USS Consort - History

USS Consort - History

Consort

A companion, a husband or wife. In naval parlance, an accompanying vessel.

(Brig: t. 230; 6 guns)

The brig Consort was launched 29 October 1836 by Boston Navy Yard. Following a brief cruise off the Atlantic coast in 1837, Lieutenant J. Glynn in command, Consort served during 1838 as a Government packet between New York and Vera Cruz, Mexico. During 1840 and 1841 she made surveys along the southern coast of the United States and the following year served as receiving ship at Portland, Maine. During 1843 and 1844 she cruised off the west coast of Africa and along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Consort was sold in November 1844.


Consort

A consort was the spouse of a ruler. More generally, the term referred to anyone who shared the lot of another, but especially a partner or spouse. Historically, the consorts of rulers generally had no power unless it was given to her by her husband or by a law.

In 2155 of the mirror universe, Hoshi Sato asked Jonathan Archer for advice, as she had never been an emperor's consort before. ( ENT : " In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II ")

In 2267, T'Pring explained to Spock that she had no wish to be the consort of a legend, as she felt he had become. ( TOS : " Amok Time ")

In 2269, criminally insane ex-fleet captain Garth of Izar chose Marta, a dangerously insane Orion woman, as his consort as part of his self-styled "coronation" as "ruler of the galaxy" at the Elba II asylum they and their fellow inmates had taken over. Shortly after, however, Garth punished Marta for kissing Captain Kirk by having her brought outside the facility, exposing her to the toxic atmosphere of the planet, then detonating a small sample of a powerful explosive he had developed and inserted into her necklace. ( TOS : " Whom Gods Destroy ")

In 2366, a Tasha Yar from an alternate timeline returned with the USS Enterprise-C to the battle at Narendra III. The ship was destroyed by the Romulans, and its surviving crew captured. A Romulan general who oversaw their capture became enamored of her and spared the lives of the remaining crew in exchange for Yar becoming his consort. One year later, she gave birth to a daughter named Sela. ( TNG : " Yesterday's Enterprise ", " Redemption II ")

In 2371, Seska, an undercover Cardassian operative, was stranded in the Delta Quadrant on board the USS Voyager. In order to get home, she attempted the transfer of Starfleet replicator technology to the Kazon-Nistrim in exchange for their protection but was caught. She escaped aboard a Kazon raider and became the consort of First Maje Culluh, the leader of the Kazon-Nistrim sect. One year later, she bore him a son. ( VOY : " State of Flux ", " Basics, Part I ")


1. Shakespeare didn’t write his own plays.

Many consider William Shakespeare the greatest playwright who ever lived. But to some, he’s simply one of the great pretenders. So little is known about Shakespeare as a person—he was born in Stratford in 1564 as the son of a glove-maker, married a woman named Anne Hathaway, and died in 1616—that examining his life in any detail is all but impossible. Theorists have claimed that Shakespeare didn’t exist at all, and was instead merely a pseudonym for an accomplished (and well-educated) writer. That could have been Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, a courtier who visited many of the places depicted in the plays, or possibly Christopher Marlowe. The latter is one of the more elaborate ideas, as it maintains that Marlowe was not murdered in a tavern in 1593 but instead hustled away to France thanks to some well-placed connections. He allegedly then spent the next 20 years writing under the Shakespeare name.

The belief that Shakespeare was not the author of works attributed to him has been voiced by several notable names throughout history, including Orson Welles, Sigmund Freud, and even Mark Twain. Twain once posited that Sir Francis Bacon could easily have been the Bard, and he believed the words "Francisco Bacono" appeared in code in the First Folio.

The belief gained more credence in 2016, when the respected Oxford University Press actually credited Marlowe as co-author of the three Henry VI plays. Among other research, the publishing house cited an analysis of vocabulary between the work and Marlowe's plays.


Aftermath

Not all members of the Enterprise-C's crew were killed in battle. There were rumors of survivors taken prisoner by the Romulans, although there was no evidence of this until 2368. In that year, Romulan Commander Sela confirmed that she was the daughter of Tasha Yar, who had accompanied the Enterprise back to Narendra, had been captured by the Romulans, and had become the consort of a Romulan general. ( TNG : " Yesterday's Enterprise ", " Redemption II ")

The battle had significant political repercussions. With the Klingons disgusted by the Romulans' "cowardly tactics," the conflict caused their relations to deteriorate even further. It also drove the Klingons and the Federation much closer together, as the Klingons were impressed with the "honorable sacrifice" of the Enterprise and its crew. ( TNG : " Yesterday's Enterprise ")


Contents

Stewart was laid down on 9 September 1919 by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia launched on 4 March 1920 sponsored by Mrs. Margaretta Stewart Stevens, granddaughter of Rear Admiral Stewart and commissioned on 15 September 1920, Lieutenant S. G. Lamb in command.

