Monthly Archives: February 2016

Meanderings Through the Minefields of Public Opinion

This blog is about the number of people who have comments on the various blogs that I have written. There are over 2,000 responses and never has one been negative. That is the truth. They have all been positive except for the ones that are trying to sell something. Those I cancel out. These are not even the best of the best, they are fairly presented to you. Hopefully, it will inspire more people to read jimpetersblog.com.

“Wow, marvelous blog layout. How long have you been blogging for? You make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is magnificent, let alone the content.”

“In the Beginning There was An Educational System.” My title.
“It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I would definitely donate to this excellent blog! I guess for now I’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

“Paul Tsongas”
“Some genuinely interesting information. Well written and broadly speaking, user genial.”

“The Voting Practices of Indiana and the Soviet Union.”
“Good web site! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data well-written. I am wondering how I could be notified wheneveer a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your RSS which must do the trick! Have a nice day!”

“Pawtucket Dam is a National Treasure”
“I think the administrator of this site is in fact working hard for his website. Since here every stuff is quality based information.”

“St. Patrick Church”
“This website is really a walk-through for all of the information you wanted about this and did not know who to ask. Glimpse here and you will definitely discover it.”

“Paul Tsongas”
Some genuinely interesting information, well-written and broadly speaking user genial.”

“LHS Story of the Open Campus”
“I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. I am an aspiring blogger. Do you have any suggestions for novice blog writers?”

“Pawtucket Dam is a National Treasure”
“I think the administrator of this website is in fact working hard for his site, since here everything is quality based information.”

“Saint Patrick Church”
“I am bookmarking and will be tweeting this to all of my followers. Terrific blog and superb design and style.”

“First Years of a New Educational System”
“It is a remarkable post in support of all of the Internet users; they will get benefit from it, I am sure!”

“Lowell High School – 1831”
“It is not my first time to go to see this website, I am browsing this web page daily and obtain pleasant facts from here daily.”

“A Brief Synopsis of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln’s Decision to Grow a Beard”
“Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case, I will be subscribing to your feed and hoping you write again very soon.”

“A Running History of the Lowell Public Schools”\
“Wow! Incredible blog layout. How long have you been running a blog for? You made blogging look easy. The overall glance of your site is wonderful, as neatly as the content.”

“A Morning with Paul Tsongas”
“Wow! This post ROCKS!

“Education the Meeting House of our Society”
“Wow, this piece of writing is good. My sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to inform her.”

Thus, you get the idea. That is just from last week. I have hundreds or thousands of posts and I cannot read them all. But that is a fairly representative sample. So, if you are looking for something to do on your computer, insert jimpetersblog.com. I do take a lot of time choosing my stories. This week will be the Irish Catholic School system of the 1800’s. Did you know that the City Fathers wanted to give public money to the Catholic schools so they could control them? And, further, did you know that all Catholic schools were supposed to be in District Seven in the Acre? The Irish would have no part in it. They sent their children to religious schools in the Acre and accepted not one penny from the city schools. It should be an interesting read.

I had to write down some of those comments. Knowing that people are reading them is very satisfying. Thank you for your time.

My Friend

I did not know who Rady Mom was in the Democratic Primary two years ago, and I did not vote for him in the Primary Election. I noticed that he won with a relatively thin edge. I think he got in the five hundreds of votes, just enough to give him the plurality that he needed in the crowded field. I did not believe it was a strong finish and I did not pursue him to help him in his candidacy. I was not going to help anyone in the race, although some of them were friends.

One of them, a member of my church, showed me his shoes. He went through, I believe, four pairs of shoes going to every house he could. He really gave it his best effort and I voted for him.

After the election, I was called by Rady’s Campaign Manager who was a good and very old friend. He wanted me to meet this new phenomonum. I was reluctant. I had no plan to be involved in the General Election. My sister-in-law, Niki Tsongas, needed help and that was where my loyalties lay. But, I did go to talk to the Campaign Manager, and I learned about an impeccably honest candidate who was invigorated by contact with individual voters. He was being challenged by a member of an Independent Party. His foe was an independent.

