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Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online Sketches from a Celestial Sea - Henry file PDF Book only if you are registered here. And also you can download or read online all Book PDF file that related with Sketches from a Celestial Sea - Henry book. Happy reading Sketches from a Celestial Sea - Henry Bookeveryone. Download file Free Book PDF Sketches from a Celestial Sea - Henry at Complete PDF Library. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Here is The CompletePDF Book Library. It's free to register here to get Book file PDF Sketches from a Celestial Sea - Henry Pocket Guide.

The meticulously built and detailed stone wall while not one of the Usual Suspects ties them together like a ribbon on a gift package. It unites them West to East and North to South. Constructed of stones ranging in color from shades of blue, white, red, to earth tones, the boundary it creates provides the illusion of separating the blue sky above from the grass covering the earth below, when in fact it wraps them together.

The wall becomes not a line of demarcation but one of creation. Artistic license encourages the artist to seek meaning in disparate objects, to seek unity in the magic of contradiction, to link the past with the present. He — or she — opens the door for each of us to see, for see we do whatever it may be. It is the action which is important, the seeing, not the interpreting.

It is this which creates that unity in diversity which Bismuth is seeking. There are signposts in our lives, images — sometimes iconic, other times spiritual or material — given to us to inspire us to think and see differently. Although the connection between the lion of Korea and the horses of Bedford appears nebulous, the former being spiritual, the latter material and physical, it is nevertheless there. One is protector. The other is protected. In Buddhism, lions, considered the kings of the animal kingdom, are protectors of dharma, the basic principles of cosmic or individual existence, of divine law.

Here in Signposts! You will note that it has the shape of a dog. Depicted in white or blue coloration with turquoise manes and bodies dotted with orange, it is often found supporting the thrones of buddhas and bodhisattvas and at the entrance to monasteries and shrines. This sculpture, titled "The Lion of Korea," is carved of wood with pigmented decoration. The horses crossing the road in Bedford are protected by the sign cautioning travelers to beware horses are present. The nearby metal horse figure leaning against the tree provides a second warning. We know a stable is near.

We can see the stone walls and the pastures in the background beyond. What is most interesting is how Bismuth brings this into his reality. The light coming across the "tongja" from the east provides distinct shadowing on its head and, via the tail of the lion, on its feet. The shadowing on the trees in the foreground, on the stone walls, the caution sign, the wooded pasture, all are vibrant signs of life.

We note, too, that Bismuth does not want to overwhelm his lion of Korea. He strives to maintain a balance. The trees could be more detailed, the bark could be emphasized. They are not. Rather than provide a photo-like illustration, a moment in time, he creates an ambivalence which enables us to link visually the dark, negative space behind the "Lion of Korea" with its opposite — the trees.

Furthermore, we note his use of orange pigment on the east and the touches of it on the northwest corner of the painting — again a link, creating a cohesiveness. The deep red fence on the west edge is the "pen" of the peacocks. Just hinted at, we are aware that this is a farm, this is horse country. Signposts are provided in our lives. It is up to us to be open to see, to bear witness. Moving to Bedford in was another. They together led to Signposts! For Bismuth, one could not have happened without the other. There is a reason for everything. Linking disparate images both seated — or appearing to!

In fact, he is standing astride his head and shoulders most likely going into battle.


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In Javanese legend, this jar holds the elixir of immortality, which was stolen from the gods. They had thought it well protected by two poisonous snakes, which Garuda now holds in his hands as he rises in flight, his legs folded under him and his long tail streaming behind him. This is definitely a hot seat! Seated stage left on a more modern day hot seat, a frying pan, is the skull of a warthog surrounded by golden and red beets and red radishes. The warthog, its skull a representation of the animal itself, though a peaceful creature at heart, is a fierce and dangerous enemy. Beets and radishes have many attributes.

While they are food for the body, they are valuable as offerings. For instance in Greek mythology, the beet was considered of such value that it was offered to the God Apollo at Delphi as a gesture of loyalty and gratitude. Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love, is often considered the unofficial Beet Goddess due to the heart-like shape and color of the beet.

This relates to the radish, which in Hindu mysticism, is held in one of the left hands of Ganesh, the remover of obstacles. He encourages his devotees to grow more radishes - which he enjoys eating - than they require so that they might make offerings to him of their excess. Radishes symbolize abundance and have been cultivated since ancient times. The Chinese have grown them since B. In the Middle Ages, the radish was associated symbolically with quarreling and conflict. Bismuth links these disparate images via light and shadow, color and position. The overall background is feathered here and there with red and blue, although the backgrounds per se are in contrast.

That behind Krishna riding Garuda is dark while that surrounding three sides of the still life is white. The fourth side intrudes slightly over the border into the space of Garuda just touching his wing. Shadows reinforce the linkage within the golden yellow area behind the still life and under Garuda as does the spotting of again red and blue. Note also the golden yellow hues within the white of the still life linking top with bottom. Furthermore, the white on which the frying pan rests has a tiny bit of red and blue continuing the linkage though defined with the white surrounding the still life, which, too, has spotting of red and blue.

Each section is recognized by itself. Krishna and the warthog are warriors. They face their hot seats, their challenges with courage. They are accompanied by their removers of obstacles, which in another context might be looked upon as offerings or gifts. What is interesting is nothing is as it seems. There is a deeper message. The then is the Champa period in Vietnam. It is how he sees.

He is painting his life. His three images are not juxtaposed one above another or beside another as we have seen in other of his paintings in his Asian Vision Series. The primary image - the stone wall, tools, poles, a scythe and a skull - emanates from his Skull Series. It provides a background upon which there are two windows. Each window frames an image — the larger one on the right, the Lady, and the smaller one on the left, the turtle.

These two images, also, give the painting its title. The overall subject traversing the entire canvas from left to right is light and shadow. While one is aware the Lady is not whole, that she has appendages missing and damage here and there, the way she is positioned on her pedestal surrounded by darkness, one has the perception via the shadowing created by the passage of the light as it traverses left to right, that she is there in toto. One is aware of perfection within imperfection. Placing the Lady in this window permits, as well as emphasizes, this dichotomy.

The turtle is one of the four sacred animals in Vietnamese culture. A symbol of divinity, it also is a symbol of peace, disarmament and the ending of wars. There is a legend dating back to the 15th century relating to the history of Ha Noi. When this turtle asked the Emperor for his sword, the Emperor threw it to him. The lake was later renamed "Hoan Kiem," which translates to "Returned Sword. While this coloration links the two images, the further question is whether the turtle usage itself is co-incidental or purposeful and designed.

Basically, everything is there when Bismuth needs it from the intensity of his texturing to his themes. The turtle just happens to have a connection to Vietnam. His business partner just happens to have an extensive turtle collection. Nothing is coincidental though there is synchronicity. He wants us to see things differently, to see with more than just our eyes understanding that art is a language for all senses.

It speaks directly to the viewer, to the heart, the soul, and the intellect. It has nine elements. Seven are from nature. The eighth is the material. And, the ninth is the spiritual, transcending all. All the elements are looking west according to the topographic map-view of the painting.

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The sun rises in the East to the right and above the ninth element, the spiritual element represented by Ganesh, the son of Shiva. Resting on a base molding, this Ganesh is from the Gupta Empire which extended from to c. Known as the Golden Age of India, it was renowned for its magnificent sculpture and architecture. One does see the rich adornment on his conical-shaped headdress, his earrings, necklace, and belt which complement the bracelets on his arms and ankles. As the light proceeds West, it rests on the seven elements of nature, the seven animal skulls: the European boar, the African buffalo, the African antelope, the horse, the warthog, the lioness, and the young lion.

The skulls rest on the eighth element, the materialistic, the table top. This table top was recycled from a wood panel that Bismuth originally used in for a tempera painting of a landscape. Its color now is blue, with multi-colored highlights and shadows. One shadow, the predominant one, created by the light on the horns of the African buffalo has the appearance of a quarter moon.

Light and shadow are always of importance to Bismuth. Looking West creates a harmony wherein an ancient work of art, a classical sculpture, can exist together with aged skulls of diverse animals. Their re-interpretation results in a re-vitalization, a continuation of past to present, and a new cultural construct. In Pintos , he links one ancient culture to another, the Cambodian to the Native American. It is believed to be the horse which went into the universe to retrieve the stolen vedas.

Bismuth brings it together in this diptych with the pinto horse, which has traditionally been regarded by Native American Indians as their favored war horse due to its coloration. Its dark background with random spots of white provided natural camouflage. Bismuth, also, explores in Pintos the relationship between the inanimate and the animate. The sculptures are ancient with exquisite detailing — note the intricate detail in the head pieces -, the fourteen pintos are living, vital horses.

