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Tuchman's "The First Salute" Login/Join
 
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This week presents a more loosely connected group of words, spreading our net wider – and perhaps hinting at the flavor of a historic time. We take our words from Chapter III of The First Salute by historian Barbara Tuchman, who twice won the Pulitzer Prize.

Tuchman tells of the rise of the Dutch as a commercial power, and struggle for independence from Spain. England supported the Dutch, piquing Phillip of Spain to retaliate by sending his vast Armada against England. The Armada's disaster marked the end of Spain as an international force.

Tuchman argues that Phillip was so heavy-handed as to practically force the quarreling Dutch states into union, strengthening them – and that Great Britain repeated that imprudence when dealing with its American colonies two centuries later. An interesting thesis.

argosy - a large merchant ship, or a fleet of ships;
also, a rich source or supply: an argosy of adventure lore
quote:
After a first exploratory venture in 1595, the second [Dutch] merchant voyage on the long and hazardous journey to the East Indies sailed in 1598 in an argosy of 22 ships, from which, owing to tempest, disease of the crews, hostile privateers and other dangers of the sea encountered en route, only 14 returned. Yet the cargoes of pepper and spices and Indian objects they brought home more than matched the losses, attracting other investors to enter the competition. In 1601, 65 ships – three times as many as took part in the second venture – set out for the same destination.


[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Mon Apr 28th, 2003 at 13:05.]
 
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The [Spanish] ruler, Philip II – that " odious personage," at Motley, classic historian of the revolt, cannot refrain in his Protestant Victorian rectitude from calling him – was himself too narrow and rigid to recognize as rebellion the trouble he was stirring up for himself; Philip could think only in terms of being ordained by God to root out Protestantism, and he rejected any consideration that might suggest an obstacle in the way of this task.
odious – hateful; unequivocally detestable

rectitude – moral uprightness; righteousness

Would we say that rectitude is not an entirely complimentary term?
 
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From Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey [my favorite murder mystery of all time - although it isn't really a murder mystery at all]:


(uttered by an ambitious plotter to the person he proposes to wreak his mischief for him, wanting only a promise to be paid part of the fraudulently-obtained inheritance when the deed is accomplished - as an explanation of why he wants no more than a promise)

"No one with your Ashby looks could be a double-crosser. The Ashbys are monsters of rectitude."

So no, I guess rectitude isn't completely a complimentary term. It has some of the connotation of self-righteousness, as compared to plain ordinary righteousness.

(If anyone cares - the quote is on p.22 of the 1956 Dell paperback edition)

[This message was edited by haberdasher on Tue Apr 29th, 2003 at 15:00.]
 
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"Rectitude" is used in a similar way to "Liberal"; it is no insult when used approvingly, but, depending on the tone of voice and/or other words used, it can indeed be an insult.
 
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The inveterate separatism and mutual jealousies of the cites and provinces of the Low Countries, in which each feared the advantages and influence that might be gained by its neighbor, could have permanently frustrated any united resistance to Spain if the struggle had not found a dynamic leader in William of Orange. By organizing his compatriots with political sagacity, William, came to focus and personify the revolt.
inveterate – Firmly and long established; deep-rooted; also persisting in an ingrained habit
[The dictionary lists these as two separate definitions. Question: how do they differ?]

sagacity – the quality of being discerning, sound in judgment, and farsighted; wisdom
 
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A longish quotation today; please pardon.
quote:
[The Dutch had] lapsed into such a welter of sectional rivalries and struggles as amounted to almost civil war. Constant bickering between French-speaking Walloons and Dutch-speaking Flemings, between Catholics and Protestants, between the maritime and inland provinces, between nobles and commoners, between Amsterdam in its hegemony and everyone else had so far prevented common action in the revolt. Netherlanders were now beginning to realize that they must join forces if they were ever to expel the Spaniards. Joint action by the Dutch rebels was the one thing that the rulers could not overcome, and had confidently believed would never take place. In America the British, too, were to commit the outrages, by the Boston Port Bill and the Coercive Acts, that brought the fractious Colonies together.

welter – a confused muddle; a chaotic jumble

hegemony – the domination of one state over its allies
(note: accent on either first or second syllable; the latter seems to be winning out)

fractious – apt to break out in trouble; unruly (often in the sense of "resistant to authority")
 
