lend it to him. And the faith may be great though the subject matter of it be ever so small. And it took the faith of two women in that day, to extract the last cent, though only three dollars, from a purse whose mains were all cut off.

True indeed were they who could draw on my faith like W. It is in our need, whether of sympathy or counsel or means, that life long friendships are sealed. I hardly need say that at this time, speculation which at an earlier day had made fortunes and sacrificed competence, was cornered; and without money nobody could "turn an honest penny," for credit there was none, and hands and brains were idle for lack of work that would command bread. There was demand; the difficulty was wherewith to pay.

Another neighbor, had negotiated for a load of Col. Park's apples, which he would sell in Lawrence, if ony he could borrow the purchase money. He had tried and failed. If I had it to spare till his return from Lawrence he would divide to me half his profits. I had become so accustomed -- indeed so expectant of loss, that the suddenly presented idea of unearned gain was quite unsettling. So I substituted a trifling business commission and secured the enjoyment of my neighbor's successful venture. But why am I telling these simple tales?

Ah, tell me why memory has stored them among her treasures? Perhaps because they are among the most satisfactory financial transactions of that sharp pioneer experience; or perhaps like halflights, they tone the shadows and brighten the surroundings. In such trifles as these are chronicled the dead, financial calm of the two years immediately proceeding the winter of '62, when the 2d Kansas Regt. In the first of these years a hundred buildings -- many of them of stone and brick -- including hotels, Dry Goods, Hardware and Grocery stores, a Church and School house, had been built. Substantial private residences with cellars walled in cement, and conveniences of the eastern pattern, astonished our Missouri border neighbors.

The year '58, saw many substantial additions and improvements, notwithstanding the checks on business which had already made an impression on the more cautious and experienced of the population and decimated the speculators, whose funds and victims were less ready to their hands. In all the excitement of changed conditions and inflated hopes, the great moral and social questions were not left in the rear. Temperance and freedom eagle-eyed sentineled the town, and when either sounded its call, there was an immediate and effective rally.

The town Company was pledged against liquor license; and that pledge had been the inducement to many immigrants, especially women to prefer the City on the Bluff to the more smooth and inviting location of Wyandotte. The first onslaught of the temperance police, if I recollect aright, was caused by vagaries of hidden whisky in the hollow west of the Quindaro House.

Half a dozen women from that vicinity, led by Mrs. Hugh Gibbons, [60] an intelligent Scotchwoman with whom my after acquaintance ripened into a warm and confidential friendship -- centered a complaint at the Company's office, and were referred to me with the suggestion that a petition, regularly got up and presented to the Company, would receive immediate attention.

The petition with some 30 names of women only, was formally presented, a meeting called, and before set of sun the obnoxious whisky barrel was hauled from beneath the owner's bed and spilled in the street gutter. Then a meeting was called, at which it transpired that certain empiries in council had decided on a whisky prescription, as a specific for the failing vitality of the doomed city. But all in vain. To its last expiring breath it was never so demented as to consent to the sale of intoxicating liquors within its corporate limits.

A majority of the settlers were from the industrial classes of the rural districts of the eastern States. This was notably true of a bevy of young men -- "mothers boys," considerate, affectionate, helpful; nurtured in home love, and inured to the toil, care, and responsibilities of the farm or work shop. They supplemented the hard toil of the day with books of physical social and moral science in homes improvised by their own skill.

One of these bachelor homes -- "Uncle Tom's Cabin," -- has a historical interest apart from its uses as the intellectual center where sundry citizens, your correspondent among the number, were wont to meet for Lyceum discussion and to enjoy the wit and wisdom of its weekly journal " The Cradle of Progress. Of the many slaves who took the train of freedom there, it was remarkable that only one and he through, lack of caution in his approach for help, was ever taken back to Missouri from Quindaro. Uncle Tom's boys could tell of some exciting escapes from Quindaro to the interior, by day and by night.

In '58 I carried to my native town in Vermont a pair of manacles filed by Uncle Tom's boys from the ankle of a stalwart black, who had escaped from the vicinity of Parkville, having drawn one foot from the encircling iron and brought the chain still attached to the other, in his hand. The night before the time set for delivery of the property, assisted by a fellow slave he got loose. The absence of a boat from the vicinity would have indicated their course so they hauled an old dug-out to the riverbank and travelled ten miles up the river where they confiscated a boat and floating down the stream, turned the boat adrift just above the Quindaro landing, where they concealed themselves in the brush-wood at the foot of the bluff on the side of which stood Uncle Tom's Cabin in solitary but inviting hospitality.

Later, a freight wagon, with two large, dry-goods boxes, in passing Bartles, [64] a hotel on the Lawrence road, was accosted by an Indianian who had known the driver as conductor of an eastern U. My cistern -- every brick of it rebuilt in the chimney of my late Wyandotte home -- played its part in the drama of freedom. One beautiful evening late in October '61, as twilight was fading from the bluff, a hurried message came to me from our neighbor -- Fielding Johnson, [65] -- "You must hide Caroline.

Fourteen slave hunters are camped on the Park -- her master among them.

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Its dimensions were 7 x 12 square and a rock bottom; eight feet in depth and reached from a trap in the floor of the wing; an open space between the floor and cistern's mouth -- when left uncovered -- affording ventilation from the outside. Into this cistern Caroline was lowered with comforters, pillow and chair. A washtub over the trap with the usual appliances of a washroom standing around, completed the hiding.

But poor Caroline trembling and almost paralyzed with fear of discovery her nerves weakened by grieving for her little girl transported to Texas, and the cruel blows which had broken her arm and scarred her body -- could not be left alone through the night. As I must have an excuse if found up at an unusual hour, I improvised a sick room. My son sleeping on the sitting-room lounge for a patient; my rocking chair; a stand with cups, vials and night lamp beside him were above suspicion. All night I crept to and fro in slippered feet. Peering from the skylight in the roof, from which in the bright moonlight all the approaches could be plainly seen anon; whispering words of cheer to Caroline in her cell, and back again to watch and wait and whisper.

At 12 o'clock -- mid the cheerful crowing of cocks on both sides of the river -- having taken a careful survey from the skylight, I passed a cup of fresh hot coffee to Caroline and sitting by the open floor drank my own with apparent cheerfulness, but really in a tremor of indignation and fear; fear of a prolonged incarceration of the poor victim of oppression and indignation at the government that protected and the manhood that stayed its hand from "breaking the bonds and telling the oppressed go free.

When evening fell again Caroline and another girl of whom the hunters were in pursuit found a safe conveyance to Leavenworth friends. My earnest thanks are due to Mrs. Rancher, for her very kind appreciation of myself personally, and not less for her honest expression of difference on the subject of woman's rights -- as expressed under the heading, "To vote or not to vote;" in the Press of Dec. Rancher's view of the consideration due to sex -- or rather as not due -- gave me especial pleasure.

Next to that reverent regard for truth and justice, which deals only in candid statements and legitimate conclusions, the highest compliment which men and women can pay each other, in discussing human interests, is a delicate forgetfulness of sex, and a courtesy that remembers to remind one of the inferiority of her sex, a self-respecting woman must detest even when excepted herself from its uncomplimentary application. Holland's comparison of the ballot for women, to "the right of women to sing bass," Mrs. Holland, with his social class limitations, to comprehend the unconventional devotion of woman suffragists to the rights and duties of a common humanity.