By playing with the spots, he is creating a link between the past and the present. There is no longer a division, rather a living, breathing dynamism between horse and horse, horse and sculpture, between now and then. This is further enhanced by the spacing between the elements in the painting, between the black and the white. By presenting this negative spacing, he is creating an empty space for us to "see" within, for us to create our own vision.

Fraught with tension, albeit non-aggressive, one is struck by the expression of the pintos - their eyes, their posture. Strong and fierce in attitude, they appear spooked. The paintings coloration provides the perfect dramatic emphasis. While not painting in grisaille per se, Bismuth utilizes some of the technique, but only some. Pintos is very rich in color overall as well as in the variety of color in its underpainting. Could it go beyond intellectual pursuit to spiritual revelation? This is left for the viewer to consider. The number two rules all aspects of life. Often considered the polarization of the number one, the masculine and the feminine for instance, they are complementary poles working in sync just as the turtles are working in sync here in Number 2.

Turtles in Buddhism, as in Native American lore, support the world. In Number 2 , there are four turtles — two and two, so above, so below - representing the four elements - fire, air, water and earth. The bottom two turtles are heading east. The life-like antique Thai wooden turtle represents earth. It supports the blue jeweled turtle representing water. The upper two turtles are heading west.

The spotted turtle represents air. It supports the antique red wooden Thai turtle representing fire. The fifth element of Number 2 is the spiritual. It is, also, the central element. Here it is a 16th century copper alloy Thai sculpture of Buddha. The serene expression on his oval face with his eyes lowered in meditation as well as the snail-shell shaped curls in rows on his head are Sukhothai elements.

Together these five elements form a capital Z, the ancient pictogram for the number two. They symbolize the movement of the universe - two forces appearing to be rotating in opposite directions off a central axis but actually in sync, complementing one another. Together the four turtles form the upper and lower arms of the pictogram. Buddha is the central axis. All revolves around the spiritual element. For Henry Bismuth, his themes are about life and living, rejuvenation and transformation. They are all part of his diary in images, his ongoing autobiography be they Asian sculptures, skulls, trees, a stack of logs, a horse, a stick, or a combination thereof, which is most often the case.

Tiger Buddha asks us to see. Bismuth gives us a hint of this and of his vision by his graphic representation of the coloration of a Bengal tiger — its yellow-orange coat and brownish-black stripes and its white underbelly. He wants us to visually hear its roar, to see through his linkage of two entirely different subjects, a classical sculpture and two horse skulls, their presence in today. The ancient, heavily detailed gray bas-relief stone sculpture of Buddha is from Nepal, witnessed by the curls on its forehead and by its small, high ponytail.

The red and yellow kumkum on its forehead is placed on the sixth chakra, the third eye. Located equidistant between the eyebrows, this space is believed to be the channel through which humankind opens spiritually to the divine. A similar red gives intensity to the background of the horse skulls, which Bismuth has painted floating in the space above and below Buddha. The skull above is yellow-orange within a brownish-black background. The one below is its inverse, brownish-black within a yellow-orange background.

Both are presented in side view. There is a challenge in that one eye looking directly out at us.

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The white encircling the painting accents the linkage and draws us within. We are in its underbelly. All is food for thought, nutrition in one way or another be it spiritual or otherwise. It becomes now a question of digestion. Stage right before the cosmos, right of the books of knowledge, the Japanese Bodhisattva is in the foreground offering sincere welcome to all. In Buddhism, the bodhisattva is a saint who has passed through the ten degrees of perfection necessary to achieve nirvana but who chooses not to become a buddha. Instead, he elects to stay on earth and relieve the suffering of less enlightened others.

Other than the buddha himself, the bodhisattva is the most recognizable icon of Buddhist art, and it comes on different levels. Some bodhisattva have completed all the processes of learning, while others have just started on their path to enlightenment. The Bodhisattva is encircled by the blue and white celestrial spheres spiraling and floating in the vast cosmos behind. He is separate and stationary, absolutely still standing on his pedestal, light cascading from the Northeast down and across him, sky blue lightening and becoming increasingly white as it descends, the shadow of his left hand dark against his garment.

The cosmos - black with shades of dark brown, red, royal blue, yellow, green and white peaking through as the rays of the sun move upward from the bottom of the canvas touching upon it - is forever changing. In the still life, light comes from the west onto the two skulls — a raven on the left and a rook on the right — adorned with crowns of spiked chestnuts, which are positioned on a pile of five books. Surrounding all the imagery is a border of light, white specked here and there with a myriad of colors from red and yellow to blue and more.

This is directing us within to "see" his message for it is all there, held there. To understand - follow the light! It impacts each of his three primary images from different directions yet the source is one — the sun! The knowledge of the cosmos, the knowledge as personified by the Japanese Bodhisattva, and the knowledge from the still-life, from the corvids and the books, are all different yet united through the light.

It links various sources of knowledge, no one being more important than another. Your first thought is. Maybe but probably. Typically vegetation springs up on the margins as here thanks to the available light which, also, creates shadows on the logs as it seeps through the scant tree branches overhead. Now you look at Jungle Fever from the side and consider it metaphorically.

There is here, too, the isolation from society, the feverish growth of one game after another, one instrument of artificial intelligence after another be it in the form of smart computers, tablets, or the newest iphones or Samsung devices. As Bismuth has reiterated time and time again, there is no right or wrong in your interpretation. Remember these are minqui, small sculptures entombed with the deceased for their protection in the afterlife, given new life through art.

Survival through art, transformation through a painting, given life anew through shadow. Stripes are symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun above creating their shadows below. They are designs used for prison uniforms globally to differentiate prisoners from staff and guests, and were used — in America until the beginning of the 20th Century — as a means of punishment for inmates. Another "Paws and Stripes" partnership matches selected and trained prison inmates with dogs that have been deemed unadoptable.

From present to ancient history, it tells a story. This is a story of survival and transformation. Nothing is as it seems. The black Labrador Retriever in front of a window with red and blue stripes exemplifies the best in animals, a well-trained and much loved dog. He is not in a cage or a kennel. He is not behind bars. He is in front of them. He is free. The well-used outdoor chairs are old. This dark shadow, also, touches on the skull of the horse resting on the stone wall.

The shadow of the arm closest to the stone wall is more prominent than the one on the other side as it blends more in with the shadow from the back and the seat of the chair. The green chair, much older, simply is. There is the hint of pieces of lengthwise wood and a bit of shadows but nothing more. The skull of the horse — old but not ancient — while imprisoned by the shadow from the chair in turn links us to the two Tang Dynasty female polo players in the blue clouds above.

One horse has stripes, the other does not. Polo was played at this time as a game of entertainment, not of war or training for war. It was a sport of kings and emperors, of the court, and of the populace, by both men and women. They wore Western garb and played side by side. This dynasty is considered by many to have been when China reached its apex historically. The stone wall is rendered by Bismuth with layers of underpaint from white to red to tones of black and. The stripes - both horizontal and vertical — are not all in the same direction not do they encompass the entire painting.

They and their shadows impact only a small percentage thereof. His first theme was Japanese Kabuki and, later, in , evolved to Japanese sculpture. This interest in anything Japanese began as a child of twelve with a book of Japanese block prints given to him by his Father. The next year, he began to collect books on Japanese art, history, literature, theater, and, particularly, sculpture, which is rich with Buddhic art, Bodhisattva, deities, and guardians.

The result was his first painting of Buddha, In Good Hands, in The statue of Ashura is one of the most popular in Buddhism and is the only one of its kind in the world. It is a Japanese sculpture of one of eight categories of beings. This one is very specific because it has been influenced by Indian mythology. Ashura is one of the protectors of the Law of Buddha. A young man, he is represented with six arms and three faces, two of which are visible. The sycamore tree is positioned below Ashura and, like it, has six branches.

The tree was modeled after one in a park in New York City. The original, however, had five branches. Bismuth added a sixth to heighten the linkage between Ashura and the sycamore tree. Although overall Ashura Tree is non-symmetric, it epitomizes the Japanese tour de force of balance and unity. It, also, testifies to how we see. We do not see in terms of a single image. In our daily bombardment with advertising posters and billboards, with magazine and television advertisements, with daily life in general, we see in terms of multiple imagery — perhaps one key image, one key focus, but peripheried by many.

Reflect on how you view a flower in your garden, or an article in the newspaper. This is how Bismuth thinks, how he sees, how he interprets, and how he finds his own unique vision. He poses possibilities and leaves it up to the viewer to use their imagination, to "see" what is visible and what is left invisible for there is much left unsaid. A Rendezvous with time! Time marches on. It waits for no man or woman although there may be that appearance.

