Monday, November 12, 2012

The Sage Of Monticello by Dumas Malone

                                                              Life at Monticello was not always tranquil, but Jefferson was at his best as a family man.

The decisions of John Marshall plunged hm into the deepest depression of spirit that he had known since the time of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

He made too little allowance for emotions and counted too much on the sufficiency of reason.

To those who exalt force and condone deception he will ever be a visionary, to be ignored or silenced.  But to all who cherish freedom and abhor tyranny in any form he is an abiding symbol of the hope that springs eternal.

What concerned him most at this time was the debt of about $11,000 that he had incurred as President.

Cultivating self-sufficiency was one way to defy the Old World and support American independence.

After war was finally declared he observed that Americans had been spared many years of it by the difficulty of selecting a foe between the two contesting powers.
 Thomas Jefferson  An American Founding Father who wrote the Declaration of Independence. Third president of the United States. 

When he learned from the newspapers that Napoleon had abdicated he described the fallen Emperor to John Adams as the Attila of the age, a ruthless destroyer whose thirst for human blood seemed unquenchable.

Never perhaps did this champion of human freedom state more clearly that liberty is a dubious blessing to any people unprepared for it.  He doubted if the French would be ready for a "full measure of liberty' for another generation.

He was applying the principle that no generation had the right to bind another beyond its own lifetime.

The historic characters he most admired were not rulers or builders of states but Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, and John Locke, whom he regarded as the major seers and prophets of the Enlightenment.

He quoted, often at length, from Milton, Pope, Shenstone, Gray, Collins, Swift, Young, Cunningham, Addison, and Hopkins, as well as from Homer, Theocritus, and Horace.

 Tech-Savvy Presidential Candidates: Thomas Jefferson

He himself rarely used the term "democracy," preferring "republicanism."

He did not doubt that the basic struggle would continue -- between those who trusted and those who distrusted the people generally.

Madison held that the Constitution originated in compact, that a state retained all the powers not specifically delegated to the federal government, and that it could determine when its rights had been infringed upon.

These freedmen could take care of themselves.  The same could not have been said of the large body of his slaves.  To have turned them loose in a society in which they would have been unwelcome would have been no kindness to them, and in view of his indebtedness may have been illegal as well as impracticable.

In theology he was a Unitarian, but he was no sectarian, and this lifelong advocate of religious freedom practiced what he preached.  He drew the plans of the little Episcopal church in Charlottesville, which was consecrated a few weeks before he died.  He contributed to it as he did to the Presbyterian and Baptist churches in the same community.

Pinned Image
Martha Jefferson - Mrs. Thomas Jefferson died at the age of 33.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The War Of The Worlds by H. G. Wells

At the time there was a strong feeling in the streets that the authorities were to blame for their incapacity to dispose of the invaders without all this inconvenience.

The man was running away with the rest, and selling his papers for a shilling each as he ran--a grotesque mingling of profit and panic. 

The immediate pressure of necessity has brightened their intellects, enlarged their powers, and hardened their hearts.

Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals.

"It's a pity they make themselves so unapproachable," he said. "It would be curious to know how they live on another planet; we might learn a thing or two."

Sunday night was the end of the organised opposition to their movements.

A big greyish rounded bulk, the size, perhaps, of a bear, was rising slowly and painfully out of the cylinder. As it bulged up and caught the light, it glistened like wet leather.

Even at this first encounter, this first glimpse, I was overcome with disgust and dread.

"What ugly brutes!" he said. "Good God! What ugly brutes!"

A monstrous tripod, higher than many houses, striding over the young pine trees, and smashing them aside in its career; a walking engine of glittering metal, striding now across the heather; articulate ropes of steel dangling from it, and the clattering tumult of its passage mingling with the riot of the thunder.

They do not seem to have aimed at extermination so much as at complete demoralisation and the destruction of any opposition.

Entrails they had none. They did not eat, much less digest. Instead, they took the fresh, living blood of other creatures, and injected it into their own veins.

I felt the first inkling of a thing that presently grew quite clear in my mind, that oppressed me for many days, a sense of dethronement, a persuasion that I was no longer a master, but an animal among the animals, under the Martian heel. With us it would be as with them, to lurk and watch, to run and hide; the fear and empire of man had passed away.

By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the Martians ten times as mighty as they are. For neither do men live nor die in vain. 

File:Woking tripod.JPG
Statue of a The War of the Worlds tripod, erected as a tribute to H. G. Wells in the centre of the town of Woking, England

"This must be the beginning of the end," he said, interrupting me. "The end! The great and terrible day of the Lord! 

Yeah, it's based off a misquote. Sue me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Education Of A Wandering Man by Louis L'Amour

A great book begins with an idea; a great life, with a determination.

If I were asked what education should give, I would sat it should offer breadth of view, ease of understanding, tolerance for others, and a background from which the mind can explore in any direction.
Education should provide tools for  a widening and deepening of life, for increased appreciation of all one sees or experiences.  It should equip a person to live life well, to understand what is happening about him, for to live life well one must live with awareness.

When I left school at the age of fifteen I was halfway through the tenth grade.  I left for two reasons, economic necessity being the first of them.  More important was that school was interfering with my education.

The only way men or women can be judged is against the canvas of their own time.

Most young writers waste at least three paragraphs and often three pages writing about their story rather than telling it.  This was one of the many things I had yet to learn.

Young Louis L'Amour

We do not at present educate people to think but, rather, to have opinions, and that is something altogether different.

A few people reason but all people feel.

In most cases, when a chief signed a treaty, he was signing for himself.  He had no authority to force other Indians to abide by it.  This most white men never understood.

There never was such a thing as a punch-drunk fighter until the boxing glove was invented, and increasing the size of the gloves has not protected the fighter more, only made boxing less scientific, as it now takes a larger opening for a punch to get through.

Ours has been called a materialistic society.  The Europeans love saying that of us, but I have never found a society that was not materialistic.  If you find one, you may be sure it will be dying.

Those who have never ventured away from the security of their cities, their diplomatic corps, or their business relationships must understand that there is a half-world out there, a place that lies beyond the pale of the law or fringing it: a world of people who move about, cross borders, lose themselves in crowds; a half-world that knows where illegal papers can be obtained, visas, licenses, whatever is necessary.

Upon the shelves of our libraries, the world's greatest teachers await our questions.    

                                            Louis L'Amour   (1908 - 1988)