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Atheist Questions the Practice of Halloween...
Sir Francis Dashwood | 10-31-01 | Sir Francis Dashwood

Posted on 11/03/2001 5:06:55 PM PST by Sir Francis Dashwood

It never ceases to amaze me that most Christians would criticize me for being an atheist, yet they will "celebrate" a macabre pagan holiday. They inculcate their children into the practice of it and feed them the most unhealthful things you could give a child to eat.

Likewise, many atheists criticize me for being a "right-winger." Most atheists are so caught up in their polemics, they have become nothing more than anti-Christians - or what I call the Religious Left (a collaboration of the Marxist religion, neo-pagan animal/tree/earth worshipper eco-fascists and general technophobes).

Why do you "celebrate" on certain "holidays," what are you celebrating, do you really know? Or have you been so lost in the conformity of it all to really take a look at what you partake in?

TOPICS: Editorial; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: faithandphilosophy
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
Many interesting comments to you Sir. As a Christian, I do understand your concerns...many people who are informed are more understanding. I think some of the comments prove that ignorance is a choice.
41 posted on 11/03/2001 6:08:13 PM PST by Faithfull
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
I don't subscribe to your low opinion of people. I certainly don't dislike them as much either.
42 posted on 11/03/2001 6:08:19 PM PST by SoDak
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To: Darheel
Haloween is for kids...

It's for the children. I heard enough of that crap in eight years of the Clintongs.

43 posted on 11/03/2001 6:09:04 PM PST by Sir Francis Dashwood
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Your juvenile rants against all things religious.
44 posted on 11/03/2001 6:09:21 PM PST by ConservativeNJdad
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
Trick-or-treating is just to dress up and get candy. It's not a pagan day unless you do something more than that with it or want it be mean a pagan day. When kids go out trick-or-treating, they just think about the candy they'll get, they aren't thinking about religion one way or the other.
45 posted on 11/03/2001 6:10:43 PM PST by FITZ
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OWK, how many atheists do you think there are on FR?
46 posted on 11/03/2001 6:13:39 PM PST by xm177e2
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To: Faithfull
Yes. Another one who gets it.

Despite his obvious spiritual leanings, Roy Masters has taught me that these things have meanings.

I find the emotional disturbance in some of the responses most telling, don't you?

47 posted on 11/03/2001 6:15:18 PM PST by Sir Francis Dashwood
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To: ConservativeNJdad
Your juvenile rants against all things religious.

On the contrary. I don't rant against all things religious. In fact I have a rather profound respect for many practitioners of many faiths. I respect those who actually practice the Christian faith most particularly. My most profound friends (on FR and otherwise) are devout Christians.

But unfortunately those who actually practice the faith are exceedingly rare. A fair number simply profess it, while acting like sanctimonius self-righteous jackasses.

It is THEY (those who think Jesus told them to spit in the eye of their fellow men while proclaiming their own righteousness) who draw my criticism. And rightfully so.

And of course that criticism is always scorned as "Christian bashing" by the most obnoxious and petty of self-righteous self-absorbed dunderheads... Because they pridefully look at any criticism of their own actions, as criticism of Christianity....

But of course if they were behaving like Christ instructed, they wouldn't have drawn the criticism to begin with.

Never seems to dawn on 'em though.

48 posted on 11/03/2001 6:19:15 PM PST by OWK
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To: xm177e2
OWK, how many atheists do you think there are on FR?

I would guess several hundred. Maybe a thousand.

49 posted on 11/03/2001 6:20:12 PM PST by OWK
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
Sir Francis Dashwood, I do hate Halloween and I hate "Santa Claus". Halloween is a time when people identify with and celebrate witches, warlocks, and every evil thing. This is often done under the guise of harmlessness. It is not harmless to lift up evil for any reason. It's like playing with fire. Also, the thing I most hate about "Santa Claus" is the fact that he is a lie that parents tell their childern. I don't think parents should lie to their children. Also all that "Santa Claus" stuff tends to take away from the real message of Christmas.

