Happy 239th Birthday America!!! Can You Answer the Questions All U.S. Citizens Should Know?

June | 2013 | What's Happening @ ACPL acplwhatshappening.wordpress.com

June | 2013 | What’s Happening @ ACPL

Below is a sample of the types of questions one must master in order to become a naturalized citizen of the United States. Do you have what it takes??? On a recent survey, only 75% of those asked knew that the U.S. sought its independence from Great Britain. Only 53% knew in what year the U.S. declared its independence. The answer follow each question, so do not cheat!

* If you are 65 years old or older and have been a legal permanent resident of the United States for 20 or more years, you may study just the questions that are marked with an asterisk.


Principles of American Democracy

1. What is the supreme law of the land?

A: The Constitution

2. What does the Constitution do?

A: sets up the government
A: defines the government
A: protects basic rights of Americans

3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

A: We the People

4. What is an amendment?

A: a change (to the Constitution)
A: an addition (to the Constitution)

5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

A. The Bill of Rights

6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?*

A: speech
A: religion
A: assembly
A: press
A: petition the government

7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

A: twenty-seven (27)

8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?

A: declared our independence (from Great Britain)

9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?

A: life
A: liberty
A: pursuit of happiness

10. What is freedom of religion?

A: A citizen may practice any religion, or not practice a religion.

11. What is the economic system in the United States?*

A: capitalist economy
A: market economy

12. What is the “rule of law”?

A: Everyone must follow the law.
A: Leaders must obey the law.
A: Government must obey the law.
A: No one is above the law.

System of Government

13. Name one branch or part of the government.*

A: Congress
A: legislative
A: President
A: executive
A: the courts
A: judicial

14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?

A: checks and balances
A: separation of powers

15. Who is in charge of the executive branch?

A: the President

16. Who makes federal laws?

A: Congress
A: Senate and House (of Representatives)
A: (U.S. or national) legislature

17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?*

A: the Senate and House (of Representatives)

18. How many U.S. Senators are there?

A: one hundred (100) – 2 per each state

19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?

A: six (6)

20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators?*

A: Answers will vary. [For District of Columbia residents and residents of U.S. territories, the answer is that D.C. (or the territory where the applicant lives) has no U.S. Senators.]

21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?

A: four hundred thirty-five (435)

22. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?

A: two (2)

23. Name your U.S. Representative.

A: Answers will vary. [Residents of territories with nonvoting Delegates or resident Commissioners may provide the name of that Delegate or Commissioner. Also acceptable is any statement that the territory has no (voting) Representatives in Congress.]

24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?

A: all people of the state

25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?

A: Number of representatives is based on the state’s population.

26. We elect a President for how many years?

A: four (4)

27. In what month do we vote for President?*

A: November

28. What is the name of the President of the United States now?*

A: Barack Obama

29. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?

A: Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

30. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

A: the Vice President

31. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

A: the Speaker of the House

32. Who is the Commander in Chief of the military?

A: the President

33. Who signs bills to become laws?

A: the President

34. Who vetoes bills?

A: the President

35. What does the President’s Cabinet do?

A: advises the President

36. What are two Cabinet-level positions?

A: Secretary of Agriculture
A: Secretary of Commerce
A: Secretary of Defense
A: Secretary of Education
A: Secretary of Energy
A: Secretary of Health and Human Services
A: Secretary of Homeland Security
A: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
A: Secretary of Interior
A: Secretary of State
A: Secretary of Transportation
A: Secretary of Treasury
A: Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs
A: Secretary of Labor
A: Attorney General

37. What does the judicial branch do?

A: reviews laws
A: explains laws
A: resolves disputes (disagreements)
A: decides if a law goes against the Constitution

38. What is the highest court in the United States?

A: the Supreme Court

39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

A: nine (9)

40. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States?

A: John Roberts (John G. Roberts, Jr.)

41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?

A: to print money
A: to declare war
A: to create an army
A: to make treaties

42. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?

A: provide schooling and education
A: provide protection (police)
A: provide safety (fire departments)
A: give a driver’s license
A: approve zoning and land use

43. Who is the Governor of your state?

A: Answers will vary. [Residents of the District of Columbia and U.S. territories without a Governor should say “we don’t have a Governor.”]

44. What is the capital of your state?*

A: Answers will vary. [District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. is not a state and does not have a capital. Residents of U.S. territories should name the capital of the territory.]

45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?*

A: Democratic and Republican

46. What is the political party of the President now?

A: Democratic (Party)

47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?

A: John Boehner

Rights and Responsibilities

48. There are four amendments to the Constitution regarding who can vote. Describe one of them.

A: Citizens eighteen (18) and older (can vote).
A: You don’t have to pay (a poll tax) to vote.
A: Any citizen can vote. (Women and men can vote.)
A: A male citizen of any race (can vote).

49. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?*

A: serve on a jury
A: vote

50. What are two rights only for United States citizens?

A: apply for a federal job
A: vote
A: run for office
A: carry a U.S. passport

51. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?

A: freedom of expression
A: freedom of speech
A: freedom of assembly
A: freedom to petition the government
A: freedom of worship
A: the right to bear arms

52. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?

