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Vintage English

 

Vintage English

 

by

 

VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS

 

 

 

 

 

This was a proposed digital periodical on antique English first published in 2009. However, there were no subscriptions, and it stopped after the first issue.

 

The themes inside this were about an antiquity that is slowing vanishing from earth, as England slowly gets filled with non-English ‘multiculture’.

 

The reading items inside include items from classical English, antique history, grand adventures, maritime explorations, colonial experiences, scientific conquests, historical figures, solitary intellects, political experiments, social reforms, daring actions and much else, all from the antiquity of England.

 

 

VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS

Aaradhana, DEVERKOVIL 673508 India

www.victoria.org.in

[email protected] Contact: Telegram/Whatsapp: 91 9656100722

 

PRINT VERSION: The printed versions of all my books are available. They can be delivered to any location in the world via Registered BookPost or SpeedPost Courier. For more information, please send a message via Telegram Messenger or Whatsapp to 91 9656100722

Introduction

Language

Author:

Somerset Maugham

Folk songs:

On the banks of Allen Water,

On the banks of Clyde

Excerpt from literature:

Magnus in The Apple Cart

From British Colonial History:

Emancipation of slaves

Scientist:

Sir. Isaac Newton

Geo discoverers:

Captain James Cook

Film:

The bridge on River Kwai

Actress:

Vivien Leigh

Battle:

Jameson Raid

Incidence:

Nelson’s death

Proverbs

Quotations

Popular songs:

Jingle Bells

Place:

Rocks of Gibraltar

Introduction

English themes have always been a passion for me. It was connected to a lingering feeling of admiration for the English, in terms of their history, political development, scientific discoveries, geographical adventures, spirit of adventure, and much else. Yet, beyond all else, I discerned a wonderful difference in the English communication system, which was markedly different from the many other languages with which I was acquainted.

When you work with passion, it ceases to be work. However, I am not an Englishman in any sense of the word. Then, what is my justification for creating this magazine that apparently is about something on which I have no claim on?

Well, I can justify my efforts thus: There have been many Englishmen who have studied and written appreciatively about so many things that were not connected to England and English heritage. For example, Egyptian themes, Roman history, Indian scriptures, Greek fables, Biblical stories, Islamic contentions, Buddhist teachings and much else. The same logic in my case also.

Then there is another fact also. Look at this: Even though classical physics was discovered by an Englishman, Sir. Isaac Newton, the subject is being taught all over the world. Many persons all over the world, who have studied this subject, consider it to be within their domain to make improvements on the subject, and write and discourse on it. The same logic in my case also.

I am very much acquainted with English themes, including colonial experiences, English classical literature and many other things. I cannot claim to be an expert in these subjects, but then everything can be studied and understandings improved.

Currently, I have to do the major part of the writing in this magazine, as it is in an infant stage. I need to bring in a definite shape and form to the theme, style, focus, and philosophy of this periodical. If there are persons who would contribute their experiences, knowledge and writings, I can confine my own writings to a particular percentage.

Now what is to be achieved by this magazine? Well, there are many things. For one thing, it aims to bring out the greatness of the English language and of the persons who speak it, to the exclusion of other languages. That is, the native English speaker. It is not been said that Englishmen do not know any other language, but then most other languages are only of secondary importance to them. So that their innate thinking process is in English. It is not like a Frenchman, German, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, South American knowing and speaking English. For, they are at home in their native tongue, and their thinking process is connected to their native language. When they speak in English, it is very much possible that the inhibitions, controls and mental complexes connected to their native tongues would creep into their mood. Or at least, in the mood of those around them. Some of them may claim that they can also think in English when required, but then it is not so easy a thing as they claim it to be. For, each language creates specific and unique emotional reactions in mood and thoughts.

Then there is another thing. It is the need for correction of a fact of history. In many nations all around the world, the English are vilified as a vile nation that enslaved many others. It is not true. The English were the real harbingers of the divine light of liberty to many geographical areas in the world. This is a fact of which even the English are unaware. If the English stood apart from the natives of the places where they had political power, it was only due to the fact there was some sinister negativity in the local social systems, of which they were frightened of, and wanted to keep away from.

