J1.07 Blind, but Now I See

Annotations for Jerusalem by Alan Moore

Book 1 – The Boroughs
Blind, but Now I See

General: The first chapter focusing on Henry George, aka “Black Charley”. He is based on an actual Northampton resident, as detailed in the chapbook In Living Memory. Moore includes many biographical details not noted in ILM; some may have come from personal talks with Henry’s son, Ron George, many were likely invented. Born c.1848 (“but this possibly was an under-estimate by several years”), died 1926. This chapter takes place on the same day as the previous one (P200p2), in September, 1909. Henry is therefore 60 or older. The title is taken from the hymn “Amazing Grace”, and refers to how Henry moves from ignorance to knowledge about that hymn, starting on P194. We will return to Henry George in the chapter The Rafters and the Beams.

Page 175 – titled Blind, but Now I See

paragraph 1

William "Buffalo Bill" Cody
William “Buffalo Bill” Cody
  • “Bill Cody” – Better known as “Buffalo Bill“, a showman who helped create the popular image of the American Old West.

paragraph 2

  • “at first he’d took it for the Lord” – Moore seems to have had the same experience. In a 2002 interview, he says:

    Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull […] performed on the little park, which is about a hundred yards, two hundred yards from where I’m now. I noticed a chimney pot on one of the houses near the racecourse that’s got this bearded face carved onto it. Which at first I thought was perhaps Jesus or Moses… then I realised that it’s got a cowboy hat and that in fact it was Buffalo Bill. They carved him on to commemorate the race course thing”

paragraph 3

  • “maybe five or ten year earlier” – Some brief research  shows that Buffalo Bill was touring England in 1887-1888, 1892, and 1902-1904, so Moore may not have known the exact date and guessed at 1887 or 1892. A more detailed tour listing, however, gives the precise date of September 17, 1904.
    • Buffalo Bill has a brief 1888 appearance in Moore’s From Hell.
  • “he’d arrived here in the town himself, which was in ninety-seven” – That would be 1897.
    • In Living Memory states that the real Henry George had been living in Northampton “over thirty years” at his death in 1926, which would put his arrival at 1896 or earlier.
  • “Annie Oakley” – A famous American sharpshooter who toured with Buffalo Bill.
  • “some Indian braves” – Many American Indians were part of Buffalo Bill’s show.  Sadly, several of them died while in England (though none in Northampton).

paragraph 4

  • “Marshall, Kansas” – Marshall County is located in the NE of Kansas. The famed Oregon Trail passes through it.
  • “Elvira Conely” – Apparently a real person. “ELVIRA CONELY set up a laundry in Marshall, in 1868. She had been a slave. Her customers included Wild Bill Hickock and Buffalo Bill.”
  • “seventy-five, seventy-six, something like that, when Henry was […] in his middle twenties” – The real Henry George would have been at least 27.

Page 176

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “his bicycle and cart […] with the ropes he had around the wheel-rims” – From ILM: “he went round with a trolley which was all tied up with ropes and the wheels – instead of tyres, they’d got ropes tied on.”
  • “the big main road” – This would be Kettering Road, now also known as A5123, see map below.

paragraph 3

Black Charley's ride, part 1
Black Charley’s ride, part 1 (Google Maps 2021)
  • “Hood Street” – See map.

paragraph 4

  • No notes.

Page 177

paragraph 1

  • “streetcar lines” – See note to chapter Modern Times, P152p2.
  • “the church there on the Grove Road corner to his right” – Probably this is intended to be the building now on the corner of Queen’s Road, just before Grove. It is no longer a church, but on a 1950 map is indicated as “Meth. Ch.” See image below.

    Former church buildings flanking Grove Road (Google Street View Apr 2009)
    Former church buildings flanking Grove Road (Google Street View Apr 2009)
  • “the Unitarian chapel on the other side” – Almost certainly the other side of Grove Road, not Kettering Road. A former church building is visible in the left background of the above picture. A 1950 map marks it as “Meth. Ch.”, but it may have changed hands, or the notation may be in error, confusing this church with the one above.

