Monday, June 27, 2022

On "Beating a Dead Horse" in Today's Capitalistic Workplace using the Ancient Wisdom of Native Americans

The US edition of The Guardian on November 26, 1999, published a piece on beating a "dead horse" in today's capitalistic world of work & careers using the ancient wisdom of Native Americans. The Dakota are a Native American tribe in North America. They compose 2 of the 3 main subcultures of the Sioux people & are typically divided into the Eastern & the Western Dakota having tribal lands from present day Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, & into Canada. 

The Tribal Wisdom of the Dead Horse from the Dakota Indians

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. 

But in modern business, because heavy investment factors are taken into consideration, other strategies are often tried with dead horses, including the following:

 1.   Buying a stronger whip.

 2.   Changing riders.

 3.   Threatening the dead horse with termination.

 4.   Appointing a committee to study the dead horse.

 5.   Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.

 6.   Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

 7.   Reclassifying the dead horse as "living-impaired." 

 8.   Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse. 

 9.   Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

10.  Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance.

11.  Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's production.     

12. Declaring that the dead horse carries lower overhead & therefore contributes more to the bottom line than some other horses.

13. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

14. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

The Female Witch Myth - New England's Early 1656 Witch Trial

Image from History of Witches and Wizards, 1720 or The history of witches and wizards: giving a true account of all their tryals in England, Scotland, Swedeland, France, and New England; with their confession and condemnation / Collected from Bishop Hall, Bishop Morton, Sir Matthew Hale, etc. By W.P. 1720

Trials for witchcraft in New England did not begin in 1692.  In The Salem Witch Trials: a Reference Guide by K. David Goss, he recounts the trial of Anne Hibbins who was hanged in 1656. Anne Hibbins (1656) was censured by Boston church leaders for her contentious behavior in repeatedly accusing a local craftsman of overcharging for his labor. She was furthermore charged with supplanting her husband’s position in dealing with this problem, violating the Puritan belief that wives should submit themselves to the leadership of their husbands. 

For this offense, she was unrepentant. She was removed from membership in the Boston church and found guilty of witchcraft in 1654, after the death of her husband. Although the magistrates denied the initial verdict, a 2nd trial was held before the Massachusetts Great and General Court. Anne Hibbins was convicted a 2nd time of witchcraft and executed in 1656. 

In his assessment of this tragedy, Governor Thomas Hutchinson (1711-1780), in his "History of Massachusetts," places the blame for this conviction upon the people of Boston who disliked Anne Hibbin’s contentious nature. He wrote that the trial and the condemnation of Anne Hibbins for witchcraft was "a most remarkable occurrence in the colony," for he found that is was her temper and argumentative nature, that caused he neighbors to accuse her of being a witch.

The Female Witch Myth - 1692 Salem Witch Trials - Adolescent Girls with Strange Fits

In 1692 a group of adolescent girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, became subject to strange fits after hearing tales told by a West Indian slave. They accused several women of being witches. The townspeople were appalled but not surprised: Belief in witchcraft was widespread throughout 17th-century America and Europe. Town officials convened a court to hear the charges of witchcraft. Within a month, six women were convicted and hanged.

The hysteria grew, in large measure because the court permitted witnesses to testify that they had seen the accused as spirits or in visions. Such "spectral evidence" could neither be verified nor made subject to objective examination. By the fall of 1692, 20 victims, including several men, had been executed, and more than 100 others were in jail (where another five victims died) -- among them some of the town's most prominent citizens. When the charges threatened to spread beyond Salem, ministers throughout the colony called for an end to the trials. The governor of the colony agreed. Those still in jail were later acquitted or given reprieves.

Although an isolated incident, the Salem episode has long fascinated Americans. Most historians agree that Salem Village in 1692 experienced a kind of public hysteria, fueled by a genuine belief in the existence of witchcraft. While some of the girls may have been acting, many responsible adults became caught up in the frenzy as well.

Even more revealing is a closer analysis of the identities of the accused and the accusers. Salem Village, as much of colonial New England, was undergoing an economic and political transition from a largely agrarian, Puritan-dominated community to a more commercial, secular society. Many of the accusers were representatives of a traditional way of life tied to farming and the church, whereas a number of the accused witches were members of a rising commercial class of small shopkeepers and tradesmen. Salem's obscure struggle for social and political power between older traditional groups and a newer commercial class was one repeated in communities throughout American history. It took a bizarre and deadly detour when its citizens were swept up by the conviction that the devil was loose in their homes.

The Salem witch trials also serve as a dramatic parable of the deadly consequences of making sensational, but false, charges. Three hundred years later, we still call false accusations against a large number of people a "witch hunt."

For more, see Outline of U.S. History, a publication of the U.S. Department of State from the website of the United States Information Agency, where it was published in November 2005.

The Female Witch Myth was advocated by English Jurist Matthew Hale (1609-1676), so influential in the recent Roe v. Wade demise, whose writings & court rulings on women were/are far-reaching & long-lasting. In 1662, he was involved in one of the most notorious of the 17C English witchcraft trials, where he sentenced 2 women to death for being witches. The judgment of Hale in this case was extremely influential in future cases in England & in the British American colonies, & was used in the 1692 Salem witch trials to justify the forfeiture of the accused's lands. As late as 1664, Hale used the argument that the existence of laws against witches is proof that witches exist.  
My dog is giving me a look that says you may be "beating a dead horse." I kind of remember that in England they say "flogging a dead horse." Or as Sophocles wrote (in Greek, of course) in his play Antigone, "Nay, allow the claim of the dead; stab not the fallen; what prowess is it to slay the slain anew?"

The Female Witch Myth - Puritan Laws on Witches - 1692 Salem's Anti-Woman Witch Hunt

Woodcut of Witches Gathering

During 1692, formal charges of witchcraft were brought against 156 people & most were women. On both sides of the Atlantic, witchcraft was perceived as a primarily female phenomenon & over ¾ of the accused were women.  In Puritan New England by 1692, Christian society, politics, & theology was ripe for a bout of persecution of witches & witchcraft, which some claim was an attempt to suppress women & feminine influences. 

Puritans did not believe that women were by nature more evil than men, but they did see them as weaker & thus more susceptible to sinful impulses. Ministers regularly reminded New England congregations, that it was Eve who first gave way to Satan & then seduced Adam, when she should have continued to serve his moral welfare in obedience to God.  Some women were much more likely than others to be suspected of witchcraft. 

Throughout the 17C New England women became especially susceptible to accusation, if they were seen as challenging their prescribed place in a gendered hierarchy that Puritans held to be ordained by God. Women who fulfilled their allotted social roles as wives, mothers, household mistresses, & church members without threatening assumptions about appropriate female comportment were respected and praised as the handmaidens of the Lord; but those whose circumstances or behavior seemed to disrupt social norms could easily become branded as the servants of Satan.  