In fact, appearances can be deceiving! Here we "see" five rook skulls, when in actuality there are seven. Two of the rooks are hidden behind the scenes. What more is hidden here? The body of the Bodhisattva — her torso, arms and one hand, legs, feet! Bismuth presents the profile of her head only hinting at her beautiful expression with the remaining fragment of her sumptuously ornamented diadem and, later, in the still life on the bottom quarter of his painting, a small segment of her pearl and uncut but polished precious stone pendant.

Found in the ruins of Longxingsi, "The Temple of the Dragon Awakening," in the Shandong province, which is considered one of the cradles of Chinese civilization, it is from the Northern Qi dynasty, What does all of this mean? Important questions and food for thought. Threads intertwine here and there, now and then, linking us within and without; giving birth to new ideas, recycling and transforming — what was old is new again -; as time marches on slowly yet steadily like the turtle.

So what do you think? Is Bismuth encouraging us to "see"? Is that why he presents the past in conjunction with the present? Is this what Rendezvous is hinting at? Is this the nature of art to him — an elixir of life, of the soul just as water is for the body? The answer is yours and it is mine! Bismuth does not impose, though he might provide a tiny nudge here and there, now and then! The painting contains multiple images - a tree; a fish; a classical sculpture of the last king of Angkor Wat, Jayavarman 7; and a stone wall -, which he linked by his methodology of painting.

Their texture was each the same. Bismuth had realized that in the world in which we live, we are constantly bombarded with images — in magazines and commercials, on posters, billboards and television, etc. So he questioned "what is painting now? Is my work nourishing the constant flow of images and then disappearing within it?

He thinks in terms of multiple images. Though here in Rapprochement they appear to have no apparent link, they are relevant and of interest to him as they present connections in his life from an early discovery of Asian art to everything he encounters in the present. Thus for Bismuth, his paintings are a diary in images and a spiritual journey of self-discovery.

Each of his paintings is unique yet part of a greater whole, part of an ongoing series of an acute observation of the constant transformation of everything that enters his life, an awareness of those things that endure and those things that do not. The Cambodian sculpture is a 12th century bas relief of the last king of Angkor Wat, King Jayavarman 7. He was a Buddhist king in a Buddhist country. He built and repaired many "firehouses" across the Empire, which are thought of as places for travelers to rest, and many buildings which are now called "hospitals" in translation.

This has contributed to a legend of the Buddharaja, the King-Buddha, who exercised compassion in ruling. It was during this period that Chinese sculptors sought to capture the "life spirit" of the human subject, concentrating on facial expression and a posture that suggested movement. Here the movement is the dance. The slender figure is positioned in an elegant upright dance pose with her dress wrapped tightly around her and spreading towards the base.

Her voluminous sleeves with handless arms are positioned just so perpendicular to her chest making one wonder if she had been a "sleeve dancer. Her hair is pulled back from a central parting. Through the evolutionary process, trees have become logs — a recycling of something old into something new again, a new usage. He wants the essence of the dance not a photograph memorializing a frozen moment in time.

He seeks the revelation of the nature of the logs, the light passing through the dense foliage of the trees above creating unique patterns on the logs themselves as well as on the surrounding ground. In addition to linking his three canvases through light and shadow, Bismuth links them via the earth tones and the various blue and white colors he employs within - much an inverse from dancer to logs. There is balance. For him, an ancient artifact has life as does a log.

In asking himself the question, "what can I learn from it today," he seeks to cast it in a new light, to revitalize it, thereby creating a bridge between past and present as he has done here with Dances with Logs. It is an amazing stone sculpture from India. He returned many times and made innumerable studies of it from different angles. In this painting, we have the complete figure and the front view of the sculpture. It is the first time he has painted it in this manner.

Ganesh, or Ganesha, is one of the deities best-known and most widely worshipped in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India and Nepal as well as Thailand. Although he is known by many other attributes, Ganesh's elephant head makes him easily identifiable. Ganesh is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and more generally as the Lord of Beginnings and the Lord of Obstacles. While some texts say that Ganesh was born with an elephant head, in most stories he acquires the head later.

The most recurrent motif in these stories is that Ganesh was born with a human head and body and that Shiva beheaded him when Ganesh came between Shiva and Parvati. Shiva then replaced Ganesh's original head with the first one he found, which was that of an elephant. Ganesh is often represented dominating or riding a rat, which is what we see on the base of this sculpture. The rat sometimes symbolizes those who wish to overcome desires and be less selfish.

The still life below is a complex image of different objects Henry gathered. They are a collection of souvenirs of various places he visited and various moments in his life. There are the gourds which he dried himself turning them regularly so they dried in a balanced fashion. There are chestnuts and the shell of one of them, chilis, leaves, branches, seaweed, a sprouting potato, and a samara, also known as a maple key or whirlybird. This still life is a tour de force unto itself. Assembled using various and different elements placed together, none takes precedence over another.

Rather, they are all part of the whole. There is shape, texture, and color. Ganesh is one solid block by itself and the still life, even though composed of many objects, forms a block, also, in itself, and balances the composition. There is one sculpture above bulky and powerful in stature that is juxtaposed to the elegance and refinement of the still life below. It simply "is"! Lord Shiva, also, granted him a boon — that he would henceforth be revered as the god of good fortune and success in addition to the Lord of Obstacles.

It is as the Lord of Obstacles that we are most familiar with Ganesh. He is a warrior on the battlefield removing obstacles as well as creating obstructions for those whose hubris and ambition have become destructive. Though he first saw and sketched it in and has since included it in many paintings, this is the first painting wherein Bismuth has focused on Ganesh as the warrior his Mother created him to be. Bismuth instills Ganesh with this warrior persona by his use of space, position, and color.

Ganesh is large — the largest Ganesh Bismuth has ever painted. His arm is upraised to battle — he is armed and dangerous with his club a-ready.

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The subtlety of the texture and colors employed— their depth and drama — and the juxtaposition of tones creates not only the image Bismuth seeks but its environment as well. We feel the heat of the red surrounding him — in front, above, underneath, on the edges - and the heat emanating from his body. We know he is moving forward into turmoil, into war. We know, too, that he is protecting that which is secreted behind him by witnessing the softness of its green and blue. Once he moves through the turmoil, the warfare, these green pastures and blue skies await him.

The obstacles will have been removed and the blessings he has been protecting are restored to him. Aided and abetted by Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, a window is opened with the old gardening cutters leading us dramatically to something much more interesting. The magnificent statue of the two-armed, elephant headed, fairly squat, seated Hindu god, Ganesha, is from the Cham period 9th to 10th century in Vietnam.

He is gloriously recycled and reinvigorated by the shadows cast on him by the sun as the light descends from above. The golden hues envelope the very top of his head and drape his arm on the outer side of the canvas, and, just as his trunk begins golden, become increasingly coppery in hue and then darkish purple as the light cascades further downwards. Light is reflected on his other arm but not as poignantly leaving just one spot of intense golden light where his trunk and arm not quite meet.

Ganesha is surrounded by a beautiful blue light, the light of the sky perhaps, which touches him here and there, dotting him with a similar blue light bringing him together one with the universe. His headdressless head with ears like fans, trunk curling to the left and no visible neck forms the top of a triangle.

His arms crossed over his protuberant belly provide the mid-point. What could be more solid? Juxtapose this simplicity and solidity with the complexity - and perhaps frivolity! The gardening cutters — what are they for? Are they symbolic? The ball? The black walnuts come from a tree well over one-hundred years old. It has produced many seedlings. More appear each year. So, why these six elements?

Why recycle something years old, not centuries old? What do they tell us? Are we seeding a way of thinking that we need to cut the ties to? Are there parts of the sphere that need to be released, let go of? The common denominator within is the light. Consider the shadows cast by the sun upon the elements. What do they touch upon? How do they create linkages?

As the light crosses diagonally from the outer edge of the canvas, at first, there is no shadow. The orange space is a vacumn too far distant. The shadow of the handle of the cutter begins just below on the burnt sienna backdrop as does that of the blades, which continues on to the white surface below. The shadow of the ball touches and appears to encompass the blades just as the shadow of the seeds reaches outwards two-by two to two of the walnuts. The shadow of the third walnut is solitary. The shadows by themselves do not have an existence. They can, however, reveal what does and in doing so can provide a link between past and present.

Is this what Bismuth wants us to see? Is this the meaning of his window. If we can understand this, perhaps we too can create linkages between diverse cultures and people, between disparate objects. Could this be what he intends us to see? As Henry Bismuth culls his images from a myriad pool of influences from ancient Asian sculpture to Native American paint horses, skulls, corvids, and more, a key influence in all his work is something he discovered as a child of eleven.