I am a Democrat, and I stick to Democratic candidates. There is one issue I disagree with liberal Democrats on, but basically I agree with the party platform. So I agreed to meet Mr. Mom, a man whose name elicits all sorts of images and some jokes. He poked fun at himself more than anyone. So I met him at a friend’s house. I listened to him, was impressed with his knowledge of the situation in the state, especially in Boston. After meeting him, I must say that there was an immediate friendship. I really liked his knowledge, his demeanor, and the fact that he did not take himself seriously.

We did not have a great deal of time to solidify any new friendship. We had between the beginning of September, and all of October. November would be the hurdle.

He ran a very aggressive personal campaign. He went to every house, no matter if the people in it had not voted for him in the Primary Election. Everyone he met was greeted with a strong handshake, and a “What can I do to help you out?” I had a cane and had difficulty going on the walks. But I did it once in awhile. The more he campaigned the more invigorated he became. I had read that John F. Kennedy got strengthened by contact with the crowds; the person who noticed it was none other than Eleanor Roosevelt. It appeared to me that Rady was the same way, he got more determined with every hand he shook.

I helped out as much as I could. I was basically an observer, and I liked what I saw. I still do.

Rady got elected, and I was standing next to him when State Representative Tom Golden pinned his lapel pin on him. I have many lapel pins, but this one was special and could only be worn by persons who won election to the State House.

In his first two years, he took every call I made to him. He has a very easy telephone number, handmade for a State Representative. Sometimes he would be whispering, “Jim, I’m on the floor of the House, I will call you back.” He always called back. I trusted him to put my concerns on his list of things to do. But, there was one thing I never heard from him, and still have not heard. That is frustration with people who have been against him. He never complains.

His record is why I am voting for him this year. He never says “I” because he seems to agree with the coaches who tell their players that there is no “I” in “Team.”

Rady is a team player. He never says he did something, he says his compatriots, Tom Golden and David Nangle, deserve the credit for this improvement or this bill before the House.

This is a list of what he has helped accomplish.

* He worked with the Lowell Delegation to get 4.7 Million dollars for the initial phase of the Hamilton Canal Project.

* He worked with the Delegation to get the funds for the new Court House. That is approximately 200 Million dollars.

* He got the money to revamp Cupples Square. While his team of the three State Representatives helped him, this was largely because of his close relationship with the Republican Governor. He got 1.7 million and the Square will never be the same.

* He cosigned an amendment to the budget protecting the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Youth Build. These are two programs that directly support arts funding in Lowell, as well as youth diversion and skill development projects.

* He authored a bill making the law that says that when you shoot into a building you are guilty of a misdemeanor, not a felony. He wants it to be a felony. If someone shot into my home, I would like to have that a felony.

* He worked for Police Training, Early Childhood Education, and other youth programs.

* He fought to protect what are called Shannon Grant funds which is a program that directly funds gang crime reduction and prevention programs for Opiate usage.

* He went to the Japanese and Taiwanese Consulates to make them more conscious of Lowell. He is hoping for closer ties to those two governments which will hopefully lead to closer business opportunities for Lowell businesses with these countries.

* He increased his influence to get the Hamilton Canal project started. That one is still being worked on.

No other State Representative in his first term has done more than Rady Mom, I believe. If you live in his district, call him with complaints or kudos. He will call you back. His Legislative Aide is Joe Larocque at 617-722-2460. Ask for Joe or Rady. Either will call you back. If you are having difficulty with your taxes, call Joe, he can point you in the right direction. Sometimes, that person is Rady. He will call you back. And, that is what I am most impressed with. He has never not called me back on any issue.

I have one bill I want him to pass. That is to put the word “Historic” over every sign that says “Concord River” because people do not always relate the Concord River that flows through Lowell with the historic river that has the Concord Bridge over it. Not a big order, but Rady tells me he is working on it. I look forward to his being successful.

In the last election, Rady Mom had 63% of the vote in the General Election. That means that a large number of nonCambodians voted for him. I anticipate that he will do well this time too. It is unfortunate that there is a split in the Cambodian vote. As angry as I get about it, I have never heard Rady say one bad word about it. I never will. That is why I am voting for Rady Mom. I have an opinion show, and that is my opinion.

