Cucchulain by John Duncan

Cucchulain by John Duncan


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Cúchulainn

I am taking a turn here to start from the beginning of Irish History and its heroes. There are many heroes of Irish History, not just the ones from 1916. Ireland was not always in the possession of foriegn invaders. Some of the wars were internal.

Cúchulainn (pronounced koo hool n) is an Irish mythological hero who appears in the stories of the Ulster Cycle, as well as in Scottish and Manx folklore. The son of the god Lug and Deichtine (sister of Conchobar mac Nessa), he was originally named Sétanta.


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In Old and Middle Irish, the race is usually called the Fomóire or Fomóiri (plural), and an individual member is called a Fomóir (singular). In Middle Irish, they are also called the Fomóraiġ (plural) and a Fomórach (singular). This is spelt Fomhóraigh/Fomhóire (plural) and Fomhórach (singular) in Modern Irish. They appear as the Muiridi in the Irish version of the Historia Brittonum of Nennius. Δ] In English, they are called the Fomorians, Fomori or Fomors.

The etymology of the name is debated. The first part is now generally agreed to be the Old Irish fo, meaning under, below, lower, beneath, nether, etc. The meaning of the second part is unclear. One suggestion is that it comes from the Old Irish mur (sea), and that the name thus means something like "the undersea ones". Ε] This was the interpretation offered by some medieval Irish writers. Ζ] Another suggestion is that it comes from mór (great/big) and means something like "the great under(world) ones", "the under(world) giants" or "the nether giants". A third suggestion, which has more support among scholars, is that it comes from a hypothetical Old Irish term for a demon or phantom, found in the name of The Morrígan and cognate with the archaic English word "mare" (which survives in "nightmare"). Η] ⎖] The name would thus mean something like "underworld demons/phantoms" Ώ] or "nether demons/phantoms". Building on this, Marie-Louise Sjoestedt interprets the name as meaning "inferior" or "latent demons", saying the Fomorians are "like the powers of chaos, ever latent and hostile to cosmic order". Γ] John T. Koch suggests a relationship with Tartessian omuŕik. ⎗]


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Duncan was born in Huntsville, Tennessee, the sixth of ten children of Cassie (Lee) and Flem Baird Duncan. [1] [2] After completing grade school in the Huntsville area, he won a $25 scholarship from Sears-Roebuck. [3] He enrolled in the University of Tennessee in 1939, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science two years later. [4] Following the outbreak of World War II he joined the United States Army, serving from 1942 to 1945. [4] After the war, Duncan enrolled in Cumberland University's law school, from which he graduated in 1948. [1]

Knox County prosecutor Edit

Following his graduation, Duncan returned to Knoxville, where he had accepted a position as assistant attorney general of Knox County. [3] [5] In late 1952, Duncan became embroiled in a local controversy when, as commander of the American Legion's East Tennessee Division, he drafted a resolution condemning UT's film society for a planned showing of several films starring Charlie Chaplin, who had been accused of being a communist sympathizer. [5] Reacting to the resolution, UT president Cloide Brehm cancelled the event. The school's newspaper, the Orange and White, nevertheless blasted Duncan's accusations as "nonsense." [5]

Mayor of Knoxville Edit

In 1959, Duncan was elected mayor of Knoxville in an election held to replace Mayor Jack Dance, who had died while in office. One of his first initiatives was to complete the overhaul of Market Square, which involved the demolition of the old Market House and its replacement by the Market Square Mall. [6] In spite of opposition from historical interests, who wanted to preserve the Market House, Duncan pushed forward with the transition, and by mid-1960 the Market House had been removed. [6] [7]

Another contentious issue erupted in the Summer of 1960, when several black students from Knoxville College initiated a series of sit-ins to protest segregation at downtown-area lunch counters. [8] With the backing of the Chamber of Commerce, Duncan formed a Good Will Committee, which encouraged downtown businesses to integrate their lunch counters. By July 1960, most downtown businesses had done away with their policies of segregation. [8] Duncan's early intervention in the crisis is often cited as one of the reasons Knoxville avoided the widespread integration-related violence that plagued other Southern cities during this period. [9]

Like his predecessors, Duncan struggled to alleviate the city's unemployment problem, which had been brought on by the closure of several textile mills and the shift of the city's major retail centers to West Knoxville. [10] Numerous companies expressed interest in relocating to Knoxville, but could not do so due to a lack of suitable industrial sites. Duncan proposed a bond issue to fund the preparation of a large industrial site, but met immediate opposition from the city's conservative elements, which rejected government subsidies for business, and the bond proposal was defeated in a referendum. [10]

Congressional career Edit

In 1964, roughly 10 months into his second term as mayor, Duncan won a hard-fought Republican primary election in the Knoxville-based Second Congressional District. The district's seven-term incumbent, Howard Baker Sr., had died that January, and his wife Irene held the seat for the rest of his term as a caretaker. Duncan was heavily favored due to his popularity as mayor of Knoxville and the heavy Republican tilt of the district. The 2nd had been one of the few areas of Tennessee where most residents supported the Union over the Confederacy. Its residents identified with the GOP soon after the return of peace, and have continued to support the Republicans through good times and bad ever since. As a result, the 2nd's seat has been in the hands of the GOP or its predecessors without interruption since 1857. He defeated Democrat Willard Yarborough by just under 10 percentage points—the closest race in the district since Baker's first run in 1950. The contest was closer than expected in part because the 2nd was nearly swept up in Lyndon Johnson's national landslide in that year's presidential election Barry Goldwater just barely carried it.

Duncan never faced another close contest, and was reelected 11 times, including two unopposed runs in 1972 and 1982. He often won re-election by some of the largest majorities of any congressman. [4] He was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee for much of his congressional career. [4] A staunch conservative, he supported U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, and advocated tougher policies against antiwar demonstrators. [1] Duncan voted against the Voting Rights Act of 1965 but in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. [11] [12] He was one of the first congressmen to endorse Richard Nixon for president in 1967. [13]

In the late 1970s, Duncan engaged in a protracted legislative struggle with environmentalists over the Tennessee Valley Authority's construction of Tellico Dam, on the Little Tennessee River, in Duncan's district. [14] The dam's completion had been halted over concerns for the endangered snail darter, which lived in the river. After numerous failed attempts to amend the Endangered Species Act to allow the dam's completion, Duncan managed to insert a rider into the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act in July 1979, on a day when most House members were absent. [14] The dam's opponents cried foul, but the bill nevertheless passed the Senate and was signed into law, allowing TVA to finally close the dam's gates. [14]

Duncan served in the House until his death from cancer in 1988. [15]

Duncan married Lois Swisher of Iowa City, Iowa in 1942. They had four children, including John J. "Jimmy" Duncan Jr., who won his father's former congressional seat in the special election that followed his father's death. [1]


John Duncan: Painting the Fairy Realm

Unknown Masters John Duncan: Painting the Fairy Realm
The Scottish painter John Duncan brought the Celtic legends onto the canvas, in efforts to reacquaint the Scottish people with their origins. It was apparently a mission that he had received directly from the fairy realm itself.
by Philip Coppens

John Duncan was born in Dundee, Scotland, on July 17, 1866. As a child, he found his calling to be art by the age of 11, he was a student at the Dundee School of Art. Art was his calling, as he admitted he heard “faerie music” when painting. He was therefore truly angelic, born with a mission to paint the fairy realm. After Dundee, he continued his studies in Antwerp and Düsseldorf, before returning to Dundee.

Duncan had been allowed to study art from a very young age, but despite this privilege, it was also clear that he would have hoped for an even better education. Duncan argued that teaching art to children had to guarantee that no ideas and methods were imposed on the child that were beyond that child’s stage of culture. He felt there was too much insistence on technique, as well as forcing the child to see the world in an adult manner. Duncan fondly remembered how as a schoolboy, a classmate drew on his slate unending conflicts between Highlanders and Sassenachs. As each men fell, he was wiped off the slate and redrawn stretched upon the ground.