Especially vulnerable were women who had passed menopause & no longer served the purpose of procreation; women who were widowed & so neither fulfilled the role of wife nor had a husband to protect them from malicious accusations; & women who had inherited or stood to inherit property in violation of society's expectations that wealth would be transmitted from man to man.  Women who seemed unduly aggressive & contentious were also likely to be accused; behavior that would not have struck contemporaries as particularly egregious in men seemed utterly inappropriate in women. 

Bridget Bishop & Susannah Martin, both executed in 1692, exemplifed these characteristics. Both had been widowed. Bishop had assumed control of her first husband's property before remarrying. Martin had engaged in protracted litigation over her father's estate in an unsuccessful attempt to secure what she considered her rightful inheritance. Both women had displayed an assertiveness & fiery temper that some of their neighbors found deeply troubling.

Events in Salem Village in 1692
January 20
Nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris and eleven-year-old Abigail Williams began to exhibit strange behavior, such as blasphemous screaming, convulsive seizures, trance-like states and mysterious spells. Within a short time, several other Salem girls began to demonstrate similar behavior.

Mid-February
Unable to determine any physical cause for the symptoms and dreadful behavior, physicians concluded that the girls were under the influence of Satan.

Late February
Prayer services and community fasting were conducted by Reverend Samuel Parris in hopes of relieving the evil forces that plagued them. In an effort to expose the "witches", John Indian baked a witch cake made with rye meal and the afflicted girls' urine. This counter-magic was meant to reveal the identities of the "witches" to the afflicted girls.  Pressured to identify the source of their affliction, the girls named three women, including Tituba, Parris' Carib Indian slave, as witches. On February 29, warrants were issued for the arrests of Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne.

Although Osborne and Good maintained innocence, Tituba confessed to seeing the devil who appeared to her "sometimes like a hog and sometimes like a great dog." What's more, Tituba testified that there was a conspiracy of witches at work in Salem.

March 1
Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin examined Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne in the meeting house in Salem Village. Tituba confessed to practicing witchcraft.  Over the next weeks, other townspeople came forward and testified that they, too, had been harmed by or had seen strange apparitions of some of the community members. As the witch hunt continued, accusations were made against many different people.  Frequently denounced were women whose behavior or economic circumstances were somehow disturbing to the social order and conventions of the time. Some of the accused had previous records of criminal activity, including witchcraft, but others were faithful churchgoers and people of high standing in the community.

March 12
Martha Corey is accused of witchcraft.

March 19
Rebecca Nurse was denounced as a witch.

March 21
Martha Corey was examined before Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin.

March 24
Rebecca Nurse was examined before Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin.

March 28
Elizabeth Proctor was denounced as a witch.

April 3
Sarah Cloyce, Rebecca Nurse's sister, was accused of witchcraft.

April 11
Elizabeth Proctor and Sarah Cloyce were examined before Hathorne, Corwin, Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth, and Captain Samuel Sewall. During this examination, John Proctor was also accused and imprisoned.

April 19
Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Giles Corey, and Mary Warren were examined. Only Abigail Hobbs confessed.  William Hobbs "I can deny it to my dying day."

April 22
Nehemiah Abbott, William and Deliverance Hobbs, Edward and Sarah Bishop, Mary Easty, Mary Black, Sarah Wildes, and Mary English were examined before Hathorne and Corwin. Only Nehemiah Abbott was cleared of charges.

May 2
Sarah Morey, Lydia Dustin, Susannah Martin, and Dorcas Hoar were examined by Hathorne and Corwin.  Dorcas Hoar "I will speak the truth as long as I live."

May 4
George Burroughs was arrested in Wells, Maine.

May 9
Burroughs was examined by Hathorne, Corwin, Sewall, and William Stoughton. One of the afflicted girls, Sarah Churchill, was also examined.

May 10
George Jacobs, Sr. and his granddaughter Margaret were examined before Hathorne and Corwin. Margaret confessed and testified that her grandfather and George Burroughs were both witches.
Sarah Osborne died in prison in Boston.  Margaret Jacobs "... They told me if I would not confess I should be put down into the dungeon and would be hanged, but if I would confess I should save my life."

May 14
Increase Mather returned from England, bringing with him a new charter and the new governor, Sir William Phips.

May 18
Mary Easty was released from prison. Yet, due to the outcries and protests of her accusers, she was arrested a second time.

May 27
Governor Phips set up a special Court of Oyer and Terminer comprised of seven judges to try the witchcraft cases. Appointed were Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, Nathaniel Saltonstall, Bartholomew Gedney, Peter Sergeant, Samuel Sewall, Wait Still Winthrop, John Richards, John Hathorne, and Jonathan Corwin.  These magistrates based their judgments and evaluations on various kinds of intangible evidence, including direct confessions, supernatural attributes (such as "witchmarks"), and reactions of the afflicted girls. Spectral evidence, based on the assumption that the Devil could assume the "specter" of an innocent person, was relied upon despite its controversial nature.

May 31
Martha Carrier, John Alden, Wilmott Redd, Elizabeth Howe, and Phillip English were examined before Hathorne, Corwin, and Gedney.

June 2
Initial session of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Bridget Bishop was the first to be pronounced guilty of witchcraft and condemned to death.

Early June
Soon after Bridget Bishop's trial, Nathaniel Saltonstall resigned from the court, dissatisfied with its proceedings.

June 10
Bridget Bishop was hanged in Salem, the first official execution of the Salem witch trials. Bridget Bishop "I am no witch. I am innocent. I know nothing of it."

Following her death, accusations of witchcraft escalated, but the trials were not unopposed. Several townspeople signed petitions on behalf of accused people they believed to be innocent.

June 29-30
Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes, Sarah Good and Elizabeth Howe were tried for witchcraft and condemned.
Rebecca Nurse "Oh Lord, help me! It is false. I am clear. For my life now lies in your hands...."

Mid-July
In an effort to expose the witches afflicting his life, Joseph Ballard of nearby Andover enlisted the aid of the accusing girls of Salem. This action marked the beginning of the Andover witch hunt.

July 19
Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good, and Sarah Wildes were executed.  Elizabeth Howe "If it was the last moment I was to live, God knows I am innocent..."

Susannah Martin "I have no hand in witchcraft."

August 2-6
George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John and Elizabeth Proctor, and John Willard were tried for witchcraft and condemned. Martha Carrier "...I am wronged. It is a shameful thing that you should mind these folks that are out of their wits."

August 19
George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John Proctor, and John Willard were hanged on Gallows Hill.
George Jacobs "Because I am falsely accused. I never did it."

September 9
Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Dorcas Hoar, and Mary Bradbury were tried and condemned.
Mary Bradbury "I do plead not guilty. I am wholly innocent of such wickedness."

September 17
Margaret Scott, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, Mary Parker, Abigail Faulkner, Rebecca Eames, Mary Lacy, Ann Foster, and Abigail Hobbs were tried and condemned.

September 19
Giles Corey was pressed to death for refusing a trial.

September 21
Dorcas Hoar was the first of those pleading innocent to confess. Her execution was delayed.