I had a friend, one of a large musical family who, when her brothers were absent, rung the bass in their family concerts; and in the church choir, when the bass was absent or weak. Nobody hinted its impropriety or uncomeliness even. On the contrary it was noticed as fortunate in the emergency. It was certainly exceptional, but not unnatural, for the frantic mother, when male friends drew back apalled, to climb the Alpine height for the rescue of her babe from the eagle's eyrie.

But too common to be exceptional is the mother-love which plunges into fire and flood, braves every danger, even death itself, to save the object of its devotion. It seems to me both natural and graceful for an earnest thoughtful woman to do whatever she is able to do, if necessary or desirable. I once say a stout, healthy woman holding an umbrella over her feeble husband's head, to protect it from the hot sun, while he hoed the potato patch. It struck me that hoeing the potatoes would have been more naturally womanly, than the umbrella service of this capable woman, whose action in the case suggested neighborhood relations with the conventional Mrs.

But this question of woman suffrage is not one of grace or beauty, but as a right , involving just and loving uses, it is something infinitely more desirable and precious, especially to the mother-heart of woman. It is true in the main, as Mrs. In this connection Mrs. It may speak through a sympathizing voter, but it is the vote , not the influence, that decides a matter and is a power at the polls. And I do not disparage woman's influence when I claim that as both wise men and wise women are necessary to the integrity of home, so are the influence and votes of both necessary to the support of a wise paternal government for the whole people.

I accept sister R. In the working world, fitness of the laborer for his work is a controlling consideration. As in the past, so in the future, the demand for skilled and adaptive labor, especially in the higher departments, will increase with intelligence and the extended appliance of scientific principles. As in material, so in social affairs. In its developing needs, the world no longer hesitates to accept a boon because the hand that offers it is a woman's. It has ceased indeed to look manward for its moral reserves, and though still haggling over methods, is calling frantically on woman to arrest, by her influence, evils which men with their combined moral and political power find themselves powerless to accomplish.

Here the logical mind, if unprejudiced by custom, is arrested by the absurdity of inviting influence while rejecting its legitimate expression, which, in the case under consideration, is the vote that makes the influence effective, and without which the influence is like a bolt without its nut. Such a separation looks to me like a divorce of what God has joined -- a wrong as vital as the separation of faith and works, or example and precept.

Sister R. But by her own showing, this government which controls all our interests, whether outside the house home? Does not this fact suggest that elements of power essential to overcome the friction of conflicting interests and weight the scales of truth and justice, have been left in the homes? The "expert pivot-turners," perhaps, the wives and mothers, made wise by experience, whose convictions of the domestic and political economy of temperance and equality of rights, though explained and urged in just and loving terms, have not been voiced at the polls by husbands, fathers and brothers -- not voiced because of their debased appetites, greed of gain or office, or indifference to wrongs, which, not having felt themselves, they feel not for others.

Is it strange that with such home experiences, beggared widows, wives and mothers cry out with the "discontented pendulum? Ah, my sister, is here no necessity? Is it no "hardship" in such need, to be denied the first and last resort of good men and great, as of petty and mean men -- the ballot? When we see how unlawful and wicked means are constantly brought to bear to influence voters; how men in high standing are open to bribery and deaf to the cry of the oppressed; how monopolies flourish, and juries are bought, and wickedness carries itself with a high hand -- do we not see that the root of the matter lies deeper than we have yet dug?

And when we remember that women as well as men love the uppermost seats in the synagogue and a grand place in society, and the favor of the powerful ones, can we expect our wrongs righted but by that moral force that alone can make the crooked path straight? Let us never forget that politics as they now stand are a filthy pool; let us never draggle our skirts in their slime, nor descend into this pool till we have carried away the slum of selling a vote for a drink of whisky and of devouring greed for office, and have filled in their place the sweet waters of true temperance on a solid basis of honesty and justice.

Did our sister ever see a sink-hole -- beyond arms-length -- cleansed without a suitable hose to reach it? Grundy -- will discover that they too, have husbands, sons and brothers to be saved, and daughters to be protected; and Mrs. Grundy herself, will be first to snub them, that where humanity had such need, they should have gingerly gathered up their skirts and stood aloof.

The root of the matter does indeed lie deeper than we have yet dug. But with our soft, empty hands we have laid bare enough of the ugly things to assure us of the character and force of the machinery we need, to root it out of the Government preserves, and cultivate it out of the outlying nurseries. This knowledge, gained from well-defined successes and defeats, makes us masters of the situation, provided we are true to ourselves, true to humanity -- for God is with us, inspiring and directing our obedience to His supreme law of benevolence, "Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Referring to the Southern slaves who, "with good homes and kind masters" desired no freedom," Mrs. Could we accomplish any more by exercising the elective franchise? As I have said, this question of suffrage is not a question of grace or beauty. Neither is it a question of privileges, or the freedom of unshackled limbs. It includes all these and infinitely more, for at every point it strikes the key notes of the moral life for good or ill; for harmony or discord. Our freedom! Alas, what is our freedom that we should proclaim it, if shackled and defeated in the proper discharge of our home responsibilities and duties?

What is our freedom that we should not challenge the quality of its license, when it deadens our ears to the cry of the oppressed by withholding from us the power to "undo their heavy burdens? Under a combination of oppression and repression, woman has learned, that from the cradle to the grave, from the government to the homes that are its primaries, no basis for honesty and justice is found outside the "love that worketh no ill," but dealeth justly by wife and neighbor.

And this love, enfranchised, is the moral force to which both men and women must look for the righting of all their wrongs -- legal and conventional. Ultimately our cause must rest with an enfranchised force, for disfranchised in influence, being without authority, is essentially wanting in force; and working outside the government, works wastefully and to disadvantage, either in helping or hindering the enfranchised forces within it. And when shall we look for this force -- available in quality and quantity -- if not to the twenty and more million females associated in all their human interests, from the cradle to the grave, so closely that a wrong to either sex is a burden or grief and loss to both?

Where find it but in the mother love that cannot be bribed, and is quick to hear the cry of the oppressed? As manhood suffrage has no home margin from which to draft reinforcements, we must look abroad, and here we meet a rush from mule christendom, a foreign emigration anxious to be made sovereigns over themselves and American womanhood. The "mother country," setting a generous example, is shipping to us her homeless, lawless and ignorant poor.

The intensely male autocracies of other foreign nations, whose women are worked in harness with cattle, and driven by their husbands, in the fields and highways, are grudgingly sparing us material for voters by the million. Need we look any further for the moral force that is to right woman's wrongs?

Surely it must be apparent to thoughtful, well informed women and men, that the enfranchisement of our women, who are more than half the population, has already become a national necessity, and a wise economy suggests that the sooner it is done the better, while the disproportion between native and foreign citizens will secure the largest majority to the native element.

Blinded apparently by an unexampled material prosperity, our government is rapidly drifting into the meshes of combining and competing forces, whose selfish ambition and licensed and unlicensed vices are sapping its moral power to bless humanity or save itself. Pin up your trains, my sisters. Upward and onward is the slogan of nineteenth century humanity. Yes, Susan dear I have -- "more copy" -- and hope -- having accomplished some to your liking, I may live to see it in Vol. III of the grandest history of the time.

