Showing posts from February 16, 2014

More wit and wisdom from Sydney Smith

He had occasional flashes of silence, that made his conversation perfectly delightful. referring to Macaulay
Never try to reason the prejudice out of a man. It was not reasoned into him, and cannot be reasoned out.

Have the courage to be ignorant of a great number of things, in order to avoid the calamity of being ignorant of everything.

What would the world do without tea? - how did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.

Wild Curates?

Page 141/142
..... attacks up the Bishops were not infrequent, suggesting that they were a set of worldly men ignoring their pastoral function. From their point of view, the bishops upheld anti-revolutionary values to the general benefit of a hierarchical society.

Critics of the Anglican Church took a different line: here (the Church) was a political extension of the State (with the Sovereign as its supreme governor.

Attacks ranged from the crude designation of them as ‘black locusts’, to Francis Place’s more florid malediction – ‘luxurious, rich, overbearing and benumbing’.

Then there was **Sydney Smith’s characteristic barb that the bishops deserved to be ‘preached to death by wild curates’.

(from "Perilous Question === Reform or Revolution?  Britain on the Brink"(Public Affairs Books,  USA, or  Weidenfeld and Nicholson,  Great Britain) 2013.   by the superb author Antonia Fraser.)

** Sydney Smith,  (born June 3, 1771, Woodford, Essex, Eng.—died Feb. 22, 1845, London), one of…

Great Britain? England? The United Kingdom? The British Isles?

Funny and interesting, though not entirely accurate. 

1)  England is not a theocracy - the video totally misunderstands the relationship between Church and State in England.

2.  Not sure that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island consists of four countries.
England is a Country, Scotland is a Country  -  but Wales is a Principality and Northern Ireland is a Province.  (but I quibble!)

Ted Nugent's "subhuman mongrel and chimpanzee"

From his speech at the Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show Jan 17th 2014
NUGENT: I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist raised communist educated communist nurtured subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America. I am heartbroken but I am not giving up. I think America will be America again when Barack Obama, [Attorney General] Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, [Sen.] Dick Durbin, [former New York City Mayor] Michael Bloomberg and all of the liberal Democrats are in jail facing the just due punishment that their treasonous acts are clearly apparent.
So a lot of people would call that inflammatory speech. Well I would call it inflammatory speech when it's your job to protect Americans and you look into the television camera and say what difference does it make that I failed in my …

They droned on about this in High School .... but now

It was about fifty five years ago that a history teacher at Fairfield Grammar School  (equivalent to an American High School) droned on and on about the Reform Act for England and Wales of 1832.  (Similar Acts for Ireland and Scotland were passed later).

Reform Act  blah blah blah
King William IV blah blah blah
Lord Grey, Lord John Russell blah blah blah
The Duke of Wellington blah blah blah
Whigs and Tories  blah blah blah

Blah, drone, bored, why do I need to know this stuff.

All these years later I have been fascinated to read about the high drama and low skullduggery which surrounded the debates about this Act in both Houses of Parliament.

This fascination was birthed by reading

"Perilous Question === Reform or Revolution?  Britain on the Brink"(Public Affairs Books,  USA, or  Weidenfeld and Nicholson,  Great Britain) 2013.   by the superb author Antonia Fraser.

I wrote a bit yesterday about Spencer Perceval (the younger) and his objections to the Act.

Today, and for the next thre…

Not that Spencer Perceval

Readers of this blog, being of above average intelligence and knowledge,  will remember that Spencer Perceval (1762-1812) was the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland 1809 - 1812.

Wikepida says this of Perceval.   A follower of William Pitt, Perceval always described himself as a "friend of Mr Pitt" rather than a Tory. Perceval was opposed to Catholic emancipation and reform of Parliament; he supported the war against Napoleon and the abolition of the slave trade. He was opposed to hunting, gambling and adultery, did not drink as much as most Members of Parliament, gave generously to charity, and enjoyed spending time with his twelve children.

You may not have known that, but surely you remember that Perceval is the only British Premier to have been assassinated. He was shot in the lobby of the (old) House of Commons on 11th May 1812, and died immediately.

But I do not wish to write about that Spencer Perceval. You ask "was there another?". 

Indeed there was…