Then, there is the aim of letting others know what is the real superiority of the English speaking race. It is not in their White colour, or in their genes, but in their communication software, which is wonderful, compared to so many other languages software. I mean to deal more on this theme in the next few pages. It is this communication software that has made them great risk takers and winners. Remember the saying: England always wins the last battle! The secret is encoded in their language. Maybe there are other languages similar to that of English, but then I do not know many languages, and can’t say for sure which ones are similar to that of English, in certain crucial elements.

Now what is the list of items that will be dealt in this magazine, in varying permutations & combinations? Well, the list can be long.

The first will be about the inner codes of English languages.

Second, there shall be a discussion on an English author, mostly from the classical genre (at least for now), with interesting titbits on his life, style of writings, influences, family, romances, and passions. There are plenty of persons whose writings had been a passion for me. They do include Sir. Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Somerset Maugham, A J Cronin, R L Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Enid Blyton, Jane Austin, Baroness Orczy, Arthur Conan Doyle, Samuel Johnson, P G Woodhouse, Daniel Defoe, Louis Carroll, H G Wells, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, Saki, Bronte sisters, Jack London, Earl Stanley Gardener, Barbara Cartland, Ayn Rand, Douglas Adams, James Hadley Chase and even such authors as Kahlil Gibran. At times, even such non-English authors as Alexander Dumas, Voltaire and such others whose translated works have been popular in English will also be discussed.

Third, a story or short story from the classical era. With a minor discussion on background of the story. It is admitted that certain of the classical writings may seem a bit tedious and cumbersome to modern readers. So, care shall be taken to include only the more easier to digest writings from the immensity of works available in classical English.

Fourth, some famous poem or bit of a poetry. Won’t be a lengthy one. Maybe one poem from some classical novel or something like that. Or from the folksong genre.

Fifth, there shall definitely be themes from the British colonial history. The ways and manners as well as the compulsions. The spirit, the adventure, the fables, the legends as well as the people who populated the colonial times. The positive actions as well as the negative deeds.

Sixth, a discourse on English scientists/mathematicians/philosophers, including their idiosyncrasies, eccentricities and curious features. A slight writing on their discoveries also. Mind you, I do not aim to fill up this magazine with complicated technical features of science and mathematics.

Then come the fabled tales from English maritime history. This shall include the names, details and experiences of famous English sea captains. May be a bit on English buccaneers!

Eight, there shall be a section on English films, with more emphasis on old British movies, and also on Hollywood movies of the yesteryears, connected to English themes (Britain, British colonialism, maritime adventures, classical writings and such others).

Naturally, there shall be a section on English actors and directors.

Tenth, wars and battles naturally need a place in this magazine. Not only the World wars One and Two, but also the immense of them connected to British colonialism, European wars, Wild West, and a bit on the civil wars inside Britain in the historical past.

Eleventh, there shall be a section on British Monarchs, and their lives, triumphs, achievements and wasted efforts, if any!

There have been great leaders, not the mahatmas and the revered holy cows, but still persons of resounding intellect and outstanding visions. They will be given a place.

There will be titbits on incidences of mention, both minor as well as major. Then places of significance for the English.

If possible, a write up on classical English food and drinks.

As to allusions and passions for any particular religion, and religious themes, there shall be none. It shall be as Lord Macaulay had proposed for the English colonial rule.

Last but not the least, the British Nursery Rhymes, and folksongs, and off course, the fairy tales/folklores.

On many of these themes, work can be commenced, with a definite level of profundity, with support from resources. Yet, there are many areas which would require help and contribution. Beyond all that, there are the niceties of English social attitudes, and reflexes, through the ages, including the Victorian. Then about the beauty of the English flowers and the grace of the English countryside. Well, these are areas where someone with exquisite knowledge can come in.

It is being admitted that this magazine is not a work of an extremely erudite person. The themes shall be in a simple style and manner, and may not be scholarly.

The Language

English is a wonderful language. Lord Macaulay, in his much-maligned Minutes on Indian Education has said: We have to educate a people who cannot at present be educated by means of their mother-tongue. We must teach them some foreign language. The claims of our own language, it is hardly necessary to recapitulate. It stands pre-eminent even among the languages of the west.

