From my diary

I’ve been reading the Walpoliana, anecdotes ca. 1800 from Horace Walpole.  I like books of anecdotes!  They are easy on the eye and the mind after a long day.  I did try to obtain a printed copy, but the “reprints” are just print-on-demand items, available in two weeks.  By that time I will have forgotten all about them!

The author is new to me, but I have found him strangely charmless.  It does not help that he is an atheist.  All his clerical anecdotes are sneering; his courtly anecdotes seem often devoted to the Royal mistresses.  His praise of Bishop Hoadly, one of the most loathed ecclesiastics of the period, reminded me mainly that we should fear the praise of wicked men.  Few of the remaining anecdotes are of great interest.  So … a bit of a bust.

I apologise to anybody who has been awaiting an email from me.  A cold is preventing me doing very much at present.  I’ve mainly been dealing with things outstanding for too long.

The Methodius project is now awaiting a sample translation from a potential translator with both Greek and Slavonic.  This should be started, but hardly more.  Once I have this, I can decide how to proceed.


5 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. On books of anecdotes: Diogenes Laertius of course contains many; and Plutarch has several works with titles like Sayings of Spartans, Sayings of Spartan Women, etc.; Francis Bacon has a book of Apothegms; and John Aubrey’s Brief Lives are supposed to be good.

  2. Since you mentioned Horace Walpole and his anecdotes, I’ve combed the Internet for the connection to where I live in New England. I live a stone’s throw from Walpole, New Hampshire, and Orford, New Hampshire. In the western half of this state, nearly every “Welcome to” sign greeting passersby, on rural roads with long stretches of wild woods, is punctuated with precious few houses per square mile. The curiosity of so many “Welcome..” signs is that 90% of them identify having been first settled, in 1761.
    The second-to-last Royalist Governor of the Province of New Hampshire, Benning Wentworth, sliced up massive tracts of land that weren’t his to give to many favorites, in the name and under the authority of The Crown. Of course. He arbitrarily divided up most of central NH and most everything west of the Merrimack River. In fact, interior New Hampshire was not (as most might assume) exploring from the Atlantic coastline, penetrating what was terra incognita, but by folks poking about for more land, who explored how far north the broad and navigable Connecticut River could be explored by sail – or skiffs and canoes, if needed. Those who ventured up the Connecticut River, then, named their new settlements for the settlements and towns they left in Massachusetts and Connecticut (named from where their parents likely lived in Olde England. There’s a Walpole, Massachusetts, and Walpole New Hampshire, but no New England state except NH has an Orford. Seems that both New Hampshire towns were named by Gov. Benning Wentworth himself, for his friend Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, and father of Horace Walpole, Sir Robert’s youngest son. Wentworth was presumably on a streak, because a lovely town next door to where I live in New Hampshire, was named for another good friend: 1st Baronet, Admiral Samuel Cornish. Ironically, one of the oldest families in Cornish, New Hampshire, is named Cornish. That’s TOO easy, of course. They’re not even distantly related to Admiral Samuel Cornish, who never saw an inch of New England soil.
    If this isn’t yet enough fodder for your Useless Trivia files, I’ve got one more gem you might find mildly amusing.
    The Connecticut River is the western New Hampshire Vermont border. (Oddly, and not where I’m going with this additional paragraph, at all, it happens to have the longest and only double-wide covered wooden bridge in the world) and is the main thoroughfare to get from Windsor, Vermont, to Cornish and Claremont, New Hampshire.) Most of EASTERN Vermont, all along the Connecticut River, was claimed by Governor Benning Wentworth as “New Hampshire Grants”: New Hampshire Grants, apparently, because he said so. It wasn’t until the folks in what’s been Vermont (since the end of the Revolutionary War) said they were sick of being taxed by New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire that they held their own bloodless revolution and said (convening in Windsor, VT, on the VT side of the Connecticut River) “We’re going to be our own state!” Vermonters are more politically feisty, even, than New Hampshire folks are, and in one Vermont town named after the New Hampshire governor who gave the vast area to a friend who named it “Bennington,” instead of a Thank You note, Bennington Vermonters are still a prickly group. While George W. Bush (“Dubya”) has been out of office [mercifully!] for nearly eight years, he and his V.P. Dick (“Baal”) Cheney aren’t likely to travel to Bennington, because the town (one of two, in Vermont, btw) voted more than a decade ago that there will stand in Bennington, Vermont, a warrant for the arrest of both of those men for “crimes against humanity” in immersing the nation into interminable warfare and bloodshed in Iraq, etc., etc. The warrants will remain in place until the criminals are interred. And, btw, they both know those warrants are outstanding.

  3. There seems to me more than one Walpole active at the time, but I haven’t worked out who. As I recall, Sir Robert Walpole was famous for corruption and patronage!

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