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Charles Mackay

Charles Mackay


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Charles Mackay, the son of a navy lieutenant was born in Scotland in 1814. His mother died when he was young and so he was brought up by foster parents.

At the age of sixteen he was employed as the private secretary to William Cockerill, an ironmaster based in Belgium. In his spare-time he wrote articles for the local newspaper.

Mackay returned to Britain in 1832 and for the next three years contributed to several newspapers. In 1835 he obtained his first permanent post in journalism when he was appointed as an assistant to George Hogarth, the sub-editor of the Morning Chronicle. Other journalists working for the newspaper at the time included Charles Dickens and William Hazlitt. Mackay eventually was promoted to the post of assistant editor.

In 1844 Mackay left the Morning Chronicle and became editor of the Glasgow Argus. While in Scotland he also contributed articles and poetry to the Daily News, a newspaper established by Charles Dickens in 1846. After four years in Glasgow, Mackay returned to London and joined the staff of the London Illustrated News the successful journal owned by Herbert Ingram.

In 1849 Henry Mayhew suggested to John Douglas Cook, the editor of the Morning Chronicle, that the newspaper should carry out an investigation into the condition of the labouring classes in England and Wales. Cook agreed and recruited Mackay, Angus Reach and Shirley Brooks to help Mayhew collect the material. Mackay was given the task of surveying the situation in Liverpool and Birmingham.

Mackay's poetry was collected together until the title Voices from the Crowd. Some of them were set to music by his friend Henry Russell. These were very successful and one songsheet, The Good Time Coming, sold over 400,000 copies. Mackay published his two volume autobiography, Forty Years Recollections and Through the Long Day two years before his death in 1889.


Ethics Alarms

Let’s start the week with some poetic inspiration.

The excellent Netflix series “The Crown” launched its fourth season yesterday, with Scully herself, Gillian Anderson, delivering a brilliant portrayal of “the Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher. At one point, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Coleman) warns the Prime Minister that she is making enemies, and she responds by reciting from memory this poem, which I had never heard or read before.

One more thing: Since I posted the poem, it has been the most visited post of the more than 12,000 on Ethics Alarms. If you came for the poem, why not stay for the ethics? Look around, read the comment policies, check out the categories (to your right.) This isn’t the only enlightening post you’ll find here, or even the most enlightening.

You Have No Enemies

You have no enemies, you say?
Alas! my friend, the boast is poor
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes! If you have none,
Small is the work that you have done.
You’ve hit no traitor on the hip,
You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You’ve never turned the wrong to right,
You’ve been a coward in the fight.

Mackay is not well-known in the U.S., and he was a marginal literary figure in England. But in 2019, a confidante of Thatcher’s revealed that she turned to the writings of Mackay for solace and inspiration, particularly “Enemies,” which she kept in her scrapbook.

I’d describe the poem as a simpler, more direct predecessor of Theodore’s Roosevelt’s famous “The Man in the Arena” speech. (Teddy did go on.) Mackay’s poem has the advantage of being suitable for children, who need to be taught, as do almost all of our current politicians, that popularity isn’t everything.

[Note to first time Ethics Alarms visitors: You came for the poem why not stay for the ethics and the lively discussions? You can find out more about the blog here. Welcome!]

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Charles Mackay - History

Charles Mackay (27 March 1814– 24 December 1889) was a Scottish poet, journalist, author, anthologist, novelist, and songwriter, remembered mainly for his book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

Charles Mackay (27 March 1814– 24 December 1889) was a Scottish poet, journalist, author, anthologist, novelist, and songwriter, remembered mainly for his book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

Charles Mackay was born in Perth, Scotland. His father, George Mackay, was a bombardier in the Royal Artillery, and his mother Amelia Cargill died shortly after his birth. His birthdate was 26 March 1812, although he always gave it as 27 March 1814.

Mackay was educated at the Caledonian Asylum, in London. In 1828 he was placed by his father at a school in Brussels, on the Boulevard de Namur, and studied languages. In 1830 he was engaged as a private secretary to William Cockerill, the ironmaster, near Liège, began writing in French in the Courrier Belge, and sent English poems to a local newspaper called The Telegraph. In the summer of 1830 he visited Paris, and he spent 1831 with Cockerill at Aix-la-Chapelle. In May 1832 his father brought him back to London, where he first found employment in teaching Italian to Benjamin Lumley.

Mackay engaged in journalism in London: in 1834 he was an occasional contributor to The Sun. From the spring of 1835 till 1844 he was assistant sub-editor of the Morning Chronicle. In the autumn of 1839 he spent a month’s holiday in Scotland, witnessing the Eglintoun Tournament, which he described in the Chronicle, and making acquaintances in Edinburgh. In the autumn of 1844, he moved to Scotland, and became editor of the Glasgow Argus, resigning in 1847. He worked for the Illustrated London News in 1848, becoming editor in 1852.

