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7.19.2017 Day in History

Today in Nicaragua, for all true-hearted scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens to commemorate, is Sandinista Day, or, equally apt, Liberation Day; as splits widened in the late Roman empire fifteen hundred thirty-three years ago, the military leader Leontius arrogated to himself the title of Emperor of the East, which some folks in what is now Turkey and Syria accepted till his beheading four years afterward; two centuries, two decades, and seven years subsequent to that instance of declining empire, in 711,a case of rising imperial extension took place at the Battle of Guadalete, after which Ummayyad fighters consolidated rule of almost the entire Iberian Peninsula, even extending into parts of what is now Southwester France; eleven centuries and fifty-one before our very own point in space and time, a different evolution of Islamic imperial sway, the Shia Fatimids, who controlled almost all of North Africa and parts of Palestine and the Levant, scored a significant victory over Byzantine forces at the Battle of Apamea, in what is now Syria; six hundred forty-three years back, the thinker and poet and progenitor of many of the aspects of the early Renaissance, Petrarch, lived out his final passionate scene; two hundred fourteen years henceforth, in 1588, English navies won a partial victory over the Spanish Armada at the Battle of Gravelines, off Spain’s rebellious colony, Holland; another century and four years onward toward

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now, in 1692, across the wide North Atlantic, England’s colonial arbiters in Salem displayed a tendency, which still unfortunately exists in many contexts, to murder the innocent for fantastical or nonexistent crimes, in the event the hanging of four women as witches, including Sarah Good, whose curse against her accusers resonates through the ages that they will drink and drown in blood for their venal false witness and unjust prosecution; nine years beyond that unhappy moment, in 1701, another instance of corruption and pillage transpired as the Iroquois Confederation handed over a territory that included most of present day Illinois, all of Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, as well as parts of Ontario Canada, to the English, a gift of cohabitation in traditional ‘beaver-hunting’ territory that England and then the United States soon transformed into sovereign ownership; one hundred sixteen years thereafter, in 1817, in an at once wholly different and remarkably similar case of attempted colonial thievery, the Russian American Company’s factotum finally gave up on his goofy, even ridiculous scheme to take over the Hawaiian Islands for the Tsar; a decade and a half further along time’s march toward today, in 1832, the British Medical Association formally came into existence at a clinic in Worcester under the leadership of Sir Charles Hastings; eleven years later, in 1843, one of the mainly unheralded earthshaking events of history occurred, under the aegis of one of mainly unheralded great contributors to history, Isambard Brunel, who designed and oversaw the construction of the world’s first more or less modern screw-propulsion steamship, the SS Great Britain, which launched on this day; seven hundred thirty-one days after that, in 1845, the last great fire to afflict Manhattan ignited, destroying several hundred buildings and claiming the lives of roughly thirty civilians and firefighters; three years onward from that difficult instant, in 1848, the Seneca Convention started, inaugurating a formal—if decidedly petty bourgeois—process of building women’s suffrage, women’s

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rights, and ultimately even feminism; sixteen additional years along the temporal arc, in 1864, around the globe in China, the nearly decade-and-a-half long, brutal and bloody Chinese Civil War, under the name of the Taiping Rebellion, came closer to its culmination with the loss of Nanjing by the insurrectionary fighters of the so-called Heavenly Kingdom of Peace; back around the planet in Europe a half dozen years hence, in 1870, a different sort of internecine struggle began with a French declaration of war against Germany to launch the Franco-Prussian War; seven years yet more advanced in today’s general direction, in 1877, across the Atlantic in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh workers in the railroad’s Great Strike of that year drove soldiers out of the city and took control of the operations of the railways themselves for a period of a couple of days; sixteen years yet later on, in 1893, back at Europe’s Eastern edge, a baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the poet and playwright and critic, Vladimir Mayakovsky; a mere single spin farther around the solar flare, in 1894, a male child was born who would grow up as Percy Spencer, who invented the microwave oven by and by; a half decade farther down the pike, in 1898, in Berlin, a baby male entered our midst who would mature as the magisterial philosopher and political analyst Herbert Marcuse; twenty-one years afterward, in 1919, English veterans of the intentional slaughter of tens of millions of workers that we now call World War One reacted violently to a ‘patriotic celebration of peace’ at Luton’s Town Hall, in an abbreviated uprising in which the participants demanded work and benefits instead of cant and patronizing bullshit; just three hundred sixty-five days further along time’s inexorable movement toward today, in 1922, the male infant cried out who would end up as the historian and, miraculously, basically honest politician George McGovern; eighteen more years yet nearer to now, in 1940, the United States legislators extended the Hatch Act’s prohibition against Federal employees’ political activity to any State or local employees whose jobs in anyway depended on Federal funding, and Britain inaugurated its Army’s Intelligence Corps; seven hundred thirty days even closer to the current context, in 1942, one of history’s stranger collaborations took shape as Henry Ford convinced George Washington Carver to leave the Tuskegee Institute for Detroit to work on synthetic rubber processes, in consideration of which the school in Alabama became a longstanding beneficiary of Ford Foundation funding; half a decade beyond that and half a world away in 1947 Burma, the former Prime Minister of British Burma oversaw the assassination of the Aung San and other leaders of the ‘Shadow Government’ that was about to take charge of their country upon pending independence from England, and in happier tidings back on the other side of the world again, the baby boy bounced into our midst who would mature as the rocker and songwriter Bernie Leadon; nine years subsequently, in 1956, to punish Egypt for its friendly relations with the Soviet Union, the United States withdrew promised support for the Aswan High Dam on the Nile; four years still later, in Cairo in 1960, a male child came along to Armenian parents who would end up as the brilliant and evocative Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan; a year more along time’s path, in 1961, Westward in the Mediterranean, Tunisian troops and ships imposed a blockade of the naval base at Bizerte over which France had maintained control despite the former colony’s 1956 independence; a thousand ninety-six days still more proximate to the present pass, in 1964, South Vietnam’s puppet Prime Minister, at his U.S. hegemon’s behest, called for extending the civil conflict in the region to North Vietnam; eight years yet further down time’s path, in 1972, a significant skirmish took place in the twelve-year-long Dhofar Rebellion in Oman in which British advisers to the Gulf client state ended up fighting against Marxist South-Yemen-Supported guerillas; three years after that, in 1975, iconic performer and singer-songwriter Lefty Frizzell sang his swansong; a thousand four hundred sixty-one days along the arc toward today, in 1979, across the wide Atlantic in Nicaragua, Sandinista rebels succeeded in overthrowing the mass murderer and ‘great friend’ of the United States, Anastasio Somoza; a mere year more along the route to the here and now, in 1980, the Moscow Olympics officially opened, and establishment social scientist Hans Morgenthau died; another three hundred sixty-five days later, in 1981,France’s Francois Mitterand conveyed to Ronald Reagan the so-called Farewell Dossier, which evidenced that Soviet infiltrators had been absconding with U.S. technical secrets for years; eleven years in even greater proximity to our own passage, in 1992, Italian anti-mafia investigator and judge, Paolo Bortellino, died in a massive explosion from a car bomb that his targets among organized criminals, with the help of Italian police and intelligence collaborators, had planted in his Fiat; another eight years thereafter, in 2000, the beloved musicologist and collector of folk recordings Alan Lomax lived out his final day.

7.19.2017 Doc of the Day

1. Petrarch, circa 1350.
2. Herbert Marcuse, 1932.
3. George McGovern, 1972.

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Numero UnoThe Power of Poetry

1     Cola di Rienzo has recently come, or rather been brought, a prisoner to the papal curia. . . In this plight, as I understand from the letters of friends, one hope is left him: a rumor has spread among the people that he is an illustrious poet. . . I am delighted, and rejoice more than words can tell, that such honor is now rendered to the muses, and—what is more astonishing—by those who are unacquainted with them; so that they are able to save by their name alone a man otherwise hateful even to his very judges. . .What greater tribute, I ask, could be paid to the power of the Muses than that they should be permitted to snatch from death’s door a man certainly detested—with how much reason I will not discuss—, a convicted and confessed criminal (even if not guilty of the offence of which he is accused), about to be condemned by the unanimous vote of his judges to capital punishment.

2     Yet if you asked my opinion I should say that Cola di Rienzo is very eloquent, possessed of great powers of persuasion, and ready of speech; as a writer also he is charming and elegant, his diction, if not very copious, is graceful and brilliant.  I believe, too, that he reads all the poets that are generally known; but he is not a poet for all that, any more than one is a weaver who dons a garment made by another’s hands.  Even the writing of verses does not suffice by itself to earn the title of poet.  As Horace most truly says,

It’s not enough then merely to enclose
Plain sense in numbers, which if you transpose,
The words were such as any man might say.

I wished to tell you all this in order that you first might be moved by the fate of one who was once a public benefactor, and then might rejoice in his unexpected deliverance.  You will, like me, be equally amused and disgusted by the cause of his escape, and will wonder, if Cola—which God grant—can, in such imminent peril, find shelter beneath the aegis of the poet, why Virgil should not escape in the same way?  Yet he would certainly have perished at the hands of the same judges, because he is held to be not a poet but a magician.  But I will tell you something which will amuse you still more.  I myself, than whom no one has ever been more hostile to divination and magic, have occasionally been pronounced a magician by quite as acute judges, on account of my fondness for Virgil.  How low indeed have our studies sunk!

 From a Letter to Francesco Nelli

Admiration of Mountains, and Mind

3       Today I made the ascent of the highest mountain in this region, which is not improperly called Ventosum. My only motive was the wish to see what so great an elevation had to offer. . . One peak of the mountain, the highest of all, the country people call “Sonny,” why, I do not know—unless by antiphrasis, as I have sometimes suspected in other instances—for the peak in question would seem to be the father of all the surrounding ones. On its top is a little level place, and here we could at last rest our tired bodies.

. . . At first, owing to the unaccustomed quality of the air and the effect of the great sweep of view spread out before me, I stood like one dazed. I beheld the clouds under our feet, and what I had read of Athos and Olympus seemed less incredible as I myself witnessed the same things from a mountain of less fame. I turned my eyes toward Italy, where my heart most inclined. The Alps, rugged and snow-capped, seemed to rise close by, although they were really at a great distance . . .

I turned about and gazed toward the west. I was unable to discern the summits of the Pyrenees—which form the barrier between France and Spain—not because of any intervening obstacle that I know of but owing simply to the insufficiency of our mortal vision. But I could see with the utmost clearness, off to the right, the mountains of the region about Lyons, and to the left the bay of Marseilles and the waters that lash the shores of Aigues Mortes, although all these places were so distant that it would require a journey of several days to reach them. Under our very eyes flowed the Rhone.

4     It occurred to me to look into my copy of St. Augustine’s Confessions. . . where I first fixed my eyes it was written: “And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.”

From a Letter to Dionisio da Borgo San Sepolcro

Literature and Life

5     [To Boccaccio] I come back to that part of your letter which so affected me on first reading. You say that a certain Peter, a native of Sienna, noted for his piety and for the miracles which he performed, has recently died; that on his deathbed, among many predictions relating to various persons, he had something to say of both of us; and that, moreover, he sent a messenger to you to communicate his last words. . .

You were first informed that your life is approaching its end, and that but a few years remain to you. Secondly, you were bidden to renounce the study of poetry. Hence your consternation and sorrow, which I shared at first as I read, but which a little reflection served to efface, as it will in your case too, if you will but lend me your ears, or listen to the utterances of your own better reason. You will see that, instead of being a source of grief, the message ought to give you joy.

I do not belittle the authority of prophecy. What comes to us from Christ must indeed be true. Truth itself cannot lie. But I venture to question whether Christ was the author of this particular prophecy, whether it may not be, as often happens, a fabrication attributed to him in order to insure its acceptance. For it is an old and much-used device to drape one’s own lying inventions with the veil of religion and sanctity, in order to give the appearance of divine sanction to human fraud.

6     Suppose, though, that we do grant their trustworthiness, as well as that of other similar prophecies which are reported to us, including the one by which you have recently been terrified; what is there, after all, which need fill you with such apprehension? We are usually indifferent to those things with which we are familiar, and are excited and disturbed only by the unexpected. Did you not know well enough, without hearing it from this man, that you had but a short span of life before you ?

7     I might commend to you, in your perplexity, the reflections of Virgil, as not only helpful but as the only advice to be followed at this juncture, were it not that I wished to spare the ears of one to whom poetry is absolutely forbidden. This prohibition filled me with much more astonishment than the first part of the dying man’s message. If it had been addressed to an old man who was, so to speak, just learning his letters, I might have put up with it, but I cannot understand why such advice should be given to an educated person in the full possession of his faculties, one who realizes what can be derived from such studies for the fuller understanding of natural things, for the advancement of morals and of eloquence.

8     Believe me, many things are attributed to gravity and wisdom which are really due to incapacity and sloth. Men often despise what they despair of obtaining. It is in the very nature of ignorance to scorn what it cannot understand, and to desire to keep others from attaining what it cannot reach. Hence the false judgments upon matters of which we know nothing, by which we evince our envy quite as clearly as our stupidity.

9     Neither exhortations to virtue nor the argument of approaching death should divert us from literature; for in a good mind it excites the love of virtue, and dissipates, or at least diminishes, the fear of death. To desert our studies shows want of self-confidence rather than wisdom, for letters do not hinder but aid the properly constituted mind which possesses them; they facilitate our life, they do not retard it. Just as many kinds of food which lie heavy on an enfeebled and nauseated stomach furnish excellent nourishment for one who is well but famishing, so in our studies many things which are deadly to the weak mind may prove most salutary to an acute and healthy intellect, especially if in our use of both food and learning we exercise proper discretion. If it were otherwise, surely the zeal of certain persons who persevered to the end could not have roused such admiration. Cato, I never forget, acquainted himself with Latin literature as he was growing old, and Greek when he had really become an old man. Varro, who reached his hundredth year still reading and writing, parted from life sooner than from his love of study.

10   If I may be allowed to speak for myself, it seems to me that, although the path to virtue by the way of ignorance may be plain, it fosters sloth. The goal of all good people is the same, but the ways of reaching it are many and various. Some advance slowly, others with more spirit; some obscurely, others again conspicuously. One takes a lower, another a higher path. Although all alike are on the road to happiness, certainly the more elevated path is the more glorious. Hence ignorance, however devout, is by no means to be put on a plane with the enlightened devoutness of one familiar with literature.

From a Letter to Boccaccio

Literary Fame

11   No wise man will regard as peculiar to himself a source of dissatisfaction which is common to all.  Each of us has quite enough to complain of at home; a great deal too much, in fact.  Do you think that no one ever had your experience before?  You are mistaken—it is the common fate of all.  Scarcely anyone ever did or wrote anything which was regarded with admiration while he still lived.  Death first gives rise to praise—and for a very simple reason; jealousy lives and dies with the body.  ‘But,’ you reply, ‘the writings of so many are lauded to the skies, that, if it be permissible to boast, . . .’  Here you stop, and, as is the habit of those who are irritated, you leave your auditor in suspense by dropping your sentence half finished.  But I easily guess your half-expressed thought, and know what you would say.  Many productions are received with enthusiasm which, compared with yours, deserve neither praise nor readers, and yet yours fail to receive any attention.  You will certainly recognize in my words your own indignant reasoning, which would be quite justifiable if, instead of applying it exclusively to yourself, you extended it to all those who have been, are, or shall be, seized by this passionate and diseased craving to write.

12   Let us look for a moment at those whose writings have become famous. Where are the writers themselves?  They have turned to dust and ashes these many years.  And you long for praise?  Then you, too, must die.  The favor of humanity begins with the author’s decease; the end of life is the beginning of glory.  If it begins earlier, it is abnormal and untimely.  Moreover, so long as any of your contemporaries still live, although you may begin to get possession of what you desire, you may not have its full enjoyment.  Only when the ashes of a whole generation have been consigned to the funeral urn do men begin to pass an unbiased judgment, free from personal jealousy.  Let the present age harbor any opinion it will of us.  If it be just, let us receive it with equanimity; if unjust, we must appeal to unprejudiced judges—to posterity, seeing that a fair-minded verdict can be obtained nowhere else.
 From A Letter to Tommaso di Messina.”      Petrarch, Letters; a selection, plus-or-minus 1350.  
marx socialism communism

Numero Dos“The publication of the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts written by Marx in 1844 must become a crucial event in the history of Marxist studies.  These manuscripts could put the discussion about the origins and original meaning of historical materialism, and the entire theory of ‘scientific socialism’, on a new footing.  They also make it possible to pose the question of the actual connections between Marx and Hegel in a more fruitful and promising way.


Not only does the fragmentary nature of the Manuscripts (substantial sections seem to have been lost and the analysis often breaks off at the crucial points; there are no final drafts ready for publication) necessitate a detailed interpretation constantly relating individual passages to the overall context, but the text also demands an exceptionally high level of technical knowledge on the part of the reader.  For, if I may anticipate, we are dealing with a philosophical critique of political economy and its philosophical foundation as a theory of revolution.

It is necessary to place such strong emphasis on the difficulties involved right at the outset, in order to avert the danger that these manuscripts will once again be taken too lightly and hastily put into the usual compartments and schemata of Marx scholarship.  This danger is all the greater because all the familiar categories of the subsequent critique of political economy are already found together in this work.  But in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts the original meaning of the basic categories is clearer than ever before, and it could become necessary to revise the current interpretation of the later and more elaborate critique in the light of its origins.  Perhaps this provisional review of the Manuscripts will suffice to show the inadequacy of the familiar thesis that Marx developed from providing a philosophical to providing an economic basis for his theory.

We are dealing with a philosophical critique of political economy, for the basic categories of Marx’s theory here arise out of his emphatic confrontation with the philosophy of Hegel (e.g. labour, objectification, alienation, supersession, property).  This does not mean that Hegel’s ‘method’ is transformed and taken over, put into a new context and brought to life.  Rather, Marx goes back to the problems at the root of Hegel’s philosophy (which originally determined his method), independently appropriates their real content and thinks it through to a further stage.  The great importance of the new manuscripts further lies in the fact that they contain the first documentary evidence that Marx concerned himself explicitly with Hegel’s Phenomenology of the Mind, ‘the true point of origin and the secret of the Hegelian philosophy’ (p. 173).

If Marx’s discussion of the basic problems of Hegel’s philosophy informed the foundation of his theory it can no longer be said that this foundation simply underwent a transformation from a philosophical to an economic basis and that in its subsequent (economic) form philosophy had been overcome and ‘finished’ once and for all.  Perhaps the foundation includes the philosophical basis in all its stages.  This is not invalidated by the fact that its sense and purpose are not at all philosophical but practical and revolutionary: the overthrow of the capitalist system through the economic and political struggle of the proletariat.  What must be seen and understood is that economics and politics have become the economic-political basis of the theory of revolution through a quite particular, philosophical interpretation of human existence and historical realization.  The very complicated relationship between philosophical and economic theory and between this theory and revolutionary praxis, which can only be clarified by an analysis of the whole situation in which historical materialism developed, may become clear after a full interpretation of the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts.  I only want to introduce this process in my paper.  A rough formula which could be used as a starting point would be that the revolutionary critique of political economy itself philosophy a philosophical foundation, just as, conversely, the philosophy underlying it already contains revolutionary praxis.  The theory is in itself a practical one; praxis does not only come at the end but is already present in the beginning of the theory.  To engage in praxis is not to tread on alien ground, external to the theory.

With these introductory remarks we can proceed to describe the overall content of the Manuscripts. Marx himself describes their purpose as the critique of political economy – a ‘positive’ critique, and thus one which, by revealing the mistakes of political economy and its inadequacy for the subject, also provides it with a basis to make it adequate for its task. The positive critique of political economy is thus a critical foundation of political economy. Within this critique the idea of political economy is completely transformed: it becomes the science of the necessary conditions for the communist revolution. This revolution itself signifies – quite apart from economic upheavals – a revolution in the whole history of man and the definition of his being: ‘This communism…is the genuine resolution of the conflict, between man and nature and between man and man – the true resolution of the strife between existence and essence, between objectification and self-confirmation, between freedom and necessity, between the individual and the species. Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution’ (p. 135).

If political economy can gain such central importance it is clear that, from a critical point of view, it must be treated from the outset as more than just another science or specialized scientific field. Instead it must be seen as the scientific expression of a problematic which involves the whole being of man. Thus we must begin by considering more closely what sort of political economy is here subject to criticism.

Political economy is criticized as the scientific justification or concealment of the total ‘estrangement’ and ‘devaluation’ of human reality represented in capitalist society – as a science which treats man as ‘something unessential’ (p. 130) whose whole existence is determined by the ‘separation of labour, capital and land’, and by an inhuman division of labour, by competition, by private property, etc. (p. 106). This kind of political economy scientifically sanctions the perversion of the historical-social world of man into an alien world of money and commodities; a world which confronts him as a hostile power and in which the greater part of humanity ceases to be anything more than ‘abstract’ workers (torn away from the reality of human existence), separated from the object of their work and forced to sell themselves as a commodity.

As a result of this ‘alienation’ of the worker and of labour, the realization of all man’s ‘essential powers’ becomes the loss of their reality; the objective world is no longer ‘truly human property’ appropriated in ‘free activity’ as the sphere of the free operation and self-confirmation of the whole of human nature. It is instead a world of objects in private possession which can be owned, used or exchanged and whose seemingly unalterable laws even man must obey – in short, the universal ‘domination of dead matter over mankind’ (p. 102).

This whole situation has often been described under the headings of ‘alienation’, ‘estrangement’ and ‘reification’ and is a widely known element of Marxist theory. The important point is, however, to see how and from what angle Marx interprets it here at the starting-point of his theory.

At the beginning of his positive critique of political economy, at the point where he takes up the matter of alienation and estrangement, Marx states: ‘We proceed from an economic fact of the present’ (p. 107)But are alienation and estrangement ‘economic facts’ like, for example, ground rent or the price of commodities in its dependence on supply and demand or any other ‘law’ of the process of production, consumption and circulation?

Bourgeois political economy, as criticized here, does not regard alienation and estrangement as such as a fact (the circumstances to which these words refer are covered in the bourgeois theory under quite different headings); for socialist political economy this fact will only ‘exist’ if and in so far as the theory is placed on the foundation which Marx worked out in the context of the studies we are discussing. We must therefore ask what sort of fact this is (since it is essentially different from all other facts in political economy), and on what basis it becomes visible and can be described as such.

The description of the circumstance of alienation and estrangement seems initially to proceed completely on the ground of traditional political economy and its theorems. Marx significantly starts by dividing his investigation into the three traditional concepts of political economy: ‘The Wages of Labour’, ‘The Profit of Capital’ and ‘The Rent of Land’. But more important, and a sign pointing in a completely new direction, is the fact that this division into three is soon exploded and abandoned: ‘From page xxii to the end of the manuscript Marx wrote across the three columns, disregarding the headings. The text of these six pages (xxii-xxvii) is given in the present book under the title, “Estranged Labour“ (publisher’s note, p. 6).

The development of the concept of labour thus breaks through the traditional framework for dealing with problems; the discussion continues with this concept and discovers the new ‘fact’ which then becomes the basis for the science of the communist revolution. Our interpretation must therefore set out from Marx’s concept of labour.

When Marx depicts the manner of labour and the form of existence of the worker in capitalist society – complete separation from the means of production and from the product of his labour which has become a commodity, the balancing of wages around the minimum for mere physical survival, the severance of the worker’s labour (performed as ‘forced labour’ in the capitalist’s service) from his ‘human reality’ – all these features can in themselves still denote simple economic facts. This impression seems to be confirmed by the fact that Marx, ‘by analysis from the concept of alienated labour’, reaches the concept of ‘private property (p.117) and thus the basic concept of traditional political economy.

But if we look more closely at the description of alienated labour we make a remarkable discovery: what is here described is not merely an economic matter. It is the alienation of man, the devaluation of life, the perversion and loss of human reality. In the relevant passage Marx identifies it as follows: ‘the concept of alienated labour, i.e. of alienated man, of estranged labour, of estranged life, of estranged man’ (p. 117).

It is thus a matter of man as man (and not just as worker, economic subject and the like), and of a process not only in economic history but in the history of man and his reality. In the same sense he writes about private property: ‘Just as private property is only the sensuous expression of the fact that man becomes objective for himself and at the same time becomes to himself a strange and inhuman object,…so the positive abolition of private property [is] the sensuous appropriation for and by man of the human essence and of human life’ (pp. 138ff.).

It is not because Marx is limited by a particular kind of philosophical terminology that he so often speaks here of ‘human essential powers’ and ‘man’s essential being’, or, for example, that he calls ‘the established objective existence of industry…the open book of man’s essential powers’ or wants to grasp its ‘connection with man’s essential being’ (p. 142) and, in the places quoted above, uses a philosophical framework to describe labour and private property. His interpretation rather attempts to make it clear that the whole critique and foundation of political economy grew explicitly on a philosophical basis and out of a philosophical dispute, and that the philosophical concepts used cannot be regarded as remnants which were later discarded or as a disguise which we can strip off. As the result of an idea about the essence of man and its realization, evolved by Marx in his dispute with Hegel, a simple economic fact appears as the perversion of the human essence and the loss of human reality. It is only on this foundation that an economic fact is capable of becoming the real basis of a revolution which will genuinely transform the essence of man and his world.

What we are trying to show is this: from the outset the basic concepts of the critique – alienated labour and private property – are not simply taken up and criticized as economic concepts, but as concepts for a crucial process in human history; consequently the ‘positive abolition’ of private property by the true appropriation of human reality will revolutionize the entire history of mankind. Bourgeois political economy has to be basically transformed in the critique for this very reason: it never gets to see man who is its real subject. It disregards the essence of man and his history and is thus in the profoundest sense not a ‘science of people’ but of non-people and of an inhuman world of objects and commodities. ‘Crude and thoughtless communism’ (p. 133) is just as sharply criticized for the same reason: it too does not centre on the reality of the human essence but operates in the world of things and objects and thus itself remains in a state of ‘estrangement’. This type of communism only replaces individual private property by ‘universal private property’ (p. 132); ‘it wants to destroy everything which is not capable of being possessed by all as private property. It wants to do away by force with talent, etc. For it, the sole purpose of life and existence is direct, physical possession. The task of the labourer is not done away with, but extended to all men’ (pp. 133ff.).

The objections to the absolute economism of Marxist theory, which have been thoughtlessly raised time and again right up to the present day, were already raised here by Marx himself against the crude communism which he opposed: for him the latter is merely the simple ‘negation’ of capitalism and as such exists on the same level as capitalism – but it is precisely that level which Marx wants to abolish.

Before starting our interpretation we need to avert another possible misunderstanding. If Marx’s critique of political economy and his foundation of revolutionary theory are here dealt with as philosophy this does not mean that thereby ‘only theoretical’ philosophical matters will be included, which minimize the concrete historical situation (of the proletariat in capitalism) and its praxis. The starting point, the basis and the goal of this investigation is precisely the particular historical situation and the praxis which is revolutionizing it. Regarding the situation and praxis from the aspect of the history of man’s essence makes the acutely practical nature of the critique even more trenchant and sharp: the fact that capitalist society calls into question not only economic facts and objects but the entire ‘existence’ of man and ‘human reality’ is for Marx the decisive justification for the proletarian revolution as a total and radical revolution, unconditionally excluding any partial upheaval or ‘evolution’. The justification does not lie outside or behind the concepts of alienation and estrangement – it is precisely this alienation and estrangement itself. All attempts to dismiss the philosophical content of Marx’s theory or to gloss over it in embarrassment reveal a complete failure to recognize the historical origin of the theory: they set out from an essential separation of philosophy, economics and revolutionary praxis, which is a product of the reification against which Marx fought and which he had already overcome at the beginning of his critique.


In capitalist society labour not only produces commodities (i.e. goods which can be freely sold on the market), but also produces ‘itself and the worker as a commodity’, the worker becoming ‘an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he creates’ (pp. 107ff.). The worker not only loses the product of his own labour and creates alien objects for alien people; he is not only ‘depressed spiritually and physically to the condition of a machine’ through the increasing division and mechanization of labour, so that ‘from being a man [he] becomes an abstract activity and a belly’ (p. 68) – but he even has to ‘sell himself and his human identity’ (p. 70), i.e. he must himself become a commodity in order to exist as a physical subject. So instead of being an expression of the whole man, labour is his alienation; instead of being the full and free realization of man it has become a ‘loss of realization’. ‘So much does labour’s realization appear as loss of realization that the worker loses realization to the point of starving to death’ (p. 108).

It should be noted that even in this depiction of the ‘economic fact’ of alienated labour the simple economic description is constantly broken through: the economic ‘condition’ of labour is cast back onto the ‘existence’ of the working man (p. 67); beyond the sphere of economic relations the alienation and estrangement of labour concern the essence and reality of man as ‘man’ and only for this reason can the loss of the object of labour acquire such central significance. Marx makes this quite clear when he states that the ‘fact’ he has just described is the ‘expression’ of a more general state of affairs: ‘This fact expresses merely that the object which labour produces – labour’s product – confronts it as something alien, as a power independent of the producer. The product of labour is labour which has been embodied in an object, which has become material: it is the objectification of labour’ (p. 108), and when he says: ‘All these consequences’ (of the capitalist economic system) ‘result from the fact that the worker is related to the product of his labour as to an alien object’ (ibid.). The economic fact of estrangement and reification[2] is thus grounded in a particular attitude by man (as a worker) towards the object (of his labour). ‘Alienated labour’ must now be understood in the sense of this kind of relation of man to the object, and no longer as a purely economic condition. ‘The alienation of the worker in his product means not only that his labour becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside him, independently, as something alien to him, and that it becomes a power on its own confronting him. It means that the life which he has conferred on the object confronts him as something hostile and alien’ (pp. 108ff.). And it will further be shown that the economic fact of ‘private property’ too is grounded in the situation of alienated labour, understood as the activity of man: ‘Private property is thus the product, the result, the necessary consequence, of alienated labour, of the external relation of the worker to nature and to himself’ (p.117).

An amazing, idealistic distortion of the actual facts seems to have taken place here: an economic fact is supposed to have its roots in a general concept and in the relation of man to the object. ‘Private property thus results by analysis from the concept of alienated labour’ (ibid.) – this is Marx, not Hegel, writing! The apparent distortion expresses one of the crucial discoveries of Marx’s theory: the breakthrough from economic fact to human factors, from fact (Tat’sache’) to act (Tat’handlung’), and the comprehension of fixed ‘situations’ and their laws (which in their reified form are out of man’s power) in motion, in the course of their historical development (out of which they have fallen and become fixed). (Cf. the programmatic introduction of the new approach to the problem on pp. 118-19). We cannot go into the revolutionary significance of this method here; we shall continue to pursue the line of approach outlined at the beginning.

If the concept of alienated labour includes the relation of man to the object (and, as we shall see, himself) then the concept of labour as such must also cover a human activity (and not an economic condition). And if the alienation of labour signifies the total loss of realization and the estrangement of the human essence then labour itself must be grasped as the real expression and realization of the human essence. But that means once again that it is used as a philosophical category. Despite the above development of the subject we would be loth to use the often misused term ontology in connection with Marx’s theory, if Marx himself had not expressly used it here: thus he says that only ‘through the medium of private property does the ontological essence of human passion come into being, in its totality as in its humanity’,[3] and he suggests that ‘man’s feelings, passions, etc., are not merely anthropological phenomena … but truly ontological affirmations of being (of nature)’ (ibid.).[4]

Marx’s positive definitions of labour are almost all given as counter-concepts to the definition of alienated labour, and yet the ontological nature of this concept is clearly expressed in them. We shall extract three of the most important formulations: ‘Labour is man’s coming-to-be for himself within alienation, or as alienated man’ (p. 177), it is ‘man’s act of self-creation or self-objectification’ (p. 188), ‘life-activity, productive life itself’ (p. 113). All three of these formulations, even if they did not occur within the context of Marx’s explicit examination of Hegel , would still point to Hegel’s ontological concept of labour.[5] The basic concept of Marx’s critique, the concept of alienated labour, does in fact arise from his examination of Hegel’s category of objectification, a category developed for the first time in the Phenomenology of Mind around the concept of labour.[6] The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts are direct evidence of the fact that Marx’s theory has its roots in the centre of Hegel’s philosophical problematic.

We can deduce the following from these definitions of labour: labour is ‘man’s act of self-creation’, i.e. the activity through and in which man really first becomes what he is by his nature as man. He does this in such a way that this becoming and being are there for himself; so that he can know and ‘regard’ himself as what he is (man’s ‘becoming-for-himself’). Labour is a knowing and conscious activity: in his labour man relates to himself and to the object of labour; he is not directly one with his labour but can, as it were, confront it and oppose it (through which, as we shall human labour fundamentally distinguishes itself as ‘universal’ and ‘free’ production from the ‘unmediated’ production of, for example, the nest-building animal). The fact that man in his labour is there ‘for himself’ in objective form is closely related to the second point: man is an ‘objective’ or, more exactly, an ‘objectifying’ being. Man can only realize his essence if he realizes it as something objective, by using his ‘essential powers’ to produce an ‘external’, ‘material’, objective world. It is in his work in this world (in the broadest sense) that he is real and effective. ‘In creating a world of objects by his practical activity, in his work upon inorganic nature, man proves himself a conscious species being. . .’ (p. 113). In this activity man shows himself as the human being he is according to his ‘species’ as distinct from animal, vegetable and inorganic being (we will examine the central concept of objectification at a later stage below). Labour, understood in this way, is the specifically human ‘affirmation of being’ in which human existence is realized and confirmed.

Thus even the most provisional and general characterization of Marx’s concept of labour has led far beyond the economic sphere into a dimension in which the subject of the investigation is human existence in its totality. The interpretation cannot progress any further before this dimension has been described. We must first answer the question of how and from what starting-point Marx defines man’s existence and essence. The answer to this question is a prerequisite for understanding what is really meant by the concept of estranged labour and for understanding the whole foundation of revolutionary theory.