I have an obligation to get the people running against Rady on my show, and I will so that you can make up your own minds. But, mine is already made up. Rady measured up to my strident and stringent expectations for him. Listen to him speak and you, I am sure, will come to the same opinion that I did. Here is a representative who takes his job seriously. I am pleased that he is my friend and my State Representative.

Meanderings

My last two blogs were not my best. One was on two men of the cloth, John Eliot and Theodore Edson, both Episcopalians. The other was on what I called “The Conservative Anathema.” It was choppy and difficult for even me to read. The point behind it was that we are leading ourselves down the pathway of Conservatism, and we need to check our direction and progress. I quoted Jack Kemp, someone many of you never remember, and I compared his views on transportation to Paul Tsongas’ views. I had to write it, it just did not come out as well as I hoped that it would. There is a very relevant point about Keynesian Economics, which is when your government does not “pay as you go,” but instead rolls up a huge debt. Neither party seems to have an answer to the question, “what do we do from here?”

Well, we pay the bill. We are 17 trillion dollars in debt, it has to be paid off. We do not want to end up like Greece. One way of paying it down is to raise the tariff on articles from suppliers who are overseas. That woul

d allow us to raise prices on some of our goods from China, largely. China would have to raise their prices, and there would be an effort that is stymied by our current political morass. China would raise her tariffs on American goods, but I personally believe that there is such an unbalanced “Balance of Trade,” that we could safely get away with it. And, it would force the United States back into manufacturing its own goods. I think it is a win-win situation.

Keynesian economics does not say that we can continue to pass our debt onto the next generation. There will be higher taxes to get the debt down. We could not regularly, which is what it has become, raise the “debt ceiling” in Congress. We would have to pay in cash,
which is the way it should be anyway. Governments are not people, they are comprised of people, but they have different responsibilities, and we have differing expectations of our government. If we always seem to have the money to go to war, why don’t we have money to put against our debt? We expect higher tax rates to pay for a war, we should expect higher tax rates to clear the accounts, get rid of the debt.

I grew up learning that Republicans were the party of money, while Democrats were the party of the people. It is oversimplification, because you need money to take care of the people and you need people to take care of the money. We both have to work together and stop the naysaying. No more negatives, we are in trouble because we voted against fiscal responsiblity in the past. Saying we do not need the money, or we do not need the personnel, is just a complete lie. A friend of mine told me that there were two real parties in American politics, and those were the Incumbent and Non-Incumbent Parties. People who get elected spend so much time trying to get re-elected that they forget why they won the seat in the first place. They forget that they were doing it for honor. But, ask them when the next election is and they know it immediately.

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump just made history. Neither are young men, and one, Donald Trump, has no experience in the military, while the other is the oldest man to put on such a tremendous win. Right now, Bernie Sanders is the Democratic front-runner for the Presidency of the United States. That is quite an acheivement. Donald Trump would never have been taken as a serious candidate in yesteryear. He has too many ex-wives, too little experience, and does not set forth a plan or a list of his beliefs in the America we all love. Without such a list we cannot keep a scorecard on him. He has never even been the Mayor of New York City or even a City Councilor.

Hilary Clinton remains the favorite for the nod at the Convention because she worked to get the Super Delegates on her side quickly. She will be hard to beat, but maybe not, if she picks up her support the way she did in New Hampshire. She has to do much better. Losing by over 20 points is abysmal. The Republicans left are going to move towards Jeb Bush, who is not, in my opinion, Presidential Timber. I think that, as the stage is cleared a bit, Bush will be looked at as the most likely winner. Super Tuesday will tell us that.

Those are my meanderings of the day. I believe that Obama will go down as a fair President, not a good or great one. Like Grover Cleveland, who worked hard to be a good President but just missed it continually. Most people know nothing about Cleveland, and Obama might be remembered largely for his history-making election. He did do what he said he would do, he killed, or had killed, Osama Bin Laden. He left Afghanistan for the large part. But, he could not figure out how to deal with immigration, which I have written about, nor has he dealt with the moods of the people. He gives the impression that he is above that fray.