United States Navy Edit

Between the wars Edit

After a year of coastal operations with a reserve division, Stewart joined Destroyer Squadron, Atlantic, on 12 October 1921. She participated in fleet exercises in the Caribbean from 12 January to 22 April 1922 and, after repairs, departed Newport, Rhode Island, on 20 June and proceeded, via the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean, to the Philippines for service in the Asiatic Fleet. She was destined not to return to the US for 23 years.

Arriving at Chefoo, China, on 26 August, Stewart entered the routine of the Asiatic Fleet, conducting training exercises from bases at Chefoo and Tsingtao in the summer and Manila in the winter and making calls at Chinese ports during the transit in each direction. Her routine was broken briefly between 6 and 21 September 1923 by a voyage to Yokosuka, Japan, to relieve victims of the Great Kantō earthquake which had heavily damaged that city and Tokyo on 30 and 31 August.

From 25 May to 16 June, Stewart supported the flight of four Army aircraft around the world, operating first in Japan and then at Shanghai.

Between 1924 and 1928, there were outbreaks of anti-foreign disturbances at Shanghai and Canton. Stewart transported marines to Shanghai in January 1925, and during the next years, spent periods augmenting the normal gunboat patrols on the Yangtze River and on the coast near Canton. She was at Shanghai on 24 March 1927 when Chinese Communist troops attacked foreigners at Nanking, and for the next three and a half months, the destroyer was stationed at Wuhu, Nanking, Shanghai, and Chenglin to protect American nationals and shipping along the Yangtze. She was also on the China coast when the Japanese launched an air and sea attack on Shanghai in late January 1932, and protected Americans at Swatow and Amoy from 1 to 3 and 9 to 24 February and at Shanghai from 26 February to 23 May. After full-scale war between Japan and China broke out in 1937 Stewart was again often on station in Chinese ports, at Tsingtao and Shanghai from 15 August to 18 December 1937, from 21 February to 21 March 1938, and from 3 June to 4 September 1939. On the latter date, after the outbreak of war in Europe, she was ordered south for patrol duties in the Philippines, which she continued until entering the Cavite Navy Yard for overhaul on 5 April 1940. Upon leaving the yard on 1 June, Stewart acted as plane guard vessel for seaplanes flying between Guam and the Philippines and then made a final tour of Chinese Yellow Sea ports from 7 July to 23 September 1940. During 1941, she remained in the Philippines as the international situation worsened and, on 27 November, she was ordered, along with the other major surface combatants of the Asiatic Fleet, to the Dutch East Indies.

World War II Edit

Stewart was at Tarakan Roads, Borneo, with other American and Dutch ships, when news of hostilities with Japan arrived on 8 December. During the final weeks of 1941, she escorted naval auxiliaries from the Philippines to Port Darwin, Australia. On 9 January 1942 Stewart was one of five destroyers in an escort composed of the cruisers Boise and Marblehead, with the other destroyers Bulmer, Pope, Parrott, and Barker departing from Darwin to Surabaya escorting the transport Bloemfontein. [7] That transport had been part of the Pensacola Convoy and had left Brisbane 30 December 1941 with Army reinforcements composed of the 26th Field Artillery Brigade and Headquarters Battery, the 1st Battalion, 131st Field Artillery and supplies from that convoy destined for Java. [8]

On 30 January, Stewart joined Marblehead and sortied with her from Bunda Roads on 4 February to intercept Japanese forces at the south entrance to the Macassar Strait. However, Marblehead was badly damaged by air attacks during the day, and Stewart escorted her back to the base at Tjilatjap, Java.

Stewart joined Admiral Karel Doorman's striking force under the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command on 14 February for an attack on Japanese forces advancing along the northern coast of Sumatra. During the approach, Stewart had to back her engines to avoid a Dutch destroyer ahead of her which had run aground on a reef in Stolze Strait, and, on the following day, 15 February, she survived numerous air attacks in the Bangka Strait. Although they damaged no Allied ships, the air attacks convinced Admiral Doorman that further advance without air cover would be foolhardy, and the Allied force retired. Stewart was detached on 16 February to fuel at Ratai Bay in Sumatra.

Admiral Doorman's forces were scattered when the Japanese landed on Bali on 19 February, and he threw his ships against the enemy in three groups on the night of 19 and 20 February in the Battle of Badung Strait. Stewart was lead ship in the second group and, in several brief but furious night engagements, came under extremely accurate fire from Japanese destroyers. Her boats were shot away, her torpedo racks and galley were hit, and a crippling shot hit the destroyer aft below her water line, opening her seams and flooding the steering engine room. However, the steering engine continued to operate under 2 feet (610 mm) of water and the destroyer was able to maintain her station in column and return to Surabaya the next morning.

