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Old July 12th, 2018, 03:37 AM   #601

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I didn't realize that the Duke could be reasonably mistaken for a specific Mr Jones! The 'If you'll believe that, you'll believe anything' reply must be apocryphal, I think, suggested by report of his denial that he had ever been mistaken for this Mr Jones; on a Google book search, I can find the latter in 19th Century sources but not the famous anecdote.
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Old July 12th, 2018, 05:17 AM   #602

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
I didn't realize that the Duke could be reasonably mistaken for a specific Mr Jones! The 'If you'll believe that, you'll believe anything' reply must be apocryphal, I think, suggested by report of his denial that he had ever been mistaken for this Mr Jones; on a Google book search, I can find the latter in 19th Century sources but not the famous anecdote.
Several sources I found cite the second volume of Elizabeth Longford's biography (Wellington: Pillar of the State) for the anecdote. Unfortunately none of the local libraries I belong to have the book and I can't find it online; I won't be able to check her source.
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Old July 12th, 2018, 05:26 AM   #603

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I've always been suspicious about that anecdote because "If you'll believe that, you'll believe anything" is such a set phrase in modern English.
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Old July 15th, 2018, 02:07 AM   #604

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From the previous page:

bantling noun \ ˈbant-liŋ \ (perhaps modification of German Bänkling bastard [that is, a child begotten on a bench as opposed to the conjugal bed], from Bank bench, from Old High German)

: a very young child [formerly a synonym of bastard]

* * *

In this excerpt, a late 18th century writer describes the origin of the nine Muses of Greek mythology. The writing is somewhat arch and perhaps not particularly accurate, but I found it entertaining. For a more detailed and well-researched discussion of various iterations of the Muses, see "Muses" | Greek Myth Index (courtesy of the Internet Archive).

Quote:
In times of very remote antiquity, when men were not so lavish of their wit as they have since been, Poetry could not furnish employment for more than Three Muses; but as business grew upon their hands and departments multiplied, it became necessary to enlarge the commission, and a board was constituted, consisting of nine in number, who had their several presidencies allotted to them, and every branch of the art poetic thenceforth had its peculiar patroness and superintendent.

At to the specific time when these three senior goddesses called in their six new assessors, it is a matter of conjecture only; but if the poet Hesiod was, as we are told, the first who had the honour of announcing their names and characters to the world, as we may reasonably suppose this was done upon the immediate opening of their new commission, as they would hardly enter upon their offices without apprising all those whom it might concern of their accession.

Before this period, the three eldest sisters condescended to be maids of all work; and if the work became more than they could turn their hands to, they have nobody but themselves and their fellow deities to complain of; for, had they been content to have let the world go on its natural course, mere mortal poets would not probably have overburthened either it or them; but when Apollo himself (who being their president should have had more consideration of their ease) begot the poet Linus in one of his terrestrial frolics, and endowed him with hereditary genius, he took a certain method to make work for the muses: accordingly, we find the chaste Calliope herself, the eldest of the sisterhood, and who should have set a better example to the family, could not hold out against this heavenly bastard, but in an unguarded moment yielded her virgin honours to Linus, and produced the poet Orpheus: such an instance of celestial incontinence could not fail to shake the morals of the most demure; and even the cold goddess Luna caught the flame, and smuggled a bantling into the world, whom, maliciously enough, she named Musaeus, with a sly design no doubt of laying her child at the door of the Parnassian nunnery.

Three such high-blooded bards as Linus, Orpheus, and Musaeus, so fathered and mothered, were enough to people all Greece with poets and musicians; and in truth they were not idle in their generation, but like true patriarchs spread their families over all the shores of Ionia and the island of the Archipelago: it is not therefore to be wondered at, if the three sister muses, who had enough to do to nurse their own children and descendants, were disposed to call in other helpmates to the task; and whilst Greece was in its glory, it may well be supposed that all the nine sisters were fully employed in bestowing upon every votary a portion of their attention, and answering every call made upon them for aid and inspiration: much gratitude is due to them from their favoured poets, and much hath been paid, for even to the present hour they are invoked and worshiped by the sons of verse, whilst all the other deities of Olympus have either abdicated their thrones, or been dismissed from them with contempt; even Milton himself in his sacred epic invokes the heavenly muse, who inspired Moses on the top of Horeb or of Sinai; by which he ascribes great antiquity as well as dignity to the character he addresses.

— Richard Cumberland, "The Origin and Progress of Poetry," The Observer (1791)

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Parnassus by Andrea Mantegna
(Showing the nine Muses and various Greek deities.)