    Charles Bradlaugh's statue
    Charles Bradlaugh’s statue
  • “Mr. Bradlaugh’s statue” – Charles Bradlaugh, MP. The person (and statue) are described in the final chapter of Voice of the Fire. There are still shops in the area, but few if any pubs, and no obvious warehouse.

paragraph 2

  • “his views on alcohol” – I have been unable to locate anything about Bradlaugh’s views on alcohol. However, his wife Susannah “became a compulsive alcoholic”.
  • “Mr. Bradlaugh hadn’t had no faith in the Almighty” – Bradlaugh is perhaps most famous for being an outspoken atheist at a time when that was very unusual. He was the first professed atheist to be elected to Parliament.
  • “he’d stood up for the coloured folks in India” – “Bradlaugh, who took interest in the Indian independence movement, was invited in 1889 to the Indian National Congress in Bombay.”
  • “standing up for all the poor folks here at home” – Among other things, Bladlaugh authored a book, Poverty: Its Effects on the Political Condition of the People.
  • “Wales” – Henry is particularly conscious of Wales because that is where he met his wife. See P186p3.

paragraph 3

  • “Cadbury’s chocolate” – Company founded by John Cadbury, c.1824.  Possibly referring to the Cadbury Dairy Milk bar, only recently introduced in 1905.
  • “Storton’s Lungwort” – Lungwort is a flower that is sometimes used as an herbal remedy, especially, as one might guess from the name, lung problems. Storton was a Northampton-based company in the late 19th, early 20th centuries who sold bottles of “BALSAM OF LUNGWORT – CURES COUGHS, COLDS & C.”
  • “Mr. Brugger’s place with all the clocks” – the 1881 census lists an Engleburt Brugger, Watchmaker, age 23, living not far from here. If this is the same  person, he would now be about 51.
  • “the number six what went down to St. James’s End, what they called Jimmy’s End” – While there was a tram line that went along Henry’s route as described here, it doesn’t seem to be the same line that went out to St. James’s End. Moore may have conflated the two to get in a reference to his short film, “Jimmy’s End“.
Black Charley's ride, part 2
Black Charley’s ride, part 2

Page 178

paragraph 1 (continued)

paragraph 2

  • “the route what went on out towards Great Billing” – That would be the eponymous Billing Road, leading to the Great Billing area. It’s just north of the hospital.
  • “the statue of the King’s head” – This is a bust of King Edward VII — and an anachronism, as it wasn’t erected
    Statue of Edward VII (bbc.com)
    Statue of Edward VII (bbc.com)

    until after his death in 1910. It is located on the SE corner of the intersection, just in front of the hospital.

  • “Beckett’s Park, as used to be Cow Meadow” – Still referred to with both names most of the time. Named after Saint Thomas Becket, see next paragraph. (“Beckett” is misspelled here.)
  • “They weren’t going to string him up or shoot him” – Which were real risks for a black man in America after the Civil War. The situation sadly hasn’t improved all that much by 2021.

paragraph 3

the old yellow stone wall (Google Maps Nov 2020)
the old yellow stone wall (Google Maps Nov 2020)
  • “curving round by the old yellow stone wall and into the Bedford Road” – See picture. Bedford Road forms the northeast border of Becket’s Park.
  • “Saint Thomas Becket quenched his thirst” – Though no longer a public drinking fountain, the site of the well is still encased by a shrine erected in 1843. This well also appeared in Voice of the Fire, chapter 7, The Sun Looks Pale Upon The Wall. Becket himself appears in the Jerusalem chapter The Steps of All Saints (plus cameos in The Destructor and Clouds Unfold, and frequent mentions throughout).

    Becket's Well (Google Street View Aug 2012)
    Becket’s Well (Google Street View Aug 2012)

paragraph 4

Lion heads of Becket's Well (tonyshaw3.blogspot.com)
Lion heads of Becket’s Well (tonyshaw3.blogspot.com)
  • “the worn brass spigot” – Presumably meaning one of the two lion heads from which the water emerged; see image.
  • “the abbey out at Delapre” – The abbey is about 2/3 of a mile due south of Becket’s Well.
  • “Sousa” – John Philip Sousa, a popular American composer of the time, especially noted for his marches.

paragraph 5

  • No notes.

Page 179

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “Bill Hickok” – Better known as “Wild Bill“, a folk hero and gunfighter of the Old West. Died in 1876.

    "Wild Bill" Hickok
    “Wild Bill” Hickok
  • “Britton Johnson” – A real person. The book (and subsequent film) The Searchers was based on his life. He died when he and two others were attacked by a band of Kiowa warriors (not Comanche). His comrades were killed almost instantly, leaving him to fight alone. Britt killed his own horse and used it for cover. When his body was found, it was surrounded by nearly two hundred bullet shells.

    Painting of Britton Johnson by Lee Herring, on loan to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum
    Painting of Britton Johnson by Lee Herring, on loan to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum
  •  “no lone drunk and no lucky shot in some saloon” – Bill Hickok was killed in a saloon, shot from behind at point-blank range.

paragraph 2

  • “the fancy hospital” – Saint Andrews Infirmary. The chapter Round the Bend is largely set there.

