George Bancroft on Anglo-Saxon Virginia

“Thus have we traced, almost exclusively from contemporary documents and records, the colonization of the twelve oldest states of our Union. At the period of the great European revolution of 1688, they contained not many beyond two hundred thousand inhabitants, of whom Massachusetts, with Plymouth and Maine, may have had forty-four thousand; New Hampshire and Rhode Island, with Providence, each six thousand; Connecticut, from seventeen and twenty thousand; that is, all New England, seventy-five thousand souls; New York, not less than twenty thousand; New Jersey, half as many; Pennsylvania and Delaware, perhaps twelve thousand; Maryland, twenty-five thousand; Virginia, fifty thousand, or more; and the two Carolinas, which then included the soil of Georgia, probably not less than eight thousand souls.

The emigration of the fathers of these twelve commonwealths, with the plantings of the principles on which they rested, though, like the introduction of Christianity into Rome, but little regarded by contemporary writers, was the most momentous event of the seventeenth century.
[…]
Of the nations of the European world, the chief emigration was from that Germanic race most famed for the love of personal independence. The immense majority of American families were not “of the high folk of Normandie,” but were of “the low men,” who were Saxons. This is true of New England; it is true of the south. Shall the Virginians be described in a word? They were Anglo-Saxons in the woods again, with the inherited culture and intelligence of the seventeenth century. “The major part of the house of burgesses now consisted of Virginians that never saw a town.” The Anglo-Saxon mind, in its serenest nationality, neither distored by fanaticism, nor subdued by superstition, nor wounded by persecution, nor excited by new ideas, but fondly cherishing the active instinct for personal freedom, secure possession, and legislative power, such as belonged to it before the reformation, had made its dwelling-place in the empire of Powhatan. With consistent firmess of character, the Virginians welcomed legislative power; displaced an unpopular governor; at the overthrow of monarchy, established the freest government by happy intuition; rebelled against the politics of the Stuarts; and, uneasy at the royalist principles which prevailed in its forming aristocracy, soon manifested the tendency of the age at the polls.

“The inclinations of the country,” wrote Spotswood, when the generation born during the period of Bacon’s rebellion had grown to maturity, “are rendered mysterious by a new and unaccountable humor, which hath obtained in several counties, of excluding the gentlemen from being burgesses, and choosing only persons of mean figure and character.” But Spotswood, a royalist, a High Churchman, a traveller, reverenced the virtues of the people. “I will do justice to this country,” he writes to the Bishop of London — and his evidence is without suspicion of a bias; “I have observed here less swearing and prophaneness, less drunkennes [sic] and debauchery, less uncharitable feuds and animosities, and less knaverys and villanys [sic], than in any part of the world where my lot has been.”

Of the systems of philosophy of the Old World, the colonists, including their philosophy in their religion, as the people up to that time had always done, were neither skeptics nor sensualists, but Christians. The school that bows to the senses as the sole interpreter of truth, had little share in colonizing our America. The colonists from Maine to Carolina, the adventurous companions of Smith, the Puritan felons that freighted the fleet of Winthrop, the Quaker outlaws that fled from jails with a Newgate prisoner as their sovereign, — all had faith in God and in the soul. The system which had been revealed in Judea, — the system which combines and perfects the symbolic wisdom of the Orient and the reflective genius of Greece, — the system, conforming to reason, yet kindling enthusiasm; always hastening reform yet always conservative; proclaiming absolute equality among men, yet not suddenly abolishing the unequal institutions of society; guarantying absolute fredom, yet invoking the inexorable restrictions of duty; in the highest degree theoretical, and yet in the highest degree practical; awakening the inner man to a consciousness of his destiny, and yet adapted with exact harmony to the outward world; at once divine and humane, — this system was professed in every part of our widely-extended country, and cradled our freedoms.

Our fathers were not only Christians; they were, even in Maryland by a vast majority, elsewhere almost unanimously, Protestants. Now the Protestant reformation, considered in its largest influence on politics, was the common people awakening to freedom of the mind.”

From The History of the Colonization of the United States, 1848 by George Bancroft

American vs British English

As I’ve indicated, I love the English language in all its varieties — well, maybe not all, but it is a very rich and versatile language.

Now and then, popular magazines run these trivial articles comparing our American English with the language used in our ancestral isles and whenever a discussion between two people, each on the other side of the ‘Pond’ are interviewed, it seems each person wants to put distance between our competing varieties of English. In an article I just read there was a lot of that sentiment; often our English cousins assert that our American dialect, as Dr. Johnson called it, has little resemblance to theirs. Then the American author of another piece which focused on American history, denied that we had much in common linguistically with our British cousins.

