“If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
’Twould not be you, Niagara – nor you, ye limitless prairies – nor your huge rifts of cañons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite – nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones – nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes – nor Mississippi’s stream: –
This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name – the still small voice vibrating – America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen – the act itself the main, the quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d – sea-board and inland – Texas to Maine – the Prairie States – Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West – the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling – (a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:) the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity – welcoming the darker odds, the dross: –
Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify – while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.”
Walt Whitman, Election Day, November, 1884, in Leaves of Grass. Taken from reprint of a 1902 edition produced by executors. Different lifetime editions: 1855 to the deathbed edition in 1892.
The election brought in Grover Cleveland, the first Democratic president since James Buchanan.
Archive for the 'Americas' Category
After the government moved to Washington, DC in 1800, it occupied spaces in the Capitol building until 1935, when it moved into a purpose-built four-storey building designed by Cass Gilbert in a classical style sympathetic to the surrounding buildings of the Capitol and Library of Congress.
George Washington, President April 30 1789-March 4 1797, lived at:
Samuel Osgood’s house, 3 Cherry Street, New York City, April 30 1789-February 1790
Alexander Macomb’s house, 39-41 Broadway, New York City, February-August 1790
Robert Morris’s house, 190 High Street (now 524-530 Market Street), Philadelphia, November 1790-March 4 1797; never occupied White House (and died in 1799)
John Adams, March 4 1797-March 4 1801, lived at:
Robert Morris’s house, 190 High Street (now 524-530 Market Street), Philadelphia, March 4 1797-May 1800
White House, Pennsylvania Avenue (presumably the number 1600 came later), Washington, DC, November 1 1800-March 4 1801
Thomas Jefferson, March 4 1801-March 4 1809, lived at:
White House for whole of his two terms, March 4 1801-March 4 1809
James Madison, March 4 1809-March 4 1817, lived at:
White House, March 4 1809-August 24 1814, when the British burned it down
John Tayloe III’s Octagon House, (at or now at) 1799 New York Avenue, Washington, DC, 1814-October 1815
James Monroe, March 4 1817-March 4 1825, lived at:
White House for whole of his two terms (though rebuilding continued), March 4 1817-March 4 1825; it has been the residence of all subsequent presidents; had United Airlines Flight 93 reached a possible intended target on September 11 2001, would have been destroyed again
Those were the five US presidents who were Founding Fathers.
This post was about the change in the inauguration date of presidents from March 4 to January 20, where it is now.
This post (yesterday) tracked Congress’s changes of location from 1774 to 1800. After the Constitution came into effect, President and Congress were in New York 1789-90, Philadelphia 1790-1800 and Washington from 1800. They remained there, but had to move into temporary quarters when the British burned the city in 1814. So the Republic has had three capitals.
July 1790 Residence Act approved creation of capital district on Potomac River and named Philadelphia temporary national capital for ten years. Commissioners overseeing construction named it in honour of Washington September 9 1791. Federal government was relocated 1800. Plans for the Federal City were by Pierre (Peter) Charles L’Enfant.
Jefferson proposed competition to solicit designs for Capitol and President’s House spring 1792 and set four-month deadline. He submitted own design for the White House anonymously. Result: original architect of the White House was James Hoban, of the Capitol William Thornton. Many others became involved.
Presidential residences were referred to as President’s Palace, Presidential Mansion, President’s House, Executive Mansion. Earliest use of name White House seems to be from 1811. Executive Mansion was used in official contexts until Theodore Roosevelt established formal name by having “White House – Washington” engraved on stationery in 1901. Name may have derived from Martha Washington’s home, White House Plantation in Virginia.
Construction began with laying of cornerstone October 13 1792. Adams first occupier. Jefferson made changes, with help of Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Both Hoban and Latrobe were involved in post-1814 rebuilding. Further changes under Presidents Arthur, Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman (who moved across the street to Blair House, state guest house, from 1949 to ’51), Kennedy. Kennedy did restoration. Out of respect for the historic character of the building, no substantive architectural changes have been made since Truman.
Enlarge. Executive Residence, where the First Family lives, is the original core. Has square portico (1829) on the front, facing North Lawn and round one (1824) at the back, facing South Lawn. Colonnades were designed by Jefferson, with Latrobe. They didn’t lead to wings. West and East Wings are twentieth-century. West Wing contains Oval Office, Cabinet Room and Roosevelt Room (named 1969 after both Roosevelts) on the ground floor. East Wing contains offices of First Lady and White House Social Secretary. More White House administration is in Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Pennsylvania Avenue.
William Howard Taft created first Oval Office in 1909, though the house had had earlier oval rooms. It was rebuilt in same ground-floor West Wing location under Herbert Hoover after a fire in 1929 and relocated by FDR in 1933-34 to another part of the West Wing, where it remains.
Present Cabinet Room was completed 1934 under FDR.
Present design of grounds was by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr of Olmsted Brothers, commissioned by Roosevelt in 1935. Olmsted’s father, Frederick Law Olmsted, with Calvert Vaux, had designed Central Park.
Rose Garden borders Oval Office and West Wing. Established 1913 by Ellen Loise Axson Wilson, wife of Woodrow, on site of garden made by Edith Roosevelt in 1902. Before that, stables. Redesigned 1961, under Kennedy, by Rachel Lambert Mellon.
Jacqueline Kennedy Garden on east side established 1913 by Ellen Loise Axson Wilson, replanted under Kennedy and named after Jacqueline Kennedy by “Lady Bird” Johnson.
North Lawn, 1860s, “under Lincoln” according to Wikipedia, but Library of Congress record only says 1860s; one can just see west colonnade; east colonnade had been dismantled 1859, but was rebuilt when first version of East Wing was added under Theodore Roosevelt
First photograph of White House: South Lawn, c 1846, under Polk, apparently winter; daguerreotype by John Plumbe
The last post, on US Congresses, was published yesterday by mistake when still in draft. It has been reposted today. I hope it’s useful (for reference, not reading).
Nine capitals de facto if not de jure:
Mixture of Congress dates and session dates below. There may be more than one way of defining the starting and/or closing dates of a session. Corrections welcome. Modern Congresses have two sessions, each lasting a year.
First Continental Congress (unicameral):
Carpenters’ Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 5-October 24 1774; members appointed by legislatures of twelve of the Thirteen Colonies (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia), exception being Province of Georgia, which was hoping for British assistance with Indian problems on its frontier
Disbanded c May 10 1775
Second Continental Congress (unicameral):
Henry Fite House, Baltimore, Maryland, December 20 1776-February 27 1777
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 4-September 18 1777
Court House, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, September 27 1777 (one day)
Court House, York, Pennsylvania, September 30 1777-June 2 1778; before the Constitution was drafted, the newly-independent states were governed under Articles of Confederation created by Congress November 15 1777 and ratified by all thirteen states by March 1 1781
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 27 1778-March 1 1781
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 1 1781-June 21 1783
Nassau Hall, Princeton, New Jersey, June 30-November 4 1783
Maryland State House, Annapolis, Maryland, November 26 1783-August 19 1784
French Arms Tavern, Trenton, New Jersey, November 1-December 24 1784
City Hall (Federal Hall), New York City, New York, January 11 1785-November 2 1788; Constitution adopted by the Constitutional Convention September 17 1787; went into effect March 4 1789 ratified by conventions in eleven of thirteen states; requirement of ratification by nine states, set by Article Seven of the Constitution, had been met when New Hampshire voted to ratify on June 21 1788; North Carolina ratified November 21, Rhode Island May 29 1790
Disbanded March 4 1789; the first three Congresses, 1774-89, are known together as the Continental Congress
Federal Hall, New York City, New York, March 4 1789-December 5 1790; first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, adopted by House of Representatives August 21 1789 and formally proposed by joint resolution of Congress September 25; came into effect as Constitutional Amendments December 15 1791 through process of ratification by three-fourths of the States (was the rule changed from nine to three-fourths?); French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen) adopted by National Constituent Assembly, Paris, August 23 1789
Second to Fifth United States Congresses (two years each):
Congress Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 4 1791-March 4 1799; first state to join the Union (United States) after the thirteen was Vermont, March 14 1791; three commissioners overseeing construction named capital in honour of President Washington September 9 1791; Jefferson proposed competition to solicit designs for Capitol and President’s House spring 1792 and set four-month deadline; federal government was relocated 1800
Sixth United States Congress:
Congress Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 4 1799-May 14 1800
United States Capitol, Washington, DC, November 17 1800-March 4 1801
Seventh to Thirteenth United States Congresses (two years each):
United States Capitol, Washington, DC, March 4 1801-March 4 1815; where did third and final session of Thirteenth Congress take place, since the Capitol was burned by the British August 24 1814?
