Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Keeping the experiment on the way it should go...

Henry Beston's Northern Farm (Chimney Farm), Nobleboro, Maine - Original 1978 Photograph from Archives 
This Henry Beston quote from 1948 may feel especially familiar to those who remember the "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" New England Republican of decades back:
There is only one test of any political scheme or adventure in government. It is the quality of the human being produced by the political order and by the way of life occasioned by that order. Such materialistic arithmetic as the amount of electric power sold, the number of motor cars produced, and the immense potential of this and that means nothing whatever. A truce to these materialistic puffings of a materialistic heaven as vulgar, tedious, and empty in its conception as anything ever held up to the inquiring spirit of man. 
But the human being? There you are. Is that human being a conscious member of a community and willing to do his best by it, has he honesty and courage, the reasonable public good manners which keep the experiment on the way it should go, has he a proper sense of the human decencies and is he seized upon now and then by his birthright of natural gaiety; has the man his quality of manhood and decision and the woman her immense and mystical power?
 "Man the measure of all things." A good adage once the limits of its application are understood. 
- Henry Beston Sheahan, Harvard Class of ’09; <>, Northern Farm <>


  1. An utterly perfect quote representing the highest aspiration of the fabled New England conscience. Thank you for this much-needed open moral window, and concurrent blast of mental cold, fresh air.

  2. Such a wise and interesting man.

  3. I second Michael Rowe!

  4. Totally agree with Michael Rowe but it made me cry for days gone.