Well, it is late and I have to write some Press Releases, a chapter in a book, and some more writing to do. Have a good day.

The Conservative Anathema

This year we are ready to embrace conservatism, which is remarkable because it is the antithesis of what most Americans believe. It would be funny, as in Jack Kemp’s 1980’s book “An American Renaissance – A Strategy for the 1980’s.” Because, to a large part, Speaker of the House Thomas O’Neil kept the Reagan agenda on the table to ensure that the most conservative ideas of Ronald Reagan never made it through Congress. The Republicans endear Ronald Reagan, but, aside from the Berlin Wall and the breaking up of the Soviet Union, he had a lackluster effect on politics.

But, let us give Reagan his due, he did foster the idea of a renaissance which has lasted to the current day. Conservatives endear his memory. He did his job, even if it was mostly felt in modern times. Conservatives like Kemp wrote of changes that should take place in the Congress. One of them, Kemp’s that is, was in dealing with cars. Kemp abhored the making of smaller cars with better gas mileage. At one point he wrote, and I quote, “Of all the sins committed in the name of conserving energy, none is quite so annoying and counter-productive as the government’s heavy-handed plans to cram the American people into tiny cars. Our cars are being designed in Washington to accomplish a variety of inconsistent objectives at the highest possible cost and inconvenience to the American consumer.” Obviously, Jack Kemp as late as the 1980’s refused to see global warming. We knew about global warming, but here was a conservative condemning the effort to use less fuel.
Jack Kemp is notable in that he was one of the most conservative Members of Congress in his day.

“The war against the American automobile must be motivated by more than saving fuel. My brother-in-law, Paul Tsongas, used to say that there were no more dinosaurs to turn into oil. Eventually, we will lose this race, because it is based on an unreal premise, that being that oil is not a limited resource. It is a limited resource.

Farmers during this election season want ethanol in the gas. The problem is that ethanol cannot be used in certain containers. I believe that motors on boats cannot take ethanol due to the fact that so much of their composites are plastic. Many yard motors are the same way.

I personally find it strange that the foremost Conservative of his day found fault with smaller cars. The only explanation I can think of is that Kemp was protecting American made automobiles that were larger than the smaller foreign made cars.

Kemp wrote that “Our cars are being designed in Washington, D.C.” “Once our government realizes that we are all in this together, it will find that its most pressing task is to remove many of its own obstacles to the common goods of quality and growth.” (ibid.) We did not often hear from Conservatives of the day that we are all in this together. That was foreign to the discussion, but shows a willingness to reach across the aisle that does not currently exist.

It is not just the Republicans or Conservatives who refuse to reach across the aisle nowadays. During the discussion on “Obamacare,” no Americans who were on the Republican side of the aisle voted for the measure, despite the fact that the administration accepted over seven hundred amendments from the Republicans. It was carried over by the Democrats who had the majority of the House and Senate in that day.

I call that Congress the “Suicide Congress.” There was a great deal of impaling oneself on the political sword of liberalism. The public was not quite ready for a three thousand page document detailing the health care act. People who would have made good Congresswomen or Congressmen were impaled on Obama’s sword. It seemed to be a requirement for being in that Congress. If Obama had waited until after the mid-term elections, I personally feel that some of those people might have been re-elected. Instead they were gone because of their vote for the Executive-led law. To me that was a great travesty. So many liberal Democrats lost in those mid-term elections.

I remember my Sister-in-Law, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas going to Chelmsford to try to enlighten the Chelmsfordians as to the need for a comprehensive health care act. I have never heard people so vicious towards a Member of Congress. I worried about her health. One year later, while campaigning for her in Chelmsford outside of a grocery store, I ran into a woman who crowed that she was proud of that day. I told her she should be embarassed by the actions of her fellow townspeople. She stormed off. I felt better but it was fleeting. Too little discussion on the effect of pushing through that bill, too little care for the Members of Congress who sacrificed themselves to get the bill passed.