Oftentimes, it is the asymmetrical balance intrinsic in Japanese art. At other times, it is the Japanese sculpture itself as here. Bismuth discovered the ancient Japanese sculpture in Blue Buddha many years ago and made numerous sketches of it for a later time as he often does. Thus, whether this sculpture is a Buddha or a Bodhisatva, is unknown.

All of this intrigued him as did the possibilities the sculpture presented for transformation into something uniquely his own. He often refers to this as his alchemic process. The lotus flower is one of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism. Painted in gold as it was and is here, it represents the realized enlightenment of all Buddhas.

As a Zen verse says, "May we exist in muddy water with purity, like a lotus. Or as phrased in a section of the Tipitika, the Theragatha "verses of the elder monks" , in a poem attributed to Udayin, a disciple of Buddha:. As the flower of a lotus, Arisen in water, blossoms, Pure-scented and pleasing the mind, Yet is not drenched by the water, In the same way, born in the world, The Buddha abides in the world; And like the lotus by water, He does not get drenched by the world. Gold is a link throughout this painting. The lotus is gold. There is gold underpaint on Buddha and around the sculpture.

We see the gold particularly along the bottom of the canvas and here and there along its outer sides and on the top. The gold provides grounding. Buddha is blue. The hints of gold throughout give him a certain presence. The regality of his figure and of his seated posture are reinforced by the elegance of his head gear and by the sublime grace of his hand and finger positioning, called mudras. The background of the canvas has many coats of paint peaking through from under the dark topcoat. One is gold as we already mentioned. Another is red and another a deeper blue.

It is an extraordinary piece of art now. His continuing interest in Japanese sculpture led him first to paint Ashura Tree in and now, in , Red Ashura. Though simple, Red Ashura is, also, dramatic. It speaks its own unique language. I am here! The Silk Road, actually not one road but a network of trade routes, from its birth before Christ, through its formal establishment during the Han Dynasty B. It has had a profound effect on the development of civilizations on both sides of the continent and its story is not over.

Buddhism became the first large-scale missionary movement in the history of world religion. Brought from India, it expanded with the establishment of monasteries along the Silk Road. These monasteries afforded merchants and travelers places to stay as they traversed from place to place.

Other religions also spread along the trade route including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Manichaeism, and Zoroastrianism. The success of the trade routes led to the necessity of policing it to thwart the bandits who came to plunder the caravans of goods traversing it. This was partially overcome by building forts and defensive walls, including sections of the Great Wall, along part of the route. Settlements were established as well though mostly in the oasis areas. By the time of the Tang Dynasty, which was known for its internal stability, the use of the horse had expanded beyond the military to that of commerce, entertainment, and sport, including polo, which though referred to as the "emperor of games" and the "sport of kings," was played not only by royalty but by officials and the upper classes, by men and women alike.

After the Tang Dynasty, the traffic on the road subsided as neighboring states again plundered the caravans. The demise of the Silk Road owes much, too, to the development of the silk route by sea. It was becoming easier and safer to transport goods by water rather than overland. Ships had become stronger and more reliable, and the route passed promising new markets in Southern Asia. Storage jars made in China and Vietnam such as the sampling here of 8 of the found on the wreck of the San Diego, a Spanish galleon converted to a cargo ship, contained preserved food, grain, and fresh water.

The head of the Bodhisattva with her beautiful expression and the remaining fragment of her sumptuously ornamented diadem was found in the ruins of Longxingsi, "The Temple of the Dragon Awakening," in the Shandong province. It is from the Northern Qi dynasty C. The horse is made of terracotta and is from the Tang Dynasty. It was during this dynasty that China reached its apex. While each of the images represents the then, together the whole they create renders an assemblage linking centuries and cultures into the present tense.

This is what Bismuth intends. This is his goal. Both horses represent the period of the Han Dynasty, circa B. D, and both riders are cavalrymen. But, only one is a Han Dynasty cavalryman. The other is a nomadic tribesman. Two of a Kind bears witness to the history of the Chinese Empire, to the greatest threat to its survival, the nomadic tribes to the north and to the west, and to the establishment of the Silk Road.

The same would be true of the military today. The jacket of the cavalryman leading is red trimmed with what appears to be white fur. His trousers are black. His features are more distinct. You know he represents the Chinese Empire. The cavalryman following is dressed less sumptuously. His blue jacket is trimmed with red as is his saddle. He is nomadic and following. The riders are not facing one another but following one another.

With the Chinese leading, we know they have won. We, also, can see through the use of color that Bismuth has juxtaposed this painting into today. The horse following is a traditional horse of the Han Dynasty in conformation only. How he does each varies. Overall he speaks to our similarities — we see with the eye and the I, and whatever our interpretation, it is correct.

Antares bears witness to the history of the Chinese Empire during the Han Dynasty, to the greatest threat to its survival, the nomadic tribes to the north and to the west, and to the establishment of the Silk Road. The style of uniform is the same. The difference is in the color. The riders in Antares are wearing the identical red with white fur trim. In Two of a Kind , they are not. The background in Antares is dark while in Two of a Kind , it is bright white.

This could refer to either different times of day. The dark could reference the bitter fighting in the beginning and the white, the light of day with different battalions riding together. Peace has been established. While both horses are traditional horses of the Han Dynasty in conformation, in coloration they are not. Their spotting reflects back to his childhood fascination with Native American pintos. Henry's eyes was now most fearful. On the bench sat more than twenty clergymen, the most learned men in the colony, and the most capable, as well as the severest critics before whom it was possible for him to have made his debut.

The court house was crowded with an overwhelming multitude, and surrounded with an immense and anxious throng, who not finding room to enter, were endeavouring to listen without, in the deepest attention. But there was something still more awfully disconcerting than all this; for in the chair of the presiding magistrate, sat no other person, than his own father. Lyons opened Page 25 the cause very briefly: in the way of argument he did nothing more than explain to the jury, that the decision upon the demurrer had put the act of entirely out of the way, and left the law of as the only standard of their damages; he then concluded with a highly wrought eulogium on the benevolence of the clergy.

And, now, came on the first trial of Patrick Henry's strength. No one had ever heard him speak, and curiosity was on tiptoe. He rose very awkwardly, and faultered much in his exordium. The people hung their heads at so unpromising a commencement; the clergy were observed to exchange sly looks with each other; and his father is described as having almost sunk with confusion, from his seat.

But these feelings were of short duration, and soon gave place to others, of a very different character. For, now, were those wonderful faculties which he possessed, for the first time developed; and now, was first, witnessed that mysterious and almost supernatural transformation of appearance, which the fire of his own eloquence never failed to work in him. His attitude, by degrees, became erect and lofty.

The spirit of his genius awakened all his features. His countenance shone with a nobleness and grandeur which it had never before exhibited. There was a lightning in his eyes which seemed to rive the spectator. His action became graceful, bold, and commanding; and in the tones of his voice, but more especially in his emphasis, there was a peculiar charm, a magic, of which any one who ever heard him, will speak as soon as he is named, but of which no one can give any adequate description.

They can only say that it struck upon the ear and upon the heart, Page 26 in a manner which language cannot tell. Add to all these, his wonder-working fancy, and the peculiar phraseology in which he clothed its images; for he painted to the heart with a force that almost petrified it.

In the language of those who heard him on this occasion, "he made their blood run cold, and their hair to rise on end. It will not be difficult for any one, who ever heard this most extraordinary man, to believe the whole account of this transaction which is given by his surviving hearers; and from their account, the court house of Hanover county, must have exhibited on this occasion, a scene as picturesque, as has been ever witnessed in real life. They say, that the people, whose countenances had fallen as he arose, had heard but a very few sentences before they began to look up; then to look at each other with surprise, as if doubting the evidence of their own senses; then, attracted by some strong gesture, struck by some majestic attitude, fascinated by the spell of his eye, the charm of his emphasis, and the varied and commanding expression of his countenance, they could look away no more.

In less than twenty minutes, they might be seen in every part of the house, on every bench, in every window, stooping forward from their stands, in death-like silence; their features fixed in amazement and awe; all their senses listening and rivetted upon the speaker; as if to catch the last strain of some heavenly visitant. The mockery of the clergy was soon turned into alarm; their triumph into confusion and despair; and at one burst of his rapid and overwhelming invective, they fled from the bench in precipitation and terror.

As for the father, such was his surprise, such his amazement, such his rapture, that, forgetting where he was, and the character which he was filling, tears of ecstacy streamed down Page 27 his cheeks, without the power or inclination to repress them.