Scuttling Edit

Stewart, as the most severely damaged ship, was the first to enter the floating drydock at Surabaya on 22 February. However, she was inadequately supported in the dock, and as the dock rose, the ship fell off the keel blocks onto her side in 12 feet (3.7 m) of water, bending her propeller shafts and causing further hull damage. With the port under enemy air attack and in danger of falling to the enemy, the ship could not be repaired. Responsibility for the destruction of the ship was given to naval authorities ashore, and Stewart ' s last crew members left the embattled port on the afternoon of 22 February.

Subsequently, demolition charges were set off within the ship, a Japanese bomb hit amidships further damaged her, and before the port was evacuated on 2 March, the drydock containing her was scuttled. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 25 March 1942 and was soon assigned to a new destroyer escort, USS Stewart (DE-238) .

Imperial Japanese Navy Edit

Later in the war, American pilots began reporting an American warship operating far within enemy waters. The ship had a Japanese trunked funnel but the lines of her four-piper hull were unmistakable. After almost a year under water, Stewart had been raised by the Japanese in February 1943 and commissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy on 20 September 1943 as Patrol Boat No. 102. She was armed with two 3 inch guns and operated with the Japanese Southwest Area Fleet on escort duty. On 23 August 1944, under command of Lieutenant Tomoyoshi Yoshima, she operated in consort with the anti-submarine vessel CD-22, which sank Harder with all hands, using depth charges, although PB-102 was not directly involved in this action. In November 1944, PB-102 arrived at Kure for repairs. There her antiaircraft battery was augmented, and she was given a light tripod foremast. She then sailed for the Southwest Pacific, but the American reconquest of the Philippines blocked her way. On 28 April 1945, still under control of the Southwest Area Fleet, she was bombed and damaged by United States Army aircraft at Mokpo, Korea. She was transferred on 30 April to the control of the Kure Navy District, and in August 1945, was found by American occupation forces laid up in Hiro Bay near Kure.


October 21, 1797 USS Constitution

That soon to be famous “iron” hull would have been useless in a five to one fight. A common naval tactic of the day was to close to short range and fire at the masts and rigging of opposing vessels, disabling the ship’s “power plant”. A vessel thus disabled could be boarded at will and a bloody fight would ensue, with cutlass and pistol. Surely, those 5 British captains considered the American frigate to be a great prize. USS Constitution faced a race for survival. The stakes were life and death.

When the United States won independence from Britain in 1783, the young nation soon learned that freedom was not without disadvantages. America had just lost her protector at sea.

British and French vessels harassed American merchant shipping, kidnapping American sailors and forcing them to serve in their own navies, a practice known as impressment.

Barbary pirates were a problem for Mediterranean shipping, and throughout parts of the Atlantic. Predominantly North African Muslims with the occasional outcast European, the Barbary pirates operated with the blessing of the Ottoman Empire, the Barbary Coast states of Algiers, Tunis & Tripoli, and the independent Sultanate of Morocco.

The Barbary Corsairs had long since stripped the shorelines of Spain and Italy in search of loot and Christian slaves. Many villages would not be re-inhabited until the 19th century.

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, thousands of ships were captured and held for ransom. Somewhere between 800,000 and 1.25 million Europeans disappeared into the Arab slave markets of North Africa and the Middle East.

Barbary pirates began to harass American shipping as early as 1785. They captured 11 American vessels in 1793 alone, holding both ships and crew, for ransom.

Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794, appropriating funds to build a fleet of 6 three-masted, heavy frigates for the United States Navy. The act included a clause halting construction, in the event of a peace treaty with Algiers. No such treaty was ever concluded.

Launched this day in 1797 and named by George Washington himself, USS Constitution was one of those six. Her hull was made of the wood from 2,000 Georgia live oak trees, and built in the Edmund Hartt shipyard of Boston, Massachusetts.

Constitution’s first duties involved the “quasi-war” with France, but this was not the France which helped us win our independence. France had been swallowed up in a revolution of its own by this time. Leftists calling themselves “Jacobins” had long since sent their Bourbon King and his Queen Consort to the guillotine. Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette and Hero of the American Revolution, languished in an Austrian prison.

The French Monarchy would one day be restored, but not before a certain Corsican artillerist would rise to the rank of Emperor to meet his Waterloo, fighting (and winning) more battles than Julius Caesar, Frederick the Great, Alexander the Great, and Hannibal, combined. But I digress.

The Barbary pirates were paid “tribute” during this time to keep them quiet, but that ended in 1800. Yusuf Karamanli, Pasha of Tripoli, demanded $225,000 from the incoming Jefferson administration. Jefferson refused, and Constitution joined in the Barbary Wars in 1803, a conflict memorialized in a line from the Marine Corps Hymn “From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli.”

In the early months of the War of 1812, Constitution faced off with the 38-gun HMS Guerriere, about 400 miles off the coast of Halifax. Watching Guerriere’s shots bounce off Constitution’s 21-inch thick oak hull, one American sailor exclaimed “Huzzah! her sides are made of iron!” In twenty minutes, Guerriere was destroyed. All that remained was an unsalvageable hulk. The legend of “Old Ironsides” was born.