There are two passages in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts in which Marx gives an explicit definition of man, encompassing the totality of human existence: on pages 112-14 and 179-83. Even if they are only a sketchy outline, these passages give a clear enough indication of the real basis of Marx’s critique. On several occasions (pp. 135, 137, 181) Marx describes ‘positive Communism’, which will achieve the abolition of estrangement and reification, as ‘humanism’ – a terminological hint that for him the basis is a particular kind of realization of the human essence. The development of this humanism, as far as it is a positive definition of the human essence, is here primarily influenced by Feuerbach: as early as in the preface we read: ‘positive criticism as a whole – and therefore also German positive criticism of political economy – owes its true foundation to the discoveries of Feuerbach’ (p. 236, note 3), and ‘it is only with Feuerbach that positive, humanistic and naturalistic criticism begins’ (p. 64). Later the ‘establishment of true materialism and of real science’ is described as Feuerbach’s ‘great achievement’ (p. 172). In our interpretation, however, we shall not follow the road of philosophical history and trace the development of ‘humanism’ from Hegel through Feuerbach to Marx, but attempt to unfold the problem from Marx’s text itself.

‘Man is a species being, not only because in practice and in theory he adopts the species as his object (his own as well as those of other things), but – and this is only another way of expressing it – also because he treats himself as the actual, living, species; because he treats himself as a universal and therefore a free being’ (p. 112). The definition of man as a ‘species being’ has done a lot of damage in Marx-scholarship; our passage is so valuable because it exposes the real origins of Marx’s concept of ‘species’. Man is a ‘species being’, i.e. a being which has the ‘species’ (his own and that of the rest of existence) as its object. The species of a being is that which this being is according to its ‘stock’ and ‘origin’; it is the ‘principle’ of its being that is common to all the particular features of what it is: the general essence of this being. If man can make the species of every being into his object, the general essence of every being can become objective for him: he can possess every being as that which it is in its essence. It is for this reason (and this is expressed in the second half of the sentence quoted) that he can relate freely to every being: he is not limited to the particular actual state of the being and his immediate relationship to it, but he can take the being as it is in its essence beyond its immediate, particular, actual state; he can recognize and grasp the possibilities contained in every being; he can exploit, alter, mould, treat and take further (‘pro-duce’) any being according to its ‘inherent standard’ (p. 114). Labour, as the specifically human ‘life activity’, has its roots in man’s nature as a ‘species being’; it presupposes man’s ability to relate to the ‘general’ aspect of objects and to the possibilities contained in it. Specifically human freedom has its roots in man’s ability to relate to his own species: the self-realization and ‘self-creation’ of man. The relationship of man as a species being to his objects is then more closely defined by means of the concept of free labour (free productions).

Man as a species being is a ‘universal’ being: every being can for him become objective in its ‘species character’; his existence is a universal relationship to objectivity. He has to include these ‘theoretically’ objective things in his praxis; he must make them the object of his ‘life activity’ and work on them. The whole of ‘nature’ is the medium of his human life; it is man’s means of life; it is his prerequisite, which he must take up and reintroduce into his praxis. Man cannot simply accept the objective world or merely come to terms with it; he must appropriate it; he has to transform the objects of this world into organs of his life, which becomes effective in and through them. ‘The universality of man appears in practice precisely in the universality which makes all nature his inorganic body – both inasmuch as nature is (1) his direct means of life and (2) the material, the object, and the instrument of his life activity. Nature is man’s inorganic body – nature, that is, in so far as it is not itself the human body’ (p. 112).

The thesis of nature as a means for man implies more than merely that man is dependent simply for his physical survival on objective, organic and inorganic nature as a means of life, or that under the direct pressure of his ‘needs’ he ‘produces’ (appropriates, treats, prepares, etc.) the objective world as objects for food, clothing, accommodation, etc. Marx here explicitly speaks of ‘spiritual, inorganic nature’, ‘spiritual nourishment’ and ‘man’s physical and spiritual life’ (p. 112). This is why the universality of man – as distinct from the essentially limited nature of animals – is freedom, for an animal ‘produces only under the dominion of immediate physical need’ while man ‘only truly produces in freedom there from’ (p. 113). An animal thus only produces itself and ‘what it immediately needs for itself or its young. It produces one-sidedly, whilst man produces universally’ (ibid.). Man does not have objects merely as the environment of his immediate life activity and does not treat them merely as objects of his immediate needs. He can ‘confront’ any object and exhaust and realize its inner possibilities in his labour. He can produce ‘in accordance with the laws of beauty’ and not merely in accordance with the standard of his own needs (p. 114). In this freedom man reproduces ‘the whole of nature’, and through transformation and appropriation furthers it, along with his own life, even when this production does not satisfy an immediate need. Thus the history of human life is at the same time essentially the history of man’s objective world and of ‘the whole of nature’ (‘nature’ in the wider sense given to this concept by Marx, as also by Hegel). [7] Man is not in nature; nature is not the external world into which he first has to come out of his own inwardness. Man is nature. Nature is his ‘expression’, ‘his work and his reality’ (p. 114). Wherever we come across nature in human history it is ‘human nature’ while man for his part is always ‘human nature’ too. We can thus see provisionally to what extent consistent ‘humanism’ is immediately ‘naturalism’ (pp. 135, 181).

On the basis of the unity thus achieved between man and nature Marx moves towards the crucial definition of objectification, through which the specifically human relationship to objectivity, the human way of producing, is more concretely determined as universality and freedom. Objectification – the definition of man as an ‘objective being’ – is not simply a further point appended to the definition of the unity of man and nature, but is the closer and deeper foundation of this unity. (Objectification as such belongs – like his participation in nature – to the essence of man, and can thus not be ‘superseded’; according to revolutionary theory only a particular form of objectification – reification, ‘estrangement’ – can and must be superseded.)

As a natural being man is an ‘objective being’, which for Marx is a ‘being equipped and endowed with objective (i.e. material) essential powers’ (p. 180), a being who relates to real objects, ‘acts objectively’, and ‘can only express his life in real, sensuous objects’ (pp. 181ff.). Because the power of his being thus consists in living out (i.e. through and in external objects) everything he is, his ‘self-realization’ at the same time means ‘the establishment of a real, objective world, which is overpowering because it has a form external to him and is thus not part of his being’ (p. 180). The objective world, as the necessary objectivity of man, through the appropriation and supersession of which his human essence is first ‘produced’ and ‘confirmed’, is part of man himself. It is real objectivity only for self-realizing man, it is the ‘self-objectification’ of man, or human objectification. But this same objective world, since it is real objectivity, can appear as a precondition of his being which does not belong to his being, is beyond his control, and is ‘overpowering’. This conflict in the human essence – that it is in itself objective – is the root of the fact that objectification can become reification and that externalization can become alienation. It makes it possible for man completely to ‘lose’ the object as part of his essence and let it become independent and overpowering. This possibility becomes a reality in estranged labour and private property.

Marx then attempts to implant objectification and the conflict appearing within it even more deeply into the definition of man. ‘An objective being…would not act objectively if the quality of objectivity did not reside in the very nature of his being. He creates, posits objects alone, because he is posited by objects – because at bottom he is nature’ (p. 180). The quality of being posited by objects is, however, the fundamental determinant of ‘sensuousness’ (to have senses, which are affected by objects) and thus Marx can identify objective being with sensuous being, and the quality of having objects outside oneself with the quality of being sensuous: ‘To be sensuous, i.e. real, is to be an object of the senses, a sensuous object, and therefore to have objects outside oneself which are subject to the operations of one’s senses’, and this passage: ‘To be objective, natural and sensuous, and at the same time to have object, nature and sense outside oneself, or oneself to be object, nature and sense for a third party, is one and the same thing’ (p. 181). (The second identification also included here will be discussed below.) Thereby ‘sensuousness’ for Marx moves into the centre of his philosophical foundation: ‘Sensuousness (see Feuerbach) must be the basis of all science’ (p. 143).

It is already clear from the above deduction that ‘sensuousness’ is here an ontological concept within the definition of man’s essence and that it comes before any materialism or sensualism. The concept of sensuousness here taken up by Marx (via Feuerbach and Hegel) goes back to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. There it is said that sensuousness is the human perception through which alone objects are given to us. Objects can only be given to man in so far as they ‘affect’ to him. Human sensuousness is affectibility. [8]Human perception as sensuousness is receptive and passive. It receives what it is given, and it is dependent on and needs this quality of being given. To the extent to which man is characterized by sensuousness he is ‘posited’ by objects, and he accepts these prerequisites through cognition. As a sensuous being he is an affixed, passive and suffering being.

In Feuerbach, to whom Marx explicitly refers in the passage quoted, the concept of sensuousness originally tends in the same direction as in Kant. In fact when Feuerbach, in opposition to Hegel, wants to put the receptivity of the senses back at the starting-point of philosophy, he initially almost appears as the preserver and defender of Kantian criticism against ‘absolute idealism’. ‘Existence is something in which not only I, but also the others, and especially the object, participate.’ [9] ‘Only through the senses does an object in the true sense become given – not through thinking for itself’; ‘an object is given not to my Ego but to my non-Ego, for only where I am passive does the conception of an activity existing outside me, i.e. objectivity, come into being’ (ibid., pp. 321ff.). This accepting, passive being with needs, dependent on given things, which finds its expression in man’s sensuousness, is developed by Feuerbach into the ‘passive principle’ (ibid., pp. 257ff) and placed at the apex of his philosophy – although he goes in a direction quite different from that of Kant. The definition of man as purely a passive being ‘with needs’ is the original basis for Feuerbach’s attack on Hegel and his idea of man as a purely free, creative consciousness: ‘only a passive being is a necessary being. Existence without needs is superfluous existence . . . A being without distress is a being without ground…A non-passive being is a being without being. A being without suffering is nothing other than a being without sensuousness and matter’ (ibid., pp. 256f).

The same tendency to go back to sensuousness is now also discernible in Marx – a tendency to comprehend man’s being defined by needs and his dependence on pre-established objectivity by means of the sensuousness in his own being. This tendency in turn is subject to the aim of achieving a real, concrete picture of man as an objective and natural being, united with the world, as opposed to Hegel’s abstract ‘being’, freed from pre-established ‘naturalness’, which posits both itself and all objectivity. In line with Feuerbach, Marx says: ‘as a natural, corporeal, sensuous, objective being [man] is a passive, conditioned and limited creature’ (p.181) and: ‘To be sensuous is to be passive. Man as an objective, sensuous being is therefore a passive being – and because he feels what he suffers, a passionate being’ (p. 182). Man’s passion, his real activity and spontaneity is ascribed to his passivity and neediness, in so far as it is an aspiration to a pre-established object existing outside him: ‘Passion is the essential force of man energetically bent on its object’ (p. 62). [10] And: ‘The rich man is simultaneously the man in need of a totality of human manifestations of life – the man in whom his own realization exists as an inner necessity, as need’ (p. 144).

We can now understand why Marx emphasizes that ‘man’s feelings, passions, etc….are truly ontological affirmations of being of [nature]’ (p. 165). The distress and neediness which appear in man’s sensuousness are no more purely matters of cognition than his distress and neediness, as expressed in estranged labour, are purely economic. Distress and neediness here do not describe individual modes of man’s behaviour at all; they are features of his whole existence. They are ontological categories (we shall therefore return to them in connection with a large number of different themes in these Manuscripts).

It was necessary to give such an extensive interpretation of the concept of sensuousness in order to point once again to its real meaning in opposition to its many misinterpretations as the basis of materialism. In developing this concept Marx and Feuerbach were in fact coming to grips with one of the crucial problems of ‘classical German philosophy’. But in Marx it is this concept of sensuousness (as objectification) which leads to the decisive turn from classical German philosophy to the theory of revolution, for he inserts the basic traits of practical and social existence into his definition of man’s essential being. As objectivity, man’s sensuousness is essentially practical objectification, and because it is practical it is essentially a social objectification.


We know from Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach that it is precisely the concept of human praxis that draws the line of demarcation between himself and Feuerbach. On the other hand, it is through this (or more exactly, through the concept of labour) that he reaches back beyond Feuerbach to Hegel: ‘The outstanding achievement of Hegel’s Phenomenology and of its final outcome…is thus… that Hegel…grasps the essence of labour and comprehends objective man – true, because real man – as the outcome of man’s own labour’ (p. 177). Things are thus not as simple as we would expect; the road from Feuerbach to Marx is not characterized by a straight rejection of Hegel. Instead of this, Marx, at the origins of revolutionary theory, once again appropriates the decisive achievements of Hegel on a transformed basis.

We saw that man’s sensuousness signified that he is posited by pre-established objects and therefore also that he has a given, objective world, to which he relates ‘universally’ and ‘freely’. We must now describe more closely the way in which he possesses and relates to the world.

In Feuerbach man’s possession of, and relation to, the world remains essentially theoretical, and this is expressed in the fact that the way of relating, which really permits ‘possession’ of reality, is ‘perception.’ [11] In Marx, to put it briefly, labour replaces this perception, although the central importance of the theoretical relation does not disappear: it is combined with labour in a relationship of dialectical interpenetration. We have already suggested above that Marx grasps labour, beyond all its economic significance, as the human ‘life-activity’ and the genuine realization of man. We must now present the concept of labour in its inner connection to the definition of man as a ‘natural’ and ‘sensuous’ (objective) being. We shall see how it is in labour that the distress and neediness, but also the universality and freedom of man, become real.

‘Man is directly a natural being. As a natural being and as a living natural being he is on the one hand endowed with natural powers of life – he is an active natural being. These forces exist in him as tendencies and abilities – as instincts. On the other hand, as a natural, corporeal, sensuous, objective being he is a suffering, conditioned and limited creature…. That is to say, the objects of his instincts exist outside him, as objects independent of him; yet these objects are objects that he needs – essential objects, indispensable to the manifestation and confirmation of his essential powers’ (p. 181). Objects are thus not primarily objects of perception, but of needs, and as such objects of the powers, abilities and instincts of man. It has already been pointed out that ‘creed’ is not to be understood only in the sense of physical neediness: man needs ‘a totality of human manifestations of life’ (p. 144). To be able to realize himself he needs to express himself through the pre-established objects with which he is confronted. His activity and his self-affirmation consist in the appropriation of the ‘externality’ which confronts him, and in the transference of himself into that externality. In his labour man supersedes the mere objectivity of objects and makes them into ‘the means of life’. He impresses upon them the form of his being, and makes them into ‘his work and his reality’. The objective piece of finished work is the reality of man; man is as he has realized himself in the object of his labour. For this reason Marx can say that in the object of his labour man sees himself in objective form, he becomes ‘for himself’, he perceives himself as an object. ‘The object of labour is, therefore, the objectification of man’s species life: for he duplicates himself not only, as in consciousness, intellectually, but also actively, in reality, and therefore he contemplates himself in a world that he has created’ (p. 114).

Objectification of the ‘species life’: for it is not the isolated individual who is active in labour, and the objectivity of labour is not objectivity for the isolated individual or a mere plurality of individuals – rather it is precisely in labour that the specifically human universality is realized.

Thus we can already discern the second basic characteristic of objectification: it is essentially a ‘social’ activity, and objectifying man is basically ‘social’ man. The sphere of objects in which labour is performed is precisely the sphere of common life-activity: in and through the objects of labour, men are shown one another in their reality. The original forms of communication, the essential relationship of men to one another, were expressed in the common use, possession, desire, need and enjoyment, etc. of the objective world. All labour is labour with and for and against others, so that in it men first mutually reveal themselves for what they really are. [12] Thus every object on which a man works in his individuality is ‘simultaneously his own existence for the other man, the existence of the other man, and that existence for him’ (p. 136).

If the objective world is thus understood in its totality as a ‘social’ world, as the objective reality of human society and thus as human objectification, then through this it is also already defined as a historical reality. The objective world which is in any given situation pre-established for man is the reality of a past human life, which, although it belongs to the past, is still present in the form it has given to the objective world. A new form of the objective world can thus only come into being on the basis, and through the supersession of an earlier form already in existence. The real human and his world arise first in this movement, which inserts the relevant aspect of the past into the present: ‘History is the true natural history of man’, his ‘act of origin’ (p. 182), ‘the creation of man through human labour’ (p. 145). Not only man emerges in history, but also nature, in so far as it is not something external to and separated from the human essence but belongs to the transcended and appropriated objectivity of man: ‘world history’ is ‘the emergence of nature for man’ (ibid.).

It is only now, after the totality of the human essence as the unity of man and nature has been made concrete by the practical social-historical process of objectification, that we can understand the definition of man as a ‘universal’ and ‘free’ species being. The history of man is at the same time the process of ‘the whole of nature’; his history is the ‘production and reproduction’ of the whole of nature, furtherance of what exists objectively through once again transcending its current form. In his ‘universal’ relationship [13] to the whole of nature, therefore, nature is ultimately not a limitation on or something alien outside him to which he, as something other, is subjected. It is his expression, confirmation, activity: ‘externality is…the self-externalizing world of sense open to the light, open to the man endowed with senses’ (p. 192).

We now want to summarize briefly the definitions brought together in the concept of man as a universal and free being. Man ‘relates’ to himself and whatever exists, he can transcend what is given and pre-established, appropriate it and thus give it his own reality and realize himself in everything. This freedom does not contradict the distress and neediness of man, of which we spoke at the beginning, but is based upon it in so far as it is freedom only as the transcendence of what is given and pre-established. Man’s ‘life-activity’ is ‘not a determination with which he directly merges’ like an animal (p. 113), it is ‘free activity’, since man can ‘distinguish’ himself from the immediate determination of his existence, ‘make it into an object’ and transcend it. He can turn his existence into a ‘means’ (ibid.), can himself give himself reality and himself ‘produce’ himself and his ‘objectivity’. It is in this deeper sense (and not only biologically) that we must understand the sentence that ‘man produces man’ (pp. 136, 137) and that human life is genuinely ‘productive’ and ‘life-engendering life’ (p. 113).

Thereby Marx’s definition returns to its starting-point: the basic concept of ‘labour’. It is now clear to what extent it was right to deal with labour as an ontological category. As far as man, through the creation, treatment and appropriation of the objective world, gives himself his own reality, and as far as his ‘relationship to the object’ is the ‘manifestation of human reality’ (p. 139), labour is the real expression of human freedom. Man becomes free in his labour. He freely realizes himself in the object of his labour: ‘when, for man in society, the objective world everywhere becomes the world of man’s essential powers – human reality, and for that reason the reality of his own essential powers – … all objects become for him the objectification of himself become objects which confirm and realize his individuality, become his objects: that is, man himself becomes the object’ (p. 140).


In the preceding sections we have attempted to present in its context the definition of man underlying the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts and to reveal it as the basis of the critique of political economy. It almost appears, despite all protestations to the contrary, as if we are moving in the field of philosophical investigations, forgetting that these Manuscripts are concerned with the foundation of a theory of revolution and hence ultimately with revolutionary praxis. But we only need to put the result of our interpretation next to its starting point to find that we have reached the point where the philosophical critique in itself directly becomes a practical revolutionary critique.

The fact from which the critique and the interpretation set out was the alienation and estrangement of the human essence as expressed in the alienation and estrangement of labour, and hence the situation of man in the historical facticity of capitalism. This fact appears as the total perversion and concealment of what the critique had defined as the essence of man and human labour. Labour is not ‘free activity’ or the universal and free self-realization of man, but his enslavement and loss of reality. The worker is not man in the totality of his life-expression, but a non-person, the purely physical subject of ‘abstract’ activity. The objects of labour are not expressions and confirmations of the human reality of the worker, but alien things, belonging to someone other than the worker – ‘commodities’. Through all this the existence of man does not become, in estranged labour, the ‘means’ for his self-realization. The reverse happens: man’s self becomes a means for his mere existence. The pure physical existence of the worker is the goal which his entire life-activity serves. ‘As a result, therefore, man [the worker] only feels himself freely active in his animal functions – eating, drinking, procreating, or at most in his dwelling and in dressing-up, etc., and in his human functions he no longer feels himself to be anything but an animal. What is animal becomes human and what is human becomes animal’ (p. 111).

We have seen that Marx describes this estrangement and loss of reality as the ‘expression’ of a total perversion of the behaviour of man as man: in his relationship to the product of his labour as an ‘alien object exercising power over him’ and simultaneously in the relationship of the worker to his own activity as ‘an alien activity not belonging to him’ (ibid.). This reification is by no means limited to the worker (even though it affects him in a unique way); it also affects the non-worker – the capitalist. The ‘dominion of dead matter over man’ reveals itself for the capitalist in the state of private property and the manner in which he has and possesses it. It is really a state of being possessed, of being had, slavery in the service of property. He possesses his property not as a field of free self-realization and activity but purely as capital: ‘Private property has made us so stupid and one-sided that an object is only ours when we have it – when it exists for us as capital, or when it is directly possessed, eaten, drunk, worn, inhabited, etc., in short, when it is used by us…the life which they [realizations of possession] serve as means is the life of private property, labour, and conversion into capital’ (p. 139). (We shall return to the definition of ‘true possession’ underlying this description of ‘false property’ below.)

If historical facticity thus reveals the total perversion of all the conditions given in the definition of the human essence, does it not prove that this definition lacks content and sense, and that it is only an idealistic abstraction, which does violence to historical reality? We know the cruel derision with which, in his German Ideology, which appeared only a year after these Manuscripts, Marx destroyed the idle talk of the Hegelians, such people as Stirner and the ‘true socialists’, about the essence, the man, etc. Did Marx himself, in his definition of the human essence, give in to this idle chatter? Or does a radical change take place in Marx’s fundamental views between our Manuscripts and the German Ideology?

There is indeed a change, even if it is not in his fundamental views. It must be emphasized again and again that in laying the foundations of revolutionary theory Marx is fighting on various fronts: on the one hand against the pseudo-idealism of the Hegelian school, on the other against reification in bourgeois political economy, and then again against Feuerbach and pseudo-materialism. The meaning and the purpose of his fight thus varies according to the direction of his attack and defence. Here, where he is principally fighting reification in political economy, which turns a particular kind of historical facticity into rigid ‘eternal’ laws and so-called ‘essential relationships’, Marx presents this facticity in contrast to the real essence of man. But in doing this he brings out its truth, because he grasps it within the context of the real history of man and reveals the necessity of its being overcome.

These changes, then, result from shifts in the terrain of the conflict. But the following point is still more decisive. To play off essence (the determinants of ‘the’ man) and facticity (his given concrete historical situation) against each other is to miss completely the new standpoint which Marx had already assumed at the outset of his investigations. For Marx essence and facticity, the situation of essential history and the situation of factual history, are no longer separate regions or levels independent of each other the historical experience of man is taken up into the definition of his essence. We are no longer dealing with an abstract human essence, which remains equally valid at every stage of concrete history, but with an essence which can be defined in history and only in history. (It is therefore quite a different matter when Marx speaks of the ‘essence of man’, as opposed to Bruno Bauer, Stirner and Feuerbach!) [14] The fact that despite or precisely because of this it is always man himself that matters in all man’s historical praxis is so self-evident that it is not worth discussing for Marx, who grew up in a direct relationship with the most lively period of German philosophy (just as the opposite seems to have become self-evident for the epigones of Marxism). Even in Marx’s extremely bitter struggle with German philosophy in the period of its decline, a philosophical impetus lives on which only complete naïveté could misconstrue as a desire to destroy philosophy altogether.

The discovery of the historical character of the human essence does not mean that the history of man’s essence can be identified with his factual history. We have already heard that man is never directly ‘one with his life-activity’; he is, rather, ‘distinct’ from it and ‘relates’ to it. Essence and existence separate in him: his existence is a ‘means’ to the realization of his essence, or – in estrangement – his essence is a means to his mere physical existence (p. 113). If essence and existence have thus become separated and if the real and free task of human praxis is the unification of both as factual realization, then the authentic task, when facticity has progressed so far as totally to pervert the human essence, is the radical abolition of this facticity. It is precisely the unerring contemplation of the essence of man that becomes the inexorable impulse for the initiation of radical revolution. The factual situation of capitalism is characterized not merely by economic or political crisis but by a catastrophe affecting the human essence; this insight condemns any mere economic or political reform to failure from the outset, and unconditionally requires the cataclysmic transcendence of the actual situation through total revolution. Only after the basis has been established in this way, so firmly that it cannot be shaken by any merely economic or political arguments, does the question of the historical conditions and the bearers of the revolution arise: the question of the theory of class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Any critique which only pays attention to this theory, without coming to grips with its real foundation, misses the point.

We shall now look at the Manuscripts to see what they contribute to the preparation of a positive theory of revolution and how they treat the real supersession of reification, the supersession of alienated labour and of private property. We shall once again limit ourselves to the basic state of affairs expressed in the economic and political facts. What also belongs to this positive theory of revolution is – as we shall show – an investigation of the origin of reification: an investigation of the historical conditions and emergence of private property. Two main questions must therefore be answered: 1. How does Marx describe the accomplished supersession of private property, i.e. the state of the human essence after the total revolution? 2. How does Marx handle the problem of the origin of private property or the emergence and development of reification? Marx himself explicitly asked both these questions: the answer is given mainly on pages 115-17 and 135-42.

The total estrangement of man and his loss of reality had been traced back to the alienation of labour. In the analysis, private property had been revealed as the manner in which alienated labour ‘must express and present itself in real life’ (p. 115) and as the ‘realization of alienation’ (p. 117) (we shall return to the close connection between alienated labour and private property below). The supersession of alienation, if it is to be a genuine supersession (and not merely ‘abstract’ or theoretical), must supersede the real form of alienation (its ‘realization’); and so ‘the entire revolutionary movement necessarily finds both its empirical and its theoretical basis in the movement of private property – more precisely, in that of the economy’ (p. 136).

Through this connection with alienated labour private property is already more than a specific economic category: this extra element in the concept of private property is sharply emphasized by Marx: ‘Material, immediately sensuous private property is the material, sensuous expression of estranged human life. Its movement – production and consumption – is the sensuous revelation of the movement of all production until now, i.e. the realization of the reality of man’ (pp. 136ff.). Through the explanatory ‘i.e. the realization … of man’ which he adds Marx expressly emphasizes the fact that ‘production’, of which the movement of private property is the ‘revelation’, is not economic production but the self-producing process of the whole of human life (as interpreted above). The extent to which private property expresses the movement of estranged human life is more closely described in the following passage: ‘Just as private property is only the sensuous expression of the fact that man becomes objective for himself and at the same time becomes to himself a strange and inhuman object: just as it expresses the fact that the assertion of his life is the alienation of his life, that his realization is his loss of reality…so the positive transcendence of private property. . .’ is more than economic transcendence: namely the positive ‘appropriation’ of the whole of human reality (pp. 138ff.). Private property is the real expression of the way in which estranged man objectifies himself, ‘produces’ himself and his objective world and realizes himself in it. Private property therefore constitutes the realization of an entire form of human behaviour and not just a given physical ‘state’ external to man, [15] or ‘a merely objective being’ (p. 128).

But if an estranged form of behaviour which has lost reality is this realized in private property, then private property itself can only represent an estranged and unreal form of true and essential human behaviour. There must therefore be two real ‘forms’ of property: an estranged and a true form, a property which is merely private and a property which is ‘truly human’ (p. 119). [15] There must be a form of ‘property’ belonging to the essence of man, and positive communism, far from meaning the abolition of all property, will be precisely the restoration of this truly human form of property.

How can one ‘define the general nature of private property, as it has arisen as a result of estranged labour, in its relation to truly human and social property’ (p. 118)? The answer to this question must at the same time make clear the meaning and goal of the positive supersession of private property. ‘The meaning of private property – apart from its estrangement – is the existence of essential objects for man, both as objects of gratification and as objects of activity’ (p. 165).

This is the most general positive definition of true property: the availability and usability of all the objects which man needs for the free realization of his essence. This availability and usability is realized as property – which is by no means self-evident, but is based on the idea that man never simply and directly has what he needs, but only really possesses objects when he has appropriated them. Thus the purpose of labour is to give to man as his own possessions objects which have been treated and to make them into a world through which he can freely engage in activity and realize his potentialities. The essence of property consists in ‘appropriation’; a particular manner of appropriation and realization through appropriation is the basis of the state of property, and not mere having and possessing. We must now more closely define this new concept of appropriation and property which underlies Marx’s analysis.

We have seen how private property consists in an untrue mode of having and possessing objects. In conditions of private property an object is ‘property’ when it can be ‘used’; and this use consists either in immediate consumption or in its capacity to be turned into capital. ‘Life-activity’ stands in the service of property instead of property standing in the service of free life-activity; it is not the ‘reality’ of man which is appropriated but objects as things (goods and commodities) and even this kind of appropriation is ‘one-sided’: it is limited to the physical behaviour of man and to objects which can immediately ‘gratify’ or be turned into capital. In contrast to this, ‘true human property’ is now described in its true appropriation: ‘the sensuous appropriation for and by man of the human essence and of human life, of objective man, of human achievements – should not be conceived merely in the sense of immediate, one-sided gratification – merely in the sense of possession, of having. Man appropriates his total essence in a total manner, that is to say, as a whole man.’ This total appropriation is then more closely described: ‘Each of his human relations to the world – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, thinking, observing, experiencing, wanting, acting, loving – in short, all the organs of his individual being…are in their objective orientation or in their orientation to the object, the appropriation of that object’ (pp. 138-9).

Beyond all economic and legal relations, appropriation as the basis of property thus becomes a category which comprehends the universal and free relationship of man to the objective world: the relationship to the object which is becoming one’s own is ‘total’ – it ‘emancipates’ all the human senses. The whole man is at home in the whole objective world which is ‘his work and his reality’. The economic and legal supersession of private property is not the end, but only the beginning of the communist revolution. This universal and free appropriation is labour, for as we saw, the specifically human relationship to the object is one of creating, positing, forming. But in this case labour would no longer be an alienated and reified activity, but all-round self-realization and self-expression.

The inhumanity represented by reification is thus abolished at the point where it was most deeply rooted and dangerous: in the concept of property. Man no longer ‘loses’ himself in the objective world, and his objectification is no longer reification, if objects are withdrawn from ‘one-sided’ ownership and possession and remain the work and reality of the one who ‘produced’ or realized them and himself in them. It is not, however, the isolated individual or an abstract plurality of individuals which has been realized in them, but social man, man as a social being. Man’s return to his true property is a return into his social essence; it is the liberation of society.


‘Man is not lost in his object only when the object becomes for him a human object or objective man. This is possible only when the object becomes for him a social object, he himself for himself a social being, just as society becomes a being for him in this object’ (p. 140). There are thus two conditions for breaking through reification as outlined above: the objective relations must become human – i.e. social – relations and they must be recognized and consciously preserved as such. These two conditions are fundamentally interrelated, for the objective relations can only become human and social if man himself is conscious of them as such, i.e. in his knowledge of both himself and the object. Thus we again encounter the central role which a particular kind of insight (man’s ‘coming-to-be for himself’) plays in the foundation of Marx’s theory. To what extent can cognition, the recognition of objectification as something social, become the real impulse for the abolition of all reification?

We know that objectification is essentially a social activity and that it is precisely in his objects and in his labour on them that man recognizes himself as a social being. The insight into objectification, which breaks through reification, is the insight into society as the subject of objectification. For there is no such thing as ‘society’ as a subject outside the individual; Marx expressly warns against playing society as an independent entity off against the individual: ‘Above all we must avoid postulating “Society” again as an abstraction vis-à-vis the individual. The individual is the social being. His life, even if it may not appear in the direct form of a communal life in association with others, is therefore an expression and confirmation of social life’ (pp. 137-8).

Insight into objectification thus means insight into how and through what man and his objective world as social relations have become what they are. It means insight into the historical-social situation of man. This insight is no mere theoretical cognition or arbitrary, passive intuition, but praxis: the supersession of what exists, making it a ‘means’ for free self-realization.

This also means that the insight which defines this task is by no means available to everyone: it can only be known by those who are actually entrusted with this task by their historical-social situation (we cannot pursue the way in which the proletariat becomes the bearer of this insight in the situation analysed by Marx: its content is presented at the close of Marx’s Introduction to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right). It is not a matter of the task for man as such but of a particular historical cask in a particular historical situation. It is therefore necessary that ‘the transcendence of the estrangement always proceeds from that form of the estrangement which is the dominant power’ (p. 154). Because it is dependent on the conditions pre-established by history, the praxis of transcendence must, in order to be genuine transcendence, reveal these conditions and appropriate them. Insight into objectification as insight into the historical and social situation of man reveals the historical conditions of this situation and so achieves the practical force and concrete form through which it can become the lever of the revolution. We can now also understand how far questions concerning the origin of estrangement and insight into the origin of private property must be an integrating element in a positive theory of revolution.

Marx’s handling of the question of the origins of private property shows the pioneering new ‘method’ of his theory. Marx is fundamentally convinced that when man is conscious of his history he cannot fall into a situation which he has not himself created, and that only he himself can liberate himself from any situation. This basic conviction already finds its expression in the concept of freedom in the Manuscripts. The phrase that the liberation of the working class can only be the work of the working class itself resonates clearly through all the economic explanations; it only enters into ‘contradiction’ with historical materialism if the latter is falsified into a vulgar materialism. If the relations of production have become a ‘fetter’ and an alien force determining man, then this is only because man has at some stage himself alienated himself from his power over the relations of production. This is also true if one sees the relations of production as being determined primarily by the given ‘natural’ forces of production (e.g. climatic or geographical conditions, the condition of the land, the distribution of raw materials) and ignores the fact that all these physical data have always existed in a form historically handed down and have formed a part of particular human and social ‘forms of intercourse’. For the situation of man which exists through such pre-existing forces of production only becomes an historical and social situation through the fact that man ‘reacts’ to what he finds pre-existing, i.e. through the manner in which he appropriates it. In truth these relations of production which have been reified into alien, determining forces are always objectifications of particular social relations, and the abolition of the estrangement expressed in these relations of production can only be total and real if it can account for economic revolution in terms of these human relations. Thus the question of the origin of private property becomes a question of the activity through which man alienated property from himself: ‘How, we now ask, does man come to alienate, to estrange, his labour? How is this estrangement rooted in the nature of human development?’ And being aware of the crucial importance of this new way of formulating the question, Marx adds: ‘We have already gone a long way to the solution of this problem by transforming the question of the origin of private property into the question of the relation of alienated labour to the course of humanity’s development. For when one speaks of private property, one thinks of dealing with something external to man. When one speaks of labour, one is directly dealing with man himself. This new formulation of the question already contains its solution’ (pp. 118-19).