Fourteenth and Fifteenth United States Congresses (two years each):
Old Brick Capitol, Washington, DC, March 4 1815-March 4 1819
Sixteenth and subsequent United States Congresses (two years each):
United States Capitol again, Washington, DC, March 4 1819-present; Capitol gained first dome in post-1814 rebuilding, present one in rebuilding of 1855-66; further rebuilding began in 1904 and 1958; had United Airlines Flight 93 reached a possible intended target on September 11 2001, would have been destroyed again; we are now in 113th Congress, January 3 2013-January 3 2015
Capitals of the Confederate States of America were:
Montgomery, Alabama, February 4-May 29 1861
Richmond, Virginia, May 29 1861-April 3 1865
The British flag [contrived] to supplant the French flag in Canada [1763 Treaty of Paris] before it was supplanted, in its turn [1783 Treaty of Paris], by the Stars and Stripes in the United States. An English traveller en route by rail from New York to Montreal in A.D. 1952 would have the historically pregnant experience, at the moment when his train crossed the border, of re-entering the dominions of the sovereign whose subject he was and at the same instant passing out of the domain of his own English mother tongue into eastern counties of the Province of Quebec in which the place-names might be English but the prevailing language was unquestionably French.
Wolfe defeated the French at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec City on September 13 1759. General James Wolfe commanded the British Army, and Admiral Charles Saunders the British Navy on the St Lawrence. Louis-Joseph, the Marquis de Montcalm, commanded the French Army.
The last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War was the Siege or Battle of Yorktown (Virginia), ending October 19 1781. American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington and French Army troops led by the Comte de Rochambeau defeated a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis.
For two decades (theoretically), 1763 to 1783, the whole of North America was British. There was a Pax Britannica in the northern part of the continent from 1763 to 1775.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954 (footnote)
An apologist for the English Protestant colonists in North America might perhaps be inclined to suggest that the difference between their way and the Spanish Catholics’ way of treating the “Native” peoples of the New World was due not so much to a difference between the respective moral standards of these two sets of European intruders as to a difference between the respective social conditions of the two sets of American “Natives” upon whom they happened respectively to stumble. The “Red Indians” whom the English Protestants exterminated were a handful of incorrigibly militant savages, whereas the subjects of the Aztecs and the Incas, whom the Spanish Catholics spared, were numerous and peaceful peasantry whose native level of culture was relatively high. This apologia would be plausible if the English Protestants’ colonization of North America and the Spanish Catholics’ colonization of Central and South America had been the only two European colonising enterprises in the New World. When, however, we see the French Catholics colonizing North America side by side with the English Protestants and there fraternizing with those “incorrigibly militant savages” whom the English Protestants were exterminating, we are confirmed in our view that the difference in the respective outcomes of these Protestant and Catholic colonizing activities in the New World is accounted for by some moral difference between the two sets of colonizers rather than by any social differences between the several sets of “Natives” whom they respectively encountered. On the other hand, in the matter of the Negro slave-trade, it should [be] mentioned that the Genoese and Portuguese Catholics (as well as the Dutch Protestants) had had a share in it before the monopoly of it was acquired by the English Protestants in A.D. 1713.
A crudely favourable account of the Spanish, no doubt. The UK obtained the monopoly of the right (asiento de negros) to transport Africans to Spanish America as a result of the War of the Spanish Succession. Presumably the Portuguese brought most of theirs from their own African colonies. The British Atlantic slave trade was abolished by Parliament in 1807.
A Study of History, Vol I, OUP, 1934
Professor William McNeill comments [circa 1952]: “I feel that the Rome-Carthage relationship is a far more convincing parallel to contemporary conditions than the Rome-Parthia relationship. In the relations between Rome and Parthia mortal fear and the density of contact were, I believe, absent.” The present writer’s comment on this comment is that it was not too much to expect of American and Russian statesmanship in the sixth decade of the twentieth century of the Christian Era that it should stabilize the relation between the United States and the Soviet Union on a Romano-Parthian basis and save it from degenerating into a Romano-Carthaginian “irrepressible conflict”. [...]
Or a Romano-Sassanid, I suppose.
The phrase “irrepressible conflict” was used by William H Seward at Rochester, NY on October 25 1858.
Seward was a US senator who had served as Governor of New York and would serve as Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. He argued that the political and economic systems of North and South were incompatible, and that, due to this “irrepressible conflict,” the “inevitable collision” of the two systems would eventually result in the nation becoming “either entirely a slave-holding nation or entirely a free-labor nation”. He hoped that this would be by the operation of natural forces over time, not by war.
Carthage was probably founded in the second half of the ninth century BC and was destroyed in the Third Punic War, 149-146 BC. Rome was founded in the middle of the eighth.
The Arsacid Parthian Empire lasted from 247 BC to AD 224. It replaced the Seleucid and was replaced, in the reign of Alexander Severus, by the Sassanid.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954 (footnote)
Another west and east. A friend of mine, who worked in Lagos and then Rio, said:
“Africa is a fine claret, Brazil a gaudy cocktail.”
… or Ancient, famous states; or The vulgarians of the west
“Herbert Hart and I were speaking despairingly of the Americans, – these callow, touchy, boastful, flatulent invaders, who seem to think themselves, as politicians, a match for the case-hardened double-crossers of struggling, tortured Europe. Will they never see, I protested, that they are only great children, pampered children of the rich, among experienced and desperate sharpers? Will they never admit that Europe, though torn with immemorial conflicts, is still the foundry of the world’s ideas, while they are fresh from their luxurious nursery? But Herbert likened them to the Romans in the second century B.C., when they overran the East; and they look on us, he said, as the Romans looked upon the Greeks, miserable people, scratching about subtleties and upsetting the peace of the world. What interest have they in the ideas that divide Darlan from de Gaulle? Now I had recently been reading Mommsen, and I saw in terrible detail the picture he had suggested, – those sudden vulgarians of the west, like a fresh, loud, frothy heedless tidal wave, deluging the brilliant but atomised republics, the ‘ancient, famous states’ of the old world, and burying their splendid past in universal banality.”
Richard Davenport-Hines, editor, Hugh Trevor-Roper, The Wartime Journals, IB Tauris, 2012.
Those high-donnish journals are fascinating early Roperiana. The young man seems to parody his older self. Long swathes are about hunting. This passage is silly, but I suppose Hart and Trevor-Roper have a point.
The entry is from January 1943, when Trevor-Roper was in radio intelligence in MI6. Davenport-Hines does not identify the phrase “ancient, famous states”, but it is from a speech by Churchill at the Lord Mayor’s Day luncheon at Mansion House on November 10 1941 in which he warned, four weeks before Pearl Harbour, that Britain would fight on the side of the United States in the event of war between America and Japan. Trevor-Roper uses it again, without quotation marks, in The Last Days of Hitler. The idea for that book came in a conversation between Trevor-Roper, Hart and Dick White.
America and Rome: Google search
Two grandsons of President Tyler, who was born on March 29 1790, in George Washington’s first term, are alive.
Interview (CBS) with Harrison Ruffin Tyler, the younger of them, who lives at Sherwood Forest, the Virginia estate Tyler acquired during his presidency. It had once belonged to Tyler’s immediate predecessor, William Henry Harrison, who had sold it in 1793. Then it had been called Walnut Grove. Tyler renamed it Sherwood Forest to signify that he had been outlawed by the Whig party.
The Whigs operated from 1833 (under the Democrat Jackson) to ’56. Their presidents – Harrison, Tyler, Taylor, Fillmore – governed for eight years between 1841 and ’53.
April 1841: messenger with letter announcing the death, after a month in office, of President Harrison, approaching Vice President Tyler on the porch of his home in Williamsburg, Virginia; in William Osborn Stoddard, The Lives of the Presidents, Vol 5, New York, Frederick A Stokes & Brother, 1888
After a single movement of the sixth string quartet by Villa-Lobos, here is the second movement of the fifth, posted on its own by Randolph Pitts, another sensitive juxtaposer of music and images.
The fifth was termed Quarteto Popular. The sixth, the other one composed in the ’30s, was Quarteto Brasileiro.
The Danubius Quartet is one of three ensembles which made the complete cycle known outside Brazil through CDs. The others were the Bessler-Reis (their set was finished by the Quarteto Amazônia when they broke up) and the Cuarteto Latinoamericano. Earlier, there had been recordings by the Stuyvesant String Quartet and the Hollywood String Quartet of number 6, and by the Brazilian String Quartet of 1, 6, 16 and 17 – the last a revelation to me.
The other side of the LP of number 17 had the charming third, of 1890, of Villa-Lobos’s teacher Alberto Nepomuceno, called Brasileiro, the first example (it is said) of the integration of Brazilian folk melody with the Central European romantic idiom. Perhaps Villa-Lobos’s much more Brazilian work of nearly half a century later was a tribute to him.
“Rio possédait un charme puissant.”
Darius Milhaud, Notes sans musique, Paris, Julliard, 1949. Extended as Ma vie heureuse, Paris, Belfond, 1974.
Villa-Lobos is the obvious stop en route from Milhaud to Niemeyer. (You might get sent to the YouTube site to listen to this. It is worth watching as well as hearing.)
Many things, including much of the music, prevent people from recognising Heitor Villa-Lobos as a great composer. Stravinsky was asked whether Elgar was a great composer. “Of course he is not, but he is thought greatly of.” A nice Stravinskyism and, of course, like some other nice Stravinskyisms, nonsense.
Villa-Lobos’s quartets are in the league of Bartók’s and Shostakovich’s, some have said, (Haydn, he tells us, was his model), but they were unknown until recently, at least outside Brazil. I have argued (not here) for the seventeenth.
