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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Saturday, March 15, 2014

18th Century Historic Building Wall Collapses - Compton Bassett Catholic Chapel, March 15, 2014

Sometime during the night of March 14-15, 2014 the chimney wall of the historic Catholic colonial Chapel at Compton Bassett in Upper Marlboro collapsed.  I have not been able to get there in person to assess the damage.  The owner of the property has been repeatedly informed by its own staff that the tarpaulin thrown over to stop a roof leak was not a long term fix; and that, further, the tarp itself would eventually contribute to the destruction of the building. This collapse in all probability was preventable.

The ubiquitous friend of those in a hurry, Wikipedia, states that:

"Compton Bassett is a historic home in Upper Marlboro, Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, that was constructed ca. 1783. It is a two-story brick Georgian house, covered with cream-colored stucco, on a high basement of gray stucco. A two-story wing was added in 1928. Remaining outbuildings include a chapel to the southeast, a meathouse to the southwest, and a dairy to the northwest. Also on the property is a family burial ground. 

The Hill family and descendents lived at this site from 1699 to 1900. Hills Bridge (700 meters to the southeast) has carried traffic over the Patuxent River here since a toll bridge was first constructed in 1852 by W.B. Hill. [3] Compton Bassett was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. In July 2010 the house and grounds were acquired by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning 

Historic American Buildings Survey Delos H. Smith, Photographer 1
936 View from Northeast - Compton Bassett Chapel, Marlboro Pike (State Route 408),
Upper Marlboro, Prince George's County, MD

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Russia, Crimea and Ukraine making news in 1784 that matters to US today

 It is not nice to mess with western business interests if you are Russian. The informed citizens newly created country of the United States clearly understood what was to be gained by having a foothold in the Ukraine, and the Crimea.

 By the Ship Active, Capt. Lyde, arrived at Boston 29 Days from London, we have the following fresh Advices, viz.

            In consequence of the threat thrown out in the House of Common, of withholding the supplies, it is expected that his Majesty will determine on the truly patriotic measure of taking the opinion of the public at large, by calling a new Parliament, since it appears otherwise impossible to reconcile the present jarring interests.
            The severe season in 1739, to which the present has been compared, blasted 15 weeks, from December 24 two April, and was succeeded by a fine spring, and the most plentiful harvest ever known in this country.

            Feb. 25. The letter from Munich says, "never did the Palette and eight behold so cruelly calamity as that which they now experience. The inhabitants of Mann behind, expiring through inanition [sic], exhibit a most disastrous spectacles; the To a lector, reduced to the melancholy necessity of seeing his subjects parish, without a possibility of affording them the least relief. The Neckar and the Rhine, diluting the streets to the first stories of the houses, are too much frozen to be navigable, and not sufficiently so for passengers to venture over [] moreover, the enormous bodies of ice that float on these two rivers would soon think the boats that might be sent to the assistance of the unfortunate victims."

            Feb. 27. Two years salt provisions are ordered to be got ready for nova-Scotia; the people there being in great distress.

The Providence Gazette And Country Journal  04-24-1784
News from Crimea 1784
            By the late agreement which has taken place between the Turks and the Russians, the whole Crimea is seated to the latter in full sovereignty, and the free navigation so long contended for. This is the real downfall of the Ottoman empire, and not the war, which will infallibly take place in four or five years, when Russia has fortified that peninsula so as to have nothing to fear.

            By the late treaty, Russia gains the entire sovereignty of one of the finest countries in the world, in a climate happy as the South of France, producing almost every luxury, and all the necessaries of life, and situated so fortunately that it communicates with the Mediterranean seaas [sic] readily as this situated on it. The conquest of this territory, which the Russian Court intends to improve to the highest pitch, will be a fatal blow to the interest in trade of friends. A great import at Petersburgh [Capital of Imperial Russia] from that kingdom, is wines and brandies; these will be made in Crimea to equal any in the world, and that vast empire thus supply itself with those objects for which it has hitherto paid such large sums to France.