He does go on to list out the reasons of the supremacy of English. These reasons are many and varied. All are acceptable and of irrevocable quality. Yet, he did miss the most significant and enduring goodness of pristine English. This is the quality of English being a language with only a minimal of socially deprecating/dominating words and also words that lend holiness/supremacy to socially dominant persons. For example, in Indian languages, all communication are arranged and moulded by words that literally split the individuals of any social/professional/familial group on the basis of age, profession, social status, financial capacity, physical prowess, and much else. It is a very diabolical world that this type of communication creates, and lends to a mood of continuing mutiny, subjugation, opportunism, treachery, over-smartness, grouping, outsmarting, regimentation and indiscipline; and many other negative elements creep into the social communication.

I do not want to write more about these things here because these are things that I have discussed in my old book: March of the evil empires: English verses the feudal languages.

There are other wonderful features about the English language. One is that it is very easy to learn. Macaulay did stress on this, when he argued that the natives of British India should be taught English.

English is very easy to learn compared to so many other languages. It is like the modern software, as against the earlier ones. The earlier ones and even the earlier computers were very complicated to use. One needed a lot of extra knowledge to operate a computer. However, as computers grew in intelligence, the ease of use also increased.

Look at Cantonese. I do not know much about it. However, I have been told that there is an immensity of alphabets in this language. Look at Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and much else. The number of alphabets and their transformed forms are immense in number.

Now look at English. Just 26 alphabets. Most of current day human knowledge can be encoded into written text using these simple 26 alphabets. However, I must say that not all human knowledge and emotions can be encoded into written text using English alphabets, especially those connected to many non-English languages. In many ways, this incapacity only adds to the beauty and strength of English. For corroding social and human moods and communications cannot be encrypted into, or sensed by English.

There might be other languages of similar quality like English. If there are, they are also wonderful communication software, which can create and design superb social and human features.

In many ways, I would say that the growth of human intelligence is intimately connected to the growth of language. However, it may be seen that it is English that took the lead in creating new knowledge and its dissemination. This statement may create recriminations. However, there shall be efforts to qualify and justify this statement, in the succeeding issues of this magazine. For the time being, it may be said that the growth of human languages may even be connected to the progressively increasing capacities of the human hand over the generations. Well, this theme is well beyond the parameters of this magazine.

Author

Somerset Maugham

In this issue of Vintage English, the author dealt with is Somerset Maugham (pronounced ‘mawm’). He is an author, very much dear to me. I have not read all his novels, but then his Of Human Bondage, I read when I was in pre-graduation years. I believe that I was too young then to fully appreciate the deepness of the theme. It was a long novel, and must have been tedious in my first reading. But then, through my early experience in reading classical English literary works, I had built up an understanding that these novel are better enjoyed in the second and subsequent readings. I have gone through the novel, in parts and pieces, many times. It is long ago now. Yet, I remember the theme, and its undercurrent of binding passions, as powerful as destiny itself. Yet, the hero’s physical defect, being clubfoot didn’t and doesn’t seem to me a great deficiency.

I have read only a few of his novels, and those too in the far distant years. I remember them vaguely. There is a dim remembrance from The Razor’s Edge, which I think did not amuse me much. You may move your mouse here to read a particular writing pertaining to this issue. I found this piece of writing on a website. (I cant vouch for anything):

Cakes and Ale also, I can remember. I think it was a powerful novel, set on complicated human relationships, including that of dependence and infidelity.

I quote from Wikipedia

Maugham drew his title from the remark of Sir Toby Belch to Malvolio in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” Cakes and ale are the emblems of the good life in the tagline to the fable attributed to Aesop, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse: “Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear”.

Maugham once said, “Most people cannot see anything, but I can see what is in front of my nose with extreme clearness; the greatest writers can see through a brick wall. My vision is not so penetrating.”

I cannot very well agree with his diffidence. It is my experience that he is a person with a tremendous power of observation and understanding. He could very well penetrate through the thick walls of emotional concealments, and of differing social and cultural experiences. Maybe he could discern through the codes in the software that existed behind the eventualities and us. {Persons who are interested in this theme about codes that control our life, please connect your internet and click here}

I have read his Moon and Six Pence many times. When I first took up the book many years ago, I remember the feeling that I couldn’t get a head or tale of the theme, at least in the first chapter. It seemed too connected to a particular era in English society, and that too, extremely integrated. I had felt that, as a stark outsider, this novel was well beyond my levels of comprehension and enjoyment.

Nevertheless, as I went through the next pages, I could feel the power in the theme. His style of inserting lengthy discourses on strong understandings of complicated human situations would be a real discouragement in the first reading. I finished my first reading in my traditional ritualistic mood. Then came the repeated readings. I could then get to see the quaint gorgeousness that lay embedded in the immense lines and paragraphs. It was like tasting a delicious exotic dish, with pied ingredients.

