Still a bit too busy to go daily at the moment, but here is a selection of interesting things for you all to read. News, Texttoon etc. Click on in.
It is generally observed that no species of writing is so difficult as the dramatic. It must, indeed, appear so, were we to consider it upon one side only. It is a dialogue, or species of composition which in itself requires all the mastery of a complete writer with grace and spirit to support.
We may add, that it must have a fable, too, which necessarily requires invention, one of the rarest qualities of the human mind. It would surprise us, if we were to examine the thing critically, how few good original stories there are in the world. The most celebrated borrow from each other, and are content with some new turn, some corrective, addition, or embellishment. Many of the most celebrated writers in that way can claim no other merit. I do not think La Fontaine has one original story. And if we pursue him to those who were his originals, the Italian writers of tales and novels, we shall find most even of them drawing from antiquity, or borrowing from the Eastern world, or adopting and decorating the little popular stories they found current and traditionary in their country.
Sometimes they laid the foundation of their tale in real fact. Even after all their borrowing from so many funds, they are still far from opulent. How few stories has Boccace which are tolerable, and how much fewer are there which you would desire to read twice! But this general difficulty is greatly increased, when we come to the drama. Here a fable is essential,--a fable which is to be conducted with rapidity, clearness, consistency, and surprise, without any, or certainly with very little, aid from narrative. This is the reason that generally nothing is more dull in telling than the plot of a play.
It is seldom or never a good story in itself; and in this particular, some of the greatest writers, both in ancient and modern theatres, have failed in the most miserable manner. It is well a play has still so many requisites to complete it, that, though the writer should not succeed in these particulars, and therefore should be so far from perfection, there are still enough left in which he may please, at less expense of labor to himself, and perhaps, too, with more real advantage to his auditory. It is, indeed, very difficult happily to excite the passions and draw the characters of men; but our nature leads us more directly to such paintings than to the invention of a story.
We are imitative animals; and we are more naturally led to imitate the exertions of character and passion than to observe and describe a series of events, and to discover those relations and dependencies in them which will please. Nothing can be more rare than this quality. Herein, as I believe, consists the difference between the inventive and the descriptive genius. By the inventive genius I mean the creator of agreeable facts and incidents; by the descriptive, the delineator of characters, manners, and passions. Imitation calls us to this; we are in some cases almost forced to it, and it is comparatively easy. More observe the characters of men than the order of things: to the one we are formed by Nature, and by that sympathy from which we are so strongly led to take a part in the passions and manners of our fellow-men; the other is, as it were, foreign and extrinsical. Neither, indeed, can anything be done, even in this, without invention; but it is obvious that this invention is of a kind altogether different from the former. However, though the more sublime genius and the greatest art are required for the former, yet the latter, as it is more common and more easy, so it is more useful, and administers more directly to the great business of life.
If the drama requires such a combination of talents, the most common of which is very rarely to be found and difficult to be exerted, it is not surprising, at a time when almost all kinds of poetry are cultivated with little success, to find that we have done no great matters in this. Many causes may be assigned for our present weakness in that oldest and most excellent branch of philosophy, poetical learning, and particularly in what regards the theatre. I shall here only consider what appears to me to be one of these causes: I mean the wrong notion of the art itself, which begins to grow fashionable, especially among people of an elegant turn of mind with a weak understanding; and these are they that form the great body of the idle part of every polite and civilized nation. The prevailing system of that class of mankind is indolence. This gives them an aversion to all strong movements. It infuses a delicacy of sentiment, which, when it is real, and accompanied with a justness of thought, is an amiable quality, and favorable to the fine arts; but when it comes to make the whole of the character, it injures things more excellent than those which it improves, and degenerates into a false refinement, which diffuses a languor and breathes a frivolous air over everything which it can influence....
Having differed in my opinion about dramatic composition, and particularly in regard to comedy, with a gentleman for whose character and talents I have a very high respect, I thought myself obliged, on account of that difference, to a new and more exact examination of the grounds upon which I had formed my opinions. I thought it would be impossible to come to any clear and definite idea on this subject, without remounting to the natural passions or dispositions of men, which first gave rise to this species of writing; for from these alone its nature, its limits, and its true character can be determined.