You did not tell me how Rev. You understand me. Enough to say I can now control the distress -- get it within endurance , by application of hot wet cloths or baths in a few minutes, often seconds. I then keep still or to sleep if bed time. May you never have need to prove its value -- the forgetfulness I mean. Just received a long soulful letter from Mrs. Larned, [72] Wellington, Sumner Co. She addresses me "Dear Mother Nichols. She is out in a log hut went in Sept. She has but the 2 children. I have some articles that I think would tell well in "leaflets" or tracts.

Could you use or put them to such use?

such a special place in their hearts.

Or have our friends plenty? For I have always worked on a plan -- pre-meditated every step from the first. And Susan I am happily conscious of having accomplished a great deal more than I know of -- a great deal more than any body else knows of. I am a great deal better woman than I expected to be -- more self-controlled, self-contained than I dared hope and I am so because I began determined to know nothing but woman humanity crucified -- to count no sacrifice, indulge no regrets, and make no reprisals for offended dignity.

My early marriage experience "set me apart," consecrated, called me to the work. This work has been the caustic, the balm, the pabulum insuring development, growth, strength and a supreme content in my sunset hour. I have turned my back on pecuniary advantages when they stood in the way or absorbed my activities to the detriment of our cause. I have even run the risk of being thought niggardly -- felt so myself , to have contributed no monies to the cause -- a sort of beneficiary to appearance, when my co-workers gave of their substance as well as worked for the cause.

I mean outside campaign work. My Rev. Has Mrs. I forgot to ask after your legacy. I think Lucy [Stone] did not study law -- she conveyed -- to my mind as well as Aunt Fanny's [78] that the will "declared valid" had passed for distribution, else she should have given with that notice, what I infer to be the fact -- that the contestant had appealed to another or higher Court. Aunt Fanny is ahead of me however in supposing that personally money left for trust uses enriches you. And yet it is riches to your benevolent instincts, of the best kind.

Is it Mrs. Eddy's [79] husband -- fighting her will? Lucy said the daughters were in favor of the disposition of the money made by their mother. The [Theodore] Weld's used to send her an excellent free religious Magazine. Eminent Women edited by Higginson, Mrs. I couldn't feel free with him. In reading numerous plans and suggestions for the "higher education of women," I have been forcibly reminded of a story I once read of a baby-girl who blossomed into young womanhood while her ambitious mother was wholly absorbed in devising an elaborate system for her education.

Millions were angry, too. Thailand was troubled and divided, and Bhumibol's illness seemed to be a reflection of the disorder that afflicted his kingdom, and a disquieting omen of turmoil to come. A decade earlier, brash Chinese-Thai telecoms billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra had launched an unprecedented effort to transform Thai politics with his authoritarian "CEO-style management" of the country.

Thaksin had been more spectacularly successful than anyone had expected - so successful that the elderly courtiers and bureaucrats surrounding the king had come to view him as a dangerous rival to Bhumibol and an existential threat to the very survival of the Chakri dynasty. And so Thailand's establishment had turned on Thaksin. The escalating struggle threatened to tear the country apart, exposing deep ideological, social, regional and economic faultlines that belied the official myth of a harmonious and contented "Land of Smiles".

A proud nation that just a few years before had symbolized the emergence of Southeast Asia as a dynamic developing and democratizing region was suddenly flung backwards into conflict, self-doubt and confusion. For Bhumibol, it was a personal tragedy. In his declining years, after devoting himself for well over half a century to the task of reviving the prestige of the palace as the unifying sacred core around which his country revolved, he was watching his life's work crumble before his eyes.

Nobody had ever thought he would inherit the throne of Thailand, least of all Bhumibol himself, son of a celestial prince who saw no future for the monarchy and a mother with no royal blood who was orphaned as a child. Bhumibol grew up in Switzerland, a world away from the arcane universe of Siam's royal court which appeared to be dimming into insignificance and extinction.

He was pulled gradually into the orbit of the palace as his elder brother Ananda unexpectedly found himself first in line for the royal succession before even more unexpectedly becoming the reluctant Rama VIII. And then one momentous morning in June , Ananda was found dead in his bed in the Grand Palace, shot in the head, a mystery that has never been solved, and year-old Bhumibol Adulyadej was suddenly the ninth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty. It was a position that had already been stripped of almost all of its formal powers and most of its wealth.

Ananda's death deepened doubts that the Thai monarchy would survive at all. The fortunes of the House of Chakri appeared to be at their lowest ebb. Yet over succeeding decades, against seemingly insurmountable odds - not to mention the tide of history - Bhumibol restored a central role for the palace in Thailand and won the adoration of the vast majority of his people as the beloved "Father of the Nation".

King Bhumibol Adulyadej's restoration of the power and prestige of the Thai monarchy is one of the great untold stories of the 20th century Overnight, the happy-go-lucky, gangly, and thick-spectacled Bhumibol From the day of his brother's death, the story of Bhumibol's reign developed like a tale from mythology. After four more years in Europe studying, Bhumibol finally returned in for an opulent formal coronation. He married a vivacious blue-blooded princess, Sirikit, who would become world famous for her charm and beauty. They had four children, including one handsome boy to be heir and three daughters.

A figure of modernity in a feudal-like society stuck in the s, the young king sailed, played jazz, ran his own radio station, painted expressionist oils, and frequented high-society parties. Whenever required he donned golden robes and multi-tiered crowns In June , King Bhumibol marked 60 years on the throne of Thailand, amid an outpouring of adoration from the Thai people and an impressive show of respect from other royal families around the world.

Thirteen reigning monarchs attended the celebrations in person, and 12 others sent royal representatives. The only reigning royal families not represented were those of Saudi Arabia and Nepal. The Saudi absence was due to the ill-health of the octogenarian King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, officially at least, but relations between the two countries had been tarnished by a dispute over the unsolved theft of a famed blue diamond and other priceless gems from the Saudi royals in which Thailand's police and powerful establishment figures were implicated.

Over several days of joyous festivities, millions of Thais wore the royal colour of yellow to show their respect. Fireworks lit up the sky, and the assembled monarchs watched the unforgettable sight of a royal barge procession, with 52 sleek dragon-headed vessels rowed by liveried Thai oarsmen gliding down the Chao Phraya past the Grand Palace. An estimated one million people crowded into Bangkok's Royal Plaza on Friday June 9 as Bhumibol gave a public address - only his third in six decades - from a palace balcony.

Many millions more watched intently on television. Later that day at the auspicious time of , hundreds of thousands who had gathered around the brightly illuminated buildings of the Grand Palace lit candles in his honour. In a confidential U. While the Thai people's respect and reverence for the 78 year old monarch is often cited, the weekend's celebration was a rare occasion to see - and feel - the depths of this sentiment in person. In contrast to the tens of thousands who have rallied against and in support of the Thaksin government, the King's public address on Friday at [the] throne hall inspired an estimated one million Thai to brave the mid-day sun to listen to their "father" speak Much of the audience had camped out since the evening before All local television stations carried the same live feed of each event, which featured crowd shots of attendees alternately crying and smiling.