The "Freedom of Thought Foundation" (Annie Gaylord) in Madison are the leaders in this country when it comes to keeping God out of public places but they are complete hypocrits because they do not care if witches and gobblins and devils are in schools on Halloween and do not care that Madison's parks have pagoda likenesses in them. They obviously mainly hate the God of the Christians and Jews. They seem to hate him much more then not believe in his existance. And as some might say, I am not a sour puss or someone who is unhappy because I do not practice an evil holiday. I am merely a discerning Christian. Ex atheist, Kathleen

50 posted on 11/03/2001 6:27:26 PM PST by Bellflower
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
"most Christians would criticize me for being an atheist"

Sir Francis Dashwood
"Occultist, 18th century. Organizer and Superior of a lewd Satanic circle known as the Medmenham Franciscans"
actually, most people would criticize you for being stupid, of being a pervert, n wasting a lot of peoples time Audio

51 posted on 11/03/2001 6:27:45 PM PST by hoot2
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To: Bellflower
"Freedom of Thought Foundation" 'I do hate Halloween and I hate "Santa Claus'

lol, save it slappy.

'It's for the children. I heard enough of that crap in eight years of the Clintongs.'

Yeah, so much you can't tell what fun is anymore. Libs should ban things like Satan worship and pedophilia, they'd have a lot more success and cooperation from reasonable people. But then I don't expect much from people who don't believe in anything.

52 posted on 11/03/2001 6:36:01 PM PST by Darheel
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
Actually Halloween is called all-hallowed eve, as it is the the day before all Saints day.
53 posted on 11/03/2001 6:36:17 PM PST by Valin
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To: hoot2
wasting a lot of peoples time

That most of all.

The guy's obviously a troll.

54 posted on 11/03/2001 6:37:13 PM PST by OWK
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
Na...its not the sugar....its the dimwits who make it impossible to correct your children for fear of a law suit or police action. Its the Dr. Spocks of the world...its the kids going to government schools that worry more about their self esteam then they do their 3 r's, which has turned out a bunch of brats who think their crap don't stink and they're always right.....nope, its not the sugar..but it IS the junk our kids are are exposed to...
55 posted on 11/03/2001 6:45:09 PM PST by Timetowakeup
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood


56 posted on 11/03/2001 6:47:51 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: hoot2

Paul Smith

1698…Dashwood family acquire the estate at West Wycombe in Buckinghamshire from Thomas Lewes, who was married to a member of the Dashwood family.

1710…Sir Francis Dashwood Senior builds a square, red-bricked mansion in the Queen Anne style, at West Wycombe (The Dashwood family made a great fortune trading with Turkey and China in the 17th century, and had links with West Wycombe since 1670).

1721- 1742…Sir Robert Walpole, first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1724…Not yet 16, Sir Francis Dashwood succeeded to his father’s baronetcy and estate at West Wycombe – his tutor was said to have been a Catholic Jacobite, the family having mild Jacobite leanings. Dashwood was later to write of Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, to Earl Sandwich:

E "I am at one with this gallant Prince, he has all the gifts of a true leader and above all he is honest. But I detest most heartily the fripperies of Rome which emanate from his entourage…Should the Prince truly come into his own, it is difficult to see how he could keep away from their influence".

1729- 1731…Sir Francis Dashwood visits Italy – no letters extant.

1730…Chevalier Andrew Ramsay, The Travels of Cyrus: E "…stood the statue of the Goddess (Isis), cover’d with a veil, upon which were represented the figures of the celestial and terrestrial bodies; on the other side was the statue of Harpocrates, holding one hand upon his mouth, and pointing to the Goddess on the other."

1733…Sir Francis Dashwood visits the new capital of Russia, St Petersburg – where he masqueraded as the late Charles XII of Sweden, former adversary of Peter the Great.

1734- 1735…Sir Francis Dashwood visits Greece and Turkey – no letters have survived. It could have been during this tour that Dashwood came across the idea to record what was left of the shattered Temples of the ancient world before they disappeared forever.