Peter Schneider has put the third movement of the sixth over his own photographs of people in Amsterdam. Cuarteto Latinoamericano. Saul Bitran – violin 1, Aron Bitran – violin 2, Javier Montiel – viola, Alvaro Bitran – cello. If you listen to this, especially the middle section, you might find yourself thinking: “Perhaps he really is a great composer.”
Villa-Lobos is comparable (and contrastable) with Milhaud in many different ways, which I don’t have time to summarise. From 1917 to 1918 (nearly two years) Milhaud was secretary to Paul Claudel, the French ambassador to Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro. He would set many of Claudel’s dramatic works to music and composed an orchestral Symphonie pour l’univers claudélien as late as 1968.
Claudel was an austere Catholic, but the French legation in those years may itself have been a conduit for new cultural ideas entering Brazil.
The Ballets russes visited in 1917 (without Diaghilev). Villa-Lobos, according to Milhaud, in his Ma vie heureuse (shocking title), was still playing the cello in front of a cinema (which others have said was the Odeon in the Avenida Rio Branco). He was busking as late as 1917? That was the year of his revolutionary Amazonas and of Uirapuru.
In February 1922, he would participate in the Semana de Arte Moderna, the Week of Modern Art, in São Paulo: a seminal and never-forgotten event in Brazilian cultural history.
His quartets are distributed over his career, with a gap in the ’20s. Numbers 5 and 6 were respectively termed “Popular” and “Brazilian” quartets. They were written in 1931 and ’38. This was during the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas.
Vargas was in power from 1930 to ’45 – and those are exactly the years of the idiosyncratic synthesis of Bach with Brazilian musical elements that Villa-Lobos called his Bachianas Brasileiras. In some works in that series (which, like the Chôros which preceded them, were scored for anything from a single instrument to a large orchestra) he was a great composer. For exuberance, his own recordings of them (and of much else) for French EMI in the ’50s, collected in a huge boxed set called Villa-Lobos par lui-même, have never been beaten.
The folksy fifth quartet is played more often than the, I think, more interesting sixth. What we have in this clip is only the third movement of a consistently inspired work. Like many other composers, he had written in a wilder, more experimental, way in the ’20s (the Chôros) and felt a need in the ’30s for a return to somewhat tighter formal structures. His weakness was diffuseness. Hence the Bachianas and the renewed interest in the discipline of quartet-writing.
It was also, for Villa-Lobos as for many composers in the ’30s, a matter of making their music more comprehensible and communicative, of coming out of the ivory tower of the avant-garde. Compare Rudepoêma (1921-26) with Ciclo Brasiliero (1936-37), both for piano (though the ’20s also produced the straightforward Cirandinhas and Cirandas). The sixth quartet was written at the time when, in the northern part of the hemisphere, Copland was writing his most appealing music (the period from El Salón México in 1936 to the second set of Old American Songs in 1952). Even Bartók wrote a popular masterpiece in 1943.
After the war, Villa-Lobos’s large-scale works were often rather formulaic responses to commissions. Most of his best work was in the chamber medium.
Distribution of the quartets:
The most enjoyable may be the rather innocent first, and the sixth and seventeenth. The slow movement of the sixteenth has harmonic transfigurations worthy of the Hammerklavier.
A slightly longer version of the TCM clip I linked to yesterday without embedding it. From the Eastwood-sponsored film on Dave Brubeck.
Dave Brubeck studied with one of my hyperprolific heroes, Darius Milhaud, and named his son Darius. He was at Mills College, in the Bay Area of San Francisco, only for a year, 1946-47, but continued to see the French composer.
Milhaud, français de Provence et de religion israélite, was in exile during the war, but prolonged his American stay and alternated between Mills and Paris until 1971. He encouraged Brubeck to stick with jazz and study fugue and orchestration, but not classical piano. See John Salmon, What Brubeck Got from Milhaud, American Music Teacher, February/March 1992.
Charming clip at Turner Classic Movies (which I don’t know how to embed) from Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way, a film made for Brubeck’s 90th birthday. Bruce Ricker, director and producer. Clint Eastwood, executive producer. “Historian Ashley Kahn adds context as Dave Brubeck, in several interviews, one with wife Iola, remembers his professor and mentor, composer Darius Milhaud.”
It incorporates part of A Visit with Darius Milhaud, a film made by Ralph Swickard in 1955. I like the moment where Milhaud calls to his wife Madeleine (who died in 2008): “I just finished the second movement of the sonatina, do you want to come and try it on the piano?” An utterance as momentous in the Milhaud household as “I finished the washing up, do you want to come and help with the drying?”. It doesn’t sound like the oboe sonatina of around that time.
Alex Ross had an entry about Brubeck and Milhaud a while back.
Here is Milhaud’s jazz-inspired La création du monde, composed after a visit to Harlem in 1922. The premiere was in Paris with the Ballets suédois – a kind of Swedish Ballets russes – which had commissioned it. Set and costumes by Léger. Here with Orchestre National de France under Bernstein. Some people prefer it with a smaller ensemble.
Setting of Whitman from Bernstein’s Songfest (1977).
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra, Bernstein, BBC Proms, July 24 1988. The song was a reworking of material in the prelude to the musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (1976).
Janet Suzman and Sam Wanamaker read the poems between the songs in this performance.
“Welcome to Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire. This website holds detailed information on over 6000 films showing images of life in the British colonies. Over 150 films are available for viewing online. You can search or browse for films by country, date, topic, or keyword. Over 350 of the most important films in the catalogue are presented with extensive critical notes written by our academic research team.
The Colonial Film project united universities (Birkbeck and University College London) and archives (British Film Institute, Imperial War Museum and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum) to create a new catalogue of films relating to the British Empire. The ambition of this website is to allow both colonizers and colonized to understand better the truths of Empire.”
P.T.: Have you ever talked to the real fire-eaters, to any of the Pentagon generals?
A.T.: Well now, I was once invited to give a talk in the Pentagon to a roomful of staff colonels, and the wife of the then Secretary for War got up and attacked me for saying that we ought to recognise China. She was a real fire-eater. She had no business to be there, I suppose, but she didn’t hesitate to throw her – or perhaps it was her husband’s – weight about in the presence of all those distinguished professionals. I got a horrible feeling when I went into the Secretary for War’s office. It was full of little cardboard models of missiles. They were all over the tables and chairs and everywhere, and he was delighting in them – like a child surrounded by its toys. Now that was alarming.
In Britain a Minister of Defence separate from the prime minister replaced the Secretary of State for War (office established 1794; the “War Office”) in the cabinet in 1946, but the office survived as a non-cabinet post. It was abolished in 1964, along with that of First Lord of the Admiralty and Secretary of State for Air, and the cabinet minister was restyled Secretary of State for Defence.
Nixon visited China in 1972. The US recognised China on January 1 1979. Russia and China had been diverging ideologically since 1956. The Sino-Soviet split came into the open in 1961 and was never repaired.
With Philip Toynbee, Comparing Notes, A Dialogue across a Generation, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1963
Owing to the tendency of the parochial states of a broken-down civilization in its Time of Troubles to sharpen their weapons in fratricidal conflicts with one another and to take advantage of this dearly bought increase in their military proficiency to conquer neighbouring societies with their left hands while continuing to fight one another with their right hands, most universal states have embraced not only a fringe of conquered barbarians but substantial slices of the domain of one or more alien civilizations as well. Some universal states, again, have been founded by alien empire-builders, and some have been the product of societies within whose bosoms there has already been some degree of cultural variety even on a reckoning which does not differentiate between march-men and the denizens of the interior of the same social world. [...]
No other universal state known to History appears to have been as homogeneous in culture as Japan under the Tokugawa régime. In “the Middle Empire” of Egypt, in which a fringe of barbarians on the Nubian glacis of its Theban march was one element of variation from the cultural norm of the Egyptiac Society of the age, there was another and more positive feature of cultural diversity in the Empire’s culturally Sumeric provinces and client states in Palestine and Coele Syria. As for “the New Empire”, which was a deliberate revival of the original Egyptiac universal state, it accentuated the pattern of its prototype by completing the assimilation of the barbarians of Nubia and by embracing the domain of an abortive First Syriac Civilization in Syria and North-Western Mesopotamia; and this culturally tripartite structure – in which the cultural domain of the civilization through whose disintegration the universal state has been brought into existence is flanked by culturally alien territories annexed at the expense of both barbarians and neighbouring civilizations – appears to be the standard type.
