Books and Beverages: Free4Kindle

Sometimes the connections below will seem a bit, um, whimsical, random, and loose.  Like loose tea leaves.  Or maybe more like what you’d find at a jumble sale where the books were sorted by a sixth grade who would rather be playing a computer game.

books black and white

coffee cupClub Life of London, Vol. I (of 2) With Anecdotes of the Clubs, Coffee-Houses and Taverns of the Metropolis During the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries, 1866
Two sample chapters: EARLY POLITICAL CLUBS.

Our Clubs, or social gatherings, which date from the Restoration, were exclusively political. The first we hear of was the noted Rota, or Coffee Club, as Pepys calls it, which was founded in 1659, as a kind of debating society for the dissemination of republican opinions, which Harrington had painted in their fairest colours in his Oceana. It met in New Palace Yard, “where they take water at one Miles’s, the next house to the staires, where was made purposely a large ovall table, with a passage in the middle for Miles to deliver his coffee.” Here Harrington gave nightly lectures on the advantage of a commonwealth and of the ballot. The Club derived its name from a plan, which it was its design to promote, for changing a certain number of Members of Parliament annually by rotation. Sir William Petty was one of its members. Round the table, “in a room every evening as full as it could be crammed,” says Aubrey, sat Milton and Marvell, Cyriac Skinner, Harrington, Nevill, and their friends, discussing abstract political questions. Aubrey calls them “disciples 16 and virtuosi.” The place had its dissensions and brawls: “one time Mr. Stafford and his friends came in drunk from the tavern, and affronted the Junto; the soldiers offered to kick them down stayres, but Mr. Harrington’s moderation and persuasion hindered it.”

To the Rota, in January, 1660, came Pepys, and “heard very good discourse in answer to Mr. Harrington’s answer, who said that the state of the Roman government was not a settled government; and so it was no wonder the balance of prosperity was in one hand, and the command in another, it being therefore always in a posture of war: but it was carried by ballot that it was a steady government; though, it is true, by the voices it had been carried before that, that it was an unsteady government. So to-morrow it is to be proved by the opponents that the balance lay in one hand and the government in another.” The Club was broken up after the Restoration; but its members had become marked men. Harrington’s Oceana is an imaginary account of the construction of a commonwealth in a country, of which Oceana is the imaginary name. “Rota-men” occurs by way of comparison in Hudibras, part ii. canto 3:

“But Sidrophel, as full of tricks
As Rota-men of politics.”
Besides the Rota, there was the old Royalist Club, “The Sealed Knot,” which, the year before the Restoration, had organized a general insurrection in favour of the King. Unluckily, they had a spy amongst them—Sir Richard Willis,—who had long fingered Cromwell’s money, as one of his private “intelligencers;” the leaders, on his information, were arrested, and committed to prison. 17


The writer of an excellent paper in the National Review, No. VIII., well observes that “Politics under Anne had grown a smaller and less dangerous game than in the preceding century. The original political Clubs of the Commonwealth, the Protectorate, and the Restoration, plotted revolutions of government. The Parliamentary Clubs, after the Revolution of 1688, manœuvred for changes of administration. The high-flying Tory country gentleman and country member drank the health of the King—sometimes over the water-decanter, and flustered himself with bumpers in honour of Dr. Sacheverell and the Church of England, with true-blue spirits of his own kidney, at the October Club,” which, like the Beef Steak Club, was named after the cheer for which it was famed,—October ale; or rather, on account of the quantities of the ale which the members drank. The hundred and fifty squires, Tories to the backbone, who, under the above name, met at the Bell Tavern, in King Street, Westminster, were of opinion that the party to which they belonged were too backward in punishing and turning out the Whigs; and they gave infinite trouble to the Tory administration which came into office under the leadership of Harley, St. John, and Harcourt, in 1710. The Administration were for proceeding moderately with their rivals, and for generally replacing opponents with partisans. The October Club were for immediately impeaching every member of the Whig party, and for 18 turning out, without a day’s grace, every placeman who did not wear their colours, and shout their cries.

Swift was great at the October Club, and he was employed to talk over those who were amenable to reason, and to appease a discontent which was hastily ripening into mutiny. There are allusions to such negotiations in more than one passage of the Journal to Stella, in 1711. In a letter, February 10, 1710-11, he says: “We are plagued here with an October Club; that is, a set of above a hundred Parliament men of the country, who drink October beer at home, and meet every evening at a tavern near the Parliament, to consult affairs, and drive things on to extremes against the Whigs, to call the old ministry to account, and get off five or six heads.” Swift’s Advice humbly offered to the Members of the October Club, had the desired effect of softening some, and convincing others, until the whole body of malcontents was first divided and finally dissolved. The treatise is a masterpiece of Swift’s political skill, judiciously palliating those ministerial errors which could not be denied, and artfully intimating those excuses, which, resting upon the disposition of Queen Anne herself, could not, in policy or decency, be openly pleaded.

The red-hot “tantivies,” for whose loyalty the October Club was not thorough-going enough, seceded from the original body, and formed “the March Club,” more Jacobite and rampant in its hatred of the Whigs, than the Society from which it branched.

King Street would, at this time, be a strange location for a Parliamentary Club, like the October; narrow and obscure as is the street, we must remember that a century ago, it was the only thoroughfare to the Palace 19 at Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. When the October was broken up, the portrait of Queen Anne, by Dahl, which ornamented the club-room, was bought of the Club, after the Queen’s death, by the Corporation of Salisbury, and may still be seen in their Council-chamber. (Cunningham’s Handbook, 2nd edit., p. 364.)

Volume II also available: Club Life of London, Volume II (of 2) With Anecdotes of the Clubs, Coffee-Houses and Taverns of the Metropolis During the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries

books black and white

coffee cupCoffee and Repartee\\

Coffee and Repartee
This is funny!

Light, quaint, amusing, deliciously and delicately snarky. Chapters stand alone, although there is a bit of a story that runs through them- set in a boarding house with each chapter dealing with a different conversation around the breakfast or dinner table.

“The coffee is all gone,” returned the landlady, with a snap.

“Then, Mary,” said the Idiot, gracefully, turning to the maid, “you may give me a glass of ice-water. It is quite as warm, after all, as the coffee, and not quite so weak. ”

Excerpt of chapter one:
The guests at Mrs. Smithers’s high-class boarding-house for gentlemen had assembled as usual for breakfast, and in a few moments Mary, the dainty waitress, entered with the steaming coffee, the mush, and the rolls.

The School-master, who, by-the-way, was suspected by Mrs. Smithers of having intentions, and who for that reason occupied the chair nearest the lady’s heart, folded up the morning paper, and placing it under him so that no one else could get it, observed, quite genially for him, “It was very wet yesterday.”

“I didn’t find it so,” observed a young man seated half-way down the table, who was by common consent called the Idiot, because of his “views.” “In fact, I was very dry. Curious thing, I’m always dry on rainy days. I am one of the kind of men who know that it is the part of wisdom to stay in when it rains, or to carry an umbrella when it is not possible to stay at home, or, having no home, like ourselves, to remain cooped up in stalls, or stalled up in coops, as you may prefer.”

“You carried an umbrella, then?” queried the landlady, ignoring the Idiot’s shaft at the size of her “elegant and airy apartments” with an ease born of experience.