It has been said that this novel is based on the life of Paul Gauguin. I am not sure if this is true. However, what I discerned in the novel is the passion that lies dormant in all men and women to pursue the ideal as he or she sees it. However, very few persons do dare to venture on this perilous journey. Most remain content with the mundane and the ordinary, and live lives in mediocrity, in contemptuous fear of the unknown living standards that necessarily come to accompany those who move out of the beaten track.

It is a brutal novel, written in terrifying bluntness. The frightening single purpose mood of the protagonist, as he moves ahead through his destiny, bearing and creating social upheavals is best read, than heard talked about. The viciousness in the character lies in close association with an admirable feature of fortitude.

Once you know the story, then you can settle down to enjoy the intricacies within. Maugham has superb mastery over words. He uses them with meticulous precision to delineate his marvellous observations on paper. See these words of his from Moon and Six Pence {It is about the protagonist (Strickland)}:

He was independent of the opinion of his fellows.

And it was just that which had most disconcerted me in my dealings with him. When people say they do not care what others think of them, for the most part they deceive themselves. Generally, they mean only that they will do as they choose, in the confidence that no one will know their vagaries; and at the utmost only that they are willing to act contrary to the opinion of the majority because they are supported by the approval of their neighbours.

It is not difficult to be unconventional in the eyes of the world when your unconventionality is but the convention of your set. It affords you then an inordinate amount of self-esteem. You have the self-satisfaction of courage without the inconvenience of danger. But the desire for approbation is perhaps the most deeply seated instinct of civilised man.

No one runs so hurriedly to the cover of respectability as the unconventional woman who has exposed herself to the slings and arrows of outraged propriety. I do not believe the people who tell me they do not care a row of pins for the opinion of their fellows. It is the bravado of ignorance. They mean only that they do not fear reproaches for peccadilloes, which they are convinced none will discover.

Quoting from Wikipedia: According to some sources, the title, the meaning of which is not explicitly revealed in the book, was taken from a review of Of Human Bondage in which the novel’s protagonist, Philip Carey, is described as “so busy yearning for the moon that he never saw the sixpence at his feet.” Presumably, Strickland’s “moon” is the idealistic realm of Art and Beauty, while the “sixpence” represents human relationships and the ordinary pleasures of life.

Maugham has written much; Novels, plays, short stories, essays and travelogues. However, it is his short stories that have been of enduring enchantment for me.

Move your mouse here. You can see a list of his short stories.

I think I have read most of them, in my pre-graduation years. It has been a long time. I have only very vague memory of most of the themes. I don’t remember many of them at all. But then, all of them do have a singular theme stretching through them all.

Most of these are stories of British individuals living in far off geographical areas, cut off from their native land and social system. They exist as solitary islands, right the midst of strange and disturbing social communication systems and structures. They are doing a very good job, living up to their famed ideals of individual quality. Yet, the weird ambience does prey upon them, and their minds.

The stories present a rare mix of extremely complex emotions. There are issues of passions, strange alignments, racially forbidden infatuations, infidelity, eerie powers of the eastern witchcraft, condescension, living up to the popular expectations of British honour and courage, discretion verses valour, solitude, isolation, magnanimity, animosities, insecurities, outrage, and the continuous need to be above the local social system, which has a very creepy contempt for those who go below. Yet, in all these themes, I have discerned the acute discernment by the author about the complex nature of non-English Eastern culture, language and social systems. The force that the language and words of the east exerts on the persons who can understand it. How it bears on the English individuals also. Many of them had been swept off to these far off shores by the idiosyncrasies of the English laws. There is passion and pathos, in these stories, that linger on.

Actually, in these times when the English nations are widely opening themselves up to the global communities, I feel that there is a wealth of information in these stories for those who are in charge of policymaking. Not heeding the lessons hidden in these stories can lead to the unmaking of English social systems. Maybe there are hints of why there is a decay/collapse of English economic systems in sharp synchronisation to fantastic technological progress.

Maugham did not have to take recourse to his imagination to write most of these stories, for many of them presented themselves to him during his stay/journeys in the eastern islands. He only had to convert them into a readable form.

