Recently I was thumbing through the Netflix catalog trying to find something that didn’t give me the urge to throw up in my mouth. I happened across a documentary, The Secrets of Althorp: The Spencers, and decided to take one for the team.
It is no secret that the Spencer family has been an extremely powerful and influential in England for hundreds of years. Winston Churchill was a Spencer. Princess Diana was a Spencer, and her sons, Princes William and Harry, are as well. Members of the Spencer family and many people with the surname Spencer have cropped up many times in Miles Mathis’s research in connection to hoaxed events, controlled opposition and manufactured history.
In Part 1 of my exposé of Smedley Butler, I showed that J.P. Morgan was descended from these same Spencers. I also showed that they had been a wealthy Jewish family that had basically bought and forged their way into the peerage in the early 1500’s (see page 40 at the link), adopting the name Spencer to claim ancestry from another line of aristocrats.
Of course I did not expect any of these secrets to be revealed, but still you can understand my curiosity when I saw the title. The documentary discusses both the Spencer family and Althorp, which is the manor that has been in the Spencer family for centuries:
To my surprise, the documentary spends a good deal of time talking about how the relationship between the Spencer family and the Washingtons–the ancestors of George Washington. I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised since I had also shown in the Butler paper that the Spencers were related to the Washingtons, as follows:
Lawrence Washington, (born ca. 1500) was the son of John Washington and Margaret Kitson/Kytson. Margaret’s brother was Sir Richard Longe of Shingay, whose daughter was Katherine Spencer, married to John Spencer of Althorp, born ca. 1510. (Recall that Margaret was the daughter of a wealthy cloth merchant and mayor of the City of London.)
What was surprising was just how close the two families were. In the documentary, the current Earl Spencer talks about how close the relationship was. So much so that in the early 1600s, according to him, the Washingtons lost most of their land and manor and, being second cousins, the Spencers naturally looked after them: they let them live in a big house on the estate and gave them work, for example as nannies. George’s 4-g (I think) grandfather is buried on the Spencer estate.
But by that point the marriage that actually connected them was like 4-5 generations previous. So they weren’t just second cousins, they were second cousins 5 times removed or something like that. Not what most people would consider a close relationship by any means. I mean, do you even know who your second cousins 5 times removed are? I don’t. I don’t even know my second cousins. It may have helped that the families lived very close to one another, with Althorp being about 20 miles away from the Washington’s manor, Sulgrave.
It is one thing to read a very dry and abstract tracing of distant genealogical connections. It is quite another to see that these relations had a very real and important significance to the people involved.
This was all doubly interesting because Miles also wrote a long paper delving into George Washington’s genealogy, where he also showed a kin relationship between the Spencers and George Washington and provided other evidence that Washington descended from Jews passing as non-Jews (that is, crypto-Jews). If I had doubts about that after reading his paper, they were dispelled after discovering the direct descent of George W. from the Spencers. Actually, the final blow hit me right between the eyes when I saw this portrait:
How’s that for some inter-ocular trauma? Honestly, I think any honest person looking at that portrait would have to say that he looks Jewish. In fact, I think that most Jewish people, if they didn’t know who that was, would say that the person in that portrait looks Jewish. Most Jews I’ve known have no trouble talking about people’s noses and whether or not someone looks like they have a Jewish nose. It is disingenuous to accuse someone of anti-Semitism for talking about how Jewish their nose looks. And I say that as someone who is Jewish (though was thankfully spared the schnoz).
For you Americans reading this, fish a quarter out of your pocket and take look. What do you see? George Washington’s profile. Does it look like that? Not exactly. It probably looks like this:
That’s the 2006 quarter. His nose has changed subtly over the years since the Washington quarter was introduced in 1932:
And then there’s this “Washington before Boston” medal crafted in 1786:
Now that we’re taking a close and honest look at his portrait on the quarter, the nose is very prominent. But it doesn’t look quite as pronounced or as Jewish as the one in the portrait. Are they trying to hide it or minimize it? Or did the artist who painted his portrait just do a bad job by over-emphasizing the nose?
Well, we can start answering this question if we look at the bust of Washington on which the quarter image is modeled. It was based on a bust created by Jean-Antoine Houdon. According to the story, Houdon created the bust by taking a plaster cast of George Washington’s head, called a “life mask.” He had him lay down, covered his head in some kind of oil, then plastered him over, making a “reverse image” of his head, which could then be filled and turned into a bust. This suggests that the bust should be more accurate than a painting. Here is a picture of the bust in profile:
However, it appears as if the bust used for the quarter was not based on the life mask. It was based on a terracotta bust that Houdon crafted “live” on the spot. I have not been able to find a picture of a bust of Washington that was definitively based on Houdon’s life mask. But even in that case, the cast Houdon made would have served as a baseline for any bust and did not prevent him from taking liberties. For example, we know Washington’s eyes must have been closed during the process, yet in the bust they are portrayed as open. Houdon’s work was also commissioned by the Virginia assembly. They may have wanted to de-exaggerate Washington’s schnoz.