“Yes, madame,” returned the Idiot, quite unconscious of what was coming.

“Whose?” queried the lady, a sarcastic smile playing about her lips.

“That I cannot say, Mrs. Smithers,” replied the Idiot, serenely, “but it is the one you usually carry.”

“Your insinuation, sir,” said the School-master, coming to the landlady’s rescue, “is an unworthy one. The umbrella in question is mine. It has been in my possession for five years.”

“Then,” replied the Idiot, unabashed, “it is time you returned it. Don’t you think men’s morals are rather lax in this matter of umbrellas, Mr. Whitechoker?” he added, turning from the School-master, who began to show signs of irritation.

“Very,” said the Minister, running his finger about his neck to make the collar which had been sent home from the laundry by mistake set more easily—”very lax. At the last Conference I attended, some person, forgetting his high office as a minister in the Church, walked off with my umbrella without so much as a thank you; and it was embarrassing too, because the rain was coming down in bucketfuls.”

“What did you do?” asked the landlady, sympathetically. She liked Mr. Whitechoker’s sermons, and, beyond this, he was a more profitable boarder than any of the others, remaining home to luncheon every day and having to pay extra therefor.

“There was but one thing left for me to do. I took the bishop’s umbrella,” said Mr. Whitechoker, blushing slightly.

“But you returned it, of course?” said the Idiot.

“I intended to, but I left it on the train on my way back home the next day,” replied the clergyman, visibly embarrassed by the Idiot’s unexpected cross-examination.

“It’s the same way with books,” put in the Bibliomaniac, an unfortunate being whose love of rare first editions had brought him down from affluence to boarding. “Many a man who wouldn’t steal a dollar would run off with a book. I had a friend once who had a rare copy of Through Africa by Daylight. It was a beautiful book. Only twenty-five copies printed. The margins of the pages were four inches wide, and the title-page was rubricated; the frontispiece was colored by hand, and the seventeenth page had one of the most amusing typographical errors on it—”

“Was there any reading-matter in the book?” queried the Idiot, blowing softly on a hot potato that was nicely balanced on the end of his fork.

“Yes, a little; but it didn’t amount to much,” returned the Bibliomaniac. “But, you know, it isn’t as reading-matter that men like myself care for books. We have a higher notion than that. It is as a specimen of book-making that we admire a chaste bit of literature like Through Africa by Daylight. But, as I was saying, my friend had this book, and he’d extra-illustrated it. He had pictures from all parts of the world in it, and the book had grown from a volume of one hundred pages to four volumes of two hundred pages each.”

“And it was stolen by a highly honorable friend, I suppose?” queried the Idiot.

“Yes, it was stolen—and my friend never knew by whom,” said the Bibliomaniac.

“What?” asked the Idiot, in much surprise. “Did you never confess?”

It was very fortunate for the Idiot that the buckwheat cakes were brought on at this moment. Had there not been some diversion of that kind, it is certain that the Bibliomaniac would have assaulted him.

books black and white

coffee cupThe Little Tea Book

The Little Tea Book

Published in 1903, excerpts of poetry, tales of tea customs and discussions around the world.

books black and white

coffee cupTea Leaves Being a Collection of Letters and Documents relating to the shipment of Tea to the American Colonies in the year 1773, by the East India Tea … notices of the Boston Tea Party)
Published in the 1880s, written about the Boston Tea Party, very interesting reading.
Tea Leaves Being a Collection of Letters and Documents relating to the shipment of Tea to the American Colonies in the year 1773, by the East India Tea … notices of the Boston Tea Party)

Among the causes which led to the American Revolution, the one most prominent in the popular judgment is the “tax on tea,” imposed by Great Britain on her American colonies. The destruction, in Boston harbor, in December, 1773, of the cargoes of tea sent to that port by the East India Company, was undoubtedly the proximate cause of that memorable event, and in view of this fact, the occurrence,—”by far the most momentous in the annals of the town,” says the historian Bancroft,—merits a more thorough and particular consideration than it has yet received.

The silence necessarily preserved by the actors in this daring exploit, respecting their connection with it, has rendered this part of the task one of no little difficulty. Their secret was remarkably well kept; and but for the family traditions which survive, we should know very little of the men who composed the famous Boston tea party.

Nevertheless, the attempt to gather up the scattered fragments of personal reminiscence and biography, in order to give a little more completeness to this interesting chapter of our revolutionary history, is here made. The fortunate recovery, by the publisher of this volume, of the letters of the[vi] American consignees to the East India Company, and other papers shedding light upon the transaction, affords material aid in the accomplishment of our purpose.

When King Charles II. had finished that first cup of tea ever brewed in England,—the gift of the newly-created East India Company,—no sibyl was at hand to peer into the monarch’s cup and foretell from its dregs, the dire disaster to his realm, hidden among those insignificant particles. Could a vision of those battered tea chests, floating in Boston harbor, with tu doces, in the legible handwriting of history, inscribed upon them, have been disclosed to him, even that careless, pleasure-loving prince would have been sobered by the lesson. It was left for his successor, George III., who failed to read the handwriting on the wall,—visible to all but the willfully blind,—to realize its meaning in the dismemberment of an empire.

A survey of the progress of the revolution up to the beginning of the year 1773, will help us to understand the political situation. Ten years of constant agitation had educated the people of the colonies to a clear perception of their rights, and also to a knowledge that it was the fixed purpose of the home government to deprive them of the one they most valued, namely, that of being taxed with their own consent, through their local assemblies, as had always been the custom, and not at the arbitrary will of the British parliament—a body in which they were not and could not be represented—three thousand miles away. The strange thing about this is, that the people of Great Britain should not have seen in the light of their own past history—what they have[vii] since seen clearly enough—that the Americans were only contending for principles for which their own ancestors had often fought, and which they had more than once succeeded in wresting from the grasp of arbitrary and tyrannical sovereigns.

Their difficulty seems to have been that they looked upon the Americans, not as equals, but as inferiors, as their subjects, and as having no rights that an Englishman was bound to respect. Even the celebrated moralist, Dr. Johnson, could say of the Americans, “They are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging.” King George III., that obstinate but well-meaning monarch, and his ministers, no doubt honestly believed that the republican tendencies of the colonists endangered British supremacy. Perhaps they were right in this, for it was the kind and degree of supremacy that was really in question. But in entertaining the belief that these tendencies could be eradicated at a blow, they were, as the event proved, grievously mistaken.

Another moving cause for the new policy toward the colonies was the heavy taxation at home,—a result of the late war. Some of this burden they hoped to transfer from their own shoulders to those of their transatlantic brethren.

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coffee cupTea-Table Talk, by Victorian era humourist Jerome K. Jerome

Tea-Table Talk

extract of tea:

“They are very pretty, some of them,” said the Woman of the World; “not the sort of letters I should have written myself.”

“I should like to see a love-letter of yours,” interrupted the Minor Poet.

“It is very kind of you to say so,” replied the Woman of the World. “It never occurred to me that you would care for one.”

“It is what I have always maintained,” retorted the Minor Poet; “you have never really understood me.”

“I believe a volume of assorted love-letters would sell well,” said the Girton Girl; “written by the same hand, if you like, but to different correspondents at different periods. To the same person one is bound, more or less, to repeat oneself.”