The answer to this question is not contained in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts; it is worked out in his later critiques of political economy. The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts do, however, contain a proof within the definition of man’s essence that objectification always carries within it a tendency towards reification and labour a tendency towards alienation, so that reification and alienation are not merely chance historical facts. In connection with this it is also shown how the worker even through his alienation ‘engenders’ the non-worker and thus the domination of private property (pp. 116-17), and how he therefore has his fate in his own hands at the origin of estrangement and not just after liberation.

Marx gives his definition of estrangement as self-estrangement in a reference to the real achievement of Hegel’s Phenomenology: ‘The real, active orientation of man to himself as a species being…is only possible through the utilization of all the powers he has in himself and which he has as belonging to a species … , treating these generic powers as objects and this, to begin with, is again only possible in the form of estrangement’ (p. 177; my italics).

We fail to find an explanation here as to why this is, to begin with, only possible in the form of estrangement; and it is, strictly speaking, impossible to give one, for we are confronted with a state of affairs that has its roots in man – as an ‘objective’ being – and which can only be revealed as such. It is man’s ‘need’ – as already interpreted above – for objects alien to him, ‘overpowering’ and ‘not part of his being’, to which he must relate as if they were external objects, although they only become real objects through and for him. Objects first confront him directly in an external and alien form and only become human objects, objectifications of man, through conscious historical and social appropriation. The expression of man thus first tends towards alienation and his objectification towards reification, so that he can only attain a universal and free reality through ‘the negation of negation’: through the supersession of his alienation and the return out of his estrangement.

After the possibility of alienated labour has been shown to have its roots in the essence of man the limits of philosophical description have been reached and the discovery of the real origin of alienation becomes a matter for economic and historical analysis. We know that for Marx the starting point for this analysis is the division of labour (cf., for example, p. 159); we cannot go further into this here and shall only look quickly at the way Marx shows that already with the alienation of labour the worker ‘engenders’ the domination of the capitalist and thereby of private property. At the head of this analysis there stands the sentence: ‘Every self-estrangement of man, from himself and from nature, appears in the relation in which he places himself and nature to men other than and differentiated from himself’ (p. 116; my italics). We are already acquainted with the context of this sentence: the relation of man to the object on which he works is directly his relation to other men with whom he shares this object and himself as something social. So that although the worker in the self-alienation of his labour ‘possesses’ the object as something alien, overpowering and not belonging to him, this object nowhere confronts him as an isolated thing, belonging to no one and, as it were, outside humanity. The situation is rather this: ‘If the product of labour does not belong to the worker, if it confronts him as an alien power, then this can only be because it belongs to some other man than the worker’ (p. 115). With the alienation of labour the worker immediately stands as ‘servant’ in the service of a ‘master’: ‘Thus, if the product of his labour…is for him an alien…object…then his position towards it is such that someone else is master of this object, someone who is alien….If he is related to his own activity as to an unfree activity, then he is related to it as an activity performed in the service, under the dominion, the coercion, and the yoke of another man’ (pp. 116ff.).

It is not a case of a ‘master’ existing first, subordinating someone else to himself, alienating him from his labour, and making him into a mere worker and himself into a non-worker. But nor is it a case of the relationship between domination and servitude being the simple consequence of the alienation of labour. The alienation of labour, as estrangement from its own activity and from its object, already is in itself the relationship between worker and non-worker and between domination and servitude.

These distinctions seem to be of only secondary importance, and they do in fact disappear into the background again in the later, purely economic analysis. Nevertheless they must be expressly emphasized in the context of the Manuscripts, if only for the fact that they are relevant to Marx’s crucial reaction to Hegel. Domination and servitude are here not concepts for particular (pre- or early capitalist) formations, relations of production, etc. They give a general description of the social condition of man in a situation of estranged labour. In this sense they point back to the ontological categories of ‘domination and servitude’ developed by Hegel in his Phenomenology (II, pp. 145ff). [17] We cannot discuss here Marx’s further description of the relation between domination and servitude, but we shall select one important point: ‘everything which appears in the worker as an activity of alienation, of estrangement, appears in the non-worker as a stateof alienation, of estrangement’. (p. 19).

We know that the transcendence of estrangement (a state in which both master and servant find themselves, although not in the same way) can only be based on the destruction of reification, i.e. on the practical insight into the activity of objectification in its historical and social situation. Since it is only in labour and in the objects of his labour that man can really come to understand himself, others and the objective world in their historical and social situation, the master, as a non-worker, cannot come to this insight. Since what is actually a specific human activity appears to him as a material and objective state of affairs, the worker has an (as it were) irreducible advantage over him. He is the real actor of transformation; the destruction of reification can only be his work. The master can only come to this revolutionary insight if he becomes a worker, which, however, would mean transcending his own essence.

From every point of approach and in all directions this theory, arising out of the philosophical critique and foundation of political economy, proves itself to be a practical theory, a theory whose immanent meaning (required by the nature of its object) is particular praxis; only particular praxis can solve the problems peculiar to this theory. ‘We see how the resolution of the theoretical antitheses is only possible in a practical way, by virtue of the practical energy of man. Their resolution is therefore by no means merely a problem of understanding, but a real problem of life, which philosophy could not solve precisely because it conceived this problem as merely a theoretical one’ (pp. 141-2). We could add to this sentence: which philosophy can solve, however, if it grasps it as a practical problem, i.e. if it transcends itself as ‘only theoretical’ philosophy, which in turn means, if it really ‘realizes’ itself as philosophy for the first time.

Marx calls the practical theory which solves this problem, in so far as it puts man as a historical and social being in the centre, ‘real humanism’ and identifies it with ‘naturalism’ to the extent to which, if it is carried through, it grasps the unity of man and nature: the ‘naturalness of man’ and the ‘humanity of nature’. If the real humanism outlined here by Marx as the basis of his theory does not correspond to what is commonly understood as Marx’s ‘materialism’, such a contradiction is entirely in accordance with Marx’s intentions: ‘here we see how consistent naturalism and humanism distinguishes itself both from idealism and materialism, constituting at the same time the unifying truth of both’ (p. 181).

Finally we need to examine briefly Marx’s critique of Hegel, which was envisaged as the conclusion of the whole Manuscripts. We can make the discussion brief because we have already gone into Marx’s elaboration of the positive foundations of a critique of Hegel (the definition of man as an ‘objective’, historical and social, practical being) in the context of our interpretation of the critique of political economy.

Marx begins by pointing out the necessity of discussing a question which has still not been adequately answered: ‘How do we now stand as regards the Hegelian dialectic?’ (p. 170). This question, coming at the conclusion of his positive critique of political economy and the foundation of revolutionary theory, shows how much Marx was aware of working in an area opened up by Hegel and how he experienced this fact – in contrast to almost all the Hegelians and almost all his later followers – as a scientific-philosophical obligation towards Hegel. After briefly dispatching Bruno Bauer, Strauss, etc., whose ‘critical critique’ makes the need to come to terms with Hegel anything but superfluous, Marx immediately gives his support to Feuerbach: ‘the only one who has a serious, critical attitude to the Hegelian dialectic and who has made genuine discoveries in this field’ (p. 172). Marx mentions three such discoveries: Feuerbach (1) recognized philosophy (i.e. the purely speculative philosophy of Hegel) as a ‘form and manner of existence of the estrangement of the essence of man’, (2) established ‘true materialism’ by making ‘the social relationship “of man to man” the basic principle of his theory’ and (3) precisely through this principle opposed Hegel’s mere ‘negation of negation’, which does not go beyond negativity, with a ‘self-supporting positive, positively based on itself’ (pp. 172ff.). With this enumeration, Marx simultaneously articulated the three main directions of his own critique of Hegel, and it is to these that we now turn.

‘One must begin with Hegel’s Phenomenology, the true point of origin and the secret of the Hegelian philosophy’ (p. 173). From the beginning Marx tackles Hegel’s philosophy where its origin is still visible in an unconcealed form: in the Phenomenology. If at the beginning of the critique it may still have looked as if it was really only a critique of what one is accustomed to regard as Hegel’s ‘dialectic’, we now see that what Marx criticizes as the dialectic is the foundation and actual ‘content’ of Hegel’s philosophy – not its (supposed) ‘method’. And while Marx criticizes, he simultaneously extracts the positive aspects, the great discoveries made by Hegel – i.e. only because for Marx there are genuinely positive discoveries in Hegel, on the basis of which he can and must do further work, can and must Hegel’s philosophy become for him the subject of a critique. We shall begin with the negative part of his critique – Marx’s collation of Hegel’s ‘mistakes’ – so that we can then extract the positive aspects from these negative ones and show that the mistakes are really only mistaken interpretations of genuine and true states of affairs.

In the Phenomenology Hegel gives ‘speculative expression’ to the movement of the history of the ‘human essence’, but not of its real history, only its ‘genetic history’ (p. 173). That is, he gives the history of the human essence, in which man first becomes what he is and which has, as it were, always already taken place when the real history of man occurs. Even with this general characterization Marx has grasped the sense of the Phenomenology more profoundly and accurately than most interpreters of Hegel. He then proceeds to a critique of the core of Hegel’s own problematic: Hegel’s philosophical description of the history of the human essence fails at the start, because Hegel from the outset grasps it only as abstract ‘self-consciousness’ (‘thought’, ‘mind’) and thus overlooks its true concrete fullness: ‘For Hegel the essence of man – man – equals self-consciousness’ (p. 178); the history of the human essence runs its course purely as the history of self-consciousness or even as history within self-consciousness. What Marx had shown to be crucial for the definition of man’s essence and what he had put at the centre of his conceptual structure – the ‘objectivity’ of man, his ‘essential objectification’ – is precisely what is ominously given a different meaning and perverted by Hegel. The object (i.e. objectivity as such) is in Hegel only an object for consciousness in the very strong sense that consciousness is the ‘truth’ of the object and that the latter is only the negative side of consciousness: having been ‘posited’ (created, engendered) by consciousness as its alienation and estrangement, it must also be ‘transcended’ by consciousness again, or ‘taken back’ into consciousness. The object is thus, by the nature of its existence, a purely negative thing, a ‘nullity’ (p. 182); it is merely an object of abstract thought, for Hegel reduces self-consciousness to abstract thought. ‘The main point is that the object of consciousness is nothing else but self-consciousness, or that the object is only objectified self-consciousness – self-consciousness as an object….The issue, therefore, is to surmount the object of consciousness. Objectivity as such is regarded as an estranged human relationship which does not correspond to the essence of man’ (p. 178). For Marx, however, objectivity was precisely the human relationship in which man could alone come to self-realization and self-activity; it was ‘real’ objectivity, the ‘work’ of human labour and certainly not the object of abstract consciousness. From this standpoint Marx can say that Hegel fixes man as ‘a non-objective, spiritual being’ (p. 178). This being never exists with genuine objects but always only with the self-posited negativity of itself. It is actually always ‘at home with itself’ in its ‘otherness as such’ (p. 183). It is thus ultimately ‘non-objective’, and ‘a non-objective being is a…non-being’ (p. 182).

This also constitutes a critique of the Phenomenology in so far as it claims to present the movement of the history of man’s essential being. If this being whose history is being presented is a ‘non-being’, then this history must also be ‘inessential’ in the full sense of the word. Marx perceives Hegel’s discovery of the movement of human history in the movement of ‘objectification as loss of the object, as alienation’ (p. 177) and in the ‘transcendence’ of this alienation as it recurs in many forms in the whole of the Phenomenology. But the objectification is only apparent, ‘abstract and formal’, since the object only has ‘the semblance of an object’ and the self-objectifying consciousness remains ‘at home with itself’ in this seeming alienation (pp. 183ff.). Like estrangement itself, its supersession is only a semblance: alienation remains. The forms of estranged human existence which Hegel cites are not forms of estranged real life but only of consciousness and knowledge: what Hegel deals with and supersedes are not ‘real religion, the real state, or real nature, but religion as a subject of knowledge, i.e. Dogmatics; the same with Jurisprudence, Political Science and Natural Science’ (pp. 186-7). Because alienation is thus only superseded in the mind and not in reality, i.e. because ‘this supersession of thought leaves its object standing in reality’, Marx can say the whole Phenomenology, and indeed the whole of Hegel’s system in so far as it is based on the Phenomenology, remains within estrangement. This comes out in Hegel’s system as a whole in the fact, for example, that ‘nature’ is not grasped as man’s ‘self-externalizing world of sense’ in its existential unity with man or its ‘humanity’, but is taken as externality ‘in the sense of alienation, of a mistake, a defect, which ought not to be’, – a ‘nothing’ (p. 192).

We shall not go into the other features of the negative critique here: they are already familiar from the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right; e.g. the conversion of mind into an absolute, the hypostatization of an absolute subject as the bearer of the historical process, the inversion of subject and predicate (p. 188), etc. What must be borne in mind is that Marx regards all these ‘inadequacies’ as within a real state of affairs. If Hegel posits the human essence as a ‘non-being’, then it is the non-being of a real being and thus a real non-being; if he has ‘only found the abstract, logical, speculative expression for the movement of history’ (p. 173), then this is still an expression for the movement of real history; if he has described objectification and estrangement in their abstract forms, then he has still seen objectification and estrangement as essential movements of human history. The emphasis of Marx’s critique of Hegel is definitely on the positive part, to which we now proceed.

‘The outstanding achievement of Hegel’s Phenomenology and of its final outcome, the dialectic of negativity as the moving and generating principle, is thus first that Hegel conceives the self-creation of man as a process, conceives objectification as loss of the object, as alienation and as transcendence of this alienation; that he thus grasps the essence of labour and comprehends objective man…as the outcome of man’s own labour’ (p. 177). The full significance of the interpretation of the Phenomenology given here by Marx could only be grasped if we unfolded the central problematic of Hegel’s work, which we obviously cannot do here; it would also only then become apparent with what unheard of sureness Marx sees through all the mystifying and misleading interpretations (which begin even within Hegel’s work) and gets back to the bedrock of the problems which were raised, for the first time in modern philosophy, in the Phenomenology.

In the sentence quoted above Marx has brought together all the discoveries of Hegel which he recognizes as crucial: in what follows we want briefly to explain these, for Marx, ‘positive moments of the Hegelian dialectic’.

The Phenomenology presents the ‘self-creation of man’, which means, after what has already been said, the process in which man (as an organic, living being) becomes what he is according to his essence – i.e. human essence. It thus gives the ‘genetic history’ (p. 173) of the human essence or man’s essential history. Man’s ‘act of creation’ is an ‘act of self-genesis’ (p. 188), i.e. man gives his essence to himself: he must first make himself what he is, ‘posit’ himself, and ‘produce’ himself (we have already gone into the meaning of this concept). This history which is given into man’s own hands is grasped by Hegel as a ‘process’ characterized by alienation and its supersession. The process as a whole stands under the title of ‘objectification’. The history of man thus occurs and fulfils itself as objectification: the reality of man consists of creating real objects out of all his ‘species powers’, or ‘the establishing of a real, objective world’ (p. 180). It is this establishing of an objective world which Hegel treats merely as the alienation of ‘consciousness’ or knowledge, or as the relation of abstract thought to ‘thinghood’, while Marx grasps it as the ‘practical’ realization of the whole of man in historical and social labour (ibid.).

Hegel defines the relation of knowledge to the objective world in such a way that this objectification is simultaneously the loss of the object, i.e. the loss of reality or estrangement, so that, ‘to begin with, [it] is again only possible in the form of estrangement’ (p. 177). That is to say: knowledge, in the process of becoming objective, initially loses itself in its objects: they confront it as something alien and other, in the form of an external world of things and matters which have lost their inner connection with the consciousness which has expressed itself in them and now continue as a power independent of consciousness. In the Phenomenology, for example, morality and right, the power of the state and wealth appear as estranged objective worlds and it is here that Marx accuses Hegel of dealing with these worlds only as ‘worlds of thought’ and not as real worlds (pp. 174ff.), since for Hegel they are externalizations of ‘Mind’ only and not of real, total human existence.

Although objectification consists initially in the loss of the object or estrangement, it is precisely this estrangement which in Hegel becomes the recovery of true being. ‘Hegel conceives man’s self-estrangement, the alienation of man’s essence, man’s loss of objectivity and his loss of realness as self-discovery, change of his nature, objectification and realization’ (pp. 187-8). The human essence – always conceived in Hegel as exclusively knowledge – is such that it must not only express but alienate itself, not only objectify itself but lose its object, to be able to discover itself. Only if it has really lost itself can it come to itself, only in its ‘otherness’ can it become what it is ‘for itself’. This is the ‘positive meaning’ of negation, ‘the dialectic of negativity as the moving and generating principle’ (p. 177). We should have to go into the foundations of Hegel’s ontology to justify and clarify this assertion: here we need only show how Marx interprets this discovery by Hegel.

Through the positive concept of negation just referred to, Hegel conceives ‘labour as man’s act of self-genesis’ (p. 188); ‘he grasps labour as the essence of man – as man’s essence in the act of proving itself’ (p. 177). With reference to this Marx goes so far as to say: ‘Hegel’s standpoint is that of modern political economy’ (ibid.) – a seemingly paradoxical statement in which, however, Marx summarizes the colossal, almost revolutionary concreteness of Hegel’s Phenomenology. If labour is here defined as man’s essence in the act of proving itself this obviously refers to labour not purely as an economic, but as an ‘ontological’ category, as Marx defines it in this very passage: ‘Labour is man’s coming-to-be for himself within alienation, or as alienated man’ (p. 177). How does it come about that Marx should take precisely the category of labour to interpret Hegel’s concept of objectification as self-discovery in estrangement and of realization in alienation?

It is not only because Hegel uses labour to reveal the objectification of the human essence and its estrangement, or because he depicts the relation of the labouring ‘servant’ to his world as the first ‘supersession’ of estranged objectivity (II, pp. 146 ff). It is not only because of this; although the fact that this is viewed as the real beginning of human history in the Phenomenology is neither a coincidence nor the result of a purely arbitrary decision, but expresses the innermost direction of the entire work. Marx has thereby – albeit in an exaggerated form – discovered the original meaning of the history of the human essence as it is elaborated in the Phenomenology in the form of the history of self-consciousness. It is praxis, free self-realization, always taking up, superseding and revolutionizing pre-established ‘immediate’ facticity. It has already been pointed out that Marx holds Hegel’s real mistake to be the substitution of ‘Mind’ for the subject of this praxis. Hence for Marx, ‘the only labour which Hegel knows and recognizes is abstract mental labour’ (p. 177). But this does not alter the fact that Hegel grasped labour as man’s essence in the act of proving itself – a fact which retains its vital importance: despite the ‘spiritualization’ of history in the Phenomenology, the actual leading concept through which the history of man is explicated is transforming ‘activity’ (II, pp. 141, 196, 346, 426, etc.).

If the inner meaning of objectification and its supersession is thus praxis, then the various forms of estrangement and their supersession can also be more than mere ‘examples’ taken out of real history and put alongside each other with no necessary connection.  They must have have their roots in human praxis and be an integral part of man’s history.  Marx expresses this insight in the sentence that Hegel has found ‘speculative expression for the movement of history’ (p. 173) – a sentence which (as already stated) must be understood positively just as much as negatively and critically.  And if the forms of estrangement are rooted as historical forms in human praxis itself, they cannot be regarded simply as abstract theoretical forms of the objectivity of consciousness; under this logical-speculative ‘disguise’ they must have ineluctable practical consequences, they must of necessity be effectively superseded and ‘revolutionized.’  A critique must lie hidden already in the Phenomenology: critique in the revolutionary sense which Marx gave to this concept.  ‘The Phenomenology is, therefore, an occult critique – still to itself obscure and mystifying: but inasmuch as it keeps steadily in view man’s estrangement…there he concealed in it all the elements of the critique already prepared and elaborated in a manner often rising far above the Hegelian standpoint’.  In its separate sections it contains ‘the critical elements of whole spheres such as religion, the state, civil life, etc. – but still in an estranged form’ (p. 176).

Thereby Marx has expressed in all clarity the inner connection between revolutionary theory and Hegel’s philosophy.  What seems amazing, as measured by this critique – which is the result of a philosophical discussion – is the decline of later interpretations of Marx (even – sit venia verbo – those of Engels!) by people who believed they could reduce Marx’s relationship to Hegel to the familiar transformation of Hegel’s ‘dialectic’, which they also completely emptied of content.

These suggestions will have to suffice; above all we cannot go into the question if and how the ‘mistakes’ with which Marx charges Hegel can really be attributed to him.  It has perhaps become clear through this paper that the discussion really starts at the centre of Hegel’s problematic.  Marx’s critique of Hegel is not an appendage of the preceding critique and foundation of political economy, for his examination of political economy is itself a continuous confrontation with Hegel.”      Herbert Marcuse, “The Foundation of Historical Materialism;” 1932.  

Numero TresChairman O’Brien, Chairwoman Burke, Senator Kennedy, Senator Eagleton and my fellow citizens, I’m happy to join us for this benediction of our Friday sunrise service.I assume that everyone here is impressed with my control of this Convention in that my choice for Vice President was challenged by only 39 other nominees.

And I can tell you that Eleanor is very grateful that the Oregon delegation at least kept her in the race with Martha Mitchell.  So I congratulate you on your patience and I pay my respects to those two superb presiding officers of this convention, Larry O’Brien and Yvonne Braithwaite Burke.

So tonight I accept your nomination with a full and grateful heart.

This afternoon I crossed the wide Missouri to recommend a running mate of wide vision and deep compassion, Senator Tom Eagleton.

I’m proud to have him at my side, and I’m proud to have been introduced a moment ago by one of the most eloquent and courageous voices in this land Senator Ted Kennedy.

My nomination is all the more precious and that it is a gift of the most open political process in all of our political history.

It is the sweet harvest of the work of tens of thousands of tireless volunteers, young and old alike, funded by literally hundreds of thousands of small contributors in every part of this nation.

Those who lingered on the brink of despair only a short time ago have been brought into this campaign, heart, hand, head and soul, and I have been the beneficiary of the most remarkable political organization in the history of this country.

It is an organization that gives dramatic proof to the power of love and to a faith that can literally move mountains.

As Yeats put it, ‘Count where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say: My glory was I had such friends.’

This is the people’s nomination and next January we will restore the government to the people of this country.

I believe that American politics will never be quite the same again.

We are entering a new period of important and hopeful change in America, a period comparable to those eras that unleashed such remarkable ferment in the period of Jefferson and Jackson and Roosevelt.

Let the opposition collect their $10 million in secret money from the privileged few and let us find one million ordinary Americans who will contribute $25 each to this campaign, a Million Member Club with members who will not expect special favors for themselves but a better land for us all.

In the literature and music of our children we are told, to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. And for America, the time has come at last.

This is the time for truth, not falsehood. In a Democratic nation, no one likes to say that his inspiration came from secret arrangements by closed doors, but in the sense that is how my candidacy began. I am here as your candidate tonight in large part because during four administrations of both parties, a terrible war has been chartered behind closed doors.

I want those doors opened and I want that war closed. And I make these pledges above all others: the doors of government will be opened, and that war will be closed.

Truth is a habit of integrity, not a strategy of politics, and if we nurture the habit of truth in this campaign, we will continue to be truthful once we are in the White House.

Let us say to Americans, as Woodrow Wilson said in his first campaign of 1912, “Let me inside the government and I will tell you what is going on there.”

Wilson believed, and I believe, that the destiny of America is always safer in the hands of the people then in the conference rooms of any elite.

So let us give our — let us give your country the chance to elect a Government that will seek and speak the truth, for this is the time for the truth in the life of this country.

And this is also a time, not for death, but for life. In 1968 many Americans thought they were voting to bring our sons home from Vietnam in peace, and since then 20,000 of our sons have come home in coffins.

I have no secret plan for peace. I have a public plan. And as one whose heart has ached for the past ten years over the agony of Vietnam, I will halt a senseless bombing of Indochina on Inaugural Day.

There will be no more Asian children running ablaze from bombed-out schools. There will be no more talk of bombing the dikes or the cities of the North.

And within 90 days of my inauguration, every American soldier and every American prisoner will be out of the jungle and out of their cells and then home in America where they belong.

And then let us resolve that never again will we send the precious young blood of this country to die trying to prop up a corrupt military dictatorship abroad.

This is also the time to turn away from excessive preoccupation overseas to the rebuilding of our own nation. America must be restored to a proper role in the world. But we can do that only through the recovery of confidence in ourselves.

I treasure this nomination, especially because it comes after vigorous competition with the ablest men and women our party has to offer.

—my old and treasured friend and neighbor, Hubert Humphrey;

—a gracious and a good man from the state of Maine, Ed Muskie;

—a tough fighter for his own convictions, Scoop Jackson of Washington;

—and a brave and spirited woman, Shirley Chisholm;

—a wise and effective lawmaker from Arkansas, Wilbur Mills;

—And the man from North Carolina who over the years has opened new vistas in education and public excellence, Terry Sanford;

—the leader who in 1968 combined both the travail and the hope of the American spirit, Senator Eugene McCarthy;

—And I was as moved as well by the appearance in the Convention Hall of the Governor of Alabama, George Wallace. His votes in the primaries showed clearly the depth of discontent in this country, and his courage in the face of pain and adversity is the mark of a man of boundless will, despite the senseless act that disrupted his campaign. And, Governor, we pray for your full recovery so you can stand up and speak out for all of those who see you as their champion.

Now, in the months ahead I deeply covet the help of every Democrat, of every Republican, of every Independent who wants this country to be a great and good land that it can be.

This is going to be a national campaign, carried to every part of the nation — North, South, East and West. We’re not conceding a single state to Richard Nixon.

I should like to say to my friend, Frank King, that Ohio may have passed a few times in this convention, but Tom Eagleton and I are not going to pass Ohio.

I shall say to Governor Gilligan, Ohio is sometimes a little slow in counting the votes, but when those votes are counted next November, Ohio will be in the Democratic victory column.

Now, to anyone in this hall or beyond who doubts the ability of Democrats to join together in common cause, I say never underestimate the power of Richard Nixon to bring harmony to Democratic ranks. He is the unwitting unifier and the fundamental issue of this national campaign and all of us are going to help him redeem a pledge made ten years ago — that next year you won’t have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore.

We have had our fury and our frustrations in these past months and at this Convention, but frankly, I welcome the contrast with the smug and dull and empty event which will doubtless take place here in Miami next month.

We chose this struggle, we reformed our Party, and we let the people in. So we stand today not as a collection of backroom strategies, not as a tool of ITT or any other special interest. So let our opponents stand on the status quo while we seek to refresh the American spirit.

I believe that the greatest contribution America can now make to our fellow mortals is to heal our own great but very deeply troubled land. We must respond — we must respond to that ancient command: “Physician, heal thyself.”

Now, it is necessary in an age of nuclear power and hostile forces that we’ll be militarily strong. America must never become a second-rate nation. As one who has tasted the bitter fruits of our weakness before Pearl Harbor in 1941, I give you my pledge that if I become the President of the United States, America will keep its defenses alert and fully sufficient to meet any danger.

We will do that not only for ourselves, but for those who deserve and need the shield of our strength — our old allies in Europe and elsewhere, including the people of Israel who will always have our help to hold their Promised Land.

Yet I believe that every man and woman in this Convention Hall knows that for 30 years we have been so absorbed with fear and danger from abroad that we have permitted our own house to fall into disarray.

We must now show that peace and prosperity can exist side by side. Indeed, each now depends on the existence of the other. National strength includes the credibility of our system in the eyes of our own people as well as the credibility of our deterrent in the eyes of others abroad.

National security includes schools for our children as well as silos for our missiles.

It includes the health of our families as much as the size of our bombs, the safety of our streets, and the condition of our cities, and not just the engines of war.

If we some day choke on the pollution of our own air, there will be little consolation in leaving behind a dying continent ringed with steel.

So while protecting ourselves abroad, let us form a more perfect union here at home. And this is the time for that task.

We must also make this a time of justice and jobs for all our people. For more than three and half years we have tolerated stagnation and a rising level of joblessness, with more than five million of our best workers unemployed at this very moment. Surely, this is the most false and wasteful economics of all.

Our deep need is not for idleness but for new housing and hospitals, for facilities to combat pollution and take us home from work, for better products able to compete on vigorous world markets.

The highest single domestic priority of the next administration will be to ensure that every American able to work has a job to.

That job guarantee will and must depend on a reinvigorated private economy, freed at last from the uncertainties and burdens of war, but it is our firm commitment that whatever employment the private sector does not provide, the Federal government will either stimulate or provide itself.

Whatever it takes, this country is going back to work. America cannot exist with most of our people working and paying taxes to support too many others mired in a demeaning and hopeless welfare mess.

Therefore, we intend to begin by putting millions back to work and after that is done, we will assure to those unable to work an income fully adequate to a decent life.

Now beyond this, a program to put America back to work demands that work be properly rewarded. That means the end of a system of economic controls in which labor is depressed, but prices and corporate profit run sky-high.

It means a system of national health insurance so that a worker can afford decent health care for himself and his family.

It means real enforcement of the laws so that the drug racketeers are put behind bars and our streets are once again safe for our families.

And above all, above all, honest work must be rewarded by a fair and just tax system.

The tax system today does not reward hard work: it’s penalizes it. Inherited or invested wealth frequently multiplies itself while paying no taxes at all. But wages on the assembly line or in farming the land, these hard-earned dollars are taxed to the very last penny.

There is a depletion allowance for oil wells, but no depletion for the farmer who feeds us, or the worker who serves as all.

The administration tells us that we should not discuss tax reform and the election year. They would prefer to keep all discussion of the tax laws in closed rooms where the administration, its powerful friends, and their paid lobbyists, can turn every effort at reform into a new loophole for the rich and powerful.

But an election year is the people’s year to speak, and this year, the people are going to ensure that the tax system is changed so that work is rewarded and so that those who derive the highest benefits will pay their fair share rather than slipping through the loopholes at the expense of the rest of us.

So let us stand for justice and jobs and against special privilege.

And this is the time to stand for those things that are close to the American spirit. We are not content with things as they are. We reject the view of those who say, “America — love it or leave it. ” We reply, “Let us change it so we may love it the more.”

And this is the time. It is the time for this land to become again a witness to the world for what is just and noble in human affairs. It is time to live more with faith and less with fear, with an abiding confidence that can sweep away the strongest barriers between us and teach us that we are truly brothers and sisters.

So join with me in this campaign. Lend Senator Eagleton and me your strength and your support, and together we will call America home to the ideals that nourished us from the beginning.

From secrecy and deception in high places; come home, America

From military spending so wasteful that it weakens our nation; come home, America.

From the entrenchment of special privileges in tax favoritism; from the waste of idle lands to the joy of useful labor; from the prejudice based on race and sex; from the loneliness of the aging poor and the despair of the neglected sick — come home, America.

Come home to the affirmation that we have a dream.  Come home to the conviction that we can move our country forward.

Come home to the belief that we can seek a newer world, and let us be joyful in that homecoming, for this ‘is your land, this land is my land — from California to New York island, from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters — this land was made for you and me.’

So let us close on this note: May God grant each one of us the wisdom to cherish this good land and to meet the great challenge that beckons us home.

And now is the time to meet that challenge.

Good night, and Godspeed to you all.”      George McGovern, Presidential Nomination Acceptance Address; 1972.

7.19.2017 Daily Links

  A Thought for the Day   

If not as often as not, then nonetheless far too often from those who hold themselves out as erstwhile ‘caretakers,’ our parents put themselves in the position of being enemies to their children, to us, who are doing our damndest to make good choices and succeed in life while we have some modicum of enjoyment, a situation that cannot help but end in both monstrosity and tragedy: indeed, just as life’s most horrific social cataclysms, in both personal and collective spheres, stem to a large degree from just the sort of monstrous mayhem that inevitably follows from any rigid program of rejecting one’s children, so too does the occasional case of a child’s more or less completely denouncing a parent lead to the most insalubrious results, though in all these instances of Tolstoy’s ‘unhappy families, incredible stories flow out of the experiences of these particularly troubling and tragic tribulations and trials, struggles in sum for life itself.

  Quote of the Day  

We alone was the face of our Time. Through us the horn of time blows in the art of the world.

The past is too tight. The Academy and Pushkin are less intelligible than hieroglyphics.

Throw Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc., etc. overboard from the Ship of Modernity.

He who does not forget his first love will not recognize his last.

Who, trustingly, would turn his last love toward Balmont’s perfumed lechery? Is this the reflection of today’s virile soul?

Who, faint-heartedly, would fear tearing from warrior Bryusov’s black tuxedo the paper armor-plate? Or does the dawn of unknown beauties shine from it?

Wash your hands which have touched the filthy slime of the books written by the countless Leonid Andreyevs.