[http://www.stuartswanfurniture.com/ironsides.htm#Guerriere Stuart Swan] USS Constitution vs. HMS Guerriere 19 August 1812 This painting by Anton Otto Fischer depicts the first victory at sea by the fledgling US Navy over the mighty Royal Navy.

One month earlier, Constitution had put to sea intending to join a five ship squadron off the coast of New Jersey. Spotting five sails and thinking they had found their rendezvous on July 17, Constitution was disabused of that notion when lookouts reported the next morning. These were 5 British warships, and they were giving chase.

That soon to be famous “iron” hull would have been useless in a five to one fight. A common naval tactic of the day was to close to short range and fire at the masts and rigging of opposing vessels, disabling the ship’s “power plant”. A vessel thus disabled could be boarded at will and a bloody fight would ensue, with cutlass and pistol. Surely, those 5 British captains considered the American frigate to be a great prize. USS Constitution faced a race for survival. The stakes were life and death.

Conditions were near dead calm as all six vessels wetted sail, trying to get the most out of light winds. In a process called “kedging“, Constitution’s boats were rowed out ahead of the ship, dropping small “kedge anchors”. Sailors would then haul the great ship up the anchor chain, hand over hand, repeating the process over and over. British warships soon imitated the tactic. What followed was an exhausting, slow motion race lasting 57 hours in the July heat.

Constitution’s crew dumped everything they could find overboard to lessen the weight, including 2,300 gallons of drinking water. Cannon fire was exchanged several times, though the shots fell short of their mark. By July 19, Constitution had pulled far enough ahead that British vessels abandoned the chase.

USS Constitution is still in service today. She goes into drydock every twenty years for below-the-waterline repair, most recently in May, 2015. Freshly restored and re-fitted, Old Ironsides took her first sail two years later, in July 2017. 220 years since her first launch, in honor of the 242nd birthday of the United States Navy.

Today, USS Constitution may be boarded at leisure at the Charleston Navy Yard, just north of Boston. To walk her decks is to go back in time. To experience first-hand, the oldest commissioned warship in the world, still afloat.


Appendices

See also

Background information

In his original March 1964 Star Trek pitch (p. 3), Gene Roddenberry utilized the prefix "S.S." for his then-envisioned primary space vessel, Yorktown. While the abbreviation has a real world maritime counterpart signifying "Single-screw Steamship", Roddenberry refrained on that occasion from specifying the abbreviation, but it stands to reason he either assumed "Spaceship" or "Starship", as hereafter indicated.

It was only after the series' pilot episode " The Cage " was picked up, and Roddenberry had worked out his initial pitch into the more fully worked out first version of The Star Trek guide internal document – famed in later Star Trek-lore under its "The Writer's Bible" denominator – that he amended the "S.S." to "U.S.S.", this time emphatically specifying the abbreviation to stand for "United Spaceship", and most certainly not for "United States Spaceship", as the old notion of traditional statehood had been abandoned in his vision of the future. (3rd revision, 17 April 1967, p. 1) Author Stephen Whitfield has related in his reference book The Making of Star Trek (p. 112) how Roddenberry had to actually mount a vigorous defense of the meaning of his new amended prefix against chauvinistic NBC network executives who were lamenting why it could not be "a good, safe patriotic United States spaceship."

USS Enterprise (XCV 330)

The first spaceship from Earth known to use "USS" was first shown in Star Trek: The Motion Picture , in a picture of the USS Enterprise (XCV 330) on display on the recreation deck of the refitted USS Enterprise (NCC-1701). The placement of a desktop model of this craft in Star Trek Into Darkness suggests that the ship predates United Earth, so the USS designation may have still meant "United States Ship" at that point in history.

Shortly before Star Trek: Enterprise began its initial airing, Rick Berman implied that Enterprise NX-01 was purposefully without the "USS" prefix because it wasn't a Federation starship. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 134, p.㺍) The use of "USS" by Starfleet before the formation of the Federation was only seen on a computer graphic in the Enterprise episode " Divergence ". This graphic had both the Enterprise and the Columbia designated with the USS prefix, which may have been a mistake on the part of the graphics designers, as neither ships' hull designation used "USS".

At a later point in time and in regard to the original prefix "SS", Gregory Jein, Inc. model builder Bruce MacRae and co-builder of the SS Vico studio model, has postulated the "SS" prefix to stand for "Survey Ship", a designation that actually fitted the "job description" of most such endowed vessels featured in the Star Trek live-action productions. [1]


History with Herstory

Emperor Qianlong's harem has been cast into the spotlight recently––with a hit tv show airing at the moment and another to come. Coincidentally, the same three women, namely the three empresses of Qianlong, are heavily featured in the two dramas, albeit in entirely different lights.