For example, in the Mauryan Empire, which was the original Indic universal state, an Indic cultural core was flanked by an alien province in the Panjab, which had been at least partially Syriacized during a previous period of Achaemenian rule after having been partially barbarized by an antecedent Völkerwanderung of Eurasian Nomads, while in other quarters the Mauryan Empire’s Indic core was flanked by ex-barbarian provinces in Southern India and possibly farther afield in both Ceylon and Khotan as well. The Guptan Empire, in which the Mauryan was eventually reintegrated, possessed an ex-barbarian fringe, with an alien Hellenic tincture, in the satrapy that had been founded by Saka war-bands in Gujerat and the North-Western Deccan, and a Hellenized fringe, with a Kushan barbarian dilution, in the territories under its suzerainty in the Panjab. In a Han Empire which was the Sinic universal state, the Sinic World proper was flanked by barbarian annexes in what was eventually to become Southern China, as well as on the Eurasian Steppe, and by an alien province in the Tarim Basin, where the Indic, Syriac, and Hellenic cultures had already met and mingled before this cultural corridor and crucible was annexed to the Han Empire for the first time in the second century B.C. and for the second time in the first century of the Christian Era. In the Roman Empire, which was the Hellenic universal state, a culturally Hellenic core in Western Anatolia, Continental European Greece, Sicily, and Italy, with outlying enclaves in Cilicia, in Syria, at Alexandria, and at Marseilles, was combined with the domain of the submerged Hittite Civilization in Eastern Anatolia, with the homelands of the Syriac and Egyptiac civilizations in Syria and in the Lower Nile Valley, with the colonial [Carthaginian] domain of the Syriac Civilization in North-West Africa, and with ex-barbarian hinterlands in North-West Africa and in Western and Central Europe as far as the left bank of the Rhine and the right bank of the Danube. [Footnote: Leaving out of account the late-acquired and early-lost Transdanubian bridgehead in Dacia.]
There are other cases in which this standard cultural pattern has been enriched by some additional element.
In the Muscovite Tsardom, a Russian Orthodox Christian core was flanked by a vast ex-barbarian annex extending northwards to the Arctic Ocean and eastwards eventually to the Pacific, and by an Iranic Muslim annex consisting of the sedentary Muslim peoples of the Volga Basin, the Urals, and Western Siberia. This pattern was afterwards complicated by Peter the Great’s deliberate substitution of a Westernized for a traditional Orthodox Christian cultural framework for the Russian Orthodox Christian universal state, and by the subsequent annexation of additional alien territories – at the expense of the Islamic World on the Eurasian Steppe and in the Crimea, the Caucasus, and the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin, and at the expense of Western Christendom in the Baltic Provinces, Lithuania, Poland, and Finland.
In the Achaemenian Empire, which was the original Syriac universal state, there was an antecedent cultural diversity, within the Syriac core itself, between the Syrian creators of the Syriac Civilization and their Iranian converts, and a geographical gap between Syria and Iran that was still occupied by the dwindling domain of the gradually disappearing Babylonic culture. The Achaemenian Empire also embraced the domain of the submerged Hittite culture in Eastern Anatolia, the best part of the domain of the Egyptiac Civilization, fringes torn from the Hellenic and Indic worlds, and pockets of partially reclaimed barbarian highlanders and Eurasian Nomads. Moreover, after its life had been prematurely cut short by Alexander the Great, its work was carried on by his political successors, and especially by the Seleucidae, whom it would be more illuminating to describe as alien Hellenic successors of Cyrus and Darius. In the Arab Caliphate, in which the Achaemenian Empire was eventually reintegrated, the Syriac core – in which the earlier diversity between Syrian creators and Iranian converts had been replaced by a cleavage, along approximately the same geographical line, between ex-subjects of the Roman and ex-subjects of the Sasanian Empire – was united politically, by Arab barbarian empire-builders, with barbarian annexes – in North-West Africa, in the fastnesses of Daylam and Tabaristan between the Elburz Mountains and the Caspian Sea, and on the fringes of the Eurasian Steppe adjoining the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin – and with fragments of alien civilizations: a slice of the new-born Hindu World in Sind; the potential domain of an abortive Far Eastern Christian Civilization in the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin; an Orthodox Christian diaspora in Syria and Egypt; and a fossil of the by then elsewhere extinct Babylonic Society at Harran.
In the Mongol Empire, which was a universal state imposed by alien empire-builders on the main body of the Far Eastern Society in China, the annexes to a Chinese core were unusually extensive – including, as they did, the whole of the Eurasian Nomad World, the whole of Russian Orthodox Christendom, and the ex-Sasanian portion of a Syriac World which by that time was in extremis. The Mongols themselves were barbarians with a tincture of Far Eastern Christian culture. In the Manchu empire-builders, who subsequently repeated the Mongols’ performance on a less gigantic yet still imposing scale, there was the same tincture in a more diluted form; and the Chinese universal state in its Manchu avatar once again embraced, in addition to its Chinese core, a number of alien annexes: a “reservoir” of barbarians in the still unfelled backwoods and still virgin steppes of Manchuria, the whole of the Tantric Mahayanian Buddhist World in Tibet, Mongolia, and Zungaria, and the easternmost continental outposts of the Islamic World in the Tarim Basin, the north-western Chinese provinces of Kansu and Shansi, and the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan.
In the Ottoman Empire, which provided, or saddled, the main body of Orthodox Christendom with its universal state, the alien ʿOsmanli empire-builders united an Orthodox Christian core with a fringe of Western Christian territory in Hungary, with the whole of the Arabic Muslim World except Morocco, the Sudan, and South-Eastern Arabia, and with pockets of barbarians and semi-barbarians in Serbia, Bosnia, Albania, the Mani, the Caucasus, the Crimea, and on the Arabian Steppe. In the Mughal Empire, which was the Ottoman Empire’s counterpart in the Hindu World, the pattern was simpler, since, apart from the Iranic Muslim empire-builders and their co-religionists who had been deposited in the Hindu social environment by earlier waves of invasion from the Middle East and Central Asia [since the twelfth century], the Mughals’ only [sic] non-Hindu subjects were the Pathan barbarian highlanders on the north-western fringe of their dominions. When, however, the Mughal Rāj was replaced by a British Rāj, the pattern of the Hindu universal state became more complex; for the advent of a new band of alien empire-builders, which substituted a Western element for an Islamic at the political apex of the Hindu universal state, did not expel the Indian Muslims from the stage of Hindu history, but merely depressed their status to that of a numerically still formidable alien element in the Hindu internal proletariat, so that the Hindu universal state in its second phase combined elements drawn from two alien civilizations with a Pathan barbarian fringe and a Hindu core.
There had been other universal states in which, as in the Mughal Empire, the cultural pattern had been less complex than the standard type yet not so simple as that of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
The Empire of Sumer and Akkad, which was the Sumeric universal state, included no representatives of an alien civilization – unless Byblus and other Syrian coast-towns are to be counted as such in virtue of their tincture of Egyptiac culture. On the other hand, the Sumeric Civilization itself was represented in two varieties at least – a Sumero-Akkadian and an Elamite – and in no less than three if the domain of the Indus Culture should prove also to have been included in “the Empire of the Four Quarters of the World”. Moreover, the Babylonian Amorites, who eventually restored a polity that had been first constructed by the Sumerian Ur-Engur (alias Ur-Nammu) of Ur, were not merely marchmen but marchmen with a barbarian tinge. So, on a broader and a longer view, the cultural pattern of the Sumeric universal state proves to have been less homogeneous than might appear at first sight. “The thalassocracy of Minos”, again, which was the Minoan universal state, probably included representatives of the continental Mycenaean variety of the Minoan culture as well as the creators of that culture in its Cretan homeland, even if it did not embrace any representatives of an alien civilization.
In the Central American World, two once distinct sister societies – the Yucatec Civilization and the Mexic – had not yet lost their distinctive characteristics, though they had already been brought together by force of Toltec arms, when the task, and prize, of establishing a Central American universal state was snatched, at the eleventh hour, out of the hands of barbarian Aztec empire-builders by Spanish representatives of an utterly alien Western Christendom. In the Andean World the Empire of the Incas, which was the Andean universal state, already included representatives of the Kara variety of the Andean culture [...] before the indigenous Incan empire-builders were suddenly and violently replaced by Spanish conquistadores from Western Christendom who turned the Andean World upside-down, with a vigour reminiscent of Alexander the Great’s, by proceeding to convert the indigenous population to Christianity and to variegate the social map by studding it with immigrant Spanish landlords and self-governing municipalities.
The Danubian Hapsburg Monarchy, which served as a carapace for Western Christendom against the assaults of the ʿOsmanlis, and which, seen from the south-east, wore the deceptive appearance of being a full-blown Western universal state, set itself, like the Tokugawa Shogunate, to achieve domestic cultural uniformity, but lacked both the ruthlessness and the insularity which, between them, enabled the Japanese isolationists for a time to put their policy into effect. In pursuing its aim of being totally Catholic, the Hapsburg Power did succeed, more or less, in extirpating Protestantism within its frontiers; but the very success of its stand, and eventual counter-attack, against the Ottoman embodiment of an Orthodox Christian universal state broke up the Danubian Monarchy’s hardly attained Catholic homogeneity by transferring to Hapsburg from Ottoman rule a stiff-necked minority of Hungarian Protestants and a host of Orthodox Christians of divers nationalities, most of whom proved unwilling to accept the ecclesiastical supremacy of Rome, even when the yoke was proffered in the easy form of Uniatism [union with Rome and retention of local rites], while, among those who did accept this relatively light burden, the rank and file remained nearer in heart and mind to their dissident Orthodox ex-co-religionists than they ever came to be to their fellow Catholics who were of the Latin Rite.
