Burke in Debt

24 Oct

Some day someone should write an essay on the struggles of Edmund Burke in his final years to overcome his considerable debts—some £30,000—by securing a peerage and a pension from the Crown.

Throughout his career, Burke’s financial state had been precarious. Much to his embarrassment, he was periodically forced to rely upon well timed gifts and loans from his wealthier friends and patrons.

So terrified was he of dying in a debtor’s prison that he struggled in his retirement to learn Italian. His hope, claimed one of the many visitors at his estate, was to flee England and “end his days with tollerable Ease in Italy.” (He also floated, apparently, the possibility of fleeing to Portugal or America.) “I cannot quite reconcile my mind to a prison,” he  told a friend.

Thanks to the interventions of his well connected friends, Burke secured from Pitt in August 1795 two annuities that would wipe out his debts and a pension that, along with an additional pension and the income from his estate, would enable him and his wife to live in comfort into their old age.

Three months later, when Burke took up his pen against a proposal for the government to subsidize the wages of farm laborers during bad harvest years (so that they could sustain themselves and their families), he wrote, “To provide for us in our necessities is not in the power of government.”

35 Responses to “Burke in Debt”

  1. barbara fitzpatrick October 24, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Ah continuity! Reminds me of congress folks getting agricultural subsidies, and cutting food stamps; protecting the peoples freedom to starve.

  2. Greg October 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    In some ways, Burke was right in saying “[to] provide for us in our necessities is not in the power of government.” Such things are better left to our patrons and well off friends!

    /sarcasm

  3. Paul Rosenberg (@PaulHRosenberg) October 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    It’s nice to be reminded that hypocrisy has such a proud and prominent lineage in conservative thought. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

  4. BarryB October 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    I don’t see Burke as a hypocrite. He was, as Corey points out, obsessively concerned for a long time with suffering the results of poverty and debt in his last years, taking steps that even on the surface appear ludicrous as a response. The fact that he could subsequently write as he did about subsidizing the wages of farm workers in bad years speaks more in my opinion to the split in the mind between what’s real (self, one’s loved ones, one’s friends, co-workers) and what’s theoretical (everybody we don’t know) that is all too true of far too many people. And especially those whose psychological flaws lead them to run for public office, or achieve prominent roles in business.

    Alongside the scoundrels like Dimon who deserve one of the danker rooms in Fleet Street prison, there are sadly too many people who just don’t perceive humanity as truly existing beyond the immediate set of very real, proximate people. And while I don’t feel the slightest bit of pity for them, I do think we need to be aware that not everybody who acts in this fashion really has a soul as black as ink. Some of them could be greatly improved by a few years at subsistence wages in the food industry.

    • Paul Rosenberg (@PaulHRosenberg) October 24, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

      Well, if that’s not hypocrisy, it will just have to do, until the real thing comes along.

      Of course, I have at times argued that it’s not hypocrisy, since conservatives sincerely believe in double standards.

      But then, again, that’s not what THEY say!

      • Morgan Warstler (@morganwarstler) October 25, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

        That’s really junk thinking. let me help:

        Today we have “conservative think thanks” they are NECESSITATED by what? You and your kind.

        We’d very much prefer that your designs were humble and relevant to your actual talent in the market place, but no you want to cheat (w govt.).

        So we have to form CATO and AEI and ATR and on and on… just to neutralize you somewhat.

        Nobody ever agreed that democracy is the game we are playing, we’re playing another one.

        The fact that we have to have “thinkers” get paid by rich folk to move memes, is unfortunate, we’d like everyone to stop trying to cheat, but oh well.

        Note our paid thinkers must do petty well, as one side preaches free shit for laziness, you’d think you’d have overcome all forms of human decency by now.

        Now to be clear, I have EXACTLY the same feeling about why so many thought leaders in the Democratic left are white men…

        Can the justice movement not practice what it preaches?

        Anyway, if all the talkers just shut up, our side would still have doers.

        selah

      • Paul Rosenberg (@PaulHRosenberg) October 25, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

        I’m not at all clear how this pack of lies relates to my comments.

        But thanks for sharing!