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We've seen abjure before, but the quotation is too delicious to forego.
quote:
Through all the machinations and labyrinths of agreements ad disagreements by the Dutch cities and parties, the one great motivator of nationhood, a clear call for independence, was missing. The Calvinist party passed the momentous Oath of Abjuration that was the Dutch Declaration of Independence. All magistrates and officials were required to abjure the oath of allegiance individually and personally, which caused much anguish to those nurtured in lifelong obedience to a crown. The foreswearing so worked on the feelings of a councilor of Friesland that in taking the Oath of Abjuration he suffered a heart attack or stroke of some kind, fell to the floor and expired on the spot.
machination – a crafty scheme to an evil end

labyrinth – something highly intricate or convoluted

abjure – to renounce under oath; forswear; to recant solemnly; repudiate
 
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Continued obdurate Dutch resistance was draining Philip's resources and, even more, his patience. He put a price of 25,000 golden crowns or approximately 75,000 guilders, a large fortune, upon the head of William of Orange, dead or alive. [But] the assassination of William failed to fulfill Philip's purpose, for William had imbued the revolt with a life of its own.


obdurate – stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing; also; showing unfeeling resistance to tender feelings

imbue – to inspire or influence thoroughly; pervade; (also, to stain or dye deeply)

Note: Tuchan uses the former meaning of obdurate, but I think the latter is more common. As to the latter: compare callous, hardened. Callous denotes a deadening of the sensibilities; as. a callous conscience. Hardened implies a general and settled disregard for the claims of interest, duty, and sympathy; as, hardened in vice.. Obdurate implies an active resistance of the heart and will aganst the pleadings of compassion and humanity.
 
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Now I feel just as sure as I'm sure that my name
Isn't "Willow, tit-willow, tit-willow"
That 'twas blighted affection that made him exclaim
"Oh willow, tit-willow, tit-willow!"
And if you remain calloused and obdurate, I
Shall perish as he did, and you will know why!
Though I probably shall not exclaim as I die,
"Oh willow, tit-willow, tit-willow!"

-- Koko to Katisha, Mikado, Act II

[This message was edited by haberdasher on Sat May 3rd, 2003 at 21:01.]
 
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Haberdasher, do I perchance sense a fellow Gilbert and Sullivan admirer? Wink Big Grin Cool

Wordcrafter, regarding machinations, do you recall what may have been my first post on this board way back on July 13?
 
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Smile Kalleh

quote:
Unlike most rulers who fear change because it is change, the Queen of England, bold and canny Elizabeth I, was willing to reverse the ancient enmity and offer alliance to the Netherland rebels. In 1585, she sent an expeditionary force of 8,000 under her favorite, the Earl of Leicester, to help the rebels withstand Parma's advance. Vainglorious, ambitious and bullheaded, Leicester was not a well-chosen agent.
enmity – deep-seated hatred

vainglorious – boastful self-importance; "too big for his britches"; "having a swelled head"

canny – shrewd. (The dictionary gives a second meaning: "cautious; especially 'cautious in spending money,'" which is unfamiliar to me.)
 
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a fellow Gilbert and Sullivan admirer?


...Res ipse loquitur

(translation: "The thing speaks for itself")
 
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canny – shrewd. (The dictionary gives a second meaning: "cautious; especially 'cautious in spending money,'" which is unfamiliar to me.)

Surely you've seen the phrase "a canny Scot"? Wink
 
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Arnie uses a phrase which could be seen as being politically incorrect.

He can't get away with that, canny?
 
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Res ipse loquitur
haberdasher, I hope you saw wordcrafter's Gilbert and Sullivan thread. As you can see I posted my all-time favorite song, "I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General".
 
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Originally posted by wordcrafter:
Continued obdurate Dutch resistance

[...]

_obdurate_ – stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing; _also;_ showing unfeeling resistance to tender feelings




OED2 (1.b) says: Hardened, or hardening oneself, against persuasion, entreaty, the sentiment of pity, etc.; stubborn, obstinate, unyielding, inflexible, relentless, hard-hearted, inexorable.

I'd be inclined to look at it in this context as meaning stubborn, unyielding, relentless and inexorable.
 
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Originally posted by haberdasher:
And if you remain _calloused and obdurate_, I



It's "callous and obdurate". Otherwise it'd be "callused and obdurate". Wink

Stephen
 
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Right you are: "callous" it is. I plead too-fast and careless typing. Shame on me. [chagrin-e]
 
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Because mear is the Spanish slang word for "orinar," ("to urinate") a certain naughty Mexican dictionary defines mea culpa as "Confesión de haberse orinado."
 
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I think in this case I'll take the Latin over the Latino
 
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