There are but four general principles which can move men to interest themselves in the characters of others, and they may be classed under the heads of good and ill opinion: on the side of the first may be classed admiration and love, hatred and contempt on the other. And these have accordingly divided poetry into two very different kinds,--the panegyrical, and the satirical; under one of which heads all genuine poetry falls (for I do not reckon the didactic as poetry, in the strictness of speech).
Without question, the subject of all poetry was originally direct and personal. Fictitious character is a refinement, and comparatively modern; for abstraction is in its nature slow, and always follows the progress of philosophy. Men had always friends and enemies before they knew the exact nature of vice and virtue; they naturally, and with their best powers of eloquence, whether in prose or verse, magnified and set off the one, vilified and traduced the other.
The first species of composition in either way was probably some general, indefinite topic of praise or blame, expressed in a song or hymn, which is the most common and simple kind of panegyric and satire. But as nothing tended to set their hero or subject in a more forcible light than some story to their advantage or prejudice, they soon introduced a narrative, and thus improved the composition into a greater variety of pleasure to the hearer, and to a more forcible instrument of honor or disgrace to the subject.
It is natural with men, when they relate any action with any degree of warmth, to represent the parties to it talking as the occasion requires; and this produces that mixed species of poetry, composed of narrative and dialogue, which is very universal in all languages, and of which Homer is the noblest example in any. This mixed kind of poetry seems also to be most perfect, as it takes in a variety of situations, circumstances, reflections, and descriptions, which must be rejected on a more limited plan.
It must be equally obvious, that men, in relating a story in a forcible manner, do very frequently mimic the looks, gesture, and voice of the person concerned, and for the time, as it were, put themselves into his place. This gave the hint to the drama, or acting; and observing the powerful effect of this in public exhibitions....
But the drama, the most artificial and complicated of all the poetical machines, was not yet brought to perfection; and like those animals which change their state, some parts of the old narrative still adhered. It still had a chorus, it still had a prologue to explain the design; and the perfect drama, an automaton supported and moved without any foreign help, was formed late and gradually. Nay, there are still several parts of the world in which it is not, and probably never may be, formed. The Chinese drama.
The drama, being at length formed, naturally adhered to the first division of poetry, the satirical and panegyrical, which made tragedy and comedy.
Men, in praising, naturally applaud the dead. Tragedy celebrated the dead.
Great men are never sufficiently shown but in struggles. Tragedy turned, therefore, on melancholy and affecting subjects,--a sort of threnodia,--its passions, therefore, admiration, terror, and pity.
Comedy was satirical. Satire is best on the living.
It was soon found that the best way to depress an hated character was to turn it into ridicule; and therefore the greater vices, which in the beginning were lashed, gave place to the contemptible. Its passion, therefore, became ridicule.
Every writing must have its characteristic passion. What is that of comedy, if not ridicule?
Comedy, therefore, is a satirical poem, representing an action carried on by dialogue, to excite laughter by describing ludicrous characters. See Aristotle.
Therefore, to preserve this definition, the ridicule must be either in the action or characters, or both.
An action may be ludicrous, independent of the characters, by the ludicrous situations and accidents which may happen to the characters.
But the action is not so important as the characters. We see this every day upon the stage.
What are the characters fit for comedy?
It appears that no part of human life which may be subject to ridicule is exempted from comedy; for wherever men run into the absurd, whether high or low, they may be the subject of satire, and consequently of comedy. Indeed, some characters, as kings, are exempted through decency; others might be too insignificant. Some are of opinion that persons in better life are so polished that their tone characters and the real bent of their humor cannot appear. For my own part, I cannot give entire credit to this remark. For, in the first place, I believe that good-breeding is not so universal or strong in any part of life as to overrule the real characters and strong passions of such men as would be proper objects of the drama. Secondly, it is not the ordinary, commonplace discourse of assemblies that is to be represented in comedy. The parties are to be put in situations in which their passions are roused, and their real characters called forth; and if their situations are judiciously adapted to the characters, there is no doubt but they will appear in all their force, choose what situation of life you please. Let the politest man alive game, and feel at loss; let this be his character; and his politeness will never hide it, nay, it will put it forward with greater violence, and make a more forcible contrast.