  1. Great Crush Collision March!
  2. Captain Henry Warre (1819-1898).
  3. And G Dont Stand for Goofy, Neither.
  4. The Forgotten Legends;

The jury seem to have been so completely bewildered, that they lost sight not only of the act of , but that of also; for thoughtless even of the admitted right of the plaintiff, they had scarcely left the bar, when they returned with a verdict of one penny damages. A motion was made for a new trial; but the court too, had now lost the equipoise of their judgment, and overruled the motion by an unanimous vote. The verdict and judgment overruling the motion, were followed by redoubled acclamation, from within and without the house. The people, who had with difficulty kept their hands off their champion, from the moment of closing his harangue, no sooner saw the fate of the cause finally sealed, than they seized him at the bar, and in spite of his own exertions, and the continued cry of "order" from the sheriffs and the court, they bore him out of the court house, and raising, him on their shoulders, carried him about the yard, in a kind of electioneering triumph.

At the time, he was not able to give utterance to any sentiment; but, a few days after, when speaking of it to Mr. I have tried much to procure a sketch of this celebrated speech. But those of Mr. They can only tell you in general, that they were taken captive; and so delighted with their captivity, that they followed implicitly, whithersoever he led them.

That, at his bidding, their tears flowed from pity, and their cheeks flushed with indignation. That when it was over, they felt as if they had just awaked from some ecstatic dream, of which they were unable to recal or connect the particulars. It was such a speech as they believe had never before fallen from the lips of man; and to this day, the old people of that county cannot conceive that a higher compliment can be paid to a speaker than to say of him, in their own homely phrase, "he is almost equal to Patrick, when he plead against the parsons.

The only topic of this speech of which any authentic account remains, is the order of the king in council, whereby the act of had been declared void. This subject, had in truth been disposed of by the demurrer; and, in strictness of proceeding, neither Mr. Henry nor the jury had any thing to do with it. The laxity of the county court practice, however, indulged him in the widest career he chose to take, and he laid hold of this point, neither with a feeble or hesitating hand; but boldly and vigorously pressed it upon the jury, and that, too, with very powerful effect.

He insisted on the connection and reciprocal duties between the king and his subjects; maintained that government was a conditional compact, composed of unusual and dependent covenants, of which a violation by one party discharged the other; and intrepidly contended that the disregard which had been shown in this particular, to the pressing wants of the colony, was an instance of royal misrule, which had thus far dissolved the political compact, and left the people Page 29 at liberty to consult their own safety; that they had consulted it by the act of , which, therefore, notwithstanding the dissent of the king and his council, ought to be considered as the law of the land, and the only legitimate measure of the claims of the clergy.

The nature of this topic, and the earnest and undaunted manner in which Mr. Henry is said to have pursued and maintained it, proves, that even at this period, which has been marked as the era of our greatest attachment and devotion to the parent country, his mind at least, was disposed to pry into the course of the regal administration, and to speak forth his sentiments without any fear of the consequences.

The reception which the people gave to the argument, proves that they also, had no superstitious repugnance to the consideration of such topics, nor any very insuperable horror at the idea of a separation. Not that there is ground to suspect that any one had at this time, realized such an event, or even contemplated it as desirable.

The suggestion, therefore, which I have sometimes heard, that Mr. Henry was already meditating the independence of the colonies, and sowing the seeds of those reflections which he wished to ripen into revolt, is in my opinion, rather curious than just. I believe that he thought of nothing beyond success in his cause; and since the desperate posture in which he found it, demanded a daring and eccentric course, he adopted that which has been already stated. The character of his argument, proves indeed, that he was naturally a bold and intrepid enquirer, who was not to be overawed from his purpose by the name even of sovereignty itself; and of course that he was made of good revolutionary materials.

But an adequate provocation had not, at this time, been given: and it would be imputing to Mr. Henry a criminal Page 30 ambition, of which there is no proof; to suppose that he was meditating the subversion of a government, against which the voice of serious complaint had not yet been heard.

Besides, Mr. Henry's standing in society was at this period so humble, as to have rendered the meditation of such a purpose, on his part, presumptuous in the extreme; and equally inconsistent both with his unassuming modesty, and that natural good sense and accurate judgment, which are on all hands, assigned to him. Immediately on the decision of this cause, he was retained on all the cases, within the range of his practice, which depended on the same question.

But no other case was ever brought to trial. They were all, throughout the colony, dismissed by the plaintiffs; nor was any appeal ever prosecuted in the case of Mr. The reason assigned for this by Mr. Camm, is, that the legislature had voted money to support the appeal on the part of the defendants, and that the clergy were not rich enough to contend against the whole wealth and strength of the colony.

The clergy took their revenge in an angry pamphlet from the pen of Mr. Camm is right as to the interference of the legislature. I have not been able, however, to find any resolution of the legislature, to this effect, earlier than the 7th of April, whereas Mr. Maury's case was decided in Hanover, on the 1st December, The following is extracted from the journal of the day, first mentioned.

Henry is stigmatized in it as an obscure attorney ; and the epithet was true enough as to the time past, but it was true no longer. His sun had risen with a splendour which had never before been witnessed in this colony; and never afterward, did it disgrace this glorious rising. IT is almost unnecessary to state that the display which Mr. Henry had made in "the parsons' cause," as it was popularly called, placed him, at once, at the head of his profession, in that quarter of the colony in which he practised. He became the theme of every tongue. He had exhibited a degree of eloquence, which the people had never before witnessed; a species of eloquence too, entirely new at the bar, and altogether his own.

He had formed it on no living model; for there was none such in the country. He had not copied it from books, for they had described nothing of the kind; or if they had, he was a stranger to their contents. Nor had he formed it himself, by solitary study and exercise; for he was far too indolent for any such process.

It was so unexampled, so unexpected, so instantaneous, and so transcendent in its character, that it had, to the people, very much the appearance of supernatural inspiration. He was styled "the orator of nature:" and was, on that account, much more revered by the people than if he had been formed by the severest discipline of the schools; for they considered him as bringing his credentials directly from heaven, and owing no part of his greatness to human institutions.

There were other considerations also, which drew him still more closely to the bosom of the people. The society of Virginia, was at that time pretty strongly discriminated. A gentleman who lived in those days, and who had the best opportunities of judging on the subject, has furnished the following interesting picture of it. The law, you know, admitted none, except as to the twelve counsellors. Yet in a country insulated from the European world, insulated from its sister colonies, with whom there was scarcely any intercourse, little visited by foreigners, and having little matter to act upon within itself, certain families had risen to splendour by wealth, and by the preservation of it from generation to generation under the law of entails; some had produced a series of men of talents; families in general had remained stationary on the grounds of their forefather, for there was no emigration to the westward in those days; the Irish, who had gotten possession of the valley between the Blue Ridge and the North Mountain, formed a barrier over which none ventured to leap; and their manners presented no attraction to the lowlanders to settle among them.

In such a state of things, scarcely admitting any change of station, society would settle itself down into several strata , separated by no marked lines, but shading off imperceptibly from top to bottom, nothing disturbing the order of their repose. There were, then, first aristocrats, composed of the great landholders who had seated themselves below tide water on the main rivers, and lived in a style of luxury and extravagance, insupportable by the other inhabitants, and which, indeed, ended, in several instances, in the ruin of their own fortunes.

Next to these were what might be called half breeds ; the descendants of the younger sons and daughters of the aristocrats, who inherited the pride of their ancestors, without their wealth. Then came the pretenders, men who from vanity, or the impulse of growing wealth, or from that enterprize which is natural to talents, Page 34 sought to detach themselves from the plebeian ranks, to which they properly belonged, and imitated, at some distance, the manners and habits of the great.

Next to these, were a solid and independent yeomanry, looking askance at those above, yet not venturing to jostle them. And last and lowest, a feculum of beings called overseers, the most abject, degraded, unprincipled race; always cap in hand to the dons who employed them, and furnishing materials for the exercise of their pride, insolence, and spirit of domination. It was from the body of the yeomanry, whom my correspondent represents as "looking askance" at those above them, that Mr. Henry proceeded. He belonged to the body of the people.

His birth, education, fortune, and manners, made him one of themselves. They regarded him, therefore, as their own property, and sent to them, expressly for the very purpose of humbling the pride of the mighty and exalting the honour of his own class. Henry had too much sagacity not to see this advantage, and too much good sense not to keep and to improve it. He seems to have formed to himself, very early in life, just views of society, and to have acted upon them with the most laudable system and perseverance.

He regarded government as instituted solely for the good of the people; and not for the benefit of those, who had contrived to make a job of it. He looked upon the body of the people, therefore, as the basis of society, the fountain of all power, and, directly or indirectly, of all offices and honours, which had been instituted, originally, for their use. He made it no secret, therefore, nay he made it his boast, that on every occasion, "he bowed to the majesty of the people.

He, therefore, adhered to them with unshaken fidelity. He retained their manners, their customs, all their modes of life, with religious caution. He dressed as plainly as the plainest of them; ate only the homely fare, and drank the simple beverage of the country; mixed with them on a footing of the most entire and perfect equality, and conversed with them, even in their own vicious and depraved pronunciation. If this last were the effect of artful compliance, as has been strenuously affirmed, it was certainly carrying the system farther than dignity would warrant.

Henry should have been the instructor as well as the friend of the people, and by his example, have corrected, instead of adopting their errors. It is very certain that by this course he disgusted many of those whom it was often his business to persuade; not because they considered it as a proof of vulgarity and ignorance, but because they regarded it as a premeditated artifice to catch the favour and affections of the people.

That it was so, I am not disposed to believe. I think it much more probable, that those errors of pronunciation were the effect of early and inveterate habit, which had become incurable before he was informed of his mistake. He had no occasion to resort to such petty artifices, either to gain or to hold the affections of the people. Page's memory is questioned in this particular, by the acquaintances of Mr.

Henry, who say, that he was too good a grammarian to have uttered such a sentence, although they admit the inaccuracy of his pronunciation, in some of the words imputed to him. From the point of time of which we are now speaking, it is very certain that he suffered no gale of fortune, however high or prosperous, to separate him from the people. Nor did the people, on their part, ever desert him. He was the man to whom they looked in every crisis of difficulty, and the favourite on whom they were ever ready to lavish all the honours in their gift.

Middleton, in his life of Cicero, tells us that the first great speech of that orator, his defence of Roscius the actor, was made at the age of twenty-seven; the same age, he adds, at which the learned have remarked, that Demosthenes distinguished himself in the assembly of the Athenians: "As if this were the age" I quote his own words "at which these great genios regularly bloomed towards maturity.

Henry furnishes another instance in support of this theory; since it was precisely in the same year of his life, that his talents first became known to himself and to the world. Nor let the admirer of antiquity revolt at our coupling the name of Henry, with those of Cicero and Demosthenes: it can be no degradation to the orator either of Greece or Rome, that his name stands enrolled, on the same page, with that of a man of whom such a judge of eloquence as Mr. Jefferson has said, that "he was the greatest orator that ever lived. But the taste of professional fame, which Mr.

Henry had derived from the "parsons' cause," exquisite as it Page 37 must have been, was not sufficient to inspire him with a thirst for the learning of his profession. He had an insuperable aversion to the old black letter of the law books , which was often a topic of raillery with him, and he was never able to conquer it, except for preparation in some particular cause. No love of distinction, no necessity however severe, were strong enough to bind him down to a regular course of reading.

He could not brook the confinement. The reasoning of the law was too artificial, and too much cramped for him. Whilst unavoidably engaged in it, he felt as if manacled. His mind was perpetually struggling to break away. His genius delighted in liberty and space, in which it might roam at large, and feast on every variety of intellectual enjoyment. Hence he was never profound in the learning of the law. On a question merely legal, his inferiors, in point of talents, frequently embarrassed and foiled him; and it required all the resources of his extraordinary mind, to support the distinction which he had now gained.

The most successful practice in the county courts, was in those days, but a slender dependance for a family. Notwithstanding therefore, the great addition to his business which we have noticed, Mr. Henry seems still to have been pressed by want. With the hope of improving his situation, he removed, in the year , to the county of Louisa, and resided at a place called the Roundabout. Here I have learned nothing remarkable of him, unless it may be thought so, that he pursued his favourite amusement of hunting with increased ardour. After Page 38 the hunt was over; he would go from the ground to Louisa court, clad in a coarse cloth coat stained with all the trophies of the chase, greasy leather breeches ornamented in the same way, leggings for boots, and a pair of saddle-bags on his arm.

Thus accoutred, he would enter the court house, take up the first of his causes that chanced to be called; and if there was any scope for his peculiar talent, throw his adversary into the background, and astonish both court and jury by the powerful effusions of his natural eloquence. There must have been something irresistibly captivating in Mr.

Henry's mode of speaking, even on the most trivial subjects. The late judge Lyons has been heard to say of himself, while practising with Mr. Henry, "that he could write a letter, or draw a declaration or plea at the bar, with as much accuracy as he could in his office, under all circumstances, except when Patrick rose to speak ; but that whenever he rose, although it might be on so trifling a subject as a summons and petition, for twenty shillings, he was obliged to lay down his pen, and could not write another word, until the speech was finished. In the fall of , Mr. Henry had an opportunity of exhibiting himself on a new theatre.

A contest occurred in the house of burgesses, in the case of Mr. James Littlepage, the returned member for the county of Hanover. The rival candidate and petitioner was Nathaniel West Dandridge. He states the contest to have been between col. Syme Mr. Henry's half brother and col. Richard Littlepage. The journal contradicts him and supports the text. There was no such contest as that of which he speaks; at least between the years and Littlepage was bribery and corruption.

The parties were heard by their counsel, before the committee of privileges and elections, and Mr. Henry was on this occasion employed by Mr. Williamsburg, then the seat of government, was the focus of fashion and high life. The residence of the governor; the immediate representative of the sovereign, the royal state in which he lived, the polite and brilliant circle which he always had about him, diffused their influence through the city and the circumjacent country, and filled Williamsburg with a degree of emulation, taste, and elegance, of which we can form no conception by the appearances of the present day.

During the session of the house of burgesses, too, these stately modes of life assumed their richest forms; the town, was filled with a concourse of visitors, as well as citizens, attired in their gayest colours; the streets, exhibited a continual scene of animated and glittering tumult; the houses, of costly profusion. Such was the scene in which Mr. Henry was now called upon, for the first time, to make his appearance.

He made no preparation for it, but went down just in the kind of garb which he had been accustomed to exhibit all his life, and is said to have worn, on this occasion particularly, a suit which had suffered very considerably in the service. The contrast which he exhibited, with the general elegance of the place, was so striking, as to call upon him the eyes of all the curious and the mischievous; and, as he moved awkwardly about, in his coarse and threadbare dress, with a countenance of abstraction and total unconcern as to what was passing around him, interesting as it seemed to every one else, he was stared at by some as a prodigy, and regarded by others as an unfortunate being, whose Page 40 senses were disordered.

When he went to attend the committee of privileges and elections, the matter was still worse. Henry's life, "added to the dignified forms of that truly august body, were enough to have deterred any man possessing less firmness and independence of spirit than Mr. He was ushered with great state and ceremony into the room of the committee, whose chairman was col. But the general contempt was soon changed into as general admiration; for Mr. Henry distinguished himself by a copious and brilliant display on the great subject of the rights of suffrage, superior to any thing that had been heard before within those walls.

Tyler says, "that enlightened and amiable man, John Blair;" but in this he is corrected by the journal, which shows that Mr. Bland was the chairman of the committee of privileges and elections for that year. I should have thought, from the general accuracy of Mr. Tyler's statement, that Mr. Blair might have been officiating as chairman pro tempore , in the absence of col.

Bland; but that Mr. Blair does not appear, by the journal, to have belonged to the committee, or even to have been a member of the house in His name does not appear till Tyler, reciting Mr. Henry's own narrative, after a lapse of several years, might very easily have confounded two names as similar as those of Bland and Blair.

Judge Winston, relating the same incident, says, "Some time after, a member of the house, speaking to me of this occurrence, said, he had, for a day or two, observed an ill-dressed young man sauntering in the lobby; that he seemed to be a stranger to every body, and he had not the curiosity to enquire his name; but, that attending when the case of the contested election came on, he was surprised to find this same person counsel for one of the parties; and and still more so, when he delivered an argument superior to any thing he had ever heard.

Henry's was one of those minds which impart interest to every subject they touch. This same year , is memorable for the origination of that great question which led finally to the independence of the United States. Henry certainly gave the first impulse to the ball of the revolution. Henry first presented himself in the character of a statesman. In March, , the British parliament had passed resolutions, preparatory to the levying a revenue on the colonies by a stamp tax. On the 18th of December, , these papers were reported, and after various amendments, which considerably diluted their spirit received the concurrence of the council.

Remonstrance, however, was vain. In January, , the famous stamp act was passed, to take effect in the colonies on the first of November following. The annunciation of this measure seems at first to have stunned the continent, from one extremity to the other. The presses which spread the intelligence among the people, were themselves manifestly confounded; and so far from inspiring the energy of resistance, they seemed rather disposed to have looked out for topics of consolation, under submission.