The [post-Assyrian] Neo-Babylonian Empire [or Chaldean Empire], which was the Babylonic universal state, similarly forfeited its cultural purity – and thereby worked unwittingly for the eventual extinction of the Babylonic Civilization itself – when Nebuchadnezzar conquered and annexed the homeland of the Syriac Civilization west of the Euphrates; and the impress of the indigenous Babylonic culture became progressively fainter as the domain which Nebuchadnezzar had bequeathed to a short line of native successors was incorporated first into the barbaro-Syriac Empire of the Achaemenids and then into the Hellenic Empire of the Seleucids.
Our survey has shown that, in the cultural composition of universal states, a high degree of diversity is the rule; and, in the light of this fact, it is evident that one effect of the “conductivity” of universal states is to carry farther, by less violent and less brutal means, that process of cultural pammixia that is started, in the antecedent Times of Troubles, by the atrocities that these bring in their train. The refugees, exiles, deportees, transported slaves, and other déracinés of the more cruel preceding age are followed up, under the milder régime of a universal state, by merchants, by professional soldiers, and by philosophic and religious missionaries and pilgrims who make their transit with less tribulation in a more genial social climate.
A Study of History, Vol VII, OUP, 1954
Kateri of the Mohawks. [Catholic saint: see Robert Greaves’s comment.]
The English [...] were temporarily shaken out of the moderation which they have studiously practised both before and since by the extraordinary lavishness of Fortune when she showered Canada upon them with one hand and Bengal, simultaneously, with the other. In 1763 it seemed “the manifest destiny” of the British Empire to swallow up the whole of North America as well as the whole of India. Yet twenty years later Great Britain had lost the better half of one of the two sub-continents and was in imminent danger of losing the whole of the other. It is true that the verdict of History has now acquitted British statesmanship of exclusive responsibility for the break-up of the First British Empire. American historians have latterly done much to show that in the fratricidal war of 1775-83 the war-guilt was divided; and the name of Warren Hastings no longer sounds so sinister as it was made to sound a century and a half ago. Nevertheless the fact remains that the Thirteen Colonies would never have been lost to the British Crown if from 1763 to 1775 it had shown towards them the same tact and consideration as it has repeatedly shown towards Canada from 1774 [Quebec Act] onwards. Nor would Bengal have been retained – nor, a fortiori, enlarged into an empire embracing all India – if the predatory practices of the Company’s servants in the East, from Clive and Warren Hastings downwards, during the twenty-six years following the intoxicating victory of Plassey had not been discouraged by the abortive India Bill of 1783 and the effective India Bill of 1784 and the long-drawn-out state trial [of Warren Hastings] of 1786-95. However sincerely Clive may have “marvelled at” his “own moderation”, his economy of virtue would assuredly soon have cost his countrymen the loss of an Oriental dominion which his excess of unscrupulousness had suddenly won for them, if they had not exerted themselves to improve upon Clive’s moral standards under the sobering influence of their American disaster.
The victor over the French (and their allies the Nawabs of Bengal, who were nominally subject to the Mughals) at Plassey in 1757 was Clive. The victor over the French at Quebec in 1759 was Wolfe.
Company rule in India began in 1757, when the Nawab of Bengal surrendered his dominions, or in 1765, when the Company was granted the diwani, or right to collect revenue, in Bengal and Bihar, or in 1772, when it established a capital in Calcutta and became directly involved in governance. It lasted until the Government of India Act of 1858, when its powers were surrendered to the Crown. There were Governors of the Presidency of Fort William (Bengal) from 1774 to 1833 (the first was Hastings) and Governors General of India from 1833 to 1858.
The British ruled Canada directly from the Treaty of Paris in 1763 until 1867. There were Governors of the Province of Quebec from 1760 to 1786, Governors General of the Canadas from 1786 to 1840 and Governors General of the Province of Canada from 1840 until the Constitution Act of 1867, which gave Canada virtual independence and in effect founded the Commonwealth.
A Study of History, Vol IV, OUP, 1939
The first Beatles single and the first James Bond film – Love Me Do and Dr No – were released 50 years ago today in the UK.
The Brazilian Girl from Ipanema, Garota de Ipanema. Far too well known to post.
The cosmic Telstar (released August 17 in UK):
The Japanese Sukiyaki (not quite 1962: released Japan 1961, arrived UK and US 1963):
In Japan it was Ue o Muite Arukō, 上を向いて歩こう, I Will Walk Looking Up. Sukiyaki was a meaningless title used in the West. Sakamoto died on Japan Airlines Flight 123 on August 12 1985.
In Russia it was Podmoskovnye Vechera, Подмосковные вечера, Evenings in Moscow Oblast.
Here’s Van Cliburn doing it in Moscow:
Cliburn was the young Texan who won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958. It was one of the great cultural episodes of the Cold War, like Gould’s visit (1957), Nureyev’s defection (1961) and Stravinsky’s return visit (1962 again). Cliburn’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s first concerto and Rachmaninoff’s third gave him an eight-minute standing ovation. The judges asked permission of Khrushchev to give first prize to an American. “Is he the best?” Khrushchev asked. “Then give him the prize.” It was the year after Sputnik. Cliburn returned home to a ticker-tape parade in New York. This clip may be from his visit of 1962 for the second competition. The first prize then was shared by Vladimir Ashkenazy and John Ogdon.
The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was held first in 1962 in Fort Worth.
The real Telstar (launched Cape Canaveral July 10; note mention of Toynbee):
See last post. The mine that drove the Spanish economy in the second half of the sixteenth century. Worth watching from 5.40 for two minutes, as the miner talks about the Spanish.
Most of the miners have cheeks swollen with coca leaves, which stave off hunger and exhaustion.
The barbarian’s appetite for plunder was sated in the looting of Delhi by the Marāthās; of Tenochtitlan and Cuzco by the Spaniards; of Susa, Persepolis, and Ecbatana by the Macedonians; of Ctesiphon by the Primitive Muslim Arabs; of Baghdad by the Mongols; of Loyang by the Hiongnu; of Kaifêng by the Kin; of Thebes by the Assyrians; of Rome by the Visigoths and Vandals; of Babylon by the Hittites; of Cnossos by her Mycenaean marchmen; and of Mycenae, in her turn, by her continental backwoodsmen. An imperial capital in which the tribute of a subject world has silted up for centuries is an irresistibly tempting material prize for invaders who have no subtler or more abiding objective; but the seed sown by covetousness so crude as this bears a vindictive karma. The unsophisticated barbarian squanders his ill-gotten gains as quickly as he snatches them; the more cultivated alien conqueror who, in behaving as a barbarian, is sinning against the light of his own higher moral law, brings a more ironic retribution on the society that has bred him. The ill-gotten gains of the Macedonian and Spanish conquistadores slipped through their fingers no less quickly than those of the Vandals and the Mongols; but in these two heinous cases the barren harvest was followed by a calamitous aftermath. The Hellenic Society of the fourth century B.C. and the Western Society of the sixteenth century of the Christian Era were not only put to shame by the barbarism into which their militant apostles had relapsed; they were also devastated by it. For a crime which primitive barbarians can commit with economic impunity does not go unpunished in societies that have risen to a money economy. The rifling of the treasure-houses of the Americas and South-Western Asia put into sudden circulation an avalanche of bullion which produced a catastrophic inflation, and the sins of Spanish plunderers at Cuzco and Macedonian plunderers at Persepolis were expiated by German peasants in Swabia and by Ionian artisans in the Cyclades. [Footnote: For the inflation of prices that was inflicted on the Hellenic World by the Macedonians’ looting of the Achaemenian treasuries, see Tarn, W. W.: “The Social Question in the Third Century”, in The Hellenistic Age (Cambridge 1923, University Press).]
This passage is called The Pillage of Capital Cities by Barbarians, but the main transatlantic cause of the sixteenth-century inflation was surely not the plundering of the Aztec and Inca capitals, but the exploitation of a silver mine at Potosí (Viceroyalty of Peru, now in Bolivia) which the Spanish themselves opened.
A Study of History, Vol VII, OUP, 1954
Evgeny Morozov’s enjoyable demolition of Parag Khanna reminds us how good the Russian education system (and here) is or was. Morozov was born in Soligorsk in Belarus and, judging by his accent, spent much of his life there. He’s in his late twenties.
“The new pamphlet [Hybrid Reality] – it would be too strong, and not only quantitatively, to call it a book – by Parag and Ayesha Khanna, the techno-babbling power couple, gallops through so many esoteric themes and irrelevant factoids (did you know that ‘fifty-eight percent of millennials would rather give up their sense of smell than their mobile phone’?) that one might forgive the authors for never properly attending to their grandest, most persuasive, and almost certainly inadvertent argument. Only the rare reader would finish this piece of digito-futuristic nonsense unconvinced that technology is – to borrow a term of art from the philosopher Harry Frankfurt – bullshit. No, not technology itself; just much of today’s discourse about technology, of which this little e-book is a succinct and mind-numbing example. At least TED Books – the publishing outlet of the hot and overheated TED Conference, which brought this hidden gem to the wider public – did not kill any trees in the publishing process.”
I don’t know how much of his life Khanna has spent in India. He’s 35. He was born in Kanpur in UP. His career has been built in the US and Europe. He has just moved to Singapore.
