Thursday, March 13, 2008

Badollet Part Two "Progressive Thinker"


Badollet had the great privilege, or curse as he sometimes saw it, to be amidst the turbulent times of change in this country's history. He met and associated with Francis Wright (women's movement in early to mid 1800's), Tecumseh (arguably one of the greatest Amer Indian chiefs), William Henry Harrison (whom Badollet loathed very publicly, the man responsible for killing Tecumseh, signing many illegal treaties with the Amer Indians, oh..and a President of the US).

Badollet helped the Harmony Society purchase land and admired and associated with many of its great founders, artist, and humanitarians, which included Francis Wright, Robert Owen, the naturalist painter Charles LeSuer who was a friend of Badollet's sketching his house and Badollet himself.

Badollet did not mix words. Sometimes to his own peril.

letter to Gallatin January 30, 1792 in which his hopes for American Democracy suffered early disillusionment:
"I can hardly help deploring that in our adopted Country, true virtue, disinterestedness & genuine public Spirit are so seldom to be met with. Fair Columbia, which I have so many reasons to love, for having enlightened my mind, for having offered me an asylum when forlorn & having blessed me with many domestic endearments, Columbia fosters a good many unworthy sons.
Offices sought for on account of their emoluments without regard for the qualifications they require, public bodies filled with interested men, public measures taken to answer private views & which proves that the evil is great, nobody surprised at it. I declare that I never went to an election without a painful depression of Spirits & my pride as a freeman considerably humbled."
...Wow! Sound familiar. Does anything really change.

"When we consider that however good in theory a government may be, its stability and happiness of its beings it is destined to conduct, depend almost entirely upon the Sense and virtue of the people, is it not deplored that public instruction is in trusted to persons whose prejudices are axioms & false reasoning the trade, who confound virtue with bigotry & morals with religion? I mean clergymen of all denominations.......Why should not a general system of education become an object worthy of the attention of the legislature, why should not a catechism where the natural union of politics & morals would be established & consecrated by plain and well connected maxims, prove more beneficial to our youth than all unintelligible jargon of grace and election mongers? You need not be angry at me, Gallatin. I respect religion...but when disfigured by nonsensical sales, when converted to criminal purposes, when put in lieu of virtue, when a cloak for the wicked, then I hear her name with horror."

You go, man!
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