A: the United States
A: the flag

53. What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?

A: give up loyalty to other countries
A: defend the Constitution and laws of the United States
A: obey the laws of the United States
A: serve in the U.S. military (if needed)
A: serve (do important work for) the nation (if needed)
A: be loyal to the United States

54. How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?*

A: eighteen (18) and older

55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?

A: vote
A: join a political party
A: help with a campaign
A: join a civic group
A: join a community group
A: give an elected official your opinion on an issue
A: call Senators and Representatives
A: publicly support or oppose an issue or policy
A: run for office
A: write to a newspaper

56. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?*

A: April 15

57. When must all men register for the Selective Service?

A: at age eighteen (18)
A: between eighteen (18) and twenty-six (26)


Colonial Period and Independence

58. What is one reason colonists came to America?

A: personal freedom
A: political liberty
A: religious freedom
A: economic opportunity
A: escape persecution

59. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?

A: Native Americans

60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?

A: Africans

61. Why did the colonists fight the British?

A: because of high taxes (taxation without representation)
A: because the British army stayed in their houses (boarding, quartering)
A: because they didn’t have self-government

62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

A: (Thomas) Jefferson

63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

A: July 4, 1776

64. There were 13 original states. Name three.

A: New Hampshire
A: Massachusetts
A: Rhode Island
A: Connecticut
A: New York
A: New Jersey
A: Pennsylvania
A: Delaware
A: Maryland
A: Virginia
A: North Carolina
A: South Carolina
A: Georgia

65. What happened at the Constitutional Convention?

A: The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution.

66. When was the Constitution written?

A: 1787

67. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.

A: (James) Madison
A: (Alexander) Hamilton
A: (John) Jay
A: Publius

68. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?

A: U.S. diplomat
A: oldest member of the Constitutional Convention
A: first Postmaster General of the United States
A: writer of “Poor Richard’s Almanac”
A: started the first free libraries

69. Who is the “Father of Our Country”?

A: (George) Washington

70. Who was the first President?*

A: (George) Washington

1800s in America

71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

A: the Louisiana Territory

72. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.

A: War of 1812
A: Mexican-American War
A: Civil War
A: Spanish-American War

73. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.

A: the Civil War
A: the War between the States

74. Name one problem that led to the Civil War.

A: slavery
A: economic reasons
A: states’ rights

75. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?*

A: freed the slaves (Emancipation Proclamation)
A: saved (or preserved) the Union
A: led the United States during the Civil War

76. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?

A: freed slaves in the Confederate states

77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?

A: fought for women’s rights
A: fought for civil rights

Recent American History and Other Important Historical Information

78. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.*

A: World War I
A: World War II
A: Korean War
A: Vietnam War
A: (Persian) Gulf War

79. Who was President during World War I?

A: (Woodrow) Wilson

80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?

A: (Franklin) Roosevelt

81. Who did the United States fight in World War II?

A: Japan, Germany and Italy

82. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?

A: World War II

83. During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?

A: Communism

84. What movement tried to end racial discrimination?

A: Civil Rights (movement)

85. What did Martin Luther King, Jr., do?*

A: fought for civil rights
A: worked for equality for all Americans

86. What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States?

A: Terrorists attacked the United States

87. Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.

[Adjudicators will be supplied with a complete list. The one below is no exclusive.]

A: Cherokee
A: Navajo
A: Sioux
A: Chippewa
A: Choctaw
A: Pueblo
A: Apache
A: Iroquois
A: Creek
A: Blackfeet
A: Seminole
A: Cheyenne
A: Arawak
A: Shawnee
A: Mohegan
A: Huron
A: Oneida
A: Lakota
A: Crow
A: Teton
A: Hopi
A: Inuit



88. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.

A: Missouri (River)
A: Mississippi (River)

89. What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?

A: Pacific (Ocean)

90. What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?

A: Atlantic (Ocean)

91. Name one U.S. territory.

A: Puerto Rico
A: U.S. Virgin Islands
A: American Samoa
A: Northern Mariana Islands
A: Guam

92. Name one state that borders Canada.

A: Maine
A: New Hampshire
A: Vermont
A: New York
A: Pennsylvania
A: Ohio
A: Michigan
A: Minnesota
A: North Dakota
A: Montana
A: Idaho
A: Washington
A: Alaska

93. Name one state that borders Mexico.

A: California
A: Arizona
A: New Mexico
A: Texas

94. What is the capital of the United States?*

A: Washington, D.C.

95. Where is the Statue of Liberty?*

A: New York (Harbor)
A: Liberty Island
[Also acceptable are New Jersey, near New York City, and on the Hudson (River).]


96. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?

A: because there were 13 original colonies

97. Why does the flag have 50 stars?*

A: because there is one star for each state

98. What is the name of the national anthem?

A: The Star-Spangled Banner


99. When do we celebrate Independence Day?*

A: July 4

100. Name two national U.S. holidays.

A: New Year’s Day
A: Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
A: Presidents’ Day
A: Memorial Day
A: Independence Day
A: Labor Day
A: Columbus Day
A: Veterans Day
A: Thanksgiving
A: Christmas

NOTE: The questions above will be asked of applicants who file for naturalization on or after October 1, 2008. 

