John’s Believe It Or Not… June 19th

* 1625 – Jean de Brébeuf and first permanent Jesuit missionaries arrive at Québec. * 1829 Sir Robert Peel introduces the Metropolitan Police Act 1829 into Parliament to establish a unified police force for London * 1864 USS Kearsarge sinks CSS Alabama * 1867 Emperor of Mexico executed * 1970 Carole King has her first #1 hit as a performer

Carole King

It’s Tuesday! Did You Know…

* 1625 – Jean de Brébeuf and first permanent Jesuit missionaries arrive at Québec.

Spurred by the inspirational writings of their founder and unswerving in their obedience to the papacy, the Jesuits quickly became known as the schoolmasters of Europe – teaching not only the tenets of the Catholic faith but also subjects as varied as the Latin classics and dancing.

The Jesuits’ mission was to teach people “the way into heaven” and they declared themselves “ready to die for the honor of …our good Lord and for the salvation of these poor people.” In the New World, their goal was to bring lost souls to Christianity and they were willing to endure hardships and to shed their blood to succeed.

The Jesuits first came to New France as missionaries in 1611. Pierre Biard and Enemond Massé arrived at Port-Royal on 22 May 1611. Massé was driven out of Acadia by the English but was among the first group of Jesuits who arrived at Québec in June 1625. With him were Charles Lalemant, Jean de Brébeuf, and two lay brothers.

Brébeuf spent many years among the Huron, learning their language and culture and building a number of missions that initially met with little success in converting the First Nations to Christianity. Brébeuf was convinced that he had been chosen by God and had a vision that he would die a violent death in His name. On 16 March 1649 the Iroquois, who were in the process of destroying the Huron nation, captured Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalemant. The two Jesuits were carried off to Saint-Ignace, where they suffered one of the most atrocious martyrdoms in the annals of Christianity.

Ontario's first European Community, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was the headquarters for the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron Wendat people.
Ontario’s first European Community, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was the headquarters for the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron Wendat people. (

* 1829 Sir Robert Peel introduces the Metropolitan Police Act 1829 into Parliament to establish a unified police force for London

American policing has been heavily influenced by the English system throughout the course of history. In the early stages of development in both England and Colonial America, citizens were responsible for law enforcement in their communities. The English referred to this as kin police in which people were responsible for watching out for their relatives or kin.

In Colonial America, a watch system consisting of citizen volunteers (usually men) was in place until the mid-19th century. Citizens that were part of watch groups
provided social services, including lighting street lamps, running soup kitchens, recovering lost children, capturing runaway animals, and a variety of other services; their involvement in crime control activities at this time was minimal at best.

Policing in England and Colonial America was largely ineffective, as it was
based on a volunteer system and their method of patrol was both disorganized and sporadic. Sometime later, the responsibility of enforcing laws shifted from individual citizen volunteers to groups of men living within the community; this was referred to as the frankpledge system in England. The frankpledge system was a semistructured system in which groups of men were responsible for enforcing the law. Men living within a community would form groups of 10 called tythings (or tithings); 10 tythings were then grouped into hundreds, and then hundreds were grouped into shires (similar to counties). A person called the shire reeve (sheriff) was then chosen to be in charge of each shire.

The individual members of tythings were responsible for capturing criminals and bringing them to court, while shire reeves were responsible for providing a number of services, including the oversight of the activities conducted by the tythings in their shire.

A similar system existed in America during this time in which constables, sheriffs, and citizen-based watch groups were responsible for policing in the colonies. Sheriffs were responsible for catching criminals, working with the courts, and collecting taxes; law enforcement was not a top priority for sheriffs, as they
could make more money by collecting taxes within the community.

Night watch groups in Colonial America, as well as day watch groups that were added at a later time, were largely ineffective; instead of controlling crime in their community, some members of the watch groups would sleep and/or socialize while they were on duty. These citizen-based watch groups were not equipped to deal with the increasing social unrest and rioting that were beginning to occur in both England and Colonial America in the late 1700s through the early 1800s. It was at this point in time that publicly funded police departments began to emerge across both England and Colonial America.