As for Wright’s portrait, before we dismiss it as an exaggeration, we should ask ourselves: what are the chances that the artist could get away with making his subject look much uglier than he really was? Or at least, exaggerating the size and length of his nose? Usually subjects don’t mind if you make them look better than they look in real life. Sometimes they request it. But they won’t request that you make them look worse or accentuate their least attractive features–unless it’s a caricature. If Washington was presented with a painting that greatly exaggerated his nose, what would his likely reaction be? I doubt he’d be happy. The artist in this case was Joseph Wright, and apparently George Washington was so pleased with his work that he was appointed to be the first engraver of the U.S. Mint. So it’s highly unlikely, I think, that the artist was way off here.
Wright also made a life mask of Washington. Although the above portrait was not based on the cast, we do have something that was:
It looks a lot more like the portrait than the quarter, doesn’t it? And here is another portrait Wright did of Washington. This one was donated to Mt. Vernon by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley DeForest Scott in 1985:
Yowza! That nose looks even more pronounced than his other one. I think we can see why they chose to model the quarter after Houdon’s bust rather than the portraits and busts of the former engraver of the U.S. Mint. Here’s Wright’s view from the front:
And, finally, a different but very similar portrait by another artist, James Sharples:
Jeez, I really went overboard there, didn’t I? I guess the reason is that I was just floored to realize that the truth about George Washington has been staring us in the face since at least 1932. Or should have been. But it went unrecognized. OK, enough about that. Here are some more details on the Washingtons from britainexpress.com:
Lawrence Washington came from Watton, in Lancashire, and began his rise to wealth and prominence in the employ of Sir William Parr, the uncle of Catherine Parr, sixth and final wife of Henry VIII.
Washington’s cousin John Spencer of Althorp was at that time making a very good living in the burgeoning wool trade, and Washington was convinced that he should do the same. He left Parr’s employ and set himself up as a wool merchant.
At roughly the same time Washington married Elizabeth Gough, a well-to-do widow. Washington’s new venture flourished so quickly that by 1532 he was elected mayor of Northampton, a post he would fill again in 1545. When Elizabeth died in childbirth Lawrence remarried, this time to Amy Tomson, who was herself twice-widowed. Tomson was the daughter of Robert Pargiter of Greatworth, whose estates bordered Sulgrave. She was to have 11 children with Lawrence, seven daughters and four boys.
Sulgrave Manor was finished in 1560, and Lawrence Washington lived there until his death in 1584. Lawrence’s eldest son Robert inherited the estate and lived at Sulgrave until his death in 1619. His second son, Lawrence, rose to become Registrar of the Court of Chancery in London. However, Robert gave the ownership of the property to his own son Lawrence before his death, and Lawrence, in turn sold it to his cousin Lawrence Makepiece.
But what of the Washingtons? Lawrence, son of Robert, had a son, also named Lawrence, who became a clergyman. During the Civil War the Washingtons supported the Royalist cause. One of the Rev. Washington’s brothers, Thomas, was page to King Charles. Another, Sir William, was brother-in-law to the Duke of Buckingham, King Charles’s powerful favourite. Another brother, Sir John Washington, was a staunch supporter of the king, and Sir John’s son, Colonel Henry Washington, was in charge of the royal forces holding Worcester.
In 1643 Rev. Washington was expelled from his living in Purleigh, Essex, and after the Civil War resulted in clear victory for Parliament, the fortunes of the strongly Royalist Washington’s dipped. So it was no surprise that John Washington decided to emigrate to the Americas. In 1656 John left for Virginia, where the family settled permanently. John’s great-grandson, George, later to become the first President of the United States, was born in 1732.
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I was unable to corroborate the story that the Washingtons had money troubles in the early 1600s. It’s true that the Reverend Lawrence Washington was allegedly punished by Parliament for his loyalist support during the English Civil War, and that is presumably the source of their loss in wealth. And yet his son (Lt. Col. John Washington) never seemed to have any money problems. He was apprenticed to a London merchant to learn the tobacco trade (I guess it was like the opium trade, just to the west), and even had enough money in 1656 to invest in a merchant ship trading tobacco.
I will note two more things that stood out to me from the documentary:
First, it was suggested that the design for the US Flag borrows heavily from the Washington’s coat of arms:
This stood out because resonates with Miles Mathis’s argument that the powerful people in the U.S. are descendants of powerful people from the peerage in the U.K. — despite the so-called “War of Independence.” The U.K. and the U.S. (and for that matter, the rest of the world) are under the thumb of the same group of people. I take the fact that our flag was ripped from the coat of arms of George Washington as a powerful illustration of this sad fact.
And finally, here is one of the rooms in Althorp, Wooten Hall, where Princess Diana apparently enjoyed tap-dancing when she was younger. It sure looks a lot like a Masonic Hall, doesn’t it?