Sunday, December 2, 2018

Ellicott City, Md - Rome

December 3, 2018 Peace and Good, I have returned to Rome following the North Carolina visitations. Last week was a chance to catch up with some writing projects. This week and next we will be meeting in definitory. I think that the definitory will not be full days throughout the week because there is not a lot to finish these days. We have already done a lot of work preparing for the coming General Chapter this coming May and June. The weather is quite rainy here in Rome. When I arrived last Sunday, in fact, there was quite a bit of flooding in the streets. This is typical of this time of year. I have finished the following reading: The Great Famine: the History of the Irish Potato Famine during the Mid-19th Century by Charles River Editors This is the story of the great potato famine in Ireland in the middle of the 19th century. It speaks of the reason why Irish were so dependent on potatoes (because their lands had been divided and sub-divided among the owner’s sons). It deals with the political question of whether this was a subtle genocide on the part of the English to reduce the population of Ireland (probably not that culpable, but negligent all the same). It deals with the migration of millions of Irish to Australia, America and Canada to escape the disaster. Liberty’s First Crisis by Charles Slack This is the story of the enactment of the Alien and Sedition Acts during the reign of President John Adams. These acts were intended to silence the opponents of the administration (which was Federalist) and their use was a dangerous attack on the freedom of speech. The book covers why they were enacted, what their consequences were, and how they were allowed to expire when Jefferson won the presidency. One insight that I received from the book is the idea that the founding fathers considered party politics to be a form of rebellion. They wanted everyone to be housed under one big tent of common interest. It was only with the rise of Jefferson and his band of followers that the leaders of the country accepted the idea of political parties as a necessary corrective to the body politic of the country (that one party would correct the excesses of the other through elections). The Election of 1828 by Charles River Editors This is the story of how Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams. Adams had won the election of 1824 by winning the approval of Henry Clay whom he then appointed his Secretary of State. Many saw this a dirty deal, for Jackson had actually won the most votes. The rematch of 1828 proved that the people agreed with the assessment, besides the fact that the election was pitting a popular war hero against a quiet diplomat. Jackson’s victory led to the rise of political power for the western states (western for those days were states like Kentucky and Tennessee). And Quiet Flows the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov This is the story of a group of Cossocks right before World War I and in the early days of the war. Sholokhov was seen as a great reporter of an all but lost culture. The Cossocks were a mixed group of Russian and other Slavic run away serfs and of others who married into their race. They lived in the southern steppes, and often served as the cavalry force of the Tsars, even against his own people when they rebelled against him. Mutiny: the history and legacy of the mutinies about the HMS Wager, the HMS Bounty, the Amistad and the Battleship Potemkin by Charles River Editors This is one of the combination books that Charles River is putting out which combines a series of their smaller books in one larger collection. This one deals with a rebellion aboard the Wager which involved a ship whose crew left their officers to die off the coast of Chile, the famous mutiny of the Bounty, the Amistad which was the story of a group of slaves from Africa whom had been carried to Cuba (where the slave trade had been outlawed) and who won their freedom, and the Potemkin which had a mutiny during 1905 when there was a rising against the Tsar. Top Cases of the FBI volume 2 by RJ Parker This is a very strange collection of poorly put together stories about the FBI and its war against terrorism, white collared crime, etc. The first volume was much better. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude