Page 379. " and judgment of Pitt "

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (1708 – 1778) (Pitt the Elder) was a British Whig statesman.  He entered parliament in February 1735, and was appointed as paymaster general in 1746.  While it had been the usual practice of previous paymasters to appropriate to themselves the interest of all money under their control, and to take a commission on all foreign subsidies, Pitt refused to profit in this manner.  He thus established a reputation for honesty and placing the interests of the nation before his own. He became known as The Great Commoner and was extremely popular with the British public, despite his frequent run-ins with three King Georges and various Prime Ministers. 

He governed Britain from 1757 to 1761, and secured victory in the Seven Year’s War.  He was renowned for single-minded devotion to victory over France, and his antagonism toward Spain, Britain's rivals for colonial power.  The London Magazine of 1766 offered 'Pitt, Pompadour, Prussia, Providence' as the reasons for Britain's success in the war. 

Pitt had an impressive command of rhetoric and debate.  He was also well known for his opposition to corruption in government.  His advocacy of British greatness, expansionism and colonialism has earned him the label of the first Imperialist in modern English history. 

Coat of arms of the Pitt family
Public DomainCoat of arms of the Pitt family - Credit: The Complete Book of Heraldry

In 1766 King George III tasked Pitt with forming a new government.  Pitt chose for himself the office of Lord Privy Seal, and became Earl of Chatham and Viscount Pitt.  He resigned in 1768. 

Dr. Johnson is reported to have said that "Walpole was a minister given by the king to the people, but Pitt was a minister given by the people to the king."  Pitt understood the importance of public opinion as the paramount power in the state, and used it throughout his political career.

His son, William Pitt the Younger, went on to become Prime Minister at a young age and lead Britain for more than twenty years.

Page 380. " Vanbrugh and Congreve copied nature "
John Vanbrugh
Public DomainJohn Vanbrugh - Credit: Sir Godfrey Kneller

Sir John Vanbrugh (baptised 1664 - 1726) was an English architect and dramatist.  He designed Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard, and created what came to be known as English Baroque.  He wrote two controversial Restoration comedies, The Relapse (1696) and The Provoked Wife (1697), which were condemned for being sexually explicit, and for putting forward a strong defence for women’s rights in marriage. 

As a young Whig, he was part of the scheme to overthrow James II and put William III (William of Orange) on the throne to protect parliamentary democracy.  He spent 4,5 years in prison in France on charges of espionage, from 1688 to 1692. 

Both Vanbrugh and Congreve had their careers cut short by a change in public taste, which turned away from the intellectual and sexually explicit Restoration comedy style toward more serious, morally upstanding content.  Both playwrights came under fire from Jeremy Colliers, who’s A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage, condemned their work for failing to uphold ‘exemplary morality.’ 


Page 380. " the centaur, the chimera "
Public DomainCentaur - Credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

A centaur is a creature of ancient Greek mythology, with the torso of a human joined at the waist to a horse.  Centaurs are portrayed in many Greek myths as wild as untamed horses. Contests with the Centaurs typify the struggle between civilization and barbarism.

Bellerophon killing Chimaera
Public DomainBellerophon killing Chimaera - Credit: Rhodes archaeological museum
The Chimera in Greek mythology is a monstrous fire-breathing, three headed creature, comprising the head and body of a lioness, with the head of a goat rising out of its back, and a serpent or a dragon as a tail.  The term chimera has come to describe any mythical animal with parts taken from various animals.

Page 386. " so I am going to Pallmall "

View of St James's Palace, Pall Mall etc 1763
Public DomainView of St James's Palace, Pall Mall etc 1763 - Credit: Thomas Bowles
Pall Mall is a street in the City of Westminster, London.  It runs parallel to The Mall, from St. James's Street across Waterloo Place to the Haymarket.  It name is derived from "pall mall", a mallet-and-ball game that was played there during the 17th century.

The freehold of nearly all of the southern side of the Pall Mall has belonged to the crown for several hundred years, and is still owned by the Crown Estate.  The street is home to St James’s Palace, and Marlborough House, which was once a royal residence.  The Prince Regent’s Carlton House once stood at the eastern end of the street.

In more recent times, it has been the home of the War Office, which was based at Cumberland House, and many gentlemen’s clubs, dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Page 399. " Orpheus and Amphion went a little farther "
Orpheus and the Beasts
Public DomainOrpheus and the Beasts - Credit: Sebastiaan Vrancx 1595

Orpheus was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. He was able to charm birds, fish and wild beasts with his music, coax the trees and rocks to dance, and divert the course of rivers.  Greeks of the Classical age venerated him as the greatest of all poets and musicians.  He attempted to retrieve his wife from the underworld (and almost succeeded), using his music to soften the hearts of Hades and Persephone.  He practiced magical arts and astrology, founded cults to Apollo and Dionysus and prescribed the mystery rites preserved in Orphic texts.

Amphion statue, Vienna
Public DomainAmphion statue, Vienna - Credit: schurl50

Greek mythology describes Amphion and Zethus as the twin sons of Zeus and Antiope.  Amphion became a great singer and musician, after Hermes gave him a golden lyre and taught him to play. Zethus became a hunter and herdsman.  When the city of Thebes needed protection, the brothers built the city walls.  While Zethus hauled rocks to build the wall, Amphion relied on his magical lyre to charm the rocks and stones to do his bidding, persuading them to assemble themselves into the massive fortifications that protected the kingdom and its treasures.