Throughout his life, he would seek out Italy, where on his first visit, he had fallen in love with Botticelli and Fra Angelico, but felt horribly disappointed with Raphael. During later visits to the continent, he would especially fall in love with the work of Parisian artist Gustave Moreau. Like Duncan, Moreau painted mythological subjects in a way that Duncan strived for. In order to accomplish what Moreau had mastered, Duncan realized that he needed to change some of his habits. But there was a bigger problem: he realized he needed to work more with his “inner eye” there was a disconnect between what he saw and the manner in which he brought it to a canvas. There had to be less fear, he had to trust himself more, allowing himself to paint in full color. In retrospect, it are indeed those paintings in which he employs color to the full that are those that made Duncan the distinguished artist he is now recognized to be. And it is probably not a coincidence that it are precisely these colorful paintings that depict the Celtic myths he cherished so deeply.

His main interests were Celtic myths and legends, especially those based on Arthurian legend. When he was ready to display his art to an audience, he met the imminent botanist and sociologist Patrick Geddes, who was lecturing at the University of Dundee during the summer term. John Kemplay underlines that Geddes’ effect on Duncan cannot be overstressed. He would shape Duncan’s outlook, as well as be a generous benefactor and manager for the upcoming talent. Without Geddes, the world may never have known of John Duncan. Geddes’ own mission in life was creating a Celtic Revival: bringing the people of Scotland back to their roots and give them a true sense of identity. It was a major ambition, which he had broken down in various sections, some of which were more sociological than ideological.

In 1890, Geddes had acquired Ramsay Lodge and the adjoining land in Ramsay Garden, as well as the lease on the Short’s Observatory, which he renamed the Outlook Tower. The properties were right next to Edinburgh Castle and therefore primary real estate. Geddes wanted the people of Edinburgh to see their city through new eyes, as well as allow the town to have a balance between the poor and the rich, allowing for true social integration. Geddes lectured extensively on all these subjects, especially during his Summer Meetings. When he was brought to Duncan, he realized that the painter could add art to his lectures.

Before doing so, Geddes instilled in Duncan the core value of his mission. Duncan would later write to Geddes: “I am your very faithfull disciple. I carry your notes with me as my Scriptures, and shall diligently strive to live up to them.” Duncan had the eye and the hands, Geddes had provided him with a mission, but it was Duncan who studied, to learn the details of the mythology he was going to recreate for a Scottish, early 20th century audience. As he did, he learned about the sun myths, the stories of Osiris, Cuchulainn and the Archangel Michael and so many powerful Celtic myths that he would paint, in the hope to reconnect the Scottish people with its lost heritage.

Botticelli had the Medici fortune to support him financially Geddes was a university professor with moderate means. But Geddes was well-connected. In 1899, Geddes traveled to the United States as part of his devotion to the International Association for the Advancement of Science, Arts and Education. In Chicago, he connected with Mrs. Emmons Blaine, and found a job for Duncan, who would spend three years in the Windy City, where he began to spread his wings. Afterwards, he would return to Edinburgh and continue his art, to ever greater acclaim. Duncan’s most famous painting is probably “The Riders of the Sidhe”, created in 1911. The “shee” are the fairy folk. They were said to dwell in Newgrange. Each year on the summer solstice, they rode from their dwellings to the sacred circle to initiate the mortals into the mysteries of their faith. Each rider carried a symbol: the first rider carried wisdom, the second love, the third will in action, the fourth will in its passive form. Duncan used the Grail Cup as the symbol of love, the Tree of Life as wisdom, a sword and a crystal for will in its two forms. In the original myth, the Sidhe carried the Four Treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann: the cauldron of Dagda and the sword of Nuada. The other two treasures, which Duncan decided to adapt, are the spear of Lugh and the Liath Faill or Stone of Destiny. These he made into a sword and a crystal.

The inspiration for the painting apparently began during a visit to London, where he managed to see Edward Burne-Jones’s “King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid”. The painting shows two powerful people and it is the same strength of character that makes “The Riders” stand out. In “The Riders”, a seascape can be seen in the background. The sea was very important to Duncan, often seeking out the sands and waters as they appeared on the Hebridean islands, which were close to his heart.

Many people were influenced by the Celtic Revival, including the Scottish singer Marjory Kennedy-Fraser. She would become close friends with Duncan, who painted her while on a trip to Eriskay in 1905 and again in 1923. In Eriskay, Marjory witnessed many Gaelic folk songs whom she realized were endangered of disappearing as a result of population decline. As she was a singer, she began to record and transcribe the music of the Hebrides, so that it would not be lost. Duncan seems to have been truly inspired by “The Riders”, for his next painting was equally legendary, “Tristan and Isolde”, which would become another of his masterpieces. The story is a tragic love account Tristan is wounded in battle and lies ill for three years until he is carried to Ireland where he is cured by Isolde. During the voyage back to his native Cornwall, the two drink of a love phial, which is the scene Duncan depicted.

The painting was created in 1912, the year Duncan fell in love. In her memories, Cecile Watson claims that Duncan “fell desperately in love with the beautiful young woman who was reputed to have found (in a trance) the Holy Grail of Glastonbury.” That person was Christine Allen, who was 19 years younger than the artist. Christine had come from Wraysbury in Buckinghamshire, but was now living with her mother in Edinburgh. Her father, at one time the manager of the Great Western Railway, was deceased. Her mother apparently came to Edinburgh to live closer or with her family following the death of her husband.

Christine was indeed Duncan’s “Grail Maiden”. In 1902, Wellesley Tudor Pole dreamed that he was a monk at Glastonbury Abbey. When he travelled to the town, he was able to make a number of fascinating archaeological discoveries. Pole however believed that a greater treasure was to be discovered in Glastonbury. His intuition told him he needed a “triad of maidens”, to find whatever it was he was looking for. In September 1906, Pole, together with his sister Katherine and her friends Janet and Christine Allen, discovered a blue glass bowl in the sluice at Bride’s Mound. The artifact had been placed there by Dr. John Arthur Goodchild in 1899. The triad would later show Alice Buckton the ancient pilgrimage trail, before Christine moved to Edinburgh, where she fell in love with Duncan. Duncan’s greatest masterpiece is seen to be “St Bride”, which he created early in his marriage. She was seen as a bridge between the Celts and Christianity. Her legend recounted that she was the daughter of Dubhach the Druid and was conveyed from Iona to Bethlehem by angels on the first eve of Christmas. Iona was the heart of the Celtic religion and her removal from the island illustrated the Celtic demise.

By the autumn of 1913, Duncan was married and had completed three masterpieces. Alas, he noted that his imagination had dried up, while he continued to be unhappy with his technique. Before the First World War started, he nevertheless managed to accomplish a few more paintings with mythological themes. 1913 was also the year his eldest daughter was born, Christine Bunty Vivian followed in 1915.

The onset of the war, however, had resulted in a disastrous financial situation for Duncan and his family. As he was starving, he was also unhappy with his life as a painter. But painting is what he did and fortunately, a commission from Sir Robert Lorimer saved the life of him and his family. At this point in his life, his art also became more influenced by the Byzantine style, making for an interesting marriage between Byzantine and Celtic mythology.

His own marriage, however, was unhappy. He adored his children and provided them with an interesting education, in which they knew about Paleolithic cave art far earlier than any other children their age. They thought, however, that daddy’s work was ugly. After the war, his wife and children moved away. When friends saw them on the streets of Cape Town, Duncan came to terms with the reality of things and filed for divorce on the grounds of desertion.