Late night television shifted to cover the opening of the World Cup, but even this event was colored by the King's celebration: a newspaper cartoon explained that most Thai people were cheering for Brazil because the Brazilians wear yellow uniforms. It was an astonishing testament to Bhumibol's achievements in the six decades since he inherited the crown at such a perilous time for the monarchy and in such tragic circumstances. And yet even as he basked in the adoration of his people and the respect of the world, Bhumibol was acutely aware that everything he had built during his 60 years on the throne was at risk of being reduced to ruins by mounting internal and external challenges that threatened to undermine the foundations of the Thai monarchy and destroy his legacy.

Bhumibol had been estranged from Queen Sirikit for two decades since she suffered a breakdown following the mysterious death of her favourite military aide. The king's second daughter, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, was the overwhelming favourite of the Thai people to succeed her father, even though her gender and royal tradition seemed to render this impossible. As Boyce wrote in his cable: In a shot heavy with unintentional meaning on Friday, the television broadcast showed the unpopular Crown Prince reading a message of congratulations to the King, who was seated on the royal balcony above the Prince.

Just visible behind the King, however, was the smiling face of Princess Sirindorn - the widely respected "intellectual heir" of the monarch - chatting with her sisters and trying to take a picture of the adoring crowd below. The physical distance between the King and his legal heir far below, and his beloved daughter just behind him, captured the internal family dynamic - and the future of the monarchy - quite nicely.

Besides marital strife and an underachieving wayward son, Bhumibol was also troubled by the bitter power struggle between Thaksin and Thailand's traditional elites, which was becoming increasingly divisive and dangerous: In his public remarks on Friday, the King thanked the assembled dignitaries and crowd for their congratulations and called upon the Thai people to show compassion, cooperate with each other, display integrity, and be reasonable. In a not-so-veiled reference to the ongoing political crisis, the King stated, "unity is the basis for all Thai to help preserve and bring prosperity to the country".

Prime Minister Thaksin had been fighting a rearguard action for months against a determined effort by Thai monarchists to oust him. His role in the celebrations was deeply ambivalent, Boyce noted: Prime Minister Thaksin was front and center for much of the festivities: greeting foreign guests, and reading a congratulatory message for the King on behalf of the caretaker government.

In an unfortunate bit of timing, the television camera covering the opening ceremony on Friday panned on the PM just as he was checking his watch.


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  5. Aside from this minor gaffe - not mentioned in the newspapers, yet - the PM's personal perspective on the celebration remains unclear Thaksin recently told the Ambassador that his own popularity in the countryside is seen by the palace as threatening to the King's popular standing. After this weekend's massive, unprecedented display of public adoration for the monarch, however, one hopes that Thaksin has a firm enough grasp of reality to reconsider this idea.

    Within months of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Thailand's smouldering tensions exploded. In September Thaksin was deposed by a military coup - the 18th attempted by Thailand's military since the country began its halting and bloody flirtation with democracy in The generals who ordered their tanks onto Bangkok's streets believed they were defending the monarchy and insisted they were acting in support of democracy against an increasingly authoritarian and mercurial prime minister who had co-opted most of the country's key institutions and subverted the rule of law.

    Yet the elderly men who took charge of Thailand after the coup were completely unprepared for the challenges of running a 21st century economy and totally bewildered when it came to trying to counter the machinations of a mediasavvy telecommunications tycoon with deep pockets and a determination to get even, whatever the cost.

    A coup designed to crush support for Thaksin and end his influence over Thai politics forever was an abject failure. It only succeeded in wrenching an already divided country even further apart. The highstakes struggle between Thailand's most powerful figures spilled onto the streets of Bangkok, where mass protests and civil disobedience by the royalist "Yellow Shirt" followers of the People's Alliance for Democracy PAD and the broadly pro-Thaksin "Red Shirts" of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship UDD erupted repeatedly into violent clashes and destructive efforts to sabotage the very functioning of the Thai state.

    By the autumn of , when Bhumibol was admitted to Siriraj Hospital, the country was mired deep in an intractable social and political crisis with no apparent way out.. As the end of his life approached, instead of looking back with pride over his incredible achievements, Bhumibol was fretting over fears that everything he had fought to achieve during his extraordinary reign was in danger of turning into dust. All nations have their secrets and lies. There is always a gulf between the narrative constructed by those in power, and the real story.

    But the dissonance between Thailand's official ideology and the reality is particularly stark and troubling. Suthep Thaugsuban, Thailand's deputy prime minister, blithely claimed in December that the cables would have no impact on the country: We don't have any secrets What happens in Thailand, we tell the media and the people. His comments could scarcely be further from the truth. Thailand is a nation of secrets, and most of the biggest secrets are those involving the Thai monarchy. The palace is at the centre of an idealized narrative of the Thai nation and of what it means to be Thai, which depicts the country as a uniquely blessed kingdom in which nobody questions the established order.

    Thais are well aware that the truth is very different - they could hardly be otherwise, following the violent political crisis that has engulfed their country - and yet many continue to suspend their disbelief and, at least publicly, to profess their faith in the official myths. Most feel unable to voice the truth, due partly to immense social pressure in a society where to question the official story is to be regarded as "un-Thai", and partly to some of the strictest defamation laws in the world.

    Article of the Thai Criminal Code states: "Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years. A law originally intended to shield the monarchy from insults and slander has become something far more: it is increasingly used to prevent any questioning of Thailand's established social and political order.

    The law's defenders claim that Thailand's love and reverence for its king is incomparable. Its critics say the law has become the foremost threat to freedom of expression. Barely hidden beneath the surface of growing debate around the law and its use are the most basic issues defining the relationship between those in power and the governed: equality before the law, rights and liberties, the source of sovereign power, and even the system of government of the polity - whether Thailand is to be primarily a constitutional monarchy, a democratic system of governance with the king as head of state, or a democracy.

    Most Thais remain unaware of the full story of how Bhumibol restored the power and prestige of the monarchy over the past half century. Handley's book The King Never Smiles is banned in Thailand - as is Handley himself - because he violated the taboo that forbids a critical look at the role of the palace in Thailand's modern history. As he writes in the introduction: Any journalist or academic who takes an interest in Thailand soon learns that one topic is offlimits: the modern monarchy.

    Most people give in to these explanations with little argument. It is easy to do: nearly every Thai one meets expresses unquestioning praise for the king, or at least equivocates to the point of suggesting that there really is not much to be said: the history that is in the open is the whole of it. The result, however, is a crucial gap in modern Thai history and political analysis. Instead they have lived through military rule and the struggle against it, and through the time when the monarchy has been elevated to a sacred and inviolable status.

    The lack of conceptualised narratives that explain how the monarchy remains a critical element in Thai democratisation further contributes to overlooking the political role of the monarchy. Discussion of the reality among Thais is relegated to private conversations or oblique references using coded imagery and parables.

    The truth about the palace's enormously influential role in Thai politics and economics cannot be uttered openly in public. Political and social discourse is relegated to the fringes as whisperings and innuendo. Only a handful of have been published so far. The cables begin in late , when Thaksin was at the height of his political ascendancy, and end in early when Thaksin was in exile, current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was in power, and Thailand was about to enter the most tragic phase of its crisis so far.