But genteel comedy puts these characters, not in their passionate, but in their genteel light; makes elegant cold conversation, and virtuous personages. Such sort of pictures disagreeable.
Virtue and politeness not proper for comedy; for they have too much or no movement. They are not good in tragedy, much less here. The greater virtues, fortitude, justice, and the like, too serious and sublime.
It is not every story, every character, every incident, but those only which answer their end.--Painting of artificial things not good; a thing being useful does not therefore make it most pleasing in picture.--Natural manners, good and bad.--Sentiment. In common affairs and common life, virtuous sentiments are not even the character of virtuous men; we cannot bear these sentiments, but when they are pressed out, as it were, by great exigencies, and a certain contention which is above the general style of comedy.
The first character of propriety the Lawsuit possesses in an eminent degree. The plot of the play is an iniquitous suit; there can be no fitter persons to be concerned in the active part of it than low, necessitous lawyers of bad character, and profligates of desperate fortune. On the other hand, in the passive part, if an honest and virtuous man had been made the object of their designs, or a weak man of good intentions, every successful step they should take against him ought rather to fill the audience with horror than pleasure and mirth; and if in the conclusion their plots should be baffled, even this would come too late to prevent that ill impression. But in the Lawsuit this is admirably avoided: for the character chosen is a rich, avaricious usurer: the pecuniary distresses of such a person can never be looked upon with horror; and if he should be even handled unjustly, we always wait his delivery with patience.
Now with regard to the display of the character, which is the essential part of the plot, nothing can be more finely imagined than to draw a miser in law. If you draw him inclined to love and marriage, you depart from the height of his character in some measure, as Molière has done. Expenses of this kind he may easily avoid. If you draw him in law, to advance brings expense, to draw back brings expense; and the character is tortured and brought out at every moment.
A sort of notion has prevailed that a comedy might subsist without humor. It is an idle disquisition, whether a story in private life, represented in dialogues, may not be carried on with some degree of merit without humor. It may unquestionably; but what shines chiefly in comedy, the painting the manners of life, must be in a great measure wanting. A character which has nothing extravagant, wrong, or singular in it can affect but very little: and this is what makes Aristotle draw the great line of distinction between tragedy and comedy.
There is not a more absurd mistake than that whatever may not unnaturally happen in an action is of course to be admitted into every painting of it. In Nature, the great and the little, the serious and the ludicrous, things the most disproportionate the one to the other, are frequently huddled together in much confusion, And what then? It is the business of Art first to choose some determinate end and purpose, and then to select those parts of Nature, and those only, which conduce to that end, avoiding with most religious exactness the intermixture of anything which would contradict it. Else the whole idea of propriety, that is, the only distinction between the just and chimerical in the arts, would be utterly lost. An hero eats, drinks, and sleeps, like other men; but to introduce such scenes on the stage, because they are natural, would be ridiculous.
And why? Because they have nothing to do with the end for which the play is written. The design of a piece might be utterly destroyed by the most natural incidents in the world. Boileau has somewhere criticized with what surely is a very just severity on Ariosto, for introducing a ludicrous tale from his host to one of the principal persons of his poem, though the story has great merit in its way. Indeed, that famous piece is so monstrous and extravagant in all its parts that one is not particularly shocked with this indecorum. But, as Boileau has observed, if Virgil had introduced Æneas listening to a bawdy story from his host, what an episode had this formed in that divine poem! Suppose, instead of Æneas, he had represented the impious Mezentius as entertaining himself in that manner; such a thing would not have been without probability, but it would have clashed with the very first principles of taste, and, I would say, of common sense.
I have heard of a celebrated picture of the Last Supper,--and if I do not mistake, it is said to be the work of some of the Flemish masters: in this picture all the personages are drawn in a manner suitable to the solemnity of the occasion; but the painter has filled the void under the table with a dog gnawing bones.
Who does not see the possibility of such an incident, and, at the same time, the absurdity of introducing it on such an occasion! Innumerable such cases might be stated. It is not the incompatibility or agreeableness of incidents, characters, or sentiments with the probable in fact, but with propriety in design, that admits or excludes them from a place in any composition. We may as well urge that stones, sand, clay, and metals lie in a certain manner in the earth, as a reason for building with these materials and in that manner, as for writing according to the accidental disposition of characters in Nature.