After the First World War, Duncan gained financial stability as a painter, but he felt that art in the 1920s was a great disappointment. He was dissatisfied with the Impressionists, whom he felt took too much liberty with workmanship. However, the main problem seemed to be that Duncan realized he had lost his “inner eye” forever: his imagination had totally dried up. His painting of “St Columba Bidding Farewell to the White Horse” could just as well be a portrait of Duncan, asking himself where his capabilities to access the Otherworld had gone to. The answer apparently was positive.

He was now alone, but Geddes was still around. He asked Duncan to do a drawing of Joan of Arc, as well as five additional murals for Ramsay Lodge. Despite his masterpieces, he had always cherished the initial murals he painted there, arguing they were his best work. By now, he rarely touched upon Celtic mythology most of his paintings involved Christian imagery. Most of his new commissions were for religious paintings. His last great painting was one of Mary Queen of Scots, void of any mythical content.

He spent time on the islands, including Iona. From it, he wrote: “Iona, dear and lovely as ever. Didn’t paint, of course.” Duncan sought out the islands that featured so prominently in Celtic mythology, that had been the backdrop of the legends he had painted. Maybe he went there because he hoped that they would reawaken his inner eye? Its shores, he had painted. But the drive to paint had disappeared, even though he continued to work on many projects for several more years. Then, a Second World War came, one which he was able to outlive, but not for long: he died on November 23, 1945, aged 79, in his house in Edinburgh.

Some have labeled Duncan a madman. It seems Duncan was a child prodigy, who was – maybe too late – discovered and nurtured by Patrick Geddes. For a decade, he managed to bring out the best in Duncan, but as he became older and settled in an “ordinary lifestyle”, something died in Duncan. He was an unhappy man, especially when it came to art technique, seldom happy with his own accomplishments and critical of many if not most others, which sometimes even included the likes of Botticelli. If he truly fell in love with his wife because of her visions of the Holy Grail, it may be that he thought he had finally found a kindred spirit, with whom he could share his mission, and who would inspire him in his art. History has shown us that this was not the case. The disappointment of his marriage may have atrophied his inner eye even faster.

But in the final analysis, even though Duncan could have been far more than he ever was, he was definitely big enough, leaving a series of paintings that forever will be linked with the Celtic Revival, but which, far more importantly, truly allow us to connect to that lost land of Celtic mythology. Duncan helped to keep the Fairy Realm alive and make it accessible, to us mere mortals.


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Margaret Shippen was born July 11, 1760 in Philadelphia, the fourth and youngest daughter of Edward Shippen IV and Margaret Francis, the daughter of Tench Francis, Sr. she was nicknamed "Peggy". [1] She was born into a prominent Philadelphia family, which included two Philadelphia mayors and the founder of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Edward Shippen was a judge and member of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania [1] the Shippen family was politically divided, and the judge was considered either a "Neutralist" or a covert "Tory " with allegiance to the British crown. [1] Two younger boys died in infancy, and Peggy grew up as the baby of the family and was the "family's darling". [1]

As a young woman, she enjoyed music, doing needlework, and drawing, and participated in the study of politics. She looked up to her father and, under his tutelage, learned about politics, finance, and the forces which led to the American Revolution. [3]

The British captured Philadelphia in September 1777, and the Shippen family held social gatherings at their home, in keeping with their political interests and stations. [4] A frequent guest was John André, an officer in General William Howe's command, and he paid particular attention to Peggy. [5] The British withdrew from the city in June 1778 following France's entry into the war André left Philadelphia with his fellow troops, but the two of them remained in contact.

In late summer of 1778, [6] Shippen met Arnold, the Continental military commander of Philadelphia, and he began courting her despite the differences between himself and Judge Shippen. Shortly after, Arnold sent her father a letter asking for her hand, but Shippen was skeptical of Arnold due to Arnold's legal problems. In 1779, the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania had brought eight formal charges against Arnold for corruption and malfeasance with the money of the federal and state governments, and he was subsequently convicted on two relatively minor counts. Despite this, Edward Shippen eventually granted permission for Arnold and Peggy to marry, which took place on April 8, 1779. [7]

Arnold purchased Mount Pleasant on March 22, 1779, a manor home built in 1762 for Captain John Macpherson, and he deeded the property to Peggy and any future children. [7] [8] The couple did not live at Mount Pleasant, however, but rented it out as an income property. The couple honeymooned at family homes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, then returned to Philadelphia to take residence at Arnold's military headquarters in the Masters-Penn mansion.

As a newlywed, Peggy may have had contact with her "dear friend" Major André, who had become General Clinton's spy chief. She and Arnold also had close friends who were either actively Loyalist or sympathetic to that cause. Some historians believe that Peggy Shippen instigated the correspondence between Arnold and André and sent military secrets to the British before her wedding. Other suspects in Arnold's subsequent espionage ring with André were Loyalists Rev. Jonathan Odell and Joseph Stansbury. [9]

Arnold hired Joseph Stansbury to initiate communications in May 1779, offering his services to the British not long after he married. General Clinton gave Major André orders to pursue the possibility, and secret communications began between André and Arnold. The messages that they exchanged were sometimes transmitted through Peggy's actions letters written in her hand also include coded communications written by Benedict Arnold in invisible ink.

Enraged by his treatment in Philadelphia, General Arnold resigned his command there in March 1779. Pursuant to the secret communications with the British, he sought and obtained the command of West Point, a critical American defense post in the highlands of the Hudson River. Peggy and their infant son Edward Shippen Arnold (born 19 Mar 1780) joined him there in a home on the Hudson two miles south of West Point. General Arnold systematically weakened the defenses of West Point with the intent of making it easier for the British to capture.

On Thursday, September 21, 1780, General Arnold met with André on the shores of the Hudson River and gave him documents and maps about the fortifications at West Point in anticipation of the British capture of that site. On Saturday, September 23, André was arrested as he rode towards British territory, the documents were discovered, and the plot was exposed. On Monday, September 25, Arnold received a note announcing André's capture and possession of treasonous papers and maps. That same morning, General George Washington was planning to meet Arnold at his home, two miles south of West Point. Arnold first dashed upstairs to Peggy, then fled, eventually reaching HMS Vulture on the Hudson River. [10]

Peggy Shippen Arnold was then dressing in anticipation of hosting a breakfast for Washington and his party. Possibly based on a brief discussion with her husband, she pretended hysteria in order to falsely convince General Washington and his staff that she had nothing to do with her husband's betrayal. The delay caused by her histrionics may have allowed Arnold time to escape, leaving Peggy with their infant son. Fearing for her safety, she traveled to Philadelphia to stay with her family. She also played the innocent when asked about her husband, even though she knew his whereabouts. Philadelphia authorities soon found a letter from André to Peggy written from British-occupied New York—the so-called "millinery letter"—and seized upon it as proof that Arnold's wife had been complicitous in the treason. That led the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania to banish her from Philadelphia. In November 1780, her father escorted Peggy and her infant son to the shores of the Hudson where she boarded a boat to New York City to join Arnold. [11] [12]

After a military trial, Major André was condemned to death as a common spy and was hanged at Tappan, New York. He was later re-interred in London's Westminster Abbey. [13]

Hostilities appeared to be winding down in North America after Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown in October 1781, and the Arnolds left for London on December 15, 1781—including their second child James Robertson (born in August)—arriving January 22, 1782. [14]

Peggy was initially welcomed warmly in England, as was her husband she was presented at court to the queen on February 10, 1782 by Lady Amherst. Queen Charlotte awarded her an annuity of 100 pound sterling for the maintenance of her children, including those not yet born. King George III also presented her with £350 "obtained for her services, which were meritorious". [15] A girl (Margaret) and a boy (George), born in 1783 and 1784 respectively, died in infancy while the Arnolds lived in London.

