Home > Humor, observations > Figures I never heard of this guy

Figures I never heard of this guy

December 14, 2006

Emperor!  I like the sound of that. 

I'm Joshua Abraham Norton, the first and only Emperor of the United States of America!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

You are Joshua Abraham Norton, first and only Emperor of the United States of America!

Born in England sometime in the second decade of the nineteenth century, you carved a notable business career, in South Africa and later San Francisco, until an entry into the rice market wiped out your fortune in 1854. After this, you became quite different. The first sign of this came on September 17, 1859, when you expressed your dissatisfaction with the political situation in America by declaring yourself Norton I, Emperor of the USA. You remained as such, unchallenged, for twenty-one years.

  (It figures, since I was born in San Francisco)

Within a month you had decreed the dissolution of Congress. When this was largely ignored, you summoned all interested parties to discuss the matter in a music hall, and then summoned the army to quell the rebellious leaders in Washington. This did not work. Magnanimously, you decreed (eventually) that Congress could remain for the time being. However, you disbanded both major political parties in 1869, as well as instituting a fine of $25 for using the abominable nickname “Frisco” for your home city.

Have to agree about the nickname.  And who hasn’t wanted to dissolve Congress?

Your days consisted of parading around your domain – the San Francisco streets – in a uniform of royal blue with gold epaulettes. This was set off by a beaver hat and umbrella. You dispensed philosophy and inspected the state of sidewalks and the police with equal aplomb. You were a great ally of the maligned Chinese of the city, and once dispersed a riot by standing between the Chinese and their would-be assailants and reciting the Lord’s Prayer quietly, head bowed.

  Excellent.  Nonviolence can often work wonders

Once arrested, you were swiftly pardoned by the Police Chief with all apologies, after which all policemen were ordered to salute you on the street. Your renown grew. Proprietors of respectable establishments fixed brass plaques to their walls proclaiming your patronage; musical and theatrical performances invariably reserved seats for you and your two dogs. (As an aside, you were a good friend of Mark Twain, who wrote an epitaph for one of your faithful hounds, Bummer.) The Census of 1870 listed your occupation as “Emperor”.

The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, upon noticing the slightly delapidated state of your attire, replaced it at their own expense. You responded graciously by granting a patent of nobility to each member. Your death, collapsing on the street on January 8, 1880, made front page news under the headline “Le Roi est Mort”. Aside from what you had on your person, your possessions amounted to a single sovereign, a collection of walking sticks, an old sabre, your correspondence with Queen Victoria and 1,098,235 shares of stock in a worthless gold mine. Your funeral cortege was of 30,000 people and over two miles long.

The burial was marked by a total eclipse of the sun.

  (From Orac, who turned out to be King Charles VI)

Categories: Humor, observations
  1. December 14, 2006 at 08:50 | #1

    Turns out that I’m Emperor Norton, too.  What are the chances?


  2. December 14, 2006 at 10:54 | #2

    Believe it or not, my response says I am Nicola Tesla.
    I would say the poll is not compleatley scientific.

  3. Mrs SEB
    December 15, 2006 at 16:51 | #3

    This story is amazing.  We say a special on a PBS channel somewhere about J.A.N. several months ago.  Every once in a while a large group of human beings can practice such tolerance, understanding and kind behavior it gives me hope that maybe the human race is not bent of total self inhalation after all.

  4. December 15, 2006 at 20:05 | #4

    You are Charles VI of France, also known as Charles the Mad or Charles the Well-Beloved!

    Oh yea!  Well I am dreamy soooo there!

  5. Prup (aka Jim Benton)
    December 16, 2006 at 10:16 | #5

    My Blessed Son in Christ:
    As Pope Stephen the VI (or VII) I absolve thee from all thy vile commentaries against the Faith—for a slight fee, of course.

    Actually, I envy you.  There’s no question that the Emperor Norton was one of the most lovable lunatics in history, and it seems to fit.

    Speaking of Popes, wonder if they’ll come up with a “Which Pope are you?” Quiz.  It would be an honor to be John XXIII or Sylvester II (you might look him up—perhaps the only authentic scientist Pope) but if I came out as Pius XI, I am not sure what I’d do, but hide the knives and other instruments of self-destruction.

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