Posted in America, American History, citizenship test | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Trauma of PTSD and How It Plays Out in “The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin” + a Giveaway

PoMDC Cover-2-2In my latest release, The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery, Darcy’s cousin Major General Fitzwilliam (the former Colonel Fitzwilliam from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) suffers from what we would now call “PTSD.” During the Regency there was no such distinction. The most one might consider as a diagnosis for the effects of many years in war was “melancholia.” Yet, melancholia was also the diagnosis for the most severely deranged. Bethlem Royal Hospital was the destination for those considered mentally ill. BRH was the first hospital to specialize in the treatment of those “not in their right mind.” Historically, the hospital proved to represent the worst excesses of asylums in the realm of mental disorders and lunacy during its early years. Mental health reforms were slow coming. It is from this hospital’s name that we derive the word “bedlam.”

PTSD is not a new condition. It existed since the beginning of time. There are references to the “madness” in Shakespeare, Dickens, the Bible, Mahabharata, Aristotle, Homer, and the like. We are now more knowledgeable of the trauma that any life-changing event can cause a human (war, rape, natural disasters, etc.). But in the time of the Regency period in England, no one had a name for what surely must have claimed more than one man returning to “normalcy” after all the years of the Napoleonic War. Yet, it was 1980 before the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder entered the English vocabulary.

Over the years, the disorder with termed as nostalgia, melancholy, homesickness, soldier’s heart, hysteria, neurasthenia, ester root, railway spine, compensation sickness, combat exhaustion, shell shock, compensation sickness, and stress response syndrome. It was not until after World War II that psychologists classified the illness as a form of trauma. Unfortunately, early physicians thought of the illness as temporary in nature and returning home would solve the situation.

The National Center for PTSD says, “PTSD is unique among psychiatric diagnoses because of the great importance placed upon the etiological agent, the traumatic stressor. In fact, one cannot make a PTSD diagnosis unless the patient has actually met the “stressor criterion,” which means that he or she has been exposed to an event that is considered traumatic. Clinical experience with the PTSD diagnosis has shown, however, that there are individual differences regarding the capacity to cope with catastrophic stress. Therefore, while most people exposed to traumatic events do not develop PTSD, others go on to develop the full-blown syndrome. Such observations have prompted the recognition that trauma, like pain, is not an external phenomenon that can be completely objectified. Like pain, the traumatic experience is filtered through cognitive and emotional processes before it can be appraised as an extreme threat. Because of individual differences in this appraisal process, different people appear to have different trauma thresholds, some more protected from and some more vulnerable to developing clinical symptoms after exposure to extremely stressful situations. Although there is currently a renewed interest in subjective aspects of traumatic exposure, it must be emphasized that events such as rape, torture, genocide, and severe war zone stress are experienced as traumatic events by nearly everyone.”

To learn more of PTSD in early literature visit my Every Woman Dreams Blog for my 21 May 2015 post on the subject.

The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his marital bliss. His wife, the former Elizabeth Bennet, presented him two sons and a world of contentment. All is well until “aggravation” rears its head when Darcy receives a note of urgency from his sister Georgiana. In truth, Darcy never fully approved of Georgiana’s joining with their cousin, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam, for Darcy assumed the major general held Georgiana at arm’s length, dooming Darcy’s sister to a life of unhappiness.
Dutifully, Darcy and Elizabeth rush to Georgiana’s side when the major general leaves his wife and daughter behind, with no word of his whereabouts and no hopes of Edward’s return. Forced to seek his cousin in the slews of London’s underbelly, at length, Darcy discovers the major general and returns Fitzwilliam to his family.
Even so, the Darcys’ troubles are far from over. During the major general’s absence from home, witnesses note Fitzwilliam’s presence in the area of two horrific murders. When Edward Fitzwilliam is arrested for the crimes, Darcy must discover the real culprit before the authorities hanged his cousin and the Fitzwilliam name knew a lifetime of shame.
Barnes and Noble 
Excerpt (Scene ~ Elizabeth observes Georgiana in the nursery at Yadkin Hall. Georgiana’s husband, Major General Fitzwilliam, abandoned his wife and child.) 

Georgiana did not realize Elizabeth was in the nursery when the girl entered: Elizabeth came to sit on the floor beside Bennet’s bed to rest a comforting hand on her son after the child awakened with dreams of dragons. Elizabeth sat in the dark shadows and silently observed her sister-in-marriage.

Although in obvious turmoil, Georgiana closed her eyes to listen to the soft “snore” of her daughter. Earlier Darcy’s sister admitted to Elizabeth that since the major general’s exit, only quiet moments with their child brought Georgiana any harmony. During the day’s growing tension, Georgiana insisted they would receive word from Darcy in the late post, but Elizabeth reasoned Darcy was in the Capital less than a day.

“It is too soon,” Elizabeth insisted, despite the look of hope upon the girl’s countenance.

Poor Georgiana! Darcy’s sister convinced her foolish heart that if Edward meant to return, he would do so when Darcy confronted him.