September 22
Martha Corey, Margaret Scott, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary Parker were hanged.

October 8
After 20 people had been executed in the Salem witch hunt, Thomas Brattle wrote a letter criticizing the witchcraft trials. This letter had great impact on Governor Phips, who ordered that reliance on spectral and intangible evidence no longer be allowed in trials.

October 29
Governor Phips dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer.

November 25
The General Court of the colony created the Superior Court to try the remaining witchcraft cases which took place in May, 1693. This time no one was convicted.

Mary Easty "...if it be possible no more innocent blood be shed...I am clear of this sin."

By early October, when the court proceedings were halted amid acrimonious controversy, 19 people had been hanged. Over 100 individuals were in prison awaiting trial, & 4 died during their confinement.

The Salem trials were halted primarily because of controversy over the court's reliance upon problematic testimony, which reaffirmed & intensified judicial concerns regarding evidentiary issues. Such concerns combined with embarrassment & distress over the deaths that resulted from the trials that year to discourage future prosecutions, though an end to witch trials in New England by the century's close did not signify an end to the belief in & fear of witches.
Earlier Witch-burning in Europe, 1550

See: 

Salem Witches & their Accusers. Richard Godbeer
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004

The Female Witch Myth was advocated by English Jurist Matthew Hale (1609-1676), so influential in the recent Roe v. Wade demise, whose writings & court rulings on women were/are far-reaching & long-lasting. In 1662, he was involved in one of the most notorious of the 17C English witchcraft trials, where he sentenced 2 women to death for being witches. The judgment of Hale in this case was extremely influential in future cases in England & in the British American colonies, & was used in the 1692 Salem witch trials to justify the forfeiture of the accused's lands. As late as 1664, Hale used the argument that the existence of laws against witches is proof that witches exist.  
My dog is giving me a look that says you may be "beating a dead horse." I kind of remember that in England they say "flogging a dead horse." Or as Sophocles wrote (in Greek, of course) in his play Antigone, "Nay, allow the claim of the dead; stab not the fallen; what prowess is it to slay the slain anew?"

The Female Witch Myth advocated by English Jurist Matthew Hale (1609-1676)

An engraving of a portrait of Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) by Thomas Phillibrown, likely mid-C (no date recorded). [Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division]

The Female Witch Myth advocated by English Jurist Matthew Hale 

Hale's writings & court rulings on women were far-reaching & long-lasting. In 1662, he was involved in one of the most notorious of the 17C English witchcraft trials, where he sentenced 2 women to death for witchcraft. The judgment of Hale in this case was extremely influential in future cases in England & in the British American colonies, & was used in the Salem witch trials to justify the forfeiture of the accused's lands. As late as 1664, Hale used the argument that the existence of laws against witches is proof that witches exist. 

Sir Matthew Hale & Evidence of Witchcraft

 in Custodia Legis Blog by Law Librarians of Congress. October 30, 2021 by Nathan Dorn

...Spectral evidence was testimony in which witnesses claimed that the accused appeared to them & did them harm in a dream or a vision. The Court of Oyez & Terminer that presided over the Salem witch trials permitted this form of evidence to be presented in support of accusations of witchcraft. According to Reverend John Hale, (Note: John Hale (1636-1700) was a Puritan pastor of Beverly, Massachusetts, who took part in the Salem witch trials in 1692) who witnessed those proceedings, the court based its decision to use spectral evidence on the opinion of Matthew Hale, one of the leading legal authorities in England. In this post, I take a look at the case that the Salem judges relied on & the record of the instructions Matthew Hale gave in that trial.

The trial was one of 2 well-known witch trials ending in conviction that took place in Bury St. Edmunds, England, in the mid-17C. The earlier trial, which was instigated by Matthew Hopkins, sometimes called the Witchfinder General, resulted in the execution of 18 people on a single day, August 27, 1645...The case that Matthew Hale presided over took place some 17 years later from March 10-13, 1662, & it dealt with charges of witchcraft against 2 women from Lowestoft, a town in Suffolk some 50 miles from Bury St. Edmunds. Their names were Amy Duney & Rose Cullender. Neighbors leveled a number of accusations against these 2 women; chief among them, that they had bewitched their children, & that these enchantments led to the death of a child in one case.

Title page of “A Tryal of Witches at the Assizes held at Bury St. Edmunds in 1682.” an anonymous pamphlet giving an account of the Bury St. Edmunds Witchcraft Trial. The title page gives the incorrect year of the trial as 1664. The correct year, 1662, is mentioned in original records of the indictments. 

The trial is recorded in an anonymous pamphlet published in 1682. (It can be found online here.) In a brief foreward, the author explains that he chose to make the story public so that people could see the awkward situation it created: on the one hand, many people at the time of the pamphlet’s writing doubted that witchcraft was real, & implicitly that it should form the basis of any criminal charge; on the other hand, several highly influential men were involved in this trial – namely Hale, who was the Chief Baron of the Exchequer at the time of the trial; the medical doctor & philosopher Thomas Browne (Note: Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682) was an English polymath & author of varied works in diverse fields including science, medicine, & religion.); & Sir John Kelyng (Note: John Kelynge KS (or Kelyng) (1607–1671) was an English judge & politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1661 to 1663.), who became Chief Justice of the King’s Bench only 3 years after the trial. 

Was the trial an embarrassment? Or on the contrary does the weight of tradition force conclusions such as the ones Hale arrived at in that courtroom? Or both?

In the pamphlet’s record of his instructions, Hale explained crisply that the jury must consider only “first, whether or no these children were bewitched, [&] secondly, whether the prisoners at bar were guilty of it.” He stated that the question of whether witchcraft is real was not under discussion, since its existence was recognized in the Bible, & Parliament had already recognized its reality in several criminal statutes. He pointed out that, “the wisdom of all nations had provided laws against such persons [witches], which is an argument of their confidence of such a crime.” (A Tryal of Witches, p. 55)

The crime of witchcraft was certainly spelled out in a number of statutes, but it was no simple matter to decide how to prove that a given ill effect was caused by a particular person’s specific act of witchcraft. The nature of witchcraft allegedly depended on occult forces, both invisible & untraceable by direct evidence. What sort of evidence could then support a conviction? (Gaskill, p. 40) 

The pamphlet does not directly record Hale’s answer to this question. Indirectly, one can see the kind of evidence that he admitted: testimony by the parents of the injured children stating that they came into verbal conflict with the accused & that the accused made statements threatening the health of their children & in one case the life of a child; testimony by the parents stating that they witnessed paranormal events that they could connect to the accused; testimony by the parents regarding the children’s abnormal psychic & physical states following verbal altercations with the accused; & physical evidence of pins & nails allegedly vomited by the children. The court also permitted the parents to recount that the children had visions of the accused entering their homes & standing menacingly at the foot or head of their beds.