“Or from different lovers to the same correspondent,” suggested the Philosopher. “It would be interesting to observe the response of various temperaments exposed to an unvaried influence. It would throw light on the vexed question whether the qualities that adorn our beloved are her own, or ours lent to her for the occasion. Would the same woman be addressed as ‘My Queen!’ by one correspondent, and as ‘Dear Popsy Wopsy!’ by another, or would she to all her lovers be herself?”

“You might try it,” I suggested to the Woman of the World, “selecting, of course, only the more interesting.”

“It would cause so much unpleasantness, don’t you think?” replied the Woman of the World. “Those I left out would never forgive me. It is always so with people you forget to invite to a funeral – they think it is done with deliberate intention to slight them.”

“The first love-letter I ever wrote,” said the Minor Poet, “was when I was sixteen. Her name was Monica; she was the left-hand girl in the third joint of the crocodile. I have never known a creature so ethereally beautiful. I wrote the letter and sealed it, but I could not make up my mind whether to slip it into her hand when we passed them, as we usually did on Thursday afternoons, or to wait for Sunday.”

“There can be no question,” murmured the Girton Girl abstractedly, “the best time is just as one is coming out of church. There is so much confusion; besides, one has one’s Prayer-book – I beg your pardon.”

“I was saved the trouble of deciding,” continued the Minor Poet. “On Thursday her place was occupied by a fat, red-headed girl, who replied to my look of inquiry with an idiotic laugh, and on Sunday I searched the Hypatia House pews for her in vain. I learnt subsequently that she had been sent home on the previous Wednesday, suddenly. It appeared that I was not the only one. I left the letter where I had placed it, at the bottom of my desk, and in course of time forgot it. Years later I fell in love really. I sat down to write her a love-letter that should imprison her as by some subtle spell. I would weave into it the love of all the ages. When I had finished it, I read it through and was pleased with it. Then by an accident, as I was going to seal it, I overturned my desk, and on to the floor fell that other love-letter I had written seven years before, when a boy. Out of idle curiosity I tore it open; I thought it would afford me amusement. I ended by posting it instead of the letter I had just completed. It carried precisely the same meaning; but it was better expressed, with greater sincerity, with more artistic simplicity.”

“After all,” said the Philosopher, “what can a man do more than tell a woman that he loves her? All the rest is mere picturesque amplification, on a par with the ‘Full and descriptive report from our Special Correspondent,’ elaborated out of a three-line telegram of Reuter’s.”

“Following that argument,” said the Minor Poet, “you could reduce ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to a two-line tragedy -

Lass and lad, loved like mad;

Silly muddle, very sad.”

books black and white

coffee cupBreakfasts and Teas Novel Suggestions for Social Occasions

Breakfasts and Teas Novel Suggestions for Social Occasions

A collection of themes for hostessing breakfasts and teas, along with decorating ideas, menu suggestions, game or entertainment ideas, and some recipes. Random samples:

Fish in Escabeche.

Take three pounds of bonito or halibut in slices, fry and lay for several hours in a sauce made of half a pint of vinegar, in which the following ingredients have boiled for a few minutes: Three or four cloves, a bay leaf, a pinch of thyme, a kernel of garlic, a sliced onion, half a teaspoonful of coloring pepper, three tablespoonfuls of good salad oil and a few capers, olives and pickles. Hard boiled eggs may also be used for garnishing. It is eaten cold, and will keep, well covered in[Pg 26] a stone jar, for weeks. (This dish is invaluable in summer.) Serve with new potatoes, boiled, over which a lump of butter and a tablespoonful of finely chopped parsley have been placed.

Olive Sandwiches—Scald and cool twelve large olives, stone them, and chop very fine. Add one spoonful of mayonnaise dressing, and one teaspoonful of cracker dust; mix well, and spread on buttered bread.

Queen Sandwiches—Mince finely two parts of cooked chicken or game to one part of cooked tongue, and one part minced cooked mushrooms or truffles. Add seasoning and a little lemon juice, and place between thin slices of buttered bread.

Lobster Sandwiches—Pound two tablespoonfuls of lobster meat fine; add one tablespoonful of the coral, dried and mashed smooth, a teaspoonful of lemon juice, a dash of nutmeg, one-fourth of a teaspoonful of paprika, and two tablespoonfuls of soft butter. Mix all to a smooth paste and spread between thin bread and butter.

Jelly Sandwiches—Mix a cupful of quince jelly with half a cupful of finely chopped hickory or pecan nuts, and spread on buttered bread.

Date Sandwiches—Wash, dry and stone the dates, mash them to a pulp, and add an equal amount of finely chopped English walnut or pecan meats. Moisten slightly with lemon juice. Spread smoothly on thinly-sliced brown bread.[Pg 94]

Fig Sandwiches—Stem and chop very fine a sufficient number of figs. Add enough water to make of the consistency of marmalade, and simmer to a smooth paste. Flavor with a little lemon juice, and when cool spread on thin slices of buttered bread, and sprinkle thickly with finely chopped nuts.

Fruit Sandwiches—Cut equal quantities of fine fresh figs, raisins and blanched almonds very small. Moisten with orange juice and spread on white bread and butter.

Beef Sandwiches—To two parts of chopped lean, rare beef, add one part of finely minced celery, salt, pepper, and a little made mustard. Place on a lettuce leaf between thin slices of bread and butter.

Ginger and Orange Sandwiches—Soften Neufchatel cheese with a little butter or rich cream. Spread on white bread, cut in very thin slices, and cover with finely minced candied orange peel and preserved ginger. Place over another slice of bread. Candied lemon peel and preserved citron, finely minced, also make a delicious sandwich filling.
seed 5 flower

‘Summer Porch Tea Parties.

One of the prettiest decorations for a porch tea party is a hanger or pocket for flowers made by cutting pockets in large round pieces of bamboo, the rods being about three feet long. These pockets are filled with scarlet lilies and hung in the corners and on the posts of the porch. Hang Red Chinese lanterns in the open spaces and have red paper fans in Chinese jars on tables and ledges. The porch boxes along the railings can have their real contents almost concealed in ferns, and scarlet lilies stuck in amid the ferns. Across one corner the gay striped hammock, with its open meshes filled with wild cucumber and clematis vines fastened against the house, makes a background for the punch bowl. Orange ice and cream cake can be served on plates decorated with gold and white, with a bunch of daisies tied with pale green gauze ribbon on each plate.

Summer Porch Tea Party. 2.

A porch tea party given in the summer is a most enjoyable affair. The guests are seated on the porch which has immense jardinieres filled with garden flowers, and draperies of large American flags. The punchbowl is just inside the door in the hall. The guests bring their needlework and as they sew, one of the number reads a group of original stories. Following this have a little contest called The Menu. The prize for the correct list is a solid silver fork with a rose design. The refreshments are lemon sherbet, macaroons, sweet wafers, pecans and bonbons.[Pg 96]



The Capital of Portugal.

An imitation reptile.


A gentle English author.

Found in the Orient.

Boiled meats.

Woman’s chief weapon.

A son of Noah.


A Universal crown.

A part of Caesar’s message and a male relative.


A complete crush.

Elevated felines.

Lot’s wife.


Slang for stealing.

To pound.