Arnold left for a business opportunity in 1784 and sent to Connecticut for his three sons Benedict, Richard, and Henry (by his first wife) to join him in Saint John, New Brunswick. During Arnold's stay in New Brunswick, Peggy Shippen Arnold gave birth to their third surviving child Sophia Matilda Arnold, while her husband may have fathered an illegitimate child (John Sage) in New Brunswick. [16] Peggy sailed to Saint John to join her husband in 1787, leaving her two older sons with a private family in London in New Brunswick, Peggy gave birth to son George in 1787 their last child William Fitch was born in 1794 after their return to London.

In 1789, she returned briefly to Philadelphia, accompanied by her infant son George and a maid, to visit with her parents and family. She was treated coldly by Philadelphians in spite of her father's considerable influence. [14] Peggy sailed back to New Brunswick with young George in the spring of 1790, and from there returned to England with Arnold in late December 1791. Their departure was unhappy, with mobs gathering on their property to protest against them and calling them "traitors".

After Arnold died in 1801, Peggy auctioned the contents of their home, the home itself, and many of her personal possessions to pay off his debts. She died in London in 1804, reportedly of cancer, [17] and was buried with her husband at St. Mary's Church in Battersea on August 25, 1804.

Historians are unanimous in her complicity—and she accepted a reward for her services from the king. Her family in Philadelphia denied everything.

James Parton, a biographer of Aaron Burr, published an account in the 19th century, after all of the principal actors had died, implying that Peggy Shippen Arnold had manipulated or persuaded Benedict to change sides. The basis for the claim was interviews that Burr conducted with Theodosia Prevost, the widow of Jacques Marcus Prevost who later married Burr, and notes later made by Burr. While en route to Philadelphia from West Point in 1780, Peggy Shippen Arnold visited with Prevost at Paramus, New Jersey. According to Parton, she unburdened herself to Prevost, claiming that she "was heartily tired of all the theatricals she was exhibiting", referring to her histrionics at West Point. [18] According to Burr's notes, Shippen Arnold "was disgusted with the American cause" and "through unceasing perseverance, she had ultimately brought the general into an arrangement to surrender West Point". [18]

When these allegations were first published, the Shippen family countered with allegations of improper behavior on Burr's part. They claimed that Burr rode with Peggy Shippen Arnold in the carriage to Philadelphia after her stay with Mrs. Prevost, and that he fabricated the allegation because she refused advances that he made during the ride. [18] Arnold biographer Willard Sterne Randall suggests that Burr's version has a more authentic ring to it: first, Burr waited until all were dead before it could be published and second, Burr was not in the carriage on the ride to Philadelphia. Randall also notes that ample further evidence has since come to light showing that Peggy Shippen Arnold played an active role in the conspiracy. [19] British documents from 1792 show that Mrs. Arnold was paid £350 for handling secret dispatches. [20]

Peggy Shippen had seven children with Benedict Arnold, of whom five survived to adulthood:

  • Edward Shippen Arnold (March 19, 1780 – December 13, 1813) Lieutenant, British Army in India see Bengal Army. Died in Dinajpur, Bengal, India unmarried and childless.
  • James Robertson Arnold, KC, KH (August 28, 1781 – December 27, 1854) Lieutenant General, Royal Engineers. Died in London, England married to Virginia Goodrich, no children.
  • Sophia Matilda Arnold (July 28, 1785 – June 10, 1828) Died in Sudbury, England. Married to Colonel Pownall Phipps, KC, in India, two sons and three daughters.
  • George Arnold (second of that name) (September 5, 1787 – November 1, 1828) Lieutenant-Colonel, 2nd Bengal Cavalry. Died in Bengal, India married to Ann Martin Brown, one son.
  • William Fitch Arnold (June 25, 1794 – November 17, 1846) Captain, 9th Queen's Royal Lancers. Died in Buckinghamshire, England married to Elizabeth Cecilia Ruddach, four daughters and two sons.

Peggy Shippen is portrayed by Erin McGathy and Winona Ryder in the Drunk History episode on Philadelphia. [21] She is also portrayed in the TV miniseries George Washington by Megan Gallagher, in the TV movie Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor by Flora Montgomery, and in the Revolutionary War drama Turn: Washington's Spies by Ksenia Solo.

She was voiced by Maria Shriver in the animated series Liberty's Kids

Shippen is also the subject of at least four historical novels: The Exquisite Siren by E. Irvine Haines (1938), Peggy by Lois Duncan (1970), Finishing Becca by Ann Rinaldi (1994), and The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki (2014).


Cucchulain by John Duncan - History

JOHN DUNCAN remained in Aberdeen for nearly eight years, six of them in a house of his own. Nothing of very great public importance had occurred during that period, except the growing agitations to improve the social and political condition of the masses. Like the class to which he belonged, John was a keen politician, keeping himself fully abreast of all these questions, perusing the newspapers of the time with the greatest zest, as he did to the end of his life, many of the copies he then possessed still existing as protections to his botanical specimens.

In 1816, when he arrived, there took place the immense popular November meetings in the Spa Fields in London, where some 30,000 persons assembled to vote an address from the distressed manufacturers the riots that occurred a few weeks afterwards causing great injury to property, Watson, the leader, escaping to America, and one of his friends being subsequently hanged. In 1817, there rose the scare of sedition, set on fire by the notorious Green Bag and its dangerous contents laid before Parliament, with the consequent suspension of Habeas Corpus and prohibition of all popular gatherings, from the fear of treasonable intentions, which the state of the country had increased. In 1818, Queen Charlotte died, and in 1819, the best of British queens was born. In 1820, "the first gentleman of Europe " took his seat in the royal chair, inaugurating his reign by the cruel trial of his ill-used wife and in 1822, his visit to Edinburgh turned the heads of the Scotch people, and, not least, that of the Great Wizard himself. But only the faintest ripples of such splashings of the social and political sea reached the canny north-east of Scotland, though there they were watched with the deepest interest by local politicians like our hero, as significant indications of coming popular progress. In 1824, the brilliant, volcanic, but powerful "Manfred " died, an event that caused more than usual sympathy in Aberdeen, whose interest in poetry was certainly not very strong for his mother belonged to the county, and in and round the city her son had passed some of his early days and gained many of his happiest inspirations.

In the same year, John Duncan left Aberdeen to wander over the country which stretches in sight of the mountain that towers so grandly in Byron's poetry, the dark Lochnagar. After his wife's conduct had so rudely shattered the sweetness of home, he at once broke up his house and fled from the scene which had witnessed his misery and her disgrace.

He now commenced a new phase of his life, by adopting a special variety of his trade, that of country weaver. Hitherto, since completing his apprenticeship, his work had been confined to towns, where he had weaved more or less in factories for the home and foreign markets. Now he was to become a household workman. His varied experiences from Drumlithie to Aberdeen had given him full insight into all sorts of work connected with his trade, both linen and woollen so that he was now prepared to execute skilfully any kind of cloth he might be called upon to make.

Understand precisely, good reader, what kind of weaver John Duncan was now to become for during the greater part of his life, he was an example of survival, which gives him additional interest. In this respect, as in many others, "old times were breathing there," with him, as with Wordsworth's Roman matron in humble life. He entered a class, now exceedingly rare in Scotland, though for generations, before the steam-engine and kindred inventions had extinguished so much of the past, universal in the country. They wove what was known as "homemade" or "hame'art-made" cloth, from the materials being prepared in the homes of the people, as distinguished from the manufactured goods of the factories and they were therefore designated "home" and "country" and "customer" weavers.

In the olden days, when each parish, hamlet and glen had to be largely self-dependent and self-producing as to food, clothing and other needs of life, the weaver was as necessary a personage in the community as the smith and the carpenter, the minister and the schoolmaster. The father and sons sheared the sheep of the wool the daughters prepared and spun it into thread at the birring wheel, and the thrifty mother, in the intervals of household work, either wove it into cloth herself (facts that still survive in the fine old words "spinster" and "wife"), or sent it to the weaver, called then by the nearly obsolete term of "webster" or " wabster." He received the thread thus spun by the hearthstone, wound it into warp, wove it into cloth of the kind and pattern desired, and sent it home again to the "customer," whose person and family were thus protected both by night and day, from the summer's heat and winter's cold, by these substantial home-produced stuffs.