The children were permitted to speak & to give testimony at the trial. One of the afflicted, an 18-year-old girl, reported having visions of Rose Cullender, who appeared to her in her home – one time trying to lure her out of the house, another time at the foot of her bed, & another time appearing with a large dog. In addition to these visions, she suffered violent fits, that included temporary blindness & vomiting metal pins. This young woman came to court with the intention to testify, but briefly “fell into her fits” & was removed from the court until she could regain her self-possession. When she returned & was sworn in, she appeared entranced again & “shrieking out in a miserable manner” only repeated, “burn her, burn her, burn her.” Hale advised the jury at the end of the trial to allow the evidence to stand as presented. (A Tryal of Witches, p. 55)

Another unusual piece of evidence came in the form of an experiment performed with one of the afflicted children in the courtroom. Some of the children were not able to speak & appeared to be in a trance-like state, one feature of which was that they clenched their fists tightly. The record states that men in their presence attempted to open their fists & that they were unable to, so strongly were they closed. But at the request of the court, Rose Cullender approached & touched one of the children. This made the child open her fist. A man in the court raised a skeptical question about this procedure, so the experiment was repeated. This time, they covered the child’s face with an apron so that she could not see who touched her. Meantime, several people touched her. Nevertheless, she only opened her fist when Rose Cullender touched her. This did not convince the skeptic. (A Tryal of Witches, pp. 42-45) But according to the record, it stood as evidence without special instructions from Hale.

Thomas Browne made a statement in which he acknowledged the reality of witchcraft, & proposed that the devil has the ability to influence the humors of the body to produce physical illness & that he does so at the behest of witches. (A Tryal of Witches, pp. 41-42)

John Kelyng made a statement in which he acknowledged that the children were bewitched, but he objected that the evidence from the children’s imagination was insufficient for a conviction. He argued that if it were accepted, “no person whatsoever can be in safety, for perhaps they might fancy another person who might altogether be innocent in such matters.” (A Tryal of Witches, p. 40)

Rose Cullender & Amy Duney maintained their innocence throughout the trial & after their conviction. They died on March 17, 1662, by hanging...

Secondary Sources:

Darr, Orna Alyagon. “Experiments in the Courtroom: Social Dynamics & Spectacles of Proof in Early Modern English Witch Trials.” Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Winter 2014), pp. 152-175.

Gaskill, Malcolm. “Witchcraft & Evidence in Early Modern England.” Past & Present, No. 198 (Feb. 2008), pp. 33-70.

Geis, Gilbert. “Lord Hale, Witches, & Rape.” British Journal of Law & Society, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Summer 1978), pp. 26-44.

Geis, Gilbert. A trial of witches: a seventeenth-century witchcraft prosecution. London ; New York : Routledge, 1997.

Holmes, Clive. “Women: Witnesses & Witches.” Past & Present, No. 140 (Aug. 1993), pp. 45-78.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

History Blooms at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello



Monticello's Peggy Cornett tells us that...

On May 28, 1767 Jefferson observed "Snap-dragon" blooming at Shadwell, his childhood home &, four years later, he listed this native of southern Europe among the hardy flowers to be naturalized in a "shrubbery" at Monticello. Jefferson's reference is the earliest known mention of this plant in an American source. The Snapdragons at Monticello came in 1985 through our friendship with the curator of gardens at Hatfield House, a 16C country estate outside London, where the species is naturalized in the landscape. 

Research & images & much more is available directly from the Monticello website - to begin exploring, just click Monticello.org.

Who was Matthew Hale, the 17th Century Justice who Samuel Alito invokes again & again in overturning Roe?

By Deanna Pan Globe Staff, May 6, 2022.

In his leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito leans heavily on the scholarship of 17th-century English judge Sir Matthew Hale to underpin his argument that prohibiting abortion has a long “unbroken tradition” in the law.

Not only have many legal scholars disputed Alito’s reading of history, they’ve also criticized his reliance on Hale because of what the jurist’s writings reveal about his attitudes toward women. Hale is notorious in the law for laying the legal foundation clearing husbands from criminal liability for raping their wives, and for sentencing two women accused of witchcraft to death, a case that served as a model for the infamous Salem witch trials 30 years later.

Alito’s invocation of Hale has stunned some lawyers and historians, who say Hale’s discredited ideas have been used for centuries to subjugate women.

“There are many themes running through America’s legal traditions that have deep injustices embedded within them,” said Jill Hasday, a constitutional and family law professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, about Alito’s reliance on Hale. “We have to decide how we’re bound by the past. And nothing is forcing us to carry the consequences of women’s legal subordination forward in time.”

Lauren MacIvor Thompson, a historian at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, said she was shocked Alito referenced Hale in his draft opinion. Even among his contemporaries, she said, Hale “was particularly misogynistic.” “For a Supreme Court justice to be doing that in 2022 is really astonishing,” she said.

In his 98-page draft, Alito approvingly refers to Hale as one of the “eminent common-law authorities,” and cites him more than a dozen times in his argument challenging the historical narrative of abortion laws in the United States.

“The right to an abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions,” Alito argues in the draft opinion. “On the contrary, an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of common law until 1973.”

Alito notes that Hale described the abortion of a “quick child” as a “great crime.” (”Quick” refers to “quickening,” which, in English common law, occurs when a mother can detect fetal movement, typically between four and six months of pregnancy.)

Many historians disagree with Alito’s argument. In an amicus brief submitted in the Mississippi abortion-rights case before the justices, the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians counter that up until the Civil War, most states barred abortion only in the later stages of pregnancy, and that abortions before fetal “quickening” were legal.

Alito does not mention Hale’s other writing on women, such as his views on rape. In his treatise, “History of the Pleas of the Crown,” published posthumously in 1736, which Alito cites throughout his draft opinion, Hale famously argued that marital rape is exempt from criminal prosecution. Once a woman consents to marry, Hale argues, “the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract.”

Hale’s defense of marital rape remained the legal standard in the United States until the 1970s, when Nebraska became the first state to outlaw it. Although spousal rape is illegal in every state, several states still have statutory exemptions for spouses, depending on a variety of factors, including the age of the victim or the victim’s capacity to consent, according to AEquitas, a nonprofit focused on the prosecution of gender-based violence.

Hale’s legacy also includes his deep skepticism of rape accusations. Although he called rape a “most detestable crime” that ought “to be punished with death,” Hale believed that rape is “an accusation easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused, tho never so innocent.”

“One of the things Hale helped embed in the law is this intense suspicion of women,” Hasday said. “This premise that women who claim to be raped are liars, and the idea that proving rape should be extraordinarily difficult because you just can’t rely on women.”

Hasday said Hale’s suspicion of women extends to his handling of witchcraft cases. In Bury St. Edmunds in 1662, Hale presided over one of England’s most notorious witchcraft trials, which resulted in the hanging of two older widows, Amy Denny and Rose Cullender, accused of bewitching their neighbors.

The proceedings were remarkably similar to the witchcraft trials in Salem, according to Cornell University historian Mary Beth Norton. The complainants in Hale’s case were young girls who “screeched and screamed in the courtroom so much that they could not testify,” Norton said, and their relatives testified in the girls’ place. Hale admitted the witness testimony, including claims that the accused had appeared before the afflicted children in visions, as “spectral evidence.”