1735…Sir Francis Dashwood joined the Sublime Society of Beefsteaks.

1736…Formation of the Dilettante Society – devoted to "eating, drinking and discussing the arts". When it acquired status and money, Dashwood became very active in promoting expeditions of architects and draughtsmen to survey and draw reconstructions of the almost-lost classical ruins. E The box containing the Minute-Book and Dinner-Money was called Bacchus’ Tomb, which resembled a miniature Roman sarcophagus, its lid designed by the artist, George Knapton.

1736…Extract from Chevalier Andrew Ramsay’s Oration: E

"Yes Gentlemen, the famous festivals of Ceres at Eleusis, of Isis at Egypt, of Minerva at Athens, of Urania among the Phoenicians, and of Diana in Scythia had a relationship to ours (Freemasons). They celebrated mysteries, in which were several vestiges of the ancient Religion of Noah and the Patriarchs" (Ramsay was a Jacobite Freemason).

1735- 1771…Creation of the House and Park by Dashwood, where the myth of Bacchus and Ariadne proved to be of particular significance to him. The Milanese painter, Giuseppi Borgnis worked on the House for the rest of his life (1751 onwards), with his son taking over and continuing on with the work.

E On the ceiling of the Great Salon there was painted a vast picture of the Admission of Psyche into the realms of the Gods, based on a painting by Raphael. E The Dining-Room ceiling bears the theme of the Triumph of Bachus and Ariadne, based on a Caracci painting in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. E The central section of the ceiling of the lower Colonnade has a painted fresco depicting Bacchus crowning Ariadne.

1738…Excavations began at Herculaneum, Italy, sponsored by the King of Naples – digging in Pompeii began 10 years later.

1739…Dashwood’s second visit to Italy, where he met Prince Charles Edward Stuart in Rome, the Young Pretender, grandson of King James II who was forced to abandon the English Throne half a century earlier. This was followed by his prank at the Sistine Chapel which Horace Walpole described thus: E

"It was on Good-Friday, when each person who attends the service in the Sistine Chapel, as he enters takes a small scourge from an attendant at the door. The chapel is dimly lighted, and there are three candles which are extinguished by the priest, one by one: at the putting out of the first, the penitents take off one part of their dress; at the next, still more; and in the darkness which follows the extinguishing of the third candle, lay on their shoulders, with groans and lamentations….Sir Francis Dashwood, thinking this mere stage effect, entered with others, dressed in a large watchman’s coat, demurely took his scourge from the priest and advanced to the end of the chapel, where, on the darkness ensuing, he drew from beneath his coat an English horsewhip and flogged right and left quite down the chapel and made his escape, the congregation exclaiming Il Diavolo! Il Diavolo! and thinking the evil one was upon them with a vengeance. The consequences of this frolic might have been serious to him, had he not immediately left the Papal dominions."

1740…Charles de Brosse, a French visitor to Rome, referred to a "Chevalier Ashewd", who took the leading part in a mock conclave during the election of a new Pope that year, dressed up as Cardinal Ottiboni – being one of the three Cardinals who advised Pope Clement XII to act against Freemasonry – he also claimed that Dashwood had a repertory of licentious songs against the Papacy, possibly the poems of Pietro Aretino’s verses against various ecclesiastical practices: evidence suggests that Dashwood bought a copy of Aretino’s work for his library at West Wycombe.

1741…Dashwood elected as Member of Parliament for New Romney.

1742…Entry in the Minute Book of the Dilettante Society: E "That every member of the Society do make a present of his Picture in Oil Colours, drawn by Geo. Knapton, a member, to be hung up in the Room where the said Society meets." (Dashwood was depicted as a Monk, a glass of wine in his hands, his attention fixed at Venus, with the inscription ‘San Francesco Di Wycombo’ in the form of a Halo around his head – Hogarth later painted a version of this).

1744…Dashwood founder-member of the short-lived Divan Club, terminated in 1746. Qualification for membership having been to a part of the Sultan’s Empire; and wearing a Turban at its meetings ("The Harem" was a regular toast at its dinners).