It occurred to me that a side-by-side comparison between Emperor's Qianlong three Empresses and King Henry VIII's first three wives could be interesting. Of course, given the largely discrepant cultures and historical factors, such a comparison is only superficial at best. Bear in mind that this post by no means suggests that the women were by any means similar in temperament, or shared the exact same motivations and life trajectories.

For a full biography of Henry VIII's first two queens, read Celine's post here.

In the following sections, I will simply refer to the empresses by their family names/more familiar titles for easier identification. (Like honestly who's gonna remember a title like Empress Xiaoxian Chengzheng Dunmu Renhui Weigong Kangshun Futian Changsheng Chun. No, I didn't make this title up.)





Empress Fucha--Katherine of Aragon

Like Katherine of Aragon, Empress Fucha was high-born and brought up accordingly. Though not a member of royalty per se, her family, the Fucha clan, was a member of the "Bordered Yellow Banner", one of the top three banners among the eight Manchurian banners. The Empress' family welded immense power and authority and had matrimonial ties with the royal family.

Katherine of Aragon was known to have been highly educated. The scholar Erasmus noted that the queen was "well instructed"––not just in comparison to other women––and "is no less to be respected for her piety than her erudition". She also ensured her daughter Mary would receive the same comprehensive education as she had.

Similarly, Empress Fucha was well taught and known for her calligraphy skills. According to the memoirs[1] of a descendant of her clan, the Emperor Yongzheng (then still a prince) chanced upon their family home and caught her in the middle of calligraphy practice. He was greatly impressed by her calligraphy skills and by her knowledge of the classics. As he returned home later that day, he summoned his sons (including Fucha's future husband) and admonished them, "You'd better be diligent, else you'd lose out in comparison to a nine-year-old girl!"

Empress Fucha was personally picked out by the Emperor Yongzheng to be the primary wife of his fourth son, Hongli, later crowned as the Emperor Qianlong. Empress Fucha had two sons and two daughters in her marriage. Like Queen Katherine, whose only surviving child was the Princess Mary, Empress Fucha was rather unlucky in this respect: both of her sons and a daughter died in childhood. Her only surviving child was a daughter who lived to the relatively ripe old age of 61 years.

Unlike Queen Katherine, Empress Fucha never lost her husband's favour. Her conduct as queen was blameless she fitted the archetype of the ideal Confucian wife perfectly. But the death of her only remaining son at the age of two proved too much for her. The Emperor, determined to cheer her up, took her on an excursion to Shantong. The royal couple visited several famous sites and even presided over a grand ceremony at the Confucius temple. All seemed well until they embarked on their return journey to the capital. Empress Fucha had fallen ill. The Emperor wanted to put off their return trip until her recovery however, the Empress urged the Emperor to proceed with their journey back as scheduled. The journey, compounded by her grief, took its toll on her. She passed away on the boat, aged only 37.

The Emperor never got over his grief. His political style took a sharp turn after the Empress' demise he admonished two of his sons for 'not displaying the appropriate amount of emotion' and even excluded them from his list of heirs apparent. Nor were his officials exempt from his bad temper. He found fault with the ceremonial offerings, was unhappy with the lack of attendance at the Empress' funeral, and even punished officials for shaving their heads within a hundred days of the Empress' death. In retrospect, this series of incidents could have been a long-awaited-for moment to punish offending officials though several sources do agree that Qianlong was never the same again.

Empress Nala--Anne Boleyn
The aftermath of Empress Fucha's death was felt strongly by the entire court no one was to bear the brunt more so than her ill-fated successor, Empress Nala.

At the time of Empress Fucha's death, Empress Nala was the "Noble Consort Xian", two ranks below the Empress. Her title, 'Xian', (娴), meaning "refined and demure", was supposed to be a reflection of her general character. She had been in attendance at the emperor's court ever since she was a girl of sixteen. Her rank and seniority were the highest among the palace ladies her family background, though less prestigious than the late Empress, was high enough her character, if official records were anything to go by, was blameless. In other words, she was perfect to assume the role of the new Empress.

No portrait of the empress survives. Perhaps
Qianlong had them destroyed.
That was what the Empress Dowager had in mind as well. The Emperor, however, was not too eager to have her assume the role. As a compromise, he made her the "Imperial Noble Consort"––a sort of probationary position for her to carry out the responsibilities of an empress without the actual title. Lady Xian passed her probation without event. She was then coronated after the country's official mourning period was over.

At first glance, it would seem that Empress Nala and Anne Boleyn shared no similarities. While Anne Boleyn was witty, vivacious and determined, Empress Nala was set out to be another version of Empress Fucha. She toed the line cautiously, played by the rules, and never gave anyone any reason to doubt the legitimacy of her succession.

