News item: “The eastern Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will remain under the rule of Queen Elizabeth II after voters in a referendum rejected a plan to replace her with a president chosen by Parliament.” Since most of us couldn’t find St. Vincent and the Grenadines with a Google in heat, why should we care? Because such interest fills the vacuum in our lives now that “Dancing With the Stars” has waltzed off. What are we to mull over since the White House no longer checks our DNA at the gate? We should care because over the last two centuries-plus, when a people had the chance to revolt against a monarchy, they tended to remove the czar, the czarina and the little czardines. America started the whole movement, beginning in 1775, by tossing out the Brits, although historians estimate one-third of the Colonials were loyal to King George III and fled to Canada when the revolutionaries won. (Incidentally, today the British, with their dry sense of humor, annually put up a small sign in their consulate in Houston: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will be closed July 4.”) Haiti was next (1804), but that nation quickly became a dictatorship. Until as late as 1845 virtually every country except ours was ruled by a monarch, dictator or aristocracy. Americans forbad royal titles, too, except in – where else? – Texas. I shall explain, but let us first consider St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Given the vote to throw off the British shackles of QE II, not to mention warm beer and driving on the wrong side of the road, they have opted to remain loyal subjects. The islanders have company. In one form or another, 15 former parts of the British Empire still pay homage to Her Majesty. She is still their monarch; her face is on their money. Some countries (Australia and New Zealand being the most prominent), use the Union Jack as part of their flag. They still have a governor general who is the Queen’s personal representative. It is usually a local loyalist, and the job is mostly ceremonial, but not totally. There were news reports a few years ago that a cousin of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Michael of Kent, was flying commercial from Britain to Canada when the airliner had mechanical trouble and had to set down in the far north, Labrador or someplace like that. The Canadian government sent a special plane to pick up the Prince, leaving the others to count their blessings as royal subjects. Anyway, it’s unusual that the Vincentians and the Grenadites would retain the Queen given the chance for independence. It’s rather like John Hancock telling the delegates in Philadelphia, “Gentlemen, this just in. “I, King George III, Knight of the Bath, ruler of India, Scotland and much of the Bronx, do hereby grant the 13 American colonies complete and total freedom.” “But who will protect my slave ships?” asked Rhode Island. “Who’ll buy my tobacco?” asked Virginia. “Fuhgeddaboudit!” shouted New York. “Besides, what’s a III?” The Founding Fathers were so determined to keep royalty out of their newly created nation that the Constitution expressly declares: “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States; and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever from any king, prince, or foreign state.” In the Boxer Rebellion, Marine Lt. Smedley Butler rescued a British soldier under fire and was recommended for the Victoria Cross, Britain’s equivalent of the Medal of Honor. But, due to the above-mentioned prohibition, Butler had to turn it down. That’s the law of the land, no royal titles – except in Texas. Here we have knights, honest to goodness ribbon-wearing knights. No, I am not counting Sir Allen Stanford, who was stripped of his knighthood by yet another Caribbean nation, Antigua and Barbuda. Nor are we discussing the Knights of Columbus or the Knights of Pythias, groups which do good deeds, nor the Knights of the White Camelia which were sort of a non-violent version of the KKK after the Civil War. Then there were the Knights of the Golden Circle, a loony bunch of white supremacists in the 1850s which wanted to establish a slave empire located within a circle 2,400 miles in diameter around Havana. Texas had a few members. What we had, and still have, are the Knights of the Order of San Jacinto, an organization which was established by none other than President Sam Houston. In a letter to William Henry Daingerfield, Our Man in Europe, dated Jan. 28, 1843, Houston stated that Daingerfield and Ashbel Smith, Our Other Man in Europe, would be made Knights of the Order of San Jacinto and would have something to show for it. Houston felt, and rightly so, that when the ambassadors from Texas lined up with all the other diplomats for a royal audience, coup or execution, most envoys were dressed like peacocks with medals galore. Our man or men (usually we could only afford one diplomat to handle one continent), by contrast, were as drab as an Amish wake. The badge would be nothing grand, just a green ribbon, worn on the left breast or buttonhole of the coat. There is no evidence that Houston created any more knights and the idea was dormant until it was revived by the Sons of the Republic of Texas (of which I am a coonskin cap-wearing member) in 1939. The honor died out again in 1945 but was revived in 1952. At the time it was limited to white males over 18 who were members of the Sons, either active or honorary. All those requirements have been scrapped, but in order to be a knight you still have to do something special to improve Texas. For some this could mean simply leaving it. Sir Lynn can be honored at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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