Over the four years of Elizabeth’s dwelling at Pemberley, she learned something of the girl’s nature: Georgiana always professed to be a very practical woman, one who recognized how life’s troubles made a person stronger; however, Elizabeth knew at her core that the girl possessed a romantic heart. Lamentably, when Georgiana married the major general, Darcy’s sister assumed her husband possessed the same sensible nature, as did all the Fitzwilliam men. Needless to say, the girl erred.
         Elizabeth watched as Georgiana hugged herself tightly and stared down upon her sleeping child. Georgiana’s earlier tear-filled confession in a moment of weakness surprised Elizabeth. The girl spoke of a most troubling incident.

“I suppose I should not say this,” Georgiana whispered through a hiccuping sob and her painful admittance. “But I know you will forgive me for being so forward. I must tell someone.”

“I am as always your confidant,” Elizabeth assured.

With downcast eyes, Georgiana confessed.

“It is wanton of me to say, but I miss the exquisite feel of Edward’s hand upon my skin and the sound of his voice as he calls my name. I miss all the little things, Elizabeth: The gurgle of a snore when he sleeps, the way his eyes meet mine, even in a crowded room. With him, I knew the end of loneliness, a feeling, which haunted me my entire life. My mother’s early passing marked me as a single.”

Bitterness laced the girl’s tone.

“As you will recall from my girlish confessions in those early days of our acquaintance, I fell in love with my cousin when I was but fourteen, but Edward was seven and twenty at the time, and he had a life in Town. It was the pain of young love thwarted, which drove me to foster a relationship with George Wickham, an act that nearly ruined my chances of knowing my cousin’s tenderness. Lacking the sensibility of one more mature to recognize the foolishness of my choices, I sought the familiarity of Mr. Wickham’s acquaintance to replace the love I thought never to possess.”

At the time, Elizabeth wondered if the same could not be said of Georgiana’s choice of Edward: Neither Georgiana nor the major general was prepared to know a deep, trusting love.

With a shudder of dread, the girl continued.

“Elizabeth, I must speak of what occurred at Yadkin Hall or I shall go mad. However, you must promise me you will not share what I say with Darcy. My brother would act with honor, and one of us would wear widow weeds.”

“You have my word,” Elizabeth assured. “If I may be of service to you, speak from your heart.”

However, Elizabeth possessed no idea how far the situation at Yadkin Hall deteriorated.

As Georgiana’s tears increased, Darcy’s sister buried her forehead into Elizabeth’s shoulders.

“One day, perhaps a fortnight prior, I innocently strolled into the estate chapel to say my prayers; instead, I found Edward kneeling at the altar, a gun positioned beneath his chin.”

Her sister in marriage’s pronouncement shook Elizabeth’s customary resolve. How had things come to know such an end?

“I heard my husband cock the hammer, and pure terror filled me. Do you see? Edward thought to take his life. Here I was thinking we found happiness—that having me as his wife pleased him.”

Georgiana laced her fingers through Elizabeth’s, and Elizabeth held tight to both her growing anxiousness and the girl’s hand.

“I was afraid to call out–afraid my voice might jar Edward into action. I watched in interested horror, praying my husband would not pull the trigger. Unable to say anything, I backed from the vestibule, and then I pretended to approach again, this time, humming the lullaby I sing to our child at night. I meant the song to serve as a reminder of the good things in our life. It was all of which I could think to prevent Edward’s dudgeon claiming him. As I reentered the chapel, the major general returned the gun to a pocket and plastered a smile of greeting upon his lips; yet, I am no longer so naïve.”

“Have you also known the major general’s ire,” Elizabeth asked as Georgiana hid her face deeper in Elizabeth’s shoulder.
Elizabeth prompted Georgiana’s response.

“I apologize for my impertinence, but I noticed earlier that you do not move with your customary grace, as if you suffered a fall, and there is the remnants of a bruise, which appears to be fingerprints, upon your arm, just above your sleeve.”

“Please tell me Darcy did not observe what you did!”

“Men are not so sharp-eyed as they would like to think,” Elizabeth assured.

“It was my fault,” Georgiana declared. “I wished to know whether Edward was happy in Oxfordshire or not, and my shrewish tongue was too much for my husband to bear. He did not strike me, Elizabeth. I swear it is true. I stepped into Edward’s path when he meant to quit the room, and he shoved me from his way. I hit the wall to the left of the hearth in his quarters. The look upon the major general’s countenance spoke of instant regret, and all I suffered were a few bruises. You must not speak to Darcy of this, but I believe the incident and the one earlier in the chapel precipitated Edward’s speedy exit. If Darcy knew of the incident, my brother would defend my honor against my husband, and I would lose one of the two men I love most dearly.”

Georgiana’s voice in the darkness brought Elizabeth to the present.

“I can tolerate the pain of knowing Edward’s displeasure.”

As Elizabeth looked on from the silent corner, Georgiana traced the curve of Colleen’s cheek.

“If your Papa will simply return to us, I can bear it all.”

Elizabeth never witnessed Darcy’s sister so distraught.

“There is room in my heart for one more private ache. All I wish is for you, my Sweet One, to know your father’s love. I can live without love if Edward would return for you. A child should never spend her life without knowing both her parents’ affections.”