It is certainly true that the differences between the dialects within the Anglosphere are diminishing. It seems evident that the differences are shrinking, in part because of the media especially American TV and movies. Also a factor is the widespread travel between our country and the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and of course Canada, which has led to more familiarity with one anothers’ idioms and slang. There is far less need for ‘British-American’ dictionaries’ and the like for the sake of those travelers who for some reason find British English hard to understand.

I do notice that a lot of younger Americans, especially, adopt some of the English or British vocabulary just because it has a certain cachet for them, though sometimes they use those words incorrectly. One example of that is the term ‘smarmy’ which has been around for some decades, but the Americans who brought it over here in the 1980s or so (long ago!) used it to mean sleazy or disreputable, when it originally meant unctuous and ingratiating; having an oily, insincere manner. A perfectly useful word, for which we have few one-word synonyms, while we already have plenty of synonyms for ‘sleazy, slimy,’ etc.

Our Americanized English is not something we should feel ashamed of, as some Americans do. It’s true that there are people who speak our language badly, and there are those who speak their native language less than perfectly and less than euphoniously. It’s true that there are some linguistic snobs out there, wherever you go, but that’s life in the big city.

In my studies, though, when looking at the many kinds of English dialects and expressions, the varied American dialects have brought bits and pieces of dialects from old England; they are heard in many of the Southern dialects as well as New England. I can’t speak to the Midwestern or other dialects, but certainly a lot of the peculiarities one hears in the older American dialects are traceable to England, and in some cases also to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Delingpole on the ‘Reset’

James Delingpole writes about the ‘Great Reset’ or ‘Global Reset’, and why it’s trending on Twitter.

I am not sure why Canadian PM Justin Trudeau was chosen to bring this topic to the world’s attention recently, or if he was chosen by whoever to do so, but it seems his little speech at least attracted the notice of much of the world. The main purpose his speech seemed to serve was to verify for the scoffers and skeptics that this was no “conspiracy theory”, this Great Reset.

The ‘reset’, if it’s put into effect as planned by our betters overlords leaders will have a profound effect on our world, and for those of us who want to live in a free world — suffice it to say that we will have no say about these changes which are planned without our input. Needless to say, any criticism or doubt from the right will not be welcomed. And the left will be promoting this, as we’ve seen with Trudeau.

It is something that the citizenry should be aware of, but will the peoples to be affected by it, including the Anglosphere countries, be lulled to sleep about it, and accept the implications of it unquestioningly?

Lovecraft on immigration, culture

The following is an excerpt from H.P. Lovecraft’s correspondence.

“Within the lifetime of people now middle-aged, the general tone of our northern cities has so changed that they no longer seem like home to their own inhabitants. Providence is something of an exception because of the continued pure-Yankeedom of the residence section atop the hill—but the downtown business section shews all the stigmata of Latin mongrelisation….Italian & Portuguese faces everywhere. One has to get down to Richmond to find a town which really feels like home—where the average person one meets looks like one, has the same type of feelings & recollections, & reacts approximately the same to the same stimuli.

The loss of a collective life—of a sharing of common traditions & memories & experiences—is the curse of the heterogeneous northeast today. There is no real solution–& all the American can do is to forget about the foreigners as much as he can, be on guard against alienation from his own tradition (apart from which he is lost & deprived of that normal adjustment to a coherent fabric & continuous historic stream which is everyone’s right), & do his part toward cutting off further unassimilable immigration.

[…] I certainly would welcome a greater assertiveness & independence among the native stock. I think the (probable) 100,000 Yankees in Providence ought to be able to say what they choose about Italy without making apologies to Federal Hill (our local Nuova Napoli), & that the (perhaps) 1,000,000 Americans in New York ought to be able to discuss Hitler & Palestine & pork chops without glancing fearfully over their shoulders at a horde of fortune-seeking Yiddish newcomers.

I have to hand it to the French-Canadians for putting up a fight for their language & institutions. While naturally I oppose their cultural encroachments outside their own Quebec province—their fights to make all Canada bi-lingual, & all that—I admire them down to the bottom line—as Gen. Murray & Sir Guy Carleton did at the very outset—for their staunch resolution to keep up the fabric of their forefathers. They were on the ground first, & by the time we licked them in 1759-60 their land was normally a French one—a spacious area with a thoroughly adjusted population, cultivated French towns, & a century & a half of local traditions. Clearly, they had every aesthetic right to demand the perpetuation of their own folkways instead of ours—yet how few have shewn any real guts in similar situations!

Where is the spoken French of Louisiana, the spoken Dutch of New-Netherland, or the spoken Spanish of Texas, today? But the Canucks, by god [sic], did have the guts! They kept an unbroken front, used every dignified in Parliament, & finally secured the passage of the Quebec Act of 1774, securing them an inviolate perpetuation of their laws, language, & religion. We respected their rights as the Romans respected the rights of the conquered Greeks–& today Quebec is still the cultivated French city it was in 1750…..just as Athens & Alexandria were still cultivated Greek cities after centuries of Roman rule.