I have, I am afraid, been longer than it might seem necessary in refuting such a notion; but such authority can only be opposed by a good deal of reason. We are not to forget that a play is, or ought to be, a very short composition; that, if one passion or disposition is to be wrought up with tolerable success, I believe it is as much as can in any reason be expected. If there be scenes of distress and scenes of humor, they must either be in a double or single plot. If there be a double plot, there are in fact two. If they be in checkered scenes of serious and comic, you are obliged continually to break both the thread of the story and the continuity of the passion,--if in the same scene, as Mrs. V. seems to recommend, it is needless to observe how absurd the mixture must be, and how little adapted to answer the genuine end of any passion. It is odd to observe the progress of bad taste: for this mixed passion being universally proscribed in the regions of tragedy, it has taken refuge and shelter in comedy, where it seems firmly established, though no reason can be assigned why we may not laugh in the one as well as weep in the other. The true reason of this mixture is to be sought for in the manners which are prevalent amongst a people. It has become very fashionable to affect delicacy, tenderness of heart, and fine feeling, and to shun all imputation of rusticity. Much mirth is very foreign to this character; they have introduced, therefore, a sort of neutral writing.
Now as to characters, they have dealt in them as in the passions. There are none but lords and footmen. One objection to characters in high life is, that almost all wants, and a thousand happy circumstances arising from them, being removed from it, their whole mode of life is too artificial, and not so fit for painting; and the contrary opinion has arisen from a mistake, that whatever has merit in the reality necessarily must have it in the representation. I have observed that persons, and especially women, in lower life, and of no breeding, are fond of such representations. It seems like introducing them into good company, and the honor compensates the dulness of the entertainment.
Funny how Eddie keeps getting labeled a conservative generation after generation. In a more modern view he'd be likely be called a lefty-libtard by the usual suspects.
And that makes a nice link to the next item.
To the People of the State of New York: I PROCEED now to trace the real characters of the proposed Executive, as they are marked out in the plan of the convention.
This will serve to place in a strong light the unfairness of the representations which have been made in regard to it. The first thing which strikes our attention is, that the executive authority, with few exceptions, is to be vested in a single magistrate. This will scarcely, however, be considered as a point upon which any comparison can be grounded; for if, in this particular, there be a resemblance to the king of Great Britain, there is not less a resemblance to the Grand Seignior, to the khan of Tartary, to the Man of the Seven Mountains, or to the governor of New York.
That magistrate is to be elected for FOUR years; and is to be re-eligible as often as the people of the United States shall think him worthy of their confidence. In these circumstances there is a total dissimilitude between HIM and a king of Great Britain, who is an HEREDITARY monarch, possessing the crown as a patrimony descendible to his heirs forever; but there is a close analogy between HIM and a governor of New York, who is elected for THREE years, and is re-eligible without limitation or intermission. If we consider how much less time would be requisite for establishing a dangerous influence in a single State, than for establishing a like influence throughout the United States, we must conclude that a duration of FOUR years for the Chief Magistrate of the Union is a degree of permanency far less to be dreaded in that office, than a duration of THREE years for a corresponding office in a single State.
The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. The person of the king of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable; there is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable; no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution.
In this delicate and important circumstance of personal responsibility, the President of Confederated America would stand upon no better ground than a governor of New York, and upon worse ground than the governors of Maryland and Delaware. The President of the United States is to have power to return a bill, which shall have passed the two branches of the legislature, for reconsideration; and the bill so returned is to become a law, if, upon that reconsideration, it be approved by two thirds of both houses.
The king of Great Britain, on his part, has an absolute negative upon the acts of the two houses of Parliament. The disuse of that power for a considerable time past does not affect the reality of its existence; and is to be ascribed wholly to the crown's having found the means of substituting influence to authority, or the art of gaining a majority in one or the other of the two houses, to the necessity of exerting a prerogative which could seldom be exerted without hazarding some degree of national agitation. The qualified negative of the President differs widely from this absolute negative of the British sovereign; and tallies exactly with the revisionary authority of the council of revision of this State, of which the governor is a constituent part. In this respect the power of the President would exceed that of the governor of New York, because the former would possess, singly, what the latter shares with the chancellor and judges; but it would be precisely the same with that of the governor of Massachusetts, whose constitution, as to this article, seems to have been the original from which the convention have copied.