Elizabeth felt tears forming in her eyes. Georgiana concealed her deepest pains, even from her brother. The girl suffered dearly from being the cause of her mother’s death.
        Quietly, Georgiana moved to where she could look out upon the night, and Elizabeth sank deeper into the shadows. In the moonlight, Elizabeth could observe how worry and pretense left its mark upon Georgiana’s features. Harsh lines appeared around her sister’s eyes. The girl shivered before resting her forehead against the glass.

“The major general thinks I do not know he reaches for me only when he wishes to silence my questions.”

Georgiana’s tone spoke of the heartache of unfulfilled dreams.

“All, which remains, is the hollowness I knew all my life.”

The girl sighed in acceptance.

“Sixteen months,” Georgiana admitted in chastising tones. “I had sixteen months of happiness. It is enough. I have Colleen and Darcy and Elizabeth and my nephews. It is foolish for me to think I could also claim Edward’s love. I must not covet what others possess. I must make myself act with Christian forgiveness and make my marriage as tolerable as possible.”

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY: 2 eBook copies (Kindle or Nook) of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery. Leave a comment below to enter the giveaway. The giveaway ends on Wednesday, 8 July 2015, at midnight EDST.

Posted in Austen Authors, British history, Great Britain, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, Regency era | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Happy July Birthdays to Some of Our Favorite “Austen” Actors

birthday-cake-happy | Sizzle/Koi sizzlekoi.ca

birthday-cake-happy | Sizzle/Koi

These fabulous actors brought us hours of pleasure with their performances…





Geraldine-James-in-Turtle-DiaryJuly 6 – Geraldine James, who was the voice of Jane Austen in 2007’s Northanger Abbey13492363_ori

July 8 – Diane Clare (8 July 1938 to 21 June 2013), who portrayed Henrietta Musgrove in 1960’s Persuasion



fiona shawJuly 10 – Fiona Shaw, who portrayed Mrs. Croft in 1995’s Persuasion1346189315

July 12 – Florence Hoath, who portrayed Kitty Bennet in Lost in Austen



Corin_RedgraveJuly 16 – Corin Redgrave (16 July 1939 to 6 April 2010), who portrayed Sir Walter Elliot in 1995’s Persuasiodonald-sutherland

July 17 – Donald Sutherland, who portrayed Mr. Bennet in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice




Kelly_Reilly_2013July 18 – Kelly Reilly, who portrayed Miss Caroline Bing250926_1ley in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice 

July 21 – John Woodvine, who portrayed Admiral Croft in 1995’s Persuasion




d1bb5d1d96ef2c4fd3096b73460cc785July 23 – Tom Mison, who portrayed Charles Bingley in Lost in Austen kate-beckinsale-2014-vanity-fair-oscar-party-01

July 26 – Kate Beckinsale, who portrayed Emma Woodhouse in the 1996 TV version of Emma



imagesJuly 26 – Olivia Williams, who portrayed both Jane Fairfactor_12349ax in the 1996 TV version of Emma, as well as Jane Austen in Miss Austen Regrets 

July 27 – Dan Hedaya, who portrayed Mel Horowitz in Clueless



images-2July 30 – Richard Johnson (30 July 1927 to 6 June 2015) , who portrayed Mr. George Wickham in 1952’s Pride and Prejudice 

EmiliaFoxJuly 31 – Emilia Fox, who portrayed Miss Georgiana Darcy in 1995’s mini-series of Pride and Prejudice

Posted in film, Jane Austen, real life tales, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Bow Street Runners and “The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin”

In my newest cozy mystery, The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin, the character of Thomas Cowan makes a repeat performance. Readers met Cowan as a friend of and former sergeant serving under Colonel Fitzwilliam during the Spanish campaign of the Napoleonic Wars in The Mysterious Death of Mr. DarcyJeffers-TMDOMD

Cowan, a former Bow Street Runner and a man of great intelligence,  is essential to solving the mystery plaguing the Darcy family. But what exactly was a “Runner”?

The Bow Street Runners are often referred to as London’s first professional police force. Originally numbering just eight, Henry Fielding founded the group in 1749. Unlike the “thief takers” of earlier days, the Runners followed strict guidelines and regulations. They were attached to the Bow Street magistrate’s office, hence their name. (“Bow Street Runners and the Maritime Police” JaneAusten.co.uk)

From Old Bailey Online, we learn that the Runners were part of Fielding’s innovations in crime fighting. In the 1730s, magistrates in London and Middlesex set up “rotation offices” where the citizens could find a magistrate available at certain hours each day. One such office was Bow Street, near Covent Gardens. Sir Thomas De Veil set up the magistrate’s office in 1739, but the Fielding brothers (Henry and John) took it over after De Veil’s death in 1749. The original men involved with the office were thief takers sent out on retainers. “Runners” was not a name readily accepted by the men. They preferred “Principal Officer” of Bow Street. The most famous of the time were John Sayer and John Townsend, who amassed a small fortune in their service.