Of course, there are troublesome connotations. When the French overflow into other regions like Ontario & New England they carry their solidarity & unassimilability with them, remaining aloof & cohesive, & refusing to adopt the English speech they have so long fought on their own soil. They cannot understand why the tolerance & protection of French in Quebec Province cannot be duplicated in places only a few hours ride from Quebec—like Vermont or Ontario or Rhode Island.

In this state they have overrun certain cities & villages & made them just as French as anything in Quebec or Normandy. When I first visited Quebec in 1930 I saw nothing I had not known all my life from travels in my own state. Here, as there, one can strike towns dominated by ornate French steeples; containing statues Erice par Societe Jacques-Cartier; sporting shop signs such as Elphege Carou, Epicier, or Hormisdas Bilodeau, Cardonnier; having Maison a vendre, Chambres a louer & Salle a louer window cards; displaying Gallic posters of some such cinema as Sous la Lune du Maroc; adapte de la Nouvelle par Andre Reuze. Les Cinq Gentlemen Mandite at Le Theatre Laurier; & harbouring crowds of black-clad parochial school children led by hooded nuns or shovel-hatted cures & jabbering in the French of their forefathers……all the hereditary things of France undiluted by transplantation & expansion.

These Rhode Island French fight like hell whenever any attempt is made to deracinate them or to substitute English for French in their parochial schools. In other local foreign colonies one sees a gradual Americanisation—a younger generation speaking English, & a falling off of ancestral ways—but nothing of that pervades these French centres. The French newspapers continue to flourish, & every parent strives to keep his children true to La Tradition. It is really ironic to reflect that—despite all the utterly alien blood which has been dumped on New England—the one really persistent foreign challenge should come from none other than our oldest & most historic rival—the Frenchman of the North against whose menace old Cotton Mather thundered his Catonian invectives from Boston pulpits in the 1680’s.”

H.P. Lovecraft, private correspondence

Just a brief comment: where Lovecraft asks where “the spoken French of Louisiana” has gone , it is not gone altogether: there are, or have been, joint efforts with the Cajuns’ cousins back in France to continue the cultural ties with France, promoting the French language and musical traditions. I think it’s a good thing; the Cajuns are also very much part of America.

As for the ‘spoken Spanish of Texas,’ there’s not much danger of that being lost, as the Mexican and other Latino population grows.

Looking back

The New England Historical Society here offers a brief history of the New England Town Meeting, which exerted quite an influence on colonial ideas of how the early settlers were to govern themselves — or be governed.

“Town Meeting only took root throughout New England after a struggle, but it refused to die. Some of the old Town Meeting traditions, like eating meetinghouse seeds and daylong discussions, disappeared. But their original impetus continues in New England – as does the republic they created.

During the earliest days of Town Meeting, “the cardinal principles of political equality, opposition to tyranny, and freedom of speech were taught, and taught in such a way that they were never forgotten,” observed historian Daniel Ward Howe.”

Among the early colonists of New England, ideas differed as to how the colonies should be governed, with John Winthrop’s colony being more conservative than Connecticut, for example. The writers of this piece make it clear that they find the more ‘democratic’ colonies superior to Winthrop’s. From the vantage point of 2020, especially in the wake of a troubled and disputed national election, I am not sure that the ‘democratic’ alternative has worked out as expected 400 or so years ago.

Regardless, even now many of us look back at early New England and its much-admired Town Meeting tradition as being the ‘good old days’: New England then had something much closer, it seems, to the ‘direct democracy’ in which everyone had their say, and in which a much-smaller government was still accessible to the ‘little people’. How quaint; now, with a bloated government apparatus at every level it seems, and given that we have a much larger population, direct democracy or anything like it would be an impossible ideal.

The article quotes Daniel Ward Howe as saying, in 1879,

“The cardinal idea of the New England town system was tht the nearer government is brought to the people, the more clearly it shows their sentiments and reflects their will.”

New England Historical Society website

The writer also notes the ways in which the Town Meeting tradition was essential to the organizing and the close-knit nature of the communities of New England; it enabled them to better defend themselves against Indian onslaughts by means of the local patriotic groups such as the Minute Men, (my ancestors were part of that movement). Because of the colonists’ incentive to be well-organized and to prepare for the common defense, they were better able to prevail in the Revolution.

It’s well worth a read if you have New England roots, or even if you don’t, it’s of interest simply as American history.