            The climate, fertility, and population of the Crimea are such, that it will maintain an army of 60,000 men, without trespassing on the inhabitants; so great an accession of force has the Empress [Yekaterina Alexeevna or Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great]  made by this piece; and, what is of yet more value, a decided and uninterrupted passage through the Hellespont to the Mediterranean, which will give a ready market to all sorts of productions, not only of the Crimea, but also of her old dominion of the Ukraine.[1]


[1] The Providence Gazette And Country Journal  04-24-1784.

Transcribed by John Peter Thompson. March 6th, 2014.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ukraine in the News in America - Religious split - 1768

            A letter from Volhynia says, "The Bishop of the [Orthodox] Greeks has been massacred by the Peasants of tyhe Ulraine, for having given notice to the Governor of Pawalocz and Lieutenant of the designs of our Insurgents by which means they got out of there way. The Governor of Sinila flew off in his shirt, abandoning his wife and children to their fury, Gentry, Ecclesiasticks, United Greeks &c. have all been murdered by those rebels, who spare neither women nor children. The rebels have already murdered many thousan Jews; they burn all their books and papers, destroy their habitations, and carry off their provisions. It is afforded, that the cause of these disorders, that the confederates of Bar threaten to murder those old Greeks unless they embrace the Roman Catholic religion.[1]

[1] The ESSEX GAZETTE; From Tuesday, October 11, to Tuesday, October 18, 1768;  Salem, Massachusetts.

Transcribed by John Peter Thompson. March 5, 2014.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Western European Intrigue in Ukraine Reported in America - in 1750

By Capt. Ash from Dublin, we ha ve the following Advices, viz.
            Berlin, Aug. 30. The Arrival and the Stay which the Tartarian Aga made at this Court, the Manner in which he was treated here, and his reserved Behaviour to the foreign ministers, whom (excepting those of France and Sweden) he never visited, occasion many Conjectures; and these appear to be the less improbable, when the Maxims of the Tartars are considered, being of a contrary Nature to the Pacific Policy of the reigning Sultan [Mahmud I, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1730–1754)]. It is in short concluded, that the Mission of this Aga is a stroke of French Politicks, having engaged the Kan [Khan] to send and Officer to Berlin to concert with his Prussian Majesty [Frederick II King of Prussia (1740–1786)]and Invasion, on the Part of the Kan, into the Ukraine, in case the Porte rest quiet when Russia shall be attack'd, as in all likelihood it will, if a Judgment may be formed from the prudent Clauses which finish'd the Memorial that the Grand Vizir delivered to the Minister from Sweden. The Tartars would be glad of such an Opportunity to make Incursions into the Ukraine; but then her Imperial Majesty [Elizabeth Petrovna, Tsaritsa of Russia (1741–1762)]has now in that Country a faithful People, more numerous than the Tartars, and lately form'd to Arms; so that these last will not have the same Advantages as they have hereto for had. Attention should be had in all of this to the Use and Designs of sending, in so extraordinary a Manner, a Tartarian Minister to the Court of the King of Prussia, who has no Relation with the Kan of the Tartars.[1]

Pennsylvania Gazette
Novmber 1750
European Intrigued and Ukraine

[1] The Pennsylvania Gazette; 11-29-1750.

Transcribed by John Peter Thompson. March 4th, 2014.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Crimea, Ukraine, and Russia still in American News - in 1736

Ukraine in the News
The Boston Weekly News-Letter

            Just in case you're not reading the newspapers permit me to bring you up to speed on events in Crimea, the Ukraine, Russia, and Europe as a whole - in February 1736 as reported in the Boston Weekly News-Letter.

            Headlines of the day include a report from London on the wreck of the William of Hamburg Capt. by Cleaves worms which the English admiralty valiantly attempted to save from from plundering and looting from small fishing vessels - ineffectively it turns out. The ship's master, a man and a woman passenger were drowned, while the mate and seven seamen save themselves in the long boat.