Thirty years later, judges in Salem consulted an account of the trial, “A Tryal of Witches at the Assizes,” Norton said, and used Hale’s permitting of spectral evidence to justify their own proceedings.

Hale’s work “was an important backing for the legitimacy of the trials in 1692,” Norton said. “That is, this opinion of Sir Matthew Hale that you could accept these statements by these young girls who were screaming and crying and having fits in the courtroom as legitimate evidence.”

Hale’s writings about women were not limited to his legal scholarship. In a 206-page letter of advice to his grandchildren, Hale laments that young English gentlewomen “learn to be bold [and] talk loud.” These young women, he charged, “know the ready way ... to ruin a family quickly.”

“They are a sort of chargeable unprofitable people,” Hale concludes, before imploring his granddaughters to learn “good housewifery” for the sake of their families and husbands. “A good wife is a portion of herself; but an idle or expensive wife is most times an ill bargain.”

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Often cited in the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) Jurist & Grandfather - On Abortion, Rape, Witches, & Women

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion detailing his reasons for overturning Roe v. Wade. In both his alleged draft opinion* & his final opinion for this case, Alito leaned liberally on the views of Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676), a 17C English jurist who was adamant that it was legal that a married woman could be raped by her husband; & wrote an instruction to jurors to be skeptical of reports of rape. Hale´s views on rape, marriage & abortion have had a long legacy not only in Britain’s legal system, but also in those of the British Colonies. Hale also believe in female witches, & presided over the trials & executions of 3 women accused as witches in England.

Hale became Lord Chief Justice of England in 1671. Hale wrote a 2-volume legal treatise, “The History of the Pleas of the Crown,” that has influenced court proceedings ever since. Hale wrote that if a physician gave a woman with child a potion to cause an abortion, it was “murder.” Hale also believed there was no such thing as marital rape, “for the husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife for by their mutual matrimonial consent & contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband which she cannot retract.”
Hale described the abortion of a dead child (who died in the womb) as a "great crime." Hale believed an abortion could qualify as homicide. Hale wrote that if a doctor gave a woman "with child" a "potion" to cause an abortion, & the woman died, it was "murder" because the potion was given "unlawfully to destroy her child within her," Judge Alito declared in his draft opinion.

Hale’s pronouncement became the accepted common law & served as foundation in theBritish American colonies for immunizing a husband accused of raping his wife. Law review articles have questioned Hale's pronouncements. “Hale appears to have been the first to articulate what later would become an accepted legal principle, that a husband cannot be charged with raping his wife,” according to a footnote in one law review article. Another law review article, titled “The Marital Rape Exemption: Evolution to Extinction,” called Hale’s pronouncement “an unsupported, extrajudicial statement...” 

Like the marital rape exemption, the so-called Hale Warning to jurors caused centuries of misfortune in the American courts. In his 1680 “Pleas of the Crown,” (which was published by the House of Commons in 1736) Hale called rape a “most detestable crime...It must be remembered, that it is an accusation easy to be made & hard to be proved, & harder to be defended by the party accused, tho never so innocent.”

Hale in weighing the evidence in cases of alleged rape, jurors  needed to consider "Did the woman cry out? Did she try to flee? Was she of “good fame” or “evil fame”? Was she supported by others? Did she make immediate complaint afterward?"

In 1793, in New York City, an aristocrat, Henry Bedlow, was accused of raping a 17-year-old seamstress, Lanah Sawyer. Bedlow hired six lawyers, who used Hale’s framework to destroy Sawyer. Sawyer said she screamed. But, one attorney asked the jury, did she also stamp her feet? He continued,  “she may have had the art to carry a fair outside, while all was foul within.” The jury took 15 minutes to acquit the accused.
The written record of Hale’s trial in Bury St. Edmunds, served as a model in Salem, Massachusetts, in the infamous witch trials in 1692.  His beliefs guided elimination of justice for females in America's witch trials. In 1662, Hale had presided at a jury trial in Bury St. Edmunds in which 2 women, Amy Denny & Rose Cullender, were accused of being witches. Hale instructed the jurors that witches were real. At their trial, Hale declared: “That there were such creatures as witches he had no doubt at all; for first, the scriptures had affirmed so much. Secondly, the wisdom of all nations had provided laws against such persons, which is an argument of their confidence of such a crime.” Found guilty, Hale sentenced both women to hang. Four years earlier, Hale had also sentenced to death another woman convicted of being a witch.

Hale wrote a long letter to & about his grandchildren, dispensing life advice, in which he described women as “chargeable unprofitable people” who “know the ready way to consume an estate, & to ruin a family quickly.” (See: Hale’s “Letter of Advice.” Google Books)

Hale's views of women are recorded in the book-length Letter of Advice to His Grandchildren : Matthew, Gabriel, Anne, Mary & Frances Hale. Of his granddaughter Mary, he wrote, possessed great wit & spirit, & “if she can temper the latter, will make an excellent woman, & a great housewife; but if she cannot govern the greatness of her spirit, it will make her proud, imperious, & revengeful.” Of granddaughter Frances, Hale wrote that she possessed great confidence: “If she be kept in some awe, especially in relation to lying & deceiving, she will make a good woman & a good housewife.” Of granddaughter Anne, Hale said she had a “soft nature.” “She must not see plays, read comedies, or love books or romances, nor hear nor learn ballads or idle songs, especially such as are wanton or concerning love-matters, for they will make too deep an impression upon her mind.”

One nearly redeeming paragraph in his advice to his grand children caught my eye, "Some men excel in husbandry, some in gardening, some in mathematics. In conversation, learn, as near as you can, where the skill or excellence of any person lies; put him upon talking on that subject, observe what he says, keep it in your memory, or commit it to writing. By this means you will glean the worth & knowledge of everybody you converse with; & at an easy rate, acquire what may be of use to you on many occasions."

After holding the office of Chief Baron for 11 years he was raised to the higher dignity of Lord Chief Justice of England, which he held until February 1676, when his failing health compelled him to resign. He retired to his native Alderley, where he died on the 25th of December of the same year. He was twice married & outlived 8 of his 10 children.

Note:
*Leaks about Supreme Court deliberations in a pending case are rare, & the leak of a draft decision is unprecedented. There is uncertainty about whether the leak violated federal laws, & experts differ as to whether the U.S. Department of Justice should pursue criminal charges.