It was this ancient order, with the poetry of Penelope and the sanctity of Scripture round it, that John Duncan now entered. It was this by-gone period of Scotch thrift, Scotch independence, and Scotch home life that he represented to the last, long after it had almost died out through the country. His life thus affords an interesting glimpse into the past, of a state of society admirable and beautiful in its time, with features of excellent industrial and moral quality, which the steam-engine and modern improvements have banished for ever.

Another very commendable feature in, this country life was this. During the autumn, when work in country districts became slack, from the general occupation of the people with the harvest, it was a common custom for weavers, as well as carpenters, smiths and others, to enter the harvest field, and take an autumn campaign in cutting down the standing army of cereals and it often formed part of the engagements of such labourers to be allowed to "gae to the hairst." Many went to the south and hired themselves on the larger farms there, returning at the end of the season with the fruits of their labours in heavier pockets. It was a practice at once healthy, remunerative and informing for they saw the different parts of the land and extended their knowledge of the world. Of course, these were the days of the sickle, when the scythe was little used, and reaping machines had not been dreamt of in the north. The strange harvester that had taken shape in the quiet Forfarshire manse of Carmylie, and was first produced in what is now reckoned a rude embryonic form, by its clerical inventor, the Rev. Patrick Bell, in 1826, two years after John Duncan left Aberdeen, was long viewed with suspicion by conservative agriculturists, and did not become general for many years afterwards.

Of this health-giving field of labour John now took yearly advantage, gaining strength, money and knowledge, gathering medicinal plants, seeing new regions, making new friends, and gradually dispelling the malign effects of the sorrows through which he had recently passed.

Besides taking harvest yearly, and wandering in search of herbs, John varied his sedentary life by going at intervals to Aberdeen, to buy yarn for his work and books to satisfy his increasing intellectual thirst.

For many years, also, he went annually to Aberdeen to be trained as a soldier. About 1824, the time he broke up his house, he seems to have joined the militia, to relieve his mind from heavier thoughts, and swell his small purse. That being a time of wars and rumours of wars, even after the once omnipotent war-scourge had been caged in the rocky Atlantic isle to die there in 1821, this home force was then regularly drilled, in full complement, for a considerable period after peace was restored. During the French wars and long after, the ballot was in force, as it still can be in any emergency. Every able-bodied male was eligible to be drawn between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five with certain exceptions, such as peers, professors, clergymen, parish schoolmasters, apprentices, etc., and, in Scotland, every poor man having more than two lawful children, or property under fifty pounds. This militia service being irksome to many persons, associations were formed, in each district throughout the country, for the accumulation of central funds to pay the requisite bounty to volunteers when any of their members wished to be relieved from duty, the general sum being five pounds, but, during the French wars, rising not unfrequently to forty.

John Duncan was once balloted, and twice offered himself as a volunteer for others, receiving for this the additional bounty of five pounds—a great sum to a poor weaver helping him to meet the expenses of the daughters' upbringing, and buy some desired volumes from the old book shops in Aberdeen, which he used regularly to frequent, and where he picked up many a rare volume and pamphlet. From a letter addressed to him as "Private soldier, Aberdeen Militia," in 1825, he must have joined before that date. The militia were then drilled twice a year, once in early spring and again in the end of summer, a month at one time and six weeks at another, though, in times of peace, the militia require to be only twenty-eight days in the field. The commander of the corps was Colonel Gordon of Cluny (the father of the late John Gordon, Esq., of Cluny), known as the richest commoner in Scotland, a vigorous but kindly and popular officer, who, by the over-free use of his tongue when excited, could be "a gey coorse fellow whiles," as our soldier said. In 1826, John offered himself as substitute at Pitcaple on the Uric, in the parish of Chapel of Garioch, and in 1831—the year Thomas Edwards became a militia-man in Aberdeen, —he was attached to the "Aberdeen Militia regiment or battalion for the parish of Keithhall." In all, he continued connected with the service for some twenty years.

John liked the life and training, and made the most of them, attending to orders, and never having to get extra drill in the awkward squad, as he used to tell with pride. The effects of the drill upon the little man appeared in his firm step and erect bearing, traceable even in old age. Long after he had ceased soldiering, he used to shoulder a stick and show his paces in martial form before his more intimate friends. The solitary exhibition, in which he represented in his own person at once officer, private and battalion, gone through with great vigour, was, it seems, a sight to see, raising many a kindly laugh.

Drill was carried on in the courtyard of the barracks, and, when weather was favourable, on the extensive links that skirt the sea near Aberdeen, the scene where the "mad" Edwards rushed out of his ranks, in 1831, to chase a butterfly. Many of the men were very rough, but not a few were, according to their companion, "smug eneuch," that is, smart enough. He met much kindness from every one, he said, and the sergeant became a great friend of his, doing him good service when his wife troubled him about one of her children. Flogging was then not uncommon in the militia indeed, it was not till 1814 that an enactment was made, authorizing courts-martial to inflict imprisonment instead of the lash! On more than one occasion, John witnessed its infliction, and he saw three men flogged in one day, for being intoxicated and giving insolence to their officers during drill. But he affirmed that a well-conditioned man was well treated in the militia, and had a good opportunity of doing well.

John used to relate some of his experiences as a soldier. The first time he saw a balloon was at an inspection, when one was sent up from the barracks, on the Queen's birthday, carrying a cat in the car, and bearing it south across the Dec. The crowd drawn by the spectacle was very great, and John was in danger of being crushed. On another occasion, he suffered more seriously.

Riots were then of frequent occurrence in the larger towns, chiefly through political excitement, and Aberdeen was no exception. A serious riot occurred there in 1802, at George the Third's birthday, when the soldiers were called out to quell the mob another took place in December, 1831, when they burnt down Dr. Moir's Anatomical Theatre, one of the first of its kind in the north, generally known as the "Burkin' House," from the universal scare against anatomy excited by the Burke and Hare murders in Edinburgh, in 1828. It was in a Meal mob which took place before this, that Thom, the poet, was apprehended, and, while in prison, wrote his first poem, which was thus, as he calls it, "jail born," beginning,

"They speak o' wyles in woman's smiles."

At one of these birthday celebrations about this period, in which the rabble thought themselves entitled to license, and often indulged it to the danger of their quieter fellow-citizens, John went like others to see. The fun soon degenerated into serious disturbance, which raged round the town house and harbour, and the military had to be marched from the barracks to drive back the mob. John somehow got entangled in the crowd just as it was charged by the soldiers. One of them struck him with the butt end of his gun, saying with a fierce oath as he felled him to the ground, "That's deen for you, at ony rate!" It was a serious moment, which might have proved fatal and rendered this history unnecessary for, apart altogether from the blow, he might have been trampled to death. John never related the . story without great seriousness and thankfulness at his escape. "Man," said he, "Whan I was fell't to the grund, I thocht I was nae mair. But on my hands and knees, like a cat, I managed to creep oot o' the mob." Happily his head was greatly saved by his thick militia cap, but even with it, he received a deep and painful wound which took long to heal. In this riot, several persons suffered severely and many were lodged in jail. John used to conclude his narrative with the natural remark, "I hae aye keepit oot o' mobs since syne." By this fierce blow, which might have been more disastrous, the occiput bones of his head were damaged, and he bore the deep mark to his dying day.