The Runners were certainly the first group to  follow a method of investigation. First, the Fieldings considered the thief takers as essential in fighting the crime found in London’s streets. They investigated crimes for the government, protected the royal family, and traveled about the country to examine crimes. A series of mounted and foot patrols covered the London streets on a regular basis, as well as organizing part-time constables to patrol the major roads leading in and out of London to deter robberies, etc. The Fieldings kept meticulous records of criminals and disseminated the information to decrease the chance of repeated crimes.

The Middlesex Justices Act of 1792 founded seven policing offices in the borough, each with stipendiary magistrates and six constables to investigate crimes in the area. The Thames River Police Office at Wapping (the setting for much of the action of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin) opened in 1800. One hundred officers patrolled the docks and ship yards from this office. 

Unfortunately, by the 1820s their reputation stood in disarray. Many individuals within the organization associated with common thief takers and were known to look the other way when a crime was not of notice. The government disbanded them in 1839. [J.M. Beattie, The First English Detectives: The Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London, 1750-1840 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)

By the beginning of the 1800s, many defendants who appeared at Old Bailey were appended by salaried officers, who testified at the trials. 

Another book I particularly like on the subject is this one: David J. Cox, A Certain Share of Low Cunning: A History of the Bow Street Runners, 1792-1839 (Portland: Willan Publishing, 2010).

PoMDC Cover-2-2The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his marital bliss. His wife, the former Elizabeth Bennet, presented him two sons and a world of contentment. All is well until “aggravation” rears its head when Darcy receives a note of urgency from his sister Georgiana. In truth, Darcy never fully approved of Georgiana’s joining with their cousin, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam, for Darcy assumed the major general held Georgiana at arm’s length, dooming Darcy’s sister to a life of unhappiness.

Dutifully, Darcy and Elizabeth rush to Georgiana’s side when the major general leaves his wife and daughter behind, with no word of his whereabouts and no hopes of Edward’s return. Forced to seek his cousin in the slews of London’s underbelly, at length, Darcy discovers the major general and returns Fitzwilliam to his family.

Even so, the Darcys’ troubles are far from over. During the major general’s absence from home, witnesses note Fitzwilliam’s presence in the area of two horrific murders. When Edward Fitzwilliam is arrested for the crimes, Darcy must discover the real culprit before the authorities hanged his cousin and the Fitzwilliam name knew a lifetime of shame.

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

“Yes, Sir.”

A young clerk rushed forward to greet Darcy, whose arrival set his London household on its ear. After his marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, Darcy sold the smaller bachelor Town house he purchased after reaching his majority and acquired the larger one to accommodate what he hoped would be extended family. Yet, until Elizabeth turned his world on its head, Darcy did not realize how much he would enjoy having a loud, noisy family under his roof.

“How may I serve you, Sir?”

Darcy ran his gloved fingers over his lapel.

“Mr. Darcy to speak to Mr. Cowan.”

The clerk presented a proper obeisance. The man glanced at an appointment log lying open upon the desk.

“Was Mr. Cowan expecting you, Sir?” the clerk asked as he ran his finger down the page, searching for Darcy’s name.

Any other time, Darcy would consider the young man’s loyalty admirable, but this matter with Edward wore Darcy’s patience thin.

“Simply inform Mr. Cowan of my desire to speak to him,” he said with practiced authority.

The clerk glanced over his shoulder as if considering a denial.

“Certainly, Mr. Darcy… if you would care to wait.”

The man motioned to a cluster of straight-backed chairs lining a far wall.

Darcy offered a crisp nod of his head. He did not observe the clerk’s retreat; yet, he knew the clever fellow would inform Cowan of Darcy’s presence.

Instead, Darcy assumed a position by the window to look out upon the busy London street. Cowan chose well for his offices, near enough to Mayfair to be accessible to the haut ton, but equally accessible to London’s swelling middle class.

Quick footsteps upon the polished wood floor announced Cowan’s approach.

“Darcy,” the man called with a ready smile, extending his hand in welcome. “What brings you to London? And how is Mrs. Darcy? I pray your lady is well.”

Darcy accepted Cowan’s hand.

“Mrs. Darcy remains her spectacular self. She is in Oxfordshire with my sister. Elizabeth sends her regards.”

Darcy eyed the lingering clerk.

“If you have a few minutes to spare, I have a need of your services.”

Cowan frowned his curiosity.

“For you I will make time.”

He turned toward his clerk.

“When Mr. Leighton arrives, apologize for the delay, and ask the gentleman to wait. Be certain to provide him a cup of tea.”

The clerk blushed.

“Yes, Sir. Would Mr. Darcy also care for tea?”

Darcy shook off the offer.

“I will be quick, Cowan. I realize you are engaged.”

“Never too occupied for you, Darcy.”

His friend directed Darcy’s steps to a small, but comfortable, office at the rear of the building. The room reflected the former Bow Street Runner’s simple, classic tastes. After they settled, Cowan leaned forward.

“What is so pressing, Darcy?”

Darcy removed his gloves and placed them, along with his hat, on the desk’s corner.

“I have a matter of a personal nature.”

After the Runner’s assistance with his family’s debacle in Dorset, Darcy knew he could trust Thomas Cowan.