The President is to be the ``commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States. He is to have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, EXCEPT IN CASES OF IMPEACHMENT; to recommend to the consideration of Congress such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; to convene, on extraordinary occasions, both houses of the legislature, or either of them, and, in case of disagreement between them WITH RESPECT TO THE TIME OF ADJOURNMENT, to adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; to take care that the laws be faithfully executed; and to commission all officers of the United States.''
In most of these particulars, the power of the President will resemble equally that of the king of Great Britain and of the governor of New York. The most material points of difference are these:
First. The President will have only the occasional command of such part of the militia of the nation as by legislative provision may be called into the actual service of the Union. The king of Great Britain and the governor of New York have at all times the entire command of all the militia within their several jurisdictions. In this article, therefore, the power of the President would be inferior to that of either the monarch or the governor.
Secondly. The President is to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States. In this respect his authority would be nominally the same with that of the king of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it. It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first General and admiral of the Confederacy; while that of the British king extends to the DECLARING of war and to the RAISING and REGULATING of fleets and armies, all which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature.1 The governor of New York, on the other hand, is by the constitution of the State vested only with the command of its militia and navy. But the constitutions of several of the States expressly declare their governors to be commanders-in-chief, as well of the army as navy; and it may well be a question, whether those of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, in particular, do not, in this instance, confer larger powers upon their respective governors, than could be claimed by a President of the United States.
Thirdly. The power of the President, in respect to pardons, would extend to all cases, EXCEPT THOSE OF IMPEACHMENT. The governor of New York may pardon in all cases, even in those of impeachment, except for treason and murder. Is not the power of the governor, in this article, on a calculation of political consequences, greater than that of the President? All conspiracies and plots against the government, which have not been matured into actual treason, may be screened from punishment of every kind, by the interposition of the prerogative of pardoning. If a governor of New York, therefore, should be at the head of any such conspiracy, until the design had been ripened into actual hostility he could insure his accomplices and adherents an entire impunity.
A President of the Union, on the other hand, though he may even pardon treason, when prosecuted in the ordinary course of law, could shelter no offender, in any degree, from the effects of impeachment and conviction. Would not the prospect of a total indemnity for all the preliminary steps be a greater temptation to undertake and persevere in an enterprise against the public liberty, than the mere prospect of an exemption from death and confiscation, if the final execution of the design, upon an actual appeal to arms, should miscarry? Would this last expectation have any influence at all, when the probability was computed, that the person who was to afford that exemption might himself be involved in the consequences of the measure, and might be incapacitated by his agency in it from affording the desired impunity? The better to judge of this matter, it will be necessary to recollect, that, by the proposed Constitution, the offense of treason is limited ``to levying war upon the United States, and adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort''; and that by the laws of New York it is confined within similar bounds.
Fourthly. The President can only adjourn the national legislature in the single case of disagreement about the time of adjournment. The British monarch may prorogue or even dissolve the Parliament. The governor of New York may also prorogue the legislature of this State for a limited time; a power which, in certain situations, may be employed to very important purposes. The President is to have power, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the senators present concur. The king of Great Britain is the sole and absolute representative of the nation in all foreign transactions. He can of his own accord make treaties of peace, commerce, alliance, and of every other description. It has been insinuated, that his authority in this respect is not conclusive, and that his conventions with foreign powers are subject to the revision, and stand in need of the ratification, of Parliament. But I believe this doctrine was never heard of, until it was broached upon the present occasion. Every jurist of that kingdom, and every other man acquainted with its Constitution, knows, as an established fact, that the prerogative of making treaties exists in the crown in its utomst plentitude; and that the compacts entered into by the royal authority have the most complete legal validity and perfection, independent of any other sanction.