Mackay visited North America in the 1850s, publishing his observations as Life and Liberty in America: or Sketches of a Tour of the United States and Canada in 1857–58 (1859). During the American Civil War he returned there as a correspondent for The Times, in which capacity he discovered and disclosed the Fenian conspiracy.

Mackay had the degree of LL.D. from the University of Glasgow in 1846. He was a member of the Percy Society. He died in London.

Mackay published Songs and Poems (1834), a History of London, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841), and a romance entitled, Longbeard. He is also remembered for his Gaelic Etymology Of The Languages Of Western Europe and the later Dictionary of Lowland Scotch in which he presented his “fanciful conjectures” that “thousands of English words go back to Scottish Gaelic”. The linguist Anatoly Liberman has described MacKay as an “etymological monomaniac” commenting that “He was hauled over the coals by his contemporaries and never taken seriously during his lifetime”. His fame chiefly rested upon his songs, some of which, including “Cheer, Boys, Cheer”, were set to music by Henry Russell in 1846, and had an astonishing popularity.
Charles Mackay wrote the popular poem You have no enemies, you say?:
You have no enemies, you say?
Alas, my friend, the boast is poor,
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes.
If you have none,
Small is the work that you have done.
You’ve hit no traitor on the hip,
You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You’ve never set the wrong to right.
You’ve been a coward in the fight.
Another popular poem is Who shall be fairest?:
Who shall be fairest? - who shall be rarest?
Who shall be first in the songs that we sing?
She who is kindest when fortune is blindest,
Bearing through winter the blooms of the spring.
Charm of our gladness, friend of our sadness,
Angel of life when its pleasures take wing!
She shall be fairest, she shall be rarest
She shall be first in the songs that we sing!
Who shall be nearest? - noblest, and dearest,
Named but with honour, and pride evermore?
He, the undaunted, whose banner is planted
On Glory’s high ramparts and battlements hoar.
Fearless of danger, to falsehood a stranger,
Looking not back while there’s duty before!
He shall be nearest, he shall be dearest,
He shall be first in our hearts evermore.

Mackay was twice married—first, during his Glasgow editorship, to Rosa Henrietta Vale, by whom he had three sons and a daughter and secondly to Ellen Mills, a widow, whose maiden name was Kirtland. His first wife died on 28 December 1859, and his second wife in 1875. The novelist Marie Corelli was an illegitimate daughter.


Charles MacKay Issues "Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions"

In 1841 Scottish poet, journalist, and song writer Charles Mackay issued Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. The three volume work published in London on what later came to be called "investor psychology" contained, among many other things, notable descriptions of financial bubbles. It also contained early discussions of topics which were much later studied by sentiment analysis. The sub-headings of the three volumes were "National Delusions", "Peculiar Follies", and "Philosophical Delusions."

"Among the alleged bubbles or financial manias described by Mackay is the Dutch tulip mania of the early seventeenth century. According to Mackay, during this bubble, speculators from all walks of life bought and sold tulip bulbs and even futures contracts on them. Allegedly, some tulip bulb varieties briefly became the most expensive objects in the world, 1637.

"Other bubbles described by Mackay are the South Sea Company bubble of 1711&ndash1720, and the Mississippi Company bubble of 1719&ndash1720. . . .

"Financier Bernard Baruch credited the lessons he learned from Extraordinary Popular Delusions with his decision to sell all his stock ahead of the crash of 1929" (Wikipedia article on Extraordinary Popular Delusions, accessed 12-09-08).


Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841) Edit

  • Every age has its peculiar folly: Some scheme, project, or fantasy into which it plunges, spurred on by the love of gain, the necessity of excitement, or the force of imitation.
  • Men, it has been well said, think in herds it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.
  • He who walks through a great city to find subjects for weeping, may, God knows, find plenty at every corner to wring his heart but let such a man walk on his course, and enjoy his grief alone — we are not of those who would accompany him. The miseries of us poor earthdwellers gain no alleviation from the sympathy of those who merely hunt them out to be pathetic over them. The weeping philosopher too often impairs his eyesight by his woe, and becomes unable from his tears to see the remedies for the evils which he deplores. Thus it will often be found that the man of no tears is the truest philanthropist, as he is the best physician who wears a cheerful face, even in the worst of cases.
  • During seasons of great pestilence, men have often believed the prophecies of crazed fanatics, that the end of the world was come.

Legends of the Isles and Other Poems (1851) Edit

  • Cleon hath a million acres,— ne’er a one have I
    Cleon dwelleth in a palace, — in a cottage I.
    • "Cleon and I"
    • They may veil their eyes, but they cannot hide
      The sun’s meridian glow

      The heel of a priest may tread thee down,
      And a tyrant work thee woe:
      But never a truth has been destroyed
      They may curse it, and call it crime
      Pervert and betray, or slander and slay
      Its teachers for a time.
      But the sunshine aye shall light the sky,
      As round and round we run
      And the truth shall ever come uppermost,
      And justice shall be done.
      • "Eternal Justice", Stanza 4
      • Aid the dawning, tongue and pen
        Aid it, hopes of honest men!
        • "Clear the Way"
        • Some love to roam o’er the dark sea’s foam,
          Where the shrill winds whistle free.
          • "Some Love to Roam"
          • Old Tubal Cain was a man of might
            In the days when earth was young.
            • "Tubal Cain"

            Voices from the Crowd, and Town Lyrics (1857) Edit

            "What dost thou see, lone watcher on the tower
            Is the day breaking? comes the wish'd-for hour?
            Tell us the signs, and stretch abroad thy hand
            If the bright morning dawns upon the land."

