Tory Historian has started reading Richard Pipes's Property and Freedom and found an interesting paragraph in its Introduction, where Professor Pipes explains his thoughts and presuppositions:

My starting hypothesis held that there is an intimate connection between public guarangees of owndership and individual liberty: that while property in some form is possible without liberty, the contrary is inconceivable.
As he explains further, testing this hypothesis in full proved to be impossible because of the many varieties of possession, ownership and property, not mention the difficulties of obtaining material and developing understanding of widely differing societies. Professor Pipes decided to sacrifice breadth for depth in order "to demonstrate through a few historical examples the relationship between economic and political power".

Tory Historian has not read far enough to be able to review the book or even comment on it but while that state of affairs is achieved, here is an article on the Mises Review site - the author approves of the book with some reservations. Can't say fairer than that.

St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain no more

And the day is today, July 15. In Tory Historian's part of the world the sun is shining so the prediction is good, though, apparently, the weather is not too good in Scotland.

This is rather a charming and informative piece for young children on the subject that even explains how the legend came about.
A legend says that as the Bishop [St Swithun, Saxon Bishop of Winchester] lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried out of doors, where he would be trodden on and rained on. For nine years, his wishes were followed, but then, the monks of Winchester attempted to remove his remains to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral on 15 July 971. According to legend there was a heavy rain storm either during the ceremony or on its anniversary.
Served those monks right, says Tory Historian.

Tory Historian is always keen on news stories that have an important historical content (and not just the usual complaint of politicians never change). Here is a fascinating story from the Guardian.

Almost six centuries after most of them converted to Christianity, a rabbinical court has declared that descendants of a "lost tribe" from the Spanish island of Mallorca can once more be considered Jews.

A decision by the ultra-orthodox rabbi Nissim Karelitz recognises that the Chuetas of Mallorca, who were persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition and remained a distinct group within Mallorcan society until the 1970s, had the right to call themselves Jews.
It seems that some of the Chuetas continued to be observant Jews at great personal risk to themselves. But the real reason why they have been recognized appears to be genetic - they mostly married within their community throughout all these centuries.

Today (just in time) is the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of those men, without whom this country would definitely look completely different. Sir George Gilbert Scott is the architect who created our vision of Victorianism, whether his designs were of public buildings, domestic buildings or poorhouses. One wonders what he would make of this "elegant brasserie and bar" in the new St Pancras Hotel.

The picture above is one of Scott's iconic designs without which London is unthinkable.

Tory Historian cannot help remembering what Lord Macaulay (a Whig or a Liberal, depending on one's point of view) said in his essay on Moore's Life of Byron.‎

We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.
Its relevance to the present day is all too obvious.

Fifty years ago today came the death of one of the most important people in twentieth century American history and, in particular, in the development of American conservative thought: Whittaker Chambers.

This is a fascinating piece by David Chambers, Whittaker's grandson, about ghosts and memories and the world since the great man's death. While looking for other material, Tory Historian (a great admirer of Whittaker Chambers, one of the few people who really understood Communism) came across this posting on Flopping Aces about Chambers's Witness. There are, the blogger thinks, many lessons to be learnt for Americans now. Tory Historian cannot argue except to add that there are many lessons to be learnt for all of us in the West.

Tory Historian was delighted to read in History Today that the Samuel Johnson Prize (named after a truly great Tory) was awarded this year to Frank Dikötter’s Mao's Great Famine, a book TH has not yet read right through, so devastating it is. There is also the new biography of Bismarck, short-listed for the prize, to read. Jonathan Steinberg's book is described as "a genuine game-changer whose influence will be enormous and sustained".

Together with the author of the blog on the subject Tory Historian is stunned by the comment reportedly made by the biographer Brenda Maddox, who was on the jury, about the Mao book.
I was puzzled by the comments of one of the judges, though, the biographer Brenda Maddox, who is reported to have said: ‘Why didn’t I know about this? We feel we know who the villains of the 20th century are – Stalin and Hitler [I could add a few more to that]. But here, fully 50 years after the event, is something we did not know about. It’s testament to the power of non-fiction that it can rock you back on your heels.’ Well, she’s right on the last point, but her comments only serve to reinforce my view that the literati should get out more. Has Maddox not read, or even read a review of Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, for example? Or does her knowledge of Maoism derive from the films of Jean-Luc Godard and the writing of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir? Dikötter gives us much valuable and fascinating new detail, but he does not alter the thrust of what has been known for some time now about the nature of Mao’s appalling regime.
There is none so blind as those who do not want to see.

Tory Historian finally went to Grosvenor Square and took this picture of the new statue of President Reagan which has now joined statues of Presidents Eisenhower and Roosevelt (that's Franklin, not Teddy) and the memorial to the Eagle Squadron.

Tory Historian finally managed to catch up with London historians or historians of London at the monthly meeting organized by .... yes, London Historians at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. It was, indeed, very good to meet the author of Caroline's Miscellany, one of the people who runs The Londonist and the musician and singer Andrew Maginley, whose knowledge of Renaissance and Baroque music seems unbounded.

The death of Otto von Habsburg, the oldest son of the last Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary and King of Croatia, Charles, was announced today. He was 98 so there is no tragedy involved and has led a good life - fought both Nazism and Communism. A true European unlike some other people who claim the title.

Tory Historian must admit to chickening out of attending the unveiling ceremony this morning, though invited. The excuse: far too many people, far too much security and unlikely to be able to see anything, not even Condoleezza Rice. However, a visit to Grosvenor Square is due soon and an own photograph will be posted. In the meantime, here are two stories with pictures: Fox News and the Independent.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

The flag that flew at D-day.

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