      • Morgan Warstler (@morganwarstler) October 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

        Burke was just a conservative think tank guy of old. What part don’t you understand?

      • Consumatopia October 25, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

        A conservative think tank guy of old, funded by the government.

    • Gordon Munro October 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      To have an “inklike” soul ya gotta have a soul. Excellent comment on the non-false choice dichotomy twixt “the real” and “the theoretical.” Some Brooklyn accented Vermont politicos not so phychologically flawed methinks.

  5. Roquentin October 24, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    It would be wise not to expect consistency from theoreticians of the right. I got into a great many arguments with people of a free market persuasion whom I knew in college who were shocked that the banks shifted the rules to save themselves when push came to shove and they were now “too big to fail.” They seemed incapable of recognizing that rules and laws themselves are a function of power which can and most certainly will be changed by the people who have power when the law becomes harmful to them. I guess they never drew the line from “let them regulate themselves” to “we’ll change the laws however we see fit so we always win.” An idea which is the furthest thing from extreme. In fact, the recent Nobel prize in economics went to someone who advanced the “efficient markets hypothesis.”

    You can follow this right on down the line to how unequal the punishments for common street crimes are between people from different racial and socio-economic backgrounds. If someone has power, he or she can and most certainly will use it to avoid punishments and unpleasant circumstances. Whether it is hypocritical or not matters little, because the system was never supposed to be fair. It was set up to preserve a certain set of social relations and a given societal structure.

  6. Jeremy October 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Maybe some day Andrew Sullivan will see that Ted Cruz is indeed a Burkean conservative.

  7. Jonny Butter October 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    Maybe some day Andrew Sullivan will…

    Don’t hold your breath! Or grow your beard!

    • Jeremy October 24, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

      What’s it been? About two years since The Reactionary Mind came out? And Sullivan hasn’t ever dealt with Corey pretty much nailing what conservatism is all about through the crazy idea of tossing everything labeled “conservative” into a pile and searching for the common thread, rather than just calling everything he disagrees with that is commonly associated with the conservative label (e.g. Rick Santorum)”not real conservatism.” Really, it’s nuts that he persists in just thinking everybody else is simply wrong in not using his pet definition of conservatism, rather than conceding that maybe he’s the wrong one. So, yeah, I don’t think he’s about to come to his senses on this anytime soon.

      Here in Boston, though, beards are currently all the rage for sports related reasons. I could probably buy one from a number of different places on pretty short notice.

  8. bevin October 24, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    In opposing Speenhamland, which was nothing more than an interpretation of the duties of magistrates under the Poor Laws, Burke was taking a radical position. The conservative view was that rural labourers had the right to outdoor relief in times of dearth.
    Burke, at a time when the resources of the rural poor were being greatly diminished by the spread of enclosures and other confiscatory measures, was arguing in favour of the market and Political Economy’s newly coined “laws.”
    He was siding with powerful interests, and, as the farmer of 800 acres, being selfish but, in contemporary terms, his ideas were offensive to conservatives.
    He was, after all, like Pitt, a Whig.

  9. wetcasements October 25, 2013 at 1:18 am #

    Grifters gonna grift.

  10. Jeroen Laemers October 25, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    Nice find!

    Perhaps to put this in context, Burke also wrote the following (in his Reflections):

    But to drive men from independence to live on alms is itself great cruelty. That which might be a tolerable condition to men in one state of life, and not habituated to other things, may, when all these circumstances are altered, be a dreadful revolution, and one to which a virtuous mind would feel pain in condemning any guilt, except that which would demand the life of the offender.

    So there’s definitely a double standard. Which, of course, is hardly surprising, as Burke advocated on behalf of aristocracy and monarchy against democratic rule. Naturally, then, some people (including Burke) are better and more deserving than others. As a result, Burke wasn’t necessarily being hypocritical – by eighteenth-century standards, at least.

    It’s just that by now we’re supposed to have done away with “betters” and “inferiors.”

  11. Jon Certy October 25, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    What’s the source on this?

    • Corey Robin October 25, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      Burke’s Thoughts on Scarcity is on line. You can read it in a bunch of places. The details on his finances, pensions, and peerage, come from F.P. Lock’s two-volume biography. The second volume, which gets into a lot of this later maneuvering, came out in 2006 with Oxford.

