The Kouroo Contexture


Page 2: Chronology

Page 3: The History of Quakerism

Page 4: Giving War a Chance

Page 5: Captain John Brown at Harpers Ferry

Page 6: The View from Greater Rhode Island

Page 8: Henry Thoreau

Page 9: The People of WALDEN, A WEEK, and CAPE COD

Page 10: The Orient

Page 11: The People of Concord

[Page 7: Additional Materials]

These Adobe Acrobat Reader files which you are here perusing by way of the internet have been generated out of a computer database called the "Kouroo Contexture." They will fool you, because they are not so much written by a human, as compiled by a machine. They make use of a new technology called hypercontext. Hypercontext is to hypertext as Star Trek's transporter is to a tricycle. (Basically, in hypertext you press a button and you have gone somewhere else, creating the "Lost in Hyperspace" effect, whereas in hypercontext you press a button and you have gone nowhere, but everything around you has been rearranged into a very different configuration.) Here is a file that will provide you with an explanation of the agenda of this new hypercontext tool:

 The motivation for the creation of the Kouroo Contexture 

To show you the range of information that may be computer-extrapolated from the Kouroo Contexture merely by the push of a button, here are some additional materials of interest that are not easily categorized:

 The Development of the Federal Constitution 

How did our federal constitution originate, how did it develop, and how has it been amended and re-interpreted down through the centuries?

 Gallows Humor 

Henry Thoreau's writings are replete with implicit references to hanging -- many of them quite wry. It may even seem that, had race slavery not become the overriding concern of antebellum America, we might know him now as a determined opponent of what has been blandly termed "Capital Punishment."

  "Capital Punishment," So Called 

When an agency of government allows a helpless prisoner, shackled, to be shuffled under guard out of the secure cell in which he or she has been being safeguarded from being able to perpetrate any further harm, to an duly appointed execution chamber -- and there allows paid employees of that agency of government, in the presence of numerous witnesses, to perpetrate the next one of an apparently series of cold-blooded serial murders -- why might it be that we refer to such a practice of state serial killing as "capital punishment"? Who are we trying to fool?

 The "Treason" of incitement to Servile Insurrection 

The "treason" of incitement to servile insurrection was once considered to be the worst crime that anyone could possibly commit. Any person who would be so indecent as to suggest to a slave that that slave ought to be free -- did not deserve to be alive.

 The International Slave Trade 

The international trade in African slaves was something that went on for many years. In different timeframes it, and the struggle to suppress it, manifested itself in very different ways. For instance, in early years, two of the primary ports for such trade were Newport and Bristol, in the Narragansett Bay of Rhode Island, but in later years, after the trade has ostensibly been outlawed, the fitting out of negrero slave vessels became more or less the property of Portland, Maine, Boston, Massachusetts, and the harbor of New York City (especially the harbor of New York City). To find out what the situation was in a particular timeframe, click on the indicated file. If you download this Acrobat PDF file to your home computer, you will be able to add your own notes to your own copy of this file by use of your freebie Acrobat Reader:

 The Early Years of the Trade 
 The Trade from 1700 to 1737 
 The Trade from 1738 to 1758 
 The Trade from 1759 to 1774 
 The Trade during 1775 and 1776 
 The Trade during 1777 and 1778 
 The Trade from 1779 to 1782 
 The Trade during 1783 
 The Trade from 1784 to 1787 
 The Trade from 1788 to 1791 
 The Trade from 1792 to 1799 
 The Trade during 1800 and 1801 
 The Trade from 1802 to 1804 
 The Trade during 1805 
 The Trade from 1806 to 1813 
 The Trade from 1814 to 1817 
 The Trade during 1818 and 1819 
 The Trade from 1820 to 1824 
 The Trade from 1825 to 1830 
 The Trade from 1831 to 1834 
 The Trade from 1835 to 1839 
 The Trade during 1840 and 1841 
 The Trade from 1842 to 1848 
 The Trade from 1849 to 1856 
 The Trade during 1857 and 1858 
 The Trade during 1859 and 1860 
 The Trade during 1861 
 The Trade from 1862 to 1863 
 The Trade from 1864 on 

 Venture Smith and the International Slave Trade

Read about the life of a person who became entangled in the international slave trade.

 Olaudah Equiano and the International Slave Trade

Is part of Olaudah Equiano's excellence as a human being -- that he was able to con his way all the way into human dignity?