In 1829, Sir Robert Peel (Home Secretary of England) introduced the Bill for Improving the Police in and Near the Metropolis (Metropolitan Police Act) to Parliament with the goal of creating a police force to manage the social conflict resulting from rapid urbanization and industrialization taking place in the city
of London. Peel’s efforts resulted in the creation of the London Metropolitan Police on September 29, 1829. Historians and scholars alike identify the London Metropolitan Police as the first modern police department. Sir Robert Peel is often referred to as the father of modern policing, as he played an integral role in the creation of this department, as well as several basic principles that would later guide the formation of police departments in the United States. Past and current police officers working in the London Metropolitan Police Department are often referred to as bobbies or peelers as a way to honor the efforts of Sir Robert Peel.

Peel believed that the function of the London Metropolitan Police should focus primarily on crime prevention—that is, preventing crime from occurring instead of detecting it after it had occurred. To do this, the police would have to work in a coordinated and centralized manner, provide coverage across large designated beat areas, and also be available to the public both night and day. It was also during this time that preventive patrol first emerged as a way to potentially deter criminal activity. The idea was that citizens would think twice about committing crimes if they noticed a strong police presence in their community.

'Peelers', named after the founder of the police force, Sir Robert Peel, take to London's streets in 1829. '
‘Peelers’, named after the founder of the police force, Sir Robert Peel, take to London’s streets in 1829. ‘ (Pinterest)

* 1864 USS Kearsarge sinks CSS Alabama

The most successful and feared Confederate commerce raider of the war, the CSS Alabama, sinks after a spectacular battle off the coast of France with the USS Kearsarge.

Built in an English shipyard and sold to the Confederates in 1861, the Alabama was a state-of-the-art ship—220 feet long, with a speed of up to 13 knots. The cruiser was equipped with a machine shop and could carry enough coal to steam for 18 days, but its sails could greatly extend that time. Under its captain, Raphael Semmes, the Alabama prowled the world for three years, capturing U.S. commercial ships. It sailed around the globe, usually working out of the West Indies, but taking prizes and bungling Union shipping in the Caribbean, off Newfoundland, and around the coast of South America. In January 1863, Semmes sunk a Union warship, the Hatteras, after luring it out of Galveston, Texas. The Union navy spent an enormous amount of time and effort trying to track down the Alabama.

The ship sailed around South America, across the Pacific, and docked in India in 1864. By the summer, Semmes realized that after three years and 75,000 miles his vessel needed overhauling in a modern shipyard. He sailed around Africa to France, where the French denied him access to a dry dock. Semmes moved out of Cherbourg Harbor and found the USS Kearsarge waiting. In a spectacular battle, the Kearsarge bested and sank the Alabama. During its career, the Alabama captured 66 ships and was hunted by more than 20 Federal warships.


* 1867 Emperor of Mexico executed

Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, installed as emperor of Mexico by French Emperor Napoleon III in 1864, is executed on the orders of Benito Juarez, the president of the Mexican Republic.

In 1861, the liberal Mexican Benito Juarez became president of a country in financial ruin, and he was forced to default on his debts to European governments. In response, France, Britain, and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, ruled by Napoleon III, decided to use the opportunity to carve a dependent empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large French force and driving President Juarez and his government into retreat.

Certain that French victory would come swiftly in Mexico, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juarez rounded up a rag-tag force of loyal men and sent them to Puebla. Led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza, the 2,000 Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez drew his army, well-provisioned and supported by heavy artillery, before the city of Puebla and began his assault from the north. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers to the fewer than 100 Mexicans killed.

