Saturday, November 17, 2018

Obvious Answers

Toward the end of the 18th Century the British Army was engaged in the Spanish Peninsular supporting the Portuguese in attempting to keep the French from winning influence over the Spanish. The English King at that time was probably certifiably nuts, but let's just call him so highly eccentric his courtiers preferred to keep him entertained and safely shut away in one or other of his many palaces. One of his great pleasures was to summon a military man so that he could hear accounts of daring-do on a far away battle fields. As the story progressed he'd begin to believe that he himself had participated in the action, and by the time the story was over his exaggerations were such that to all the world he'd pretty much won the battle single handedly.

 At the same time the King was only too ready to offer his opinions on a wide range issues, and half baked though his opinions usually were courtiers soon learned not to take them too seriously. A suggestion such as the solution to forest fires was to rake up all the leaves in England would have been treated with the respect due a king, and as a rule by the time the practicalities were fully realized the King himself would have forgotten all about his first solution to the problem of for example forest fires and would have come up with another idea. In the 18th Century the English still struggled with the role of their king, a great many of them loved the idea of a no nonsense absolute monarchy but it was having something like a series of highly eccentric and potentially disastrous kings that helped secure the power of an elected Parliament.

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