Vladmir Mayakovsky

 This Day in History  

Today in Nicaragua, for all true-hearted scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens to commemorate, is Sandinista Day, or, equally apt, Liberation Day; as splits widened in the late Roman empire fifteen hundred thirty-three years ago, the military leader Leontius arrogated to himself the title of Emperor of the East, which some folks in what is now Turkey and Syria accepted till his beheading four years afterward; two centuries, two decades, and seven years subsequent to that instance of declining empire, in 711,a case of rising imperial extension took place at the Battle of Guadalete, after which Ummayyad fighters consolidated rule of almost the entire Iberian Peninsula, even extending into parts of what is now Southwester France; eleven centuries and fifty-one before our very own point in space and time, a different evolution of Islamic imperial sway, the Shia Fatimids, who controlled almost all of North Africa and parts of Palestine and the Levant, scored a significant victory over Byzantine forces at the Battle of Apamea, in what is now Syria; six hundred forty-three years back, the thinker and poet and progenitor of many of the aspects of the early Renaissance, Petrarch, lived out his final passionate scene; MORE HERE

     Doc of the Day    

1. Petrarch, circa 1350.
2. Herbert Marcuse, 1932.
3. George McGovern, 1972.

Numero UnoThe Power of Poetry

1     Cola di Rienzo has recently come, or rather been brought, a prisoner to the papal curia. . . In this plight, as I understand from the letters of friends, one hope is left him: a rumor has spread among the people that he is an illustrious poet. . . I am delighted, and rejoice more than words can tell, that such honor is now rendered to the muses, and—what is more astonishing—by those who are unacquainted with them; so that they are able to save by their name alone a man otherwise hateful even to his very judges. . .What greater tribute, I ask, could be paid to the power of the Muses than that they should be permitted to snatch from death’s door a man certainly detested—with how much reason I will not discuss—, a convicted and confessed criminal (even if not guilty of the offence of which he is accused), about to be condemned by the unanimous vote of his judges to capital punishment. MORE HERE

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rationality OR reason OR logic subversion OR overturned OR antithesis OR dilemma rebellion OR revolution OR resistance necessity OR "sine qua non" OR requirement survival paradox OR contradiction OR "apparent impossibility" OR "seeming implausibility" analysis OR explication marxist OR radical = 684,000 results

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  Nearly Naked Links  

Hemingway Speech –

Theory of MOral Sentiments –

More Hemingway –


 Interesting People Places Things of Note 

Collapsing’ Empire Report

A sobering look at an all=too-probable future: “The document concludes that the world has entered a fundamentally new phase of transformation in which U.S. power is in decline, international order is unravelling, and the authority of governments everywhere is crumbling.”

 Writers Tools Issues 

Linguistic Curmudgeons on Parade

An interesting Aeon look at the study of language: “Much of linguistic theory is so abstract and dependent on theoretical apparatus that it might be impossible to explain.”


 Recent Events 

A Colorado Prozac Mass Murder

Anniversary of a fatal Prozac murder which speaks to the current day: “On this day in 2012, a 24-year-old gunman goes on a rampage at a movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora, killing 12 people—the youngest a 6-year-old girl—and injuring at least 70 others. The shooting took place shortly after the start of a crowded midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” which opened across the United States that day. It was the deadliest mass shooting in Colorado since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, in which 12 students and a teacher were murdered before the two teen gunmen killed themselves.”

 General Past & Present Issues 

Remembering Newark ’67

An NJ Monthly article that looks at a historical riot that defined a metropolis forever: “Most accounts of the Newark Rebellion—and I call it a rebellion—say the arrest and beating of John Smith, a black cab driver, triggered the outbreak of violence. Hundreds witnessed Smith being dragged into the 4th Precinct police station in front of the Hayes Homes, a high-rise housing project. Rumors spread that Smith had been killed while in custody. Local civil rights leaders tried to form a march downtown in protest. But as the crowd grew in front of the Hayes Homes, someone lit a bottle filled with gasoline and threw it at the police station. Cops poured out of the station in riot gear to drive off the protesters. As the crowd dispersed, looting broke out on nearby streets. The Rebellion was on.”

7.19.2017 Nearly Naked Links

CC BY-ND by dsa66503
CC BY-ND by dsa66503

Hemingway Speech –

Theory of MOral Sentiments –

More Hemingway –

Erle Stanley Gardner’s Dashiell Reflections –

Wealth of Nations –

Adam Smith –

Agnon –

Jane Austen –

Youthful Austen

Thackeray NYC Speech –

Overall Page –

The Second Funeral of Napoleon =

Thakeray –

Hunter Thompson –

Kuhn –

7.18.2017 Daily Links

  A Thought for the Day   

Depredation fosters predation in any sort of societal ecosystem as surely as sycophants induce parasitism in the social fabric, so that the naked and bestial meaning of present shakedowns of the already down-and-out become clear as an organic fact, a biological denial of life and sustenance to those who are struggling merely to make ends meet, to bring a spoonful of nourishment from hand to mouth, while those who already own close to a hundred percent of everything of value arrogate to themselves the option of taking not only the flesh and sweat and labor of the working class and its vast army of ‘disposable’ poor but also demand, with a completely self-satisfied and arrogant certainty, that they have the right to the blood and bones and organs of the disfranchised proletariat, whom they call indebted and encumbered and indentured on the basis of a system that sucks the lowly dry and cares not if they live or die, so long as they pay and pay and pay, the final upshot of all of which is the ultimate engagement of a class war in which the unwashed masses either meekly dry out their desiccated husks as mandated, expiring ahead of schedule like the rotten products that have caused their arrears in the first place, or instead rise up, a sociological tsunami of outrage for justice, to overthrow and if necessary annihilate the putrid plutocrats who fatuously and idiotically hold themselves out as betters and masters.

  Quote of the Day  
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
It always seems impossible until it’s done. 
Nelson Mandela

 This Day in History  

More apropos than ever, today is the commemoration of a great fighter for freedom in Nelson Mandela International Day; and then, in pre-Imperial Rome, long before Caesar crossed the Rubicon and other anti-Republican events occurred, two thousand four hundred and seven years ago, Gaulish interlopers had the gall and strength to overcome the Republic’s forces and thoroughly sack the city of Rome; four and a half centuries and four years later, in 54 CE, while allegedly Nero played his fiddle, the Great Fire of Rome destroyed much of the Imperial city; MORE HERE

     Doc of the Day    

1. Jane Austen, circa 1786-1793.
2. William Makepeace Thackeray, 1852.
3. Thomas Kuhn, 1962.
4. Hunter S. Thompson, 1970.


How often, in answer to my repeated intreaties that you would give my Daughter a regular detail of the Misfortunes and Adventures of your Life, have you said ‘No, my freind never will I comply with your request till I may be no longer in Danger of again experiencing such dreadful ones.’

Surely that time is now at hand.  You are this day 55.  If a woman may ever be said to be in safety from the determined Perseverance of disagreeable Lovers and the cruel Persecutions of obstinate Fathers, surely it must be at such a time of Life.  MORE HERE

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  Nearly Naked Links  

Rebecca West –

Drone Warfare –

Afghan Recruits –



 Writers Tools Issues 

Jane Austen’s First Stories

A Gutenberg look at a novelists first storied attempts: “Altho’ I cannot agree with you in supposing that I shall never again be exposed to Misfortunes as unmerited as those I have already experienced, yet to avoid the imputation of Obstinacy or ill-nature, I will gratify the curiosity of your daughter; and may the fortitude with which I have suffered the many afflictions of my past Life, prove to her a useful lesson for the support of those which may befall her in her own. Laura”

 General Media & ‘Intellectual Property’ Issues 

Union Group Got Media

A Sun Times article that looks at a promising new media development: ““A great group has come together and made sure that a genuine voice with honest and good reporting that connects with working men and women thrives,” Eisendrath said shortly before the deal closed.”

 Recent Events 

European ‘De-Cashing’ Resistance

A Naked Capitalism analysis of Europe’s recent economic actions: “In January 2017 the European Commission announced it was exploring the option of imposing upper limits on cash payments, with a view to implementing cross-regional measures as soon as 2018. To give the proposal a veneer of respectability and accountability the Commission launched a public consultation on the issue. Now, the answers are in, but they are not what the Commission was expecting.

A staggering 95% of the respondents said they were opposed to a cash ceiling at EU level.”

 General Past & Present Issues 

Yankee Ideology

A Aeon look at the underlying ideology that has defined the current era for some time: “And that was not the only political pressure on philosophy at the time. Another, more intellectual, came from the philosophical attractiveness of Marxism, which was rapidly winning converts not only in Europe but in Africa and Asia as well. The view that class struggle in Western countries would inevitably lead, via the pseudoscientific ‘iron laws’ of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, to worldwide communist domination was foreign to Marx himself. But it provided a ‘scientific’ veneer for Soviet great-power interests, and people all over the world were accepting it as a coherent explanation for the Depression, the Second World War and ongoing poverty. As the political philosopher S M Amadae has shown in Rationalising Capitalist Democracy(2003), many Western intellectuals at the time did not think that capitalism had anything to compete with this. A new philosophy was needed, one that provided what the nuanced approaches of pragmatism could not: an uncompromising vindication of free markets and contested elections.”

7.18.2017 Day in History

nelson mandela africaMore apropos than ever, today is the commemoration of a great fighter for freedom in Nelson Mandela International Day; and then, in pre-Imperial Rome, long before Caesar crossed the Rubicon and other anti-Republican events occurred, two thousand four hundred and seven years ago, Gaulish interlopers had the gall and strength to overcome the Republic’s forces and thoroughly sack the city of Rome; four and a half centuries and four years later, in 54 CE, while allegedly Nero played his fiddle, the Great Fire of Rome destroyed much of the Imperial city; just two years short of three centuries thereafter, in 362, tens of thousands of Roman fighters disembarked in Antioch, in present-day Turkey, in preparation for Emperor Julian’s planned attack on the Persian Empire;ninety years beyond that passage, in 452, the latter-day descendants of Rome’s pre-current-era Gaulish attackers, under the leadership of Attila the Hun, began the siege of Aquileia which would lead to its annihilation and the rise of the city of Venice on the same spot;  eight hundred thirty-eight years onward in time’s flow, in 1290, England’s rulers decided totally to ban Jewish people from the British aisles, leading to the expulsion of plus or minus 16,000 followers of the Torah; two years beyond half a century thereafter, in 1342, internecine conflicts in Southwest Asia, now Iran, resulted in the defeat of the almost secular Muslim Sarbadars by the fighters of Mu’izz al-Din Husayn, part of the Sunni Kurt dynasty; just short of another half century on time’s march toward the here and now, in 1391, early modern Russia experienced a somewhat similar conflict among those who would rule there when the soldiers of Timur, the last great Central Asian nomadic conqueror, routed the so-called ‘Golden Horde’ of Tokhtamysh; four hundred seven years back, the

CC BY-NC by yaili

noted painter and estimable maestro of chiaroscuro, Caravaggio, lived though his final darkened brushstroke; one hundred eleven years after that, in 1721, another brilliant artist, Jean-Antoine Watteau, of Rococo renown, died, only thirty-six years old; one year past three quarters of a century past that, in 1797, the little baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the important German philosopher Immanuel Hermann Fichte; fourteen years further along the temporal pathway, in 1811, another male infant entered our midst en route to a life of fame and fortune as William Makepeace Thackeray, the beloved chronicler of Vanity Fair and other amazing stories;half a dozen years past that happy conjunction, in 1817, a much more sobering eventuality unfolded

CC BY by dalbera

with the closing of the final chapter of Jane Austen’s brilliant but relatively brief creative life; four decades hence, in 1857, France consolidated its imperial throttling of its sinecures in West Africa with the relief of its forces at Kayes, in present day Mali, from the siege of El Hajj Umar Tall; half a dozen years more in today’s direction, in 1863, the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, which consisted of African American soldiers, became one of the first regiments of Black fighters to take part in a major action, an attempt to capture a fortress that defended the approaches to Charleston; an additional seven years yet later on, in 1870, across the Atlantic and through much of the Mediterranean, the First Vatican Council advanced as formal dogma the notion of Papal Infallibility; thirteen years yet nearer to now, in 1883, a third of the nation’s plus or minus 25,000 telegraph operators joined a strike that, in the event unsuccessfully, called for eight hour days, raises in pay, and equal pay for men and women in the same job position; seven years henceforth, in 1890, across the North Atlantic in England, the activist journalist and cofounder of the Women’s Suffrage Journal, Lydia Becker, cast her final ballot; half a decade farther down the pike, in 1895, a male child was born into the world who would mature as a bootlegger in Tennessee, George Barnes, who opportunistically changed his name to Kelly, ‘Machine Gun Kelly,’ who would kidnap oil magnates, continue to run rum, and generally commit crimes against property till the Federal Bureau of Investigation ran him to earth and sent him to prison, where he died on his fifty-ninth birthday; eleven years subsequent to that entry, in 1906, a male baby first cried out in Canada who would go on to fame and fortune as the Japanese American linguist and academic, S.I. Hayakawa, who negotiated with protesters at the University of San Francisco to form the first ethnic studies department in the nation, and another infant boy greeted the world en route to a life as the acclaimed playwright and screenwriter of progressive inclination and popular progress, Clifford Odets; eight further years along time’s inexorable march, in 1914, the United States formed an aerial adjunct to the Army’s Signal Corps, the beginnings of the U.S. Air Force, and a jury in Utah, because it loathed the International Jos. Hillstrom (LOC) joe hillWorkers of the World, condemned Wobbly songsmith Joe Hill to death for a murder that he did not commit; five years along time’s road, in 1919, over thirty-five thousand stockyard workers in Chicago went on strike for higher wages and safer working conditions; three years afterward, in 1922, the male child entered the world in standard fashion who would grow up to rock the history of science as Thomas Kuhn;  across the wide ocean in Germany a thousand ninety-six day toward today, in 1925, Adolf Hitler oversaw the publication of Mein Kampf, a central piece of the fascist canon, which very few people realize is almost completely congruent with Henry Ford’s earlier-produced The International Jewfour years still later, in 1929, a male baby first gazed around him on his way to life as the crooner and lyricist, ‘Screamin’ Jay Hawkins;’ three years beyond that exact instant, in 1932,over the wide Atlantic and across much of Europe, the baby boy was born who would become the brilliant poet, dramatist, thinker, and novelist Yevgeny Yevtushenko; fourteen hundred sixty-one days after that, in 1936, to the East and South in Morocco, Spanish troops revolted and thereby sparked the Spanish Civil War; a mere year further along the temporal arc from there, in 1937, across the sea and a bit of North America in Louisville, a male infant gave a shout who would become the chief of ‘gonzo journalism,’ Hunter S. Thompson; three further years along the path toward today, in 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt received the backing for an unprecedented third Presidential term, as the winds of war blew hot and fierce over much of the globe; a half decade even closer to the current context, in 1945, shortly after FDR’s death during his fdr roosevelt WWIIfourth term of office, the House of Representatives Military Affairs subcommittee counsel announced that he had data that indicated that at least sixteen commissioned and non-commissioned officers in the Army had ‘communist backgrounds,’ the initiation of a police-state witch-hunt that had anti-communism as its primary impetus; nine years thereafter, in 1954, a baby boy came along whom fate had designated as the country singer and songwriter, Ricky Skaggs; fourteen more years past that precise conjunction, in 1968, the principals of the Intel Corporation founded their company in Mountain View, California; another year’s turn around our solar star, in 1969, three thousand miles East in Charleston, Black and White hospital workers, after a nearly four month struggle, won their strike for union recognition, while a thousand miles North, that evening, Mary Jo Kopechne drowned when Senator Edward Kennedy lost control of his vehicle and drove off a bridge; thirteen years still more proximate to the present pass, in 1982, death squads in the CIA-created fascist state of Guatemala butchered close to three hundred farmers and their families near Plan de Sanchez; seven hundred thirty-one days subsequent to that horror, in 1984, a thousand odd miles North in California, a delusional shooter attacked a McDonald’s and killed over twenty people and wounded almost twenty more before police fire ended his pathetic life; six years forward in space and time, in 1990, the ancient and estimable psychiatrist Carl Menninger breathed his last; two years past that juncture, in 1992, back in Latin America, armed forces murderers abducted a professor and nine students in Lima and tortured and shot them in retaliation for Shining Path guerilla depredations; a pair of years past that point precisely, in 1994, to the South and East in Argentina the Asociacion

Buenos Aires Luis Argerich
Buenos Aires Luis Argerich

Mutual Israelita in Buenos Aires suffered a bomb attack that killed eighty five people, mostly Jewish, and wounded over three hundred others, and across the South Atlantic and much of the African land mass, the Rwandan Patriotic Front dislodged the mass murderers who had been running the government and effectively ended the genocide in the country; a year still nearer to the here and now, in 1995, only a few months after her tragic murder, Selena’s album, Dreaming of You, posthumously reached number one on the Latin charts; a year and half a world away, in 1996, the Tamil Tigers in a Sri Lankan battle, at Mullaitivu, captured an army base and in the process killed or executed more than a thousand two hundred soldiers; just three years ahead of today’s light and air, in 2013, Detroit declared the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, in aggregate affecting over $20billion in indebtedness.

7.18.2017 Nearly Naked Links

Rebecca West –

Drone Warfare –

Afghan Recruits –

Postmodern Authoritaranism –

Community Chat –

Marxist Future Mayor –

World Bank’s Secret –

WTC-7 ‘Confessions’ –

Key Saudi History Lessons –

Syria’s & China’s ‘Silk Road’ –

Venezuelan Dilemma –

Decash Disasters –

Secret Banking Crisis –

Yemen –

Israel Isis –

Capitalism and Socialism –

Inequality and Recession –

Faces –

7.18.2017 Doc of the Day

1. Jane Austen, circa 1786-1793.
2. William Makepeace Thackeray, 1852.
3. Thomas Kuhn, 1962.
4. Hunter S. Thompson, 1970.
"Pickering - Greatbatch - Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice - She then told him what Mr. Darcy had voluntarily done for Lydia"
“Pickering – Greatbatch – Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice – She then told him what Mr. Darcy had voluntarily done for Lydia”
Numero UnoLETTER the FIRST From ISABEL to LAURAHow often, in answer to my repeated intreaties that you would give my Daughter a regular detail of the Misfortunes and Adventures of your Life, have you said ‘No, my freind never will I comply with your request till I may be no longer in Danger of again experiencing such dreadful ones.’

Surely that time is now at hand.  You are this day 55.  If a woman may ever be said to be in safety from the determined Perseverance of disagreeable Lovers and the cruel Persecutions of obstinate Fathers, surely it must be at such a time of Life.  Isabel


Altho’ I cannot agree with you in supposing that I shall never again be exposed to Misfortunes as unmerited as those I have already experienced, yet to avoid the imputation of Obstinacy or ill-nature, I will gratify the curiosity of your daughter; and may the fortitude with which I have suffered the many afflictions of my past Life, prove to her a useful lesson for the support of those which may befall her in her own.  Laura


As the Daughter of my most intimate freind I think you entitled to that knowledge of my unhappy story, which your Mother has so often solicited me to give you.

My Father was a native of Ireland and an inhabitant of Wales; my Mother was the natural Daughter of a Scotch Peer by an italian Opera-girl—I was born in Spain and received my Education at a Convent in France.

When I had reached my eighteenth Year I was recalled by my Parents to my paternal roof in Wales.  Our mansion was situated in one of the most romantic parts of the Vale of Uske.  Tho’ my Charms are now considerably softened and somewhat impaired by the Misfortunes I have undergone, I was once beautiful.  But lovely as I was the Graces of my Person were the least of my Perfections.  Of every accomplishment accustomary to my sex, I was Mistress.  When in the Convent, my progress had always exceeded my instructions, my Acquirements had been wonderfull for my age, and I had shortly surpassed my Masters.

In my Mind, every Virtue that could adorn it was centered; it was the Rendezvous of every good Quality and of every noble sentiment.

A sensibility too tremblingly alive to every affliction of my Freinds, my Acquaintance and particularly to every affliction of my own, was my only fault, if a fault it could be called. Alas! how altered now! Tho’ indeed my own Misfortunes do not make less impression on me than they ever did, yet now I never feel for those of an other. My accomplishments too, begin to fade—I can neither sing so well nor Dance so gracefully as I once did—and I have entirely forgot the MINUET DELA COUR. Adeiu. Laura.


Our neighbourhood was small, for it consisted only of your Mother. She may probably have already told you that being left by her Parents in indigent Circumstances she had retired into Wales on eoconomical motives. There it was our freindship first commenced. Isobel was then one and twenty. Tho’ pleasing both in her Person and Manners (between ourselves) she never possessed the hundredth part of my Beauty or Accomplishments. Isabel had seen the World. She had passed 2 Years at one of the first Boarding-schools in London; had spent a fortnight in Bath and had supped one night in Southampton.

“Beware my Laura (she would often say) Beware of the insipid Vanities and idle Dissipations of the Metropolis of England; Beware of the unmeaning Luxuries of Bath and of the stinking fish of Southampton.”

“Alas! (exclaimed I) how am I to avoid those evils I shall never be exposed to? What probability is there of my ever tasting the Dissipations of London, the Luxuries of Bath, or the stinking Fish of Southampton? I who am doomed to waste my Days of Youth and Beauty in an humble Cottage in the Vale of Uske.”

Ah! little did I then think I was ordained so soon to quit that humble Cottage for the Deceitfull Pleasures of the World. Adeiu Laura.


One Evening in December as my Father, my Mother and myself, were arranged in social converse round our Fireside, we were on a sudden greatly astonished, by hearing a violent knocking on the outward door of our rustic Cot.

My Father started—“What noise is that,” (said he.) “It sounds like a loud rapping at the door”—(replied my Mother.) “it does indeed.” (cried I.) “I am of your opinion; (said my Father) it certainly does appear to proceed from some uncommon violence exerted against our unoffending door.” “Yes (exclaimed I) I cannot help thinking it must be somebody who knocks for admittance.”

“That is another point (replied he;) We must not pretend to determine on what motive the person may knock—tho’ that someone DOES rap at the door, I am partly convinced.”

Here, a 2d tremendous rap interrupted my Father in his speech, and somewhat alarmed my Mother and me.

“Had we better not go and see who it is? (said she) the servants are out.” “I think we had.” (replied I.) “Certainly, (added my Father) by all means.” “Shall we go now?” (said my Mother,) “The sooner the better.” (answered he.) “Oh! let no time be lost” (cried I.)

A third more violent Rap than ever again assaulted our ears. “I am certain there is somebody knocking at the Door.” (said my Mother.) “I think there must,” (replied my Father) “I fancy the servants are returned; (said I) I think I hear Mary going to the Door.” “I’m glad of it (cried my Father) for I long to know who it is.”

I was right in my conjecture; for Mary instantly entering the Room, informed us that a young Gentleman and his Servant were at the door, who had lossed their way, were very cold and begged leave to warm themselves by our fire.

“Won’t you admit them?” (said I.) “You have no objection, my Dear?” (said my Father.) “None in the World.” (replied my Mother.)

Mary, without waiting for any further commands immediately left the room and quickly returned introducing the most beauteous and amiable Youth, I had ever beheld. The servant she kept to herself.

My natural sensibility had already been greatly affected by the sufferings of the unfortunate stranger and no sooner did I first behold him, than I felt that on him the happiness or Misery of my future Life must depend. Adeiu Laura.


The noble Youth informed us that his name was Lindsay—for particular reasons however I shall conceal it under that of Talbot. He told us that he was the son of an English Baronet, that his Mother had been for many years no more and that he had a Sister of the middle size. “My Father (he continued) is a mean and mercenary wretch—it is only to such particular freinds as this Dear Party that I would thus betray his failings. Your Virtues my amiable Polydore (addressing himself to my father) yours Dear Claudia and yours my Charming Laura call on me to repose in you, my confidence.” We bowed. “My Father seduced by the false glare of Fortune and the Deluding Pomp of Title, insisted on my giving my hand to Lady Dorothea. No never exclaimed I. Lady Dorothea is lovely and Engaging; I prefer no woman to her; but know Sir, that I scorn to marry her in compliance with your Wishes. No! Never shall it be said that I obliged my Father.”

We all admired the noble Manliness of his reply. He continued.

“Sir Edward was surprised; he had perhaps little expected to meet with so spirited an opposition to his will. “Where, Edward in the name of wonder (said he) did you pick up this unmeaning gibberish? You have been studying Novels I suspect.” I scorned to answer: it would have been beneath my dignity. I mounted my Horse and followed by my faithful William set forth for my Aunts.”

“My Father’s house is situated in Bedfordshire, my Aunt’s in Middlesex, and tho’ I flatter myself with being a tolerable proficient in Geography, I know not how it happened, but I found myself entering this beautifull Vale which I find is in South Wales, when I had expected to have reached my Aunts.”

“After having wandered some time on the Banks of the Uske without knowing which way to go, I began to lament my cruel Destiny in the bitterest and most pathetic Manner. It was now perfectly dark, not a single star was there to direct my steps, and I know not what might have befallen me had I not at length discerned thro’ the solemn Gloom that surrounded me a distant light, which as I approached it, I discovered to be the chearfull Blaze of your fire. Impelled by the combination of Misfortunes under which I laboured, namely Fear, Cold and Hunger I hesitated not to ask admittance which at length I have gained; and now my Adorable Laura (continued he taking my Hand) when may I hope to receive that reward of all the painfull sufferings I have undergone during the course of my attachment to you, to which I have ever aspired. Oh! when will you reward me with Yourself?”

“This instant, Dear and Amiable Edward.” (replied I.). We were immediately united by my Father, who tho’ he had never taken orders had been bred to the Church. Adeiu Laura


We remained but a few days after our Marriage, in the Vale of Uske. After taking an affecting Farewell of my Father, my Mother and my Isabel, I accompanied Edward to his Aunt’s in Middlesex. Philippa received us both with every expression of affectionate Love. My arrival was indeed a most agreable surprise to her as she had not only been totally ignorant of my Marriage with her Nephew, but had never even had the slightest idea of there being such a person in the World.

Augusta, the sister of Edward was on a visit to her when we arrived. I found her exactly what her Brother had described her to be—of the middle size. She received me with equal surprise though not with equal Cordiality, as Philippa. There was a disagreable coldness and Forbidding Reserve in her reception of me which was equally distressing and Unexpected. None of that interesting Sensibility or amiable simpathy in her manners and Address to me when we first met which should have distinguished our introduction to each other. Her Language was neither warm, nor affectionate, her expressions of regard were neither animated nor cordial; her arms were not opened to receive me to her Heart, tho’ my own were extended to press her to mine.

A short Conversation between Augusta and her Brother, which I accidentally overheard encreased my dislike to her, and convinced me that her Heart was no more formed for the soft ties of Love than for the endearing intercourse of Freindship.

“But do you think that my Father will ever be reconciled to this imprudent connection?” (said Augusta.)

“Augusta (replied the noble Youth) I thought you had a better opinion of me, than to imagine I would so abjectly degrade myself as to consider my Father’s Concurrence in any of my affairs, either of Consequence or concern to me. Tell me Augusta with sincerity; did you ever know me consult his inclinations or follow his Advice in the least trifling Particular since the age of fifteen?”

“Edward (replied she) you are surely too diffident in your own praise. Since you were fifteen only! My Dear Brother since you were five years old, I entirely acquit you of ever having willingly contributed to the satisfaction of your Father. But still I am not without apprehensions of your being shortly obliged to degrade yourself in your own eyes by seeking a support for your wife in the Generosity of Sir Edward.”

“Never, never Augusta will I so demean myself. (said Edward). Support! What support will Laura want which she can receive from him?”

“Only those very insignificant ones of Victuals and Drink.” (answered she.)

“Victuals and Drink! (replied my Husband in a most nobly contemptuous Manner) and dost thou then imagine that there is no other support for an exalted mind (such as is my Laura’s) than the mean and indelicate employment of Eating and Drinking?”

“None that I know of, so efficacious.” (returned Augusta).

“And did you then never feel the pleasing Pangs of Love, Augusta? (replied my Edward). Does it appear impossible to your vile and corrupted Palate, to exist on Love? Can you not conceive the Luxury of living in every distress that Poverty can inflict, with the object of your tenderest affection?”

“You are too ridiculous (said Augusta) to argue with; perhaps however you may in time be convinced that…”

Here I was prevented from hearing the remainder of her speech, by the appearance of a very Handsome young Woman, who was ushured into the Room at the Door of which I had been listening. On hearing her announced by the Name of “Lady Dorothea,” I instantly quitted my Post and followed her into the Parlour, for I well remembered that she was the Lady, proposed as a Wife for my Edward by the Cruel and Unrelenting Baronet.

Altho’ Lady Dorothea’s visit was nominally to Philippa and Augusta, yet I have some reason to imagine that (acquainted with the Marriage and arrival of Edward) to see me was a principal motive to it.

I soon perceived that tho’ Lovely and Elegant in her Person and tho’ Easy and Polite in her Address, she was of that inferior order of Beings with regard to Delicate Feeling, tender Sentiments, and refined Sensibility, of which Augusta was one.

She staid but half an hour and neither in the Course of her Visit, confided to me any of her secret thoughts, nor requested me to confide in her, any of Mine. You will easily imagine therefore my Dear Marianne that I could not feel any ardent affection or very sincere Attachment for Lady Dorothea. Adeiu Laura.

LETTER 8th LAURA to MARIANNE, in continuation

Lady Dorothea had not left us long before another visitor as unexpected a one as her Ladyship, was announced. It was Sir Edward, who informed by Augusta of her Brother’s marriage, came doubtless to reproach him for having dared to unite himself to me without his Knowledge. But Edward foreseeing his design, approached him with heroic fortitude as soon as he entered the Room, and addressed him in the following Manner.

“Sir Edward, I know the motive of your Journey here—You come with the base Design of reproaching me for having entered into an indissoluble engagement with my Laura without your Consent. But Sir, I glory in the Act—. It is my greatest boast that I have incurred the displeasure of my Father!”

So saying, he took my hand and whilst Sir Edward, Philippa, and Augusta were doubtless reflecting with admiration on his undaunted Bravery, led me from the Parlour to his Father’s Carriage which yet remained at the Door and in which we were instantly conveyed from the pursuit of Sir Edward.

The Postilions had at first received orders only to take the London road; as soon as we had sufficiently reflected However, we ordered them to Drive to M——. the seat of Edward’s most particular freind, which was but a few miles distant.

At M——. we arrived in a few hours; and on sending in our names were immediately admitted to Sophia, the Wife of Edward’s freind. After having been deprived during the course of 3 weeks of a real freind (for such I term your Mother) imagine my transports at beholding one, most truly worthy of the Name. Sophia was rather above the middle size; most elegantly formed. A soft languor spread over her lovely features, but increased their Beauty—. It was the Charectarestic of her Mind—. She was all sensibility and Feeling. We flew into each others arms and after having exchanged vows of mutual Freindship for the rest of our Lives, instantly unfolded to each other the most inward secrets of our Hearts—. We were interrupted in the delightfull Employment by the entrance of Augustus, (Edward’s freind) who was just returned from a solitary ramble.

Never did I see such an affecting Scene as was the meeting of Edward and Augustus.

“My Life! my Soul!” (exclaimed the former) “My adorable angel!” (replied the latter) as they flew into each other’s arms. It was too pathetic for the feelings of Sophia and myself—We fainted alternately on a sofa. Adeiu Laura.

LETTER the 9th From the same to the same

Towards the close of the day we received the following Letter from Philippa.

“Sir Edward is greatly incensed by your abrupt departure; he has taken back Augusta to Bedfordshire. Much as I wish to enjoy again your charming society, I cannot determine to snatch you from that, of such dear and deserving Freinds—When your Visit to them is terminated, I trust you will return to the arms of your” “Philippa.”

We returned a suitable answer to this affectionate Note and after thanking her for her kind invitation assured her that we would certainly avail ourselves of it, whenever we might have no other place to go to. Tho’ certainly nothing could to any reasonable Being, have appeared more satisfactory, than so gratefull a reply to her invitation, yet I know not how it was, but she was certainly capricious enough to be displeased with our behaviour and in a few weeks after, either to revenge our Conduct, or releive her own solitude, married a young and illiterate Fortune-hunter. This imprudent step (tho’ we were sensible that it would probably deprive us of that fortune which Philippa had ever taught us to expect) could not on our own accounts, excite from our exalted minds a single sigh; yet fearfull lest it might prove a source of endless misery to the deluded Bride, our trembling Sensibility was greatly affected when we were first informed of the Event. The affectionate Entreaties of Augustus and Sophia that we would for ever consider their House as our Home, easily prevailed on us to determine never more to leave them, In the society of my Edward and this Amiable Pair, I passed the happiest moments of my Life; Our time was most delightfully spent, in mutual Protestations of Freindship, and in vows of unalterable Love, in which we were secure from being interrupted, by intruding and disagreable Visitors, as Augustus and Sophia had on their first Entrance in the Neighbourhood, taken due care to inform the surrounding Families, that as their happiness centered wholly in themselves, they wished for no other society. But alas! my Dear Marianne such Happiness as I then enjoyed was too perfect to be lasting. A most severe and unexpected Blow at once destroyed every sensation of Pleasure. Convinced as you must be from what I have already told you concerning Augustus and Sophia, that there never were a happier Couple, I need not I imagine, inform you that their union had been contrary to the inclinations of their Cruel and Mercenery Parents; who had vainly endeavoured with obstinate Perseverance to force them into a Marriage with those whom they had ever abhorred; but with a Heroic Fortitude worthy to be related and admired, they had both, constantly refused to submit to such despotic Power.

After having so nobly disentangled themselves from the shackles of Parental Authority, by a Clandestine Marriage, they were determined never to forfeit the good opinion they had gained in the World, in so doing, by accepting any proposals of reconciliation that might be offered them by their Fathers—to this farther tryal of their noble independance however they never were exposed.

They had been married but a few months when our visit to them commenced during which time they had been amply supported by a considerable sum of money which Augustus had gracefully purloined from his unworthy father’s Escritoire, a few days before his union with Sophia.