    John, ambassador from until One reason above all makes the leaked U. Explaining Thai politics without reference to the role of the palace is like trying to tell the story of the Titanic without making any mention of the ship. These expressions are used as a substitute for an alleged unspeakable and unconstitutional force in Thai politics, to make the otherwise incomplete stories about politics and its manipulation slightly more comprehensible. The leaked U. They were written by American diplomats doing their best to explain events in Thailand to the State Department in Washington.

    They were intended to be secret, made public only when the events they described were distant history and the people involved were long dead. Those who wrote them did not have to fear the threat of social ostracism or lengthy jail sentences if they simply tried to give a clear explanation of the most important issues facing the people of Thailand at a momentous time in their history at the start of the 21st century. The account they give of Thailand's ongoing political crisis may not always be correct: like everybody else struggling to unravel the truth, senior U.

    We offer this "royal primer" mindful of the opaque nature of the institution, the difficulty in establishing absolute truths about public yet very remote royal figures, and the inherent biases of inside players, even those we have known for years several of whom recently repeated a Thai aphorism about the institution: "those who know aren't talking, and those who are talking aren't in the know".

    John seems to have only realized rather late that Abhisit's instincts may not have been as progressive as they appeared, and that while he may say the right things, that does not mean that he does them. No other country has been so inextricably involved with Thailand over the past century as the United States, and this adds even more value to what the cables have to say. Thailand's relationship with the United States is complex, heavily disguised and, in many instances, actively denied by the leaders of both countries In many cases, it is difficult if not impossible to determine the extent of American influence in Thailand.

    Thailand is a nation of secrets: of secret bombings and air bases during the Vietnam War, of secret military pacts and aid agreements, of secret business transactions and secret ownership of businesses and joint venture corporations. This is precisely the point; the American presence has taken on powerful cosmological, religious and even mythic overtones. The American influence on the Thai economy and polity has become a symbol of uncertainty, of men's inability to know the truth.

    In multiple cables written for visiting high-level officials, John wrote that "Thailand's strategic importance to the U. The leaked cables provide a coherent and insightful account of the complexities of Thailand's crisis by respected senior U. As such, they revolutionize the study of 21st century Thailand.

    But their importance goes further. The cables do not merely illuminate Thailand's history - they are also likely to have a profound impact on its future. The official culture of secrecy that has criminalized public acknowledgement of truth among Thais and prevented academic and journalistic study of fundamental issues affecting the country has been irretrievably breached. The genie cannot now be put back into the bottle. Some underwhelmed critics of the leaking of Cablegate documents have dismissed them as containing few genuine revelations - in general, they have largely tended to confirm what everybody suspected all along.

    And this is to some extent true of the cables on Thailand. There are no bombshells that will stun Thais or foreign experts on Thailand who are already aware - at least privately - of the story that the cables tell. But this is missing the point. This is the paradox of public space: even if everyone knows an unpleasant fact, saying it in public changes everything.

    Even if most people privately suspect the truth, putting it in the public domain makes it impossible to sustain official narratives that depend on a refusal to acknowledge the reality. For that reason, the cables may, finally, force Thailand to confront some uncomfortable facts about its past, its present, and its future.

    Amid scenes of an emotional Woody prostrating himself on the ground, eagerly sharing a cupcake fed to the princess's pet dog, and frequently bursting into tears, Chulabhorn told him: HM goes to sleep very late. Sometimes he cannot sleep. Sometimes he sleeps a little. Sometimes when there are problems, he would follow them up, like floods, for example, concerned about the hardship of the people. He would order [officials] to send bags of emergency supplies to the people. When he sees on TV where are floods, where it is hot, or where people have been injured, he will give help without telling anyone.

    He does good without being seen indeed. His continued hospitalization since September , even when his health had seemed to be on the mend, has troubled Thais and baffled foreign observers. As Eric John wrote in February last year: The real question at this stage remains: why does he continue to be hospitalized? The stated rationale - to build up his physical strength and endurance - could be accomplished in a palace, either in Bangkok or his preferred seaside residence in Hua Hin.

    Some will suspect other motives, but what those might be remain unclear. In March , many thousands of Red Shirt protesters began congregating in Bangkok for a series of mass rallies against the government of Prime Minister Abhisit. Over two tragic months in April and May, as the military moved in to try to crush the protest, 91 people were killed and more than 1, wounded in a series of violent clashes between Thai troops, Red Shirts and shadowy groups of armed men known as "Black Shirts" or "Ronin warriors" with unclear affiliation to Thaksin and the protest leaders.

    For weeks the Red Shirts occupied an area of five star hotels and luxury malls in the centre of the capital, a few miles east of Bhumibol's riverside hospital. When soldiers finally stormed the barricades around the Red encampment, on May 19, dozens of buildings in Bangkok were set ablaze in an apparently well-planned wave of arson attacks. The months that followed saw a determined crackdown by Thailand's resurgent military and the Abhisit administration. A state of emergency was imposed in several areas,. Most Red Shirt leaders were imprisoned.

    Community radio stations in rural areas where Red support is strong were shut down. The millions of rural and urban poor who form the main support base for the Red Shirt movement were left seething with anger and a bitter sense of injustice. Respected journalists and academics have been among those targeted. Among his alleged offences was providing a link on his website to a digital version of The King Never Smiles. In such a climate, it became clear that the article I was writing on Thailand, based on the full set of more than 3, leaked U.

    Even though U. Reuters has hundreds of staff in Thailand, and there were concerns they could be put at risk. Like all major foreign media organizations, the company has had to self-censor its reporting from Thailand for years, to protect its staff and the revenues it earns in Thailand. It was an understandable decision. But for me, there could be no turning back. From the day I first arrived in Bangkok 11 years ago as deputy bureau chief for Reuters, I was - like most visitors before me over the centuries - beguiled by the luminous beauty and vibrancy of Thai culture, and moved and inspired by the graciousness, charm and warmth of most Thai people.

    No other place in the world means more to me, and nowhere else has broken my heart more often. It just became impossible to ignore all the everyday horror and human misery that are allowed to flourish in Thailand alongside so much to cherish and admire. Thailand needs to escape the wretched cycle of corruption, conspiracies and coups that has blighted its modern history. A first step is to clearly acknowledge what is happening in Thailand today. Thailand's people deserve to know the truth, and they deserve to be allowed to express what they believe, instead of facing jail or exile for simply saying things that cannot be denied.

    It also apparently does not believe the majority of voters should be able to elect their own representatives and determine the future course of Thai society. Politics in Thailand has become more and more like a badly acted television drama series. The actors all know that the lines they are speaking and the roles they are playing while the cameras are rolling are not real: the reality is quite different.

    The audience knows it too. We allow ourselves to imagine it is real, to enjoy the show. Thailand needs to start dealing with reality. Especially now, when the whole country is convulsed by anger and pain and anxiety, and when so many dark clouds are gathering on the horizon. Everybody knows that a storm is coming. The only question is how much time is left before it hits. What happens then will fundamentally define what kind of country Thailand becomes in the 21st century. When I realized I would not be able to say what needs to be said about Thailand as a Reuters journalist, I began making copies of all the U.

    Technology has made the theft of secret information much easier than it used to be: an eccentric Thai writer and publisher called K. He saw his chance when the library was under renovation and the manuscripts taken out of the palace and entrusted to the care of Prince Bodinphaisansophon, head of the Department of Royal Scribes.

