Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Showing Off Can Get You Killed...!

Things like this can and do happen with regularity even now.

In their never ending effort to show just how big and bad they are, many politicians will ignore the advice of people much more knowledgeable and experienced and do exactly what they want! More times than not, that often leads to disaster. Such is the case for the USS Princeton.

Feb 28, 1844:
Tyler narrowly escapes death on the USS Princeton

On this day in 1844, President John Tyler cruises the Potomac with 400 others aboard the U.S. Navy's new steam frigate USS Princeton, not realizing that his life will soon be in danger. In attendance that day were political dignitaries and their guests, which included the wealthy New Yorker David Gardiner and his two daughters. The 54-year-old Tyler, a recent widower, had fallen for Gardiner's youngest, the lovely 20-year-old Julia, to whom he had proposed marriage. She had not yet responded.

The Princeton carried a brand new 12-inch, 27,000-pound cannon called the Peacemaker. The gun's co-designer, John Ericsson, argued with the ship's captain, who wanted to demonstrate the new weapon, over whether it was safe to discharge because he feared it had not been sufficiently tested. Days before the cruise, Captain Robert Stockton had boasted about the Navy's new ship and armament, which he had helped design, to congressmen and reporters. He and the crew were eager to show off the cannon's ferocity, and despite Ericsson's warnings, Stockton insisted on firing the cannon during the Potomac cruise. The first two successful and ear-splitting volleys sent the crowd into wild applause.

Halfway through the cruise, President Tyler, below deck, proposed a toast to the three great guns: the Princeton, her Commander and the Peacemaker. Then the secretary of war asked for a third firing toward Mount Vernon in honor of George Washington. Stockton may have recalled Ericsson's concerns or thought it best not to push their luck with the new cannon, because he initially refused the secretary's request. In the end, though, he bowed to his superior's wishes and gave the order to fire.

The third round proved deadly. In the worst peacetime disaster of its time, the cannon exploded, killing several aboard, including Julia's father and two members of Tyler's cabinet. Tyler was halfway up the ladder to the upper deck when the explosion occurred. Julia Gardiner fainted when she heard of her father's death and, after the ship docked, Tyler whisked her off to safety in his arms. Julia's admiration for Tyler deepened into love and they were married later that year.

Now, I don't know about you but if the creator of a firearm or cannon tells me the thing needs to be tested more to be proven safe...I'm inclined to believe what he says! My momma didn't raise no fools!

The worse part of this whole thing is that even though the Captain resisted firing another round, the politicians still wanted to play the peacock! We all see just how well that worked out!

I reckon there is a lesson in there somewhere that could be applied to the way things are today, don't you think?

Coffee inside this morning. Don't know what the weather is going to do, but it's dry and warm in here. How about some apple pie to go along with the coffee?


Momlady said...

Some people just have to show off and sometimes it's not a good idea. Most politicians are boastful and full of lots of hot air.

George said...

This story made my day. It actually helps to be reminded that such things as the peacock syndrome has always been there. The irony in this story, for me, is that the canon was called The PeaceMaker. Like WWII was The War to End All Wars. Yeah, sure.....
Mmmmm.....apple pie.

linda m said...

My momma didn't raise me to be a fool either. I want the product thoroughly tested. Coffee inside sounds good, rain turning to snow turning back into heavy rain up here.

JOJO said...

Another piece of history I don't remember or maybe never knew. Thank you once again for making me smarter than I was yesterday. 8-)

I can bring some whipped topping.

HermitJim said...

Hey Momlady...
I think that being boastful and being a liar is one of the qualifications of being in politics.

Ignoring good advice is not uncommon, unfortunately. Common sense is unheard of in those circles!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

Hey Georges...
I don't think that politics has changed all that much since those days! It just shows how the idiots in power can cause death and destruction !

You do have to wonder who creates these names!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Linda...
A lot of testing to prove safety is always a good thing! If the maker says it may not be safe, better listen.

Sorry to hear about the weather there! Back up to the low 80s here!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey JoJo...
I certainly am glad you found something that you found interesting, sweetie!

I love being able to share a few thing with folks.

Topping sounds good for the pie!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Rue said...

Yep imo Peacocks may be easy on the eye, but they make a God-awful noise and stand around preening all day while the Little Red Hen gets the job done. :)

Since I've straggled in late, maybe just coffee for me, thanks.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Some one once said that through no fault of her own, my Mom's one son turned out to be a fool. I wonder who he meant since I was an only child?

HermitJim said...

Hey Rue...
Could be the reason that many old timers used the peacock as intruder alerts around the yard!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Dizzy...
I didn't say it, I really didn't!

I'm sure that I might be thought of the same way by many folks, but I try and not let that bother me! I've developed some pretty thick skin over the years!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

The Griper said...

men of government are still peacocks and are doomed to repeat their foolishness if given time. a good reason for frequent turnover in Congress and the other branches of government.

BBC said...

Fuck politicians, besides, I'm busy making a shotgun.