What we don’t want our creditors to do.


What a historian delights in.

Must be married at home.


What a lover says to his sweetheart.

Imitation agony.

A sailor’s harbor.

Answers: Soups: Lisbon, mock turtle; Roasts: lamb, turkey; Boiled Meats: tongue, ham; Game: hare, venison; Relishes: jam, catsup, salt; Vegetables: cabbage, beef; Pudding: suet; Fruits: dates, canteloupe; Wines: Madeira, champagne, Port.

books black and white

coffee cupThe Menace of Prohibition Published by Lulu Wightman in 1916

The Menace of Prohibition


They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.—Patrick Henry

ST writers, in viewing the question of Prohibition, have followed along a beaten track. They have confined themselves generally to consideration of moral, economic, and religious phases of the subject.

While I have not entirely ignored these phases, I have chiefly engaged in the task of pointing out a particular phase that it appears to me entirely outweighs all others put together; namely, that of the effect of Prohibition, in its ultimate and practical workings, upon the political—the structure of American civil government.

I have endeavored to steer clear of its professions and obsessions, all of which can be of little consequence in the light of my contention that the major matter with which Prohibition is concerned is the capture and overturning of our present system of jurisprudence; and that the danger threatening from this tendency is real and foreboding I have conscientiously tried to make clear in these pages.

That National Prohibition is an approaching enemy to free government, of which the people should be warned even at the risk of being grossly misunderstood, is my opinion. From the watch-towers of American liberty the warning should go forth. For my own part, I feel well-repaid with the conscientious effort I have made in “The Menace of Prohibition.”

Prohibition Censorship Despotic

Let us not forget the principles for which our great American republic stands. Recollect, that the tendency toward imperial government and despotic rule is here today as it has been in every nation and in every age of the world. Menaces to the rights and privileges of the people are ever-present: the continued structure of safeguarding laws and constitutions presuppose the enemy to be ever near:—tyranny may slumber, but let bigotry and intolerance call ever so softly, and it springs into active life and being, and on every occasion, with consummate cunning, justifies its demands with a specious pretext—censorship for the good of the people.

Prohibition censorship is one of these specious pretexts; but censorship invariably arrogates to itself the[Pg 31] prerogatives of monarchy and the exactions of martial law. Government of an Emperor is as well as government by unreasoning, tyrannous majority. In government, middle ground is rarely found, and if it is, it is only for a temporary period and for reasons of expediency: it; is a question of republic or empire, freedom or slavery, liberty or despotism, the life or death of the people! Censorship by the majority—as to what the individual shall eat, or drink, or wear, or religiously or irreligiously do or observe—is as hateful to the genuine American citizen as would be the censorship of a Czar! Censorship is dictatorial and despotic: it overrides American law and American ideals; it is the rule of a suzerainty in place of fundamental government: it claims to be acting under government, but it is actually acting above government. Censorship is not freedom; the very word itself precludes the view: censorship is slavery, intensified or modified; it is the same thing whether it be under American rulers or the Great Khan of Tartary. Prohibition censorship is only the beginning: it is not the end. Beneath it all, lie the claws of the tiger—the claws of fanatical bigotry and misrule—and ultimately, if not checked, the whole American people will feel those claws. But then: IT WOULD BE TOO LATE!

Long ago John Quincy Adams sounded a timely warning. He said:

“Forget not, I pray you, the right of personal freedom: self-government is the foundation of all our political and social institutions. Seek not to enforce upon your brother by legislative enactment the virtue that he can possess only by the dictates of his own conscience and the energy of his will.”

In conclusion: John Stuart Mill is right, when he says Prohibition is “so monstrous a principle” as to be “far more dangerous than any single interference with liberty”; a principle that there is “no violation of liberty which it would not justify.”

All religious despotism commences by combination and influence, and as well-said by Col. Richard M. Johnson in his memorable U. S. Senate Report of 1829, “when[Pg 32] that influence begins to operate upon the political institutions of a country the civil power soon bends under it; and the catastrophe of other nations furnishes an awful warning of the consequence.”

Will the people of this great nation listen to the siren voice of this modern destroyer of personal freedom, and cutting loose from ancient moorings, turn back to the hateful paths of despotism? Will the republic deny the sacred principles of religious and personal liberty, whose first purchase-price was the blood of the minutemen of Lexington? Or, like a political rock of Gibraltar, stand fast upon the fundamental principles of its being, continuing to safeguard and maintain the constitutional guaranties of all its citizens?

It is the American people that must answer these momentous questions! And answer them they will! There is no escape from the responsibility! The future of the Republic rests upon their decision!

It is the bounden duty of every American freeman, to speak against, to write against, to vote against the menace of Prohibition!







A vote against Prohibition is a vote against THESE MENACES!

books black and white

coffee cupA Treatise on the Brewing of Beer

A Treatise on the Brewing of Beer

1766, I think. Here are some reader reviews:

I found a sweetwater aquifer in the farthest tobacco field. I immediately had my best man arrange for it to be tapped and used for the brewing of beer. This should greatly reduce the expenses I have incurred when arranging holiday festivities, not to mention provide a productive avenue to occupy any layabouts and shiftless workers under my employ. While they may not excel at harvesting crops, it seems they always have plenty of enthusiasm when the result of their labor is a drunken stupor. I hope the cooper finishes my order for beer works before harvest season is over. Most Humbly Yours, Crenshaw Featherbottom

I learned that if I have a servant brew my beer, I need to have the same servant brew my beer all the time. It should be their only job.

I guess it’s a great book if you’re interested in brewing using pond and rain water.

First thing’s first, don’t read this book if you expect to get actual brewing advice. Obviously the techniques in 1796 are going to be outdated. He even advises brewers to use a lead rim on their boil to keep it from overflowing.

That being said, as a homebrewer I really appreciated this read because it gives you great insight into what brewing was like 200 years ago. I highly recommend this quick read for anyone that enjoys brewing or even just beer in general.

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My internet connection bugged out on me for about four hours while I was in the middle of this project. So I no longer have time to add the descriptions to the following free titles:

Fermenting vol. 2: Fermented Beverages

Green Smoothie Recipes For Weight Loss and Detox Book

Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss – 30 Delicious Detox, Cleanse and Green Smoothie Diet Book

The Yankee Tea-party Or, Boston in 1773 (for readers about 10 and up)

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Subject to change without notice: Free Titles were free at the time I copied and pasted the links. But they don’t always stay free.

Same for reduced price titles.

Shameless money grubbing: I thought this was common knowledge, but it turns out it’s not- these are affiliate links. If you click on a free title and download it, I get….. nothing.  If you click on a free title and while you are at Amazon also buy something else, I get….. something.  Depending on what you buy, it will probably be somewhere between 4% and 7% of what you spend (I don’t get a percentage on penny sales) but I don’t pretend to understand how all of that side works.

Also, Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards.

If you like these listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free and bargain priced titles there several times each week. Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from  reviews on Amazon’s page.

Happy Reading!


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Amazon Introduces Prime for Music

Prime Music

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Headlines and Newslinks for the News Notebook

News and Views icon

Two schoolgirls who escaped from Boko Harum tell about their captivity:

“We will keep the girls alive but we are going to kill the boys,” the men said, Precious recalled. They tried to persuade them, offering, “show us where the boys are and we’ll let you go. We think you are lying.”