  12. Bruce Bartlett October 25, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    30,000 pounds in 1795 was A LOT of money. Just adjusted for inflation it would be $2.5 million today. In terms of economic status, it would be as much as $84 million today. In those days the average working man could live on 10 pounds a year.

  13. Jonny Butter October 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    So there’s definitely a double standard.

    There’s a ‘double standard’ about *wealth* not money. Some little spike in income for the occasional peasant is not going to bother someone like Burke too much. He may find it sad and grotesque, but not dangerous. What he doesn’t want to get out of hand is a situation of a generalized kind of wealth. When the ‘little people’ have a little wealth – a pension, a house, etc. – they tend to get out of line.

  14. P.M.Lawrence October 25, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    Although I do think that some sort of charge against Burke is justified, whether of hypocrisy or of cognitive dissonance, there is actually a view that is consistent both with personal rent seeking and with still generally disapproving of intervention. I have seen it presented by some people at (say) Lew Rockwell’s site and by some mutualists.

    Without my own endorsing it completely, the view holds that:-

    - All our present difficulties are aggravated and perhaps even caused by interventions, which should therefore not be made. (This is far from proven in general, but it is at least arguable.)

    - Given that situation, it is tactically justifiable to try to get back at least some of what we have been deprived of. (In this, there is no endorsement of the machinery of getting stuff back as it is merely an attempt at salvage, but there is the risk of it being read that way, as an endorsement not only of the getting stuff back but also of the taking and transferring machinery as a whole.)

    So it amounts to rational behaviour in the face of an externality of taking and transferring, but not to an approval of the whole thing, which this view actually disapproves of. So, by treading a fine line, the view is actually coherent and consistent with itself.

    However, as I remarked, Burke may well not have hewed to this view himself, and the view’s premises are not established. There are also complicating issues of lead times and transitions, and so on. Even so, this does provide a line of enquiry that could lead to constructive policy development as, when and if it is applicable. I myself think that the labour market is indeed harmed by an externality like that, and that it would be more fruitful to promote people out of poverty along Professor Kim Swales’s and Professor Edmund Phelps’s lines than to help the unemployed as such – but, of course, it is not an either/or choice.

  15. Conor October 25, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    Reminds me of how UChicago used welfare to get Hayek to accept a post in America.

  16. BarryB October 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    - All our present difficulties are aggravated and perhaps even caused by interventions, which should therefore not be made. (This is far from proven in general, but it is at least arguable.)

    I’d be willing to take this seriously if the people who didn’t offer it up (and I’m not sure where you fit in, given your inconclusive remarks, above) appear willing to countenance corporate welfare on a massive scale. It is always the poorest who must tighten their belts, while the richest are encouraged to buy new, ever expanding ones. This could just be coincidence, of course. Things always slip our minds! And if we had say, a century’s worth of removal of intervention at the top of the economic ladder, starting now, I strongly suspect those of us who aren’t gilded would actually start to believe this argument. My ghost could even be called upon to agree.

    Until then, the anti-intervention argument only raises the question, again: are the people who believe it hypocritical, or incapable of believing the lower social orders are real people?

    • P.M.Lawrence October 27, 2013 at 2:15 am #

      I’d be willing to take this seriously if the people who didn’t offer it up (and I’m not sure where you fit in, given your inconclusive remarks, above) appear willing to countenance corporate welfare on a massive scale.

      That only makes sense if you meant to write “… if the people who offered it up … didn’t appear willing to countenance corporate welfare on a massive scale”. Please correct me if I am mistakenly putting words into your mouth, but that reformulation is quite easy to refute:-

      -Even if that were true, they could still be holding a consistent view if they either had a different sense of priorities (I don’t think the facts justify it, but they might) or if they believed that corporate welfare, itself, was just such a way of clawing back stuff that had been taken (which is also a dubious proposition that they might sincerely believe).

      - But, as it happens, it isn’t true, and if you think so you have been seriously misinformed. If you had taken the trouble to look up the examples I cited, people at Lew Rockwell’s site (http://www.lewrockwell.com) and mutualists (e.g. those like Kevin Carson at http://c4ss.org), you would have found that many, perhaps most, of them massively disapprove of corporate welfare on any scale – and they are not unique, as you will find if you have the chance to cast your net wider.

      I didn’t want to muddy the waters by introducing my own views in any detail, as I also wanted to use examples that do not precisely coincide with my own views. In particular, I am much more of a gradualist than many of those (particularly those at Lew Rockwell’s site), but on the other hand I feel there is much less fundamental justification for all but a few special cases of corporate structures (Rockwellians often see corporate structures as consistent with undistorted markets and as being able to emerge without state assistance, rather than essentially being outworkings of distortions in and of themselves). I broadly overlap the mutualists, but I have a more pragmatic and empirical approach (well, I would say that), I am more concerned than they often are with transitions (which I expect would eventually converge on something like distributist arrangements, if not deflected), and I do admit the at least theoretical possibility of special cases that don’t fit pure mutualist theory. I have much less overlap with the Rockwellians, though it is closer on diagnosis than on prescription; I certainly don’t agree with their usual crash-through-or-crash preference for immediate abolition of ills etc. over gradualism (though I can certainly imagine some cases which should not be handled gradually).

    • Rob Smith October 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      “It is always the poorest who must tighten their belts, while the richest are encouraged to buy new, ever expanding ones.”

      Right, but we are the makers, they are the takers. We are the Randian builders, they are the sheeple. They wouldn’t know what to do with privilege, look how they’ve messed things up since You-Know-Who took over. We need to take our country back and set things right again. It’s only fair if you think about it.

  17. BarryB October 27, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    That only makes sense if you meant to write “… if the people who offered it up … didn’t appear willing to countenance corporate welfare on a massive scale”. Please correct me if I am mistakenly putting words into your mouth, but that reformulation is quite easy to refute:-

    I did leave out the negative; thank you for showing it back in to its proper place. That noted, there’s nothing to refute, and I’m surprised you’ve tried. My response is specific to the statement that “All our present difficulties are aggravated and perhaps even caused by interventions.” Mentioning that Rockwell, Carson and unnamed others disapprove of corporate welfare (which isn’t clear; certainly several of Rockwell’s guest bloggers put much emphasis on the horrors of socialized medicine, public schools, wealth grabs from the wealthy and the intellectual joys of Ron Paul, but there are very few that argue for the sans-culottes to mobilize against the Energy Policy Act of 2005, or against the subsidies to the likes of WalMart) doesn’t deal with the point that many who write, speak, fund, and are elected with opinions on this matter argue strongly against interventions at the lower end of the scale–while quietly and endlessly supporting them massively at the top. The government is indeed working at various levels to halt intervention in favor of the economic low end; I’m sure you’ve read of the same state laws that are now in place to achieve this, and the promises to pursue such matters further. But have you read anything about those victories against massive farm subsidies? Neither have I, because they aren’t being seriously proposed or pursued.

    I didn’t want to muddy the waters by introducing my own views in any detail…

    I respect your desire to establish a groundwork of personal integrity in these matters, but surely you realize that not presenting a personal viewpoint makes of one an object to be shaped by each viewer’s prejudices and inclinations. I’m glad to see you correct this with your subsequent discussion. For myself, I’m temperamentally a gradualist in that I don’t want to see anybody in the marketplace hurt by the sudden implementation of policies which in turn create knock-on effects that chain all too readily; but I’m too pragmatic not to believe that the only way to achieve any kind of economic change at the top is going to be sudden and sharp, before all the wealth the most powerful command can be mobilized against the slightest loss of interventions made in their favor.

    It has been my observation, for what that’s worth, that the only mobilization the poor can make against such losses is through their death, and the effect this has on the determination of those who remain alive. They’ve done that, died, mean, and quite a lot of it, gaining some advantage over time. Anti-interventionists need to look at what their predecessors have achieved and what’s at stake at both ends of the economic scale if they want to avoid accusations of being just another fighting column for the powerful in class warfare.