The Parliament, it is true, is sometimes seen employing itself in altering the existing laws to conform them to the stipulations in a new treaty; and this may have possibly given birth to the imagination, that its co-operation was necessary to the obligatory efficacy of the treaty. But this parliamentary interposition proceeds from a different cause: from the necessity of adjusting a most artificial and intricate system of revenue and commercial laws, to the changes made in them by the operation of the treaty; and of adapting new provisions and precautions to the new state of things, to keep the machine from running into disorder. In this respect, therefore, there is no comparison between the intended power of the President and the actual power of the British sovereign. The one can perform alone what the other can do only with the concurrence of a branch of the legislature.
It must be admitted, that, in this instance, the power of the federal Executive would exceed that of any State Executive. But this arises naturally from the sovereign power which relates to treaties. If the Confederacy were to be dissolved, it would become a question, whether the Executives of the several States were not solely invested with that delicate and important prerogative. The President is also to be authorized to receive ambassadors and other public ministers. This, though it has been a rich theme of declamation, is more a matter of dignity than of authority. It is a circumstance which will be without consequence in the administration of the government; and it was far more convenient that it should be arranged in this manner, than that there should be a necessity of convening the legislature, or one of its branches, upon every arrival of a foreign minister, though it were merely to take the place of a departed predecessor.
The President is to nominate, and, WITH THE ADVICE AND CONSENT OF THE SENATE, to appoint ambassadors and other public ministers, judges of the Supreme Court, and in general all officers of the United States established by law, and whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by the Constitution. The king of Great Britain is emphatically and truly styled the fountain of honor. He not only appoints to all offices, but can create offices. He can confer titles of nobility at pleasure; and has the disposal of an immense number of church preferments. There is evidently a great inferiority in the power of the President, in this particular, to that of the British king; nor is it equal to that of the governor of New York, if we are to interpret the meaning of the constitution of the State by the practice which has obtained under it. The power of appointment is with us lodged in a council, composed of the governor and four members of the Senate, chosen by the Assembly. The governor CLAIMS, and has frequently EXERCISED, the right of nomination, and is ENTITLED to a casting vote in the appointment.
If he really has the right of nominating, his authority is in this respect equal to that of the President, and exceeds it in the article of the casting vote. In the national government, if the Senate should be divided, no appointment could be made; in the government of New York, if the council should be divided, the governor can turn the scale, and confirm his own nomination. If we compare the publicity which must necessarily attend the mode of appointment by the President and an entire branch of the national legislature, with the privacy in the mode of appointment by the governor of New York, closeted in a secret apartment with at most four, and frequently with only two persons; and if we at the same time consider how much more easy it must be to influence the small number of which a council of appointment consists, than the considerable number of which the national Senate would consist, we cannot hesitate to pronounce that the power of the chief magistrate of this State, in the disposition of offices, must, in practice, be greatly superior to that of the Chief Magistrate of the Union.
Hence it appears that, except as to the concurrent authority of the President in the article of treaties, it would be difficult to determine whether that magistrate would, in the aggregate, possess more or less power than the Governor of New York. And it appears yet more unequivocally, that there is no pretense for the parallel which has been attempted between him and the king of Great Britain. But to render the contrast in this respect still more striking, it may be of use to throw the principal circumstances of dissimilitude into a closer group. The President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for FOUR years; the king of Great Britain is a perpetual and HEREDITARY prince. The one would be amenable to personal punishment and disgrace; the person of the other is sacred and inviolable. The one would have a QUALIFIED negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other has an ABSOLUTE negative. The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of DECLARING war, and of RAISING and REGULATING fleets and armies by his own authority. The one would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties; the other is the SOLE POSSESSOR of the power of making treaties.
The one would have a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices; the other is the sole author of all appointments. The one can confer no privileges whatever; the other can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies.
The one can prescribe no rules concerning the commerce or currency of the nation; the other is in several respects the arbiter of commerce, and in this capacity can establish markets and fairs, can regulate weights and measures, can lay embargoes for a limited time, can coin money, can authorize or prohibit the circulation of foreign coin.
The one has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction; the other is the supreme head and governor of the national church! What answer shall we give to those who would persuade us that things so unlike resemble each other?
The same that ought to be given to those who tell us that a government, the whole power of which would be in the hands of the elective and periodical servants of the people, is an aristocracy, a monarchy, and a despotism.
-- A. Hamilton(1788).