See:
Barton, J. L. (1992). "The Story of Marital Rape". Law Quarterly Review. Sweet & Maxwell. 108 (April): 260–271.
Brown, David C. (1993). "The Forfeitures at Salem, 1692". William and Mary Quarterly. Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. 50 (1): 85–111. 
Geis, G. (1978). "Lord Hale, Witches, and Rape." British Journal of Law and Society. Wiley-Blackwell. 
Hasday, Jill Elaine (2000). "Contest and Consent: A Legal History of Marital Rape". California Law Review. UC Berkeley School of Law. 88 (5): 1373–1505.
Ryan, Rebecca M. (1995). "The Sex Right: A Legal History of the Marital Rape Exemption". Law & Social Inquiry. Blackwell Publishing. 20 (4): 941–1001. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Roe v. Wade - US Supreme Court Overturns One Landmark Decision with Another Landmark Decision

This morning, as I was driving to my dog's vet, the radio announced that the United States Supreme Court overturned a nearly 50 year-old landmark decision of that court. I am an old historian, but I remember the announcement of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.  Such landmark decisions from the Supreme Court substantially change the interpretation of existing law. I would not have chosen to have an abortion, but I do not want the government to make that decision for me or my daughters or my granddaughters or any other woman.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, No. 19-1392, 597 U.S. (2022), is now a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held that the Constitution of the United States does not confer any women the right to abortion, thus overruling both Roe v. Wade (1973) & Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). Despite Abigail Adams's (1744-1818) famous advice to her husband John Adams (1735-1826) to “remember the ladies,” he & the rest of the founders of our country left any mention of women out of the founding documents. As a result, the U.S. Constitution does not mention women at all. In fact, women did not get the right to vote in national elections until 1920.

The Court issued its new landmark decision this morning -  June 24, 2022. In a 6–3 judgment, the Court reversed the Fifth Circuit's decision & remanded that case for further review. The majority opinion declares that a woman's right to have an abortion was not a protected right under the Constitution, overturning both 1973 Roe & 1993 Casey, & returned decisions regarding abortion regulations back to the states. As a result, Dobbs is considered a landmark decision of the Court.

This decision overlooks stare decisis (Latin for “to stand by things decided”), as it establishes a significant new legal principle for women; overturns prior precedent for women; departs from prior practice for women; & establishes a standard for women that can be applied by courts in future decisions.

On May 2, 2022, Politico released an alleged leaked draft of a majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito circulated among the justices in February 2022. That draft opinion suggested that the court would overturn 1973 Roe & 1992 Casey. Alito's draft called the Roe decision "egregiously wrong from the start," arguing that a woman's right to have an abortion is not listed in the Constitution as a protected right, & instead would allow individual states to decide on whether a woman could have an abortion & to apply any other restrictions or guarantees on a woman's right under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

17C Myth of Pomona & Vertumnus - Love Isn't Always Easy, even for Roman Garden Gods!

 

Vertumnus & Pomona by Frans van Mieris the Younger (1689 - 1763)

Pomona was the beautiful goddess of fruitful abundance in ancient Roman religion & myth. Pomona was said to be a wood nymph. The name Pomona comes from the Latin word pomum, "fruit," specifically orchard fruit. She was said to be  a part of the Numia, the guardian spirits who watch over people, places, or homes. While Pomona watches over & protects fruit trees & cares for their cultivation, she is not actually associated with the harvest of fruit itself, but with tending the flourishing of the fruit trees. In artistic depictions she is generally shown with a platter of fruit or a cornucopia & perhaps her pruning knife

Pomona, the alluring wood nymph, actually cared nothing for the wild woods but cared only for her well-cultivated fruit filled gardens & orchards. And Pomona had a thing about men, and it wasn't positive! She fenced her garden orchards, so the rude young men couldn't trample her plants & vines. She also kept her orchards enclosed, because she wanted to keep away the men who were attracted to her good looks. Even dancing satyrs(a cross between a man & a goat) were attracted to her beauty. Despite the fact that she preferred to be alone to care & nurture her trees, this beauty was continually besieged by suitors, in particular one persistent god named Vertumnus. Vertumnus had the ability to take different human guises & made numerous attempts to woo Pomona, but she turned him away each time.

The god Vertumus caught on to Pomona's aversion to men in her orchards & in her life generally. In Roman mythology, Vertumnus, the young, handsome god of changing seasons & patron of fruits, determined to win over Pomona.  He could change his form at will according to Ovid's Metamorphoses (xiv).  He came to her in various male disguises, which included, a reaper, an apple picker, a fisher, a solider, & more. Even with the disguises, she still never paid him the slightest bit of attention. 

One day Vertumnus tried a disguise as an old women. And Pomona finally allowed him to enter her garden, where he pretended to be interested in her fruit. But he finally told her he was more exquisite than her crops. After saying that, he kissed her passionately, but it wasn't enough. Vertumnus kept trying to sway her by telling her a story of a young women who rejected a boy who loved her; in despair, the boy killed hung himself, & Venus punished the girl by turning her to stone. This narrative warning of the extreme dangers of rejecting a suitor (the embedded tale of Iphis & Anaxarete) still did not seduce her. It just didn't work, of course. 

He then realized that it was the feminine disguise didn't work & tore it off.  It wasn't until Vertumnus appeared before her in his full manliness (apparently quite a good looking male specimen), that Pomona finally gave in to his inviting male charms. Vertumnus is a god of gardens & orchards & so it appears they were a match made in heaven. To his surprise, she fell in love with his manly wiles, & they became the ultimate loving couple working & playing in gardens & orchards together from then on.

The tale of Vertumnus & Pomona has been said to be the only purely Latin tale in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The subject of Vertumnus & Pomona appealed to European sculptors & painters of the 16th through the 18th centuries, providing a disguised erotic subtext in a scenario that contrasted youthful female beauty with an aged old woman. But it wasn't the old woman that ultimately won the day. In narrating the tale in the Metamorphoses, Ovid observed that the kind of kisses given by Vertumnus were never given by an old woman. 

In Ovid's myth, Pomona scorned the love of the woodland gods Silvanus & Picus, but finally married the brutally handsome Vertumnus. She & Vertumnus were celebrated in  an annual Roman festival on August 13. There is a grove that is dedicated to her called the Pomonal, located not far from Ostia, the ancient port of Rome. Unlike many other Roman goddesses & gods, Pomona does not have a Greek counterpart, though she is often associated with Demeter.

Nature's Babies


History Blooms at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Virginia

Peggy Cornett at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello tells us that

In 1811 Thomas Jefferson recorded the planting of “Lathyrus odoratus. Sweet scented pea" in an oval flower bed at Monticello. Painted Lady Sweet Pea is a highly scented, pink and white bicolor variety, which was in cultivation by the 1730s and popular in American gardens through the 19C.

Research & images & much more is available directly from the Monticello website - to begin exploring, just click Monticello.org.

“Beauty awakens the soul to act.” - Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Thursday, June 23, 2022

17C Myth of Pomona & Vertumnus - Love Isn't Always Easy, even for Roman Garden Gods!

