Sunday, October 20, 2019

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Unknown by Peder Ilsted

Unknown by Peder Ilsted

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The prejudice against the ill-regulated mind

From The Art of Thinking; or The Port-Royal Logic by by Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole.
There is nothing more desirable than good sense and justness of mind, in discriminating between truth and falsehood. All other qualities of mind are of limited use; but exactness of judgment, is of general utility in every part, and in all the employments of life. It is not alone in the sciences, that it is difficult to distinguish truth from error, but also in the greater part of those subjects which men discuss in their every-day affairs. There are, in relation to almost everything, different routes the one true, the other false and it is reason which must choose between them. Those who choose well, are those who have minds well-regulated; those who choose ill, are those who have minds ill-regulated; and this is the first and most important difference which we find between the qualities of men's minds.
Indeed. One of the most subtle of prejudices but perhaps among the strongest. The prejudice against the ill-regulated mind which leads the unfortunate to foolish errors. The enemy of progress is the poorly populated mind that is also an ill regulated mind. See Congress.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Off Beat Humor

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Best of the Bee

It is impossible for human nature to believe that money is not there.

From Busman's Holiday by Dorothy Sayers. Page 166.
The gardener walked up to the table with a slightly belligerent air, as though he had an idea that the police were there for the sole purpose of preventing him from exercising his lawful right to obtain payment of forty pounds. He admitted, briefly, when questioned, that his name was Frank Crutchley and that he was accustomed to attend to the garden one day a week at Talboys for a stipend of five shillings per diem, putting in the rest of his time doing odd jobs of lorry-driving and taxi-work for Mr. Hancock at the garage in Pagford.

"Saving up, I was," said Crutchley, with insistence, "to get a garridge of my own, only for that there forty pound Mr. Noakes had off of me."

"Never mind that now," said the Superintendent. "That's gone west, that has, and it's no use crying over spilt milk."

Crutchley was about as much convinced by this assurance as were the Allies, on being informed by Mr. Keynes, after the conclusion of the Peace Treaty, that they might whistle for their indemnities, since the money was not there. It is impossible for human nature to believe that money is not there. It seems so much more likely that the money is there and only needs bawling for.

Escape of the H.M.S. “Belvidera” from the U.S. Frigate “President,” ca. 1815 by Thomas Buttersworth (1768–1842)

Escape of the H.M.S. “Belvidera” from the U.S. Frigate “President,” ca. 1815 by Thomas Buttersworth (1768–1842)

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I broke his mouth, which closed the business.

From The Road to Guilford Courthouse by John Buchanan. Page 399. On General Daniel Morgan.
Cowpens was Morgan’s last fight. But when Cornwallis’s army was ravaging parts of Virginia, Morgan took the field once more at the behest of Lafayette, who asked him to raise a force of riflemen and come to his aid. Morgan, who liked the young Frenchman, never hesitated and joined Lafayette’s command on 7 July 1781. Morgan and General Anthony Wayne tried to corner Tarleton during one of his raids, but Benny had had quite enough of Morgan and went far out of his way to avoid him. The excessive activity brought on a severe attack of sciatica, and Morgan soon was forced to return home, where he apparently came close to dying.

Morgan’s great will to live served him well, however, and he survived and the years were good to him. His daughters Nancy and Betsy gave him nineteen grandchildren, upon whom he doted and to whom he told war stories in language one of them remembered as “powerful and graphic.” A non-martial adventure sometime in the mid-1780s resulted in the birth of a son, Willoughby Morgan. The boy’s mother is unknown, and Morgan never wrote to him or to our knowledge spoke of him and left him out of his will. The boy resembled his father physically and took after him in compiling a distinguished combat record in the War of 1812. He became a career soldier, attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and died in 1832. In 1782 Morgan completed a personal monument that still stands eleven miles from Winchester. The handsome two-story stone house, today privately owned, he called “Saratoga.” Tradition has it that it was built by Hessian prisoners of war.

He engaged in business activities locally and with Eastern merchants. And of course he speculated in land. By 1795 he owned 250,000 acres in various states and territories. At the same time he saw to the good education of his daughters and entertained old army friends who visited him at Saratoga—such familiar names as John Eager Howard, Horatio Gates, and, above all, his closest “old sword,” Otho Holland Williams. They were opposites, Williams a frail man, well educated, cultivated, but they truly enjoyed each other’s company.

Like most who claw their way from the bottom of the heap, Daniel Morgan craved respectability, and he attained it, along with honors and distinctions enough to please any man. But there was always something of the Old Waggoner in him, and he remained pugnacious to the end. In 1794, during the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania, Major General Daniel Morgan led part of the Virginia militia against the rebels. The distinguished Hero of the Revolution wrote to Light Horse Harry Lee, then Governor of Virginia, that at Parkinson’s Ferry on the Monongahela River he “was obliged to give the tavern keeper where we lodged a knock on the mouth, for selling whiskey to the soldiers for a dollar a gallon—these sales he kept up nearly all night, and when I told him his fault, he began to treat me with indignity, and I broke his mouth, which closed the business.”

Morgan was not cut out to be a congressman. He was elected to the House in 1797 and was a staunch, even rigid Federalist. His most memorable statement during his short political career was his description of the party of Jefferson as a “parsell of Egg sucking dogs.” He was too ill to run for reelection in 1799.

It is as a soldier that he must be judged, and only one conclusion can be reached: he was an exceptional field commander, and as a battle captain he would have had few superiors in any age. All the necessary attributes were his: command presence, coolness under fire, uncommon inspirational qualities, and the ability in critical situations to “think on his feet.” Contemplation of his military career gives fresh meaning to that word charisma. Add his tactical brilliance and you have a commander of rare gifts.

By the turn of the new century the illnesses that had plagued him in the waning years of the Revolution wracked him once again and persisted. In the final months of his life he became feeble, but the spirit and the will that marked this uncommon man of the common people never died. According to the son of the attending physician, the following conversation took place between Morgan and Doctor Conrad.

“General Morgan, if you have any worldly matters to be settled, I think it is my duty to inform you of the importance of attending to them. I know you have faced death in battle and I presume it will not be a cause of alarm or surprise to you.”

Doctor Conrad presumed too much. “Doctor, do you mean that I am about to die?”

“I do.”

“Why, won’t I live some time, a month or so?”

“I think not, sir.”

“Well, a week?”

“I don’t think you can possibly last a week.”

There was a long silence.

“Doctor, if I could be the man I was when I was twenty-one years of age, I would be willing to be stripped stark naked on the top of the Alleghany Mountains, to run for my life with the hounds of death at my heels.”

Daniel Morgan died on 6 July 1802, aged sixty-seven, surrounded by family and friends. The epitaph on his long-lost gravestone expressed the honors due him but was commonplace. His unofficial epitaph, by his old friend and comrade in arms, Light Horse Harry Lee, best described the Hero.

“No man better loved this world, and no man more reluctantly quitted it.”

Friday, October 18, 2019