Somewhat of a dupe, but well worth repeating. The last quote is a small selection of short items from 'Punch'.
Ireland will have to be careful or she will be made safe for democracy, like the other countries.
A large spot on the sun has been seen by the meteorological experts at Greenwich Observatory. We understand that it will be allowed to remain.
After exhaustive experiments Signor Marconi has failed to obtain any wireless message from Mars. Much anxiety is being felt by those persons having friends or mining shares there.
The Astronomical Correspondent of The Times suggests that the new star may have been produced through a sun being struck by a comet. This raises the question as to whether suns ought not to carry rear lights.
Everybody should economise after a great war, says an American film producer. We always do our best after every great war.
-- Punch 1920.
I'll post some more when I have the time. Until then.
News measured with a ruler:
Royal and her wanker offspring looking to take control of the cookie jar. Declaring her candidacy for the nomination of the opposition Socialist Party, she vowed to bring real change. Right, sure.
No deal! Iran EU talks fail. See SDDPB below. Iran missed a Security Council August deadline to halt enrichment. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad maintains Iran has a right to a nuclear programme.
Fleeing for fun and profit. The US military has rejected claims that its soldiers abandoned civilian truck drivers during an attack in Iraq. Three drivers were killed when insurgents attacked a convoy of Halliburton trucks in Balad, north of Baghdad, on 20 September 2005.
Zambian elections sparks usual turmoil.
Pakistan Roll: A light tan bun served in full uniform and campaign ribbons one day. And in three piece suits the next.
In related news: Pakistan's president has warned the West would be "brought to its knees" without his country's co-operation in the so-called war on terror. "If we were not with you, you won't manage anything," said President Pervez Musharraf in a BBC Radio 4 interview.
It's not a military Coup! Retired General Surayud Chulanont has been sworn in as Thailand's interim prime minister in a brief ceremony in the capital, Bangkok. His government would focus on "people's happiness" above economic growth, he told reporters afterwards. [...] And while the good folk of Happy Valley tenaciously frolicked away, their wise old king, who was a merry old thing, played strange songs on his Hammond organ all day long, up in his castle where he lived with his gracious Queen Syllabub, and their lovely daughter Princess Mitzi Gaynor, who had fabulous tits and an enchanting smile and a fine wit, and wooden teeth which she'd bought in a chemist's in Augsburg, despite the fire risk. She treasured these teeth, which were made of the finest pine and she varnished them after every meal. And next to her teeth, her dearest love was her pet rabbit Herman. She would take Herman for long walks, and pet and fuss over him all day. And she would visit the royal kitchens and steal him tasty tit-bits which he never ate, because, sadly, he was dead, and no one had the heart to tell her because she was so sweet and innocent and new nothing of death or gastro-enteritis, or even plastic hip joints[...]
Free And Not Dead Press:
SD Press Briefing Softball Highlights:Sept 28th has Sean at the plate. Play Ball!
QUESTION: Following on the extremist versus moderates and in the context of your push for democracy in the Middle East. As you know, some governments, particularly in Egypt, consider some of those pro-democracy advocates as extreme elements. And I'm not sure that you do, but there seems to be -- the issue seems to be quite difficult to resolve in terms of who is who and who is a terrorist, who's not a terrorist. Is she going to talk to President Mubarak about dealing with extremism but also trying to promote democratic reform?
MR. MCCORMACK: I'm sure that she is going to talk to President Mubarak as well as her other Egyptian interlocutors about the importance of continuing the democratic reform process in Egypt. We're not going to get into the business of deciding --
QUESTION: Who's who.
MR. MCCORMACK: Who is who. But I think there are some pretty clear lines in the region as to who are forces that are either forces for extremism and violence or supporters of. You can look at Iran. You can look at Syria. You can look at Hezbollah. You can look at Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. There are a number of different groups. So I think quite clearly there's a bright line there and you can see exactly what side of the line groups and states fall.
Who gets Strike one! What?!? He's next up.
QUESTION: Can you give us -- can you let us know whether the Secretary's had any conversations with Mr. Solana since his meetings yesterday and today and any readout on them?