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stultiloquence noun \ ˌstəl-ˈti-lə-kwən(t)s \ (Latin stultiloquentia, from stultus foolish + loquent-, loquens [present participle of loqui to speak] + -ia -y)

: senseless or silly talk : babble

stultiloquent or stultiloquential adjective

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Old July 15th, 2018, 04:07 AM   #605

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Ah yes, that surrounds us on every side on the internet; though happily not in this thread.
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Old July 19th, 2018, 06:07 AM   #606

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* * *

Today's excerpt is taken from a screed written by an ambitious if somewhat erratic and unscrupulous fellow. Pierce Connolly was an Episcopal priest in 19th century America who in the 1830s became fascinated by Catholicism. He decided to convert and convinced his wife Cornelia to do likewise. Fairly soon after, he decided to become a Roman Catholic priest, and the family (including the children) travelled to Rome to facilitate his plan. There, he was told that his priesthood depended on his wife taking a vow of perpetual chastity which, apparently reluctantly, she did. Connolly was ordained, and they then moved to Britain.

Only a few years later he had a change of heart. Renouncing Catholicism and having himself defrocked, he sued to force his wife to return to him and "render him conjugal rights." By this time Cornelia had become the head of a Catholic school and was well on her way to becoming a sister. Taking her vows seriously, she refused to honor Mr. Connelly's wish (she later founded an order: the Society of the Holy Child Jesus). The lawsuit was a cause celebre in Britain, where Mr. Connolly was strongly supported in the popular press. He won, only to have the decision essentially reversed on appeal soon after.

Pierce Connolly for a time made his living by writing anti-Catholic books and pamphlets in Britain and once again became an Episcopal priest. Cornelia Connolly, as I said, founded and lead the Society of the Holy Child, and is in fact now on the path to sainthood in the Catholic church.

I think the story of the Connollys has notable parallels in some aspects of contemporary life. Its international setting and its themes of impulsive religious enthusiasm and of a woman who went from following her husband's whims to finding a calling of her own and holding firmly to it could have been taken from modern tabloid headlines.

Quote:
Strange and portentous sight to see! Those who think that they have every thing to lose, and those who think that they have every thing to gain, by revolution, meeting together on the side of Popery. The one class—looking at its vast, enduring mightiness, its majestic capabilities of popular imposture and command, and its hierarchical organization,—hail it as conservative. The other,—reading its contempt of kings and nobles, and all Civil Law, its reckless antagonism to all things established, not by itself,—know well how omnipotent it has been, and still is, for confusion and destruction. While the ignorance, or the half knowledge of both parties makes each equally impotent for self-defence. Aristocratic Sybarites look at it in possession, and long to dwell under its gorgeous shadow. Socialistic plotters look at it in struggle and transition, and have no fears of the fate of the old barbarian, or that the darkness and despotism of the middle ages should ever overtake them. Alas, poor insects!

Nor is it only the open pro-popery-Protestants, that must be ranked on the side of hostility to truth and hatred of justice between man and man. I fear far more than a moiety of the dignified and honourable personages who join so verbosely in any histrionic stultiloquence, must be set down as secretly earnest and determined conservators of Popery. For Popery is the religion of abuses; the religion of "privileges" and "exemptions," "dispensations" and "indulgences." It is human ownership, pasturing upon men, made a beatitude; the work of prey, divinified. And not a sharp-eyed, ravening monopolist, lay or ecclesiastical, but yearns to it, with a love that is as wise and deep as instinct.

— Pierce Connelly, The Coming Struggle with Rome, not Religious but Political; OR, Words of Warning to the English People (1852)
Revisited word:

moiety noun \ˈmȯi-ə-tē\ (Middle English moite, from Anglo-French meité, moité, from Late Latin medietat-, medietas, from Latin medius middle)

1 a : one of two equal parts : half
b : one of two approximately equal parts
2 : one of the portions into which something is divided : component, part

3 : one of two basic complementary tribal subdivisions


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Pierce and Cornelia Connelly

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immiseration noun \ (ˌ)i(m)-ˌmi-zə-ˈrā-shən \ (in- + miserable + -ation [a translation of German verelendung])

: the act of making [or becoming] miserable; especially : impoverishment or pauperization

immiserate verb

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Old July 26th, 2018, 08:01 AM   #607

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In the book from which today's quote is taken, Vic Gatrell examines the flowering of arts and culture that took place in and around London's Covent Garden during the eighteenth century; a milieu that was at times rather disreputable and squalid. The book is copiously illustrated with the works of Covent Garden habitues and focusses heavily on art history, but its prime subject is the society that thrived in an exceptionally lively time and place.