One of my favorite old films is one from the 1950s (released in 1958), called “It Happened to Jane.” The movie starred Doris Day and Jack Lemmon. What has it got to do with early New England, especially as the movie was set in 1950s Maine? Well, it shows us that even in the 1950s, some of the old traditions lingered on, though weakened. The film was set in a small town supposedly on the Maine coast, though filmed on location in rural and small-town Connecticut. The viewer actually gets to see what a small New England town looked and felt like in 1958. The scenery was beautiful and everything looked very unspoiled; no traffic congestion, no overcrowded streets, no air pollution and smog was evident. The townspeople were not professional actors, at least in the smaller roles; they looked like ordinary, nice folk, not Hollywood denizens.

I am sure that much of that idyllic New England is gone, as it is in so many places, thanks to the globalists’ obsession for overpopulating our countries and especially those areas that have somehow escaped the damage until recently.

But as I watched the movie, I noticed that there were scenes in which the lead character, Jane (her surname is one of my family surnames, interestingly for me) takes a news reporter on a guided tour of the town, showing him the Town Hall, and we get to see a Town Hall meeting with most of the citizens in attendance. It was a little over-idealized probably, but it still makes us feel as if we were seeing a glimpse of the real thing, as it existed in those fabled good old days.

And when we hear about the American ideals, as all of us once upon a time were taught in our classrooms, it brings a wistful and bittersweet feeling, to ponder that we once had a very different America, one which is in all likelihood a thing of the past. At times that feeling is not wistful as much as rueful and angry because either we let it slip away, taking it for granted, or it was stolen away from us by people with their own motivations.

Shall we, being ‘black-pilled’ these days, merely say ‘oh well, it was never as good as they told us it was; it was always flawed and it would have failed anyway, so good riddance” or shall we honor it, and our ancestors who made it what it was, realizing we were lucky to have had the old America as long as it lasted?

I do recommend seeing the movie ‘It Happened to Jane’; I don’t know how hard it is to find, as Netflix et al don’t favor wholesome movies, but it might be available on YouTube or some other such outlet. It’s worth seeing if you are interested in the America of our forebears and of our history books.

David Goodhart on diversity and solidarity

“Thinking about the conflict between solidarity and diversity is another way of asking a question as old as human society itself: Who is my brother? With whom do I share mutual obligations? The traditional conservative Burkean view is that our affinities ripple out from our families and localities, to the nation and not very far beyond. That view is pitted against a liberal universalist one which sees us in some sense equally obligated to all human beings from Bolton to Burundi… [Burkeans] argue that we feel more comfortable with, and are readier to share with, and sacrifice for, those with whom we have shared histories and similar values. To put it bluntly – most of us prefer our own kind.”

David Goodhart, in British magazine Prospect

A new Brexit party?

Nigel Farage is about to revive the Brexit Party as Reform UK, in response to a great deal of frustration among pro-Brexit voters. The fact that the Brexit process, even after it appeared to have been approved, stalled not long after its approval by a majority of the electorate.

Farage recently found that his contract with LBC Radio was not renewed — because of his having made some impolitic statements about BLM — which of course cannot be tolerated. Boris Johnson, who recently spoke about the possibility of renewed lockdowns, had provoked irate reactions from the public, so this may be an opportune time to act , with the apparent frustration of the public.

European peoples

Have you seen the Europa Invicta website? The pages are about the question of European identity, which, as we are aware, is under siege, and being undermined and denied.

It’s very aesthetically pleasing, nice to look at. I have looked at related videos on YouTube, and wondered if the site is at risk of disappearing as so many non-PC media are disappeared fom YouTube. Although the subject matter is presented in a way that promotes European culture, rather than disparaging anyone else, even that is not guaranteed to prevent censorship or deplatforming.

Some of the Europa Invicta pages show European symbols, some of them shown on clothing items, based on historically or culturally iconic images — but they seem to be sort of ambiguous. There are no specific symbols for Britain or for England; I suppose that means they are included as part of the Northern or Northwestern category. The other ethnicities listed are not easily recognized to us here on this side of the Atlantic. I suppose we’re the stepchildren here on this side.

I am not in favor of anything that is globalist or leads to globalism; there is a lot of ‘stealth’ globalism in some of the organizations which speak of unifying everyone. It does seem that the EU in particular has made it a point to just absorb England into whatever kind of re-organized Britain they have planned, re-drawn along arbitrary boundaries, that more or less erase England off the map. Even worse, ultimately they would erase the English people, the ethnic English. Everyone else’s ethnicity is touted and encouraged while the English are being written out of history it seems.

While I applaud any effort to bolster European identity and culture, I don’t know that identitarianism is my cup of tea. I find it a little heavy and intellectual, which is fine for some but not the approach for everyone. One size doesn’t necessarily fit all.