By our arrival their Expenses were considerably encreased tho’ their means for supplying them were then nearly exhausted. But they, Exalted Creatures! scorned to reflect a moment on their pecuniary Distresses and would have blushed at the idea of paying their Debts.—Alas! what was their Reward for such disinterested Behaviour! The beautifull Augustus was arrested and we were all undone. Such perfidious Treachery in the merciless perpetrators of the Deed will shock your gentle nature Dearest Marianne as much as it then affected the Delicate sensibility of Edward, Sophia, your Laura, and of Augustus himself. To compleat such unparalelled Barbarity we were informed that an Execution in the House would shortly take place. Ah! what could we do but what we did! We sighed and fainted on the sofa. Adeiu Laura.

LETTER 10th LAURA in continuation

When we were somewhat recovered from the overpowering Effusions of our grief, Edward desired that we would consider what was the most prudent step to be taken in our unhappy situation while he repaired to his imprisoned freind to lament over his misfortunes. We promised that we would, and he set forwards on his journey to Town. During his absence we faithfully complied with his Desire and after the most mature Deliberation, at length agreed that the best thing we could do was to leave the House; of which we every moment expected the officers of Justice to take possession. We waited therefore with the greatest impatience, for the return of Edward in order to impart to him the result of our Deliberations. But no Edward appeared. In vain did we count the tedious moments of his absence—in vain did we weep—in vain even did we sigh—no Edward returned—. This was too cruel, too unexpected a Blow to our Gentle Sensibility—we could not support it—we could only faint. At length collecting all the Resolution I was Mistress of, I arose and after packing up some necessary apparel for Sophia and myself, I dragged her to a Carriage I had ordered and we instantly set out for London. As the Habitation of Augustus was within twelve miles of Town, it was not long e’er we arrived there, and no sooner had we entered Holboun than letting down one of the Front Glasses I enquired of every decent-looking Person that we passed “If they had seen my Edward?”

But as we drove too rapidly to allow them to answer my repeated Enquiries, I gained little, or indeed, no information concerning him. “Where am I to drive?” said the Postilion. “To Newgate Gentle Youth (replied I), to see Augustus.” “Oh! no, no, (exclaimed Sophia) I cannot go to Newgate; I shall not be able to support the sight of my Augustus in so cruel a confinement—my feelings are sufficiently shocked by the RECITAL, of his Distress, but to behold it will overpower my Sensibility.” As I perfectly agreed with her in the Justice of her Sentiments the Postilion was instantly directed to return into the Country. You may perhaps have been somewhat surprised my Dearest Marianne, that in the Distress I then endured, destitute of any support, and unprovided with any Habitation, I should never once have remembered my Father and Mother or my paternal Cottage in the Vale of Uske. To account for this seeming forgetfullness I must inform you of a trifling circumstance concerning them which I have as yet never mentioned. The death of my Parents a few weeks after my Departure, is the circumstance I allude to. By their decease I became the lawfull Inheritress of their House and Fortune. But alas! the House had never been their own and their Fortune had only been an Annuity on their own Lives. Such is the Depravity of the World! To your Mother I should have returned with Pleasure, should have been happy to have introduced to her, my charming Sophia and should with Chearfullness have passed the remainder of my Life in their dear Society in the Vale of Uske, had not one obstacle to the execution of so agreable a scheme, intervened; which was the Marriage and Removal of your Mother to a distant part of Ireland. Adeiu Laura.

LETTER 11th LAURA in continuation

“I have a Relation in Scotland (said Sophia to me as we left London) who I am certain would not hesitate in receiving me.” “Shall I order the Boy to drive there?” said I—but instantly recollecting myself, exclaimed, “Alas I fear it will be too long a Journey for the Horses.” Unwilling however to act only from my own inadequate Knowledge of the Strength and Abilities of Horses, I consulted the Postilion, who was entirely of my Opinion concerning the Affair. We therefore determined to change Horses at the next Town and to travel Post the remainder of the Journey—. When we arrived at the last Inn we were to stop at, which was but a few miles from the House of Sophia’s Relation, unwilling to intrude our Society on him unexpected and unthought of, we wrote a very elegant and well penned Note to him containing an account of our Destitute and melancholy Situation, and of our intention to spend some months with him in Scotland. As soon as we had dispatched this Letter, we immediately prepared to follow it in person and were stepping into the Carriage for that Purpose when our attention was attracted by the Entrance of a coroneted Coach and 4 into the Inn-yard. A Gentleman considerably advanced in years descended from it. At his first Appearance my Sensibility was wonderfully affected and e’er I had gazed at him a 2d time, an instinctive sympathy whispered to my Heart, that he was my Grandfather. Convinced that I could not be mistaken in my conjecture I instantly sprang from the Carriage I had just entered, and following the Venerable Stranger into the Room he had been shewn to, I threw myself on my knees before him and besought him to acknowledge me as his Grand Child. He started, and having attentively examined my features, raised me from the Ground and throwing his Grand-fatherly arms around my Neck, exclaimed, “Acknowledge thee! Yes dear resemblance of my Laurina and Laurina’s Daughter, sweet image of my Claudia and my Claudia’s Mother, I do acknowledge thee as the Daughter of the one and the Grandaughter of the other.” While he was thus tenderly embracing me, Sophia astonished at my precipitate Departure, entered the Room in search of me. No sooner had she caught the eye of the venerable Peer, than he exclaimed with every mark of Astonishment—“Another Grandaughter! Yes, yes, I see you are the Daughter of my Laurina’s eldest Girl; your resemblance to the beauteous Matilda sufficiently proclaims it. “Oh!” replied Sophia, “when I first beheld you the instinct of Nature whispered me that we were in some degree related—But whether Grandfathers, or Grandmothers, I could not pretend to determine.” He folded her in his arms, and whilst they were tenderly embracing, the Door of the Apartment opened and a most beautifull young Man appeared. On perceiving him Lord St. Clair started and retreating back a few paces, with uplifted Hands, said, “Another Grand-child! What an unexpected Happiness is this! to discover in the space of 3 minutes, as many of my Descendants! This I am certain is Philander the son of my Laurina’s 3d girl the amiable Bertha; there wants now but the presence of Gustavus to compleat the Union of my Laurina’s Grand-Children.”

“And here he is; (said a Gracefull Youth who that instant entered the room) here is the Gustavus you desire to see. I am the son of Agatha your Laurina’s 4th and youngest Daughter,” “I see you are indeed; replied Lord St. Clair—But tell me (continued he looking fearfully towards the Door) tell me, have I any other Grand-children in the House.” “None my Lord.” “Then I will provide for you all without farther delay—Here are 4 Banknotes of 50L each—Take them and remember I have done the Duty of a Grandfather.” He instantly left the Room and immediately afterwards the House. Adeiu, Laura.

LETTER the 12th LAURA in continuation

You may imagine how greatly we were surprised by the sudden departure of Lord St Clair. “Ignoble Grand-sire!” exclaimed Sophia. “Unworthy Grandfather!” said I, and instantly fainted in each other’s arms. How long we remained in this situation I know not; but when we recovered we found ourselves alone, without either Gustavus, Philander, or the Banknotes. As we were deploring our unhappy fate, the Door of the Apartment opened and “Macdonald” was announced. He was Sophia’s cousin. The haste with which he came to our releif so soon after the receipt of our Note, spoke so greatly in his favour that I hesitated not to pronounce him at first sight, a tender and simpathetic Freind. Alas! he little deserved the name—for though he told us that he was much concerned at our Misfortunes, yet by his own account it appeared that the perusal of them, had neither drawn from him a single sigh, nor induced him to bestow one curse on our vindictive stars—. He told Sophia that his Daughter depended on her returning with him to Macdonald-Hall, and that as his Cousin’s freind he should be happy to see me there also. To Macdonald-Hall, therefore we went, and were received with great kindness by Janetta the Daughter of Macdonald, and the Mistress of the Mansion. Janetta was then only fifteen; naturally well disposed, endowed with a susceptible Heart, and a simpathetic Disposition, she might, had these amiable qualities been properly encouraged, have been an ornament to human Nature; but unfortunately her Father possessed not a soul sufficiently exalted to admire so promising a Disposition, and had endeavoured by every means on his power to prevent it encreasing with her Years. He had actually so far extinguished the natural noble Sensibility of her Heart, as to prevail on her to accept an offer from a young Man of his Recommendation. They were to be married in a few months, and Graham, was in the House when we arrived. WE soon saw through his character. He was just such a Man as one might have expected to be the choice of Macdonald. They said he was Sensible, well-informed, and Agreable; we did not pretend to Judge of such trifles, but as we were convinced he had no soul, that he had never read the sorrows of Werter, and that his Hair bore not the least resemblance to auburn, we were certain that Janetta could feel no affection for him, or at least that she ought to feel none. The very circumstance of his being her father’s choice too, was so much in his disfavour, that had he been deserving her, in every other respect yet THAT of itself ought to have been a sufficient reason in the Eyes of Janetta for rejecting him. These considerations we were determined to represent to her in their proper light and doubted not of meeting with the desired success from one naturally so well disposed; whose errors in the affair had only arisen from a want of proper confidence in her own opinion, and a suitable contempt of her father’s. We found her indeed all that our warmest wishes could have hoped for; we had no difficulty to convince her that it was impossible she could love Graham, or that it was her Duty to disobey her Father; the only thing at which she rather seemed to hesitate was our assertion that she must be attached to some other Person. For some time, she persevered in declaring that she knew no other young man for whom she had the the smallest Affection; but upon explaining the impossibility of such a thing she said that she beleived she DID LIKE Captain M’Kenrie better than any one she knew besides. This confession satisfied us and after having enumerated the good Qualities of M’Kenrie and assured her that she was violently in love with him, we desired to know whether he had ever in any wise declared his affection to her.

“So far from having ever declared it, I have no reason to imagine that he has ever felt any for me.” said Janetta. “That he certainly adores you (replied Sophia) there can be no doubt—. The Attachment must be reciprocal. Did he never gaze on you with admiration—tenderly press your hand—drop an involantary tear—and leave the room abruptly?” “Never (replied she) that I remember—he has always left the room indeed when his visit has been ended, but has never gone away particularly abruptly or without making a bow.” Indeed my Love (said I) you must be mistaken—for it is absolutely impossible that he should ever have left you but with Confusion, Despair, and Precipitation. Consider but for a moment Janetta, and you must be convinced how absurd it is to suppose that he could ever make a Bow, or behave like any other Person.” Having settled this Point to our satisfaction, the next we took into consideration was, to determine in what manner we should inform M’Kenrie of the favourable Opinion Janetta entertained of him…. We at length agreed to acquaint him with it by an anonymous Letter which Sophia drew up in the following manner.

“Oh! happy Lover of the beautifull Janetta, oh! amiable Possessor of HER Heart whose hand is destined to another, why do you thus delay a confession of your attachment to the amiable Object of it? Oh! consider that a few weeks will at once put an end to every flattering Hope that you may now entertain, by uniting the unfortunate Victim of her father’s Cruelty to the execrable and detested Graham.”

“Alas! why do you thus so cruelly connive at the projected Misery of her and of yourself by delaying to communicate that scheme which had doubtless long possessed your imagination? A secret Union will at once secure the felicity of both.”

The amiable M’Kenrie, whose modesty as he afterwards assured us had been the only reason of his having so long concealed the violence of his affection for Janetta, on receiving this Billet flew on the wings of Love to Macdonald-Hall, and so powerfully pleaded his Attachment to her who inspired it, that after a few more private interveiws, Sophia and I experienced the satisfaction of seeing them depart for Gretna-Green, which they chose for the celebration of their Nuptials, in preference to any other place although it was at a considerable distance from Macdonald-Hall. Adeiu Laura.

LETTER the 13th LAURA in continuation

They had been gone nearly a couple of Hours, before either Macdonald or Graham had entertained any suspicion of the affair. And they might not even then have suspected it, but for the following little Accident. Sophia happening one day to open a private Drawer in Macdonald’s Library with one of her own keys, discovered that it was the Place where he kept his Papers of consequence and amongst them some bank notes of considerable amount. This discovery she imparted to me; and having agreed together that it would be a proper treatment of so vile a Wretch as Macdonald to deprive him of money, perhaps dishonestly gained, it was determined that the next time we should either of us happen to go that way, we would take one or more of the Bank notes from the drawer. This well meant Plan we had often successfully put in Execution; but alas! on the very day of Janetta’s Escape, as Sophia was majestically removing the 5th Bank-note from the Drawer to her own purse, she was suddenly most impertinently interrupted in her employment by the entrance of Macdonald himself, in a most abrupt and precipitate Manner. Sophia (who though naturally all winning sweetness could when occasions demanded it call forth the Dignity of her sex) instantly put on a most forbidding look, and darting an angry frown on the undaunted culprit, demanded in a haughty tone of voice “Wherefore her retirement was thus insolently broken in on?” The unblushing Macdonald, without even endeavouring to exculpate himself from the crime he was charged with, meanly endeavoured to reproach Sophia with ignobly defrauding him of his money… The dignity of Sophia was wounded; “Wretch (exclaimed she, hastily replacing the Bank-note in the Drawer) how darest thou to accuse me of an Act, of which the bare idea makes me blush?” The base wretch was still unconvinced and continued to upbraid the justly-offended Sophia in such opprobious Language, that at length he so greatly provoked the gentle sweetness of her Nature, as to induce her to revenge herself on him by informing him of Janetta’s Elopement, and of the active Part we had both taken in the affair. At this period of their Quarrel I entered the Library and was as you may imagine equally offended as Sophia at the ill-grounded accusations of the malevolent and contemptible Macdonald. “Base Miscreant! (cried I) how canst thou thus undauntedly endeavour to sully the spotless reputation of such bright Excellence? Why dost thou not suspect MY innocence as soon?” “Be satisfied Madam (replied he) I DO suspect it, and therefore must desire that you will both leave this House in less than half an hour.”

“We shall go willingly; (answered Sophia) our hearts have long detested thee, and nothing but our freindship for thy Daughter could have induced us to remain so long beneath thy roof.”

“Your Freindship for my Daughter has indeed been most powerfully exerted by throwing her into the arms of an unprincipled Fortune-hunter.” (replied he)

“Yes, (exclaimed I) amidst every misfortune, it will afford us some consolation to reflect that by this one act of Freindship to Janetta, we have amply discharged every obligation that we have received from her father.”

“It must indeed be a most gratefull reflection, to your exalted minds.” (said he.)

As soon as we had packed up our wardrobe and valuables, we left Macdonald Hall, and after having walked about a mile and a half we sate down by the side of a clear limpid stream to refresh our exhausted limbs. The place was suited to meditation. A grove of full-grown Elms sheltered us from the East—. A Bed of full-grown Nettles from the West—. Before us ran the murmuring brook and behind us ran the turn-pike road. We were in a mood for contemplation and in a Disposition to enjoy so beautifull a spot. A mutual silence which had for some time reigned between us, was at length broke by my exclaiming—“What a lovely scene! Alas why are not Edward and Augustus here to enjoy its Beauties with us?”

“Ah! my beloved Laura (cried Sophia) for pity’s sake forbear recalling to my remembrance the unhappy situation of my imprisoned Husband. Alas, what would I not give to learn the fate of my Augustus! to know if he is still in Newgate, or if he is yet hung. But never shall I be able so far to conquer my tender sensibility as to enquire after him. Oh! do not I beseech you ever let me again hear you repeat his beloved name—. It affects me too deeply—. I cannot bear to hear him mentioned it wounds my feelings.”

“Excuse me my Sophia for having thus unwillingly offended you—” replied I—and then changing the conversation, desired her to admire the noble Grandeur of the Elms which sheltered us from the Eastern Zephyr. “Alas! my Laura (returned she) avoid so melancholy a subject, I intreat you. Do not again wound my Sensibility by observations on those elms. They remind me of Augustus. He was like them, tall, magestic—he possessed that noble grandeur which you admire in them.”

I was silent, fearfull lest I might any more unwillingly distress her by fixing on any other subject of conversation which might again remind her of Augustus.

“Why do you not speak my Laura? (said she after a short pause) “I cannot support this silence you must not leave me to my own reflections; they ever recur to Augustus.”

“What a beautifull sky! (said I) How charmingly is the azure varied by those delicate streaks of white!”

“Oh! my Laura (replied she hastily withdrawing her Eyes from a momentary glance at the sky) do not thus distress me by calling my Attention to an object which so cruelly reminds me of my Augustus’s blue sattin waistcoat striped in white! In pity to your unhappy freind avoid a subject so distressing.” What could I do? The feelings of Sophia were at that time so exquisite, and the tenderness she felt for Augustus so poignant that I had not power to start any other topic, justly fearing that it might in some unforseen manner again awaken all her sensibility by directing her thoughts to her Husband. Yet to be silent would be cruel; she had intreated me to talk.

From this Dilemma I was most fortunately releived by an accident truly apropos; it was the lucky overturning of a Gentleman’s Phaeton, on the road which ran murmuring behind us. It was a most fortunate accident as it diverted the attention of Sophia from the melancholy reflections which she had been before indulging. We instantly quitted our seats and ran to the rescue of those who but a few moments before had been in so elevated a situation as a fashionably high Phaeton, but who were now laid low and sprawling in the Dust. “What an ample subject for reflection on the uncertain Enjoyments of this World, would not that Phaeton and the Life of Cardinal Wolsey afford a thinking Mind!” said I to Sophia as we were hastening to the field of Action.

She had not time to answer me, for every thought was now engaged by the horrid spectacle before us. Two Gentlemen most elegantly attired but weltering in their blood was what first struck our Eyes—we approached—they were Edward and Augustus—. Yes dearest Marianne they were our Husbands. Sophia shreiked and fainted on the ground—I screamed and instantly ran mad—. We remained thus mutually deprived of our senses, some minutes, and on regaining them were deprived of them again. For an Hour and a Quarter did we continue in this unfortunate situation—Sophia fainting every moment and I running mad as often. At length a groan from the hapless Edward (who alone retained any share of life) restored us to ourselves. Had we indeed before imagined that either of them lived, we should have been more sparing of our Greif—but as we had supposed when we first beheld them that they were no more, we knew that nothing could remain to be done but what we were about. No sooner did we therefore hear my Edward’s groan than postponing our lamentations for the present, we hastily ran to the Dear Youth and kneeling on each side of him implored him not to die—. “Laura (said He fixing his now languid Eyes on me) I fear I have been overturned.”

I was overjoyed to find him yet sensible.

“Oh! tell me Edward (said I) tell me I beseech you before you die, what has befallen you since that unhappy Day in which Augustus was arrested and we were separated—”

“I will” (said he) and instantly fetching a deep sigh, Expired—. Sophia immediately sank again into a swoon—. MY greif was more audible. My Voice faltered, My Eyes assumed a vacant stare, my face became as pale as Death, and my senses were considerably impaired—.

“Talk not to me of Phaetons (said I, raving in a frantic, incoherent manner)—Give me a violin—. I’ll play to him and sooth him in his melancholy Hours—Beware ye gentle Nymphs of Cupid’s Thunderbolts, avoid the piercing shafts of Jupiter—Look at that grove of Firs—I see a Leg of Mutton—They told me Edward was not Dead; but they deceived me—they took him for a cucumber—” Thus I continued wildly exclaiming on my Edward’s Death—. For two Hours did I rave thus madly and should not then have left off, as I was not in the least fatigued, had not Sophia who was just recovered from her swoon, intreated me to consider that Night was now approaching and that the Damps began to fall. “And whither shall we go (said I) to shelter us from either?” “To that white Cottage.” (replied she pointing to a neat Building which rose up amidst the grove of Elms and which I had not before observed—) I agreed and we instantly walked to it—we knocked at the door—it was opened by an old woman; on being requested to afford us a Night’s Lodging, she informed us that her House was but small, that she had only two Bedrooms, but that However we should be wellcome to one of them. We were satisfied and followed the good woman into the House where we were greatly cheered by the sight of a comfortable fire—. She was a widow and had only one Daughter, who was then just seventeen—One of the best of ages; but alas! she was very plain and her name was Bridget….. Nothing therfore could be expected from her—she could not be supposed to possess either exalted Ideas, Delicate Feelings or refined Sensibilities—. She was nothing more than a mere good-tempered, civil and obliging young woman; as such we could scarcely dislike here—she was only an Object of Contempt—. Adeiu Laura.

LETTER the 14th LAURA in continuation

Arm yourself my amiable young Freind with all the philosophy you are Mistress of; summon up all the fortitude you possess, for alas! in the perusal of the following Pages your sensibility will be most severely tried. Ah! what were the misfortunes I had before experienced and which I have already related to you, to the one I am now going to inform you of. The Death of my Father and my Mother and my Husband though almost more than my gentle Nature could support, were trifles in comparison to the misfortune I am now proceeding to relate. The morning after our arrival at the Cottage, Sophia complained of a violent pain in her delicate limbs, accompanied with a disagreable Head-ake She attributed it to a cold caught by her continued faintings in the open air as the Dew was falling the Evening before. This I feared was but too probably the case; since how could it be otherwise accounted for that I should have escaped the same indisposition, but by supposing that the bodily Exertions I had undergone in my repeated fits of frenzy had so effectually circulated and warmed my Blood as to make me proof against the chilling Damps of Night, whereas, Sophia lying totally inactive on the ground must have been exposed to all their severity. I was most seriously alarmed by her illness which trifling as it may appear to you, a certain instinctive sensibility whispered me, would in the End be fatal to her.

Alas! my fears were but too fully justified; she grew gradually worse—and I daily became more alarmed for her. At length she was obliged to confine herself solely to the Bed allotted us by our worthy Landlady—. Her disorder turned to a galloping Consumption and in a few days carried her off. Amidst all my Lamentations for her (and violent you may suppose they were) I yet received some consolation in the reflection of my having paid every attention to her, that could be offered, in her illness. I had wept over her every Day—had bathed her sweet face with my tears and had pressed her fair Hands continually in mine—. “My beloved Laura (said she to me a few Hours before she died) take warning from my unhappy End and avoid the imprudent conduct which had occasioned it… Beware of fainting-fits… Though at the time they may be refreshing and agreable yet beleive me they will in the end, if too often repeated and at improper seasons, prove destructive to your Constitution… My fate will teach you this.. I die a Martyr to my greif for the loss of Augustus.. One fatal swoon has cost me my Life.. Beware of swoons Dear Laura…. A frenzy fit is not one quarter so pernicious; it is an exercise to the Body and if not too violent, is I dare say conducive to Health in its consequences—Run mad as often as you chuse; but do not faint—”

These were the last words she ever addressed to me.. It was her dieing Advice to her afflicted Laura, who has ever most faithfully adhered to it.

After having attended my lamented freind to her Early Grave, I immediately (tho’ late at night) left the detested Village in which she died, and near which had expired my Husband and Augustus. I had not walked many yards from it before I was overtaken by a stage-coach, in which I instantly took a place, determined to proceed in it to Edinburgh, where I hoped to find some kind some pitying Freind who would receive and comfort me in my afflictions.

It was so dark when I entered the Coach that I could not distinguish the Number of my Fellow-travellers; I could only perceive that they were many. Regardless however of anything concerning them, I gave myself up to my own sad Reflections. A general silence prevailed—A silence, which was by nothing interrupted but by the loud and repeated snores of one of the Party.

“What an illiterate villain must that man be! (thought I to myself) What a total want of delicate refinement must he have, who can thus shock our senses by such a brutal noise! He must I am certain be capable of every bad action! There is no crime too black for such a Character!” Thus reasoned I within myself, and doubtless such were the reflections of my fellow travellers.

At length, returning Day enabled me to behold the unprincipled Scoundrel who had so violently disturbed my feelings. It was Sir Edward the father of my Deceased Husband. By his side sate Augusta, and on the same seat with me were your Mother and Lady Dorothea. Imagine my surprise at finding myself thus seated amongst my old Acquaintance. Great as was my astonishment, it was yet increased, when on looking out of Windows, I beheld the Husband of Philippa, with Philippa by his side, on the Coachbox and when on looking behind I beheld, Philander and Gustavus in the Basket. “Oh! Heavens, (exclaimed I) is it possible that I should so unexpectedly be surrounded by my nearest Relations and Connections?” These words roused the rest of the Party, and every eye was directed to the corner in which I sat. “Oh! my Isabel (continued I throwing myself across Lady Dorothea into her arms) receive once more to your Bosom the unfortunate Laura. Alas! when we last parted in the Vale of Usk, I was happy in being united to the best of Edwards; I had then a Father and a Mother, and had never known misfortunes—But now deprived of every freind but you—”

“What! (interrupted Augusta) is my Brother dead then? Tell us I intreat you what is become of him?” “Yes, cold and insensible Nymph, (replied I) that luckless swain your Brother, is no more, and you may now glory in being the Heiress of Sir Edward’s fortune.”

Although I had always despised her from the Day I had overheard her conversation with my Edward, yet in civility I complied with hers and Sir Edward’s intreaties that I would inform them of the whole melancholy affair. They were greatly shocked—even the obdurate Heart of Sir Edward and the insensible one of Augusta, were touched with sorrow, by the unhappy tale. At the request of your Mother I related to them every other misfortune which had befallen me since we parted. Of the imprisonment of Augustus and the absence of Edward—of our arrival in Scotland—of our unexpected Meeting with our Grand-father and our cousins—of our visit to Macdonald-Hall—of the singular service we there performed towards Janetta—of her Fathers ingratitude for it.. of his inhuman Behaviour, unaccountable suspicions, and barbarous treatment of us, in obliging us to leave the House.. of our lamentations on the loss of Edward and Augustus and finally of the melancholy Death of my beloved Companion.

Pity and surprise were strongly depictured in your Mother’s countenance, during the whole of my narration, but I am sorry to say, that to the eternal reproach of her sensibility, the latter infinitely predominated. Nay, faultless as my conduct had certainly been during the whole course of my late misfortunes and adventures, she pretended to find fault with my behaviour in many of the situations in which I had been placed. As I was sensible myself, that I had always behaved in a manner which reflected Honour on my Feelings and Refinement, I paid little attention to what she said, and desired her to satisfy my Curiosity by informing me how she came there, instead of wounding my spotless reputation with unjustifiable Reproaches. As soon as she had complyed with my wishes in this particular and had given me an accurate detail of every thing that had befallen her since our separation (the particulars of which if you are not already acquainted with, your Mother will give you) I applied to Augusta for the same information respecting herself, Sir Edward and Lady Dorothea.

She told me that having a considerable taste for the Beauties of Nature, her curiosity to behold the delightful scenes it exhibited in that part of the World had been so much raised by Gilpin’s Tour to the Highlands, that she had prevailed on her Father to undertake a Tour to Scotland and had persuaded Lady Dorothea to accompany them. That they had arrived at Edinburgh a few Days before and from thence had made daily Excursions into the Country around in the Stage Coach they were then in, from one of which Excursions they were at that time returning. My next enquiries were concerning Philippa and her Husband, the latter of whom I learned having spent all her fortune, had recourse for subsistence to the talent in which, he had always most excelled, namely, Driving, and that having sold every thing which belonged to them except their Coach, had converted it into a Stage and in order to be removed from any of his former Acquaintance, had driven it to Edinburgh from whence he went to Sterling every other Day. That Philippa still retaining her affection for her ungratefull Husband, had followed him to Scotland and generally accompanied him in his little Excursions to Sterling. “It has only been to throw a little money into their Pockets (continued Augusta) that my Father has always travelled in their Coach to veiw the beauties of the Country since our arrival in Scotland—for it would certainly have been much more agreable to us, to visit the Highlands in a Postchaise than merely to travel from Edinburgh to Sterling and from Sterling to Edinburgh every other Day in a crowded and uncomfortable Stage.” I perfectly agreed with her in her sentiments on the affair, and secretly blamed Sir Edward for thus sacrificing his Daughter’s Pleasure for the sake of a ridiculous old woman whose folly in marrying so young a man ought to be punished. His Behaviour however was entirely of a peice with his general Character; for what could be expected from a man who possessed not the smallest atom of Sensibility, who scarcely knew the meaning of simpathy, and who actually snored—. Adeiu Laura.

LETTER the 15th LAURA in continuation.

When we arrived at the town where we were to Breakfast, I was determined to speak with Philander and Gustavus, and to that purpose as soon as I left the Carriage, I went to the Basket and tenderly enquired after their Health, expressing my fears of the uneasiness of their situation. At first they seemed rather confused at my appearance dreading no doubt that I might call them to account for the money which our Grandfather had left me and which they had unjustly deprived me of, but finding that I mentioned nothing of the Matter, they desired me to step into the Basket as we might there converse with greater ease. Accordingly I entered and whilst the rest of the party were devouring green tea and buttered toast, we feasted ourselves in a more refined and sentimental Manner by a confidential Conversation. I informed them of every thing which had befallen me during the course of my life, and at my request they related to me every incident of theirs.

“We are the sons as you already know, of the two youngest Daughters which Lord St Clair had by Laurina an italian opera girl. Our mothers could neither of them exactly ascertain who were our Father, though it is generally beleived that Philander, is the son of one Philip Jones a Bricklayer and that my Father was one Gregory Staves a Staymaker of Edinburgh. This is however of little consequence for as our Mothers were certainly never married to either of them it reflects no Dishonour on our Blood, which is of a most ancient and unpolluted kind. Bertha (the Mother of Philander) and Agatha (my own Mother) always lived together. They were neither of them very rich; their united fortunes had originally amounted to nine thousand Pounds, but as they had always lived on the principal of it, when we were fifteen it was diminished to nine Hundred. This nine Hundred they always kept in a Drawer in one of the Tables which stood in our common sitting Parlour, for the convenience of having it always at Hand. Whether it was from this circumstance, of its being easily taken, or from a wish of being independant, or from an excess of sensibility (for which we were always remarkable) I cannot now determine, but certain it is that when we had reached our 15th year, we took the nine Hundred Pounds and ran away. Having obtained this prize we were determined to manage it with eoconomy and not to spend it either with folly or Extravagance. To this purpose we therefore divided it into nine parcels, one of which we devoted to Victuals, the 2d to Drink, the 3d to Housekeeping, the 4th to Carriages, the 5th to Horses, the 6th to Servants, the 7th to Amusements, the 8th to Cloathes and the 9th to Silver Buckles. Having thus arranged our Expences for two months (for we expected to make the nine Hundred Pounds last as long) we hastened to London and had the good luck to spend it in 7 weeks and a Day which was 6 Days sooner than we had intended. As soon as we had thus happily disencumbered ourselves from the weight of so much money, we began to think of returning to our Mothers, but accidentally hearing that they were both starved to Death, we gave over the design and determined to engage ourselves to some strolling Company of Players, as we had always a turn for the Stage. Accordingly we offered our services to one and were accepted; our Company was indeed rather small, as it consisted only of the Manager his wife and ourselves, but there were fewer to pay and the only inconvenience attending it was the Scarcity of Plays which for want of People to fill the Characters, we could perform. We did not mind trifles however—. One of our most admired Performances was MACBETH, in which we were truly great. The Manager always played BANQUO himself, his Wife my LADY MACBETH. I did the THREE WITCHES and Philander acted ALL THE REST. To say the truth this tragedy was not only the Best, but the only Play that we ever performed; and after having acted it all over England, and Wales, we came to Scotland to exhibit it over the remainder of Great Britain. We happened to be quartered in that very Town, where you came and met your Grandfather—. We were in the Inn-yard when his Carriage entered and perceiving by the arms to whom it belonged, and knowing that Lord St Clair was our Grandfather, we agreed to endeavour to get something from him by discovering the Relationship—. You know how well it succeeded—. Having obtained the two Hundred Pounds, we instantly left the Town, leaving our Manager and his Wife to act MACBETH by themselves, and took the road to Sterling, where we spent our little fortune with great ECLAT. We are now returning to Edinburgh in order to get some preferment in the Acting way; and such my Dear Cousin is our History.”

I thanked the amiable Youth for his entertaining narration, and after expressing my wishes for their Welfare and Happiness, left them in their little Habitation and returned to my other Freinds who impatiently expected me.

My adventures are now drawing to a close my dearest Marianne; at least for the present.

When we arrived at Edinburgh Sir Edward told me that as the Widow of his son, he desired I would accept from his Hands of four Hundred a year. I graciously promised that I would, but could not help observing that the unsimpathetic Baronet offered it more on account of my being the Widow of Edward than in being the refined and amiable Laura.

I took up my Residence in a Romantic Village in the Highlands of Scotland where I have ever since continued, and where I can uninterrupted by unmeaning Visits, indulge in a melancholy solitude, my unceasing Lamentations for the Death of my Father, my Mother, my Husband and my Friend.

Augusta has been for several years united to Graham the Man of all others most suited to her; she became acquainted with him during her stay in Scotland.

Sir Edward in hopes of gaining an Heir to his Title and Estate, at the same time married Lady Dorothea—.  His wishes have been answered.

Philander and Gustavus, after having raised their reputation by their Performances in the Theatrical Line at Edinburgh, removed to Covent Garden, where they still exhibit under the assumed names of LUVIS and QUICK.

Philippa has long paid the Debt of Nature, Her Husband however still continues to drive the Stage-Coach from Edinburgh to Sterling:—Adeiu my Dearest Marianne. Laura. …


To Miss Austen, eldest daughter of the Rev. George Austen, this work is inscribed with all due respect by THE AUTHOR.

N.B.  There will be very few Dates in this History.


HENRY the 4th
Henry the 4th ascended the throne of England much to his own satisfaction in the year 1399, after having prevailed on his cousin and predecessor Richard the 2nd, to resign it to him, and to retire for the rest of his life to Pomfret Castle, where he happened to be murdered.  It is to be supposed that Henry was married, since he had certainly four sons, but it is not in my power to inform the Reader who was his wife.  Be this as it may, he did not live for ever, but falling ill, his son the Prince of Wales came and took away the crown; whereupon the King made a long speech, for which I must refer the Reader to Shakespear’s Plays, and the Prince made a still longer.  Things being thus settled between them the King died, and was succeeded by his son Henry who had previously beat Sir William Gascoigne.HENRY the 5th
This Prince after he succeeded to the throne grew quite reformed and amiable, forsaking all his dissipated companions, and never thrashing Sir William again.  During his reign, Lord Cobham was burnt alive, but I forget what for.  His Majesty then turned his thoughts to France, where he went and fought the famous Battle of Agincourt.  He afterwards married the King’s daughter Catherine, a very agreable woman by Shakespear’s account.   In spite of all this however he died, and was succeeded by his son Henry.