MR. MCCORMACK: She did have a brief conversation with Mr. Solana last night. Again, I'm not in a position to give a detailed readout of these things. I'm going to leave it to Mr. Solana and his folks over there in Berlin to give you a readout, their assessment of the meetings, what the mood music is, what the atmospherics are, what the specifics of their conversations are.
I checked just before I came out here and my understanding is that there still is an ongoing meeting between Mr. Solana and Mr. Larijani. That may have changed in the 15 minutes I've been out here. But I'm going to leave it to them to discuss (a) what is on their agenda and their impressions of the meetings that they're having with the Iranians.
We continue to hope for a positive answer from the Iranians on a very simple point: Are they willing to suspend their enrichment-related activities in order to realize a suspension of activity in the Security Council as well as to get into negotiations? We hope that that is the choice. Everybody hopes that that is the choice and it is a pretty simple one for the Iranians. The ball is in their court. The world is watching them. Nobody wants to go down the path of sanctions. That is not our first choice. But we are prepared along with the P-5+1 to go down that path if that's the door that the Iranian regime wants to open. We hope that the door to a negotiated settlement to this issue is the door that the Iranians choose to open.
QUESTION: To your knowledge, have they yet made that choice in these meetings?
MR. MCCORMACK: To my knowledge, no. No. To my knowledge, they have not.
Two and one makes four a very dull game.
QUESTION: On Greece. Mr. McCormack, any readout on the yesterday's talks between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis which lasted almost an hour? Could you please to be more specific as you can in order to have a full picture on the context of their talks?
MR. MCCORMACK: They have a good personal and professional relationship. Relations between Greece and the United States are excellent. They talked about a number of sort of regional as well as bilateral issues. They talked a little bit about Cyprus. They talked about Greek-Turkish relations. They talked a little bit about Kosovo. Talked a little bit about -- the Foreign Minister brought up the issue of visas. So there were a number of different issues that they talked about. It was a good exchange.
QUESTION: What was said about the visas?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, again, this is an issue that's regulated by the law. Certainly we want to do everything that we can in the context of that law to facilitate travel back and forth between the United States and Greece.
QUESTION: Were you present in the meeting?
MR. MCCORMACK: Excuse me?
QUESTION: Were you present in the meeting?
MR. MCCORMACK: Yes, I was.
QUESTION: Who else was present in that meeting from your side?
MR. MCCORMACK: From our side?
MR. MCCORMACK: I'm trying to remember --
QUESTION: To the best of your recollection. (Laughter.)
MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, to the best of my recollection. You know I'm getting old, so it's a little hard to remember that far back. I think Kurt Volker was there. Dan Fried is traveling in the region at the moment. Let see, me, Kurt Volker -- I'll have to go back and look at my notes. We'll get you an answer.
QUESTION: One more. Mr. McCormack, did they disagree --
MR. MCCORMACK: The Secretary was in the meeting, too.
QUESTION: Did they disagree in any issue on both agendas, the Greek one and the American one, in order to avoid (inaudible) theories, not mine, and conspiracies against this particular meeting between Secretary Rice and Minister Bakoyannis?
MR. MCCORMACK: You want me to be more clear so people don't make things up?
QUESTION: But any disagreement?
MR. MCCORMACK: They had a good meeting. They had a good meeting, Lambros.
Strike three, any disagreement? No? Much-much more in there as usual.
[One year ago skips to two and three.]
Ecuador, the UK, France has criticised unofficial negotiators for frustrating the country's efforts to gain the release of two French hostages held in Iraq. French parliamentarian Didier Julia has been leading unofficial attempts to free the two journalists, kidnapped in August with their Syrian driver. , E-Voting and several other items.
Rolls, walls, oil and gas, Greorge Tenent leaves the cupids for a shiny medal.
Fumetti : A stock photo of George W. Bush speaking before a crowd. Overlayed speech bubble has him singing;
"Woke up this morning/ From the strangest dream/ I was in the biggest army/ The world has ever seen/ We were marching as one/ On the road to the holy grail/ Started out-seeking fortune and glory/ It's a short song/ But it's a hell of a story/ When you Spend your lifetime/ Trying to get/ Your hands on the Holy Grail/ Bud', have you heard of the Great Crusade?/ We ran into millions, and nobody got paid/ Yeah, we razed four corners of the globe/ For the Holy Grail"