1745…Dashwood marries the widow, Lady Sarah Ellis, described by Horace Walpole as "a poor, forlorn Presbyterian prude" – the marriage produced no children, being based solely upon mutual esteem and affection.

1746…Sir Francis Dashwood elected member of The Royal Society.

1747…Dashwood re-elected as Member of Parliament for New Romney.

1748…Dashwood organises the construction of a new road at West Wycombe – a two-mile stretch of the London to Oxford road connecting High Wycombe and West Wycombe which had fallen into disrepair (completed in 1752). E Caves were produced as a result of the excavations for road-material: a tunnel runs on, sloping downwards, crossing an underground stream and ending at a small circular chamber a quarter of a mile from the entrance. None of the tunnelling beyond the main cave, which has a Gothick front and side walls, was necessary for the road-building.

1749…Thomas Nugent, The Grand Tour (4 Volumes) – a guidebook for tourists.

1751…The Duffield family lease Medmenham Abbey, on the Thames near Marlow, to Dashwood who then sent his builders and gardeners from West Wycombe to transform the House into a Clubhouse – a carefully ruined square tower was added to one end of the building and a cloister of three arches along the side of the House facing the river; stained-glass windows of a vaguely ecclesiastical nature replacing plain ones, with Giuseppi Borgnis painting frescos in parts of the Abbey and Maurice-Louis Jolivet replanning the gardens. E Over the main door of the Abbey are the celebrated words of Rabelais: Fay Ce Que Voudras ("Do As You Will"). E The surviving correspondence and fragments of the cellar-book demonstrate that the members of the Club were almost Dashwood’s local friends and family – membership included Francis Duffield and John Wilkes, MP for Aylesbury (known as "Brother John of Aylesbury"). E Typical Menu: "Soupe de Sante; Soupe au bourgeoisie; carp; pupton of partridge; Cullets a la Maine; beef; Huffle of…., a stewed Lyon; and Pain Perdu." E According to Wilkes, at one end of the Dining-Room there stood a figure of Harpocrates, the Egyptian god of silence, with a finger to his lips, and, at the other end, the figure of the obscure goddess Angerona in the same pose.

1752…Survey map of West Wycombe Park drawn by Maurice-Louis Jolivet – a little stream was dammed to make a lake with islands and a cascade; trees were planted and a broad walk created.

1752…Tower of church of St Lawrence raised and capped with a Golden Ball – 80 feet above ground, seven feet across, with a trap-door for access with wooden seats inside to accommodate three or four people. E John Wilkes, along with the Rev Charles Churchill, was invited for "divine milk punch" in the Golden Ball in 1763. He wrote "…the magnificent gilt ball on the top of the steeple, which is hollowed and made so very convenient in the inside for the celebrations not of devotional, but of convivial rites…the best Globe Tavern I was ever in…I must own that I was afraid my descent from it would have been as precipitate as his Lordship’s was from a high station, which turned his head, too. I admire likewise the silence and secrecy which reigns in that great globe, undisturbed, by his jolly songs very unfit for the profane ears of the world below".

1753…Robert Wood, Ruins of Palmyra – who was elected as member of the Dilettante Society in 1763.

1754…Dashwood re-elected Member of Parliament for New Romney.

1754…Letter to John Wilkes from Richard Grenville, 1st Earl Temple: E

"It is very gracious of the pious Aeneas, after his love-feast, to keep up friendship with one who has so slender a claim to be admitted to the table of the Saints. I shall only now and then drink to the pious memory of the delightful moments I have spent in your wicked company".

1757…Dashwood commissioned as Colonel of the Bucks Militia by the Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Richard Grenville, 1st Earl Temple. Dashwood appointed John Wilkes to be his Lieutenant-Colonel.

1757…Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) elected member of The Royal Society.

1758…Letter from Sir William Stanhope to Sir Francis Dashwood, in which he said that he was sending some books to the Abbey, "hoping they will now and then occasion an extraordinary ejaculation to be sent up to Heaven."