There were three girls, however, the militants didn’t have room for. One of the men shouted, “Are you Christian or Muslim?”

One of the girls was a Muslim, so she was allowed to run home, Precious said.

One of the Christian girls was pushed to the ground and a militant placed the muzzle of his weapon against her head.

“Renounce your faith or we kill you,” he said.

“It’s better to die than to renounce Christ,” the girl replied, Precious said.

He yelled it again, Precious said, pushing the girl farther into the hard earth. Then he let her up.


Read it all.

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American Politics

American Politics


David Brat was outspent 40 to 1, and he still managed to beat Cantor, the first time in history a House Majority Leader lost a primary.

Reporters out in droves competing against each other for stupidest response.  This one is my favorite candidate for that prize- because Brat once warned that a Hitleresque regime could come up again anywhere, anytime, if people didn’t stand firm on the side of freedom and if Christians are cowards, and that Hitleresque government would be a BAD thing, AND because he defeated Cantor, who is Jewish, anti-semitism.  Or something. It’s one of the most bizarre, fat fingered approaches to making up dots and then connecting them with silly string that I have ever seen.

Robert Tracinski: Why We Fired Eric Cantor
“Cantor’s real constituency wasn’t the folks back home. His constituency was the Republican leadership and the Republican establishment. That’s who he really answered to. Guess what? Folks in the seventh district figured that out.”

And what did the GOP learn from this defeat of an establishment politician?  Not much.

Harry Reid and what sure looks like crony capitalism to me, to the tune of 1.7 million he got from mining rights.

John Hinderaker: IRS Gave FBI 1.1 Million Pages of Taxpayer Data to Encourage Prosecution of Conservatives
“The IRS originally told the House committee–falsely–that the disks contained only publicly available filings by the non-profit organizations. But the IRS later admitted that it had illegally transferred confidential taxpayer information to the FBI.”


Chris Matthews on Tea Party- Now: as “American as any liberal.” then: violent, un-American, racist, McCarthyite force hell-bent on overthrowing the U.S. government.


Feds don’t want local cops letting citizens know about surveillance



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child abuse casts a shadow

Appalling injustice: SC Johnson, the “family” company’s billionaire heir, Samuel Curtis Johnson III, who confessed to repeatedly sexually assaulting his teenage stepdaughter has received an outrageous prison sentence of only four months because the judge, Circuit Justice Eugene Gasiorkiewicz, feels that Johnson’s importance to the community is valued much higher than the dignity of his abused step-daughter.

From Valerie Jacobsen‘s Facebook:

“TIME and again, child sexual abusers say that the best place to find victims is in the Church: “When you tell people you are a Christian, they will trust you with anything, even their children. If you do get caught, they are taught to forgive you immediately and restore you quickly. And they have lots of children.”

Hard reading, but important if you want to be wise as a serpent: Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders 

Valerie and Carmon Friedrich, (former?) Prairie Muffin, continue to provide an excellent foil to those who would use the church as cover for sexual predations, and as trumpeters sending out warnings to those who would be more comfortable if we just pretended none of this nastiness ever happened.

Another sickening story- 25 news stories of pastors who were also sexual predators- just from the month of May alone.

Christians: STOP letting predators use our churches as cover and a prime source of prey. Wake up. Ignorance is not a Christian value.  and it’s not enough to purge them from your local congregation.  Do not let them go on to harm other victims- pedophiles have voracious appetites for the predation of children, and they typically have upwards of 100 or more victims, with multiple acts of harm to each of those victims.  God tells us clearly to have nothing to do with such deeds of darkness, but rather to EXPOSE them.

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abortion moment of silence

Rest of the video abortion story: “Now I am left with this hurt for the rest of my life.I feel regret and sadness. I wish I could go back and take my baby back.”

From several good FB comments on my wall about this story: While she did eventually regret her decision and I’m happy to hear that, this was the only life this child was ever going to have.



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OBAMA: ‘Our Future Rests’ on DREAMers…

Illegals being shipped to Massachusetts?

Vacant Building In Baltimore May Soon House Hundreds…

Biden: Need ‘constant, unrelenting stream’…

And of course, this taxpayer funded effort by Health and Human Services addresses the most significant needs of these thousands of minor children who have been lured into our border towns by our self-serving politicians:

“The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a $350 million “funding opportunity” on Friday for residential care providers of the thousands of illegal alien minors crossing the U.S. border unaccompanied by parents. According to HHS, recipients of these grants are required to provide these illegal young people with “family planning services” and to deliver care in a manner that is “sensitive” to sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Residential care providers are required to provide…family planning services,” says thegrant announcement.”

Not surprised, but grieved- some of the children claim border patrol agents are abusive, have sexually assaulted them.



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High Protein Diet Reduces Risk of stroke

Moderate intake of alcohol has health benefits.

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(source of the above headlines is drudge, but the links are from all over the place)
But Obama says the world is less violent than ever.
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So ugly, and people should be demanding answers and consequences from our own government:

“By now, everyone knows that the Benghazi “YouTube video” story was a complete fabrication. Recent emails prove it was a false narrative, pushed as part of an effort to “insulate” the administration from negative press as the 2012 election loomed. No sane person will try and argue otherwise.

We know that the White House knew – in real time – what was happening on the ground at the consulate.  Instead of telling the American people the truth, they decided to blame a ridiculous YouTube clip and hide the realities for political gain.

Now, it gets worse.  The night of the attack, terrorists grabbed cell phones inside the consulate and called their superiors to celebrate their victory.

….and American intelligence officers were listening to those calls.”

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vintage gun adSo, if some gang bangers are playing ball on a school parking lot at 9 p.m. when school is not in session and one of them shoots another one, that’s a ‘school shooting.’  So do stabbings, and incidents where there are no injuries.

Meanwhile: “Focusing specifically on the U.S., Sun News reported: “And in the U.S., they account for less than one percent of all gun-related deaths. Far more people have been killed in the bad neighborhoods of Chicago that were killed in all the mass shootings combined.”"  liberals don’t care about the people dying in Chicago.  I don’t know if it’s because they are mostly poor blacks, or because Chicago already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.  maybe a bit of both.

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human being at 8 wks gestation

human being at 8 wks gestation


Planned Parenthood: BDSM advocate no longer counseling teens; Update: Live Action derides “the token firing” strategy; Update: PP lied about termination?  Keep in mind our tax dollars go to Planned Parenthood.

‘Lifestyle’ abortions warning as serial termination numbers surge

Women with long term partners account for almost seven in 10 abortions as figures show almost two million terminations in England and Wales in a decade

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Charges Against Liberty GB’s Leader Paul Weston Are Dropped
by Enza Ferreri

Paul Weston, candidate at the 22 May European Elections in the South East constituency and leader of the Liberty GB party, who was arrested in Winchester, Hampshire, on the 26 April, has had the charges against him dropped.

Mr Weston was arrested for publicly quoting an excerpt critical of Islam from the bookThe River War by Winston Churchill. After spending several hours in a cell at Winchester Police Station, he was charged with Racially Aggravated Crime, under Section 4 of the Public Order Act, which carries a potential prison sentence of two years. He was then bailed with a return date to Winchester Police on May 24th.