            The report continues from Petersburg, Russia as follows: 

"That the Russian Court in order to give a stronger Proof than hitherto of their Resolution to keep a strict Correspondence with Sweden, has engaged to reimburse the Which the Late King Charles XII, Borrowed in Holland, during the Last War, and for Which He Mortgaged the Customs of Riga, One of the Concord Towns since Yielded to Russia by the Treaty of Nystadt. And the Condition of this Reimbursement is actually comprised in the Treaty renewed by the to Courts. These Letters added, that the Crim Tartars actually made an Incursion into the Ukraine, and committed great Disorders, but were repulsed with Loss by the Russian Troops."

            The Crim Tartars are the invaders from Asia who settled in the Crimea and eventually became vassals to the Ottoman Sultan helping themselves to slave [Slavs] as a money making enterprise. Earlier accounts noted vast empty spaces, much like the American Great Plains, that were in need of settlers. In order to fill the great spaces of the Ukraine, a bounty was offered to anyone from the regions around Moscow who would go and settle these border regions.[1]

[1] The Boston Weekly News-Letter.; Date: From Thursday February 5, to Thursday February 12, 1736.

Transcribed by John Peter Thompson. March 3, 2014.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Ukraine in American News - in 1711

The Boston News-Letter; From Monday August 13, to Monday August 20, 1711

            With a little luck, Americans will turn down the hysterical news broadcasts, and take some time to learn a little history before jumping into conflicts that our sixth President strongly advised against. While researching early salve laws and colonial appropriation of indigenous peoples' lands here in Maryland and the other colonies, I ran across a newspaper article from Boston in the summer of 1711 - yes 1711 - before there even was a United States.

            The article is the first of two describing the remnants of the Swedish King (yes Sweden was once a super-power capable of causing chaos) Charles XII's ill-fated invasion of Russia which ended badly for him near the present day Ukrainian border. His incursion brought trouble for the peoples of the region, and gave rise to several Western Ukrainian heroes, Mazepa, who famously deserted the Russian Army, and Orlick, who wrote the first Ukrainian Constitution. Some other players in today's news include the Tartars and the Turks, along with the usual western European powers: Poland, Austria and Prussia.

             We Americans should pay heed, then, to the words of John Qunicy Adams:

"Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her [the American] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she [the United States] goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit."[1]

With that said here is a transcription of a newsletter published in Boston in 1711 reporting on military events in and near the Ukraine.

"Dantzick, April 29, [1711] Advices from Caminieck confirm, that General Zacharouski's Detachment which consisted of 45 Companies of the Sieur Kaletynsky, thirty two of Monsieur Krosnowsky, and thirty of Monsieur Nerbowsky, were defeated by the Palatine of Kiow, who afterwards made himself Master of Kozowe, Buchalaw, Korsum, Lisowica, Lepusno, and Dolna, towns in the Ukraine.  Forty thousand Janisaries  [sic]are already past the Danube and are marching towards Kiow.  There are thirty thousand Sphies at Bender, where the Turkish Army under the Command of the Grand Vizier is expected.  The Han [Khan] of Tartary continues in the Muscovite [Russian] Ukraine, and frequent skirmishes happen betwixt his Troops and the Cossacks."[2]

A new map of present Poland, Hungary, Walachia, Moldavia, Little Tartary, shewing their principal divisions, chief citie...  [Hungary, Transylvania, Poland, &c.] (1700)
The New York Public Library

[1] Adams, John Quincy. 1821. "An address, delivered at the request of the committee of arrangements for celebrating the anniversary of Independence, at the City of Washington on the Fourth of July 1821 upon the occasion of reading The Declaration of Independence." [accessed on the web, March 2, 2014]

[2] The Boston News-Letter; From Monday August 13, to Monday August 20, 1711;   Boston, Massachusetts