1761…Sir Francis Dashwood elected as Member of Parliament for Weymouth & Melcombe Regis.

1762…Nicholas Revett & James ‘Athenian’ Stuart, The Antiquities of Athens – written under the auspices of the Dilettante Society.

1762…John Hall Stevenson, Crazy Tales – referring to "Franciscan Makaronies of Medmenham and the brethren of Pall Mall, who make use of a Latin of their own manufacture – Makaroni Latin". E

Stevenson, once a welcome guest at Medmenham Abbey, founded the Demoniacks Club in 1733 at Skelton Castle in Yorkshire, which he inherited and renamed "Crazy Castle".

1762…Sir Francis Dashwood, against his wishes, appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer; also against the wishes of George Doddington – with John Wilkes jibing that Dashwood was incapable of reckoning-up a Tavern Bill – resulting in friction developing between rival politicians belonging to the same club.

1762…Sir Francis Dashwood rebuilt the nave, stripped the chancel and redesigned the whole interior of St Lawrence’s church – being a reconstruction of the interior of the Temple of the Sun at Palmyra, near Damascus. When it was re-opened on 3 July 1763, the Gentleman’s Magazine commented: "it is reckoned the most beautiful country church in England". Ev Mrs Libbe-Powys - "…it gives one not the least idea of a place sacred to religious worship. ‘Tis a very superb Egyptian Hall, no pews, pulpit or desk except two ornamental seats which answer the two latter purposes. The font is shown as an elegant toy; in fine, it has only the appearance of a neat ballroom with rows of forms on each side". E

John Wilkes - "Some churches have been built for devotion, others from parade of vanity. I believe this is the first church which has ever been built for a prospect…built on the top of a hill for the convenience and devotion of the town at the bottom of it". E

Rev Charles Churchill: "A temple built aloft in air That serves for show and not for prayer". E

On the ceiling of the chancel, Giovanni Borgnis painted an original Last Supper – where the eyes of Judas Iscariot followed everyone around the whole chancel.

1763…Sir Francis Dashwood appointed as Lord Despenser – later as Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire.

1763… "…there are two orders of Friars, a Superior, comprising the Apostles, and an Inferior, including visitors and those yet not elected to the inner councils of the Order". Also adding that there was a "chapel" (ie. a Chapter Room) in the Abbey, "but nobody is suffered to go into it but the members. It is said to be furnished with bawdy pictures…the decorations may well be supposed to have contained the quintessence of their mysteries, since it was impenetrable to any but the initiated". – Description of an unauthorised visit to Medmenham Abbey by Horace Walpole, in Journals of Visits to Country Seats (a poet, the youngest son of Sir Robert Walpole, who settled in Twickenham at Strawberry Hill, turning the house into a pseudo-Gothic showplace).

1763…John Almon & John Wilkes, The New Foundling Hospital For Wits: E "No profane eye has ever dared to penetrate into the English Eleusinian Mysteries of the Chapter Room, where the monks assembled on solemn occasions, the more secret rites were performed and libations poured forth in much pomp to the BONA DEA ("Divine Mother"). I shall only venture to relate what many mortal eyes have seen, and "Let it be right (ie. not sacrilegious) for me to report what I have heard"(in Latin). At the end of the passage over the door was AUDE HOSPES CONTEMNERE OPES ("Dare, O guest, to despise wealth")." E "The garden, in the grove, the orchard, the neighbouring woods, all spoke the loves frailties of the younger monks, who seemed at least to have sinned naturally…at the entrance of a cave was Venus, stooping to pull a thorn out of her foot. The statue turned from you (in such a position that any intruder would unexpectedly bump into the hindpart of the nude Goddess of Love), and just over the two nether hills of snow were the lines of Virgil: ‘This is the place where the road divides itself into two directions; this way is the path to Elysium for us; but the left one is the place for punishments of the wicked, and leads to impious Tartarus’ (in Latin)." E "The favourite doctrine of the Abbey was certainly not penitence, for in the centre of the orchard was a very grotesque figure, and in his hand a reed stood flaming tipt with fire, to use Milton’s words, and you might trace out Peni Tento, non Penitenti ("Penis tense, not Penitence"). On the pedestal was a whimsical representation of Trophonius’ Cave, from whence all creatures were said to come out melancholy. Among that strange, dismal group, you might, however, remark a cock crowing and a Carmelite laughing. The words Gallum Gallinaceum Et Sacerdotem Gratis were only legible". (The latter Latin inscription referred to the Latin saying meaning, "Every creature is melancholy after sexual intercourse except a barnyard cock and a priest getting it for nothing".) E "Among the amusements they had sometimes a mock celebration of the more ridiculous rites of the foreign orders of the Church of Rome, of the Franciscans in particular, for the gentlemen had taken that title from their founder, Sir Francis Dashwood."