    Craig Reynolds tells the story in Seditious Histories: Contesting Thai and Southeast Asian Pasts: The accessibility of these manuscripts to Kulap sparked his curiosity, and out of his love for old writings, he paid daily visits to admire the most ancient books in the kingdom. Naturally, he desired copies for himself, his passion for old books guiding him around any obstruction. With a manuscript in his possession, Kulap then rowed across the river to the Thonburi bank to the famous monastery, Wat Arun or Wat Claeng.

    There, in the portico of the monastery, Kulap spread out the accordion-pleated text its entire length, and members of the Royal Pages Bodyguard Regiment, hired by Kulap to assist in this venture, were then each assigned a section of the manuscript. In assembly-line fashion, they managed to complete the transcription within the allotted time. Kulap then rowed back across the river to return the original, with the prince apparently none the wiser. On June 3, , I resigned from Reuters after a year career so that I could make this article freely available to all those who wish to read it.

    Reuters was explicitly opposed to my actions and sought to prevent me writing it while I was employed there. They have also informed me several times of the potential consequences of making unauthorized use of material that came into my possession through my work as a Reuters journalist. I have chosen to disregard those warnings, but it is important to make clear that Reuters made every reasonable effort to stop me publishing this story, and some frankly rather unreasonable efforts too.

    Responsibility for the content and the consequences of my article is mine, and mine alone. Besides having to leave a job I loved with a company I had believed in, it also seems likely that I can never visit Thailand again. That feels unbearably sad. But it would have been infinitely sadder to have just accepted defeat and given up trying to write something honest about Thailand.

    My duty as a journalist, and as a human being, is to at least try to do better than that. What follows is a rough first draft of the truth. One inescapable and traumatizing fact haunts 21st century Thailand, and not even the country's most potent myths have the power to tame it: Bhumibol Adulyadej, the beloved Rama IX, is approaching the end of his life. Frail and hospitalized, he is already just a shadow of his former self. Whether or not the prince becomes Rama X, the royal succession will be a time of profound national anxiety and uncertainty far more shattering and painful even than the tragic events of the past five years of worsening social and political conflict.

    The looming change in monarch and the prolonged political crisis gripping Thailand are - of course inextricably intertwined. A large number of parallel conflicts are being fought at all levels of Thai society, in the knowledge that Bhumibol's death will be a game-changing event that will fundamentally alter longstanding power relationships among key individuals and institutions, and may also totally rewrite the rules of the game. Ahead of the succession, the leading players are fighting to position themselves for of the inevitable paradigm shift. In this twilight struggle are locked opposing webs of partisans and vested interests both for and against what Thaksin has done to Thailand.

    The old establishment confronts the popular demands and expectations that the age of globalization has wrought, and strains to find ways to render the new voices irrelevant. In July , it was the task of Eric G. John, the American ambassador in Bangkok and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Southeast Asia, to write a scenesetter for a particularly important visitor: his boss, U.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the woman in charge of the foreign policy of the most powerful nation in the world. The past year has been a turbulent one in Thailand. Court decisions forced two Prime Ministers from office, and twice the normal patterns of political life took a back seat to disruptive protests in the streets. The red-shirted United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship UDD , followers of Thaksin, disrupted a regional Asian Summit and sparked riots in Bangkok in mid-April after Thaksin, now a fugitive abroad in the wake of an abuse of power conviction, called for a revolution to bring him home.

    While both yellow and red try to lay exclusive claim to the mantle of democracy, neither is truly democratic in intent or tactics. The current PM, Abhisit Vejjajiva While Thailand in has been more stable than in , mid-April red riots aside, it is the calm in the eye of a storm. Few observers believe that the deep political and social divides can be bridged until after King Bhumibol passes and Thailand's tectonic plates shift.

    Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn neither commands the respect nor displays the charisma of his beloved father, who greatly expanded the prestige and influence of the monarchy during his 62 year reign. Some question whether Vajiralongkorn will be crowned King, as Bhumibol desires. Nearly everyone expects the monarchy to shrink and change in function after succession. How much will change is open to question, with many institutions, figures, and political forces positioning for influence, not only over redefining the institution of monarchy but, equally fundamentally, what it means to be Thai.

    It is a heady time for observers of the Thai scene, a frightening one for normal Thai.

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    The political crisis that has riven Thailand since the start of Thaksin's struggle with the establishment can only be understood in this context, as John explains in cable 09BANGKOK Bhumibol's eventual passing will be a watershed event in Thai history. It likely will unleash changes in institutional arrangements in Thailand, affecting the size and role of the monarchy, its relationship to the elected government and the military, and the roles of both of the latter, unmatched since the transition from absolute to constitutional monarchy, which nevertheless retained the monarchy at the core of Thai national identity.

    Over the past year, nearly every politician and analyst, when speaking privately and candidly, regardless of political affiliation or colored perspective, has identified succession as the principal political challenge facing Thailand today, much more important than normal political issues of coalition management or competition for power, which clearly do factor into the mix of political dynamics It is entirely possible King Bhumibol will return to his Hua Hin seaside palace several hours south of Bangkok in the coming days and live quietly for many years - postponing the day of reckoning and change that will inevitably come.

    In the meantime, the bustle of normal politics and changing societal attitudes will continue apace, while Thais keep a wary eye on the health of their ailing King. Duncan McCargo, professor of Southeast Asian politics at the University of Leeds, begins his study Thailand: State of Anxiety in Southeast Asian Affairs in with a reference to an obsession that swept the nation for magical amulets originally created by policeman in the southern town of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

    They became so wildly popular that in April a woman was killed in a stampede at the temple where they were made, and a crime wave spread worsening havoc through the town as Thais unable or unwilling to buy the amulets decided to try stealing them instead. She was writing about the national anxiety epitomized by the extraordinary cult of Jatukham Ramathep amulets which seized Thailand in late and the first half of Deeply uneasy about the economy, politics, and the royal succession, Thais bought tens of millions of these much-hyped amulets to protect them from adversity The fevered collective enthusiasm for monarchy seen during and had a darker downside, testifying to growing national anxiety about the royal succession The inability of the palace to address public anxiety about the succession threatened to undermine the glory of the Ninth Reign.

    The Yellow Shirts were initially a broad-based and relatively good-humoured alliance from across the ideological and political spectrum that drew together royalists and liberals, radical students and middle-class aunties, progressive activists and patrician establishment patriarchs, united in opposition to the increasingly baleful influence of Thaksin Shinawatra; over the years they morphed into a proto-fascist mob of hateful extremists addicted to the bloodcurdling rhetoric of rabble- rousing demagogues. The Yellow Shirts proclaim their undying love for the king, but it is the flipside of that love that has transformed them into a baying apocalyptic death cult: they are utterly petrified about what will happen once Rama IX is gone.

    As time went on, the PAD became captives of their own rhetoric, unable to converse with others, let alone back down or make compromises. Rather than seek to build broad support for their ideas, core leaders made vitriolic speeches This self-presentation had distinctly cultic overtones The market jitters and selling frenzy on the trading floor demonstrates just how sensitive investor confidence in Thailand is to news about the King's health. This volatility creates a wealth of opportunities for mischief in the market, particularly for profit-seekers and bargain-hunters.