Nor was the Emperor ever infatuated with her the way King Henry was with Anne Boleyn Empress Nala only began to bear children after her coronation as Empress. In other words, the relationship between the Emperor and his new Empress was respectful, proper, and fully fitted the official expectations of a royal couple who were bound together not by passion, but by duty.

It was only after a striking turn of events when Empress Nala's fate converged with that of Anne Boleyn's.

The brewing of the storm, for both Empress Nala and Anne Boleyn, was preceded by a period of apparent normalcy. Anne Boleyn was watching a game of tennis, carrying out her official duties as queen, when she was disturbed by messengers who ordered her to present herself before the privy council. A day before, her husband had left his seat abruptly at the May Day jousts. As argued by the historian Alison Weir, Anne probably had enough time to realize the gravity of her situation. Her situation had been highly precarious ever since her two miscarriages. Jane Seymour's ascension at court was also a threat to Anne, as King Henry began to openly flaunt his affection for her.

The disgrace of Empress Nala was, on the contrary, less obvious. The Emperor and his favourites were on an excursion to Hangzhou. Everything went fine at first with the Emperor celebrated the Empress' birthday en route. They arrived at Hangzhou and breakfasted together the Emperor even bequeathed her with delicacies from his royal table––a sign of his favor. However, the Empress did not show up for dinner that night. It was soon apparent that she had been sent back to the palace in disgrace on that day itself.

Empress Nala played by Charmaine Seah
What triggered this chain of events is unknown. By the emperor's own admission, the Empress had willfully cut her own hair––a big no-no for Manchurian women. It was akin to cursing the Emperor and the Empress Dowager, for the Empress was only allowed to cut her hair as a sign of mourning at their deaths. Since there were no eyewitness accounts to support or counteract that claim, we have no choice but to take the Emperor at his word.


The reason behind Empress Nala's impulsiveness, given her clean record, is unknown and extremely baffling. There are many speculative theories circulating the net one of which involves Noble Consort Ling, the "Jane Seymour" of this story. In this narrative, the Empress was greatly threatened by Noble Consort Ling's rapid ascension in the ranks of the Imperial Harem. The decision of the Emperor to promote her to the position of "Imperial Noble Consort" was the last straw that broke the camel's back––Empress Nala's action was, therefore, a desperate defiant act against the Emperor's plans. Though appealing in terms of its dramatic nature, this claim is highly speculative.

Empress Nala as depicted in the TV series
"Ruyi's Royal Love"
Unlike Anne Boleyn, Empress Nala was not put to death. Nor did she lose her position as Empress. However, her treatment was equivalent to demotion. The Emperor confiscated the ceremonial artefacts which marked her four promotions to the positions of Consort, Noble Consort, Imperial Noble Consort and Empress respectively he also reduced the number of her servants to two, which was the equivalent of the lowest-ranking consort in the palace.

Empress Nala died a year later. Her funeral was simply-done and did not befit her rank. Her coffin was then stuffed into a corner of the tomb of another concubine. No ceremonial plaque was erected in her honor nor were any posthumous titles awarded. The Emperor never showed any sign of grief at the news of his death. In fact, he exiled a hapless officer who was undiscerning enough to propose a proper funeral befitting her rank.




Consort Ling--Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour was arguably King Henry's favorite. She was, after all, the one who begot him his long-wished-for son. King Henry had their family portrait painted together long after her death, effectively leaving the then-reigning queen Katherine Parr out. He even joined her in death, while his other wives, some without their heads, had to content themselves with singlehood for eternity.

Jane Seymour was lady-in-waiting to King Henry's first two wives. As for Consort Ling, the details of her life prior to her ascension as the consort is unknown. The tv series Story of Yanxi Palace, (延禧攻略) portray her as the maid-in-waiting to Empress Fucha. This is not without historical basis. In an elegy to the Empress, Emperor Qianlong mentioned that the Consort had benefitted from the 'education' offered by the Empress. The exact meaning of this is unknown. The tv series take it literally to the extent of having Empress Fucha teach Consort Ling calligraphy and literacy skills.

Others have speculated that Consort Ling had not begun her career as a palace maid, but was immediately promoted to the position of guiren, or 'Noble Person', five ranks below the Empress. That would still place her under the guidance of the Empress who was in charge of overseeing the discipline and character of the imperial concubines.

Consort Ling, depicted as the maid-in-waiting to Empress Fucha
in "The Story of Yanxi Palace"

Jane Seymour, though of noble birth, started out from a considerably lower station in life as compared to Katherine of Aragon. In a similar vein, Consort Ling's background was considerably weaker than Empress Fucha, Empress Nala, or many of the other imperial consorts for that matter. Her rapid ascension across the ranks is therefore remarkable. She rose from the fifth rank to the second rank of Noble Consort within fourteen years. After the unexpected fall of Empress Nala, she was made the Imperial Noble Consort, a rare honor commonly reserved for concubines of prominent families.