1763…Anonymous piece placed by John Wilkes in The Public Advertiser: E "This day is published a New Ludicrasto called ‘Secrets of a Convent’, etched by that droll novice Pietro Apastino and published by Matt Darly – a print depicting Dashwood in a monk’s robe, seated before an altar on which stood a replica of the Medici Venus, a glass of wine in his hand, and on the floor a book inscribed Hymns by Ovid. Beside Dashwood stands the figure of Paul Whitehead with his book, Memoirs, under his arm. Beneath the picture is the poem: E"Once on a Time, as Fame reported, When Friar Paul St Francis courted, Thus Francis answer’d, You’re no Novice, You well deserve the Jewel Office. A Place of Trust your Faith will suit, You shall demand it at Laird Boot, Your MANNERS, Morals, Virtues, Grace, Call loudly for a goodly Place, Success attend you, I’ll be blunt, My dearest Brother, here is….."

1764…Attack on John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, by the Rev Charles Churchill in The Candidate: E"While womanhood, in habit of a nun, At Medmenham lies, by backward monks undone, A nation’s reckoning, like an ale-house score, Whilst Paul the Aged chalks behind the door, Compelled to hire a foe to cast it up, Dashwood shall pour from a communion cup, Libations to the goddess without eyes, And hob or nob in cider and excise."

1765…Charles Johnstone, Chrysal: The Adventures of a Guinea, a comic-novel published anonymously. E Volume 3 referred to a group of noted persons who met on an island in the Thames in a building, "erected by a person of flightly imagination on the mode of monasteries he had seen in other countries", for the purpose of indulging in nameless vices and worshipping the Devil – "No servants were ever permitted in the chapel of the monastery, as the very decorations of it would have betrayed their secrets, the ceiling being covered with emblems and devices too gross to require explanation to the meanest capacity, and the walls painted with the portraits of those whose names and characters they assumed, represented in attitudes and actions horrible to imagine… The diffidence and conscious guilt made them (the Brothers) even distrust each other till bound to secrecy by oaths and imprecations." E This was also the source of the story regarding the release of a Baboon during the summoning-up of the Devil at the Abbey, which had been hidden in a chest, "dressed in the fantastic garb in which childish imagination clothes devils". This frightened one of the Brothers to the extent of him crying out: "Spare me, gracious Devil, I am as yet but half a Sinner; I have never been as wicked as I intended!" Johnstone, who was never invited to Medmenham, implied that Wilkes was the practical joker and that Sandwich was the victim. (John Wilkes had been expelled from the House of Commons the previous year for publishing a seditious newspaper, The North Briton. At the same time, Lord Sandwich had damaged Wilkes’ moral standing by reading to the House of Lords a bawdy poem, the celebrated Essay on Woman, a parody of the works of Alexander Pope – to the composition of which Wilkes had enthusiastically contributed.)