The district in which Duncan passed the remainder of his days, the extended period of fifty-seven years, was that part of middle Aberdeenshire that surrounds and is finely dominated by the far-seen and famous hill of Benachie. Though under seventeen hundred feet in height, it has the style of one of our greater mountains, from its isolation, contour, and volcanic-looking crest, which give it the picturesque name it bears, signifying in Gaelic, the Ben of the Pap, a not uncommon designation of mountains in the Highlands. It exhibits on every side a striking aspect, and from some points looks a splendid object in the landscape, catching the eye and centralizing the view from a long distance, all over this part of the country. It is a hill of which Aberdeenshire is justly proud, and it is celebrated in sweet song. It is the synonym of home and country to every one born under its shadow, the mention of the name drawing tears to the eyes of those long banished from it, as in the case of John Duncan's friend, Charles Black. To these two men it became, as Charles says, "what Lochnagar was to Byron," the sacred mountain of their lives, illuminated and consecrated by the halo of a thousand memories.


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Cucchulain by John Duncan - History

This is the simple tale of the aged botanical weaver of whom some account was given in "Good Words" 1878, since reprinted, in 1880, in H. A. Page's "Leaders of Men." His pitiful case, when he was compelled to fall on the parish through no fault of his, was also brought before the country by the author in January, 1881. The appeal then made was generously responded to by spontaneous contributions from admirers in all parts, including Her Majesty the Queen general interest was roused in the man his case was advocated by the press, not excepting our highest journals and accounts of him, appeared in various places, notably in Nature, which warmly espoused his claims and gathered subscriptions.

The more the author inquired into John Duncan's story, the more did he perceive that, in many respects, it was remarkable, and in several, unique. It revealed a man of pronounced individuality, full of striking and admirable elements, exhibiting great natural ability, high moral character, singular independence, self-helpfulness and modesty, pure-hearted love of Science, and enthusiastic devotion to its study amidst no ordinary disabilities and hardships, during a long life of nearly ninety years, such as would add another worthy name to the long roll of honourable examples of "the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties" all combined with circumstances of uncommon interest and picturesqueness, arising from varied experiences, rare capacity for the highest friendship, peculiar modes of study, Spartan eccentricity of life, and deepest joy under most unlikely conditions. It was strongly felt that the whole formed a noteworthy chapter in "the simple annals of the poor", of plain living, high thinking, and earnest working, that would be capable of exercising a strong influence for good, intellectual and moral and of recalling us, amidst our growing elaborateness and luxury, to the essential simplicities of happy life, and the blissfulness of higher pursuits, so apt to be crushed out in the too absorbing struggle for bread, self and position.

The work would have been incomplete if it had not contained sketches of his numerous friends, several of whom, as will be seen, were of uncommon clay and also notices of the times in which he lived, in the early part of the century, in a northern, old-world region with social and other characteristics as peculiar as its native Doric.

The author's best acknowledgments and thanks are hereby gratefully tendered to the many friends of John Duncan and himself that have freely and kindly supplied materials for this history.