Many of the themes in the short stories, I can vaguely remember, but then I can’t connect them to any particular title. However, there is one story that sort of has stood apart from the other themes. It is Princess September. Though the setting is based in the East, the theme is somewhat similar to English fairytales. Many a time, I have felt that it is similar to Oscar Wilde’s Happy Prince, even though the themes are entirely different.

Then there is his The Verger, which also deals with a very light delightful theme. It also stands starkly apart from his usual themes.

However, as per my experience, most of the themes of his short stories deal with emotional problems and fantastic happenings connected to social systems, which more or less contort English communication systems. I am not sure if Maugham was aware of this fact. However, his observations are meticulous in their precision.

The truth about the English natives living in far off locations was that they were more or less right inside societies where the social structure were acutely different. They would feel the measuring, ranking and stratification of themselves in the minds of the local inhabitants. As they get to understand the local languages, the trauma of this issue increases. The only way to ward of its ill effects would be to become more and more recluses, and bear an aura of superior complex.

Maugham has also written a different genre of short stories, based on a character called Ashenden. Ashenden is a spy working for the British Secret Service. Actually, these stories were based on real life experiences of Somerset Maugham. Maugham had worked for the British Secret Service during the First World War, moving around under the guise of a writer. Many of these experiences had the tone of horror, pain and treachery.

There is no need to discuss his private inclinations here, especially sexual. There is his own famous lines: ‘There is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world at large with surprise and horror’. Nobody discusses any Mahatma’s similar indulgences when discussing his or her philosophies.

Maugham summed up his literary experiences in The Summing Up, which he published in 1938, when he was 64. It contains his views and feelings about style, literature, art, drama and philosophy.

However he did not die fast, and actually lived on until his death in 1965. He was 91 then. His old age was not a happy one. It is said that he was tormented by memories. Whether it was the effect of senility or his helpless to bear the evaluation of mediocre individuals, I am not able to say.

He has said thus in 1959:

What makes old age hard to bear is not a failing of one’s faculties, mental and physical, but the burden of one’s memory.

I found these lines on a website: Move your mouse here.

Somerset Maugham was born on the 25th of January 1874. He died on the 16th of December 1965. A few years before his death, in 1962, he published fragments of autobiographical writings under the title Looking Back on Eighty Years. It came out in a serialised form in the London Sunday Express. It has calamitous effects, with regard to his relationship with his daughter, Liza. For, the writings were depreciative of his former wife (her mother), Syre.

However, this writing does not confine itself to Syre, but does sketch his relationship with many other persons, including his own mother and also with such personalities as Sir. Winston Churchill.

The story

In this issue inaugural issue of Vintage English, a story by Somerset Maugham is being given. It must be said that it is not necessary that the story in an issue would be from the same author who had been discussed in that issue.

This story was a fantastic one for me, in more than one way. For one thing, this story pointed to the fact that Maugham could very well understand the inner core of cultural misfit between feudal language systems and English.

There are other things also that got my attention. However, they go beyond the parameters of the current subject matter.

As to the general theme, it is about an English young man who was deputed to a Samoa island to manage a British bank. He sees a half-caste girl (a girl born to a European father and a local woman). This girl is at home in the local language, and is part of the local social stream, even though she is good in English.

Somehow, he is enraptured by her form and demeanour, and marries her, without taking heed of all advice not to do it. He could have had her as a keep, but being very honourable in aims and perfectly in love, he goes ahead and marries her.

I can discern the power of the strings in the local language, that more or less encased the girl in a powerful web. It is a web, which puts her in the direct command path of her native family members. Each word, spoken or written, carries unbelievable forces. The most horrible factor is that these strings remain non-tangible from English and to an English observer.

There is horror for the English young man, as he sees himself powerless as his wife literally becomes another person when she is in enwrapped in this web. The change is uncanny, yet real. The man tries to get his children learn English and become English, but the other side is unbelievably powerful. He learnt too late of forces that remain unfathomable for him.

Even the native attire that his wife wears to snub him has a tremendous effect in enwrapping her in native social hierarchies.

Beyond all this, this story also does give a hint to the powerful position that wives do stand in a married life. When silly persons with frivolous intellect occupy such positions and start swaying to the pull of the feudal/hierarchical words and commands, the endeavouring husband’s aims and programmes literally gets disarrayed. If the husband is of frivolous disposition, then it creates no problems, beyond what he himself is floundering in.