1765…Construction of the of the Mausoleum Monument completed, beside the church of St Lawrence – a hexagonal structure with 12 Tuscan columns, based on the Emperor Constantine’s Triumphal Arch in Rome (a painting of it still hangs at West Wycombe), and Rabelais’ Abbey of Thélème (Dashwood had two copies of Rabelais, one in French and one in English). The six-sided shape could also be a reference to the Cabala – its sixth emanation being the ‘Sephiroth’, representing the divine force that impels life to continue and symbolised by the Sun (Christian Cabalists associate it with Christ). The catalogue of Dashwood’s library included a copy of Conjectura Cabalistica, published by Henry More in 1653. E The Mausoleum was originally built with the money of £500 left to Dashwood by George Dodington, who died in 1762, for "building an arch, temple, column or additional room" as a memorial to their long friendship. Inside the Mausoleum, the name of George Dodington, Baron Melcombe Regis, was carved in great letters and, in a niche, was a portrait-bust of him.

1766…Sir Francis Dashwood appointed as Postmaster-General.

1766…John Tucker, a founder-member of the Club at Medmenham Abbey, wrote in consternation to Dashwood: "I was last Sunday at Medmenham and to my amazement found the Chapter Room stripped naked."

1768…John Wilkes, Political Register: E "At a place called Medmenham Abbey in Buckinghamshire indeed was a society of gentlemen who had sometimes a mock celebration of the ridiculous rites of the Monkish orders."

1769…Dashwood’s wife died – buried in the family vault in St Lawrence’s church. A memorial to her was built in the very centre of the hexagonal Mausoleum: a stone canopy on four columns, beneath which was an urn on a tall plinth, with the words, "May this Cenotaph, sacred to the Virtues and Graces that constitute female Excellence, perpetuate the memory of Sarah, Baroness Le Despenser, who finished a most exemplary life January the 19th 1769".

1770…Addition of a west-wing to the House, being a replica of the Temple of Bacchus at Telos, near Smyrna, from drawings made by Nicholas Revett for the Dilettante Society – having three pictures by William Hannan above a statue of Bacchus: in the centre the Chariot of the Night, on one side a Bacchic procession, and on the other Bacchus crowning Ariadne (copied from a work by Guido Reni). The west-wing became the new main entrance to the House, the drive through the Park being relaid to take visitors there.

1771…Opening of the newly constructed west-wing of the House – a staged celebration was organised by Dashwood, who invited many of his friends. From an eyewitness account contained in Thomas Langley, The History of Antiquities of the Hundred of Desborough (1797): E "The delightful gardens of West Wycombe were opened to the public and a novel exhibition took place in one of the rural walks. A fine portico at the west end of the house has been lately erected (in imitation of that of the Temple of Bacchus) for the dedication of which a Bacchanalian procession was formed of Bacchanals, Priests, Pans, Fauns, Satyrs, Silenus, etc., all in proper habits and skins wreathed with vine leaves, ivy, oak, etc. On the arrival of the procession in the portico the High Priest addressed the Statue in an Invocation which was succeeded by several hymns, and other pieces of music vocal and instrumental suitable to the occasion, and having finished the sacrifice proceeded through the grove to a Tent pitched among several others at the head of the lake where the Paeans and libations were repeated – then ferrying to a vessel adorned with colours and streamers, again performed various ceremonies with discharges of cannon and bursts of acclamations from the populace. The ceremony was finished by a congratulatory address or ode to the Deity of the place. Several of the company wore masques on this occasion."

1773…Anonymous piece in Town and Country Magazine: E "(The Franciscans)…always meet in one general set at meals, where, for the improvement of mirth, pleasantry, and gaiety, every member is allowed to introduce a Lady of a cheerful disposition."

1773…Benjamin Franklin, the American Deputy Postmaster-General, guest at West Wycombe. He wrote: E

"I am in this house as much at my ease as if it was my own, and the gardens are a paradise. But a pleasanter thing is the kind countenance, the facetious and very intelligent conversation of Mine Host, who, having been for many years engaged in public affairs, seen all parts of Europe, and kept the best company in the world, is himself the best existing." E "…the exquisite sense of classical design, charmingly reproduced by the Lord Le Despenser at West Wycombe, whimsical and puzzling as it may sometimes be in its imagery, is as evident below the earth as above it." E

With Benjamin Franklin, Dashwood produced a revised edition of the Book of Common Prayer for the Church of England, entitled The Franklin Prayer Book, omitting all readings from the Old Testament, which became popular in America – but was rejected by the British Bishops.

