I’m reading a book about Charles XII of Sweden (available free on my nook via Google Books). It was written way back in 1895 so it’s pretty far removed from the headlines of today. Still, it’s interesting to see what sort of knowledge our leaders have lost over the past two centuries…
“His absolute refusal to countenance torture as an instrument of judicial investigation on the ground that ‘confessions so extorted give no sure criteria for basing a judgment upon,’ showed him to be more humane as well as more enlightened than the majority of his council which had defended the contrary opinion.”
Still, let’s not get too nostalgic or filled with romantic notions of handing the keys to the kingdom to the youth of today. Chuck also demonstrated why we shouldn’t invest absolute power in a 15 year old:
“…the royal kinsmen frequently amused themselves by smashing all the plates and glasses on the dinner-table and flinging all the furniture out of the palace windows.”
“On another occasion, the French ambassador tell us, the King and the Duke [of Hosltein] tested the sharpness of their swords by decapitating calves, sheep and dogs in the royal apartments and pitching the bleeding heads out of the window. This engrossing pastime lasted a whole week, by which time the interior of the palace resembled a shambles.”
And you thought Tom Cruise was pushing the envelope in ‘Risky Business‘.