    • P.M.Lawrence October 27, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

      … there’s nothing to refute, and I’m surprised you’ve tried. My response is specific to the statement that “All our present difficulties are aggravated and perhaps even caused by interventions.”

      Now hang on, your original wording wasn’t specific to that. Let’s recap:-

      - My original comment described a view held by some people, that both is coherent and allows them to take advantage of current arrangements while still disapproving of them. I referred to some of these people.

      - You countered with what was meant to be “I’d be willing to take this seriously if the people who offered it up … didn’t appear willing to countenance corporate welfare on a massive scale”.

      - I pointed out that I had actually been referring to a particular group of people who really do hold that view coherently. That is not a statement about those other people who, by accident or design, are trying to have their cake and eat it. The former are a counter-example to the idea that the view can only be held incoherently, which remains true even if there really are people who hold it incoherently.

      - Now you assert that you were only discussing the statement that “[a]ll our present difficulties are aggravated and perhaps even caused by interventions”. But that is shifting the ground; you were actually addressing my own assertion that there were people who think that consistently with themselves taking advantage of interventions (it’s much like the justifications offered in response to attacks on socialist millionaires for trying to have their cake and eat it).

      Briefly, the point isn’t whether “[a]ll our present difficulties are aggravated and perhaps even caused by interventions” is true or not. It’s something much weaker, whether it can be argued without falling into inconsistencies with opposing that situation (it could still be wrong, if the facts turn out not to support it).

      Mentioning that Rockwell, Carson and unnamed others disapprove of corporate welfare (which isn’t clear … ) doesn’t deal with the point that many who write, speak, fund, and are elected with opinions on this matter argue strongly against interventions at the lower end of the scale–while quietly and endlessly supporting them massively at the top.

      That is completely correct and completely irrelevant. It’s like my citing people who have swum the English Channel as proof that it can be done, and you asserting that it doesn’t address the point that many who have tried failed. Yes, it is perfectly true “that many who write, speak, fund, and are elected with opinions on this matter argue strongly against interventions at the lower end of the scale–while quietly and endlessly supporting them massively at the top”. Yes, that is deplorable. But where I came in was with an attempt to show that it was quite possible to “argue strongly against interventions at the lower end of the scale” and even to take advantage of those interventions without supporting that situation and without inconsistency, if those doing so regarded it as making the best of a bad job. The fact that there are knaves who consciously do what you describe, and fools who do it out of ignorance and cognitive dissonance, in no way affects those others coming at it the way I described.

      I respect your desire to establish a groundwork of personal integrity in these matters, but surely you realize that not presenting a personal viewpoint makes of one an object to be shaped by each viewer’s prejudices and inclinations.

      So what? The alternative is to start an unwanted hare and to chase off into digressions. That way ad hominems lie. I don’t care what people think of me, and

    • P.M.Lawrence October 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

      Drat. The following got truncated:-

      So what? The alternative is to start an unwanted hare and to chase off into digressions. That way ad hominems lie. I don’t care what people think of me, and I am perfectly willing to pull anyone up with a choke chain if they start to digress like that.

      I’m glad to see you correct this with your subsequent discussion.

      I do no such thing. You asked politely – digressing – and I replied in the hope that that would satisfy your urge to digress. It was not anything to do with the core issue. If you do want to see more of my thinking, google my publications page and those economists I mentioned with whose approach I agree. Just remember that all that is a spun off topic, not this topic here.

  18. BarryB October 27, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Of course, when I wrote ” They’ve done that, died, mean, and quite a lot of it, gaining some advantage over time,” I meant ” They’ve done that, died, I mean, and quite a lot of it, gaining some advantage over time.” I periodically have to let the copy editor kept chained in my head out for coffee and bathroom breaks.

  19. Bart October 27, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    The English king gave Samuel Johnson a pension somewhat prior to when Burke received his charity. They weren’t contemporaries, were they?

    • P.M.Lawrence November 17, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

      Samuel Johnson and Edmund Burke were roughly contemporary, overlapping at the end of the 18th century, but the last English king was William III, at the end of the 17th century (who was himself Dutch); after that, all kings were of the United Kingdom.