No one knew what to hope, what more to fear, or what course was best to be taken. Note A. Many considered submission in the present state of the colonies, as unavoidable; and that this was the opinion of Doctor Franklin himself, is apparent from the remark with which he took leave of Mr.

Ingersoll, on his departure for America. Men, on other occasions marked for intrepidity and decision, now hung back; unwilling to submit, and yet afraid to speak out in the language of bold and open defiance. It was just at this moment of despondency in some quarters, suspense in others, and surly and reluctant submission wherever submission appeared, that Patrick Henry stood forth to raise the drooping spirit of the people, and to unite all hearts and hands in the cause of his country.

With the view of making way for him and placing him in the public councils of the country, Mr. William Johnson, who had been elected a member of the house of burgesses for the county of Louisa, vacated his seat by accepting the commission of coroner. The writ of election to supply his place was awarded on the first of May, , and on the 20th day of that month, it appears by the journals, that Mr. Henry was added to the committee for courts of justice. Littlepage, the preceding winter. His dress and manners were still those of the plain planter, and in his personal appearance, there was nothing to excite curiosity or awaken expectation.

The forms of the house, of which he was now for the first time a member, were, as has been stated, most awfully dignified; its active members were composed of the landed aristocracy and their adherents; and amongst them were men to whose superiority of talents, as well as influence and power, the yeomanry of the country had long been accustoned to bow, with tacit and submissive deference.

John Robinson, the speaker of the house, was one of the most opulent men in the colony, and the acknowledged head of its landed aristocracy. He had now filled the chair of the house with great dignity, and without interruption, for five and twenty years. He was also, the colonial treasurer; and from the high offices which he held, in connexion with the regal government, was as warmly attached to its authority by interest, as he was by taste and fashion, to all the grandeur of its forms.

But, notwithstanding this close alliance with the court, his personal influence, in every class of society was very great; and he held that influence by a tenure far superior to any that his own vast wealth or the power of the crown could confer. For he possessed a strong and well informed mind, enlarged and corrected by great experience, and he united with it, a benevolence of spirit and a courtesy of manners, which never failed to attach every heart that approached him.

The poor drew near to him without awe or embarrassment; they came indeed, with filial confidence; for they never failed to find in him, a sympathetic friend, and an able counsellor. The rich enjoyed in him an easy, enlightened, Page 45 and instructive companion; and, next to the governor, regarded him as the highest model of elegance and fashion. An anecdote is related of this gentleman, which displays in a strong and amiable light, the exalted force of his feelings, and the truly noble cast of his manners.

When col. Washington the immortal saviour of his country had closed his career in the French and Indian war, and had become a member of the house of burgesses, the speaker, Robinson, was directed by a vote of the house, to return their thanks to that gentleman, on behalf of the colony, for the distinguished military services which he had rendered to his county. As soon as col. Washington took his seat, Mr. Robinson, in obedience to this order, and following the impulse of his own generous and grateful heart, discharged the duty, with great dignity; but with such warmth of colouring and strength of expression, as entirely confounded the young hero.

He rose to express his acknowledgments for the honour; but such was his trepidation and confusion, that he could not give distinct utterance to a single syllable. He blushed, stammered, and trembled, for a second; when the speaker relieved him, by a stroke of address that would have done honour to Louis the XIV. Washington," said he, with a conciliating smile; "your modesty is equal to your valour; and that surpasses the power of any language that I possess. Peyton Randolph, the king's attorney general, held the next rank to the speaker.

He was well acquainted with all the forms of parliamentary proceeding; was an eminent lawyer, and a well informed and practical statesman.

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Richard Bland was one of the most enlightened men in the colony. He was a man of finished education, and of the most unbending habits of application. His perfect mastery of every fact connected with the settlement and progress of the colony, had given him the name of the Virginian Antiquary. Edward Pendleton, the protege of the speaker Robinson, was also, among the most prominent members in the house.

He had, in a great measure, overcome the disadvantages of an extremely defective education, and, by the force of good company and the study of correct authors, had attained to great accuracy and perspicuity of style. The patronage of the speaker had introduced him to the first circles, and his manners were elevated, graceful and insinuating.

He wrote the first pamphlet on the nature of the connexion with Great Britain, which had any pretension to accuracy of view on that subject; but it was a singular one; he would set out on sound principles, pursue them logically, till he found them leading to the precipice which we had to leap; start back, alarmed; then resume his ground, go over it in another direction, be led again by the correctness of his reasoning, to the same place, and again tack about and try other processes to reconcile right and wrong; but left his reader and himself, bewildered between the steady index of the compass in their hand, and the phantom to which it seemed to point.

Still there was more sound matter in this pamphlet, than in the celebrated Farmer's Letters, which were really but an ignis fatuus , misleading us from true principle. His mind itself, was of a very fine order. It was clear, comprehensive, sagacious and correct; with a most acute and subtle faculty of discrimination; a fertility of expedient which could never be exhausted; a dexterity of address which never lost an advantage and never gave one; and a capacity for continued and unremitting application, which was perfectly invincible.

As a lawyer and a stateman, he had few equals; no superiors. For parliamentary management, he was without a rival. With all these advantages of person, manners, address and intellect, he was also a speaker of distinguished eminence. He was always graceful, argumentative, persuasive: never vehement, rapid, or abrupt. He could instruct and delight; but he had no pretensions to those high powers which are calculated to "shake the human soul.

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There is a story circulated, as upon his own authority, that he was initiated by his mother, in the Latin classics. He carried his love of antiquity rather too far; for he frequently subjected himself to the charge of pedantry; and his admiration of the gigantic writers of Queen Elizabeth's reign, had unfortunately betrayed him into an imitation of their quaintness. Yet, with all this singularity of taste, he was a man of great capacity; powerful in argument; frequently pathetic; and elegantly keen and sarcastic in repartee.

He was long the rival of Mr. Pendleton at the bar; whom he equalled as a common lawyer, and greatly surpassed as a civilian: but he was too open and direct in his conduct, and possessed too little management either with regard to his own temper or those of other men, to cope with so cool and skilful an adversary. Though a full match for Mr. Pendleton in the powers of fair and solid reasoning, Mr. Pendleton could whenever he pleased, and would whenever it was necessary, tease him with quibbles, and vex him with sophistries, until he destroyed the composure of his mind and robbed him of his strength.

No man was ever more entirely destitute of art than Mr. He knew nothing, even in his profession, and never would know any thing of "crooked and indirect by-ways. He would not, even at the bar, have accepted of success on any other terms. The unaffected sanctity of his principles, united with his modesty and simple elegance of manners, Page 49 his attic wit, his stores of rare knowledge, his capacity for business, and the real power of his intellect, not only raised him to great eminence in public, but rendered him a delightful companion, and a most valuable friend.

But Richard Henry Lee was the Cicero of the house. Lee was, by far, the most elegant scholar in the house. He had studied the classics in the true spirit of criticism. His taste had that delicate touch, which seized with intuitive certainty, every beauty of an author, and his genius that native affinity which combined them without an effort. Into every walk of literature and science, he had carried this mind of exquisite selection, and brought it back to the business of life, crowned with every light of learning, and decked with every wreath, that all the Muses, and all the Graces, could entwine.

Nor did those light decorations constitute the whole value of its freight. He possessed a rich store of historical and political knowledge, with an activity of observation, and a certainty of judgment, that turned that knowledge to the very best account. He was not a lawyer by profession; but he understood thoroughly the constitution both of the mother country and of her colonies; and the elements also, of the civil and municipal law. Thus, while his eloquence was free from those stiff and technical restraints, which the habits of forensic speaking are so apt to generate, he had all the legal learning which is necessary to a statesman.

He reasoned well, and declaimed freely and splendidly. The note of his voice was deeper and more melodious than Page 50 that of Mr. He had lost the use of one of his hands, which he kept constantly covered with a black silk bandage neatly fitted to the palm of his hand, but leaving his thumb free; yet, notwithstanding this disadvantage, his gesture was so graceful and so highly finished, that it was said he had acquired it by practising before a mirror. He was ready for any subject, as soon as it was announced; and his speech was so copious, so rich, so mellifluous, set off with such bewitching cadence of voice, and such captivating grace of action, that, while you listened to him, you desired to hear nothing superior, and indeed thought him perfect.

He had a quick sensibility and a fervid imagination, which Mr. Pendleton wanted. Hence his orations were warmer and more delightfully interesting; yet still, to him those keys were not consigned, which could unlock the sources either of the strong or tender passions. His defect was, that he was too smooth and too sweet.