            "The stars are clear above me, scarcely one
            Has dimm'd its rays in reverence to the sun
            But yet I see, on the horizon's verge,
            Some fair, faint streaks, as if the light would surge."


            Charles Mackay - History

            Size : 648 acres. The estate was divided into formal gardens and terraces surrounding the main house, a 70 acre farm area and the remainder was treated as a park.

            During the declining years.
            . In 1930, Clarence's former wife, Katherine Duer Mackay, died from cancer.
            . In 1931, Clarence married Anna Case at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Roslyn.
            . In 1932, Clarence sold some of his most prized art, armor and tapestries.
            . Estate expenses were slashed.
            . Estate staff was reduced.
            . Estate salaries were reduced for staff that stayed on.
            . In 1933 the mansion was closed. The Mackays then moved into the Hechler's house
            near Glen Cove Road. And the Hechlers moved into the former tennis pro's house.
            . In June 1935, Clarence's personal financial condition improved to the point that he
            and Anna reopened the mansion at Harbor Hill with a reduced staff but their stay would
            only last 3 1/2 more years.
            . In July 1935, the Postal Telegraph Company filed for bankruptcy.


            Clarence Mackay left his beloved Harbor Hill estate for the last time on November 8, 1938. He died four days later at age 64 at his residence across 5th Avenue from Central Park at #3, E. 75th Street, New York City. Following his passing, a very well attended funeral was conducted at St. Patrick's Cathedral. This was followed by interment in the
            family mausoleum at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

            All of Clarence's real estate in Roslyn was left to his son, John W. Mackay. However, Clarence's vastly depleted estate valued at 2-3 million dollars (at one time the family fortune was something in excess of one hundred million dollars) was left to his second wife, Anna Case . As a result, Clarence's son was left without the means to maintain the Harbor Hill property or pay the recurring taxes. In 1940, John leased 50 acres to the US Army Air Corps for what later became known as the Roslyn Air Force Station .


            Trade Goods, Guns & Firewater

            During the latter part of the 17th century, Native Americans in what would become Nebraska were starting to trade for European goods, such as glass beads and metal items. In the early years, these items may have traveled through tribes in the east who were in contact with the Europeans. Later, goods came directly from European traders visiting the area.

            The Plains Indians acquired guns in the 17th century from French and British Traders. However, these weapons did not replace the bow and arrow. While both guns and bows and arrows were used for hunting and warfare, the gun was preferred in battle because of its greater range, accuracy, and penetration. Guns also contributed to the migration of the various Indian tribes as the tribes who received access to guns first, forced neighboring tribes to move further west.

            The first guns used by Nebraska Indians were lightweight, smoothbore, French flintlock muskets. Some were used against Villasur in 1720. By the end of the 1700s the British Norwest gun, with its serpent plate trademark, became the firearm of choice.

            Unfortunately, the first white men to meet Plains Indians probably also carried alcohol as a trade item. Whiskey and other forms of alcohol soon became known as "firewater" and became a problem for tribes across the plains. Its use in the fur trade was widespread. Even though some governments banned the sale of alcohol to tribes, it was still carried by many government expeditions. Pure alcohol was brought into Indian country, but it was usually diluted with water before it was sold or traded to the Indians. Bottled spirits, like wine and patent medicines, came later. Most traders protested the use of alcohol, but claimed they were forced to use it because their competitors did.


            Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

            First published in 1841, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is often cited as the best book ever written about market psychology. This Harriman House edition includes Charles Mackay's account of the three infamous financial manias - John Law's Mississipi Scheme, the South Sea Bubble, and Tulipomania.

            Between the three of them, these historic episodes confirm that greed and fear have always been the driving forces of financial markets, and, furthermore, that being sensible and clever is no defence against the mesmeric allure of a popular craze with the wind behind it.

            In writing the history of the great financial manias, Charles Mackay proved himself a master chronicler of social as well as financial history. Blessed with a cast of characters that covered all the vices, gifted a passage of events which was inevitably heading for disaster, and with the benefit of hindsight, he produced a record that is at once a riveting thriller and absorbing historical document. A century and a half later, it is as vibrant and lurid as the day it was written.

            For modern-day investors, still reeling from the dotcom crash, the moral of the popular manias scarcely needs spelling out. When the next stock market bubble comes along, as it surely will, you are advised to recall the plight of some of the unfortunates on these pages, and avoid getting dragged under the wheels of the careering bandwagon yourself.


            Watch the video: Чарльз Вильямс. Большой обманщик. аудиокнига. (January 2023).

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