His arrest sparked a national and international outcry in the media and in the political world.

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Turns out all cultures are not equal after all:

“Unfortunately, the great lie underpinning the creed of multiculturalism, as spouted by Francois‑Cerrah and her ilk, is that all cultures are “equally valid”. Well, patently, they’re not. The reason irate Pakistani patriarchs are not chucking bricks at their errant daughters in the Birmingham Bull Ring is because Britain has a basically uncorrupt police force, a robust judiciary and an enlightened, hard-won system of liberal values that regards women and girls as equals, not third-class citizens.

But instead of standing up to barbarism and ignorance, too often we have looked away in embarrassment or fear. How many teachers have averted their gaze when 13-year-old Muslim girls suddenly disappear from the classroom to be taken “home” for a forced marriage, because this would present unwelcome evidence that some cultures are less valid than others?”

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From The Guardian:

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World Cup and protests in Brazil

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new Hubble photo of the Universe


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Jerusalem Post:
Israeli-Palestinian conflict





Indo-Asia news service:

Monsoon elusive, Mumbai flooded by tidal waves! (21:22)

Mumbai, June 12 (IANS) As Mumbaikars trained their eyes on the skies for the elusive monsoon, sudden tidal waves Thursday inundated several parts of the city and coastal Maharashtra, catching people and the authorities by surprise.

Rain reduces Delhi’s power demand, protests on (21:32)
New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Heavy rain in the national capital may have brought down the temperature and the demand for power Thursday, but protests over outages continued

Environment minister assures faster approval of defence projects (Lead) (22:12)
New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Amid concerns that China was ahead of India in terms of border infrastructure, the central government Thursday decided to accelerate the process of environmental clearances for defence projects along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by making it “simpler, transparent and predictable”.

UPSC civil services examination: 1,122 candidates make the cut (Lead) (21:32)
New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Thursday declared the final results of the 2013 civil services examination that 1,122 candidates have cleared.

Press Trust of India:

  • .
  • New Delhi: Mindful of China, government has decided to speed up environmental clearances to defence infrastructure projects along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and will soon put in place a policy for “simpler, transparent and predictable” approvals.

Xinhuanet (China):
Japanese resolution on Xisha “extremely irresponsible”: FM
“China on Thursday slammed the Japanese Diet’s foreign affairs committee as “extremely irresponsible” and “harboring ulterior motives”.

China unveils documents to clarify Xisha situation
U.S. pledges to help free Turkish hostages in Iraq
“Biden on Wednesday pledged support for Turkey’s efforts to secure the release of its personnel taken hostage by Iraqi militants.”
Militants seize Turkish consulate in Iraq’s Mosul
UN chief slams upsurge in violence
UNESCO accepts China’s “comfort women” application
Mainland’s Taiwan affairs chief to visit Taiwan
China challenges Japan over jet encounter
Eurozone industrial production up by 0.8 pct
China to relax control over QDII, QFII
Pakistani court lifts Musharraf’s travel ban

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Vintage Ad: Sanitary Soap Dispenser

vintage soap dispenser

Spot the flaw in the sanitary sell? Who else touches that handle?

Anybody else old enough to remember the soap dispensers that gave out little bits of granulated soap- usually pink, I think- that you could dampen slightly and then use to make little little soap shapes? Never very artistic, I mainly could only manage little soap marbles and cubes.

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Unanswered Questions

How much Dermablend did he have to use and how long did it take to get it all on?
What did he use to wash it off, and how long did that take?

Not to mention what made him choose the tats he chose, how long did it take him to get all this work done, how much ink did that take, and why?

His name is Rick Genest and you can read more about him here.

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Secession, Slavery, and The American Civil War

civil-war-soldiersA few years ago a neo-confederate apologist told us that Grant owned slaves, but Lee didn’t. I think the reply below is from the HG, written when she was in high school.

Grant and Lee *both* had slaves,- except Grant ‘had’ four or five, actually owned by his father in law, and Lee had over a thousand, actually owned by his father in law (and he inherited others from his mother). Lincoln’s wife also had a slave or two of her own- Lincoln wanted her to free them, but Mary Todd wouldn’t. Legally, he could have done it himself, but in spite of revisionist feminist history, many men of the time felt chary of dispensing with ‘property’ that they believed was morally their wives’.

Grant’s wife was given the use of four of her father’s slaves when she married Grant, but it’s not clear that the Grants ever actually owned them. These slaves were eventually freed, and the Grants hired one of them to work for them (I think a nursery maid).

General Grant did buy one slave of his own- he bought him from his wife’s family (I have read from his father in law, and then I read from his brother in law). And he freed him rather than sell him, even though he could have used the money- in 1859.

Lee also owned slaves of his own through inheritance and purchase from relatives, and after his father-in-law died, Lee took over managing the plantations and slaves, and he did eventually free the slaves, as instructed by his father-in-law’s will. However, the directions in the will were to manumit all the slaves within five years. Lee did eventually free them all, but some not until the last minute. I would say he owned those slaves in the same way Grant owned his- except Lee had more control than Grant did, and a thousand is certainly far more significant than 4 or 5!

I do recognize that responsibly freeing slaves is something that would take time- not all would have wanted to go immediately, they would need time to build resources and make plans on where to go and how to live, and quite often elderly slaves who could no longer work naturally did not want to leave the only lives and source of food or shelter they had known.

Lee also inherited slaves from his mother’s will. His mother owned thirty slaves at her death, and these slaves, along with parcels of land, were divided among her children. The Lee brothers, Carter, Smith, and Robert, sold some of the slaves outright and kept others, hiring them out for profit. They paid the back taxes on the land and thus kept title to it. See Emory M. Thomas, _Robert E. Lee: A Biography._ There are existing receipts in the Lee family papers showing Lee’s agreements to hire out some of the slaves he had inherited, so he clearly owned them.

His will also mentions a slave woman and her children, whom he owned at the time he wrote that will.

Vice President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War under Jefferson Davis. He also served as a U.S. Representative from Georgia (both before the Civil War and after Reconstruction) and as Governor of Georgia from 1882 until his death in 1883.

Vice President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War under Jefferson Davis. He also served as a U.S. Representative from Georgia (both before the Civil War and after Reconstruction) and as Governor of Georgia from 1882 until his death in 1883.

Source documents are amazingly instructive- as a family we changed our views on the causes of the War when we began researching the actual statements from the Southern states about why they had seceded, and the Constitution of the Confederate states is must reading as well.  And the statements by the Vice President of the Confederacy have to be read to be believed.

You may have heard this one, too; Very few people before the war thought secession was wrong (I think the answer below is mine):
Actually, that’s not true, historically, either. While there were people on both sides who thought secession was legal, there were more people on both sides who thought it was illegal- before the war.

During the War of 1812, a war the northern states largely viewed as one imposed on them by the South for the benefit of the South, the secession word was bandied about by hotheads in the north. The South denied the North had any right to secede. Most northerners thought that was going too far as well.
Then there was a convention, The Hartford Convention. When I first learned about it, I learned about it from southern apologists, and I believed what I read- that Northerners seriously discussed secession and it was hypocritical to refuse the South that same right later.
But that’s only part of the story. Yes, there were some northern politicians who hinted at secession (mostly they were afraid to use the word outright). At the Hartford Convention that element and the very idea of secession was firmly dismissed as unconstitutional, radical, and extremely irresponsible. A whiff of association with the secessionist sentiments ruined political careers- that’s how unpopular a notion it was. Flirting with secession was the beginning of the end of the Federalist Party, the political party associated with secession. The Federalist Party would never, ever regain the credibility it lost by being associated with secession, even though this was only a fringe element of the party.

