laid down five twenty-dollar bills from his wallet.
In 1841 subscribers at Brook Farm paid $500 per share -- equal to about $13,900 in today’s dollars, although few people actually paid that much to live there. $100 equates to about $2,800 today, still a staggering amount of cash in 1844 when most wealth was tied up in property or other assets.
all science has but one aim, which is to discover a theory of nature?
From the introduction to Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay, "Nature." Published in 1836, "Nature" was the fundamental document of transcendentalism -- in fact, it was a critic of the essay who invented the term as an insult. Emerson believed that because the natural world was God's creation, we can learn about God and be closer to Him by studying and experiencing nature just as we can learn something about a painter by studying the brushstrokes, colors, arrangement, and other aspects of a painting. Going outside (and especially getting away from cities) thus became a defining characteristic of the transcendentalists.
“’There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’”
Hamlet, act I, scene 5. In his essay, "Walking," Henry David Thoreau writes: "The highest that we can attain to is not Knowledge, but Sympathy with Intelligence. I do not know that this higher knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise on a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we called Knowledge before -- a discovery that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy."
My mother would join the Shakers if she could
The Shakers -- formally, the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing -- were an offshoot of the Quakers that formed in 1747 in England. Many of them later relocated to New York and New England during the 1770s. They believed in communal living, celibacy, pacifism, and the everyday presence of God in the form of divine revelation through prayer and miracles. Because they believed that God appeared twice on Earth -- in male form as Jesus and in female form as Ann Lee, an early church leader -- the Shakers were early proponents of equality of the sexes, with women often holding roles of authority.
“Them’s Hobomokos is big.”
From "Walking" by Thoreau: "The geologist has discovered that the figures of serpents, griffins, flying dragons, and other fanciful embellishments of heraldry, have their prototypes in the forms of fossil species which were extinct before man was created, and hence 'indicate a faint and shadowy knowledge of a previous state of organic existence.' The Hindus dreamed that the earth rested on an elephant, and the elephant on a tortoise, and the tortoise on a serpent; and though it may be an unimportant coincidence, it will not be out of place here to state, that a fossil tortoise has lately been discovered in Asia large enough to support an elephant."
More recently known as witches' marks, they're often found in old buildings in New England. The distinctive emblem of six, eight, or even twelve petals still appears in modern folk art, most notably in Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs displayed and sold to tourists in southeastern Pennsylvania. "Hexe" is German for witch.
Nathaniel Saltonstall (1727–1807) was a privateer captain and soldier in Connecticut during the American Revolution. He was probably the grandson of the other Nathaniel Saltonstall (1639–1707), who was one of the judges during the Salem Witch Trials but later resigned (presumably in protest).
Nature always wears the colors of the spirit
From "Nature," chapter I: "The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right. Yet it is certain that the power to produce this delight, does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both. It is necessary to use these pleasures with great temperance. For, nature is not always tricked in holiday attire, but the same scene which yesterday breathed perfume and glittered as for the frolic of the nymphs, is overspread with melancholy today. Nature always wears the colors of the spirit."
Litchfield County covers the northwestern corner of the state. It also includes the relatively small portion of the state that is geologically original to the North American continent; the southeastern edge of the state was once part of Africa, while most of the land between them consists of the undersea mud and sediment that lay between the two continents. This may explain why gold isn't commonly found in Connecticut beyond that county.
“Believe me, Mr. Rose—it hears everything.”
The Mexican mole lizard (Bipes biporus) is a small burrowing reptile native to Baja California. It lacks hind legs but uses its head and front claws to dig through the ground, moving through the tunnels it creates like an earthworm via the peristaltic motion of its ribbed skin. It has no outer ears but instead hears vibrations through its skin. It is carnivorous but not picky, pulling its prey underground to be eaten.
The Soul, and outside of it, Nature.
“Nature,” Introduction: “Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul. Strictly speaking, therefore, all that is separate from us, all which Philosophy distinguishes as the NOT ME, that is, both nature and art, all other men and my own body, must be ranked under this name, NATURE.”
Georges Cuvier and Reverend William Conybeare and Charles Bonnet—her
In 1808, Cuvier identifed a Dutch fossil as being that of a prehistoric marine lizard, which would later be labeled Mosasaurus. Conybeare did an enormous amount of work in the 1820s identifying and analyzing plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, and other marine reptiles. Bonnet was the first to write about parthenogenesis.