I am going to quote from Paul, not Niki, Tsongas’ words as set in his campaign pamphlet “A Call to Economic Arms,” which was written for the 1992 Presidential campaign. Paul thought there should be a synergy between opposite sides of the pole, to the point that he felt that “American companies need the United States government as a full partner if they are to have any hope of competing internationally.” (A Call for Economic Arms). Paul believed in business, something most liberals of his era felt was incompatible with the goals of the Democratic Party. At that time, his call for the government in the business environment was heresy. But he was on television because of it. When we visited him at his home in Lowell, or his vacation home in Chatham, the chances were fairly good that there would be a satellite Channel 4, 5, or 7 truck in his driveway. He made the news. By that I mean he was the person who literally used his imagination to make the news.

He argued, in 1992 that “To argue the case for sustaining a company with a viable future product line was difficult because some (Republicans) felt it was government intervention. And it was.” (ibid) Democrats and Republicans have to work together to make a better economy. In his book, “The Road from Here,” Paul Tsongas states an obvious truth that we all seem to have lost. I would like to believe that Paul would have had pointed questions for the Clinton administration’s NAFTA proposal. He stated, and I quote, “We must not be reduced to the status of a glorified banana republic diminishing its raw materials while importing man-made goods.” (Page 131)

But, and this is the part that makes us so impatient now, we do have that status. We are a major exporter of oil. Oil prices do not currently reflect the value of the limited resource. We are ruining our environment to make way for small purchases of our natural resources and driving up our purchases of foreign-made goods. China is busily building a Navy, at least partially, in my opinion, to get ready to take back the seventeen or so trillion dollars that they are owed by the U.S. It might be that they used American made items to build a better military force. Certainly, when they took down the AWACs plane to plunder it and build their own similar plane, we (it was a Republican President at the time), should have bombed the plane before they could dismantle it. We did not do that and I think that our reluctance was due to the fact that it would have been seen as an act of war. But so was the downing of the AWACs plane and something retaliatory should have been done. Nothing was. They took their time stealing our hardware and software from that airplane.

Our problem is that we are too willing to attack ourselves, to make us the economic target. Democrats cannot fathom Republicans and Republicans cannot make Democrats fit into their mold. The fact is that Obama did pretty well for a guy who inherited a runaway economy in peacetime. Well, it was not really peacetime, but it was not a time of war either. He used Keynesian Economics to right the ship of the economy. He spent past the point that he probably should have in order to make the economy bounce back. And, it did. Keynes said, in his book, “How to Pay for the War,” In the book, Keynes states that, “…rights to immediate consumption during the war can be allotted with a closer regard to relative sacrifice than under any other plan. It also means that rights to deferred consumption after the war, which is another name for the National Debt, will be widely distributed amongst all those who are foregoing immediate consumption, instead of being mainly concentrated, as they were the last time (WWI), in the hands of the capitalist class.” (Page 11; ibid.) He is saying that the people have to buy into a national debt, like they buy into credit cards, and they must pay the debt off. The Obama administration is drawing Republican ire because they do not seem to be ready to pay the piper. But the Republicans have not admitted to their constituents that taxes will have to be increased in order to do just that. Nothing comes at no cost. Taxes must pay for the trillions of dollars in debt in which we find ourselves.

This election is about paying the piper. Too many of us, of both parties, seem to think that we do not have to buy American, that we do not have to pay our multi-trillion national debt, or that we do not have to pay for what we buy. The American dollar, for some reason, is still the strongest money you can own. But, that does not mean that we do not have to watch out for Chinese competition. We must if we are going to be true to all of our standards of fair play, paying a living wage for work that is done, and living comfortably in our political morass. We are most comfortable in debt, but let’s remember what Paul Tsongas wrote about in “A Call to Economic Arms,” and that is that we must not pass on trillions of dollars of debt to our chidren, saddling them because we did not want to take the saddle ourselves. We have recovered some of our economy, let us take the time to follow the rest of Keynes’ advice that we pay for our extravagances when things finally become better. There is one thing that Republicans and Democrats agree on, and that is that no one really wants to pull their belts tighter and pay for the excesses of our own generation. Let us try it, it will probably be easier than it seems.