  • Chapter I - Duncan's Birthplace and Early Training
    Stonehaven at the end of last century John Duncan's unwedded mother his birth his father picturesque boy life in town attractions in the country round Geology of Stonehaven cliffs and caves and adventures there Dunnottar Castle. 1794-1804.
  • Chapter II - The Unlettered Herd-Boy and his only Education
    Schools in Stonehaven then "bickers" between them Johnnie never at school reasons why his mother's poverty lessened by his selling rushes becomes a herd-boy at ten cruelty and kindliness Dunnottar, its scenery and memories and their influence on him his love of flowers and nature generated his life-long memories of his youth how is he to become able to read? 1804-1809.
  • Chapter III - Weaving and a Village of Weavers at the beginning of the century
    Bucolic life then weaving and its effects weavers as a class at that period the loom in its relation to natural studies: Drumlithie, a typical weaving village his reception and appearance daily life there its flax-spinning and weaving its intellectual activity and simple tastes. 1809.
  • Chapter IV - The Apprentice Weaver under the Shadow - Tasting of Tyranny
    Maggie Dunse, his new mistress: Charlie Pine, his pugilistic master his questionable pursuits his tyranny at home: the apprentice runs away "the bad harvest" of 1811: his mistress's character and high influence over John her sudden death cruelty increased thereafter. 1809--1814.
  • Chapter V - The Apprentice Weaver in the Sunshine - Entering the Temple of Learning
    John's character and appearance then taught the letters in his sixteenth year his private female tutors—Mary Garvie at the fireside, Mary Brand in the workshop, Mrs. Pixie at home his style of reading writing not yet begun at an evening school his new studies begins Medical Botany: his amusements his escape from tyranny. 1809-1814.
  • Chapter VI - The Journeyman Weaver during this first Freedom
    Returns to Stonehaven his studies and life Herbalism and Culpepper Astrology and almanacs: removes with mother to Aberdeen his walking powers then the city and its manufactures then learns woollen as well as linen weaving the weaver William Thom. 1814�.
  • Chapter VII - Unhappy Domestic Experiences
    Meets and marries Margaret Wise her character and treatment of him their two daughters his home broken up his wife's future history the secret sorrow of his life its effects on him: his daughters' upbringing and history "Heather Jock," his son-in-law, and John's relations to him and to his wife's son, Durward. 1813-1824, and onwards.
  • Chapter VIII - Home-Weaving, Harvesting, Soldiering and Scenery
    Public events during his stay in Aberdeen becomes a country weaver home-weaving described: harvesting at home and at a distance: joins the militia life at barracks in Aberdeen experiences during training: the scenes of John's future life Benachie and the Don. 1824 onwards.
  • Chapter IX - His early life as a Country Weaver
    Settles near Monymusk on the Don scenery round wanderings for herbs unkind and kind proprietors soap dear and little used stays near Paradise on the Don Paradise described stinginess and buttermilk learns to write about thirty goes to Fyvie scenery there his friendship with gardeners his succ of th weaving and study of the art. 1824-1828.
  • Chapter X - His Studies at this period: Elementary Subjects and Herbs
    Politics in Aberdeen Writing Meanings and Etymology Grammar and Arithmetic Latin and Greek Geography and history: Herbalism Culpepper and his "herbal" Sir John Hill and Tournefort John's knowledge of plants his opposition to doctors his own medical practice examples of his employment of curative plants of his practical uses of plants of his picturesque knowledge of them: his study of Astrology. 1824 onwards.
  • Chapter XI - His Astronomical Studies: "Johnnie Moon."
    Culpepper and Astrology begins Astronomy his midnight studies is counted "mad" studies Dialling and makes dials his mode of knowing the hours his pocket horologe desstudie studies Meteorology known as "the star-gazer," "Johnnie Moon," and "the Nogman" John a true "nogman." 1824-1836.
  • Chapter XII - Life and Star-Gazing at Auchleven and Tullynessle
    The classical Gadie the village of Auchleven on it John settles there his bedroom, "the Philosopher's Hall" weaving Astronomy in an ash-tree Willie Mortimer, the village shoemaker John's aspect and habits counted "silly" his character: stays at Insch "the starmannie" there: removes. to Tullynessle in the Vale of Alford his master, Robbie Barron his workshop and bedroom Astronomy there his telescope and dials midnight on the mountains frightens a good woman at night his life at Muckletown how looked on there frequents it to the last. 1828-1836.
  • Chapter XIII - Settlement at Netherton, and Village Life there
    The Vale of Alford and the Don described Netherton in Tough John settles down there his new home and work his new master, Peter Marnock John's life there Charles hunter, the shoemaker Sandy Cameron, the tailor Willie Davidson, the innkeeper John still persecuted by his wife. 1836.
  • Chapter XIV - John's Introduction to this "Alter Ego"
    The mansion of Whitehouse Mr. and Mrs. Farquharson Charles Black, the gardener his early life and botanical studies his character and later studies John's introduction to him Botany or Culpepper? the crisis in John's life reached. 1836.
  • Chapter XV - Their First Botanical Studies
    Charles's first impressions of John their friendship John begins Scientific Botany his first gatherings: their self-denying enthusiasm their wider excursions Benachie and its plants "the winter of the big storm" of 1837-38 their peripatetic philosophising at the gates of Whitehouse John's midnight walk of thirty miles to the Loch of Skene the happiness of their joint studies. 1836-1838.
  • Chapter XVI - Difficulties, Dumps and Dimples in their Joint Studies
    Difficulties in deciphering plants the Grass of Parnassus made out their want of text-books their studies in the inn at Mayfield Hooker's Flora and its history "Flora" and "Bacchus": opposition in the kitchen at Whitehouse the irritable housekeeper her persecution of the botanists Charles's hilarity and tricksiness with John John's boots and bonnet stolen debates and bumps high jinks and games John's Jew's-harp their friendship and intimacy. 1836-1838.
  • Chapter XVII - John's early Experiences in his own Botanical Rambles
    Botany becomes a passion his explorations on the Don his enthusiasm the astonishment of his neighbours: finds the Bladderwort in Tillyfourie Moss does not want a better road "the man maun be daft!": the Water-lily in the Loch of Drum John nearly drowned he wins the plant its after history: finds the Royal Fern and the Moonwort: his ardour and endurance often out all night his Spartan fare his walking powers trespassing and gamekeepers the "Scotchlarchia Joseph's ear!" and bucolic stupidity and contempt. 1836-1840.
  • Chapter XVIII - Further Intercourse with Charles Black
    Charles marries and removes to Edinburgh John visits him there in the Botanic Gardens his "thief-like" examination of the plants there fishes for the "Water-soldier" in Duddingston Loch the sights of Edinburgh he visited evenings with his friends there: the Blacks return to Whitehouse Charles's great herbarium arranged their curious mode of doing it the history of the herbarium the Blacks remove to Aberdeen Charles Black and Thomas Edwards, the Scotch naturalist, meet John's visits to Charles there. 1838-1846.
  • Chapter XIX - Other Friends of the Weaver at Netherton
    His friends few but fit—Forbes the schoolmaster merry times at Coulterneuk: James Black, Charles's brother becomes John's companion his impressions of John then: Willie Beveridge of the Craigh becomes great friend of John's John at the Craigh John puzzled for once Beveridge's after successes and present position : James Barclay, the painter his relations to John becomes a Jack-of-all-trades: other friends the intelligence then existing in Tough. 1836-1849.
  • Chapter XX - Ecclesiastical Movements in the Country and John's Religion
    Constitutionally and enthusiastically religious his religion of the old Covenanting type intense hater of prelacy and Popery his contrast to Charles Black and discussions between them anti-patronage and anti-Erastian advocate: the Disruption John's advocacy of it controversies at Netherton relation of Aberdeenshire to the Free Church the Free Church in the Vale of Alford new religious zeal roused John's keen activity John in church remains a staunch Free Churchman: his study of Theology his opinions of the great Reformers. 1836-1881.
  • Chapter XXI - His Botanical Wanderings in the South
    John's harvesting a means of wide Botanising extent of his wanderings his adventures and observations visits Glasgow, Paisley, Dunfermline, Dundee—the Rest Harrow—Perth, Arbroath, Montrose, St. Andrews—Viper's bugloss—Fife, Kelso, Coldstream, Northumberland and its burr his returns homewards his wages and their payment: John at Dunbog in Fife his botanical assistants there long walks and flowers: his expenses a god-send to his entertainers: comes to a breadless Highland hut food produced in an hour the "quern" and Biblical hospitality: spinning of linen by the distaff the use of the bare thigh! its relation to modesty: his encounter with two tramps in Fife falls among Highland "tinklers" their honesty and hospitality. 1836-1864.
  • Chapter XXII - John returns to the Gadie
    Return to Auchleven Sandy Smith's cottage Sandy Smith himself John and Mrs. Smith his abstemiousness his methodicalness his quiet humour—night-caps and social standing! John and young Sandy: Emslie, the carpenter's rife her kindness to John their intellectual intercourse her opinion of him: Mrs. Lindsay's cottage John by the fireside there John sleeps with a "pig!" his returns for kindness received. 1849-1852.
  • Chapter XXIII - His Studies and Friends at Auchleven
    Intellectual pursuits ardent as ever John's studies in "the philosopher" "We've laid by the moon and ta'en up the stars?" John's practical answer botanising round Gadie side out all night and "like naebody else" his style of speech holds the first Botanical Exhibition his discourse then, "Botany not a beast" his fame spreads: still an herbalist: his Astronomical studies makes a telescope John on the stars at a soiree: Entomology: Meteorology: Theology studies the Greek Testament anti-papal reading: bewildered opinions of him at Auchleven "he's a fool" John regards the exoteric and the esoteric: John and young Dr. Mackay their friendship their joint studies of Botany and Theology. 1849-1852.
  • Chapter XXIV - John becomes an Essayist
    Rise of the Mutual Instruction movement in the north "Corresponding Committee" appointed "Address to Farm Servants" issued "Mutual Instruction Union" formed Female classes "Rural Echo" published the after history of movement: the Auchleven Class its meetings, soirees and library John at the meetings his essays there: his Essay on Botany advocates Natural History for children his praise of Linnaeus: Essays on Astronomy Essay on Weaving: Essay on Practical Gardening good effects of flowers everywhere advices on gardening criticism of gardens in general influence of such natural studies. 1846-1852.
  • Chapter XXV - Friendship and Courtship
    Renewed intercourse with Charles Black on the Gadic their last ramble together their subsequent connection: wishes a home of his own John a great ladies' man his matrimonial qualifications a love-letter of John's John and the housekeeper John gets another denial John and a third lad hill-he hill-top John's chivalry in love-making. 1848-1852.
  • Chapter XXVI - Settlement and Word at Droughsburn