    The veracity of rumors is very difficult to track down, but their impact on the market, true or not, is clear. The extent of the fear and turmoil roiling Thailand in the final years of Bhumibol's reign can be baffling for foreign observers. In Britain, Queen Elizabeth II is fairly widely respected even among those who are indifferent or opposed to the monarchy, and few people are greatly enthused about the prospect of Prince Charles becoming king, but the country is hardly convulsed by frantic worry about the succession.

    Quite clearly, Bhumibol is no ordinary constitutional monarch. Bhumibol's ascent to the throne of Thailand was so improbable that it would strain credibility in a work of fiction. His mother Sangwal was born in to impoverished parents, a Thai-Chinese father and a Thai mother, in Nonthaburi near Bangkok. By the time she was 10 both her parents and an elder sister and brother had all died, leaving her an orphan with one younger brother.

    Through some fortunate family connections she moved into the outer orbit of the royal court, and after an accident with a sewing needle she was sent to stay in the home of the palace surgeon who encouraged her to become a nurse. She met Bhumibol's father, Mahidol Adulyadej - 69th of the 77 children of Rama V, King Chulalongkorn - in Boston in after winning a scholarship to further her nursing studies in the United States. If anybody had expected Mahidol to get anywhere near the pinnacle of the royal line of succession, his marriage to a ThaiChinese commoner would never have been approved.

    But he was far down the list. Bhumibol was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in , the couple's third child after a daughter, Galyani Vadhana, and a son, Ananda Mahidol. His name means "Strength of the Land, Incomparable Power". By the time Bhumibol was born, his father had been catapulted into contention for the throne, after several other claimants died young and childless. But Mahidol was studying medicine and wanted to be a doctor; he had no interest in becoming king.

    In December , the family returned to Siam. Mahidol hoped to practise as a doctor in Bangkok, but palace law decreed that his royal status meant he could not touch any part of a patient's body apart from the head. Trying to escape restrictions he considered ridiculous, he went to work at the American Presbyterian Hospital in the northern town of Chiang Mai. Shortly afterwards the chronic kidney problems he had suffered all his adult life flared up again.

    He died in September in Bangkok, aged This put the young Ananda first in line for the throne, with Bhumibol next. Even then, it seemed very unlikely that Bhumibol would ever rule Thailand. King Prajadhipok, Rama VII, was still a young man, and there were doubts about how long long the monarchy would last in a modernising Thailand and a changing world in which many royal dynasties were being swept from power.

    Sure enough, in , a group of military officers and bureaucrats overthrew the absolute monarchy in Siam. In the political ferment, Sangwal took her sons to Europe, where they set up home in Switzerland. After trying and failing to claw back some of the royal powers stripped from him, Prajadhipok abdicated the throne in , declining to name a successor.

    After the end of World War II, during which Siam had been occupied by the Japanese, they visited again, arriving on December 5, , in a country they barely knew. It was Bhumibol's 18th birthday; Ananda was 20, and according to many contemporary accounts, gauche, painfully shy and ambivalent about being king: Louis Mountbatten, the British commander in Southeast Asia, described him as "a frightened, short-sighted boy, his sloping shoulders and thin chest behung with gorgeous diamond-studded decorations, altogether a pathetic and lonely figure".

    There is no shortage of sources on Bhumibol's life, but finding accurate accounts is difficult. Most of what has been written is hagiographic and of limited reliability; a small proportion is vitriolic and even more unreliable. Two full-length book biographies by foreign authors have been published. Paul Handley's The King Never Smiles is a pioneering academic work, meticulously researched and infused with its author's deep understanding of Thailand after years working as a journalist in the country. It is banned in Thailand.

    William Stevenson's The Revolutionary King is riddled with factual errors and its claim to be a serious work of history has been met with derision its subtitle - The True-Life Sequel to The King and I - hardly helps but the book is nevertheless extremely valuable for one key reason: Bhumibol gave Stevenson unprecedented access, personally meeting with and talking to him several times over a period of six years.

    Leading Thai officials went to extraordinary lengths to try to prevent the publication of Handley's biography, and the book is frequently denounced in tones of horror and outrage by Thai officials. Stevenson's book is a highly sympathetic romanticised portrait of Bhumibol that only caused outrage among historians; it is not sold in Thailand mainly because it depicts Bhumibol in a way that a Western audience would find reasonable but that would startle and baffle many Thais.

    Handley notes in the preface to The King Never Smiles that his book: is in no way meant to be the definitive version of [Bhumibol's] story. Such a version awaits the day internal palace and government records regarding the monarchy are open to public scrutiny.

    Even then, some of the most pivotal moments of Bhumibol's life are likely to remain forever shrouded in mystery. None more so than the tragic incident that propelled him onto the throne. On June 9, , at in the morning, King Ananda was found dead in his bed in the Grand Palace, lying flat on his back with a pistol beside his left hand and a bullet hole above his left eye.

    The mystery of his death has never been solved.

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    Even the simple question of whether Rama VIII killed himself - either in a deliberate suicide or by accident - or whether somebody shot him remains unresolved. The Devil's Discus, a book-length investigation by South African writer and historian Rayne Kruger, concluded that the most likely explanation was that Ananda, depressed, overwhelmed, and lovelorn over Marylene Ferrari, the Swiss girl he had left behind in Lausanne, committed suicide.

    However, British pathologist Keith Simpson, asked to give his opinion by Thai officials who came to see him in London and set out all the available evidence, concluded it was extremely unlikely that Ananda had shot himself. If Ananda was killed, it remains unknown who pulled the trigger. Royalists accused Pridi of being behind Ananda's assassination and he was eventually driven into exile; after a tortuous legal process in which several defence lawyers and defence witnesses were murdered, three men - Ananda's secretary and two pages - were executed in February for conspiring to murder the king.

    Yet there is no credible evidence linking any of them to his death. But it offers no genuine evidence in support of the theory, and in fact plentiful documentary sources suggest Tsuji was nowhere near Bangkok when Ananda was shot. The bizarre final chapter in the book appears to imply that even Stevenson - and Bhumibol - are doubtful about the theory. The possibility that Bhumibol shot his brother - probably by accident - was regarded as the most likely scenario by many senior Thai officials and foreign diplomats at the time.

    The common view was that the truth had then been suppressed to prevent Thailand sinking deeper into turmoil. But if there was ever any genuine evidence that Bhumibol was responsible, it has never emerged. In August , amid widespread concerns that Bhumibol's life was also in danger, the young king left Thailand to return to Lausanne. He was away from his homeland for almost four years.

    During his absence, the generals running the country tried to strip the throne of even more of its influence and establish themselves as Thailand's unquestioned rulers, while a coterie of princes fought to preserve the powers of the palace. Bhumibol went back to his studies in Switzerland. The axle around which this whole cosmic wheel spun, meanwhile, was ensconced in Lausanne, Switzerland, maybe pondering his schizophrenic life. One persona was a European university student caught up in the postwar reconstruction zeitgeist. The other, less familiar identity was the sacral dhammaraja king of Thailand, turgid, conservative, confined by an entourage of elderly men who emphasized only the old His personalized studies left him much free time to travel, play his music, and socialize.