“Without warning, the major general abandoned his wife and daughter in Oxfordshire. My sister received but one brief note declaring her husband’s desire to return to his military service and instructing Georgiana to seek a homecoming with me.”

Cowan’s scowl deepened.

“I feared for some time that Edward Fitzwilliam would not willingly encounter his ghosts before they came to claim him.”

Cowan retrieved a small journal from his desk. Opening it, he prepared to write.

“I require all the details you possess. After I determine Mr. Leighton’s issues, I will set my resources into action to learn more of the major general’s trail.”

Despite Darcy’s initial anger with the major general for running off to what was a probable drunken pity-laced birl, Darcy experienced a shiver of dread run down his spine. Perhaps something more sinister occurred: Cowan’s remark emphasized Darcy and Elizabeth’s private concerns.

With anxiety lacing his explanation, Darcy summarized what he knew of Edward’s recent activities, belatedly realizing he lacked the details of what occurred between his sister and his cousin.

“Perhaps I should send to Witney for Elizabeth and Georgiana to join us,” he suggested. “My sister could better address your questions.”

In silence, Cowan studied his notes.

“I think it best we leave the ladies in the country for now. I suspect the major general sought solace in London’s pitch, for it reflects his opinion of his worth.”

Although he would not own it, the investigator’s words reinforced Darcy’s notion of the sword of Damocles above their heads.

Barnes and Noble               

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Another Set of Winners of “The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin”

winner-is-badgeCongratulations go out to drcopeland7294 and ladysusanpdx. These ladies will receive an eBook copy of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

There are still eBooks copies available this week at 

2 copies at More Agreeably Engaged (ends Thursday, July 2)

2 copies at My Jane Austen Book Club  (ends Wednesday, July 1)

2 copies at For Love of Austen    (ends, Friday, July 3)

Beginning Wednesday, July 1 at Diary of an Eccentric.


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Procedure for a Trial in the House of Lords

Procedure for a Trial in the House of Lords

When I first began to write The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin, I set myself the task of learning more of the legal procedures practiced during the Regency Period. The trial in the book is for Major General Fitzwilliam (Colonel Fitzwilliam in the original Pride and Prejudice). We know from Austen’s book that Fitzwilliam is the second son of an earl. Because Major General Fitzwilliam does not sit in the House of Lords, his trial would take place in the court system of the time. But what if it were his father, the earl, who was accused of the crime? What might occur during such a trial?

Beyond its legislative function, the House of Lords may act as judge against one of its own. It served as a court of first instance in trials involving peers, for impeachment cases, and as a court of last result in the case of appeals. [Note: Trials for peers were abolished in 1948 and impeachment cases in 1806.]

A case coming before the House of Lords during the Regency and early Victorian era would practice its form of pomp, as such…

A Grand Jury would indict the peer, with the case appearing before the Court of King’s Bench. The Court judges could not accept a plea except that the crime in question was previously pardoned. If pardon was not pled, then the House of Lords issued a writ of certiorari, which commanded the King’s Bench Court to send the case up to the House of Lords The Lord High Steward presided, but all the members of the House of Lords could argue procedural disputes and vote upon his honour.