Jack Kemp and Paul Tsongas are just memories. The real task of righting this ship-of-state is in the fine print. Loans have to be repaid. Countries have to continue to grow. The United States of America is not in the position of underwriting every problem incurred by every nation-state. Some of our allies, and most of our enemies should be challenged to fix their own problems. Current office-holders have to be defined by their approach to debt. A friend once told me that we have a two-party system, the Incumbents and Non-Incumbents. Once a person becomes an incumbent, most of his/her time is spent worrying about how to get re-elected, not having the courage to vote for what is right. That has to change. We must make it change. We are going to be the best generation possible by having the courage to follow our convictions. If that is the Democratic ideal, so be it. If that is the Republican way, it may be the right way, it may not. It is time for us to step forward and fight for what is right. But, first we have to define it. That is the next stop on our journey.

Two Early Preachers

Site of Passaconaway Home
Site of Passaconaway Home

Eliot Church
Eliot Church
Few of us notice the fantastic Eliot Church. I have enclosed a picture of it with this blog. It is dedicated to the Preacher who convinced a Native American god, Passaconaway, to convert to Episcopalianism, if there is such a word. He became an Episcopalian. Now, in fairness to history, it must be said that it was believed by the Pawtuckets that the Chief could turn himself, when alone in his home, into a flame. He could harness fire. With a reputation like that, there would not be much impetus to convert, and there were language barriers. The Native Americans believed that the Merrimack was “the strong place.” Merrimack means just that; the “Strong Place.” John Eliot had difficulty speaking with Passaconaway, and he might have carried his tale of his greatest feat too far. While it is true that Passaconaway was baptized, it is also true that he gave up his new religion later in his life, and became the god that he had been.

John Eliot was determined to convert the Native Americans. He did, for awhile, convert Passaconaway. It just did not stick. But he tried and his success was the stuff of legends. Two hundred years, give or take a few, later, he was held up as the man who converted the Native Americans. He has quite a write-up in the “History of Lowell, Massachusetts” book that dates back to 1893. It says of him that he sat on a rock in the river which was not in the water, and feasted with his Native American Chief. There, Passaconaway told him that the river was named “the Strong Place,” or “Merrimack.”

You cannot write a History of the Early Priests and Preachers without giving Reverend Eliot some credit and writing a bit about him. I have a number of books on the Native Americans, and they all corroborate the story told in the “History of Lowell, Massachusetts,” book. John Eliot did convert the Chief, but his conversion was, according to John Pendergast, the brilliant writer who wrote “The Bend in the River,” Anglicanized. It was made to be a bigger thing than it actually was, and, as stated, Passaconaway did not give to much credit to his “Saviour.” He went back to the main wigwam or home in the village and did pretty much what he had always done. He still knew that, in his own turf, he was a god. According to Pendergast, he could turn into an animal, a tongue of fire, or a variety of other animals.
Few of us notice the fantastic Eliot Church. I have enclosed a picture of it with this blog. It is dedicated to the Preacher who convinced a Native American god, Passaconaway, to convert to Episcopalianism, if there is such a word. He became an Episcopalian. Now, in fairness to history, it must be said that it was believed by the Pawtuckets that the Chief could turn himself, when alone in his home, into a flame. He could harness fire. With a reputation like that, there would not be much impetus to convert, and there were language barriers. The Native Americans believed that the Merrimack was “the strong place.” Merrimack means just that; the “Strong Place.” John Eliot had difficulty speaking with Passaconaway, and he might have carried his tale of his greatest feat too far. While it is true that Passaconaway was baptized, it is also true that he gave up his new religion later in his life, and became the god that he had been.

John Eliot was determined to convert the Native Americans. He did, for awhile, convert Passaconaway. It just did not stick. But he tried and his success was the stuff of legends. Two hundred years, give or take a few, later, he was held up as the man who converted the Native Americans. He has quite a write-up in the “History of Lowell, Massachusetts” book that dates back to 1893. It says of him that he sat on a rock in the river which was not in the water, and feasted with his Native American Chief. There, Passaconaway told him that the river was named “the Strong Place,” or “Merrimack.”