    He frequently drove himself to Paris to go shopping and pass nights in smoky jazz clubs. He helped his car-racing uncle Prince Birabongs in the pits at the Grand Prix des Nations in Geneva, and in August , during a motor tour of northern Europe, he watched Birabongs take first place at Zandvoort.

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    Bhumibol put even more time into his photography and music, fancying a second career as a jazzman. He was encouraged to meet several blueblooded young Thai women, and one of them charmed him above all others - Sirikit Kitiyakatra, daughter of Prince Nakkhat, Thai ambassador to Paris. He arrived at 7 o'clock, kept me standing there, practicing curtsey, and curtsey. But in October , Bhumibol crashed his car into the back of a truck outside Lausanne. Sirikit helped care for him during his recovery in Switzerland.

    She told the BBC: It was love I didn't know that he loved me, because at that time I was only 15 years old and planned to be a concert pianist. He was gravely ill in the hospital He produced my picture out of his pocket, I didn't know he had one, and he said: "Send for her, I love her. Not of the duty, and the burden of becoming queen. Bhumibol and Sirikit were engaged on July 19, And in , the two set off to at last return to Thailand. Three times something a Siamese coup, an automobile accident or a mere change of plans had interfered.

    Meanwhile, as the King spent his days going to school, organizing a swing band, tinkering with his cameras and driving his cars from Switzerland to Paris, royal duties piled up in Bangkok. In Bangkok's downtown dance halls, where Siam's hepcats curve their fingers backward and dance the rumwong, the hit of the week was a song composed by the royal jitterbug Phumiphon himself: The little bird in a lonely flight Thinks of itself and feels sad. The overwhelming majority of the people of Thailand did not share the magazine's scepticism.

    Bhumibol received a rapturous welcome. On March King Ananda was cremated. A month later, Bhumibol and Sirikit were married. And on May 4 and 5, Rama IX formally crowned himself king: The coronation on May involved mostly inner-palace Hindu-based rituals evoking the devaraja cult: a ritual bath of the king in waters collected from auspicious sites, followed by the anointment of the king by Prince Rangsit representing the royal family, and an anointment by the sangharaja.

    The king then donned the royal robes and climbed atop an elevated octagonal throne, the faces of which represented the eight cardinal points of the compass, the expanse of his realm. He received homage at each side, a Brahman priest pouring holy water from 18 spiritually significant stupas. Bhumibol then moved to another throne, shielded by a nine-tier umbrella. Kneeling, the priests recited Sanskrit incantations summoning the Hindu gods to descend and take up residence in his person.

    Bhumibol poured some holy water from a small ewer and, finally imbued with the correct spirit and tools to take the ultimate step, he crowned himself. Making a pledge to rule with justice, he scattered silver and gold flowers on the floor, symbolically spreading goodness over his kingdom. Other holy acts, like formal horoscope reading and two hours of lying on the royal bed in the ceremonial residence of the king, sealed his deity. After two days, Bhumibol finally emerged in front of his subjects, accompanied by a trumpet fanfare and a cannon salute.

    The now fully crowned Rama IX declared that he was deeply attached to the Siamese people and would reign with righteousness, for their benefit and happiness. He considers it ''irking. Bhumibol was, of course, being disingenuous.


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    • King Harvest (Has Surely Come).

    He has always downplayed the ritualistic and spiritual aspects of the Thai monarchy when talking to a Western audience, but within Thailand he does exactly the opposite. People around the globe may not be so very different, but there is often an enormous gulf between the cultural and spiritual universes they inhabit that can profoundly impact the way they interact: South and Southeast Asian cultural systems share a common cosmological framework, terminology, and emphasis on asceticism whereas Western and Thai-Buddhist cultural systems do not.

    The antimony theory was developed from the observation that the cosmology and symbolic systems of Western and Theravada Buddhist societies are so disharmonic as to be mutually negating. For a Thai-Buddhist king or Thai political leaders to advance or otherwise embody Western ideals or adopt Western speech styles is, in most cases, to automatically transgress indigenous ideals. The reverse situation also hold true: in many cases, for Thai elite to advocate or embody indigenous ideals in ruling the modern polity or in their interactions with Westerners is to automatically delegitimate themselves with that audience.

    It is an extraordinary and explicitly political document. Quaritch Wales believed that reverence for the monarchy was utterly essential for Siam to prevent its people falling for the lure of dangerous ideologies of social equality. In the opening chapter he quotes - in horror - an item in the Bangkok Daily Mail from October 21, Owing to the failure of the public in general to give proper attention and due respect to His Majesty the King when the Siamese National Anthem is being played after performances in the local entertainment halls, H.

    It has been noticed that when the band strikes up the National Anthem some persons seem to pay little attention it it, while others walk out of the hall, quite oblivious to the patriotic custom. But had there been one, or had the people found themselves in the presence of a Royal Letter or any other symbol of royalty, they would have known quite well what to do. They would have immediately thrown themselves flat on their faces. That custom was abolished long ago in accordance with the needs of a new age.

    But what was left in its place? The young British scholar goes on to explain why, in his view, the monarchy is essential for social order in Siam. Otherwise they were of no importance whatever The absolutism of the monarch was accompanied and indeed maintained by the utmost severity, kings of Ayudhya practising cruelties on their subjects for no other purpose than that of imbuing them with humility and meekness.

    Indeed, more gentle methods would have been looked upon as signs of weakness, since fear was the only attitude towards the throne which was understood, and tyranny the only means by which the government could be maintained Despite the fact that all were equally of no account in the presence of the king, a many-graded social organization had evolved, and the ingrained habit of fear and obedience produced a deep reverence for all forms of authority. Near the top of the hierarchical pyramid - though still far below the lofty realm of royalty - were minor nobles and bureaucrats, and below them the rest of the people, branded to make clear their status as the property of the state: All these officials were continually occupied in showing the necessary amount of deference to those above them, and to the king at the top, while mercilessly grinding down those below them in the social scale The great mass of the people were divided into a number of departments for public service The luckier ordinary citizens could escape compulsory obligations to the state in return for paying tax.

    As for the rest: The vast majority of the people One of the most far-reaching of these was the abolition of slavery; another was the abolition of bodily prostration of inferiors in the presence of their superiors. Siamese servants often crouch in the presence of their masters, officials lie almost full length when they are offering anything to the King on his throne and I have seen ladies of the older generation crawling on their hands and knees when in the presence of a prince of high rank with whom they held conversation, with their faces parallel to the ground, while the prince was seated in a chair.

    While the old instincts thus lurk so closely below the surface there can be no doubt but that the monarchy still remains the most important factor in the Siamese social organization. The religious architecture that supports the Thai monarchy is largely derived from ancient Hindu Brahmanical tradition, overlaid and modified by the Theravada Buddhism that forms the basis of the spiritual beliefs of most Thais today.

    Siamese State Ceremonies explains in extensive and arcane detail how religious ceremony and symbolism are used to bolster the inviolable spiritual status of the monarchy, derived from Brahmanic-inspired cults of the devaraja king as a living god, and Buddhist-based ideology of the dhammaraja monarch whose status is a product of his unmatched virtue. With an education still almost confined to the religious sphere He has no wish for a share in the government, he does not trouble about politics, and he is as yet unfitted for any other regime than the present. It is certain, therefore, that any conception of the kingship that strengthens his belief in the ruling power is of the highest sociological value.