HENRY the 6th
I cannot say much for this Monarch’s sense.  Nor would I if I could, for he was a Lancastrian.  I suppose you know all about the Wars between him and the Duke of York who was of the right side; if you do not, you had better read some other History, for I shall not be very diffuse in this, meaning by it only to vent my spleen AGAINST, and shew my Hatred TO all those people whose parties or principles do not suit with mine, and not to give information.  This King married Margaret of Anjou, a Woman whose distresses and misfortunes were so great as almost to make me who hate her, pity her.  It was in this reign that Joan of Arc lived and made such a ROW among the English.  They should not have burnt her—but they did.  There were several Battles between the Yorkists and Lancastrians, in which the former (as they ought) usually conquered.  At length they were entirely overcome; The King was murdered—The Queen was sent home—and Edward the 4th ascended the Throne.

EDWARD the 4th
This Monarch was famous only for his Beauty and his Courage, of which the Picture we have here given of him, and his undaunted Behaviour in marrying one Woman while he was engaged to another, are sufficient proofs. His Wife was Elizabeth Woodville, a Widow who, poor Woman! was afterwards confined in a Convent by that Monster of Iniquity and Avarice Henry the 7th. One of Edward’s Mistresses was Jane Shore, who has had a play written about her, but it is a tragedy and therefore not worth reading. Having performed all these noble actions, his Majesty died, and was succeeded by his son.

EDWARD the 5th

This unfortunate Prince lived so little a while that nobody had him to draw his picture. He was murdered by his Uncle’s Contrivance, whose name was Richard the 3rd.

RICHARD the 3rd

The Character of this Prince has been in general very severely treated by Historians, but as he was a YORK, I am rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man. It has indeed been confidently asserted that he killed his two Nephews and his Wife, but it has also been declared that he did not kill his two Nephews, which I am inclined to beleive true; and if this is the case, it may also be affirmed that he did not kill his Wife, for if Perkin Warbeck was really the Duke of York, why might not Lambert Simnel be the Widow of Richard. Whether innocent or guilty, he did not reign long in peace, for Henry Tudor E. of Richmond as great a villain as ever lived, made a great fuss about getting the Crown and having killed the King at the battle of Bosworth, he succeeded to it.

HENRY the 7th

This Monarch soon after his accession married the Princess Elizabeth of York, by which alliance he plainly proved that he thought his own right inferior to hers, tho’ he pretended to the contrary. By this Marriage he had two sons and two daughters, the elder of which Daughters was married to the King of Scotland and had the happiness of being grandmother to one of the first Characters in the World. But of HER, I shall have occasion to speak more at large in future. The youngest, Mary, married first the King of France and secondly the D. of Suffolk, by whom she had one daughter, afterwards the Mother of Lady Jane Grey, who tho’ inferior to her lovely Cousin the Queen of Scots, was yet an amiable young woman and famous for reading Greek while other people were hunting. It was in the reign of Henry the 7th that Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel before mentioned made their appearance, the former of whom was set in the stocks, took shelter in Beaulieu Abbey, and was beheaded with the Earl of Warwick, and the latter was taken into the Kings kitchen. His Majesty died and was succeeded by his son Henry whose only merit was his not being quite so bad as his daughter Elizabeth.

HENRY the 8th

It would be an affront to my Readers were I to suppose that they were not as well acquainted with the particulars of this King’s reign as I am myself. It will therefore be saving THEM the task of reading again what they have read before, and MYSELF the trouble of writing what I do not perfectly recollect, by giving only a slight sketch of the principal Events which marked his reign. Among these may be ranked Cardinal Wolsey’s telling the father Abbott of Leicester Abbey that “he was come to lay his bones among them,” the reformation in Religion and the King’s riding through the streets of London with Anna Bullen. It is however but Justice, and my Duty to declare that this amiable Woman was entirely innocent of the Crimes with which she was accused, and of which her Beauty, her Elegance, and her Sprightliness were sufficient proofs, not to mention her solemn Protestations of Innocence, the weakness of the Charges against her, and the King’s Character; all of which add some confirmation, tho’ perhaps but slight ones when in comparison with those before alledged in her favour. Tho’ I do not profess giving many dates, yet as I think it proper to give some and shall of course make choice of those which it is most necessary for the Reader to know, I think it right to inform him that her letter to the King was dated on the 6th of May. The Crimes and Cruelties of this Prince, were too numerous to be mentioned, (as this history I trust has fully shown;) and nothing can be said in his vindication, but that his abolishing Religious Houses and leaving them to the ruinous depredations of time has been of infinite use to the landscape of England in general, which probably was a principal motive for his doing it, since otherwise why should a Man who was of no Religion himself be at so much trouble to abolish one which had for ages been established in the Kingdom. His Majesty’s 5th Wife was the Duke of Norfolk’s Neice who, tho’ universally acquitted of the crimes for which she was beheaded, has been by many people supposed to have led an abandoned life before her Marriage—of this however I have many doubts, since she was a relation of that noble Duke of Norfolk who was so warm in the Queen of Scotland’s cause, and who at last fell a victim to it. The Kings last wife contrived to survive him, but with difficulty effected it. He was succeeded by his only son Edward.

EDWARD the 6th

As this prince was only nine years old at the time of his Father’s death, he was considered by many people as too young to govern, and the late King happening to be of the same opinion, his mother’s Brother the Duke of Somerset was chosen Protector of the realm during his minority. This Man was on the whole of a very amiable Character, and is somewhat of a favourite with me, tho’ I would by no means pretend to affirm that he was equal to those first of Men Robert Earl of Essex, Delamere, or Gilpin. He was beheaded, of which he might with reason have been proud, had he known that such was the death of Mary Queen of Scotland; but as it was impossible that he should be conscious of what had never happened, it does not appear that he felt particularly delighted with the manner of it. After his decease the Duke of Northumberland had the care of the King and the Kingdom, and performed his trust of both so well that the King died and the Kingdom was left to his daughter in law the Lady Jane Grey, who has been already mentioned as reading Greek. Whether she really understood that language or whether such a study proceeded only from an excess of vanity for which I beleive she was always rather remarkable, is uncertain. Whatever might be the cause, she preserved the same appearance of knowledge, and contempt of what was generally esteemed pleasure, during the whole of her life, for she declared herself displeased with being appointed Queen, and while conducting to the scaffold, she wrote a sentence in Latin and another in Greek on seeing the dead Body of her Husband accidentally passing that way.


This woman had the good luck of being advanced to the throne of England, in spite of the superior pretensions, Merit, and Beauty of her Cousins Mary Queen of Scotland and Jane Grey. Nor can I pity the Kingdom for the misfortunes they experienced during her Reign, since they fully deserved them, for having allowed her to succeed her Brother—which was a double peice of folly, since they might have foreseen that as she died without children, she would be succeeded by that disgrace to humanity, that pest of society, Elizabeth. Many were the people who fell martyrs to the protestant Religion during her reign; I suppose not fewer than a dozen. She married Philip King of Spain who in her sister’s reign was famous for building Armadas. She died without issue, and then the dreadful moment came in which the destroyer of all comfort, the deceitful Betrayer of trust reposed in her, and the Murderess of her Cousin succeeded to the Throne.——


It was the peculiar misfortune of this Woman to have bad Ministers—-Since wicked as she herself was, she could not have committed such extensive mischeif, had not these vile and abandoned Men connived at, and encouraged her in her Crimes. I know that it has by many people been asserted and beleived that Lord Burleigh, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the rest of those who filled the cheif offices of State were deserving, experienced, and able Ministers. But oh! how blinded such writers and such Readers must be to true Merit, to Merit despised, neglected and defamed, if they can persist in such opinions when they reflect that these men, these boasted men were such scandals to their Country and their sex as to allow and assist their Queen in confining for the space of nineteen years, a WOMAN who if the claims of Relationship and Merit were of no avail, yet as a Queen and as one who condescended to place confidence in her, had every reason to expect assistance and protection; and at length in allowing Elizabeth to bring this amiable Woman to an untimely, unmerited, and scandalous Death. Can any one if he reflects but for a moment on this blot, this everlasting blot upon their understanding and their Character, allow any praise to Lord Burleigh or Sir Francis Walsingham? Oh! what must this bewitching Princess whose only freind was then the Duke of Norfolk, and whose only ones now Mr Whitaker, Mrs Lefroy, Mrs Knight and myself, who was abandoned by her son, confined by her Cousin, abused, reproached and vilified by all, what must not her most noble mind have suffered when informed that Elizabeth had given orders for her Death! Yet she bore it with a most unshaken fortitude, firm in her mind; constant in her Religion; and prepared herself to meet the cruel fate to which she was doomed, with a magnanimity that would alone proceed from conscious Innocence. And yet could you Reader have beleived it possible that some hardened and zealous Protestants have even abused her for that steadfastness in the Catholic Religion which reflected on her so much credit? But this is a striking proof of THEIR narrow souls and prejudiced Judgements who accuse her. She was executed in the Great Hall at Fortheringay Castle (sacred Place!) on Wednesday the 8th of February 1586—to the everlasting Reproach of Elizabeth, her Ministers, and of England in general. It may not be unnecessary before I entirely conclude my account of this ill-fated Queen, to observe that she had been accused of several crimes during the time of her reigning in Scotland, of which I now most seriously do assure my Reader that she was entirely innocent; having never been guilty of anything more than Imprudencies into which she was betrayed by the openness of her Heart, her Youth, and her Education. Having I trust by this assurance entirely done away every Suspicion and every doubt which might have arisen in the Reader’s mind, from what other Historians have written of her, I shall proceed to mention the remaining Events that marked Elizabeth’s reign. It was about this time that Sir Francis Drake the first English Navigator who sailed round the World, lived, to be the ornament of his Country and his profession. Yet great as he was, and justly celebrated as a sailor, I cannot help foreseeing that he will be equalled in this or the next Century by one who tho’ now but young, already promises to answer all the ardent and sanguine expectations of his Relations and Freinds, amongst whom I may class the amiable Lady to whom this work is dedicated, and my no less amiable self.

Though of a different profession, and shining in a different sphere of Life, yet equally conspicuous in the Character of an Earl, as Drake was in that of a Sailor, was Robert Devereux Lord Essex. This unfortunate young Man was not unlike in character to that equally unfortunate one FREDERIC DELAMERE. The simile may be carried still farther, and Elizabeth the torment of Essex may be compared to the Emmeline of Delamere. It would be endless to recount the misfortunes of this noble and gallant Earl. It is sufficient to say that he was beheaded on the 25th of Feb, after having been Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, after having clapped his hand on his sword, and after performing many other services to his Country. Elizabeth did not long survive his loss, and died so miserable that were it not an injury to the memory of Mary I should pity her.

JAMES the 1st

Though this King had some faults, among which and as the most principal, was his allowing his Mother’s death, yet considered on the whole I cannot help liking him. He married Anne of Denmark, and had several Children; fortunately for him his eldest son Prince Henry died before his father or he might have experienced the evils which befell his unfortunate Brother.

As I am myself partial to the roman catholic religion, it is with infinite regret that I am obliged to blame the Behaviour of any Member of it: yet Truth being I think very excusable in an Historian, I am necessitated to say that in this reign the roman Catholics of England did not behave like Gentlemen to the protestants. Their Behaviour indeed to the Royal Family and both Houses of Parliament might justly be considered by them as very uncivil, and even Sir Henry Percy tho’ certainly the best bred man of the party, had none of that general politeness which is so universally pleasing, as his attentions were entirely confined to Lord Mounteagle.

Sir Walter Raleigh flourished in this and the preceeding reign, and is by many people held in great veneration and respect—But as he was an enemy of the noble Essex, I have nothing to say in praise of him, and must refer all those who may wish to be acquainted with the particulars of his life, to Mr Sheridan’s play of the Critic, where they will find many interesting anecdotes as well of him as of his friend Sir Christopher Hatton.—His Majesty was of that amiable disposition which inclines to Freindship, and in such points was possessed of a keener penetration in discovering Merit than many other people. I once heard an excellent Sharade on a Carpet, of which the subject I am now on reminds me, and as I think it may afford my Readers some amusement to FIND IT OUT, I shall here take the liberty of presenting it to them.

SHARADE My first is what my second was to King James the 1st, and you tread on my whole.

The principal favourites of his Majesty were Car, who was afterwards created Earl of Somerset and whose name perhaps may have some share in the above mentioned Sharade, and George Villiers afterwards Duke of Buckingham. On his Majesty’s death he was succeeded by his son Charles.

CHARLES the 1st
This amiable Monarch seems born to have suffered misfortunes equal to those of his lovely Grandmother; misfortunes which he could not deserve since he was her descendant.  Never certainly were there before so many detestable Characters at one time in England as in this Period of its History; never were amiable men so scarce.  The number of them throughout the whole Kingdom amounting only to FIVE, besides the inhabitants of Oxford who were always loyal to their King and faithful to his interests.  The names of this noble five who never forgot the duty of the subject, or swerved from their attachment to his Majesty, were as follows—The King himself, ever stedfast in his own support—Archbishop Laud, Earl of Strafford, Viscount Faulkland and Duke of Ormond, who were scarcely less strenuous or zealous in the cause.  While the VILLIANS of the time would make too long a list to be written or read; I shall therefore content myself with mentioning the leaders of the Gang.  Cromwell, Fairfax, Hampden, and Pym may be considered as the original Causers of all the disturbances, Distresses, and Civil Wars in which England for many years was embroiled.  In this reign as well as in that of Elizabeth, I am obliged in spite of my attachment to the Scotch, to consider them as equally guilty with the generality of the English, since they dared to think differently from their Sovereign, to forget the Adoration which as STUARTS it was their Duty to pay them, to rebel against, dethrone and imprison the unfortunate Mary; to oppose, to deceive, and to sell the no less unfortunate Charles.  The Events of this Monarch’s reign are too numerous for my pen, and indeed the recital of any Events (except what I make myself) is uninteresting to me; my principal reason for undertaking the History of England being to Prove the innocence of the Queen of Scotland, which I flatter myself with having effectually done, and to abuse Elizabeth, tho’ I am rather fearful of having fallen short in the latter part of my scheme.—As therefore it is not my intention to give any particular account of the distresses into which this King was involved through the misconduct and Cruelty of his Parliament, I shall satisfy myself with vindicating him from the Reproach of Arbitrary and tyrannical Government with which he has often been charged.  This, I feel, is not difficult to be done, for with one argument I am certain of satisfying every sensible and well disposed person whose opinions have been properly guided by a good Education—and this Argument is that he was a STUART.”     Jane Austen, Love & Friendship & Other Early Works; selected letters and passages, circa 1786-1793.  

Numero Dos“Besides contributing to our stock of happiness, to our harmless laughter and amusement, to our scorn for falsehood and pretension, to our righteous hatred of hypocrisy, to our education in the perception of truth, our love of honesty, our knowledge of life, and shrewd guidance through the world, have not our humorous writers, our gay and kind week-day preachers, done much in support of that holy cause which has assembled you in this place, and which you are all abetting,—the cause of love and charity, the cause of the poor, the weak, and the unhappy; the sweet mission of love and tenderness, and peace and good will toward men?  That same theme which is urged upon you by the eloquence and example of good men to whom you are delighted listeners on Sabbath days is taught in his way and according to his power by the humorous writer, the commentator on every-day life and manners.  

And as you are here assembled for a charitable purpose, giving your contributions at the door to benefit deserving people who need them, I like to hope and think that the men of our calling have done something in aid of the cause of charity, and have helped, with kind words and kind thoughts at least, to confer happiness and to do good.  If the humorous writers claim to be week-day preachers, have they conferred any benefit by their sermons?  Are people happier, better, better disposed to their neighbors, more inclined to do works of kindness, to love, forbear, forgive, pity, after reading in Addison, in Steele, in Fielding, in Goldsmith, in Hood, in Dickens?  I hope and believe so, and fancy that in writing they are also acting charitably, contributing with the means which Heaven supplies them to forward the end which brings you, too, together.

A love of the human species is a very vague and indefinite kind of virtue, sitting very easily on a man, not confining his actions at all, shining in print, or exploding in paragraphs, after which efforts of benevolence the philanthropist is sometimes said to go home and be no better than his neighbors.  Tartuffe and Joseph Surface, Stiggins and Chadband, who are always preaching fine sentiments and are no more virtuous than hundreds of those whom they denounce and whom they cheat, are fair objects of mistrust and satire; but their hypocrisy, the homage, according to the old saying, which vice pays to virtue, has this of good in it, that its fruits are good: a man may preach good morals tho he may be himself but a lax practitioner; a Pharisee may put pieces of gold into the charity-plate out of mere hypocrisy and ostentation, but the bad man’s gold feeds the widow and the fatherless as well as the good man’s.  The butcher and baker must needs look, not to motives, but to money, in return for their wares.

A literary man of the humoristic turn is pretty sure to be of a philanthropic nature, to have a great sensibility, to be easily moved to pain or pleasure, keenly to appreciate the varieties of temper of people round about him, and sympathize in their laughter, love, amusement, tears. Such a man is philanthropic, man-loving by nature, as another is irascible, or red-haired, or six feet high. And so I would arrogate no particular merit to literary men for the possession of this faculty of doing good which some of them enjoy. It costs a gentleman no sacrifice to be benevolent on paper; and the luxury of indulging in the most beautiful and brilliant sentiments never makes any man a penny poorer. A literary man is no better than another, as far as my experience goes; and a man writing a book no better or no worse than one who keeps accounts in a ledger or follows any other occupation. Let us, however, give him credit for the good, at least, which he is the means of doing, as we give credit to a man with a million for the hundred which he puts into the plate at a charity-sermon. He never misses them. He has made them in a moment by a lucky speculation, and parts with them knowing that he has an almost endless balance at his bank, whence he can call for more. But in esteeming the benefaction we are grateful to the benefactor, too, somewhat; and so of men of genius, richly endowed, and lavish in parting with their mind’s wealth, we may view them at least kindly and favorably, and be thankful for the bounty of which providence has made them the dispensers.  4   I have said myself somewhere, I do not know with what correctness (for definitions never are complete), that humor is wit and love; I am sure, at any rate, that the best humor is that which contains most humanity, that which is flavored throughout with tenderness and kindness. This love does not demand constant utterance or actual expression, as a good father, in conversation with his children or wife, is not perpetually embracing them or making protestations of his love; as a lover in the society of his mistress is not, at least as far as I am led to believe, for ever squeezing her hand or sighing in her ear, “My soul’s darling, I adore you!” He shows his love by his conduct, by his fidelity, by his watchful desire to make the beloved person happy; it lightens from his eyes when she appears, tho he may not speak it; it fills his heart when she is present or absent; influences all his words and actions; suffuses his whole being; it sets the father cheerily to work through the long day, supports him through the tedious labor of the weary absence or journey, and sends him happy home again, yearning toward the wife and children.  5   This kind of love is not a spasm, but a life. It fondles and caresses at due seasons, no doubt; but the fond heart is always beating fondly and truly, tho the wife is not sitting hand-in-hand with him or the children hugging at his knee. And so with a loving humor: I think, it is a genial writer’s habit of being; it is the kind, gentle spirit’s way of looking out on the world—that sweet friendliness which fills his heart and his style. You recognize it, even tho there may not be a single point of wit, or a single pathetic touch in the page; tho you may not be called upon to salute his genius by a laugh or a tear. That collision of ideas, which provokes the one or the other, must be occasional. They must be like papa’s embraces, which I spoke of anon, who only delivers them now and again, and can not be expected to go on kissing the children all night. And so the writer’s jokes and sentiment, his ebullitions of feeling, his outbreaks of high spirits, must not be too frequent. One tires of a page of which every sentence sparkles with points, of a sentimentalist who is always pumping the tears from his eyes or your own. One suspects the genuineness of the tear, the naturalness of the humor; these ought to be true and manly in a man, as everything else in his life should be manly and true; and he loses his dignity by laughing or weeping out of place, or too often.  6   If I do not love Swift, as, thank God, I do not, however immensely I may admire him, it is because I revolt from the man who placards himself as a professional hater of his own kind; because he chisels his savage indignation on his tombstone, as if to perpetuate his protest against being born of our race—the suffering, the weak, the erring, the wicked, if you will, but still the friendly, the loving children of God our Father; it is because, as I read through Swift’s dark volumes, I never find the aspect of nature seems to delight him, the smiles of children to please him, the sight of wedded love to soothe him. I do not remember in any line of his writing a passing allusion to a natural scene of beauty.

 When he speaks about the families of his comrades and brother clergymen, it is to assail them with gibes and scorn, and to laugh at them brutally for being fathers and for being poor. He does mention, in the Journal to Stella, a sick child, to be sure—a child of Lady Masham, that was ill of the smallpox—but then it is to confound the brat for being ill and the mother for attending to it when she should have been busy about a court intrigue, in which the Dean was deeply engaged. And he alludes to a suitor of Stella’s, and a match she might have made, and would have made, very likely, with an honorable and faithful and attached man, Tisdall, who loved her, and of whom Swift speaks, in a letter to his lady, in language so foul that you would not bear to hear it.  7   In treating of the good the humorists have done, of the love and kindness they have taught and left behind them, it is not of this one I dare speak. Heaven help the lonely misanthrope! be kind to that multitude of sins, with so little charity to cover them!  8   Of Addison’s contributions to the charity of the world I have spoken before, in trying to depict that noble figure; and say now, as then, that we should thank him as one of the greatest benefactors of that vast and immeasurably spreading family which speaks our common tongue. Wherever it is spoken, there is no man that does not feel, and understand, and use the noble English word “gentleman.” And there is no man that teaches us to be gentlemen better than Joseph Addison. Gentle in our bearing through life; gentle and courteous to our neighbor; gentle in dealing with his follies and weaknesses; gentle in treating his opposition; deferential to the old; kindly to the poor, and those below us in degree—for people above us and below us we must find, in whatever hemisphere we dwell, whether kings or presidents govern us, and in no republic or monarchy that I know of, is a citizen exempt from the tax of befriending poverty and weakness, of respecting age, and of honoring his father and mother. It has just been whispered to me—I have not been three months in the country, and, of course, can not venture to express an opinion of my own—that, in regard to paying this later tax of respect and honor to age, some very few of the Republican youths are occasionally a little remiss. I have heard of young Sons of Freedom publishing their Declaration of Independence before they could well spell it; and cutting the connection with father and mother before they had learned to shave. My own time of life having been stated by various enlightened organs of public opinion, at almost any figure from forty-five to sixty, I cheerfully own that I belong to the fogy interest, and ask leave to rank in, and plead for that respectable class. Now a gentleman can but be a gentleman, in Broadway or the backwoods, in Pall Mall or California; and where and whenever he lives, thousands of miles away in the wilderness, or hundreds of years hence, I am sure that reading the writings of this true gentleman, this true Christian, this noble Joseph Addison, must do him good.  9   Steele, as a literary benefactor to the world’s charity, must rank very high, indeed, not merely from his givings, which were abundant, but because his endowments are prodigiously increased in value since he bequeathed them, as the revenues of the lands, bequeathed to our Foundling Hospital at London, by honest Captain Coram, its founder, are immensely enhanced by the houses since built upon them. Steele was the founder of sentimental writing in English, and how the land has been since occupied, and what hundreds of us have laid out gardens and built up tenements on Steele’s ground! Before his time, readers or hearers were never called upon to cry except at a tragedy, and compassion was not expected to express itself otherwise than in blank verse, of for personages much lower in rank than a dethroned monarch, or a widowed or a jilted empress. He stepped off the high-heeled cothurnus, and came down into common life; he held out his great hearty arms, and embraced us all; he had a bow for all women; a kiss for all children; a shake of the hand for all men, high or low; he showed us Heaven’s sun shining every day on quiet homes; not gilded palace roofs only, or court processions, or heroic warriors fighting for princesses and pitched battles. He took away comedy from behind the fine lady’s alcove, or the screen where the libertine was watching her. He ended all that wretched business of wives jeering at their husbands, of rakes laughing wives, and husbands, too, to scorn. That miserable, rouged, tawdry, sparkling, hollow-hearted comedy of the Restoration fled before him, and, like the wicked spirit in the fairy-books, shrank, as Steele let the daylight in, and shrieked, and shuddered, and vanished. The stage of humorists has been common life ever since Steele’s and Addison’s time; the joys and griefs, the aversions and sympathies, the laughter and tears of nature.  10   As for Goldsmith, if the youngest and most unlettered person here has not been happy with the family at Wakefield; has not rejoiced when Olivia returned, and been thankful for her forgiveness and restoration; has not laughed with delighted good humor over Moses’s gross of green spectacles; has not loved with all his heart the good vicar, and that kind spirit which created these charming figures, and devised the beneficent fiction which speaks to us so tenderly—what call is there for me to speak? In this place, and on this occasion, remembering these men, I claim from you your sympathy for the good they have done, and for the sweet charity which they have bestowed on the world.  11   In our days, in England, the importance of the humorous preacher has prodigiously increased; his audiences are enormous; every week or month his happy congregations flock to him; they never tire of such sermons. I believe my friend Mr. “Punch” is as popular to-day as he has been any day since his birth; I believe that Mr. Dickens’s readers are even more numerous than they have ever been since his unrivaled pen commenced to delight the world with its humor. We have among us other literary parties; we have “Punch,” as I have said, preaching from his booth; we have a Jerrold party very numerous, and faithful to that acute thinker and distinguished wit; and we have also—it must be said, and it is still to be hoped—a “Vanity Fair” party, the author of which work has lately been described by the London Times newspaper as a writer of considerable parts, but a dreary misanthrope, who sees no good anywhere, who sees the sky above him green, I think, instead of blue, and only miserable sinners round about him. So we are; so is every writer and every reader I ever heard of; so was every being who ever trod this earth, save One. I can not help telling the truth as I view it, and describing what I see. To describe it otherwise than it seems to me would be falsehood in that calling in which it has pleased heaven to place me; treason to that conscience which says that men are weak, that truth must be told, that fault must be owned, that pardon must be prayed for, and that love reigns supreme over all.  12   I look back at the good which of late years the kind English humorists have done; and if you are pleased to rank the present speaker among that class, I own to an honest pride at thinking what benefits society has derived from men of our calling. That “Song of the Shirt” which “Punch” first published, and the noble, the suffering, the melancholy, the tender Hood sang, may surely rank as a great act of charity to the world, and call from it its thanks and regard for its teacher and benefactor. That astonishing poem, which you all of you know, of the “Bridge of Sighs,”—who can read it without tenderness, without reverence to heaven, charity to man, and thanks to the beneficent genius which sang for us nobly?  13   I never saw the writer but once; but shall always be glad to think that some words of mine, printed in a periodical of that day, and in praise of those amazing verses (which, strange to say, appeared almost unnoticed at first in the magazine in which Mr. Hood published them)—I am proud, I say, to think that some words of appreciation of mine reached him on his death-bed and pleased and soothed him in that hour of manful resignation and pain.  14   As for the charities of Mr. Dickens, multiplied kindnesses which he has conferred upon us all—upon our children, upon people educated and uneducated, upon the myriads here and at home who speak our common tongue—have not you, have not I, all of us reason to be thankful to this kind friend, who soothed and charmed so many hours, brought pleasure and sweet laughter to so many homes, made such multitudes of children happy, endowed us with such a sweet store of gracious thoughts, fair fancies, soft sympathies, hearty enjoyments? There are creations of Mr. Dickens which seem to me to rank as personal benefits; figures so delightful, that one feels happier and better for knowing them, as one does for being brought into the society of very good men and women. The atmosphere in which these people live is wholesome to breathe in; you feel that to be allowed to speak to them is a personal kindness; you come away better for your contact with them; your hands seem cleaner from having the privilege of shaking theirs. Was there ever a better charity sermon preached in the world than Dickens’s “Christmas Carol”? I believe it occasioned immense hospitality throughout England; was the means of lighting up hundreds of kind fires at Christmas time; caused a wonderful outpouring of Christmas good feeling, of Christmas punch-brewing; an awful slaughter of Christmas turkeys, and roasting and basting of Christmas beef. As for this man’s love of children, that amiable organ at the back of his honest head must be perfectly monstrous. All children ought to love him. I know two that do, and read his books ten times for once that they peruse the dismal preachments of their father. I know one who, when she is happy, reads “Nicholas Nickleby”; when she is unhappy, reads “Nicholas Nickleby”; when she is tired, reads “Nicholas Nickleby”; when she is in bed, reads “Nicholas Nickleby”; when she has nothing to do, reads “Nicholas Nickleby”; and when she has finished the book, reads “Nicholas Nickleby” over again. This candid young critic, at ten years of age, said, “I like Mr. Dickens’s books much better than your books, papa”; and frequently expressed her desire that the latter author should write a book like one of Mr. Dickens’s books. Who can? Every man must say his own thoughts in his own voice, in his own way; lucky is he who has such a charming gift of nature as this, which brings all the children in the world trooping to him, and being fond of him.  15

I remember, when that famous Nicholas Nickleby came out, seeing a letter from a pedagog in the north of England, which, dismal as it was, was immensely comical.  ‘Mr. Dickens’s ill-advised publication,’ wrote the poor schoolmaster, ‘has passed like a whirlwind over the schools of the North.’  He was a proprietor of a cheap school; Dotheboys Hall was a cheap school.  There were many such establishments in the northern counties.  Parents were ashamed that never were ashamed before until the kind satirist laughed at them; relatives were frightened; scores of little scholars were taken away; poor schoolmasters had to shut their shops up; every pedagog was voted a Squeers, and many suffered, no doubt unjustly; but afterward, schoolboys’ backs were not so much caned; schoolboys’ meat was less tough and more plentiful; and schoolboys’ milk was not so sky-blue.  What a kind light of benevolence it is that plays round Crummles and the Phenomenon, and all those poor theater people in that charming book!

What a humor! and what a good humor!  One might go on, tho the task would be endless and needless, chronicling the names of kind folks with whom this kind genius has made us familiar.  Who does not love the Marchioness and Mr. Richard Swiveller?  Who does not sympathize, not only with Oliver Twist, but his admirable young friend, the Artful Dodger?  Who has not the inestimable advantage of possessing a Mrs. Nickleby in his own family?  Who does not bless Sairey Gamp and wonder at Mrs. Harris?  Who does not venerate the chief of that illustrious family who, being stricken by misfortune, wisely and greatly turned his attention to ‘coals,’ the accomplished, the Epicurean, the dirty, the delightful Micawber?

I may quarrel with Mr. Dickens’s art a thousand and a thousand times—I delight and wonder at his genius; I recognize in it—I speak with awe and reverence—a commission from that Divine Beneficence whose blessed task we know it will one day be to wipe every tear from every eye.  Thankfully I take my share of the feast of love and kindness which this gentle, and generous, and charitable soul has contributed to the happiness of the world.  I take and enjoy my share, and say a Benediction for the meal.”     William Makepeace Thackeray, “On Charity and Humour;” a speech in New York City, 1852.  
newton gravity science physics

Numero Tres“These remarks permit us at last to consider the problems that provide this essay with its title.  What are scientific revolutions, and what is their function in scientific development?  Much of the answer to these questions has been anticipated in earlier sections.  In particular, the preceding discussion has indicated that scientific revolutions are here taken to be those non-cumulative developmental episodes in which an older paradigm is replaced in whole or in part by an incompatible new one.  There is more to be said, however, and an essential part of it can be introduced by asking one further question.  Why should a change of paradigm be called a revolution?  In the face of the vast and essential differences between political and scientific development, what parallelism can justify the metaphor that finds revolutions in both?One aspect of the parallelism must already be apparent.  Political revolutions are inaugurated by a growing sense, often restricted to a segment of the political community, that existing institutions have ceased adequately to meet the problems posed by an environment newton gravity science physics they have in part created.  In much the same way, scientific revolutions are inaugurated by a growing sense, again often restricted to a narrow subdivision of the scientific community, that an existing paradigm has ceased to function adequately in the exploration of an aspect of nature to which that paradigm itself had previously led the way.  In both political and scientific development the sense of malfunction that can lead to crisis is prerequisite to revolution.  Furthermore, though it admittedly strains the metaphor, that parallelism holds not only for the major paradigm changes, like those attributable to Copernicus and Lavoisier, but also for the far smaller ones associated with the assimilation of a new sort of phenomenon, like oxygen or X-rays.  Scientific revolutions, as we noted at the end of Section V, need seem revolutionary only to those whose paradigms are affected by them.  To outsiders they may, like the Balkan revolutions of the early twentieth century, seem normal parts of the developmental process.  Astronomers, for example, could accept X-rays as a mere addition to knowledge, for their paradigms were unaffected by the existence of the new radiation.  But for men like Kelvin, Crookes, and Roentgen, whose research dealt with radiation theory or with cathode ray tubes, the emergence of X-rays necessarily violated one paradigm as it created another.  That is why these rays could be discovered only through something’s first going wrong with normal research.