Consort Ling, as depicted in the 90s TV Series "Princess Returning Pearl".
In this series, she is depicted as a kindly figure who is symphathetic to
the main characters and often intercedes on their behalf.

It was not that easy to be promoted in the Qing imperial harem. For starters, Manchurian women of the foremost banners were more likely to be promoted. The ability to give birth to sons was also a chief determining factor though the Emperor could promote childless favorites as well. Like Jane Seymour, Consort Ling was the birth mother of the Emperor's immediate successor, though it wasn't entirely evident at that point. As dictated by custom, the Emperor would write his successor's name in a will hidden behind the plaque in his throne room. It was only at the point of the Emperor's death (or abdication) when the will would be retrieved and revealed.

Jane Seymour died shortly after her son's birth. Consort Ling was more fortunate she lived for quite a long while until her death at 47. Like Jane, she did not live long enough to see her son ascend the throne. In a final display of favor, Emperor Qianlong awarded her the title of 'Empress' posthumously.


The Tudors have long been the favorites of historical fiction and tv series. The same can be said of Emperor Qianlong, though historical dramas in the past had focused solely on his role as emperor and his doings in the politcal scope.

Qianglong's Empire

Unlike Western history, I find that Chinese history has been more secretive about the doings of the Imperial family. Reading the obituaries and biographies of the Qing empresses and concubines brings to mind images of virtuous women, whose sole purpose in life was to serve the king and follow rules. It is hard to guess at their personalities or motivations.

Though frustrating for historians, this lack of information has provided novelists and filmmakers with a blank canvas on which imaginations run wild. And we now find ourselves at this interesting point in Chinese popular culture where not one, but two historically-inspired tv series are being aired/to-be-aired at the point of writing.

Yingluo (Consort Ling) vs Ruyi (Empress Nala).

One of this, Yanxi Gonglue, or "The Story of Yanxi Palace"[2] (延禧攻略) has been taking over the Chinese internet by storm. In this version, Consort Ling is the central character, an ally of Empress Fucha, and the deadly opponent of Empress Nala. In the second version, "Ru Yi's Royal Love in the Palace" (如懿传), Empress Nala, reimagined as Ulanala Ruyi[3], is the central character, while Consort Ling is the main villain. In this retelling of events, Empress Nala is the Emperor's true love, and the couple became estranged after a series of misunderstandings. (which I find really unconvincing)

Promo poster for Ruyi's Royal Love

Better than the power struggle between Empress Nala and Consort Ling is the real-life power struggle between the two tv series, its producers, and fans to emerge as the ultimate winner of the day. While Yanxi promotes itself as an accurate representation of historical dress and accessories, (read a full discussion here and here), Ruyi's crew promotes itself as a faithful reconstruction of the elaborate Qing dynasty palace rituals. (video below)

At the time of writing, things seem a little more challenging for Ruyi, given that the audiences have been won over by Yanxi's depiction of Consort Ling as a fearless, quick-witted and capable young lady.

Watch the promotional videos below and decide for yourself. Who is the ultimate winner of this 21st-century palace power struggle?

1) Promotional Video for Yanxi Palace

[1]: I am unable to find citations or the original source for this anecdote. This information is lifted from baidu and is uncited. It would be wise to treat this as just a story.

[2]: In my opinion, "A Survival Guide to Yanxi Palace" would be a better translation

[3]: In history, Empress Nala's family name is ‘Hoifa Nala', not 'Ula Nala'. The TV series' version is a common misconception.


CONSORT Statement 2001

The CONSORT Statement is a continually evolving instrument, needing to be regularly updated in light of experience and new empirical evidence. Participants in the CONSORT Group and their degree of involvement vary over time. Key members meet regularly to review the need to further refine the CONSORT Statement.

At a meeting in May 1999, 13 participants of the CONSORT Group decided that there was a need to revise the original CONSORT checklist and flow diagram. The Group discussed the merits of including each item in light of current evidence, and determined, by consensus, the changes to be made in the revision.

As in developing the original CONSORT Statement, the intention was to keep only those items deemed fundamental to reporting standards for an RCT. Some items, which were not regarded as essential, could well be highly desirable and should still be included in a report of a randomized controlled trial even though they are not included in CONSORT. Such items included approval of an institutional ethics review board, sources of funding for the trial, and a trial registry number - e.g., the International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN) used to register the RCT at its inception(324).

The revised CONSORT Statement was published in 2001, without precedent, simultaneously in three prestigious international medical journals(325)(326)(327).


Tag: US Navy

That soon to be famous “iron” hull would have been useless in a five to one fight. A common naval tactic of the day was to close to short range and fire at the masts and rigging of opposing vessels, disabling the ship’s “power plant”. A vessel thus disabled could be boarded at will and a bloody fight would ensue, with cutlass and pistol. Surely, those 5 British captains considered the American frigate to be a great prize. USS Constitution faced a race for survival. The stakes were life and death.

