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Old September 20th, 2015, 09:10 PM   #31

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Turning John Graves Simcoe - a man so revered he even has a holiday named after him where I live - into a creepy, psychotic, murderous super-villain is nothing less than libel.
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 03:34 PM   #32

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Well, I have now finished watching season one on DVD. For the record, I rather enjoyed it. For the record, I also enjoyed Xena Warrior Princess. For historical accuracy, both shows are about equal.

The little historical whoopsies, like the St. Patrick's cross which intermittently appears on the British flag, and the grating repeated reference to the "Royal" army, or purchasing the commission of an officer killed on active duty, I can forgive. The video game-like CGI scenes I can forgive (though a decent director wouldn't have attempted such scenes on a TV series budget, I think). The plot development is simplistic, but I don't mind that; cheap wine is as good as fine brandy when the goal is to get drunk. Some of the plot twists stretch suspension of disbelief past the breaking point, though. Like the spy posing as a British officer: Absurd. If he is trying to impersonate a real person, someone would recognize him immediately. If not, there would be no record of him in the Gazette and he would be found out immediately anyway. The early attempt to explore the divided loyalties of the time, which would have made a great story in itself, was unfortunately abandoned as the British emerged quickly as red-coated Nazis whom even Loyalists hate.

Which brings us to John Graves Simcoe, and all I can think to say is: Why? The real Simcoe introduced an elected legislature to Upper Canada, common law and courts, habeus corpus, trial by jury, freehold land tenure, and - oh yeah - abolished slavery. My gosh, what a monster. Instead of the intelligent and progressive liberal he was in life, he is depicted as a sexual predator who casually slits the throats of suspected spies at the dinner table, hides behind civilian hostages in a battle, hangs people without due process, murders hostages like he just hijacked a 747, and descends into psychotic episodes of violence. The only aspects about Simcoe that even approach reality are his name and a red coat - and they got the coat wrong.

I called it libel before, but this goes beyond mere libel or slander. This is character assassination straight out of the Mel Gibson school of how to depict the English for American audiences. But even Gibson gave his psycho Englishman a fictional name, even if we knew who it was supposed to be. Maybe I'm just naive, but is this really the American view of the Revolution?

Production and Cinematography: B
Acting: C+
Writing: C
Direction: D
Historical Value: Is there a letter after Z?

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by Tercios Espanoles; September 22nd, 2015 at 04:54 PM.
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 04:59 PM   #33
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I don't know a whole lot about Turn or about Simcoe, but maybe this could have something to do with it???




Quote:
...[William] Franklin and his associates considered Clinton too sluggish. They urged him to arm the Refugees and turn them loose to wage a "predatory war" - the formal term was "war ad terrorem" - laying waste to rebel towns and farms with the kind of crusading zeal previously directed at the Irish and Scots. "We must be prepared and not shy away from any barbarity," declared a Hessian officer sympathetic to the Refugees, "regardless of how it might be considered by a European."

Clinton had no taste for that kind of things...Quite a few of his regimental commanders liked the idea, however, among them ...John Graves Simcoe of the Queen's Rangers...

...Clinton's war ad terrorem rolled on nonetheless, and the number of prisoners in New York grew apace...At the end of October, Simcoe's Queen's Rangers struck Brunswick, New Jersey, where they destroyed food and forage intended for Washington's army and grabbed about thirty prisoners. On the way back to Amboy, Simcoe himself fell prisoner in a skirmish with a group of insurgents led by William Marriner, the shoemaker turned whaleboat captain...
Forgotten Patriots by Edwin G. Burrows, pp 142-143, 145, actually the whole chapter deals with this subject of ad terrorem pp 141 - 160 .
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 05:13 PM   #34

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Originally Posted by R5 plus View Post
I don't know a whole lot about Turn or about Simcoe, but maybe this could have something to do with it???





Forgotten Patriots by Edwin G. Burrows, pp 142-143, 145, actually the whole chapter deals with this subject of ad terrorem pp 141 - 160 .
Interesting. What source does he cite for Simcoe's approval of the scheme? I'll have to look into his RevWar service.

He always hoped to bring the United States back to the Crown, but, as he says, "though a soldier, it is not by arms that I hope for this result." These are his post-war views on the situation before taking control of Upper Canada:

"I mean to prepare for whatever convulsions may happen in the United States; and the method I propose is by establishing a free, honourable British Government, and a pure administration of its laws, which shall hold out to the solitary emigrant, and to the several states, advantages that the present form of Government doth not and cannot permit them to enjoy..."

Last edited by Tercios Espanoles; September 22nd, 2015 at 05:26 PM.
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 06:21 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Tercios Espanoles View Post
Interesting. What source does he cite for Simcoe's approval of the scheme? I'll have to look into his RevWar service.

He always hoped to bring the United States back to the Crown, but, as he says, "though a soldier, it is not by arms that I hope for this result." These are his post-war views on the situation before taking control of Upper Canada:

"I mean to prepare for whatever convulsions may happen in the United States; and the method I propose is by establishing a free, honourable British Government, and a pure administration of its laws, which shall hold out to the solitary emigrant, and to the several states, advantages that the present form of Government doth not and cannot permit them to enjoy..."
I'm not seeing an exact quote that voices his approval at this point, but there have been a lot of distractions around me.

Here are a few of the works he cites for that section:

Letter from Mr. Peter Dubois in New York to Mrs. Dubois (think this is the one)
https://books.google.com/books?id=om...dubois&f=false

Life and Letters of Samuel Holden Parsons by Charles S. Hall
https://archive.org/details/lifelettersofsam01hall

And for his capture, pp 116, 117
Simcoe's Military Journal
https://archive.org/stream/simcoesmi...ge/n4/mode/2up


Reading your quote, it sounds like he may have had a change of attitude in how to win back America.
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 06:42 PM   #36

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I already downloaded Simcoe's journal of his time with the Rangers. Maybe he'll admit to some rape and pillage, and I'll write a nice note of apology to Hollywood.

https://archive.org/stream/cihm_42313#page/n5/mode/2up
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 07:25 PM   #37
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https://spycurious.wordpress.com/201...graves-simcoe/

Lowell mentioned this blog already, but this page is particularly about Simcoe.
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 08:08 AM   #38

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It's unfortunate that Turn isn't a documentary because if the actual historical story were told, I think it would have been well received (just as Burn's Civil war was). But it's not. And so they definitely conflate characters, indulge in some time line fudging and make some of the characters more heroic or evil than they really were. There's no evidence of any African Americans participating in the Culper spy ring - but it's at least plausible.
And yes, they play pretty fast and loose with Simcoe -- who is used as a proxy for the cruelty of many British soldiers (they really make him into a sadistic sociopath). Turn doesn't really cover any of the native born loyalists who served as soldiers. The woodhall "affair" has no basis either. It's unfortunate that an area of American history gets little coverage. But I do think Turn does better than "sons of Liberty" in interesting the viewers in this period.
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Old September 29th, 2015, 09:18 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Tercios Espanoles View Post
I already downloaded Simcoe's journal of his time with the Rangers. Maybe he'll admit to some rape and pillage, and I'll write a nice note of apology to Hollywood.

https://archive.org/stream/cihm_42313#page/n5/mode/2up
I haven't had a chance to read through it much. Did you find any indication of his thoughts on the matter?
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Old September 29th, 2015, 03:47 PM   #40

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Originally Posted by R5 plus View Post
I haven't had a chance to read through it much. Did you find any indication of his thoughts on the matter?
Lots of boat burning, but not much else. I've only been skimming it. Eventually I'll clear the docket and give it a full read.
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