Pomona Portrait of a lady as Goddess by Jean Ranc (French, 1674 - 1735) 

Pomona was the beautiful goddess of fruitful abundance in ancient Roman religion & myth. Pomona was said to be a wood nymph. The name Pomona comes from the Latin word pomum, "fruit," specifically orchard fruit. She was said to be  a part of the Numia, the guardian spirits who watch over people, places, or homes. While Pomona watches over & protects fruit trees & cares for their cultivation, she is not actually associated with the harvest of fruit itself, but with tending the flourishing of the fruit trees. In artistic depictions she is generally shown with a platter of fruit or a cornucopia & perhaps her pruning knife

Pomona, the alluring wood nymph, actually cared nothing for the wild woods but cared only for her well-cultivated fruit filled gardens & orchards. And Pomona had a thing about men. She fenced her garden orchards, so the rude young men couldn't trample her plants & vines. She also kept her orchards enclosed, because she wanted to keep away the men who were attracted to her good looks. Even dancing satyrs(a cross between a man & a goat) were attracted to her beauty. Despite the fact that she preferred to be alone to care & nurture her trees, this beauty was continually besieged by suitors, in particular one persistent god named Vertumnus. Vertumnus had the ability to take different human guises & made numerous attempts to woo Pomona, but she turned him away each time.

The god Vertumus caught on to Pomona's aversion to men in her orchards & in her life generally. In Roman mythology, Vertumnus, the young, handsome god of changing seasons & patron of fruits, determined to win over Pomona.  He could change his form at will according to Ovid's Metamorphoses (xiv).  He came to her in various male disguises, which included, a reaper, an apple picker, a fisher, a solider, & more. Even with the disguises, she still never paid him the slightest bit of attention. One day Vertumnus tried a disguise as an old women. And Pomona finally allowed him to enter her garden, where he pretended to be interested in her fruit. But he finally told her he was more exquisite than her crops. After saying that, he kissed her passionately, but it wasn't enough. Vertumnus kept trying to sway her by telling her a story of a young women who rejected a boy who loved her; in despair, the boy killed hung himself, & Venus punished the girl by turning her to stone. This narrative warning of the extreme dangers of rejecting a suitor (the embedded tale of Iphis & Anaxarete) still did not seduce her. It just didn't work, of course. 

He then realized that it was the feminine disguise didn't work & tore it off.  It wasn't until Vertumnus appeared before her in his full manliness (apparently quite a good looking male specimen), that Pomona finally gave in to his inviting male charms. Vertumnus is a god of gardens & orchards & so it appears they were a match made in heaven. To his surprise, she fell in love with his manly wiles, & they became the ultimate loving couple working & playing in gardens & orchards together from then on.

The tale of Vertumnus & Pomona has been said to be the only purely Latin tale in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The subject of Vertumnus & Pomona appealed to European sculptors & painters of the 16th through the 18th centuries, providing a disguised erotic subtext in a scenario that contrasted youthful female beauty with an aged old woman. But it wasn't the old woman that ultimately won the day. In narrating the tale in the Metamorphoses, Ovid observed that the kind of kisses given by Vertumnus were never given by an old woman.  In Ovid's myth, Pomona scorned the love of the woodland gods Silvanus & Picus, but finally married the brutally handsome Vertumnus. 

She & Vertumnus were celebrated in  an annual Roman festival on August 13. There is a grove that is dedicated to her called the Pomonal, located not far from Ostia, the ancient port of Rome. Unlike many other Roman goddesses & gods, Pomona does not have a Greek counterpart, though she is often associated with Demeter.

History Blooms at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Virginia

Peggy Cornett at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello tells us that


The hardy annual Larkspur, Consolida ajacis, re-seeds abundantly in the Monticello Flower Gardens. Jefferson noted Larkspur blooming at Shadwell in July 1767, thought it suitable for naturalizing at Monticello "in the open ground on the west" in 1771, and sowed seed around his Roundabout flower border on April 8, 1810.

Larkspur, Consolida ajacis

Research & images & much more is available directly from the Monticello website - to begin exploring, just click Monticello.org.

“Beauty awakens the soul to act.” - Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Earth's Creatures Stop to Smell the Flowers


Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate the rebirth of Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...Genesis 2:15.

The expression came into popular modern use in the 1960s & is a rephrasing of a sentiment found in a 1957 autobiography written by the golfer Walter Hagen (1892 - 1969): “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

17C Gathering Fruits & Vegetables by Jean-Baptiste de Saive II (1597-c 1642)

Jean-Baptiste de Saive II (Flemish artist, 1597-c 1642) An Allegory of Spring & Summer at a Market Scene with a Boy offering Strawberries to Girl surrounded by Flowers. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Myth & War THEN & NOW! - Minerva, Goddess of War

1650s Joseph Ii Werner (Swiss artist, 1637-1710) Christine Marie de France, Duchesse de Savoie as Minerva with her son Francesco Hyacinte

WAR THEN

Minerva (Athena in Greek) was one of the most important of the ancient Greek & Roman goddesses. She was originally a Goddess of War, hence her armor & spear. Her role later expanded to Goddess of War, Trade, Wisdom & the Arts. (Those duties including Trade & War surely reflect modern economic motives.)  She was fierce & brilliant. From 2C BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena, Goddess of Music, Poetry, Medicine, Wisdom, Commerce, Weaving, Crafts, & Magic.

Artists in the 15-18C sometimes painted their clients as allegories or personifications, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  

Allegorical portraits remained popular; & as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a goddess, or muse, or nymph in a rustic or garden setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by actual women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a realistic portrait, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was acceptable.

INTERNATIONAL WAR NOW - Helping Ukraine restore its sovereignty. 

The ongoing Russian incursion on the Ukraine appears to be more than the usual saber-rattling & little border skirmish to expand & restore its ancient territory & trade routes. Massive war crimes in the name of pride & trade expands the consequences. Russia has 800 miles of border on its West; & 2 nations sharing that border, Sweden (neutral for 200 years) & Finland (neutral since the end of WWII) are considering joining the NATO alliance.

17C Symbols of Earth by Grégoire Huret (French, 1606-1670)

The Earth by Grégoire Huret (French, 1606-1670) 

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate the rebirth of Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...Genesis 2:15.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Father's Day!

 
Thank you for loving me & teaching me about the computer, even before there was a computer! 

Miss you daily...

Spring at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania

 

There have been many stewards of the land that is now called Longwood Gardens. For centuries, the native Lenni Lenape tribe fished the streams, hunted its forests, & planted its fields. Evidence of tribe's existence is found in quartz spear points that have been discovered on & around the property.

In 1700, a Quaker farmer named George Peirce purchased 402 acres of this English-claimed land from William Penn’s commissioners. Over the next several years, George & his descendants cleared & farmed the rich land that would one day become Longwood Gardens. In 1730, one of George’s sons, Joshua, built the brick farmhouse that, now enlarged, still stands today.

 Known as Peirce’s Park, the land was a popular destination for visitors. However, due to a declined interest by the family, the trees came under threat of being cut down by a local lumber company. Pierre du Pont stepped in & bought the land to preserve it.