WAR & CONFLICT BOOK ERA:  CIVIL WAR/BACKGROUND:  SLAVERY & ABOLITIONISMIt’s a lie that the war was fought over slavery

I would call that an oversimplification, but it’s also certainly not true that slavery had nothing to do with it.

It’s like the causes and issues in that war are actually a giant soup, and people from the North want to pick out the carrots and say “This is what it was really all about, carrots, and only carrots, nothing else” and people from the South are picking out the potatoes and saying, “No, it was only about potatoes. There were no carrots involved at all.”

But just as the foods in a stew flavor one another, the issues in that war were far more complex and interconnected.

I think we like our history tied up nicely in neat, tidy, orderly parcels, and the truth is it is far more complex than that.
There is no one reason for the War, and there isn’t even only one reason for any given person. Often somebody would enter the War because they believed in States’ Rights, or preserving the Union, or preserving the peculiar institution of slavery, or abolishing slavery,but by the end of the War they were fighting for a different reason.

Even among those who were fighting to end slavery, it wasn’t always a noble cause.
Some fought to abolish slavery not because they cared about slaves, but because they resented the South/North, or hated the economic disadvantage they felt the South gained through slavery instead of paying workers a living wage, or because they were furious about how the South’s passage of the Fugitive Slave Act violated States’ Rights in the NORTH (and sanctioned the kidnapping of free northern blacks), or they were worried about the South’s willingness to intercept the mails, violating first amendment rights.  Some in the south fought the War over issues of slavery but not so much to defend slavery, but because they were worried that the North would have them all killed in their beds through irresponsible abolitionist insurrectionist talk.

It’s absolutely true, for instance, that Lincoln’s only goal at the beginning of the War was the preservation of the Union. He saw that as totally his responsibility as the President.. He did not care nearly so much about whether or not slavery existed in the Union, he just wanted the Union to remain a Union.

His ‘a house divided against itself’ speech was definitely not an abolitionist speech, as I learned only when I finally read the entire thing instead of the excerpts we have all been fed (in both north and south).
However, as the war progressed, I think the evidence is also clear that his views changed, and he came to believe that the only way to preserve the Union was to end slavery, that slavery itself had brought God’s judgment on the nation- we can argue about whether or not he was right, whether his reasoning was based on sound premises, but what is not debatable is that his beliefs about the issues changed during the course of the war, so that what he believed about slavery at the beginning of the war is not what he believed at the end.

On the other side, I firmly believe that Robert E. Lee cared as little about slavery one way or the other as Lincoln did- Lee’s passion was state’s rights, and he was concerned about Tarrifs and other forms of encroachment. But Lee’s wasn’t the only viewpoint in the South. Jefferson Davis, elected President of the Confederacy (and many other leaders), and every existing statement seceding states make about their reasons made it quite plain the ‘States’ Right’ they cared most about was continuing the institution of race-based slavery.

Further Reading:

Arguing about Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress. The author is William Lee Miller. He researched the congressional records during the decades prior to 1861, reviewing the discussions, arguments, and fights on the issue of slavery. He shares them here, with plentiful commentary and background. His style is riveting, the story fascinating, and his personal conviction clearly evident.

The best book ever written, IMHO, on the topic of the political discussions about slavery held in Congress for the 30-40 years preceding the Civil War. Other books we used when studying this time period listed here.


Biography of a Slave, Being the Experiences of Rev. Charles Thompson, a Preacher of the United Brethren Church, While a Slave in the South. Together with … Occurrences Incidental to Slave Life.

This is a fascinating account that brings to life an unreal existence. Charles manages to reflect Christ even as a mistreated slave. His faith is sustaining and strong. I am humbled by his faithfulness under such circumstances. It will challenge believers to reexamine their faith walk and prompt those without faith to wonder at a faith so strong. Great read!

Fugitive Slaves 1619-1865

Marion Gleason McDougall
published in 1891

This looks like a very interesting chronology of fugitive slave laws, fugitive slaves, and court cases in North America during the period mentioned in the title. It’s also at Gutenberg, where I lifted this excerpt:

 5. Escapes in New England: Attucks case.—Although we do not find records of fugitive slave cases tried at this time within the New England colonies, advertisements of runaways exist in sufficient numbers to prove that escapes were common. It seems probable, therefore, that the return of a slave when within his own colony was taken as a matter of course, and roused so little opposition, and required so simple a process at law, that matters concerning it would seldom find mention in the chronicles of the time. Here is a typical advertisement:—

“Ran away from Samuel Gilbert of Littleton, an indentured Servant Boy, named Samuel Gilson, about 17 years old, of a middling Stature for his Age, and wears black curled Hair, he carried away with him a blue cloth Coat, a light colored Jacket with sleeves, one pair of worsted Stockings, two striped woolen Shirts, and one good linnen Shirt. He went away in company with a short thick set Fellow, who wore a green coat and a green Jacket double breasted, also a pair Indian green Stockings. Whoever shall take up and secure, or give information of said runaway, so that his master may find him again, shall receive a Reward of two dollars and all necessary charges from

Samuel Gilbert.

“All masters of vessels and others are cautioned against harboring,” etc.16

Again a case interesting not only as an illustration of the customs of the time, but also because the fugitive himself bears a name known to history in another connection, is noticed in the Boston Gazette of 1750. Here is advertised as escaping, October 2, 1750, from his master, William Browne of Framingham, Massachusetts, “A molatto fellow about twenty-seven years of age, named Crispus.” After describing his clothing and appearance, a reward of ten pounds, old tenor, is offered for his return, and “all masters of vessels and others are cautioned against concealing said servant on penalty of law.”17 Tradition has it, however, that he was never arrested, but returned of his own accord after a short time, and was for the next twenty years a faithful servant.18Then, in 1770, presumably while in town upon one of the expeditions he often undertook to buy and sell cattle for his master, he was drawn into the Boston Massacre of March.

More from this book here.

Other free books on the topic:

The Duty of Disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act An Appeal To The Legislators Of Massachusetts, Anti-Slavery Tracts No. 9

The Fugitive Slave Law and Its Victims Anti-Slavery Tracts No. 18

Speech of John Hossack, Convicted of a Violation of the Fugitive Slave Law Before Judge Drummond, Of The United States District Court, Chicago, Ill.

Report of the Proceedings at the Examination of Charles G. Davis, Esq., on the Charge of Aiding and Abetting in the Rescue of a Fugitive Slave Held in Boston, in February, 1851.


Other slave narratives here, free for downloading.

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Vintage Coffee Perc Ad


I love the lines of the percolator and the coffee pot. But there is something vaguely creepy about one of the hands in this picture. I finally figured out what it is. Does it strike you the same way?

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The FDA, Cheese, and Wooden Boards

For a brief time, it appeared that the FDA was regulating artisan cheeses out of existence, but they seem to have backed down, at least for now.

