Category Archives: History

Gibbon on Captain Cook

* The merit of discovery has too often been stained with avarice, cruelty, and fanaticism; and the intercourse of nations has produced the communication of disease and prejudice. A singular exception is due to the virtue of our own times and country. The five great voyages, successively undertaken by the command of his present Majesty, were inspired by the pure and generous love of science and of mankind. The same prince, adapting his benefactions to the different stages of society, has founded his school of painting in his capital; and has introduced into the islands of the South Sea the vegetables and animals most useful to human life.

Alas…

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Filed under Australia, History

J.B. Chifley’s fine discernment

1] Chifley’s musical taste and enthusiasm, for instance, were for light opera and musical revues. On one occasion Coombs came into his office to find him humming a Gilbert and Sullivan tune. “How is it, Doc,” he asked, “that nobody writes music like that any more?” Coombs replied: “Probably because he’d starve- at least if he lived in Australia!” “Well, anyway,” concluded Chifley before turning to the business in hand, “If you find a fellow who can write that stuff you put him on the Post-War Reconstruction payroll and I won’t enquire too closely what he’s doing.” He was also fond of band music- a fact which was decisive for the founding of the Canberra City Band.

L.F. Crisp Ben Chifley: A Biography. Melbourne: Longman, 1961;3 (pbk.) p154, fn1.

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Filed under Books, Gilbert & Sullivan, Government, History, Political, Trade Unions

One on’t cross beams gone owt askew on treadle

I’ve found various arguments in this thread concerning, inter alia, the Spanish Inquisition, rather fascinating, especially since my position stands somewhat in between the correspondents therein (incidentally, the poster in that thread called “Jane” was substantially influential in the actualisation of my reversion from atheism a few years back through my observing over the years in various fora her utter decency under intense ad-hominem pressure.)

Broadly speaking, while I suspect much English and French (from which a fair proportion of the former is derived) calumny concerning the Spanish Inquisition was exaggerated and paid inadequate attention to the general coarsening of European manners prevalent for most of its operation, talk of its “mercy” seems question-begging at best, and blithe of grave procedural concerns at worst.

Admittedly on a gut level at present, it also seems implausible and potentially disingenuous for certain ultramontane controversialists to assign the preponderance of blame for postulated abuses under the Spanish Inquisition’s ægis to agents of the Castilian, Aragonese and (from 1713-1834) Spanish Crowns. I see nothing inherent to the Cloth per se which renders those in said estates/orders more immune from cruelty than would pertain to diligent persons in lay offices.

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Filed under Delphi, Depravity, Government, History, Political, Religion