You cannot write a History of the Early Priests and Preachers without giving Reverend Eliot some credit and writing a bit about him. I have a number of books on the Native Americans, and they all corroborate the story told in the “History of Lowell, Massachusetts,” book. John Eliot did convert the Chief, but his conversion was, according to John Pendergast, the brilliant writer who wrote “The Bend in the River,” Anglicanized. It was made to be a bigger thing than it actually was, and, as stated, Passaconaway did not give to much credit to his “Saviour.” He went back to the main wigwam or home in the village and did pretty much what he had always done. He still knew that, in his own turf, he was a god. According to Pendergast, he could turn into an animal, a tongue of fire, or a variety of other animals.

So, we have a temporary problem. Who was John Eliot and what did he actually do? According to Pendergast, he settled among the “peaceful and relatively highly developed communities constantly oppressed by these invaders (the Tarantine or Abnaki) from Maine. “They worshipped the Sun, and the Moon, the Pleiades, Orion, Arcturus, and Sirius,” which they could see in sky. They believed in reincarnation of all animals. Theirs was not a Christian religion. How did their Chief become a convert. It can probably be said that he did not understand the rabid thoughts of those Caucasians who put more emphasis on the act than the Native Americans did. In Eliot, they had “One of the earliest names given to the European translates as “Knife Man.” Not exactly a peaceful translation.

“On Eliot’s third visit to the Lowell area, Passaconaway not only invited him…but also embraced Christianity.” (Pendergast, 1991, 1992, 1926). The author wonders whether this was caused by “religious feeling,” or something more political. “All reports of the event were recorded by English onlookers and are apparently highly biased (ibid.)” Passaconaway’s acceptance speech is very eloquently phrased…and are obviously the creation of the Europeans.”

Now, Eliot did seem to care for the Native Americans. He even sued for lands to be used by them. He published the first Bible in the Western Hemisphere in his own interpretation of their Native Tongue. He did a great deal for them. He was tutored in Chelmsford in England and brought the name back with him on one of his voyages. Unlike countryman John Smith, he did not doctor his notes. They are as real as his vision and effort would permit.

One hundred eighty years later, Theodore Edson arrived in Lowell. Like Eliot, he was an Anglican priest. As such, he saw the King or Queen as the Head of the Church. He affected far more people, but had a smaller profile. But, he was completely taken by his new town, that he made Lowell home. He was originally hired by the Mill Owners. Kirk Boott, who showed a bit of an inability to judge a man, personally picked him. The other owners did too, but he led the charge. It was something he would regret until his dying day.
Thomas Edson was given St. Anne’s Parish to administer. He was born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1793, on August 24. He attended Harvard University and graduated in 1818. He was determined to enter the ministry and he did, becoming the Assistant Pastor of St. Matthew’s Church in Boston. At a young age he was offered the post in Lowell. He saw the unfair labor practices of the greedy owners of many of the mills, and started speaking about them to the churchgoers on Sundays. This was not just a passing whim, he offended so many of the men who owned the mills, that many ceased to belong to the parish. The most vocal of all of them was Kirk Boott of Boott Mills.

According to “The Illustrated History of Lowell, Mass.” he was written up as follows:
“Reverend Mr. Edson was deeply interested in all that concerned the welfare of his adopted town.” (Pg. 702)

He almost single-handedly built the school system, and was responsible for it to the point that he was named Head of the School Committee for most of his life. “Strong in conciousness , of right and justice, he triumphed,” states the book. He was acknowledged to be the “Father of our School System.” He did some remarkable things, causing such harm to his former benefactor, Kirk Boott, that Boott’s last act was to sit in his chaisse, stand up near the church, raise his arm in a derogatory manner, and fall to his death during or immediately after the act with the arm. After years as School Committee Chairman, and I have written much about the schools in past articles, he died on June 25, 1883. In addition to building a public school system he created and supervised an orphanage.

While no one would match his inimitable style Lowell was not left in the lurch by his death. A number of churches, from Protestant to Catholic, were raised in the time he lived. They included St. Anne’s, St. John’s, St. Patrick’s, Pawtucket Church, 1st. Unitarian Church, Lowell Baptist Union, and the many Methodist Churches designed to cater to Lowell’s large Methodist Community.

Next time, we will discuss the plight of Irish education in Lowell. We hope to have a presentation by the late State Senator Paul Sheehy.