Last week:

“the FDA recently inspected several New York cheesemakers and cited them for using wooden surfaces to age cheeses.

The New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets’ Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services, which (like most every state in the U.S., including Wisconsin), has allowed this practice, reached out to FDA for clarification on the issue. A response was provided by Monica Metz, Branch Chief of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s (CFSAN) Dairy and Egg Branch.

In the response, Metz stated that the use of wood for cheese ripening or aging is considered an unsanitary practice by FDA, and a violation of FDA’s current Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations.

According to Metz, the use of wooden shelves for aging cheese runs counter to FDA requirements stipulating “all plant equipment and utensils shall be so designed and of such material and workmanship as to be adequately cleanable.” In the FDA’s estimation, there is no possible way that wooden shelves or boards can be adequately cleaned and sanitized. From Metz:

The porous structure of wood enables it to absorb and retain bacteria, therefore bacteria generally colonize not only the surface but also the inside layers of wood. The shelves or boards used for aging make direct contact with finished products; hence they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms in the finished products.

The fact that wood’s porousness allows it to retain bacteria is actually one reason why cheesemakers use this method. Contra the 19th century, not all bacteria is bad. Cheese, yogurt, kombucha, tempeh, and other foods containing live active cultures can actually be incredibly beneficial for humans’ immune system and overall health. But what about the bad bacteria—is there any validity to the FDA’s claim that bad bacteria can’t be properly purged from wooden boards?

The University of Tennessee Forest Extension says that while “some have suggested that it is ‘just common sense’ that a porous material like wood would be harder to keep clean than plastic,” testing doesn’t necessarily support this assumption. The Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research compiled research on the subject here—there’s been a lot of it from France, unsurprisingly—and it suggests that proper cleaning and sanitization methods cansufficiently wipe out bacteria from various kinds of wooden boards. A 1992 study showed those using wooden cutting boards at home were less than half as likely as average to contract salmonellosis, while those using synthetic (plastic or glass) cutting boards were about twice as likely to do so. “


“When the New York Agriculture Department asked for clarification, Monica Metz, an official with the FDA’s Dairy and Egg Branch, said the wooden shelves didn’t conform to FDA “good manufacturing practice” regulations. But the FDA clarified Tuesday that it had never taken action against a cheesemaker based solely on the use of wood. It’s just that these particular wooden shelves at these particular places were poorly cleaned.

Oh my. Has this all just been so much dairy industry hysteria? Or is the FDA backpedaling amidst the criticism? From the FDA’s statement yesterday, it sounds to me like more of the latter.

“In the interest of public health, the FDA’s current regulations state that utensils and other surfaces that contact food must be ‘adequately cleanable’ and properly maintained,” Lauren Sucher, an FDA spokeswoman, said in a statement.

“Historically, the FDA has expressed concern about whether wood meets this requirement and has noted these concerns in inspectional findings,” she said. “FDA is always open to evidence that shows that wood can be safely used for specific purposes, such as aging cheese.”

My takeaway from all this seems to be that the FDA isn’t mulling some major push to end aging cheese on wooden surfaces. But if it comes across it in (routine?) inspections, cheesemakers may be cited.

Good for the FDA for backing down,” wrote Forbes contributor Greg McNeal. “Although it’s unfortunate that they are dodging accountability by claiming they did not change their policy.” ”



cornsyrup ad1It reminds me somehow of the history of corn syrup- once advertised as cleaner, purer, and more sanitary than honey, as though that were a good thing.

In The Science of Eating (published in 1919) we read that ” Food manufacturers declare their chemical preservatives are ‘harmless.’ Scientists are found to agree with them. Thus they set up arguments of such plausible and convincing character that the government has been prevailed upon to permit them to employ chemicals in the manufacture of a hundred food products.’


And here: 

the government, of course, must be involved somewhere, because whenever basic, simple, organic realities are tampered with and made more complex and costly, we can look to the meddling hand of government stirring that pot:

” No single event marked the shift from eating food to eating nutrients, though in retrospect a little-noticed political dust-up in Washington in 1977 seems to have helped propel American food culture down this dimly lighted path. Responding to an alarming increase in chronic diseases linked to diet — including heart disease, cancer and diabetes — a Senate Select Committee on Nutrition, headed by George McGovern, held hearings on the problem and prepared what by all rights should have been an uncontroversial document called ”Dietary Goals for the United States.” (Michael Pollan, source at the link above).

For a really interesting look at how the FDA reaches conclusions about our food supply, try researching the source of botulism and honey, the reasoning behind the instruction never to give honey to infants under the age of one.

Unfortunately, celebrations should not be accompanied by complacency:

“There is a less optimistic version, however. It happens that a large number of editors, commentators, and others among the chattering classes are both personally interested in the availability of fine cheese and familiar enough with the process by which it is made to be un-cowed by claims of superior agency expertise. That might also be true of a few other issues here and there — cottage food sold at farmer’s markets, artisanal brewing practices — but it’s inevitably not going to be true of hundreds of other issues that arise under the new Food Safety Modernization Act. In a similar way, the outcry againstCPSIA, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, rose to a politically effective level only on a selected few issues (publishers and libraries got a fix so that older children’s books would not have to be trashed; youthmotorsports eventually obtained an exemption, and so forth) but large numbers of smaller children’s products and specialties whose makers had less of a political voice simply disappeared.”

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Things Fall Apart

In other news:

The FYG’s leg incisions were leaking enough (sorry) that she went back to the doctor to be sure she didn’t need stitches after all.  She didn’t, but they bandaged her up a little more.

The Ladybug is walking- we’re guessing that *if* it was a fracture on her leg (which even the radiologist wasn’t sure of), it was so slight and she’s so young and healthy that the week or so she spent splinted healed it up just fine.

Benny the dog ate one of the FYB’s laying hens.

The HM got a summer job working for his old boss, but at a different grocery store in a town about 30 minutes from here.  His boss didn’t ask him to shave his beard, but he figured it was the right thing to do anyway, so he did (customers tend not to like their grocery workers bearded).   No official word on what he’ll be doing in the fall- he’s still praying and hoping for an emergency credential to take over full time in the classroom where he’s been working as an aide while he wraps up the last couple of classes he needs for his education degree/teaching credentials.

The dishwasher and the microwave both broke last week.  A friend came out and did some electrical work for us and they are working again.

My Bosch bread mixer broke over a year ago. It’s very frustrating.  It was my best food processor, too.  My husband replaced the food processor, but all i have for mixing dough is a puny hand held mixer that I just remembered isn’t even mine- it belongs to one of the older girls so I need to replace that, too.  My Bosch was over 20 years old.  I miss the bread dough hooks.  I miss the large capacity food processor that I could not break or kill.

A while back we had this deal where the FYG and I were sharing my cell phone, but basically, as it turned out, I no longer have a cell phone.  I want one that does everything but I want it to cost almost nothing.  any suggestions?

My laptop screen died this morning.  I’m using an older, clunkier, slower laptop that cannot be unplugged because the battery is useless.


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The Boy’s Narration of Walden

FYB “He’s going to ask that pond to marry him any day now. It’s pathetic.”

Yes, yes.  We are prime material here for the front cover of Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers Magazine, if there were such a publication, are we not?


Posted in Boy, Boys, or Blynken and Nod, homeschooling | 2 Comments