    Events during his residence at Auchleven: the Vale of Alford and John's relations to it Droughsburn described his workshop and home there: William Watt his predecessor their connection eminent weavers: John settles down there his future labours a good judge of cloth his general aspect in his wanderings how he finished a web his journeys to Aberdeen. 1852-1859.
  • Chapter XXVII - John's Life and Habits at Droughsburn
    His style of living the Allanachs with whom he boarded relations with chilly Allanach with genial Mrs. Allanach with couthy Mrs. Webster: his extreme care of his possessions of his chests of his books of his clothes: John at church Botany on Sunday his flowers in church his appearance there his short-sight and snuffing there on way home after church: keeps Halloween and raises bonfires keeps Yule at other merry-makings sings at a soiree. 1852-1877.
  • Chapter XXVIII - General Studies in Later Years
    Theology Astronomy Meteorology Ornithology Entomology Natural History Geology Phrenology John Adam, the phrenologist and antiquarian General knowledge Gardening John's relations to the McCombies of Cairnballoch his horticultural practices his contempt for "florist flowers" James Black's "monstrosities" John's herbalism his politics his oratory: the Milton of Cushnie as it then was John and Willie Williams, the shoemaker John and George Williams, the merchant: the Alford Literary Society John at its meetings: his dislike of gossip. 1852-1880.
  • Chapter XXIX - His Botanical Studies in Old Age
    Botany still dominant still harvesting and botanising his modes of gathering plants his travelling fare his use of technical words his pronunciation of them his depending on his memory his associations round flowers: visited by lady in his eighty-fourth year searches for the Linna'a for her out all night in a thunder-storm his extraordinary ardour and self-denial his flashes of old humour: his wild flower garden its decay: presented with the portrait of Linnaeus wins two prizes for wild plants list of wild plants in his garden. 1852-1878.
  • Chapter XXX - The Misunderstandings under which John Lived
    Penalties for social deflection from one's neighbours the need of being interpreted to them: reasons for the common misunderstandings of John his eccentricities his good temper under attack counted a madman by schoolboys scepticism regarding his acquirements his consistency in nomenclature tested by youngsters his relations to the bucolic "Johnnie Raws": the berriless juniper bush and the ploughmen John prophesies berries for it berries produced but once his delight at the experiment: depreciated by many who should have known better accused of idling his time "what's the use of it?" the utilitarianism of Aberdeenshire John's answer once to this question it should be asked on a higher level. 1836-1878.
  • Chapter XXXI - His Disciples and Sympathisers at Droughsburn
    his influence over others his disciples: John Taylor, the ploughman visits John and begins Botany his botanical studies with John his later knowledge of Botany his other studies his after life: William Deans, farm-servant goes to college becomes a teacher introduced to Botany makes John's acquaintance at Alford market his first visit to the weaving shop his after studies under John his present position: Samson, the Swede comes to learn farming introduced to John studies plants with him his subsequent history: Dr. Williams visits Droughsburn his impressions of the place and the man: Rev. George Williams gets plants described by John his visits to John's cottage their conversations there on insects, plants, weavers and ministers Rev. David Beattie's visits to John ampress impressions of him. 1852-1878.
  • Chapter XXXII - His visits to Aberdeen - Friendship and Eccentricity
    Visits Aberdeen regularly growth of the city visits to Raeden: visits to James Black their early journeys about Tough John's appearance in town, and its effects John's search for "Jamie Black" James carries one of John's bundles James martyrised in a shop window: last meeting of John with Charles Black he becomes beatified their talk and parting: John consents to be photographed preparations for the event he refuses to stand successfully taken portraits of him: International Botanical Congress: John visits William Beveridge their previous intercourse they examine the museum their evenings at home: John's obliviousness of "the genteel." 1824-1877.
  • Chapter XXXIII - John's visits to Aberdeen - Friendship and Botany
    Meets James Taylor James begins study with Charles Black he goes to college and studies medicine sails to the Arctic regions and explores their natural history and botany later studies and work settles at Clashfarquhar John's visits to him they botanise together John begins the more difficult sections of the subject Taylor's impressions of him visits John at Droughsburn with Dr. Sutherland John finds the Limestone Polypody visits Clashfarquhar his last visit there botanises at the cliffs: John's connection with Professor Dickie. 1849-1877.
  • Chapter XXXIV - The Author's First Visit to Droughsburn
    I visit John in his eighty-third year with friends introduced John's aspect and shyness his weaving then, and independence in it his general herbarium inspected his finer collections examined his treasured Cryptogamic book his conquest of the science in his old age: I return to the cottage alone his interesting and varied conversation we climb the hill together John on the objects seen there the view entertainment in the cottage parting with him. September, 1877.
  • Chapter XXXV - Fame. Pauperism and Weakness
    Account of this visit in "Good Words" its pleasant results in assistance and appreciation "they've found you out at last!" "Sal, lad, it pays!" John's indignation at silly pride Charles writes him in congratulation: John becomes unable to make ends meet books his one luxury he cannot part with them tells no one applies for work at a saw-mill in vain takes to bed sick with heartache renewed struggle begs a pauper's portion boarded in the cottage: growing weakness faints on way to church his last visit there "like an aul' tumbledoon feal dike" visits James Black and William Beveridge for last time account of my visit appears in "Leaders of Men." 1870-1881.
  • Chapter XXXVI - John's Herbarium presented to Aberdeen University
    The herbarium still unlocalised John agrees to present it to the University visit of the two Taylors to arrange it John Taylor receives Dickie's "Flora" he completes the work it is packed for transport John's gratification at its destination Dr. Murray's herbarium John's books and letters gone over wishes a decent funeral and "a queer stane" on his grave advises to the study of nature: herbarium finally arranged account of it the volumes and their contents its presentation accounts of this appear in newspapers. 1880.
  • Chapter XXXVII - Public Appeal made on his behalf, and its generous results
    His pauperism now revealed the author's appeal to the country on his behalf immediate generous response the press on the subject examples of sympathetic messages sent of curious letters received manner of gathering some subscriptions honours from scientific societies places that remained silent John's appreciation of these honours his comforts increased Trust Deed drawn and signed permanent Trustees appointed Science prizes arranged for disposal of his library. 1881.
  • Chapter XXXVIII - His growing debility: and the Author's last visit
    His debility increases his bed removed to workshop his hallucinations faints by the burn last journey up the Leochel brought home in a barrow objects to being attended on: Author makes last visit in winter storm John's reception of him in weakness his new comforts bright conversations with him debility and crossness sings a song his gratitude for gifts feelings for the Queen love of Charles Black angry reception of author and reconciliation their last interview letter of Charles Black's John's strong emotion final parting with author. 1880, 1881.
  • Chapter XXXIX - The Happy and Honoured Close
    His later condition cuts his temporal artery memories of Dunnottar roused John Taylor comes to nurse him Duncan's last time outside asks for short reading and prayer rigid criticism of the request invited to a scientific meeting has no fear of death the monument he wishes for his grave painless tenacity of life last conversations last words his serene death the scene in the room the scene without the state of the workshop the flowers placed on his body the author's last sight of it the funeral ceremony at the cottage and churchyard monument at his grave and its inscription. 1881.
  • Chapter XL - Duncan's Characteristics and Character
    His constitution appearance head countenance short-sight and its effects simple fare keen appetite John at dinner at James Black's eats pickle whole and its results excessive estimate of money spends it on books, his one luxury command of temper kindliness of heart John and the hare John and the idiot John and the coals obliging helpfulness delight in sharing his knowledge gratitude for benefits rigid honesty orderliness in all things tidiness in person and dress extreme retiringness backwardness in company secretiveness want of emotive utterance manner in meeting friends style of shaking hands his feelings deep and strong causes of his apparent callousness John in the field with a friend innocent simplicity of his nature John and the madman his mother-wit and humour "damn the riddle!" cloth "with a bone in it" siller and its potency sarcastic replies John and his oil bottle the terribly honest gardener the botanists in hell his recherche Doric its poetry the songs he sang his opinion of Robert Burns his deficiency of poetic feeling its real nature his non-perception of the artistic his capacity for high friendship his wonderful love of Charles Black religiousness of his nature its depth and character.
  • Chapter XLI - The Secret?
    The school did nothing for Duncan his mother's extreme poverty the extraordinary disabilities under which he lived his remarkable successes John's opinion of these disabilities and the value of learning his love of knowledge, a true scientific thirst Botany in its relation to culture his wise union of intellectual and humanitarian studies his practical use of all knowledge his glimpses of higher philosophy his opinion of his achievements in study the effects of early influences on Duncan's life their vital importance in every life the value of natural pursuits in youth Duncan's poor and hard lot and serene contentment the character of his happiness his simple tastes the wisdom of plainness his opinion of outside pity his cultivation of "the internals" his study of Natural Science the felicity he extracted from it his very happy life under untoward conditions the happiness open to all in nature our eyes have no clear vision of nature our imperfect education in relation to it the need of educational reform in view of this "a man all his own wealth."

List of Plants gathered or verified by John Duncan

  • Part I.—Plants found in the Vale of Alford and the surrounding districts of Aberdeenshire.
  • Part II.—Introduced plants found in a semi-wild condition in the same region.
  • Part III.—Plants in Duncan's Herbarium not indigenous to the North of Scotland, but growing in the South of Scotland, England or Wales, or in other parts.

There are a couple of books mentioned in this text which the author himself purchased and make excellent reading if you wish to expand your knowledge. I haven't been able to find the astronomical texts mention but did find one that might suffice. They are in pdf format and can be downloaded below.


John Duncan

Photograph of John Duncan, Cherokee, father of Lizzie Duncan, Vinita, Indian Territory.

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Photograph of John Duncan, Cherokee, father of Lizzie Duncan, Vinita, Indian Territory.


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