**The Lord Chancellor would enter the House in his robes. He would be preceded by the Sergeant, who carried the official mace. A statue passed during the reign of Henry VIII confirmed that the Lord Chancellor could preside over the House of Lords even if not a Lord himself. The Lord Chancellor also served as one of the King’s ministers; he attended the Royal Court. If he were a bishop, the Lord Chancellor received a writ of summons; if an ecclesiastic of a lower degree or a layman, he attended without summons.
John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon served in the role of Lord Chancellor from 1801-1806; Thomas Erskine, 1st Baron Erskine from 1806-1807; Eldon again served from 1907-1827; John Copley, 1st Barron Lyndhurst finished out the reign of George IV from 1827-1830.
**Black Rod would carry the Lord High Steward’s staff and Garter with his sceptre. The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod was at the time a retired senior officer of the Royal Navy or the British Army. He is an officer of the English Order of the Garter. His deputy is the Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod.
From 1765 – 1812: Sir Francis Molyneux, 7th Baronet served as Black Rod; From 1812 until 25 July 1832 Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt held the post.
**The Lord Chancellor would assume his seat on the Woolsack as Lord Speaker. In the 1300s, Edward III commanded his Lord Chancellor to sit upon a wool bale to symbolize the importance of wool to the economy of England during the Middle Ages. The Woolsack is a large wool-stuffed seat covered with a red cloth. It has no back or arms. The Lords’ Mace is placed on the rear of the Woolsack.
The House of Lords has two maces dating from the time of King Charles II and from William III. The maces are carried in and out of the two Chambers of Parliament at the beginning and the end of each day.
**Prayers would follow.
**Then the Clerk Assistant would go through a roll call of the peers, beginning with the junior Baron.
**The Clerk of the Crown in Chancery [who prepares royal warrants, letters patent, etc., under the direction of the Lord Chancellor] and the Deputy Clerk of the Crown [who has the custody of the Great Seal of the Realm] make three reverences.
**The Clerk of the Crown kneels and presents the commission to the Lord Speaker.
**The Lord Speaker gives the commission to the Deputy Clerk of the Crown, who is also upon bended knee.
**The two clerks retire with like reverences to the table.
**A call for silence follows.
**The Lord Speaker asks that the King’s commission be read. All persons in attendance must rise and be uncovered as the commission is read by the Deputy Clerk of the Crown.
**The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod and the Garter Principal King of Arms make their reverences, cross to the woolsack, and sit upon the right hand of the Lord High Steward. Both hold the white staff and present it to the Lord Speaker while on their knees.
**The Lord Speaker would rise, make his reverences to the throne, and assume his seat on the upper step near the throne.
**He would deliver his staff to the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.
**The Sergeant-at-Arms would call for silence again.
**The Deputy Clerk of the Crown in the King’s Bench would read the writ of certiorari to remove the indictment and the record of the indictment.
**The Sergeant-at-Arms would make a proclamation for the Yeoman Usher to escort the defendant to the bar.
**The defendant would make three reverences upon approaching the bar and kneel until directed by the Lord High Steward to stand.
**The defendant would then make three reverences: to the Lord High Steward, the peers on the right and those on the left. They would return the reverence.
**The defendant was then directed to a stool upon which he sat. The stool was within the bar and near the defendant’s counsel.
**The Lord High Steward would read the charges against the man.
**The Deputy Clerk of the Crown asked the defendant how he pleaded: guilty or not guilty?
**The Deputy Clerk of the Crown asked the defendant “How will your lordship be tried?” to which the defendant would respond “By my peers.”
**The counsel for the prosecution and the counsel for the defense were announced.
**A proclamation was made for all persons who are to give evidence to appear.
**The court would permit His Grace the Lord High Steward to remove to the table. He was preceded by Garter and Black Rod.
**Black Rod sat on a stool at the corner of the table on the Lord High Steward’s right. Black Rod held the white staff.
**Garter sat on a stool on Black Rod’s right.
**The Sergeant sat at the lower end of the table on the same side.
**The counsel for the prosecution laid out the charges against the defendant.
**Then the trial would proceed, but not necessarily as we think of modern trials with first the prosecution and then the defense speaking. The prosecution would examine the evidence, but generally the defendant was responsible for his countering of the evidence, with points of law addressed as necessary.
**At the end, the counsel were directed to withdraw.
**Witnesses and observers of the proceedings would be directed to withdraw.
**The defendant retired to the custody of the Yeoman Usher.
**The Lord High Steward would return to his chair, if necessary.
**A protestation occurred by the Archbishop of Canterbury for himself and the other bishops in attendance, leaving before the judgment was announced.
**The Lord High Steward explains the methods of proof.
**The HOL is instructed to give their opinion of the guilt for the indictment.
**Observers were permitted into the chambers to view the final outcome.
**A proclamation for silence was again invoked.
**The Lord High Steward would stand and by list call every peer [beginning with the junior baron] to pronounce guilt or innocence.
**The peer would stand [uncovered], place his right hand upon his heart, and give his vote.
**The last to vote was the Lord High Steward.
**The prisoner would be returned to the bar by the Yeoman Usher.
**Sentence was pronounced.
**The defendant then retires.
**A proclamation was made to dissolve the commission.
**The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod delivers the white staff to the Lord High Steward.
**The Lord High Steward stands uncovered. He holds the staff in both hands, breaks it in two pieces, and declares the commission dissolved.

Much of the procedural information of this post comes from “The Trial of James Thomas Earl of Cardigan Before the Right Honourable The House of Peers, In Full Parliament, For Felony, On Tuesday the 16th of February 1841” from ULAN Press.


PoMDC Cover-2-2The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his marital bliss. His wife, the former Elizabeth Bennet, presented him two sons and a world of contentment. All is well until “aggravation” rears its head when Darcy receives a note of urgency from his sister Georgiana. In truth, Darcy never fully approved of Georgiana’s joining with their cousin, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam, for Darcy assumed the major general held Georgiana at arm’s length, dooming Darcy’s sister to a life of unhappiness.

Dutifully, Darcy and Elizabeth rush to Georgiana’s side when the major general leaves his wife and daughter behind, with no word of his whereabouts and no hopes of Edward’s return. Forced to seek his cousin in the slews of London’s underbelly, at length, Darcy discovers the major general and returns Fitzwilliam to his family.

Even so, the Darcys’ troubles are far from over. During the major general’s absence from home, witnesses note Fitzwilliam’s presence in the area of two horrific murders. When Edward Fitzwilliam is arrested for the crimes, Darcy must discover the real culprit before the authorities hanged his cousin and the Fitzwilliam name knew a lifetime of shame.

Barnes and Noble 

Regina Jeffers’ Website 

Leave a comment to be part of a giveaway of an eBook copy of “The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin.” 

Posted in British history, Great Britain, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, real life tales, Regency era | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Winners of an Autographed Copy of “The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery”

winner-is-badgeCongratulations to TaNeshia Jones and Fran Rossbach, who will receive an autographed copy of my latest released, The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery. More winners to come over the next couple of weeks. 

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