  20. BarryB October 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Since you take offense at my characterization of Rockwell’s pipers and the interpretation of your remarks, let’s return to basics:

    - Without my own endorsing it completely, the view holds that:-

    - All our present difficulties are aggravated and perhaps even caused by interventions, which should therefore not be made. (This is far from proven in general, but it is at least arguable.)

    - Given that situation, it is tactically justifiable to try to get back at least some of what we have been deprived of.

    If we are to accept this as arguable, should we assume you’re not limiting this to the wealthiest and most powerful, alone? But that this argument can be made for the poorest, most disadvantaged to assault the Bastille for debt prisoners, retake the royal forests, and deprive Nicholas II and his wife of their estates? Would this also apply to Elizabeth II, and to the wealthiest few who own so much in the US, and have–sometimes, by their own admission–felt as though they were being forced to pay for social services they could never use? Is this an argument grounded in a belief of unfair loss?

    It’s a nice but dangerous sword, if I understand you correctly. It cuts both ways. The only problem for the poor is that it takes a lot more of their body weight to equal the blank checks of the folks at the top.

    • P.M.Lawrence November 17, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

      Sorry for the delay replying.

      If we are to accept this [the bullet points presented in my original comment here] as arguable, should we assume you’re not limiting this to the wealthiest and most powerful, alone? But that this argument can be made for the poorest, most disadvantaged to assault the Bastille for debt prisoners, retake the royal forests, and deprive Nicholas II and his wife of their estates? Would this also apply to Elizabeth II, and to the wealthiest few who own so much in the US, and have–sometimes, by their own admission–felt as though they were being forced to pay for social services they could never use? Is this an argument grounded in a belief of unfair loss?

      It’s a nice but dangerous sword, if I understand you correctly. It cuts both ways. The only problem for the poor is that it takes a lot more of their body weight to equal the blank checks of the folks at the top.

      I’m not limiting those points to the wealthiest and most powerful, but that argument can not “be made for the poorest, most disadvantaged to assault the Bastille for debt prisoners, retake the royal forests, and deprive Nicholas II and his wife of their estates”, nor would it “also apply to Elizabeth II, and to the wealthiest few who own so much in the US, and have … felt as though they were being forced to pay for social services they could never use” (though some Rockwellians probably would go that far, in my view they do undercut their basis when they do). That’s because all those things are themselves interventions, to wit expropriations and violence. The original points only applied to working within the internal logic of the system that is perceived as harmful, so as to get back what it is willing to give back. That is often construed as endorsing how the system continually takes, without which it would have nothing to give back; but the bullet points presented the coherent tactical approach that is willing to work the system for so long as that goes on, but prefers that the whole thing stop.

      It is certainly true that the argument you present for your own examples is “grounded in a belief of unfair loss”, though not only that since it also requires the idea that reparations of that sort are sufficiently linked to that loss to be coherent. Rothbard, I think it was, presented a thought experiment in which private property that had been gained by the unwinding of a state could be seized later; that kind of property fits the Russian oligarchs’ case fairly well. Carson feels that unwinding corporations should transfer ownership of their works to their workers. I, though, feel that such things bring in separate damage, and that the best approach – other than avoiding having such a fait accompli to unravel in the first place – is to have replacement customs and traditions that don’t support the indefinite retention of ill gotten gains. Then anything that lasted would only do so if there were a basis for that, subsequent to and independent of original acquisition.

      But the argument I presented isn’t about reparations at all, but only about taking tactical advantage of the internal logic of the system pending the end of the system. On the one hand it does not justify violence and expropriation (even of ill gotten gains), and on the other hand it does, e.g., justify people who have never paid taxes in claiming state child support (as done by some Mormon sects, which call it “bleeding the beast”; they are accused of hypocrisy in this, but they would be willing to go it alone farming their own land, if only that were possible – as it once was, before the Mormon War of the 1850s subjugated their predecessors).

  21. Bugboy November 15, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Why, I’m so disappointed to discover Ayn Rand was so, so derivative by collecting Social Security and Medicare in her latter years. Burke had her beat on the “Do as I say, not as I do” gig by 2 hundred years!

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