Quote:
Much of the new labour, when it arrived, was cheap labour, if employed at all. Domestic service was a chief magnet, which is why 54 per cent of London's population by the end of the [eighteenth] century was female. Most poorer immigrants found their niches in Southwark south of the Thames, or in the east from the Tower through to Whitechapel and Wapping, but a significant part of this inflow was of young adults into the central town. Here mortality rates increased with residential densities. Around mid-century the pauper burials associated with the courts off Long Acre, Drury Lane, Maiden Lane and Exeter Street explain why eighteenth-century London was 'one of the great killing grounds of Europe': death rates were higher there than they were even in the northern cotton towns. In the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields 1,000 or so in the population of 30,000 died each year, with the highest mortality among children and young men. The same fates befell those in the courts and streets between Clare Market and St Clement Danes in the Strand. Those who didn't die knew dire poverty. Immiseration explains the vast size of the St Giles's workhouse. Built in 1727 at Short Gardens off upper Drury Lane, it housed up to 900 paupers by the early nineteenth century. The St Martin's parish workhouse, in Hemmings Row at the foot of St Martin's Lane, was similarly extended in 1772 into a complex of buildings so big that it covered almost as much ground as Leicester Square. Six years later, Covent Garden's St Paul's parish had to replace a small workhouse in Denmark Court, Exeter Street, with another monster. With its accompanying graveyard, it had to be built on Bedford land in Cleveland Street, St. Pancras. This was the institution in which Oliver Twist one distant day was to ask for more.

— Vic Gatrell, The First Bohemians (2013)
I've chosen one of the figures from the book, an engraving by Thomas Rowlandson which shows that the lives of poverty-stricken Londoners in the precincts of 18th century Covent Garden and elsewhere weren't comprised of unremitting despair and misery. Following the excerpt already given, Gatrell makes that point in more detail. He notes for instance that "Modern 'well-being' studies tell us that unspeakably poor people can express greater contentment with their lives than some affluent westerners admit to, thanks to communal supports and low expectations that have nothing to do with the power to consume. If so, given a modicum of health, people with a zest for life must have been legion in London's poorest quarters."


Click the image to open in full size.

Tavern Scene
by Thomas Rowlandson

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canorous adjective \ kə-ˈnȯr-əs , ˈka-nə-rəs \ (Latin canorus, from canor melody, from canere to sing)

: pleasant sounding : melodious

canorously adverb

canorousness noun
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Old August 2nd, 2018, 04:03 AM   #608

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A bit of hagiography from the generation following that of the American War of Independence.

Quote:
Mr. [Richard Henry] Lee was, by far, the most elegant scholar in the house [Virginia House of Burgesses]. He had studied the classics in the true spirit of criticism. His taste had that delicate touch, which seized with intuitive certainty, every beauty of an author, and his genius that native affinity which combined them without effort. Into every walk of literature and science, he had carried this mind of exquisite selection, and brought it back to the business of life, crowned with every light of learning, and decked with every wreath, that all the Muses, and all the Graces, could entwine. Nor did those light decorations constitute the whole value of its freight. He possessed a rich store of historical and political knowledge, with an activity of observation, and a certainty of judgment, that turned that knowledge to the very best account. He was not a lawyer by profession; but he understood thoroughly the constitution both of the mother country and of her colonies; and the elements also, of the civil and municipal law. Thus, while his eloquence was free from those stiff and technical restraints, which the habits of forensic speaking are so apt to generate, he had all the legal learning which is necessary to a statesman. He reasoned well, and declaimed freely and splendidly. The note of his voice was deeper and more melodious than that of Mr. Pendleton. It was the canorous voice of Cicero. He had lost the use of one of his hands, which he kept constantly covered with a black silk bandage neatly fitted to the palm of his hand, but leaving his thumb free; yet, notwithstanding this disadvantage, his gesture was so graceful and so highly finished, that it was said he acquired it by practising before a mirror. Such was his promptitude, that he required no preparation for debate. He was ready for any subject, as soon as it was announced; his speech was so copious, so rich, so mellifluous, set off with such a bewitching cadence of voice, and such a captivating grace of action, that, while you listened to him, you desired to hear nothing superior, and indeed thought him perfect.