This genetic aspect of the parallel between political and scientific development should no longer be open to doubt.  The parallel has, however, a second and more profound aspect upon which the significance of the first depends.  Political revolutions aim to change political institutions in ways that those institutions themselves prohibit.  Their success therefore necessitates the partial relinquishment of one set of institutions in favour of another, and in the interim, society is not fully governed by institutions at all.  Initially it is crisis alone that attenuates the role of political institutions as we have already seen it attenuate the role of paradigms.  In increasing numbers individuals become increasingly estranged from political life and behave more and more eccentrically within it.  Then, as the crisis deepens, many of these individuals commit themselves to some concrete proposal for the reconstruction of society in a new institutional framework.  At that point the society is divided into competing camps or parties, one seeking to defend the old institutional constellation, the others seeking to institute some new one.  And, once that polarisation has occurred, political recourse fails.  Because they differ about the institutional matrix within which political change is to be achieved and evaluated, because they acknowledge no supra-institutional framework for the adjudication of revolutionary difference, the parties to a revolutionary conflict must finally resort to the techniques of mass persuasion, often including force.  Though revolutions have had a vital role in the evolution of political institutions, that role depends upon their being partially extrapolitical or extrainstitutional events.  The remainder of this essay aims to demonstrate that the historical study of paradigm change reveals very similar characteristics in the evolution of the sciences.  Like the choice between competing political institutions, that between competing paradigms proves to be a choice between incompatible modes of community life.  Because it has that character, the choice is not and cannot be determined merely by the evaluative procedures characteristic of normal science, for these depend in part upon a particular paradigm, and that paradigm is at issue.  When paradigms enter, as they must, into a debate about paradigm choice, their role is necessarily circular.  Each group uses its own paradigm to argue in that paradigm’s defence.

The resulting circularity does not, of course, make the arguments wrong or even ineffectual. The man who premises a paradigm when arguing in its defence can nonetheless provide a clear exhibit of what scientific practice will be like for those who adopt the new view of nature. That exhibit can be immensely persuasive, often compellingly so. Yet, whatever its force, the status of the circular argument is only that of persuasion. It cannot be made logically or even probabilistically compelling for those who refuse to step into the circle. The premises and values shared by the two parties to a debate over paradigms are not sufficiently extensive for that. As in political revolutions, so in paradigm choice – there is no standard higher than the assent of the relevant community. To discover how scientific revolutions are effected, we shall therefore have to examine not only the impact of nature and of logic, but also the techniques of persuasive argumentation effective within the quite special groups that constitute the community of scientists.

To discover why this issue of paradigm choice can never be unequivocally settled by logic and experiment alone, we must shortly examine the nature of the differences that separate the proponents of a traditional paradigm from their revolutionary successors. That examination is the principal object of this section and the next. We have, however, already noted numerous examples of such differences, and no one will doubt that history can supply many others. What is more likely to be doubted than their existence – and what must therefore be considered first – is that such examples provide essential information about the nature of science. Granting that paradigm rejection has been a historic fact, does it illuminate more than human credulity and confusion? Are there intrinsic reasons why the assimilation of either a new sort of phenomenon or a new scientific theory must demand the rejection of an older paradigm?

First notice that if there are such reasons, they do not derive from the logical structure of scientific knowledge. In principle, a new phenomenon might emerge without reflecting destructively upon any part of past scientific practice. Though discovering life on the moon would today be destructive of existing paradigms (these tell us things about the moon that seem incompatible with life’s existence there), discovering life in some less well-known part of the galaxy would not. By the same token, a new theory does not have to conflict with any of its predecessors. It might deal exclusively with phenomena not previously known, as the quantum theory deals (but, significantly, not exclusively) with subatomic phenomena unknown before the twentieth century. Or again, the new theory might be simply a higher level theory than those known before, one that linked together a whole group of lower level theories without substantially changing any. Today, the theory of energy conservation provides just such links between dynamics, chemistry, electricity, optics, thermal theory, and so on. Still other compatible relationships between old and new theories can be conceived. Any and all of them might be exemplified by the historical process through which science has developed. If they were, scientific development would be genuinely cumulative. New sorts of phenomena would simply disclose order in an aspect of nature where none had been seen before. In the evolution of science new knowledge would replace ignorance rather than replace knowledge of another and incompatible sort.

Of course, science (or some other enterprise, perhaps less effective) might have developed in that fully cumulative manner. Many people have believed that it did so, and most still seem to suppose that cumulation is at least the ideal that historical development would display if only it had not so often been distorted by human idiosyncrasy. There are important reasons for that belief. In Section X we shall discover how closely the view of science-as-cumulation is entangled with a dominant epistemology that takes knowledge to be a construction placed directly upon raw sense data by the mind. And in Section XI we shall examine the strong support provided to the same historiographic schema by the techniques of effective science pedagogy. Nevertheless, despite the immense plausibility of that ideal image, there is increasing reason to wonder whether it can possibly be an image of science. After the pre-paradigm period the assimilation of all new theories and of almost all new sorts of phenomena has in fact demanded the destruction of a prior paradigm and a consequent conflict between competing schools of scientific thought. Cumulative acquisition of unanticipated novelties proves to be an almost non-existent exception to the rule of scientific development. The man who takes historic fact seriously must suspect that science does not tend toward the ideal that our image of its cumulativeness has suggested. Perhaps it is another sort of enterprise.

If, however, resistant facts can carry us that far, then a second look at the ground we have already covered may suggest that cumulative acquisition of novelty is not only rare in fact but improbable in principle. Normal research, which is cumulative, owes its success to the ability of scientists regularly to select problems that can be solved with conceptual and instrumental techniques close to those already in existence. (That is why an excessive concern with useful problems, regardless of their relation to existing knowledge and technique, can so easily inhibit scientific development.) The man who is striving to solve a problem defined by existing knowledge and technique is not, however, just looking around. He knows what he wants to achieve, and he designs his instruments and directs his thoughts accordingly. Unanticipated novelty, the new discovery, can emerge only to the extent that his anticipations about nature and his instruments prove wrong. Often the importance of the resulting discovery will itself be proportional to the extent and stubbornness of the anomaly that foreshadowed it. Obviously, then, there must be a conflict between the paradigm that discloses anomaly and the one that later renders the anomaly law-like. The examples of discovery through paradigm destruction examined in Section VI did not confront us with mere historical accident. There is no other effective way in which discoveries might be generated.

The same argument applies even more clearly to the invention of new theories. There are, in principle, only three types of phenomena about which a new theory might be developed. The first consists of phenomena already well explained by existing paradigms, and these seldom provide either motive or point of departure for theory construction. When they do, as with the three famous anticipations discussed at the end of Section VII, the theories that result are seldom accepted, because nature provides no ground for discrimination. A second class of phenomena consists of those whose nature is indicated by existing paradigms but whose details can be understood only through further theory articulation. These are the phenomena to which scientists direct their research much of the time, but that research aims at the articulation of existing paradigms rather than at the invention of new ones. Only when these attempts at articulation fail do scientists encounter the third type of phenomena, the recognised anomalies whose characteristic feature is their stubborn refusal to be assimilated to existing paradigms. This type alone gives rise to new theories. Paradigms provide all phenomena except anomalies with a theory-determined place in the scientist’s field of vision.

But if new theories are called forth to resolve anomalies in the relation of an existing theory to nature, then the successful new theory must somewhere permit predictions that are different from those derived from its predecessor. That difference could not occur if the two were logically compatible. In the process of being assimilated, the second must displace the first. Even a theory like energy conservation, which today seems a logical superstructure that relates to nature only through independently established theories, did not develop historically without paradigm destruction. Instead, it emerged from a crisis in which an essential ingredient was the incompatibility between Newtonian dynamics and some recently formulated consequences of the caloric theory of heat. Only after the caloric theory had been rejected could energy conservation become part of science. And only after it had been part of science for some time could it come to seem a theory of a logically higher type, one not in conflict with its predecessors. It is hard to see how new theories could arise without these destructive changes in beliefs about nature. Though logical inclusiveness remains a permissible view of the relation between successive scientific theories, it is a historical implausibility.

Logical Positivism

A century ago it would, I think, have been possible to let the case for the necessity of revolutions rest at this point. But today, unfortunately, that cannot be done because the view of the subject developed above cannot be maintained if the most prevalent contemporary interpretation of the nature and function of scientific theory is accepted. That interpretation, closely associated with early logical positivism and not categorically rejected by its successors, would restrict the range and meaning of an accepted theory so that it could not possibly conflict with any later theory that made predictions about some of the same natural phenomena. The best-known and the strongest case for this restricted conception of a scientific theory emerges in discussions of the relation between contemporary Einsteinian dynamics and the older dynamical equations that descend from Newton’s Principia. From the viewpoint of this essay these two theories are fundamentally incompatible in the sense illustrated by the relation of Copernican to Ptolemaic astronomy: Einstein’s theory can be accepted only with the recognition that Newton’s was wrong. Today this remains a minority view. We must therefore examine the most prevalent objections to it.

The gist of these objections can be developed as follows. Relativistic dynamics cannot have shown Newtonian dynamics to be wrong, for Newtonian dynamics is still used with great success by most engineers and, in selected applications, by many physicists. Furthermore, the propriety of this use of the older theory can be proved from the very theory that has, in other applications, replaced it. Einstein’s theory can be used to show that predictions from Newton’s equations will be as good as our measuring instruments in all applications that satisfy a small number of restrictive conditions. For example, if Newtonian theory is to provide a good approximate solution, the relative velocities of the bodies considered must be small compared with the velocity of light. Subject to this condition and a few others, Newtonian theory seems to be derivable from Einsteinian, of which it is therefore a special case.

But, the objection continues, no theory can possibly conflict with one of its special cases. If Einsteinian science seems to make Newtonian dynamics wrong, that is only because some Newtonians were so incautious as to claim that Newtonian theory yielded entirely precise results or that it was valid at very high relative velocities. Since they could not have had any evidence for such claims, they betrayed the standards of science when they made them. In so far as Newtonian theory was ever a truly scientific theory supported by valid evidence, it still is. Only extravagant claims for the theory – claims that were never properly parts of science can have been shown by Einstein to be wrong. Purged of these merely human extravagances, Newtonian theory has never been challenged and cannot be.

Some variant of this argument is quite sufficient to make any theory ever used by a significant group of competent scientists immune to attack. The much-maligned phlogiston theory, for example, gave order to a large number of physical and chemical phenomena. It explained why bodies burned – they were rich in phlogiston – and why metals had so many more properties in common than did their ores. The metals were all compounded from different elementary earths combined with phlogiston, and the latter, common to all metals, produced common properties. In addition, the phlogiston theory accounted for a number of reactions in which acids were formed by the combustion of substances like carbon and sulphur. Also, it explained the decrease of volume when combustion occurs in a confined volume of air the phlogiston released by combustion “spoils” the elasticity of the air that absorbed it, just as fire “spoils” the elasticity of a steel spring. If these were the only phenomena that the phlogiston theorists had claimed for their theory, that theory could never have been challenged. A similar argument will suffice for any theory that has ever been successfully applied to any range of phenomena at all.

But to save theories in this way, their range of application must be restricted to those phenomena and to that precision of observation with which the experimental evidence in hand already deals. Carried just a step further (and the step can scarcely be avoided once the first is taken), such a limitation prohibits the scientist from claiming to speak “scientifically” about any phenomenon not already observed. Even in its present form the restriction forbids the scientist to rely upon a theory in his own research whenever that research enters an area or seeks a degree of precision for which past practice with the theory offers no precedent. These prohibitions are logically unexceptionable. But the result of accepting them would be the end of the research through which science may develop further.

By now that point too is virtually a tautology. Without commitment to a paradigm there could be no normal science. Furthermore, that commitment must extend to areas and to degrees of precision for which there is no full precedent. If it did not, the paradigm could provide no puzzles that had not already been solved. Besides, it is not only normal science that depends upon commitment to a paradigm. If existing theory binds the scientist only with respect to existing applications, then there can be no surprises, anomalies, or crises. But these are just the signposts that point the way to extraordinary science. If positivistic restrictions on the range of a theory’s legitimate applicability are taken literally, the mechanism that tells the scientific community what problems may lead to fundamental change must cease to function. And when that occurs, the community will inevitably return to something much like its pre-paradigm state a condition in which all members practice science but in which their gross product scarcely resembles science at all. Is it really any wonder that the price of significant scientific advance is a commitment that runs the risk of being wrong?

More important, there is a revealing logical lacuna in the positivist’s argument, one that will reintroduce us immediately to the nature of revolutionary change. Can Newtonian dynamics really be derived from relativistic dynamics? What would such a derivation look like? Imagine a set of statements, E1, E2, … En which together embody the laws of relativity theory. These statements contain variables and parameters representing spatial position, time, rest mass, etc. From them, together with the apparatus of logic and mathematics, is deducible a whole set of further statements including some that can be checked by observation. To prove the adequacy of Newtonian dynamics as a special case, we must add to the Ei’s additional statements, like (v/c)2 << 1, restricting the range of the parameters and variables. This enlarged set of statements is then manipulated to yield a new set, N1, N2, …, Nm, which is identical in form with Newton’s laws of motion, the law of gravity, and so on. Apparently Newtonian dynamics has been derived from Einsteinian, subject to a few limiting conditions.

Yet the derivation is spurious, at least to this point. Though the Ni’s are a special case of the laws of relativistic mechanics, they are not Newton’s Laws. Or at least they are not unless those laws are reinterpreted in a way that would have been impossible until after Einstein’s work. The variables and parameters that in the Einsteinian Ei’s represented spatial position, time, mass, etc., still occur in the Ni’s; and they there still represent Einsteinian space, time, and mass. But the physical referents of these Einsteinian concepts are by no means identical with those of the Newtonian concepts that bear the same name. (Newtonian mass is conserved; Einsteinian is convertible with energy. Only at low relative velocities may the two be measured in the same way, and even then they must not be conceived to be the same.) Unless we change the definitions of the variables in the Ni’s, the statements we have derived are not Newtonian. If we do change them, we cannot properly be said to have derived Newton’s Laws, at least not in any sense of “derive” now generally recognised. Our argument has, of course, explained why Newton’s Laws ever seemed to work. In doing so it has justified, say, an automobile driver in acting as though he lived in a Newtonian universe. An argument of the same type is used to justify teaching earth-centred astronomy to surveyors. But the argument has still not done what it purported to do. It has not, that is, shown Newton’s Laws to be a limiting case of Einstein’s. For in the passage to the limit it is not only the forms of the laws that have changed. Simultaneously we have had to alter the fundamental structural elements of which the universe to which they apply is composed.

This need to change the meaning of established and familiar concepts is central to the revolutionary impact of Einstein’s theory. Though subtler than the changes from geocentrism to heliocentrism, from phlogiston to oxygen, or from corpuscles to waves, the resulting conceptual transformation is no less decisively destructive of a previously established paradigm. We may even come to see it as a prototype for revolutionary reorientations in the sciences. Just because it did not involve the introduction of additional objects or concepts, the transition from Newtonian to Einsteinian mechanics illustrates with particular clarity the scientific revolution as a displacement of the conceptual network through which scientists view the world.

These remarks should suffice to show what might, in another philosophical climate, have been taken for granted. At least for scientists, most of the apparent differences between a discarded scientific theory and its successor are real. Though an out-of-date theory can always be viewed as a special case of its up-to-date successor, it must be transformed for the purpose. And the transformation is one that can be undertaken only with the advantages of hindsight, the explicit guidance of the more recent theory. Furthermore, even if that transformation were a legitimate device to employ in interpreting the older theory, the result of its application would be a theory so restricted that it could only restate what was already known. Because of its economy, that restatement would have utility, but it could not suffice for the guidance of research.

Let us, therefore, now take it for granted that the differences between successive paradigms are both necessary and irreconcilable. Can we then say more explicitly what sorts of differences these are? The most apparent type has already been illustrated repeatedly. Successive paradigms tell us different things about the population of the universe and about that population’s behaviour. They differ, that is, about such questions as the existence of subatomic particles, the materiality of light, and the conservation of heat or of energy. These are the substantive differences between successive paradigms, and they require no further illustration. But paradigms differ in more than substance, for they are directed not only to nature but also back upon the science that produced them. They are the source of the methods, problem-field, and standards of solution accepted by any mature scientific community at any given time. As a result, the reception of a new paradigm often necessitates a redefinition of the corresponding science. Some old problems may be relegated to another science or declared entirely “unscientific.” Others that were previously non-existent or trivial may, with a new paradigm, become the very archetypes of significant scientific achievement. And as the problems change, so, often, does the standard that distinguishes a real scientific solution from a mere metaphysical speculation, word game, or mathematical play. The normal-scientific tradition that emerges from a scientific revolution is not only incompatible but often actually incommensurable with that which has gone before.

The impact of Newton’s work upon the normal seventeenth century tradition of scientific practice provides a striking example of these subtler effects of paradigm shift. Before Newton was born the “new science” of the century had at last succeeded in rejecting Aristotelian and scholastic explanations expressed in terms of the essences of material bodies. To say that a stone fell because its “nature” drove it toward the center of the universe had been made to look a mere tautological word-play, something it had not previously been. Henceforth the entire flux of sensory appearances, including colour, taste, and even weight, was to be explained in terms of the size, shape, position, and motion of the elementary corpuscles of base matter. The attribution of other qualities to the elementary atoms was a resort to the occult and therefore out of bounds for science. Molière caught the new spirit precisely when he ridiculed the doctor who explained opium’s efficacy as a soporific by attributing to it a dormitive potency. During the last half of the seventeenth century many scientists preferred to say that the round shape of the opium particles enabled them to sooth the nerves about which they moved.

In an earlier period explanations in terms of occult qualities had been an integral part of productive scientific work. Nevertheless, the seventeenth century’s new commitment to mechanico-corpuscular explanation proved immensely fruitful for a number of sciences, ridding them of problems that had defied generally accepted solution and suggesting others to replace them. In dynamics, for example, Newton’s three laws of motion are less a product of novel experiments than of the attempt to reinterpret well-known observations in terms of the motions and interactions of primary neutral corpuscles. Consider just one concrete illustration. Since neutral corpuscles could act on each other only by contact, the mechanico-corpuscular view of nature directed scientific attention to a brand-new subject of study, the alteration of particulate motions by collisions. Descartes announced the problem and provided its first putative solution. Huygens, Wren, and Wallis carried it still further, partly by experimenting with colliding pendulum bobs, but mostly by applying previously well-known characteristics of motion to the new problem. And Newton embedded their results in his laws of motion. The equal “action” and “reaction” of the third law are the changes in quantity of motion experienced by the two parties to a collision. The same change of motion supplies the definition of dynamical force implicit in the second law. In this case, as in many others during the seventeenth century, the corpuscular paradigm bred both a new problem and a large part of that problem’s solution.

Yet, though much of Newton’s work was directed to problems and embodied standards derived from the mechanico-corpuscular world view, the effect of the paradigm that resulted from his work was a further and partially destructive change in the problems and standards legitimate for science. Gravity, interpreted as an innate attraction between every pair of particles of matter, was an occult quality in the same sense as the scholastics’ “tendency to fall” had been. Therefore, while the standards of corpuscularism remained in effect, the search for a mechanical explanation of gravity was one of the most challenging problems for those who accepted the Principia as paradigm. Newton devoted much attention to it and so did many of his eighteenth-century successors. The only apparent option was to reject Newton’s theory for its failure to explain gravity, and that alternative, too, was widely adopted. Yet neither of these views ultimately triumphed. Unable either to practice science without the Principia or to make that work conform to the corpuscular standards of the seventeenth century, scientists gradually accepted the view that gravity was indeed innate. By the mid-eighteenth century that interpretation had been almost universally accepted, and the result was a genuine reversion (which is not the same as a retrogression) to a scholastic standard. Innate attractions and repulsions joined size, shape, position, and motion as physically irreducible primary properties of matter.

The resulting change in the standards and problem-field of physical science was once again consequential. By the 1740’s, for example, electricians could speak of the attractive “virtue” of the electric fluid without thereby inviting the ridicule that had greeted Molière’s doctor a century before. As they did so, electrical phenomena increasingly displayed an order different from the one they had shown when viewed as the effects of a mechanical effluvium that could act only by contact. In particular, when electrical action-at-a-distance became a subject for study in its own right, the phenomenon we now call charging by induction could be recognised as one of its effects. Previously, when seen at all, it had been attributed to the direct action of electrical “atmospheres” or to the leakages inevitable in any electrical laboratory. The new view of inductive effects was, in turn, the key to Franklin’s analysis of the Leyden jar and thus to the emergence of a new and Newtonian paradigm for electricity. Nor were dynamics and electricity the only scientific fields affected by the legitimisation of the search for forces innate to matter. The large body of eighteenth-century literature on chemical affinities and replacement series also derives from this supramechanical aspect of Newtonianism. Chemists who believed in these differential attractions between the various chemical species set up previously unimagined experiments and searched for new sorts of reactions. Without the data and the chemical concepts developed in that process, the later work of Lavoisier and, more particularly, of Dalton would be incomprehensible. Changes in the standards governing permissible problems, concepts, and explanations can transform a science. In the next section I shall even suggest a sense in which they transform the world.

Other examples of these non-substantive differences between successive paradigms can be retrieved from the history of any science in almost any period of its development. For the moment let us be content with just two other and far briefer illustrations. Before the chemical revolution, one of the acknowledged tasks of chemistry was to account for the qualities of chemical substances and for the changes these qualities underwent during chemical reactions. With the aid of a small number of elementary “principles” – of which phlogiston was one – the chemist was to explain why some substances are acidic, others metalline, combustible, and so forth. Some success in this direction had been achieved. We have already noted that phlogiston explained why the metals were so much alike, and we could have developed a similar argument for the acids. Lavoisier’s reform, however, ultimately did away with chemical “principles,” and thus ended by depriving chemistry of some actual and much potential explanatory power. To compensate for this loss, a change in standards was required. During much of the nineteenth century failure to explain the qualities of compounds was no indictment of a chemical theory.

Or again, Clerk Maxwell shared with other nineteenth-century proponents of the wave theory of light the conviction that light waves must be propagated through a material ether. Designing a mechanical medium to support such waves was a standard problem for many of his ablest contemporaries. His own theory, however, the electromagnetic theory of light, gave no account at all of a medium able to support light waves, and it clearly made such an account harder to provide than it had seemed before. Initially, Maxwell’s theory was widely rejected for those reasons. But, like Newton’s theory, Maxwell’s proved difficult to dispense with, and as it achieved the status of a paradigm the community’s attitude toward it changed. In the early decades of the twentieth century Maxwell’s insistence upon the existence of a mechanical ether looked more and more like lip service, which it emphatically had not been, and the attempts to design such an ethereal medium were abandoned. Scientists no longer thought it unscientific to speak of an electrical “displacement” without specifying what was being displaced. The result, again, was a new set of problems and standards, one which, in the event, had much to do with the emergence of relativity theory.

These characteristic shifts in the scientific community’s conception of its legitimate problems and standards would have less significance to this essay’s thesis if one could suppose that they always occurred from some methodologically lower to some higher type. In that case their effects, too, would seem cumulative. No wonder that some historians have argued that the history of science records a continuing increase in the maturity and refinement of man’s conception of the nature of science. Yet the case for cumulative development of science’s problems and standards is even harder to make than the case for cumulation of theories. The attempt to explain gravity, though fruitfully abandoned by most eighteenth-century scientists, was not directed to an intrinsically illegitimate problem; the objections to innate forces were neither inherently unscientific nor metaphysical in some pejorative sense. There are no external standards to permit a judgment of that sort. What occurred was neither a decline nor a raising of standards, but simply a change demanded by the adoption of a new paradigm. Furthermore, that change has since been reversed and could be again. In the twentieth century Einstein succeeded in explaining gravitational attractions, and that explanation has returned science to a set of canons and problems that are, in this particular respect, more like those of Newton’s predecessors than of his successors. Or again, the development of quantum mechanics has reversed the methodological prohibition that originated in the chemical revolution. Chemists now attempt, and with great success, to explain the colour, state of aggregation, and other qualities of the substances used and produced in their laboratories. A similar reversal may even be underway in electromagnetic theory. Space, in contemporary physics, is not the inert and homogenous substratum employed in both Newton’s and Maxwell’s theories; some of its new properties are not unlike those once attributed to the ether; we may some day come to know what an electric displacement is.

By shifting emphasis from the cognitive to the normative functions of paradigms, the preceding examples enlarge our understanding of the ways in which paradigms give form to the scientific life. Previously, we had principally examined the paradigm’s role as a vehicle for scientific theory. In that role it functions by telling the scientist about the entities that nature does and does not contain and about the ways in which those entities behave. That information provides a map whose details are elucidated by mature scientific research. And since nature is too complex and varied to be explored at random, that map is as essential as observation and experiment to science’s continuing development. Through the theories they embody, paradigms prove to be constitutive of the research activity. They are also, however, constitutive of science in other respects, and that is now the point. In particular, our most recent examples show that paradigms provide scientists not only with a map but also with some of the directions essential for map-making. In learning a paradigm the scientist acquires theory, methods, and standards together, usually in an inextricable mixture. Therefore, when paradigms change, there are usually significant shifts in the criteria determining the legitimacy both of problems and of proposed solutions.

That observation returns us to the point from which this section began, for it provides our first explicit indication of why the choice between competing paradigms regularly raises questions that cannot be resolved by the criteria of normal science. To the extent, as significant as it is incomplete, that two scientific schools disagree about what is a problem and what a solution, they will inevitably talk through each other when debating the relative merits of their respective paradigms. In the partially circular arguments that regularly result, each paradigm will be shown to satisfy more or less the criteria that it dictates for itself and to fall short of a few of those dictated by its opponent. There are other reasons, too, for the incompleteness of logical contact that consistently characterises paradigm debates. For example, since no paradigm ever solves all the problems it defines and since no two paradigms leave all the same problems unsolved, paradigm debates always involve the question: Which problems is it more significant to have solved? Like the issue of competing standards, that question of values can be answered only in terms of criteria that lie outside of normal science altogether, and it is that recourse to external criteria that most obviously makes paradigm debates revolutionary. Something even more fundamental than standards and values is, however, also at stake. I have so far argued only that paradigms are constitutive of science. Now I wish to display a sense in which they are constitutive of nature as well. …

One consequence of the position just outlined has particularly bothered a number of my critics.  They find my viewpoint relativistic, particularly as it is developed in the last section of this book.  My remarks about translation highlight the reasons for the charge.  The proponents of different theories are like the members of different language-culture communities.  Recognising the parallelism suggests that in some sense both groups may be right.  Applied to culture and its development that position is relativistic.

But applied to science it may not be, and it is in any case far from mere relativism in a respect that its critics have failed to see.  Taken as a group or in groups, practitioners of the developed sciences are, I have argued, fundamentally puzzle-solvers.  Though the values that they deploy at times of theory-choice derive from other aspects of their work as well, the demonstrated ability to set up and to solve puzzles presented by nature is, in case of value conflict, the dominant criterion for most members of a scientific group.  Like any other value, puzzle-solving ability proves equivocal in application.  Two men who share it may nevertheless differ in the judgments they draw from its use.  But the behaviour of a community which makes it pre-eminent will be very different from that of one which does not.  In the sciences, I believe, the high value accorded to puzzle-solving ability has the following consequences.

Imagine an evolutionary tree representing the development of the modern scientific specialties from their common origins in, say, primitive natural philosophy and the crafts.  A line drawn up that tree, never doubling back, from the trunk to the tip of some branch would trace a succession of theories related by descent.  Considering any two such theories, chosen from points not too near their origin, it should be easy to design a list of criteria that would enable an uncommitted observer to distinguish the earlier from the more recent theory time after time.  Among the most useful would be: accuracy of prediction, particularly of quantitative prediction; the balance between esoteric and everyday subject matter; and the number of different problems solved.  Less useful for this purpose, though also important determinants of scientific life, would be such values as simplicity, scope, and compatibility with other specialties.  Those lists are not yet the ones required, but I have no doubt that they can be completed.  If they can, then scientific development is, like biological, a unidirectional and irreversible process.  Later scientific theories are better than earlier ones for solving puzzles in the often quite different environments to which they are applied.  That is not a relativist’s position, and it displays the sense in which I am a convinced believer in scientific progress.

Compared with the notion of progress most prevalent among both philosophers of science and laymen, however, this position lacks an essential element.  A scientific theory is usually felt to be better than its predecessors not only in the sense that it is a better instrument for discovering and solving puzzles but also because it is somehow a better representation of what nature is really like.  One often hears that successive theories grow ever closer to, or approximate more and more closely to, the truth.  Apparently generalisations like that refer not to the puzzle-solutions and the concrete predictions derived from a theory but rather to its ontology, to the match, that is, between the entities with which the theory populates nature and what is ‘really there.’

Perhaps there is some other way of salvaging the notion of ‘truth’ for application to whole theories, but this one will not do.  There is, I think, no theory-independent way to reconstruct phrases like ‘really there;’ the notion of a match between the ontology of a theory and its ‘real’ counterpart in nature now seems to me illusive in principle.  Besides, as a historian, I am impressed with the implausibility of the view.  I do not doubt, for example, that Newton’s mechanics improves on Aristotle’s and that Einstein’s improves on Newton’s as instruments for puzzle-solving.  But I can see in their succession no coherent direction of ontological development.  On the contrary, in some important respects, though by no means in all, Einstein’s general theory of relativity is closer to Aristotle’s than either of them is to Newton’s.  Though the temptation to describe that position as relativistic is understandable, the description seems to me wrong.  Conversely, if the position be relativism, I cannot see that the relativist loses anything needed to account for the nature and development of the sciences.”     Thomas Kuhn, “The Nature and Necessity of Scientific Revolutions” and “Revolutions and Relevance;” Chapter IX and Postscript in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962.  

CC BY-ND by dsa66503
Numero CuatroWelcome to DerbytownI GOT OFF the plane around midnight and no one spoke as I crossed the dark runway to the terminal.  The air was thick and hot, like wandering into a steam bath.  Inside, people hugged each other and shook hands … big grins and a whoop here and there: ‘By God!  You old bastard!  Good to see you, boy!  Damn good … and I mean it!’

In the air-conditioned lounge I met a man from Houston who said his name was something or other — ‘but just call me Jimbo’ — and he was here to get it on.  ‘I’m ready for anything, by God!  Anything at all.  Yeah, what are you drinkin?’  I ordered a Margarita with ice, but he wouldn’t hear of it: ‘Naw, naw … what the hell kind of drink is that for Kentucky Derby time?  What’s wrong with you, boy?’  He grinned and winked at the bartender.  ‘Goddam, we gotta educate this boy.  Get him some good whiskey …’

I shrugged.  ‘Okay, a double Old Fitz on ice.’  Jimbo nodded his approval.

‘Look.’  He tapped me on the arm to make sure I was listening.  ‘I know this Derby crowd, I come here every year, and let me tell you one thing I’ve learned — this is no town to be giving people the impression you’re some kind of faggot.  Not in public, anyway.  Shit, they’ll roll you in a minute, knock you in the head and take every goddam cent you have.’

I thanked him and fitted a Marlboro into my cigarette holder.  ‘Say,’ he said, ‘you look like you might be in the horse business … am I right?’

‘No,’ I said.  ‘I’m a photographer.’

‘Oh yeah?’  He eyed my ragged leather bag with new interest.  ‘Is that what you got there — cameras?  Who you work for?’

‘Playboy,’ I said.

He laughed.  ‘Well goddam! What are you gonna take pictures of — nekkid horses?  Haw!  I guess you’ll be workin’ pretty hard when they run the Kentucky Oaks.  That’s a race jut for fillies.’  He was laughing wildly.  ‘Hell yes!  And they’ll all be nekkid too!’

I shook my head and said nothing; just stared at him for a moment, trying to look grim.  ‘There’s going to be trouble,’ I said.  ‘My assignment is to take pictures of the riot.’

‘What riot?’

I hesitated, twirling the ice in my drink.  ‘At the track.  On Derby Day.  The Black Panthers.’  I stared at him again.  ‘Don’t you read the newspapers?’

The grin on his face had collapsed.  ‘What the hell are you talkin about?’

‘Well … maybe I shouldn’t be telling you …’  I shrugged.  ‘But hell, everybody seems to know.  The cops and the National Guard have been getting ready for six weeks.  They have 20,000 troops on alert at Fort Knox.  They warned us — all the press and photographers — to wear helmets and special vests like flak jackets. We were told to expect shooting …

Director’s Cut
“No!” he shouted; his hands flew up and hovered momentarily between us, as if to ward off the words he was hearing. Then he hacked his fist on the bar. “Those sons of bitches! God Almighty! The Kentucky Derby!” He kept shaking his head. “No! Jesus!That’s almost too bad to believe!” Now he seemed to be jagging on the stool, and when he looked up his eyes were misty. “Why? Why here? Don’t they respect anything?”I shrugged again. “It’s not just the Panthers. The FBI says busloads of white crazies are coming in from all over the country — to mix with the crowd and attack all at once, from every direction. They’ll be dressed like everybody else. You know — coats and ties and all that. But when the trouble starts … well, that’s why the cops are so worried.”

He sat for a moment, looking hurt and confused and not quite able to digest all this terrible news. Then he cried out: “Oh … Jesus! What in the name of God is happening in this country? Where can you get away from it?”

“Not here,” I said, picking up my bag. “Thanks for the drink … and good luck.”

He grabbed my arm, urging me to have another, but I said I was overdue at the Press Club and hustled off to get my act together for the awful spectacle. At the airport newsstand I picked up a Courier-Journal and scanned the front page headlines: “Nixon Sends GI’s into Cambodia to Hit Reds” … “B-52’s Raid, then 2,000 GI’s Advance 20 Miles” … “4,000 U.S. Troops Deployed Near Yale as Tension Grows Over Panther Protest.” At the bottom of the page was a photo of Diane Crump, soon to become the first woman jockey ever to ride in the Kentucky Derby.3 The photographer had snapped her “stopping in the barn area to fondle her mount, Fathom.” The rest of the paper was spotted with ugly war news and stories of “student unrest.” There was no mention of any protest action at a small Ohio school called Kent State.4

I went to the Hertz desk to pick up my car, but the moon-faced young swinger in charge said they didn’t have any. “You can’t rent one anywhere,” he assured me. “Our Derby reservations have been booked for six weeks.” I explained that my agent had confirmed a white Chrysler convertible for me that very afternoon but he shook his head. “Maybe we’ll have a cancellation. Where are you staying?”