 "Amazing Grace" and the International Slave Trade

The life of the Reverend John Newton. He wrote this song about his conversion and forgiveness, which was something that had happened before he became an international slave trader. When he retired from the trade, apparently he did so merely for reasons of personal health. Only later did he decide that the slave trade was wrong -- and of course he never offered to give back any of the money he had made by buying and selling human beings.

AcrobatDocumentIcon.bmp Friend Thomas Clarkson and the abolition of the International Slave Trade

The life of a Quaker activist.

 The Mayflower

At a critical juncture in our Civil War, Nathaniel Hawthorne tried to make out that the Mayflower had been, after it had dropped off the white settlers at Plymouth, a negrero slave vessel. That wasn't true and even  beyond that, Hawthorne didn't have any indication that it might be true -- he was just making up this story out of whole cloth. Why would he have attempted to pull a stunt like that at such a critical point in our nation's history? (By the way, in England the "may-flower" is the flower of the hawthorne tree.)

The Mayflower Bastards

Not all the folks on board the Mayflower were "Brownist" members of the disaffected English congregation that had chartered the vessel. Some of the passengers were children who had been put on board in order to get rid of them, because they were illegitimate -- and it was considered embarrassing, even shameful, to have such kiddies around, in tight little England. Out of sight, out of mind -- so ship them off to a New World, and let the little bastards fend for themselves!


Many people are unaware that besides being interested in a whole bunch of other things, such as bugs and birds and plants, Henry David Thoreau was also vitally interested in astronomy -- he lived, after all, only a few miles as the crow flies from a world-class center for astronomical research, the Harvard Observatory on Concord Avenue in Cambridge.

 John Burroughs

Henry Thoreau was a nature writer, John Burroughs was a nature writer. Nature writer, nature writer. Alla same as no difference, huh?


Does "duellum" have anything to do with "bellum"? --Here's an answer from an expert, Henry David Thoreau, who was related to a duelist.

 Some select sea-serpent sightings

Some select sea-serpent sightings -- and what Henry David Thoreau had to say about such observations.


A utopian social experiment in New Jersey, and how Henry David Thoreau was involved.

 The Concord School of Philosophy

What's that funny-looking barnlike building in the back yard of the Louisa May Alcott house in Concord?

 Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

Was this man a source of inspiration for the creation of good schools?

Northampton, Massachusetts

In the 19th Century Northampton, Massachusetts, and the village of Florence next door, was the home for a great social experiment, specializing in silk manufacture and the growing of decent human beings. This experiment collapsed.

 The Reverend Robert Collyer

Why, when Henry David Thoreau visited Chicago, did he go knock on the door of a local Unitarian reverend?


How did Unitarianism originate?

 Adolf Hitler and the Nazis

How did Nazism originate? How far back can we trace "Proto-Nazism"? What were the characteristic racist and antisemitic beliefs of the Proto-Nazi, and what is the cultural soil in which they were nourished? Did these roots extend outside of Germany? Did any of these roots extend even to America? Might we, for instance, if we thought about this hard enough for long enough, be able to trace some of the roots of the Third Reich back to attitudes of individuals who were alive during the lifetime of Henry David Thoreau? -- Who might such individuals have been and what were their prescient 19th-Century attitudes? Were there distant early warning signs which it would have been better if we had heeded? Let's "walk back the cat" on this one!


There were a number of mass die-offs during Thoreau's lifetime, due to the Asiatic cholera. Nobody could figure it out -- and then they did.

 The small pox

The history of the small pox (variola), and of variolation and vaccination. The smallpox is now "extinct" except in military bioweapons labs, and your vaccination has therefore been allowed to get way out of date -- it won't be at all difficult for them to kill you.

 Socrates  Plato  Aristotle

From time to time people compare Bronson Alcott with Plato, and at least once somebody has said "As Plato was to Aristotle, Waldo Emerson was to Henry Thoreau." What does that sort of comparison amount to?

 The Famous Quaker Painter, Benjamin West

When is a famous painter not a Quaker?

 The "Straw Towns" of New England

When Britain imposed a trade blockade upon Napoleonic Europe, we needed to learn how to make our straw bonnets locally as we could no longer readily import them from such foreign climes as Livorno, Italy. Various stories have sprung up, as to how this copying of foreign straw weavings originated in New England.

 "Walking back the cat" on the technologies used here

Just for fun, I've been "walking back the cat," as they say at the NSA, on the various technologies used in the production of the Kouroo Contexture. --What technologies are we using for this, what technologies were necessary preliminaries for these, what infrastructure had previously to be erected, etc... As you will see, I've taken this all the way back to Day One.