Although not a major strategic victory in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza’s victory at Puebla represented a great moral victory for the Mexican government and symbolized the country’s ability to defend its sovereignty against threat by a powerful foreign nation. Today, Mexicans celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla as Cinco de Mayo. Six years later, under pressure from the newly reunited United States, France withdrew. Abandoned in Mexico, Emperor Maximilian was captured by Juarez’ forces and on June 19, 1867, executed.

The Execution of Emperor Maximilian (1868–69), oil on canvas, 252 x 305 cm. Kunsthalle Mannheim
The Execution of Emperor Maximilian (1868–69), oil on canvas, 252 x 305 cm. Kunsthalle Mannheim

* 1970 Carole King has her first #1 hit as a performer

Carole King began her career in music as a young newlywed and college graduate, working a 9-to-5 shift alongside her then-husband, Gerry Goffin, in Don Kirshner’s songwriting factory, Aldon Music. It was there, working in a cubicle with a piano, staff paper and tape recorder that she co-wrote her first hit song (the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” 1960), her second and third hit songs (the Drifters’ “Some Kind Of Wonderful” and Bobby Vee’s “Take Good Care Of My Baby,” both 1961), her 14th and 17th hit songs (the Chiffons’ “One Fine Day,” 1963, and Herman’s Hermits’ “Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good,” 1964) and so on and so forth. It was not until 10 years after her songwriting breakthrough, however, that Carole King finally fulfilled her long-held dream of having her own hit record as both singer and songwriter. On June 19, 1971, she earned her first #1 single as a performer with the double-sided hit “It’s Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move.”

King’s hit single came from one of the best and most popular albums of the singer-songwriter era—an era that Carole King helped usher in. Tapestry was a milestone not only for Carole King but for women in rock and roll in general. As the critic Robert Christgau put it: “King has done for the female voice what countless singer-composers achieved years ago for the male: liberated it from technical decorum. She insists on being heard as she is…with all the cracks and imperfections that implies.” On the heels of Tapestry‘s success, up-and-coming solo female performers like Carly Simon and Rickie Lee Jones found an easier path to popularity, and the great Joni Mitchell entered the period of her greatest commercial success.

The success of Tapestry and Carole King’s first #1 single launched her career as a solo performer, but a look around the pop charts of 1971 reveals just how big a force she remained behind the scenes. Among the artists who earned #1 pop hits that year, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Rod Stewart, Isaac Hayes, George Harrison and Paul McCartney all recorded a Carole King song at one point in their careers, and Donny Osmond and James Taylor owe their only chart-topping 1971 hits (“Go Away Little Girl” and “You’ve Got A Friend,” respectively) to her songwriting talents.

Carole King. Photo: Elissa Kline.
Carole King. Photo: Elissa Kline.

Today’s Sources: 

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology

* The Canadian Encyclopedia                              

* On This Day – History, Film, Music and Sport               

* Sage Publications: The History of the Police       

* This Day In History – What Happened Today                                  

Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (, to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

10 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 19th”

  1. Jean de Brébeuf sounds like a dish made with wine. USS Kearsarge sinking of the CSS Alabama reminds us of how determined the Confederates were. It took almost five years to catch her. I wonder why the Emperor of Mexico was executed. I mean they could have forced the French to pay a ransom. Love Carole King. I didn’t realize she wrote so many hit songs. Good post, John

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always loved Carole King. Her vitality and bright smile are a trademark for her upbeat songs. Your story of Brébeuf reminds me of so many courageous Jesuits who went into the unknown to establish schools and churches. Goodness, our lives seem simple compared to earlier times. Thank you, John. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had no idea that Carole King had written so many hit songs! You make an interesting observation about the past and our lives today. I think people’s lives back in the 1600s were much simpler than ours -but exceedingly difficult. It might have been a blessing that they were not burdened with the knowledge of all the world’s suffering via TV Breaking News! As difficult as our times are, many of us are far more comfortable than in Brebeuf’s day. Thanks, Gwen!

      Liked by 1 person

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