This story is actually a treasure trove for the English policy makers. However, I fear that they may not discern the invaluable inputs, until it is too late. Also, there is much for persons who exists with their two legs in different worlds, to learn from this story. But will they discern it?

Beyond all this, it may be said the theme is not really that of a competition or dispute between White and non-White, or between educated and non-educated, but between the codes in English social structure and that of other social structures which are starkly opposite. It also shows the inability of those who discern the difference between to convey this understanding to people in either side. It is not a story from Samoa, but from anywhere in the world.

Poem

On the banks of Allen Water

On the banks of Allen Water

When the sweet springtime had fled

Was the miller’s lovely daughter

Fairest of them all.

For his bride, a soldier sought her

And a winning tongue had he

On the banks of Allen Water

So misled was she.

 

On the banks of Allen Water

When the autumn spread its store

There I saw the miller’s daughter

But she smiled no more

For the summer, grief had brought her

And the soldier, false was he

On the banks of Allen Water

Left alone was she.

 

On the banks of Allen Water

When the winter snow fell fast

Still was seen the miller’s daughter

Chilling blew the blast.

But the miller’s lovely daughter

Both from cold and care was free

On the banks of Allen Water

In a grave lay she.

On the banks of the Clyde

On the banks of the Clyde stood a lad and a lassie

The lad’s name was Gordie the lassie’s was Jane

She threw her arms around him and cried do not leave me

For Geordie was going for to fight for his queen

 

She gave him a lock of her bright auburn tresses

He kissed her and pressed her once more to his heart

Till eyes spoke the love that her lips could not utter

The last word is spoken they kissed and depart

 

Over the burning plains of Egypt

Under the scorching sun

When he thought of the stories he’d have to tell

His love when the fight was won

 

He treasured with care that dear lock of hair

For his own darling Jenny he prayed

But his prayers were in vain she will ne’er see him again

Her lad in the Scotch brigade

 

Now the ocean divided the lad from his lassie

And Gordie was forced far away o’er the foam

His roof was the sky and his bed was the desert

But his heart with his Jenny was always at home

Now the morning that dawned on that famed day of battle

Found Gordie enacting a true hero’s part

Till the enemy’s bullet came into his billet

And it burned, oh, that dear lock of hair on his heart

 

Over the burning plains of Egypt

Under the scorching sun

When he thought on the stories he’d have to tell

His love when the fight was won

 

He treasured with care that dear lock of hair

For his own darling Jenny he prayed

But his prayers were in vain she will ne’er see him again

Her lad in the Scotch Brigade

 

On the banks of the Clyde dwelt a heart-broken mother

They told her of how the great victory was won

But the glory of England to her brought no comfort

For glory to her meant the loss of her son

 

But Jenny is with her to comfort and shield her

Together they’ll weep and together they’ll pray

And Jenny her daughter will be while she lives

For the sake of the lad who died far away

Excerpt from literature

This is an excerpt from George Bernard Shaw’s The Apple Cart. This drama was a strange one, considering Shaw’s infatuation with socialism and possibly communism. This is a drama that gives a hint of his doubts about unbridled democracy, and its dangers.

In this drama, there is a hint that he sees some beneficial aspects of British monarchy. In these days also, when democracy-run-amok has taken English nations to the brink of disasters, there may be a bit of sanity in these lines. In these words the King, the monarch of Britain, (the protagonist of the drama), argues the merits of retaining the English monarchy, when the politicians are in a haste to remove it from its antique position.

MAGNUS [continuing] 

Naturally I want to avert a conflict in which success would damage me and failure disable me. But you tell me that I can do so only by signing pledges which would make me a mere Lord Chamberlain, without even the despotism which he exercises over the theatre. I should sink below the level of the meanest of my subjects, my sole privilege being that of being shot at when some victim of misgovernment resorts to assassination to avenge himself. How am I to defend myself?

You are many: I oppose you single-handed. There was a time when the king could depend on the support of the aristocracy and the cultivated bourgeoisie. Today there is not a single aristocrat left in politics, not a single member of the professions, not a single leading personage in big business or finance. They are richer than ever, more powerful than ever, more able and better educated than ever. But not one of them will touch this drudgery of government, this public work that never ends because we cannot finish one job without creating ten fresh ones.