His style bore a striking resemblance to that of Herodotus, as described by the Roman orator: "he flowed on, like a quiet and placid river, without a ripple. A cataract, like that of Niagara, crowned with overhanging rocks and mountains, in all the rude and awful grandeur of nature, would have brought him nearer to the standard of Homer and of Henry. These were some of the stars of first magnitude that shone in the house of burgesses in the year There was, yet, a cluster of minor luminaries, which it were endless to delineate, but whose blended rays contributed to form that uncommon galaxy, in which the plebeian Henry was now called upon to take his place.

What had he to enable him to cope with all this lustre of talents and erudition? Very little more than the native strength of his character; a constancy of soul, which no array of power could shake; a genius that designed with all the boldness of Angelo, and an imagination that coloured with all the felicity of Titian. It has been already stated that Mr. Henry was elected with express reference to an opposition to the stamp act.

It was not, however, expected by his constituents or meditated by himself, that he should lead the opposition. The addresses of the preceding year, made to the king, lords, and commons, in which so strong a truth had been stated, as that the stamp act, if persisted in, would reduce the colony to a state of slavery, founded a hope, that those who had commenced the opposition by remonstrance, would continue to give it the eclat of their high names, by resistance of a bolder character, if bolder should be necessary.

Henry waited, therefore, to file in under the first champion that should raise the banner of colonial liberty. In the mean time another subject, unexpectedly, occurred to call him up, and it was on this other, that he made his debut in the house. The incident has been stated to me in the following terms, by a gentleman who heard the debate. Page 52 "The gentlemen of this country had, at that time, become deeply involved in that state of indebtment, which has since ended in so general a crush of their fortunes.

Robinson, the speaker, was also the treasurer, an honour always chosen by the assembly. He was an excellent man, liberal, friendly, and rich. He had been drawn in to lend on his own account, great sums of money to persons of this description, and especially those who were of the assembly. He used freely for this purpose the public money, confiding for its replacement in his own means, and the securities he had taken on those loans. About this time, however, he became sensible that his deficit to the public was become so enormous, as that a discovery must soon take place, for as yet the public had no suspicion of it.

He devised, therefore, with his friends in the assembly, a plan for a public loan office, to a certain amount, from which monies might be lent on public account, and on good landed security, to individuals. I find, in Royle's Virginia Gazette of the 17th of May, , this proposition for a loan office presented, its advantages detailed, and the plan explained. It seems to have been done by a borrowing member, from the feeling with which the motives are expressed, and to have been preparatory to the intended motion. Between the 17th and 30th, the latter being the date of Mr.

Henry's resolutions on the stamp act, the motion for a loan office was accordingly brought forward in the house of burgesses; and had it succeeded, the deficit due to Robinson on these loans, would have been transferred to the public, and his deficit thus completely covered. This state of things, however, was not yet known: but Mr. Henry attacked the scheme on other general grounds, in that style of bold, grand, and overwhelming eloquence, for which he Page 53 became so justly celebrated afterward. I had been intimate with him from the year , and felt an interest in what concerned him; and I can never forget a particular exclamation of his in the debate, which electrified his hearers.

It had been urged, that, from certain unhappy circumstances of the colony, men of substantial property had contracted debts, which, if exacted suddenly, must ruin them and their families, but with a little indulgence of time, might be paid with ease. Henry, in animadverting on this, 'is it proposed then, to reclaim the spendthrift from his dissipation and extravagance, by filling his pockets with money? He laid open with so much energy the spirit of favouritism, on which the proposition was founded, and the abuses to which it would lead, that it was crushed in its birth.

He carried with him all the members of the upper counties, and left a minority composed merely of the aristocracy of the country. From this time his popularity swelled apace; and Mr. Robinson dying, the year afterwards, his deficit was brought to light, and discovered the true object of the proposition. It is the modern introduction of yeas and nays which has given the means of placing a rejected motion on the journals: and it is likely that the speaker, who, as treasurer, was to be the loan officer, and had the direction of the journals, would choose to omit an entry of the motion in this case.

This accounts sufficiently for the absence of any trace of the motion on the journals. There was no suspicion then, so far at least as I knew, that Mr. Robinson had used the public money in private loans to his friends, and that the secret object of this scheme was to transfer those debtors to the public, and thus clear his accounts.

I have diligently examined the names of the members on the journals of , to see if any were still living, to whose memory we might recur on this subject; but I find not a single one now remaining in life. The only surviving member of that year is Paul Carrington, sen. He took his seat in the house after the debate in question. The exclamation above quoted by my correspondent as having electrified Mr. Henry's hearers, is a striking specimen of one of his great excellences in speaking; which was, the power of condensing the substance of a long argument, into one short pithy question.

The hearer was surprised, in finding himself brought so suddenly and so clearly, to a just conclusion. He could scarcely conceive how it was effected; and could not fail to regard, with high admiration, the power of that intellect, which could come at its ends by so short a course, and work out its purposes with the quickness and certainty of magic. The aristocracy were startled at such a phenomenon from the plebeian ranks. They could not be otherwise than indignant at the presumption of an obscure and unpolished rustic, who, without asking the support or countenance of any patron among themselves, stood upon his own ground, and bearded them even in their strong hold.

That this rustic should have been able too, by his single strength, to baffle their whole phalanx and put it to rout, was a mortification too humiliating to be easily borne. They affected to ridicule his vicious and depraved pronunciation, the homespun coarseness of his language, and his hypocritical canting in relation to his humility and ignorance. But they could not help admiring and envying his wonderful gift; that thorough knowledge of the human heart which he displayed; that power of throwing his reasoning into short and clear aphorisms; which, desultory as they were, supplied in a great degree, the place of method and logic; that imagination so copious, poetic, and sublime; the irresistible Page 55 power with which he caused every passion to rise at his bidding; and all the rugged might and majesty of his eloquence.

From this moment, he had no friends on the aristocratic side of the house. They looked upon him with envy and with terror. They were forced at length to praise his genius; but that praise was wrung from them, with painful reluctance. They would have denied it, if they could. They would have overshadowed it; and did at first try to overshadow it, by magnifying his defects; but it would have been as easy for them to have eclipsed the splendour of the sun by pointing to his spots.

If, however, he had lost one side of the house by his undaunted manner of blowing up this aristocratic project, he had made the other side his fast friends. They had listened with admiration, unmixed with envy. Their souls had been struck with amazement and rapture and thrilled with unspeakable sensations which they had never felt before. The man too, who had produced these effects, was one of themselves. This was balm to them; for there is a wide difference between that distant admiration, which we pay as a tax, due to long-standing merit, in superior rank, and that throbbing applause which rushes spontaneously and warm from the heart, towards a new man and an equal.

There is always something of latent repining, approaching to resentment, mingled with that respect which is exacted from us by rank; and we feel a secret gratification in seeing it humbled. In the same proportion, we love the man who has given us this gratification, and avenged as it were, our own past indignities.

Such was precisely the state of feeling which Mr. Henry produced, on the present occasion. The lower ranks of the house beheld and heard him with gratitude and Page 56 veneration. They regarded him as a sturdy and wide spreading oak, beneath whose cool and refreshing shade they might take refuge from those beams of aristocracy, that had played upon them so long, with rather an unpleasant heat. After this victorious sally upon their party, the former leaders of the house, were not very well disposed to look with a favourable eye, on any proposition which he should make.

They had less idea of contributing to foster the popularity and pamper the power of a man, who seemed born to be their scourge, and to drag down their ancient honours to the dust. It was in this unpropitious state of things, after having waited in vain for some step to be taken on the other side of the house, and when the session was within three days of its expected close, that Mr. Henry introduced his celebrated resolutions on the stamp act. I will not withhold from the reader a note of this transaction from the pen of Mr.

It is a curiosity, and highly worthy of preservation. After his death, there was found among his papers one sealed, and thus endorsed: "Inclosed are the resolutions of the Virginia assembly in , concerning the stamp act. Let my executors open this paper. Henry's hand-writing.

On the back of the paper containing those resolutions, is the following endorsement, which is also in the handwriting of Mr. They formed the first opposition to the stamp act, and the scheme of taxing America by the British parliament. All the colonies, either through fear, or want of opportunity to form an opposition, or from influence of some Page 58 kind or other, had remained silent. I had been for the first time elected a burgess, a few days before, was young, inexperienced, unacquainted with the forms of the house, and the members that composed it. Upon offering them to the house, violent debates ensued.

Many threats were uttered, and much abuse cast on me, by the party for submission. After a long and warm contest, the resolutions passed by a very small majority, perhaps of one or two only. The alarm spread throughout America with astonishing quickness, and the ministerial party were overwhelmed. The great point of resistance to British taxation was universally established in the colonies.

This brought on the war, which finally separated the two countries, and gave independence to ours. Whether this will prove a blessing or a curse, will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Such is the short, plain and modest account which Mr.