When the United States won independence from Britain in 1783, the young nation soon learned that freedom was not without disadvantages. America had just lost her protector at sea.

British and French vessels harassed American merchant shipping, kidnapping American sailors and forcing them to serve in their own navies, a practice known as impressment.

Barbary pirates were a problem for Mediterranean shipping, and throughout parts of the Atlantic. Predominantly North African Muslims with the occasional outcast European, the Barbary pirates operated with the blessing of the Ottoman Empire, the Barbary Coast states of Algiers, Tunis & Tripoli, and the independent Sultanate of Morocco.

The Barbary Corsairs had long since stripped the shorelines of Spain and Italy in search of loot and Christian slaves. Many villages would not be re-inhabited until the 19th century.

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, thousands of ships were captured and held for ransom. Somewhere between 800,000 and 1.25 million Europeans disappeared into the Arab slave markets of North Africa and the Middle East.

Barbary pirates began to harass American shipping as early as 1785. They captured 11 American vessels in 1793 alone, holding both ships and crew, for ransom.

Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794, appropriating funds to build a fleet of 6 three-masted, heavy frigates for the United States Navy. The act included a clause halting construction, in the event of a peace treaty with Algiers. No such treaty was ever concluded.

Launched this day in 1797 and named by George Washington himself, USS Constitution was one of those six. Her hull was made of the wood from 2,000 Georgia live oak trees, and built in the Edmund Hartt shipyard of Boston, Massachusetts.

Constitution’s first duties involved the “quasi-war” with France, but this was not the France which helped us win our independence. France had been swallowed up in a revolution of its own by this time. Leftists calling themselves “Jacobins” had long since sent their Bourbon King and his Queen Consort to the guillotine. Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette and Hero of the American Revolution, languished in an Austrian prison.

The French Monarchy would one day be restored, but not before a certain Corsican artillerist would rise to the rank of Emperor to meet his Waterloo, fighting (and winning) more battles than Julius Caesar, Frederick the Great, Alexander the Great, and Hannibal, combined. But I digress.

The Barbary pirates were paid “tribute” during this time to keep them quiet, but that ended in 1800. Yusuf Karamanli, Pasha of Tripoli, demanded $225,000 from the incoming Jefferson administration. Jefferson refused, and Constitution joined in the Barbary Wars in 1803, a conflict memorialized in a line from the Marine Corps Hymn “From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli.”

In the early months of the War of 1812, Constitution faced off with the 38-gun HMS Guerriere, about 400 miles off the coast of Halifax. Watching Guerriere’s shots bounce off Constitution’s 21-inch thick oak hull, one American sailor exclaimed “Huzzah! her sides are made of iron!” In twenty minutes, Guerriere was destroyed. All that remained was an unsalvageable hulk. The legend of “Old Ironsides” was born.

[http://www.stuartswanfurniture.com/ironsides.htm#Guerriere Stuart Swan] USS Constitution vs. HMS Guerriere 19 August 1812 This painting by Anton Otto Fischer depicts the first victory at sea by the fledgling US Navy over the mighty Royal Navy.

One month earlier, Constitution had put to sea intending to join a five ship squadron off the coast of New Jersey. Spotting five sails and thinking they had found their rendezvous on July 17, Constitution was disabused of that notion when lookouts reported the next morning. These were 5 British warships, and they were giving chase.

That soon to be famous “iron” hull would have been useless in a five to one fight. A common naval tactic of the day was to close to short range and fire at the masts and rigging of opposing vessels, disabling the ship’s “power plant”. A vessel thus disabled could be boarded at will and a bloody fight would ensue, with cutlass and pistol. Surely, those 5 British captains considered the American frigate to be a great prize. USS Constitution faced a race for survival. The stakes were life and death.

Conditions were near dead calm as all six vessels wetted sail, trying to get the most out of light winds. In a process called “kedging“, Constitution’s boats were rowed out ahead of the ship, dropping small “kedge anchors”. Sailors would then haul the great ship up the anchor chain, hand over hand, repeating the process over and over. British warships soon imitated the tactic. What followed was an exhausting, slow motion race lasting 57 hours in the July heat.

Constitution’s crew dumped everything they could find overboard to lessen the weight, including 2,300 gallons of drinking water. Cannon fire was exchanged several times, though the shots fell short of their mark. By July 19, Constitution had pulled far enough ahead that British vessels abandoned the chase.

USS Constitution is still in service today. She goes into drydock every twenty years for below-the-waterline repair, most recently in May, 2015. Freshly restored and re-fitted, Old Ironsides took her first sail two years later, in July 2017. 220 years since her first launch, in honor of the 242nd birthday of the United States Navy.

Today, USS Constitution may be boarded at leisure at the Charleston Navy Yard, just north of Boston. To walk her decks is to go back in time. To experience first-hand, the oldest commissioned warship in the world, still afloat.


Watch the video: USS Roper and the U-85