We get no thanks for it because ninety-nine hundredths of it is unknown to the people, and the remaining hundredth is resented by them as an invasion of their liberty or an increase in their taxation. It wears out the strongest man, and even the strongest woman, in five or six years. It slows down to nothing when we are fresh from our holidays and best able to bear it, and rises in an overwhelming wave through some unforeseen catastrophe when we are on the verge of nervous breakdown from overwork and fit for rest and sleep only. And this drudgery, remember, is a sweated trade, the only one now left in this country.

My civil list leaves me a poor man among multi-millionaires. Your salaries can be earned ten times over in the city by anyone with outstanding organizing or administrative ability. History tells us that the first Lord Chancellor who abandoned the woolsack for the city boardroom struck the nation with amazement: today the nation would be equally amazed if a man of his ability thought it worth his while to prefer the woolsack even to the stool of an office boy as a jumping-off place for his ambition.

Our work is no longer even respected. It is looked down on by our men of genius as dirty work. What great actor would exchange his stage? what great barrister his court? what great preacher his pulpit? for the squalor of the political arena in which we have to struggle with foolish factions in parliament and with ignorant voters in the constituencies? The scientists will have nothing to do with us; for the atmosphere of politics is not the atmosphere of science. Even political science, the science by which civilization must live or die, is busy explaining the past whilst we have to grapple with the present: it leaves the ground before our feet in black darkness whilst it lights up every corner of the landscape behind us.

All the talent and genius of the country is bought up by the flood of unearned money. On that poisoned wealth talent and genius live far more luxuriously in the service of the rich than we in the service of our country. Politics, once the centre of attraction for ability, public spirit, and ambition, has now become the refuge of a few fanciers of public speaking and party intrigue who find all the other avenues to distinction closed to them either by their lack of practical ability, their comparative poverty and lack of education, or, let me hasten to add, their hatred of oppression and injustice, and their contempt for the chicaneries and false pretences of commercialized professionalism.

History tells us of a gentleman-statesman who declared that such people were not fit to govern. Within a year it was discovered that they could govern at least as well as anyone else who could be persuaded to take on the job. Then began that abandonment of politics by the old governing class which has ended in all Cabinets, conservative no less than progressive, being what were called in the days of that rash statesman Labour Cabinets.

Do not misunderstand me: I do not want the old governing class back. It governed so selfishly that the people would have perished if democracy had not swept it out of politics. But evil as it was in many ways, at least it stood above the tyranny of popular ignorance and popular poverty. Today only the king stands above that tyranny. You are dangerously subject to it. In spite of my urgings and remonstrance you have not yet dared to take command of our schools and put a stop to the inculcation upon your unfortunate children of superstitions and prejudices that stand like stone walls across every forward path.

Are you well advised in trying to reduce me to your own slavery to them? If I do not stand above them there is no longer any reason for my existence at all. I stand for the future and the past, for the posterity that has no vote and the tradition that never had any. I stand for the great abstractions: for conscience and virtue; for the eternal against the expedient; for the evolutionary appetite against the day’s gluttony; for intellectual integrity, for humanity, for the rescue of industry from commercialism and of science from professionalism, for everything that you desire as sincerely as I, but which in you is held in leash by the Press, which can organize against you the ignorance and superstition, the timidity and credulity, the gullibility and prudery, the hating and hunting instinct of the voting mob, and cast you down from power if you utter a word to alarm or displease the adventurers who have the Press in their pockets.

Between you and that tyranny stands the throne. I have no elections to fear; and if any newspaper magnate dares offend me, that magnate’s fashionable wife and marriageable daughters will soon make him understand that the King’s displeasure is still a sentence of social death within range of St James’s Palace. Think of the things you dare not do! the persons you dare not offend! Well, a king with a little courage may tackle them for you. Responsibilities which would break your backs may still be borne on a king’s shoulders.

But he must be a king, not a puppet. You would be responsible for a puppet: remember that. But whilst you continue to support me as a separate and independent estate of the realm, I am your scapegoat: you get the credit of all our popular legislation whilst you put the odium of all our resistance to ignorant popular clamour on me. I ask you, before you play your last card and destroy me, to consider where you will be without me. Think once: think twice: for your danger is, not that I may defeat you, but that your success is certain if you insist.

From British Colonial History

A magnificent experience

The British colonial empire was a magnificent experience for the world. It brought in English to a huge number of nations and geographical areas. Most of them were bound up in feudal language social systems. So that everywhere there was a strange level of hierarchical arrangement in society. Britain also had a solid feudal social system, but it was marvellously different from most of other similar systems, for the communication software was English.