In 1798, George’s twin great-grandsons, Samuel & Joshua, actively pursued an interest in natural history & began planting an arboretum that eventually covered 15 acres. The collection included specimens from up & down the Eastern seaboard & beyond. By 1850, the land had become one of the best collections of trees in the country. The arboretum boasted one of the finest collections of trees in the nation & had become a place for the locals to gather outdoors – a new concept that was sweeping America at the time. Family reunions & picnics were held at Peirce's Park in the mid to late 19C.

As the 19C US fought its way to the 20C, the heirs to the land lost interest in property & allowed the arboretum to deteriorate. The property passed through several hands in quick succession, until a lumber mill operator was contracted to remove the trees from a 41-acre parcel within the original lands in early 1906. 

It was this threat that moved one man to take action. In July 1906, 36-year-old Pierre du Pont purchased the farm primarily to preserve the trees. But he didn’t stop there. Much of what guests see today – the beauty & majesty & magic of the Earth that is Longwood Gardens – was shaped by the remarkable vision & versatility of Pierre du Pont.

When du Pont died in 1954, he left most of his fortune to the Longwood Foundation to preserve & maintain & improve the gardens. Today, nearly 70 years after du Pont’s death, his gardens continue to delight & inspire visitors from around the world.    See: Longwood Gardens History for more. 

“Beauty awakens the soul to act.” - Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Friday, June 17, 2022

Spring at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania

 

By the mid-1930s, Longwood had grown from the original 202 acres to 926 due to Pierre’s purchase of 25 contiguous properties over the years. In addition to horticulture, agriculture had always been important at Longwood, which started out, after all, as a farm.

Longwood’s agricultural & horticultural operations slowed considerably during World War II. Many employees served in the Armed Forces, & a 72-bed emergency hospital was set up in rooms above the Ballroom just in case the community needed it. Pierre du Pont was a “gentlemen farmer” who sought to create a self-sustaining model farm that used the latest techniques & methods. In reality, the farm was more an expansive, expensive hobby than a business, but it did produce food for the du Ponts & their employees.

As early as 1914 with the formation of Longwood, Inc., Pierre was thinking about the eventual fate of the property after his death. In 1944, Mrs. du Pont died, & Pierre initially retreated to his apartment in Wilmington during weekdays, visiting Longwood only on weekends. But he was more concerned than ever about Longwood's future, particularly since he had no children but considered the Gardens part of the du Pont family legacy.  

In 1913, the US government enacted personal income tax. In response, Pierre incorporated Longwood in 1914. He always tried to stay one step ahead of the IRS to keep his farm & gardens in the best possible tax situation, & in 1937 the Longwood Foundation was created to handle his charitable giving. Finally, in 1946, the government gave approval for the Foundation to operate Longwood Gardens as a public garden with tax-exempt status “for the sole use of the public for purposes of exhibition, instruction, education & enjoyment.”    See: Longwood Gardens History for more. 

“Beauty awakens the soul to act.” - Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Spring at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania

 

Pierre du Pont’s love for fountains stretched back to when he was mesmerized at the age of six by the huge display of water pumps at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. With his indoor Conservatory now a reality, Pierre turned his full attention outdoors, where Longwood’s hydraulic splendors were already underway. Never mind that the property didn't have an abundant water supply; with electricity, anything was possible.

From 1925 to 1927, Pierre constructed  a Water Garden in a low-lying, marshy site northeast of Longwood’s Large Lake. The inspiration was the Villa Gamberaia, near Florence, Italy. The original did not have many fountains, but Longwood’s version had 600 jets in nine separate displays that shot from six blue-tiled pools & 12 pedestal basins.

At the same time, Pierre installed a 40-foot tall jet fountain at the end of the central allée in Peirce’s Park. It is said that Mrs. du Pont could turn the fountain on for her house guests with a switch. Pierre next decided to enlarge the Open Air Theatre & replace the old waterworks with 750 illuminated jets that continue to elicit thrills today.

Pierre’s hydraulic masterpiece was the Main Fountain Garden in front of the Conservatory: 10,000 gallons a minute shot as high as 130 feet & illuminated in every imaginable color. Its complex engineering didn't faze him. "The fountains themselves are of simple design...," he noted. "It is the landscape effect that adds to the total bill."

The completion of the fountains in the mid-1930s marked an end to major construction during Pierre’s lifetime, although he did build a 30-by-36-foot oval analemmatic sundial in what is now the Topiary Garden in the late 1930s.

In 1929-30, Pierre  constructed Longwood’s 61-foot-tall stone Chimes Tower based on a similar structure he had seen in France. In 1956, the original chimes were replaced with a 32-note electronic carillon. In 2000, a new 62-bell carillon was crafted in The Netherlands.

The Longwood Steinway Grand Piano was purchased by Pierre du Pont from Steinway & Sons in 1923. Du Pont was an amateur pianist & had a great love of music & all the performing arts. He wanted the world‘s most finely crafted instrument that he, his family, friends, & visiting artists could use to play music of the highest quality sound.

Located in the Ballroom, Pierre S. du Pont constructed the largest residence organ in the world—Longwood's 10,010 pipe Aeolian organ, in 1930. These resident instruments remain cornerstones of Longwood's performing arts programming, which presents world-class artists in unparalleled settings.

“Beauty awakens the soul to act.” - Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Spring Bliss


17C Myths of Spring to Summer - Locus Amoenus Allegories by Jan Brueghel the Elder 1568-1625 & Hendrick van Balen 1575-1632

Jan Brueghel the Elder 1568-1625 & Hendrick van Balen 1575-1632 Spring, 1616

As in these paintings, allegorical characters in stories & in art of this period were often located in garden settings. The locus amoenus was one of the traditional locations of epic & chivalric literature. As a literary genre of high culture, romance or chivalric romance is a type of prose & verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of Medieval & Early Modern Europe. 

Locus amoenus (Latin for "pleasant place") is a literary term which generally referring to an idealized place of safety or comfort, usually a beautiful, shady parkland or open woods, sometimes with connotations of Eden. A locus amoenus usually has 3 basic elements: trees, grass, & water. In these 2 paintings, Spring is full of flowers & Summer is filled with the practical fruits from Spring's flowers

Often, the locus amoenus garden will be in a remote setting & with only components or suggestions of a more formal, geometric, walled garden, such as the flower pots seen above. The locus amoenus can also be used to highlight the differences between urban & rural life or be a place of refuge from the processes of time & mortality. In some works, such gardens also have overtones of the regenerative powers of human sexuality marked out by flowers, & goddesses of springtime, love, & fertility. Ernst Robert Curtius formulated the concept's definition in his European Literature & the Latin Middle Ages (1953).
Jan Brueghel the Elder 1568-1625 & Hendrick van Balen 1575-1632 Summer, 1616

Such collaboration between artists was common in Antwerp during the 1600s, as artists often specialized in either landscape or figure painting. Flemish artists of the time repeatedly painted representations of the 4 elements, suggesting that it was a popular subject with buyers. Brueghel the Younger depicted the senses, the elements, or the seasons as allegories many times throughout his career.