1774…Paul Whitehead, former Steward and keeper of the Minute-Book of the Medmenham Club, died wishing his body to be left to science but his heart preserved: "…that my heart be taken out…the purchase of a marble urn…, in which I desire it may be deposited and placed…in some corner of his Mausoleum, as a Memorial of its Owner’s warm attachment to the Noble Founder." His wish was granted – his heart was placed on a black-draped bier carried by six soldiers of the Bucks Militia, the choir of St Lawrence’s church singing a specially composed piece for the occasion as the procession entered the hexagonal monument: "From Earth to Heaven, Whitehead’s soul is fled, Immortal glories beam around his head…." E The Greek god Dionysus died by being torn to pieces and eaten by his ecstatic worshippers – his heart was preserved in a basket, from which he was reborn, according to Diodorus Siculus. Surviving vase-paintings and fragments of reliefs show that "heart" was a euphemism for "penis".

1775…Baptismal Register: "Jan 12th, Rachel Fanny Antonina, daughter of Lord Le Despenser and Frances Barry." John Hall Stevenson, in his Monkish Epitaphs, criticised Dashwood for being interested in a woman less than half his age: E "Who knows but you may fall in love Like Dashwood, when you are sixty-three The Caput Mortuum, we descry, Of vice in Harrington’s ananity, But in a dotard’s love-sick eye, The Caput Mortuum of insanity."

1776…Dashwood acquires the lease of Round Tar Island from Sir Thomas Stapleton, on the River Thames between Cookham and Marlow, as a base for boating and fishing.

1777…Captain Edward Thompson, The Life and Poems of Paul Whitehead – which included a brief life of the author in a Preface: E Thompson claimed that Whitehead burnt a large quantity of papers during the last three days before his death (Langley assumed that these included the Minute-Book). E Thompson referred to a claim made by Whitehead, that "San Francesco obtained from Coustance (a notorious book dealer) the most cryptic and hell-invoking book from which our rites were most efficaciously parodied." E On the Medmenham Club, Thompson concluded – "Now all that can be said from the publication of these ceremonies is, that a set of worthy, jolly fellows, happy disciples of Venus and Bacchus, got occasionally together, to celebrate Woman in wine; and, to give more zest to the festive meeting, they plucked every luxurious idea from the ancients, and enriched their own modern pleasures with the addition of classical luxury."

1778…Dashwood gave up the lease of Medmenham Abbey, the property being sold to Robert Sawyer of Heywood, Berkshire.

1781…Sir Francis Dashwood died whilst preparing to go on another Tour to Italy, having been in ill health for some time, and leaving about £6,000 worth of wine in his cellars. He altered his will just before his death, leaving almost everything to his illegitimate son Francis by the actress Frances Barry. He was buried beside his wife and parents in the family vault in St Lawrence’s church.

57 posted on 11/03/2001 6:51:02 PM PST by Sir Francis Dashwood
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To: Valin
"Originally, All Hallows' Eve was one of the great fire festivals of Britain at the time of the Druids. In Scotland it was associated with the time when the spirits of the dead, the demons, witches, and sorcerers were usually active and propitious. Paradoxically, All Hallows' Eve was also a night when young people performed magical rituals to determine their future marriage partners. The youth of the villages carried on with much merry-making and sensual revelry, but the older people took great care to safeguard their homes from the evil spirits, witches, and demons who had exceptional power that night..."

Can you guess my source???

58 posted on 11/03/2001 6:55:54 PM PST by Sir Francis Dashwood
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
And so, what are you? as one who might've clicked-on to Philosophy a little more often
but for a need to ask such seemingly elementary questions.
59 posted on 11/03/2001 6:56:32 PM PST by onedoug
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Comment #60 Removed by Moderator

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