— William Wirt, Life of Patrick Henry (1817)

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Richard Henry Lee
by Charles Willson Peale

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noyade noun \ (ˈ)nwä¦yäd , (ˈ)nwī¦äd \ (French, from noyer to drown, from Late Latin necare, from Latin, to kill, from nec-, nex violent death)

An execution carried out by drowning.
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Old August 2nd, 2018, 06:21 AM   #609

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Quote:
His taste had that delicate touch, which seized with intuitive certainty, every beauty of an author, and his genius that native affinity which combined them without effort. Into every walk of literature and science, he had carried this mind of exquisite selection, and brought it back to the business of life, crowned with every light of learning, and decked with every wreath, that all the Muses, and all the Graces, could entwine. Nor did those light decorations constitute the whole value of its freight. He possessed a rich store of historical and political knowledge, with an activity of observation, and a certainty of judgment, that turned that knowledge to the very best account.
I think he must have had me in mind. Splendid stuff.
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Old August 10th, 2018, 02:12 AM   #610

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Cheers.

* * *

Beyond referring to a particular historic event, I don't think this word is used in English other than perhaps as a rhetorical device (and not a very effective one given its obscurity). However it certainly pertains to history and as such deserves an entry in this thread, in my opinion.

Those with more than a glancing familiarity with the French Revolution will be aware that there were serious counter-revolutionary Royalist uprisings. Two prominent ones were the Chouannerie, centered in Brittany, and the Guerre de Vendée, just south of Brittany. Both were bloody; Republicans and counter-revolutionaries alike occasionally engaging in indiscriminate mass murder. Today's word and quote relate to a strikingly abhorrent series of incidents in the aftermath of the Guerre de Vendée.

Quote:
For much of September [1793] the [Republican] army struggled but it achieved its first breakthrough in a 36-hour battle just north of Cholet on 16-17 October. Around 60,000 of the rebels, including priests, women and children, then escaped northwards across the Loire, heading north to the port of Granville where they hoped to get reinforcements and supplies from the British navy. However they failed to capture Granville, the British navy did not even know it was meant to arrive, and they were forced to retreat back south in disarray. Decimated by hunger and disease, they were defeated in Le Mans on 12-13 December and the survivors who headed back towards Loire were annihilated at Savenay on 21 December in what the commander of the republican armies, Westermann, called 'horrible butchery'. Yet the butchery had only just begun, as thousands of captured rebels were executed by military commissions set up by army commanders or representatives on mission, using the law of 19 March which authorised the execution of all rebels within 24 hours of capture. Defendants had no right to a lawyer, military officers and local civilians acted as judges and the commissions' proceedings were confined to verification of identity and immediate sentence.

[. . .]

Yet the highest toll came in Nantes, where thousands of rebels were imprisoned in chaotic and disease ridden jails as the revolt collapsed in November and December. A revolutionary court and two military commissions -- the Lenoir and Bignon commissions -- were set up to process them in November. Between then and the following April the court and the Lenoir commission sentenced 520 to death and the Bignon commission over 3000. Most of them were executed by firing squads in quarries outside the town to avoid the sight of mass killing in the city centre and the spread of disease. In four days alone, between 23 and 26 December, 661 were shot, including some girls as young as 17. A further 1900 were shot between 29 December and 19 January 1794, at an average rate of more than eighty per day. Several thousand more were drowned, without any form of trial, in the river Loire in so-called noyades ('drownings'). These were shrouded in secrecy and no records were kept, but they were carried out by a local revolutionary army, known as the 'Marat Company', with the consent of the main representative on mission in the area, Jean-Baptiste Carrier. Carrier argued that the prisoners were guilty and needed to be executed quickly to relieve the pressure on prison space. So they were tied together at night and herded onto boats which were then floated out into the river Loire and sunk. The bodies were usually washed up on the banks downstream days later. The first noyades, involving ninety priests, took place on 16 November and [at] least seven more were carried out by mid-January when they were finally stopped. Similar drownings were carried out in Angers, Ancenis and Ponts-de-Cé. Best estimates suggest that there were between six and eleven noyades between mid-November and the end of January, with a total death toll of between 1800 and 4860. Throughout the process Carrier told the Committee what he was doing, deliberately understating the horror by referring to 'vertical execution', 'civic baptism' or 'sending to Nantes by water'. Although there is no record of any official reply it has to be presumed that the Committee approved.

— Hugh Gough, The Terror in the French Revolution (1998)
After the fall of Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety, Jean-Baptiste Carrier was arrested. He was put on trial for his actions in Nantes, and executed by guillotine in December 1794.

Though there are some rather lurid paintings depicting the Nantes noyades, I have chosen an engraving to illustrate today's post.


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Les noyades de Nantes, 1793
Engraving by Charles Maurand, after a drawing by Hippolyte de la Charlerie

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cabotage noun \ ˈka-bə-ˌtäzh \ (French, from caboter to sail along the coast)

1 : trade or transport in coastal waters or airspace or between two points within a country

2 : the right to engage in cabotage
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