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July 03, 2007


Nasty, Brutish & Short

The Swedenborg business is fascinating. The whole thing really took hold here in Cincinnati in the mid-nineteenth century, and a number of my ancestors got all wrapped up in it (earlier ancestors were accusors during the Salem witch trials, and I'm an Episcopalian, so perhaps we have a genetic bent towards heresy).

A few years ago, it came time to sell the family pile, which actually had a "Swedenborg Room." I found myself the proud inheritor of a life-sized oil painting of Emanuel Swedenborg, a full library of his pontifications, and an oil painting of Milo Williams' daughter (he was a founder of Urbana College, which is I believe to be the only Swedenborgian institution of higher ed.)
We had our last Swedenborgian family funeral in 2002 (a liturgical train wreck), and there are still two Swedenborg churches in Cincinnati.

It's rather strange religion, though. I tried wading through one of Swedenborg's books once, and it was completely odd. As best as I can tell, it's like Mormonism, but for educated people.

Robbo the Llama Butcher

Fascinatin' stuff, Mrs. P. I've known of the Chamberlain/Stowe/Bailey's gunnegshun for some time, but never in anything like this detail.

When we come up this summer, we're planning to introduce the Llama-ettes to the full-bore Joshu-ay treatment in Brunswick.

BTB, my apologies for not following up on your pre-vacation note - I didn't see it until several days after the fact and haven't talked to Mom since then. We'll sort it out some time.


In The Education of Henry Adams, Adams notes in his first chapter that, as to Massachusetts and New England, "Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, had always been the systematic organization of hatereds...." The author of these words would not be surprised at a KKK rally in Maine: "The chief charm of New England was harshness of contrasts and extremes of sensibility -- a cold that froze the blood, and a heat that boiled it--so that the pleasure of hating -- one's self if no better victim offered -- was not its rarest amusement; but the charm was a true and natural child of the soil, not a cultivated weed of the ancients."

Mrs. Peperium

N.S.B., hmmm, I too am descended from an accuser at Salem with persecution long being a familial strong suit...

This Swedenborgan thing -- just typing it brings to mind Ginger Rogers in Bachelor Mother attempting to speak Swedish -- is warped. I like the idea of Mormonism for the educated. Are the figures in your paintings wearing clothes? The nudity thing is what I think sets them most apart from the Mormons...

I love the idea that the 60's kids still earnestly believe they were the first ones to go au naturale...

Robbo, this is only the begining...As for Mamma Llama, perhaps next year you and all the Llamas can drop by. If you do the Chamberlain connection, you must come to Maiden Lane on Bailey off of Washington and Barker Pt - there you will find The Seashell and you will see the bank and orchard I grew up playing in. Watch out for snakes, unless you like them. And, if you are extremely clever you will find the spots down along the Giant Stairs where I went through my own Swedenborgan stage as an art student... No one, absolutely no one has figured those spots out yet, except for my husband and that was because he was shown... We were down at your club. Is your boat in the water? I'm guessing you would be a sailor but you've spoken quite a bit about fishing so you might have a power boat...who knows?

Crackie, a wry smile was evinced upon reading your words...

Nasty, Brutish & Short

Most of the accusors seemed to have been from the Putnam family--those are my ancestors. Perhaps we are cousins? Maybe you and I can go in together, and accuse someone of witchcraft, for old times' sake?

Nudity and Swedenborganism is a new one to me. Never heard of that, all my ancestors were total prudes.

Andrew Cusack

The Swedenborgians' only contribution to society of any merit is Bryn Athyn Cathedral in Pennsylvania, which is rather handsome.

Robbo the Llama Butcher

Mrs. P - I will make a point of wandering down to have a dekko at the scene of your childhood romps, even though, like Indiana Jones, I hate snakes. And I shall probably never view the Giant Stair in the same light again!

No boat at the moment, as working for Uncle wouldn't quite cover the costs. (And never a stink pot, even if I could afford one!) However, one of Mamma Llama's friends has offered to take me out in his when we go up. Also, we are planning to enroll the eldest gel in sailing camp at teh club starting next year.

Mrs. Peperium

Then your eldest will be sailing with our nieces. The noose is drawing tighter...

Mrs. Peperium

Nasty, Brutish & Short, I need to look up which girl it was but my memory is it was not the one whose father owned Tituba, but perhaps, only perhaps at this point, her cousin. Putnam is a name that is around in our family tree and a branch of cousins did go out to Ohio in the very early 1800's to settle land that the government awarded them in return for land and property they lost when the British burned their town -- thanks Basil-- some 217 years ago this Sunday actually, so it is possible we have some of the same blood coarsing through our veins.

As for starting new witch hunts, sure. But only if Father M. promises to ride shotgun. Just to give it the real 21st century authentic flair...

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