There is probably something wrong with a person who mentions Arnold Toynbee twenty-eight times in a not very long book on modern geopolitics. That is what Khanna did in The Second World (2008). I put it down, patronisingly, to youth (though he was 31) and reviewed the book kindly even though everything he said about Toynbee was wrong. But it was not as if The Second World did not have a powerful underlying idea. It was fast, furious and extremely superficial, but in time, I thought, Khanna would discipline himself.
I’d said that Toynbee had “an unusual appeal to the partly-educated outside the West”. I could have phrased that as “the, in western terms, partly-educated”.
There are two things here: the appeal to the non-westerner and the appeal to the half-educated autodidact who is impressed by the scale of Toynbee’s writing.
It would be patronising to put Khanna into the first category, but he may belong in the second despite his academic qualifications. I am not saying either that Toynbee was of the stature of a Paulo Coelho, but that “half-educated” people are, for the most part, the ones still praising him, because his reputation among so-called “educated” ones was destroyed by Trevor-Roper and others.
There’s no point summarising Morozov. He reviews three TED publications, but mainly the first:
“Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization
By Parag Khanna and Ayesha Khanna
(TED Books, $2.99)
The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It
By Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan
(TED Books, $2.99)
Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act
By Ron Gutman
(TED Books, $2.99)”
Hybrid Reality is by Parag and his wife Ayesha. The couple are modelling themselves on Heidi and Alvin Toffler. Toffler-worship has replaced Toynbee-worship and is more bankable.
What Morozov does not find ludicrous in Khanna’s opus 3 he finds sinister, viz (in short) worship of authoritarian Singapore-style technocracy. There is a connection between Khanna politics and what a Pole of the same age (apparently as well-educated as Morozov), Piotr Czerski, writes in his manifesto We the Web Kids, to which I have referred.
The idea of citizenship, and the messy, inefficient, imprecise politics that goes with it, is breaking down. Instead, membership in society is regarded as something like an account. The account-holders play by the rules, click, expect results. Czerski does not identify himself with oppressive regimes, but there is a traceable line between the e-government Khanna would like to see and the citizen as atomised account-holder. Czerski:
“We do not feel a religious respect for ‘institutions of democracy’ in their current form, we do not believe in their axiomatic role, as do those who see ‘institutions of democracy’ as a monument for and by themselves. We do not need monuments. We need a system that will live up to our expectations, a system that is transparent and proficient. And we have learned that change is possible: that every uncomfortable system can be replaced and is replaced by a new one, one that is more efficient, better suited to our needs, giving more opportunities.
“What we value the most is freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of access to information and to culture. We feel that it is thanks to freedom that the Web is what it is, and that it is our duty to protect that freedom. We owe that to next generations, just as much as we owe to protect the environment.
“Perhaps we have not yet given it a name, perhaps we are not yet fully aware of it, but I guess what we want is real, genuine democracy. Democracy that, perhaps, is more than is dreamt of in your journalism.”
So Morozov says that the Khannas have contempt for democracy, because they “profess their deep and inherently anti-democratic admiration for technocracy”. Czerski is asking for true democracy, as if this might for the first time, in a Pax Technologica (Khanna’s Toynbeeish phrase), be possible.
In A.D. 1952 [...] the feat that had to be performed by Western navigators on the face of the waters of History was to pilot their vessel, without disaster, through perilous straits in the hope of making their way into more open waters beyond; and in this post-Christian Odyssey there was more than one passage to be negotiated and more than one kind of ordeal to be faced.
To paraphrase and anticipate, sailing between Scylla and Charybdis: abjuring war without sinking into consumerism.
Sailing between the Pillars of Hercules: negotiating a spiritual passage between a Christian heresy, Communism, on one shore and a backward-looking Christian orthodoxy on the other.
In terms of our Mediterranean maritime simile, we may compare the social and spiritual enterprise to which these Western adventurers were committed in the twentieth century of the Christian Era with the navigational task confronting Hellenic mariners in the sixth century B.C. who had bidden farewell to their Ionian homeland and had set sail westward rather than submit to the alien dominion of un-Hellenic-minded Achaemenidae. Following in Odysseus’ wake, these Phocaean seafarers would have first to negotiate the straits between Sicily and Italy without approaching either an Italian shore where they would be pounced upon by the monster Scylla or a Sicilian shore where they would be engulfed by the whirlpool Charybdis; but, if, by managing to steer their course along the narrow fairway through this first danger-zone, they should succeed in making the friendly port of Marseilles, they would not there find themselves at rest in the haven where they would be; [footnote: Ps. cvii. 30.] for their bold and skilful negotiation of the Straits of Messina would merely have carried them from the inner basin into the outer basin of the Mediterranean, without having liberated them from the imprisoning shores of their landlocked native sea.
I’m not sure why the open waters of the Atlantic would have been a haven for them. Nor did the Persians reach the outer basin. But the speculation is half-fanciful. Rather than submit to Persian rule, the Phocaeans, or some of them, had abandoned Ionia. Where did they sail to, in fact? Some, perhaps, to Chios, some to Phocaean colonies on Corsica and elsewhere. Massalia or Massilia, Marseille (Marseilles, the English sometimes call it), was an existing Phocaean colony: it was an independent Greek city from 600 BC until Caesar conquered it in 49 BC. Some became the founders of Elea, or Velia, in Campania. Some eventually returned to Phocaea.
If they were to reach the boundless waters of a globe-encompassing Ocean, these voyagers must put to sea again from the sheltering harbour of their mother country’s daughter city in order to make for the Straits of Gibraltar between the Pillars of Hercules, where this pair of menacing mountains, towering above the African and the European shore and threatening, from either flank, to fall upon any ship audacious enough to run the gauntlet without their leave, were visible embodiments of Imperial Carthage’s decree that no Hellenic vessel was ever to sail on through this golden gate leading out from the landlocked waters into the main.
Since Carthage controlled both sides of the straits, such a decree would not be surprising, but what source tells us that it was made? Were the Carthaginians in part protecting access to Madeira, the Canaries, Cape Verde, the Azores? Some of these islands must have lain behind the tradition of the Hesperides, which Hercules had visited.
A Phoenician fleet had circumnavigated Africa by about 600 BC in the other direction. Herodotus describes how the Pharaoh Necho II sent out an expedition manned by Phoenician sailors. They sailed out of the Red Sea, rounded the Cape, and headed north to the Mediterranean. They paused on the African coast in two successive years to sow and harvest grain, and reached Egypt in the course of the third year.
A Carthaginian, Hanno, probably early in the 5th century BC, sailed to the Bight of Bonny, probably as far as Sherbro Island off Sierra Leone or Cape Palmas off Liberia. An account of his periplus was engraved in Punic on a bronze tablet set up in the temple of Baal at Carthage. It was translated into Greek. The translation survives, and is the only piece of Carthaginian literature we have. His account was used by Ptolemy and remained the standard guide for seafarers until the Portuguese explorations of the 15th century.
We have fragmentary evidence that a certain Euthymenes of Massalia sailed down the west coast of Africa as far as a river which was infested with crocodiles and whose waters were driven back by strong sea breezes. He thought that this river was the Nile. It may have been the Senegal River. We are not sure what century Euthymenes lived in, but there is a statue of him on the façade of the Marseille bourse.
Polybius passed them after Carthage had been destroyed. Pliny the Elder tells us that he sailed down the west coast of Africa c 146 BC in ships lent to him by the destroyer, Scipio Aemilianus. He may have seen Mount Kakulima in Guinea.
So the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks and presumably Persians were aware that Africa was surrounded by sea except where it was connected to Asia. Bartolomeu Dias sailed round the Cape in 1488. Vasco da Gama sailed round most of Africa in 1497-98 on his way to India.
And here woe betide the Hellenic mariner who allowed himself [if he wanted to reach his haven] to be intimidated by his adversary’s veto into following the Theban Pindar’s poor-spirited advice to his Agrigentine patron Thêrôn.
“And now Thêrôn’s achievements have carried him to the limit: they have brought him to the Pillars of Hercules on his long voyage from home; and what lies beyond this terminus is out of bounds (ἂβατον) for all men, wise or witless. I will not pursue this venture. I should deserve to lose my senses if I did this senseless thing!” [Footnote: Pindar: Odes in Honour of Victors in the Olympic Games, Ode iii, ll. 43-45.]
Theron had reached a metaphorical Pillars of Hercules by his unsurpassable excellence in the Olympic chariot race in 476 BC.
Ne plus ultra! These were the very words that a forbidding Carthaginian statesmanship had been intending to extort from defeatist Hellenic lips; and, so long as this self-imposed Hellenic psychological inhibition held, no Hellenic explorer would ever sail on to test the truth of a later poet’s intuition that the untried passage of the Ocean would prove to be the avenue to a New World. [Footnote: Seneca: Medea, ll. 364-79 [...].] More than two thousand years were to pass before Columbus’s victorious defiance of the veto once imposed by a jealous Carthage was to be commemorated, in the device of “the dollar sign”, by the first sovereign on whose globe-encircling dominions the Sun could never set. On coins minted for Charles V out of American bullion, the antistrophic words Plus ultra! were triumphantly inscribed on a scroll displayed behind the minatory pair of pillars; and the moral was one which a twentieth-century Odysseus ought to take to heart if this series of episodes in the history of the art of navigation was an apt parable of the spiritual voyage on which his sails were set.
According to a Renaissance tradition, the pillars had been inscribed with the words Ne plus ultra as a warning to sailors and navigators to go no further. There is no version of the phrase in Greek.
Luigi Marliano, doctor and advisor to the young King of Spain, proposed Plus Oultre for his motto as an encouragement to ignore the ancient warnings, take risks. (The OED can find no example of the phrase Ne plus ultra from before 1637, but that means in English sources.)
Plus ultra is on the present Spanish coat of arms as an inscription on a banner linking two pillars. Its history between Charles V and now includes use thus on the Spanish dollar (current in the Spanish Empire 1497-19th century; the main currency within Spain was the real). The Spanish dollar was contemporary with the German Thaler and was the basis of the American dollar.
The wrapped pillars do not appear on US dollars, but may be the origin of the US dollar sign.
Future post: global histories of anna, cent, centime, crown, cruzado, cruzeiro, denarius, dinar, dollar, drachma, escudo, florin, franc, Groschen, guinea, gulden, Kreuzer, krone, lira, livre, Mark, penny, peseta, peso, pfennig, piastre, pound, real, rial, ruble, rupee, Schilling, shekel, shilling, solidus, sovereign, talent, Thaler, zloty.
In the interpretation of this parable in terms of the Western Civilization’s prospects, the finding of a passage between Scylla and Charybdis signified the negotiation of the Western World’s immediate problem of finding some way of avoiding self-destruction without falling into self-stultification. Mid-way through the twentieth century of the Christian Era the Western Society was in imminent danger of destroying itself by failing to stop making War now that a demonic drive had been put into War by the progress of a Western physical science; and it was in hardly less imminent danger of stultifying itself by seeking asylum from War and Class-Conflict in Circe’s pig-sty. If post-Christian Western souls did succeed in threading their way between these two immediate perils, they would owe their happy issue out of this affliction to an inspiration to take Religion as the mark on which they were once more to set their course; but an impulse to return to Religion would not in itself suffice to bring the Western pilgrims’ ships out of inland waters into open sea; for the call of Religion was being uttered in diverse tongues; [footnote: 1 Cor. xii. 28.] and the questions to which the agnostic Western pioneer in search of a Christian oracle would have, at his own peril, to find an answer for himself, were:
“Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? … Have all the gifts of healing? … Do all interpret?” [Footnote: 1 Cor. xii. 29-30.]
In this spiritual ordeal the forbidding Pillars of Hercules were a pair of rival authoritarian and dogmatic faiths, both of which alike were offering to the storm-tossed voyager an everlasting Nirvāna in their stony bosoms and were threatening him with the eternal punishment that had been inflicted on the Flying Dutchman if he were to be so impious and so fool-hardy as to reject their offer and sail on past them out into the blue. From the one shore this ultimatum was being delivered to Western souls by a Christian heresy in which the stone of Communism had been substituted for the bread [footnote: Matt. vii. 9; Luke xi. 11.] of the Gospel, and from the other shore by a Christian Orthodoxy in which the body of Christ, [footnote: 1 Cor. xii. 27; Eph. iv. 12.] who had “come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”, [footnote: John x. 10.] had been petrified into a pillar of salt [footnote: Gen. xix. 26.] by a backward-looking ecclesiastical tradition. To dare the passage between these two frowning Pillars of Hercules was a venture that might daunt even a mariner whose moral had been fortified by a previous success in making his way safely between Scylla and Charybdis. But, if, at this supremely critical point in his voyage, the pilgrim were to feel his heart failing, he might recover his courage and initiative by taking his oracle from Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians:
“Covet earnestly the best gifts; and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.” [Footnote: 1 Cor. xii. 31.]
OED defines petrify as “turn (an organic body) into a stony concretion by gradually replacing its original substance with a calcareous, siliceous, or other mineral deposit”, which I suppose makes “petrify into a pillar of salt” not quite a mixed metaphor.
If a contrite humility was the first of the Christian virtues that were necessary for the Western pilgrim’s salvation, an indomitable endurance was the second. What was required of him at this hour was to hold on his course and to trust in God’s grace; and, if he prayed God to grant him a pilot for the perilous passage, he would find the bodhisattva [in the Mahayana, an enlightened being who has voluntarily delayed his entry into Nirvana in order to help his suffering fellow-beings] psychopompus [conductor of souls through the underworld] whom he was seeking in a Francesco Bernardone of Assisi, who was the most god-like soul that had been born into the Western World so far. A disciple of Saint Francis who followed faithfully enough in the saint’s footsteps to participate in the saint’s gift of receiving Christ’s stigmata would know, with the knowledge that comes only through suffering, that his sacrifice had been accepted by the Lord. [Footnote: Gen. iv. 3-7.] Asperges me hyssopo et mundabor. [Footnote: Ps. l. 9, in the Vulgate Latin text, Ps. li. 7, in the English Authorized Version.]
Seville Town Hall (Ayuntamiento), reign of Charles V
A footnote after “minatory pair of pillars” advises us to
See Raymond, Wayte: The Silver Dollars of North and South America (New York 1939, Wayte Raymond, Inc.) for photographs of dollars coined for the Spanish Crown, over a series of reigns ranging from Charles V’s (regnabat A.D. 1516-56) to the break-up of the Spanish Empire of the Indies in the nineteenth century of the Christian Era, which display the pair of pillars with the motto Plus ultra. On 46 of the 67 specimens (not counting “necessity coins” [small mintings of little value]) of “pillar type” coins here reproduced, including the earliest in the series, Charles V’s coin from Santo Domingo (p. 18, No. 1), the two words are inscribed on a single scroll linking the pillars (and passing behind an heraldic shield inserted between the pillars on coins of this type minted for the Bourbons). On fifteen specimens, each of the two pillars is wreathed in a separate scroll of its own, with “Plus” inscribed on the left-hand scroll and “Ultra” on the right-hand scroll. On six specimens, including Philip II’s dollar minted in Peru (reproduced in Supplement, p. 3, No. A 1), the motto is inscribed behind or above the pillars without being mounted on a scroll.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954
Sixteen out of the eighteen Spanish-speaking nations of the New World established their separate republics at the expense of the Spanish Empire in the revolutionary struggles of the early nineteenth century. [Footnote: The seventeenth Spanish-American republic – the Republic of Cuba – had to wait for its establishment until the War of A.D. 1898 between Spain and the United States. The eighteenth – Panamá – seceded from Colombia in 1903.]
The 1846 war with Mexico gave the US a third of Mexico’s territory. Between then and 1890: interventions in Nicaragua and Panama-within-Colombia.
The 1890 census announced that the frontier region of the United States no longer existed and that the Census Bureau would no longer track the westward migration of the US population. Taking that as the start of modern US history, the period from 1890 to 1932 saw many armed US interventions south of the Rio Grande, especially after the Spanish-American War.
In 1933, Roosevelt announced the Good Neighbor policy in his inaugural address. From then until 1945 there were no interventions. (Roosevelt ended the occupation of Haiti in 1934.)
After 1945, with the Cold War, armed interventions resumed, often overt, sometimes covert. They haven’t ceased entirely. Since the end of the Cold War, there have been two overt military interventions in Haiti and a covert attempt to oust Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, and even under Obama there was commando-led support, in 2009, for a coup that removed Manuel Zelaya in Honduras.
The US has had the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba since the Spanish-American War. There is also a US Naval Support Detachment in São Paulo.
The Rio Grande, Wikimedia Commons
A Study of History, Vol IV, OUP, 1939
Bernstein, New York Philharmonic, probably 1985. Copland, in Our New Music (1941), found the ending shocking in its conventionality and without any feeling of inevitability or any relationship with what had gone before.
Koussevitzky gave the first performance with the Boston Symphony and recorded the work with the orchestra (I assume subsequently).
YouTube has a performance with Toscanini and the NBC Symphony from the following year, 1940, with a very dry acoustic.
And a later one with Howard Hanson, a fellow-symphonist, and the Eastman-Rochester Symphony.
The symphony is America bracing itself, so to speak, for the war.
Martin Chuzzlewit in New York:
“So the ladies passed out in single file; Mr Jefferson Brick and such other married gentlemen as were left, acknowledging the departure of their other halves by a nod; and there was an end of them. Martin thought this an uncomfortable custom, but he kept his opinion to himself for the present, being anxious to hear, and inform himself by, the conversation of the busy gentlemen, who now lounged about the stove as if a great weight had been taken off their minds by the withdrawal of the other sex; and who made a plentiful use of the spittoons and their toothpicks.
“It was rather barren of interest, to say the truth; and the greater part of it may be summed up in one word – dollars. All their cares, hopes, joys, affections, virtues, and associations, seemed to be melted down into dollars. Whatever the chance contributions that fell into the slow cauldron of their talk, they made the gruel thick and slab with dollars. Men were weighed by their dollars, measures gauged by their dollars; life was auctioneered, appraised, put up, and knocked down for its dollars. The next respectable thing to dollars was any venture having their attainment for its end. The more of that worthless ballast, honour and fair-dealing, which any man cast overboard from the ship of his Good Name and Good Intent, the more ample stowage-room he had for dollars. Make commerce one huge lie and mighty theft. Deface the banner of the nation for an idle rag; pollute it star by star; and cut out stripe by stripe as from the arm of a degraded soldier. Do anything for dollars! What is a flag to them!”
Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit (1844).
On February 20 1984, the day after I arrived in the US for the first time, 142 years after Dickens, I had lunch in a corporate dining room on Madison Avenue. And they talked about money, rawly and single-mindedly. With no preliminaries and no suggestion that the conversation was going to go anywhere else. Money. I had never heard anything like this in England.
It’s a New York thing especially: the hysterical pursuit of money.
The livery company: another demotion of the nation-god.
The interviews with New York musicians recorded by William Malloch in the ’60s which appeared on the fourth LP side of Bernstein’s CBS recording of Mahler 6.
Gustav Mahler was music director of the Metropolitan Opera 1908-10 and principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic 1909-11. He rode the subway. The interviews are mainly with Philharmonic players.
In the third clip we hear Anna (not Alma), the second of his two children. The older daughter, Maria, died in 1907 of scarlet fever. Anna caught it with her and survived. Mahler had composed Kindertotenlieder, setting Rückert, between 1901 and 1904. Many of his thirteen siblings had died in childhood. Rückert had written 428 poems (which seems rather a lot) under this title in response to the deaths of two of his children, a daughter and a son, also from scarlet fever.
Mahler’s New York debut: January 1 1908 with a cut version of Tristan und Isolde. Last Met appearance: March 5 1910, The Queen of Spades. In Austria: summers of 1908, 1909 and 1910. Last New York appearance: Carnegie Hall, February 21 1911.
Bruno Walter, who knew Mahler from their Hamburg days, in a 1950 US radio broadcast (YouTube):
“I recognised in him, young as I was, not only a musical genius, but an ethical power, an educator, a leader of men. [...] His deepest love and his vision went beyond the earthly sphere. He had the soul of a mystic, and I believe his work will last not only because of its tremendous musical importance, but also because it contains a message from those higher spheres for which his soul longed [and] of which a vision was given to him.”
May 19. Arab village: ʿAsira al-Qibliya. Settlement: Yitzhar. Was the Palestinian killed in the second clip? There are three videos in the BBC report.
The Mexic social consciousness [...] is reported to be alive down to this day among certain of the “Indians” of New Mexico, a state of the North American Union which was once [until the Mexican-American war of 1846-48] the northernmost outpost of the Mexic World. “I was told not long ago,” writes Mr. Edwyn Bevan (in The Hellenistic Age (Cambridge 1923, University Press), p. 103) “by some one who knew intimately the native peoples of New Mexico, that they cherished still, by a secret tradition, the unconquerable belief that Montezuma was not really dead, that one day he would come back and drive out the White Man and restore the world as it was before. In some villages it was the custom for a man to climb every day before daybreak to the top of a neighbouring hill and all alone watch the dawn, because that might be the day on which Montezuma might return.”
This was part of a Pueblo (southwest US Native American) myth, according to which the original Aztec homeland lay in New Mexico and the original Aztec king was a Pueblo. In fact, Aztec civilisation did not reach this far. The Aztec Ruins National Monument near the town of Aztec, New Mexico, was misnamed by early American settlers and is a Pueblo structure.
A Study of History, Vol IV, OUP, 1939 (footnote)
Anne Day, New York Review of Books, June 7.
Patience and Fortitude, December 1948, Wikimedia Commons
Thomas Friedman on Michael Sandel. New York Times Sunday Review.
Quasi-public spaces (old post).
Here I quoted Arundhati Roy on the “most successful secessionist struggle in India”. She was referring to the ominous retreat of the Indian middle and upper classes to gated residential communities.
Facebook is a gated community, though not for the rich. I prefer the public squares of the web.
“Look, I’m a little confused. Do the math for me. You are wearing an Islamic head covering, you are obviously a religious person, but you were educated in an American university and now you are bringing the Internet to Kuwait. I don’t quite see how it all adds up.”
“A Russian journalist, circling the Coke machine, under the CNN screen, speaking Russian into a cell phone, in NATO headquarters, while Kosovo burned – my mind couldn’t contain all the contradictions.”
“The walls had fallen down and the Windows had opened, making the world much flatter than it had ever been – but the age of seamless global communication had not yet dawned.”
Risibly inane. Friedman is never deep, and he is prejudiced against Arabs even if he believes in their decency as potential Americans. But he is not always as bad as this. He is right about some things, like America’s obsession with al-Qaeda.
Other titles in Verso’s Counterblasts series: Jade Lindgaard and Xavier de la Porte, The Imposter – BHL in Wonderland, and Derrick O’Keefe, Michael Ignatieff – The Lesser Evil?
Earlier post here.
The term “under-privileged” was current in an American middle-class vocabulary at this time [during the Cold War] as a euphemistic substitute for the stark word “unprivileged”. In American mouths “under-privileged” was a less unpalatable term, because it suggested that the difference of level was not very great; that its elimination was already on the agenda; and that “privilege” itself was, not an abuse which ought to be abolished, but an objective which could and should be attained by Everyman. “Under-privileged” was, however, a flagrantly illogical term, considering that the conferment of a favoured minority’s privileges on members of a depressed class must still leave a residual depressed majority on an implicitly unacceptable lower level or, alternatively, must abolish “privilege” itself [...]. A privilege that is shared by everybody, or even only by a majority, is a contradictio in adjecto, and a psychologist would perhaps have deduced from this revealingly illogical American euphemism the existence of an unresolved conflict in the souls of middle-class Americans between a natural human desire to retain the relatively high standard of living which they were now enjoying as members of an invidiously privileged minority and a conscience which must reproach itself so long as this stigma of privilege was [...] justifiable [for them] in virtue of its being a natural and normal human right that, by implication, must be Everyman’s due.
Americans are masters of euphemism. (On the other hand, you see the word INCONTINENCE in large letters above shelves in pharmacies.)
The OED does not help us in this case.
“underˈprivileged, adj. (and n.)
1. Less privileged than others; spec. experiencing a standard of living which falls short of an accepted norm, socially disadvantaged. Chiefly applied to persons.
2. absol. as n. with the.”
The first definition implies degrees of privilege. If the gap is wide, the less privileged person is underprivileged. This does not work. One can then at best object to a person being overprivileged. And since this word implies that the other is underprivileged it, too, must be rejected. The word makes moral sense only if the “accepted norm” is that of homo sapiens in relation to other species. A human specimen could then be underprivileged.
And the second definition is not really an absolute.
The first use known to OED is by James Barnes in A Princetonian, A Story of Undergraduate Life at the College of New Jersey, New York, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1896. “It was very quiet in the little square that was filled with nurse-maids and children moving about inside the railings – several little underprivileged ones peering in at them from the outside.”
A Study of History, Vol VIII, OUP, 1954 (footnote)
Franklin D Roosevelt’s 1933 inauguration was the last to take place in March.
In terms of facilities for human intercourse no point in the Oikoumenê was so remote from Washington in A.D. 1952 as Georgia and New Hampshire had been when, in A.D. 1792, [footnote] the Congress of the United States had provided for a four months’ delay in the inauguration of a President after the election of his electors [in November], in order to give the successful candidate the time that he would need for winding up his affairs at home and making his way to the seat of the Federal Government on horseback.
Wouldn’t it have been more to the point to say Georgia and Massachusetts? The footnote says:
In an Act approved on the 1st March, 1792, the Congress of the United States laid down that the members of the Electoral College, provided in the Constitution (Art. II, § 1, par. 2) for electing the President, should themselves be elected on the Tuesday following the first Monday in the November of a presidential election year, and that the term of office of the President elected by the Electoral College should run from “the fourth day of March next succeeding” the date of election. The initial date of the President’s term of office was eventually advanced from the 4th March to the 20th January by the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, which was proclaimed on the 6th February, 1933 – a date by which the United States had moved out of the Horse Age through the Railroad Age into the Air Age.
The music at the beginning is, of course, Hail to the Chief. It is hard to imagine a more American-sounding tune, but it was originally a setting by an Englishman, James Sanderson, of Scott’s verse for a theatrical version in London, c 1812, of The Lady of the Lake.
In 1815 the tune alone was played, under the name Wreaths for the Chieftain, at a ceremony honouring George Washington and commemorating the War of 1812. Later, new lyrics were written in America, but it is rarely sung.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954
The nemesis of a Napoleon I’s militarism had not deterred Frenchmen of a later generation from placing their lives and fortunes in the hands of a Napoleon III; and, after having pandered to his subjects’ still impenitently militaristic taste by leading them successively into a Roman adventure in A.D. 1849, a Russian adventure in A.D. 1854-6, an Austrian adventure in A.D. 1859, and a Mexican adventure in A.D. 1862-7, this second-rate practitioner of a dangerous trade had committed his country in A.D. 1870 to a Prussian adventure in which the agonies of the Hundred Years War had been concentrated within a Time-span of seven months.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954