I shrugged. “Where’s the Texas crowd staying? I want to be with my people.”

He sighed. “My friend, you’re in trouble. This town is flat full. Always is, for the Derby.”

I leaned closer to him, half-whispering: “Look, I’m from Playboy. How would you like a job?”

He backed off quickly. “What? Come on, now. What kind of a job?”

“Never mind,” I said. “You just blew it.” I swept my bag off the counter and went to find a cab. The bag is a valuable prop in this kind of work; mine has a lot of baggage tags on it — SF, LA, NY, Lima, Rome, Bangkok, that sort of thing — and the most prominent tag of all is a very official, plastic-coated thing that said “Photog. Playboy Mag.” I bought it from a pimp in Vail, Colorado, and he told me how to use it. “Never mention Playboy until you’re sure they’ve seen this thing first,” he said. “Then, when you see them notice it, that’s the time to strike. They’ll go belly up every time. This thing is magic, I tell you. Pure magic.”

Well … maybe so. I’d used it on the poor geek in the bar, and now, humming along in a Yellow Cab toward town, I felt a little guilty about jangling the poor bugger’s brains with that evil fantasy. But, what the hell? Anybody who wanders around the world saying, “Yes, I’m from Texas,” deserves whatever happens to him. And he had, after all, come here once again to make a 19th century ass of himself in the midst of some jaded, atavistic freakout with nothing to recommend it except a very saleable “tradition.” Early in our chat, Jimbo had told me that he hasn’t missed a Derby since 1954. “The little lady won’t come anymore,” he said. “She just grits her teeth and turns me loose for this one. And when I say ‘loose’ I do mean loose! I toss ten-dollar bills around like they were goin’ outa style! Horses, whiskey, women … shit, there’s women in this town that’ll do anything for money.”

Why not? Money is a good thing to have in these twisted times. Even Richard Nixon is hungry for it. Only a few days before the Derby he said, “If I had any money I’d invest it in the stock market.” And the market, meanwhile, continued its grim slide.

Waiting for Steadman

The next day was heavy. With 30 hours to post time I had no press credentials and — according to the sports editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal — no hope at all of getting any. Worse, I needed two sets; one for myself and another for Ralph Steadman, the English illustrator who was coming from London to do some Derby drawings.5 All I knew about him was that this was his first visit to the United States. And the more I pondered that fact, the more it gave me fear. Would he bear up under the heinous culture shock of being lifted out of London and plunged into a drunken mob scene at the Kentucky Derby? There was no way of knowing. Hopefully, he would arrive at least a day or so ahead, and give himself time to get acclimated. Maybe a few hours of peaceful sightseeing in the Bluegrass country around Lexington. My plan was to pick him up at the airport in the huge Pontiac Ballbuster I’d rented from a used car salesman named Colonel Quick, then whisk him off to some peaceful setting to remind him of England.

Colonel Quick had solved the car problem, and money (four times the normal rate) had bought two rooms in a scumbox on the outskirts of town. The only other kink was the task of convincing the moguls at Churchill Downs that Scanlan’s was such a prestigious sporting journal that common sense compelled them to give us two sets of the best press tickets. This was not easily done. My first call to the publicity office resulted in total failure. The press handler was shocked at the idea that anyone would be stupid enough to apply for press credentials two days before the Derby. “Hell, you can’t be serious,” he said. “The deadline was two months ago. The press box is full; there’s no more room … and what the hell is Scanlan’s Monthly anyway?”

I uttered a painful groan. “Didn’t the London office call you? They’re flying an artist over to do the paintings. Steadman. He’s Irish, I think. Very famous over there. I just got in from the Coast. The San Francisco office told me we were all set.”

He seemed interested, and even sympathetic, but there was nothing he could do. I flattered him with more gibberish, and finally he offered a compromise: he could get us two passes to the clubhouse grounds.

“That sounds a little weird,” I said. “It’s unacceptable. We must have access to everything. All of it. The spectacle, the people, the pageantry and certainly the race. You don’t think we came all this way to watch the damn thing on television, do you? One way or another we’ll get inside. Maybe we’ll have to bribe a guard — or even Mace somebody.” (I had picked up a spray can of Mace in a downtown drugstore for $5.98 and suddenly, in the midst of that phone talk, I was struck by the hideous possibilities of using it out at the track. Macing ushers at the narrow gates to the clubhouse inner sanctum, then slipping quickly inside, firing a huge load of Mace into the governor’s box, just as the race starts. Or Macing helpless drunks in the clubhouse restroom, for their own good … )

By noon on Friday I was still without credentials and still unable to locate Steadman. For all I knew he’d changed his mind and gone back to London. Finally, after giving up on Steadman and trying unsuccessfully to reach my man in the press office, I decided my only hope for credentials was to go out to the track and confront the man in person, with no warning — demanding only one pass now, instead of two, and talking very fast with a strange lilt in my voice, like a man trying hard to control some inner frenzy. On the way out, I stopped at the motel desk to cash a check. Then, as a useless afterthought, I asked if by any wild chance Mr. Steadman had checked in.

The lady on the desk was about fifty years old and very peculiar-looking; when I mentioned Steadman’s name she nodded, without looking up from whatever she was writing, and said in a low voice, “You bet he did.” Then she favored me with a big smile. “Yes, indeed. Mr. Steadman just left for the racetrack. Is he a friend of yours?”

I shook my head. “I’m supposed to be working with him, but I don’t even know what he looks like. Now, goddammit, I’ll have to find him in that mob at the track.”

She chuckled. “You won’t have any trouble finding him. You could pick that man out of any crowd.”

“Why?” I asked. “What’s wrong with him? What does he look like?”

“Well … ” she said, still grinning, “he’s the funniest looking thing I’ve seen in a long time. He has this … ah … this growth all over his face. As a matter of fact it’s all over his head.” She nodded. “You’ll know him when you see him; don’t worry about that.”

Great creeping Jesus, I thought. That screws the press credentials. I had a vision of some nerve-rattling geek all covered with matted hair and string-warts showing up in the press office and demanding Scanlan’s press packet. Well … what the hell? We could always load up on acid and spend the day roaming around the grounds with big sketch pads, laughing hysterically at the natives and swilling mint juleps so the cops wouldn’t think we’re abnormal. Perhaps even make the act pay up: set up an easel with a big sign saying, “Let a Foreign Artist Paint Your Portrait, $10 Each. Do It NOW!”

A Huge Outdoor Loony Bin
I took the expressway out to the track, driving very fast and jumping the monster car back and forth between lanes, driving with a beer in one hand and my mind so muddled that I almost crushed a Volkswagen full of nuns when I swerved to catch the right exit. There was a slim chance, I thought, that I might be able to catch the ugly Britisher before he checked in.

But Steadman was already in the press box when I got there, a bearded young Englishman wearing a tweed coat and HAF sunglasses.6 There was nothing particularly odd about him. No facial veins or clumps of bristly warts. I told him about the motel woman’s description and he seemed puzzled. “Don’t let it bother you,” I said. “Just keep in mind for the next few days that we’re in Louisville, Kentucky. Not London. Not even New York. This is a weird place. You’re lucky that mental defective at the motel didn’t jerk a pistol out of the cash register and blow a big hole in you.” I laughed, but he looked worried.7

“Just pretend you’re visiting a huge outdoor loony bin,” I said. “If the inmates get out of control we’ll soak them down with Mace.” I showed him the can of “Chemical Billy,” resisting the urge to fire it across the room at a rat-faced man typing diligently in the Associated Press section. We were standing at the bar, sipping the management’s scotch and congratulating each other on our sudden, unexplained luck in picking up two sets of fine press credentials. The lady at the desk had been very friendly to him, he said. “I just told her my name and she gave me the whole works.”

By midafternoon we had everything under control. We had seats looking down on the finish line, color TV and a free bar in the press room, and a selection of passes that would take us anywhere from the clubhouse roof to the jockey room. The only thing we lacked was unlimited access to the clubhouse inner sanctum in sections “F&G” … and I felt we needed that, to see the whisky gentry in action. The governor would be in “G.” Barry Goldwater would be in a box in “G” where we could rest and sip juleps, soak up a bit of atmosphere and the Derby’s special vibrations.

The bars and dining rooms were also in “F&G,” and the clubhouse bars on Derby Day are a very special kind of scene. Along with the politicians, society belle and local captains of commerce, every half-mad dingbat who ever had any pretensions to anything within 500 miles of Louisville will show up there to get strutting drunk and slap a lot of backs and generally make himself obvious. The Paddock bar is probably the best place in the track to sit and watch faces. Nobody minds being stared at; that’s what they’re in there for. Some people spend most of their time in the Paddock; they can hunker down at one of the many wooden tables, lean back in a comfortable chair and watch the ever-changing odds flash up and down on the big tote board outside the window. Black waiters in white serving jackets move through the crowd with trays of drinks, while the experts ponder their racing forms and the hunch bettors pick lucky numbers or scan the lineup for right-sounding names. There is a constant flow of traffic to and from the pari-mutuel windows outside in the wooden corridors. Then, as post time nears, the crowd thins out as people go back to their boxes.

Clearly, we were going to have to figure out some way to spend more time in the clubhouse tomorrow. But the “walkaround” press passes to F&G were only good for 30 minutes at a time, presumably to allow the newspaper types to rush in and out for photos or quick interviews, but to prevent drifters like Steadman and me from spending all day in the clubhouse, harassing the gentry and rifling an old handbag or two while cruising around the boxes. Or macing the governor. The time limit was no problem on Friday, but on Derby Day the walkaround passes would be in heavy demand. And since it took about 10 minutes to get from the press box to the Paddock, and 10 more minutes to get back, that didn’t leave much time for serious people-watching. And unlike most of the others in the press box, we didn’t give a hoot in hell what was happening on the track. We had come there to watch the real beasts perform.

View from Thompson’s Head
Later Friday afternoon, we went out on the balcony of the press box and I tried to describe the difference between what we had seen today and what would be happening tomorrow. This was the first time I’d been to a Derby in 10 years, but before that, when I lived in Louisville, I used to go every year. Now, looking down from the press box, I pointed to the huge grassy meadow enclosed by the track. “That whole thing,” I said, “will be jammed with people; fifty thousand or so, and most of them staggering drunk. It’s a fantastic scene — thousands of people fainting, crying, copulating, trampling each other and fighting with broken whiskey bottles. We’ll have to spend some time out there, but it’s hard to move around, too many bodies.”

“Is it safe out there? Will we ever come back?”

“Sure,” I said. “We’ll just have to be careful not to step on anybody’s stomach and start a fight.” I shrugged. “Hell, this clubhouse scene right below us will be almost as bad as the infield. Thousands of raving, stumbling drunks, getting angrier and angrier as they lose more and more money. By midafternoon they’ll be guzzling mint juleps with both hands and vomiting on each other between races. The whole place will be jammed with bodies, shoulder to shoulder. It’s hard to move around. The aisles will be slick with vomit; people falling down and grabbing at your legs to keep from being stomped. Drunks pissing on themselves in the betting lines. Dropping handfuls of money and fighting to stoop over and pick it up.”

He looked so nervous that I laughed. “I’m just kidding,” I said. “Don’t worry. At the first hint of trouble I’ll start Macing everybody I can reach.”

He had done a few good sketches but so far we hadn’t seen that special kind of face that I felt we would need for the lead drawing. It was a face I’d seen a thousand times at every Derby I’d ever been to. I saw it, in my head, as the mask of the whiskey gentry — a pretentious mix of booze, failed dreams and a terminal identity crisis; the inevitable result of too much inbreeding in a closed and ignorant culture. One of the key genetic rules in breeding dogs, horses or any other kind of thoroughbred is that close inbreeding tends to magnify the weak points in a bloodline as well as the strong points. In horse breeding, for instance, there is a definite risk in breeding two fast horses who are both a little crazy. The offspring will likely be very fast and also very crazy. So the trick in breeding thoroughbreds is to retain the good traits and filter out the bad. But the breeding of humans is not so wisely supervised, particularly in a narrow Southern society where the closest kind of inbreeding is not only stylish and acceptable, but far more convenient — to the parents — than setting their offspring free to find their own mates, for their own reasons and their own ways. (“Goddam, did you hear about Smitty’s daughter? She went crazy in Boston last week and married a nigger!”)

So the face I was trying to find in Churchill Downs that weekend was a symbol, in my own mind, of the whole doomed atavistic culture that makes the Kentucky Derby what it is.

On our way back to the motel after Friday’s races I warned Steadman about some of the other problems we’d have to cope with. Neither of us had brought any strange illegal drugs, so we would have to get by on booze. “You should keep in mind,” I said, “that almost everybody you talk to from now on will be drunk. People who seem very pleasant at first might suddenly swing at you for no reason at all.” He nodded, staring straight ahead. He seemed to be getting a little numb and I tried to cheer him up by inviting him to dinner that night, with my brother.

“What Mace?”

Back at the motel we talked for a while about America, the South, England, just relaxing a bit before dinner. There was no way either of us could have known, at the time, that it would be the last normal conversation we would have. From that point on, the weekend became a vicious, drunken nightmare. We both went completely to pieces. The main problem was my prior attachment to Louisville, which naturally led to meetings with old friends, relatives, etc., many of whom were in the process of falling apart, going mad, plotting divorces, cracking up under the strain of terrible debts or recovering from bad accidents. Right in the middle of the whole frenzied Derby action, a member of my own family had to be institutionalized.8 This added a certain amount of strain to the situation, and since poor Steadman had no choice but to take whatever came his way, he was subjected to shock after shock.

Another problem was his habit of sketching people he met in the various social situations I dragged him into, then giving them the sketches. The results were always unfortunate. I warned him several times about letting the subjects see his foul renderings, but for some perverse reason he kept doing it. Consequently, he was regarded with fear and loathing9 by nearly everyone who’d seen or even heard about his work. He couldn’t understand it. “It’s sort of a joke,” he kept saying. “Why, in England it’s quite normal. People don’t take offense. They understand that I’m just putting them on a bit.”

“Fuck England,” I said. “This is Middle America. These people regard what you’re doing to them as a brutal, bilious insult. Look what happened last night. I thought my brother was going to tear your head off.”

Steadman shook his head sadly, “But I like him. He struck me as a very decent, straightforward sort.”

“Look, Ralph,” I said. “Let’s not kid ourselves. That was a very horrible drawing you gave him. It was the face of a monster. It got on his nerves very badly.” I shrugged. “Why in the hell do you think we left the restaurant so fast?”

“I thought it was because of the Mace,” he said.

“What Mace?”

He grinned. “When you shot it at the headwaiter, don’t you remember?”10

“Hell, that was nothing,” I said. “I missed him … and we were leaving, anyway.”

“But it got all over us,” he said. “The room was full of that damn gas. Your brother was sneezing and his wife was crying. My eyes hurt for two hours. I couldn’t see to draw when we got back to the motel.”

“That’s right,” I said. “The stuff got on her leg, didn’t it?”

“She was angry,” he said.

“Yah … well, okay … let’s just figure we fucked up about equally on that one,” I said. “But from now on let’s try to be careful when we’re around people I know. You won’t sketch them and I won’t Mace them. We’ll just try to relax and get drunk.”

“Right,” he said. “We’ll go native.”

Derby Morning

It was Saturday morning, the day of the Big Race, and we were having breakfast in a plastic hamburger palace called the Ptomaine Village. Our rooms were just across the road in a foul scumbox of a place called the Horn Suburban Hotel. They had a dining room, but the food was so bad that we couldn’t handle it anymore. The waitresses seemed to be suffering from shin splints; they moved around very slowly, moaning and cursing the “darkies” in the kitchen.

Steadman liked the Ptomaine Village because it had fish and chips. I preferred the “french toast,” which was really pancake batter, fried to the proper thickness and then chopped out with a sort of cookie cutter to resemble pieces of toast.

Beyond drink and lack of sleep, our only real problem at that point was the question of access to the clubhouse. Finally we decided just to go ahead and steal two passes, if necessary, rather than miss that part of the action. This was the last coherent decision we were able to make for the next 48 hours. From that point on — almost from the very moment we started out to the track — we lost all control of events and spent the rest of the weekend just churning around in a sea of drunken horrors. My notes and recollections from Derby Day are somewhat scrambled.

But now, looking at the big red notebook I carried all through that scene, I see more or less that happened. The book itself is somewhat mangled and bent; some of the pages are torn, others are shriveled and stained by what appears to be whiskey, but taken as a whole, with sporadic memory flashes, the notes seem to tell the story. To wit:

Unscrambling Derby Day — I 
Steadman Is Worried About Fire

Rain all nite until dawn. No sleep. Christ, here we go, a nightmare of mud and madness …. Drunks in the mud. Drowning, fighting for shelter …. But no. By noon the sun burns, perfect day, not even humid.

Steadman is now worried about Fire. Somebody told him about the clubhouse catching on fire two years ago. Could it happen again? Horrible. Trapped in the press box. Holocaust. A hundred thousand people fighting to get out. Drunks screaming in the flames and the mud, crazed horses running wild. Blind in the smoke. Grandstand collapsing into the flames with us on the roof. Poor Ralph is about to crack. Drinking heavily, into the Haig.

Out to the track in a cab, avoid that terrible parking in people’s front yards, $25 each, toothless old men on the street with big signs: Park Here, flagging cars in the yard. “That’s fine, boy, never mind the tulips.” Wild hair on his head, straight up like a clump of reeds.

Sidewalks full of people all moving in the same direction, towards Churchill Downs. Kids hauling coolers and blankets, teenyboppers in tight pink shorts, many blacks … black dudes in white felt hats with leopard-skin bands, cops waving traffic along.

The mob was thick for many blocks around the track; very slow going in the crowd, very hot. On the way to the press box elevator, just inside the clubhouse, we came on a row of soldiers all carrying long white riot sticks. About two platoons, with helmets. A man walking next to us said they were waiting for the governor and his party. Steadman eyed them nervously. “Why do they have those clubs?”

“Black Panthers,” I said. Then I remembered good old “Jimbo” at the airport and I wondered what he was thinking right now. Probably very nervous; the place was teeming with cops and soldiers. We pressed on through the crowd, through many gates, past the paddock where the jockeys bring the horses out and parade around for a while before each race so the bettors can get a good look. Five million dollars will be bet today. Many winners, more losers. What the hell. The press gate was jammed up with people trying to get in, shouting at the guards, waving strange press badges: Chicago Sporting Times, Pittsburgh Police Athletic League … they were all turned away. “Move on, fella, make way for the working press.” We shoved through the crowd and into the elevator, then quickly up to the free bar. Why not? Get it on. Very hot today, not feeling well, must be this rotten climate. The press box was cool and airy, plenty of room to walk around and balcony seats for watching the race or looking down at the crowd. We got a betting sheet and went outside.

Unscrambling D-day II
Clubhouse/Paddock Bar

Pink faces with stylish Southern sag, old Ivy styles, seersucker coats and buttondown collars. “Mayblossom Senility” (Steadman’s phrase) … burnt out early or maybe just not much to burn in the first place. Not much energy in these faces, not much curiosity. Suffering in silence, nowhere to go after thirty in this life, just hang on and humor the children. Let the young enjoy themselves while they can. Why not? The grim reaper comes early in this league … banshees on the lawn at night, screaming out there beside that little iron nigger in jockey clothes. Maybe he’s the one who’s screaming. Bad DT’s and too many snarls at the bridge club. Going down with the stock market. Oh Jesus, the kid has wrecked the new car, wrapped it around that big stone pillar at the bottom of the driveway. Broken leg? Twisted eye? Send him off to Yale, they can cure anything up there.

Yale? Did you see today’s paper? New Haven is under siege. Yale is swarming with Black Panthers ….I tell you, Colonel, the world has gone mad, stone mad. Why they tell me a goddam woman jockey might ride in the Derby today.

I left Steadman sketching in the Paddock bar and sent off to place our bets on the sixth race. When I came back he was staring intently at a group of young men around a stable not far away. “Jesus, look at the corruption in that face!” he whispered. “Look at the madness, the fear, the greed!” I looked, then quickly turned my back on the table he was drawing. The face he’d picked out to draw was the face of an old friend of mine, a prep school football star in the good old days with a sleek red Chevy convertible and a very quick hand, it was said, with the snaps of a 32 B brassiere. They called him “Cat Man.”

But now, a dozen years later, I wouldn’t have recognized him anywhere but here, where I should have expected to find him, in the Paddock bar on Derby Day … fat slanted eyes and a pimp’s smoke, blue silk suit and his friends looking like crooked bank tellers on a binge ….

Steadman wanted to see some Kentucky Colonels, but he wasn’t sure what they looked like. I told him to go back to the clubhouse men’s rooms and look for men in white linen suits vomiting in the urinals. “They’ll usually have large brown whiskey stains on the fronts of their suits,” I said. “But watch the shoes, that’s the tip-off. Most of them manage to avoid vomiting on their own clothes, but they never miss their shoes.”

In a box not far from ours was Colonel Anna Friedman Goldman, Chairman and Keeper of the Great Seal of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. Not all the 76 million or so Kentucky Colonels could make it to the Derby this year, but many had kept the faith and several days prior to the Derby they gathered for their annual dinner at the Seelbach Hotel.

The Derby, the actual race, was scheduled for late afternoon, and as the magic hour approached I suggested to Steadman that we should probably spend some time in the infield, that boiling sea of people across the track from the clubhouse. He seemed a little nervous about it, but since none of the awful things I’d warned him about had happened so far — no race riots, firestorms, or savage drunken attacks — he shrugged and said, “Right, let’s do it.”

To get there we had to pass through many gates, each one a step down in status, then through a tunnel under the track. Emerging from the tunnel was such a culture shock that it took us a while to adjust. “Cool almighty!” Steadman muttered. “This is a … Jesus!” He plunged ahead with his tiny camera, stepping over bodies, and I followed, trying to take notes.

Unscrambling D-day III
The Infield

Total chaos, no way to see the race, not even the track … nobody cares. Big lines at the outdoor betting windows, then stand back to watch winning numbers flash on the big board, like a giant bingo game.

Old blacks arguing about bets; “hold on there, I’ll handle this” (waving pint of whiskey, fistful of dollar bills); girl riding piggyback, T-shirt says, “Stolen from Fort Lauderdale Jail.” Thousands of teenagers, group singing “Let the Sun Shine In,” ten soldiers guarding the American flag, and a huge fat drunk wearing a blue football jersey (No. 80) reeling around with quart of beer in hand.

No booze sold out here, too dangerous … no bathrooms either. Muscle Beach … Woodstock … many cops with riot sticks, but no sign of riot. Far across the track the clubhouse looks like a postcard from the Kentucky Derby.

Unscrambling D-day IV
“My Old Kentucky Home”

We went back to the clubhouse to watch the big race. When the crowd stood to face the flag and sing “My Old Kentucky Home,” Steadman faced the crowd and sketched frantically. Somewhere up in the boxes a voice screeched, “Turn around, you hairy freak!” The race itself was only two minutes long, and even from our super-status seats and using 12-power glasses, there was no way to see what was really happening. Later, watching a TV rerun in the press box, we saw what happened to our horses. Holy Land, Ralph’s choice, stumbled and lost his jockey in the final turn. Mine, Silent Screen, had the lead coming into the stretch, but faded to fifth at the finish. The winner was a 16–1 shot named Dust Commander.

Moments after the race was over, the crowd surged wildly for the exits, rushing for cabs and busses. The next day’s Courier told of violence in the parking lot; people were punched and trampled, pockets were picked, children lost, bottles hurled. But we missed all this, having retired to the press box for a bit of post-race drinking. By this time we were both half-crazy from too much whiskey, sun fatigue, culture shock, lack of sleep and general dissolution. We hung around the press box long enough to watch a mass interview with the winning owner, a dapper little man named Lehmann who said he had just flown into Louisville that morning from Nepal, where he’d “bagged a record tiger.”11 The sportswriters murmured their admiration and a waiter filled Lehmann’s glass with Chivas Regal. He had just won $127,000 with a horse that cost him $6,500 two years ago. His occupation, he said, was “retired contractor.” And then he added, with a big grin, “I just retired.”

The rest of that day blurs into madness. The rest of that night too. And all the next day and night. Such horrible things occurred that I can’t bring myself even to think about them now, much less put them down in print. Steadman was lucky to get out of Louisville without serious injuries, and I was lucky to get out at all. One of my clearest memories of that vicious time is Ralph being attacked by one of my old friends in the billiard room of the Pendennis Club12 in downtown Louisville on Saturday night. The man had ripped his own shirt open to the waist before deciding that Ralph wasn’t after his wife. No blows were struck, but the emotional effects were massive. Then, as a sort of final horror, Steadman put is fiendish pen to work and tried to patch things up by doing a little sketch of the girl he’d been accused of hustling. That finished us in the Pendennis.

Getting Out of Town

Sometime around 10:30 Monday morning I was awakened by a scratching sound at my door. I leaned out of bed and pulled the curtain back just far enough to see Steadman outside. “What the fuck do you want?” I shouted.

“What about having breakfast?” he said.

I lunged out of bed and tried to open the door, but it caught on the night-chain and banged shut again. I couldn’t cope with the chain! The thing wouldn’t come out of the track — so I ripped it out of the wall with a vicious jerk on the door. Ralph didn’t blink. “Bad luck,” he muttered.

I could barely see him. My eyes were swollen almost shut and the sudden burst of sunlight through the door left me stunned and helpless like a sick mole. Steadman was mumbling about sickness and terrible heat; I fell back on the bed and tried to focus on him as he moved around the room in a very distracted way for a few moments, then suddenly darted over to the beer bucket and seized a Colt .45. “Christ,” I said. “you’re getting out of control.”

He nodded and ripped the cap off, taking a long drink. “You know, this is really awful,” he said finally. “I must get out of this place … ” he shook his head nervously. “The plane leaves at 3:30, but I don’t know if I’ll make it.”

I barely heard him. My eyes had finally opened enough for me to focus on the mirror across the room and I was stunned at the shock of recognition. For a confused instant I thought that Ralph had brought somebody with him — a model for that one special face we’d been looking for. There he was, by God — a puffy, drink-ravaged, disease-ridden caricature … like an awful cartoon version of an old snapshot in some once-proud mother’s family photo album. It was the face we’d been looking for — and it was, of course, my own. Horrible, horrible …

“Maybe I should sleep a while longer,” I said. “Why don’t you go on over to the Ptomaine Village and eat some of those rotten fish and chips? Then come back and get me around noon. I feel too near death to hit the streets at this hour.”

He shook his head. “No … no … I think I’ll go back upstairs and work on those drawings for a while.” He leaned down to fetch two more cans out of the beer bucket. “I tried to work earlier,” he said, “but my hands keep trembling … It’s teddible, teddible.”

‘You’ve got to stop drinking,’ I said.

He nodded.  ‘I know.  This is no good, no good at all.  But for some reason I think it makes me feel better … ‘

‘Not for long,’ I said.  ‘You’ll probably collapse into some kind of hysterical DT’s tonight — probably just about the time you get off the plane at Kennedy.  They’ll zip you up in a straightjacket and drag you down to the Tombs, then beat you on the kidneys with a big stick until you straighten out.’

He shrugged and wandered out, pulling the door shut behind him.  I went back to bed for another hour or so, and later — after the daily grapefruit juice run to the Nite Owl Food Mart — we drove once again to the Ptomaine Village for a fine lunch of dough and butcher’s offal, fried in heavy grease.

By this time Ralph wouldn’t even order coffee; he kept asking for more water.  ‘It’s the only thing they have that’s fit for human consumption,’ he explained.  Then, with an hour or so to kill before he had to catch the plane, we spread his drawings out on the table and pondered them for a while, wondering if he’d caught the proper spirit of the thing … but we couldn’t make up our minds.  His hands were shaking so badly that he had trouble holding the paper, and my vision was so blurred that I could barely see what he’s drawn.  ‘Shit,’ I said.  ‘We both look worse than anything you’ve drawn here.’

He smiled.  ‘You know — I’ve been thinking about that,’ he said.  ‘We came down here to see this teddible scene: people all pissed out of their minds and vomiting on themselves and all that … and now, you know what?  It’s us … ‘

Huge Pontiac Ballbuster blowing through traffic on the expressway.  The journalist is driving, ignoring his passenger who is now nearly naked after taking off most of his clothing, which he holds out the window, trying to wind-wash the Mace out of it.  His eyes are bright red and his face and chest are soaked with the beer he’s been using to rinse the awful chemical off his flesh.  The front of his woolen trousers is soaked with vomit; his body is racked with fits of coughing and wild choking sobs.  The journalist rams the big car through traffic and into a spot in front of the terminal, then he reaches over to open the door on the passenger’s side and shoves the Englishman out, snarling: ‘Bug off, you worthless faggot!  You twisted pigfucker!  [Crazed laughter.]  If I weren’t sick I’d kick your ass all the way to Bowling Green — you scumsucking foreign geek.  Mace is too good for you …. We can do without your kind in Kentucky.'”     Hunter S. Thompson, “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved;” originally in Scanlan’s Magazine, reprinted in, 1970.  

7.17.2017 Nearly Naked Links

Amazon Imperialism –

Lula Sentenced –

Free Speech Deferred –

Carlson v Neocon –

Health Bill Fiasco –

VR Talk –

Russia Gate –

Newark Rebellion-

Hamburg G 20 –

They Are Not Alone –

US Turkish Relations Cool –

Math Diversions –

Diseases of the Will –

Thoreau Relevance –

Nuke Fallout –

7.17.2017 Day in History

world time watch clockEverywhere on Earth today is the World Day for International Justice; in a related development one thousand eight hundred thirty-seven years ago, a dozen residents of Scillium, a Numidian Roman province that is likely currently Tunisia, became martyrs when they die at the hands of authorities for the crime of practicing Christianity; showing the flexibility of their aims, eight hundred fourteen years in advance of now, members of the Fourth Crusade diverted their attention from the Holy Land to storm Christian Constantinople and take sides in one of Byzantium’s conspiratorial, internecine rivalries; five hundred eighty-eight years before the here and now, a seventh King Charles ascended to the French throne thanks to a successful campaign that Joan of Arc had led in his behalf; two hundred forty-one years ago, Congress learned of the war or words; two hundred twenty-seven years ahead of today’s dawn, the political economic thinker and critic Adam Smith took a final look around before departing this realm; three hundred sixty-five days later, in 1791, the recently appointed Lafayette ordered his French National Guard detachment to fire on radical Jacobins in Paris, killing plus or minus fifty unarmed people in the process; three years hence, in 1794, sixteen Carmelite practitioners, mainly nuns, sang sacred hymns as they marched up the stairs to the guillotine that took off their heads near the end of ‘the Reign of Terror;’ forty-seven years hence, in 1841, Punch or The London Charivari, a British weekly magazine of humor and satire, was founded in London; twenty-nine years still later, Wild Bill Hickok killed a soldier; eighteen years later, in 1888, a baby boy was born in Ukraine who would mature as the Israeli Nobel Literary Laureate Shmuel Yosef Agnon; a year further along the temporal path, in 1889, across the Atlantic in the U.S. a male infant entered our midst whose destiny was a career in law and narrative as Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner; and five years subsequently, in 1899, Japanese businesses participated in incorporating NEC as the first joint venture with outside capital; eighteen years later, in 1917, fighting in the streets of Petrograd, Russia, led the way for future revolutionary acts;  ninety-nine years back, in a bloody hail of bullets, Bolshevik operatives executed many members of the extended family of Russia’s royal clan, the Romanovs;  fourteen years after that bloodbath, in 1932, Communist and Nazi operatives battled n the streets of Germany prior to Hitler’s ‘election’; four years further on, in 1936, toward the Western end of Europe, fascist Spanish militarists rebelled against the Republican government and initiated the civil war on the Iberian Peninsula; eight years beyond that point in time, in 1944, the United States first deployed napalm in bombing runs in France, and hundreds of war workers died in massive 640px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-H27035,_Potsdamer_Konferenz,_Churchill,_Truman,_Stalinexplosions at Port Chicago near Oakland, California; a year later, in 1945, the ‘Big Three’ leaders , Truman, Stalin, and Churchill, met at Potsdam, Germany, to ‘order’ the future of Europe and elliptically threaten the Soviets with the newly confirmed power of atomic weapons; a decade further along life’s path, in 1955,  seven thousand miles away in Southern California, Walt Disney opened his first paean to consumerist fantasies at Disneyland; four years still more proximate to the present day, in 1959,  iconic singer and songwriter and promoter of social equality Billie Holiday breathed her last;three years subsequent to that conjunction, in 1962,  the United States conducted its last atmospheric nuclear weapons test in Nevada; five years hence, in 1967, Jimi Hendrix dropped out of the Monkees’ opening act lineup; a year exactly later, in 1968, seven thousand miles southwest in Iraq, Ba’athist rebels first took charge of the government there; in another anti colonial development eleven years further along, in 1979,  Sandinista rebels drove Anastacio Somosa from power in Nicaragua to a temporary refuge in his second home in Miami; half a dozen years still nearer to now, from now, in 1985, Northeast back across the Atlantic in Europe, France and Germany inaugurated the formation of the ‘neoliberal’ market-driven EUREKA network to improve European competitiveness; eleven years afterward, in 1996, Portugal and its former colonies established a network of Portuguese speaking nations; seven hundred and thirty days later on, in 1998, the International Criminal Court established worldwide jurisdiction to try  genocide and other crimes against humanity;  eight years to the day henceforth, in 2006, Mickey Spillane, the popular spinner of mystery yarns, had his last day on Earth; eight years still closer to the current moment, in 2014, thus-far unapprehended killers shot a Malaysian Airlines flight out of the sky over Eastern Ukraine.