 Thomas Paine

Tom Pain came to the New World and reinvented himself as Thomas Paine. Fast forward a few centuries and now it is the 4th of July of 2006: despite the fact that nothing much actually happened on July 4, 1776, we've decided to celebrate this day as our national B'day. Well, OK America, here's your birthday present this year, in the form of a bio of our chiefest publicist, Thomas Paine -- a man whose writings we temporarily admired and a man whom we later came to greatly despise. Where are his bones?

 Various Declarations of Independency 

        Read about what came before the Declaration of Independence, versus what came afterward.

Campaign finance reform

What can we learn about what is wrong with us today, from Italian Fascism?

 Chicago, Illinois

What can you make from three-sevenths of a chicken, two-thirds of a cat, and half a goat?

 Ota Benga

Could it be true, that we once exhibited a pygmy in a cage with the monkeys in a zoo?

 Alvan Fisher

Alvan Fisher was a landscape painter.

  A Semisweet History of Chocolate 

What can the history of chocolate teach us about slippery slopes?

(If you fall in a hot vat of chocolate, don't yell "Hot Chocolate!")

 John von Neumann 

How do you optimize 2+2=5?

 Milton Bradley 

Through the efforts of the Reverend John Bunyan and the game manufacturer Milton Bradley (with some assistance from Seneca the Younger, Sir Thomas More, Samuel Johnson, Thomas Cole, and Louisa May Alcott), we have become infatuated with the conceit that our lives are like a journey.

 Mr. Herbert Spencer

How is it that America went for Social Darwinism the way a chimp dives into a banana split?

 Herbert Wendell Gleason

An early visualizer of Thoreau materials.

  Edwin Forrest

The John Wayne of Thoreau's generation was an authentic American clown.


Various attempts to form special social communities (utopias) during Thoreau's generation: Bronson Alcott's "Consocial Family" at Fruitlands, the Northampton Association for Industry and Education, Eagleswood, the Ursuline convent, the Paulist Fathers, The Kingdom, etc.

 Paul Revere 

Founding father Paul Revere, one of the Huguenots in the history of Concord, Massachusetts.

 Dr. William Andrus Alcott

Amos Bronson Alcott's cousin, Dr. William Andrus Alcott, was heavily engaged in the advice business. One of the health things he did was prepare treatises of advice for young people, as to how they should live their lives. Now, I cannot establish that Henry Thoreau ever saw any of this genre of literature, but it was certainly available to him and in fact there has been a school of thought that suggested that Thoreau's didactic writings amount to such treatises of advice as to how people should live their lives. Therefore, we should at least take a look for similarities, if any.


The plant is now rare, because it conflicts with our cereal crops.

 The Parker House

The Parker House in beautiful downtown Boston has become our Omni Parker Hotel.

The Reverend Thomas Chalmers

Can you say "content provider"?

President George W. Bush

I've been playing the "small world" or "Seven Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon" game, and have noticed an intriguing chain of connection between the spiritual life of Henry David Thoreau and President George W. Bush. The chain is by way of Henry's aunts, the Reverend Chalmers of their era, and the Reverend Chambers of our own era.

Mrs W.S. Robinson

A renter at the Thoreau house in the Texas district of Concord had some acerbic remarks to make about Henry Thoreau, and about Concord in general. Should we credit such remarks, on the grounds that since she was a famous feminist she must have understood something or other?

 The Woman's Rights movement in the era of Henry Thoreau 

Some scholars have dismissed Henry Thoreau as misogynistic. Surely that would have come as news to his mother and his sisters. Perhaps it would also come as news to the feminists of his era whom he encountered from time to time. To carefully evaluate such a charge we need more than the randomly sampled sound byte from Henry's journal, we need a full linear study of the Woman's Rights movement of his era.

 The Eugenics Movement 

Recently we were contacted by an internet user who was presuming there to be some connection between Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, and Sir Francis Galton's eugenics movement. We proved this file in order to assure this internet user that, although Darwin and Galton were indeed members of the same extended British family, and although sufficient investigation would undoubtedly produce a time and a place in which these two personages happened to be in the same room at the same time, the history of the eugenics movement should be told without any reference whatever to Darwinism.

 Governor for Life Thomas Mayhew of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island 


Biologists presume individual adaptation and survival to be congurent with species adaptation and survival. Which is to say, in the mind of the life scientist, the species success story is merely the individual success story writ large, and individual death without reproduction is merely species extinction writ small. No, that is not the case. Individual adaptation and species adaptation are demonstrably noncongruent: noncongruent, in that success in one may lead directly to failure in the other.  --And that, that is the situation which, right now, is staring our overwhelming human species square in the face.

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