A French revolution in India

This statement may feel a bit trite. However, there is a minor hint to the correctness of this in the fact that one of the spurring points for the French Revolution was the understanding that in England people had a higher individuality than allowable or available under the French feudalism. For example, if Britain had been geographically near to India at that time in history, a similar revolution would have taken place in India.

Liberating the slaves

It is not intended to go into all the aspects of the British Colonial Empire here. In this issue, the focus will be on one major world experience from the British colonialism. It is about the abolishing of slavery in the British Empire.

When talking about slavery, one tends to think only about the slavery of Blacks in the United States of America and other areas connected to it. However, this is a very miniscule view of the term ‘slavery’. In most nations of the ancient world and in some nations of the modern world slavery was and is rampant. However, these nations are not English, and thus the local citizens fail to view it as slavery. Even if they understand the presence of ‘slavery’ in their midst, they sort of find justifications for the same.

The language as the chain

Most of the ancient sultans, kings and emperors of the ancient oriental world had slaves. The mighty architectural structures of India, including Taj Mahal and the grand forts and castles, would have been built using slave labour. Currently a lot of people in India live lives similar to slaves in demeanour. It is not just the caste system that does it, but also the language system, which subdues a common man and promotes a government official or a rich man.

There was terrible slavery in Africa, South American ancient empires, far-east nations, and even in India. I am talking about the statutory slaves. This is apart from the people who were not statutory slave, but enslaved by the social system.

The slave-trade port

The port in Zanzibar was a main place for the loading of African slaves. It was a trade in which many native African groups also had interest, and active participation. One may chance to think of the social communication system in African societies, wherein their own people helped in the enslavement of their brethrens. It is similar to the forced sex (brothel) industry in Bombay.

Spurring the spirits

Many things helped stir up the mood of the local people of Britain against slavery. One was the reports given by David Livingstone about Arab harassment on African slaves. It sort of rejuvenated the sagging spirits of the abolitionist movement.

English dissolving the mental chains

Any man who learns to think in English literally refuses to mentally become a slave. Even if he does accept his statutory station of being a salve, mentally he is much more elevated than a lower level man of say India, who is not legally a slave. The lower level man in India need no chains or whipping to do the biddings of his master, for the words in the feudal language fantastically place him in an unmovable position in society. The language makes him understand his slavish standards and he learns to live with it.

As for a slave who learns English, his station of being a slave is totally contrary to the positioning in English. For in English, there is no subjugating words or expressions. The slave will definitely revolt. His master also will be at a loss to justify his subjugation in English, other than by pointing to the statutory situation in the society. He will have to chain unwilling slaves, and possibly whip him to make him subdued. It is like the military training in oriental nations. The ordinary soldier’s innate right to individuality has to be crushed to make him obedient to the whims and fancies of the officer class.

A very noble thing, indeed!

Everyone knows the history how Abraham Lincoln fought to free slaves from the United States of America. In every sense of the word, it was a wonderful thing. For the white man was fighting to save the Black man from the sting of slavery. It was a noble thing to do. I do not think that such a thing had happened in any other nation of the world. Not in India, not Africa, not in the Far East, Greece, European nations, South America, or in the Arabian nations.

Who wants to liberate a subordinate being?

Moreover, who wants to liberate persons who are socially beneath themselves? I do not think anyone in any feudal language nations would want a subjugated person to improve. It would only cause distress to everyone else, for he or she will come to claim equality in a language, which does not have the concept of equality encrypted in it. The cumulative affect would be that of lower level persons gaining the upper hand in feudal language communication system, which can drive every one of the others literally mad.

***

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Vintage English

This was a proposed digital periodical on antique English first published in 2009. However, there were no subscriptions, and it stopped after the first issue. The themes inside this were about an antiquity that is slowing vanishing from earth, as England slowly gets filled with non-English ‘multiculture’. The reading items inside include items from classical English, antique history, grand adventures, maritime explorations, colonial experiences, scientific conquests, historical figures, solitary intellects, political experiments, social reforms, daring actions and much else, all from the antiquity of England.

  • ISBN: 9781370094240
  • Author: VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
  • Published: 2016-08-31 20:20:12
  • Words: 25099
Vintage English Vintage English