    Black Charley's ride, part 3
    Black Charley’s ride, part 3
  • “a workhouse in the old Saint Edmund’s parish, out the Wellingborough Road” – About half a mile north of the Northampton General Hospital. Now a historical site.
  • “Berry Wood asylum” – Saint Crispin’s Hospital, on Berrywood Road. A bit over 3 miles NW of the General Hospital. Audrey Vernall is a patient there in Round the Bend section 11.
  • “Great Houghton” – A parish a few miles to the SE down Bedford Road.

paragraph 3

Josephine Ruffin
Josephine Ruffin
  • “Miss St. Pierre Ruffin helping folks with cash from her Relief Association” – Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, among many other accomplishments, worked for “Kansas Freedmen’s Relief Association, collecting money and clothes to send to aid southern blacks resettling in Kansas, known as Exodusters.”
  • “Henry Carter’s missus, talked her husband into walking with her all the way from Tennessee” – I have been unable to find any information about these people. I did find reference to a Henry Carter who “walked nearly 110 miles to West Tennessee”, but it was in 1840 and he was still enslaved.

Page 180

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “in a wagon same as everybody else” – The American West was to a large degree settled by wagon trains.
  • “Considering those times made Henry’s shoulder itch” – See P206p2.

paragraph 2

  • “A watermill went by him on his right” – Bedford Road crosses the River Nene, and several small offshoots. If a watermill remains along this route, however, I have been unable to find it. There is a street named Rushmills on the right, which is suggestive.
  • “Sheridan near Marshall” – Sheridan is in the NW of Kansas, not actually very close to Marshall.
  • I have not been able to find a source for these details of Elvira Conely’s life.
  • “Dodge” – Dodge City, Kansas, a place that looms large in the history and mythology of the Old West.

paragraph 3

  • “Upon his right he passed the narrow lane what would have took him down to Hardingstone ” – Possibly Liliput Road? Or an older lane that no longer exists. Hardingstone is slightly west of  south from his current location.

paragraph 4 – 7

  • No notes.

Page 181

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “Great Houghton’s high street” – Literally named High Street today.
  • “past the schoolhouse” – There was a school about halfway between Bedford Road and the church, on the right, as recently as 2012. By 2016, it had become a dance school.
  • “the purse-bag close” – Rectory Close.
Black Charley's ride, part 4 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride, part 4 (Google Maps 2021)

paragraph 2

  • “near on sixty years of age” – The real Henry George would have been about sixty, possibly older.
Great Houghton church and nearby graves (Google Street View 2021)
Great Houghton church and nearby graves (Google Street View 2021)

paragraph 3

  • “The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended” – An Anglican hymn, written in 1870 by Rev John Ellerton.

paragraph 4 – 8

  • No notes.

paragraph 9

  • “Amazing Grace” – A hymn written in 1779 by Anglican clergyman John Newton. It is discussed at more length below, starting at P193.

paragraph 10

  • No notes.

Page 182

paragraph 1 – 2

  • No notes.

paragraph 3

  • “Newton who chopped down the apple tree and said he couldn’t tell a lie?” – Henry is correct in his next paragraph’s corrections. Mrs. Bruce is conflating Isaac Newton, who famously (though perhaps apocryphally) came up with his theory of gravity by watching an apple fall, and George Washington, who famously (though perhaps apocryphally) admitted to chopping down a cherry tree as a child.

paragraph 4

  • No notes.

paragraph 5

  • “His people came from round here somewhere, too, that General Washington.” – A fact also mentioned in the final chapter of Voice of the Fire. Washington’s ancestors owned Sulgrave Manor, in West Northamptonshire.
  • “[Newton] used to be the parson up the road at Olney” – Per Wikipedia, Newton was the parish priest in Olney for sixteen years, from 1764 to 1780. Olney is about 10 miles southeast of Northampton.

paragraph 6 – 7

  • No notes.

Page 183

paragraph 1 (continued) – 2

  • No notes.

paragraph 3

  • “On his right as he departed from Great Houghton he could see the village cemetery” – As of 2009, there is no cemetery in the described location. There is a small cemetery surrounding the village church, see image above.

paragraph 4

  • “The land out here was mostly farming property” – Still true in 2009.
  • “and pretty flat, too” – Fairly flat, but not remotely as flat as Kansas. The area around Northampton has plenty of slopes and hills.

Page 184

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.
Black Charley's ride, part 5 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride, part 5 (Google Maps 2021)

paragraph 2

  • “Brafield” – Technically (at least today) “Brafield-on-the-Green“, see map above.
  • “St. Lawrence Church” – The church in Brafield is currently named St. Laurence. It is not particularly close to the main road Henry is on, but church bells are built to carry.
  • “That one blue eye they’d got” – This suggests that the collie in question is a Border Collie, though other kinds of dog can have heterochromia. Alma Warren’s eyes, while not heterochromatic, are markedly uneven; see the chapter A Cold and Frosty Morning, Pxxx.
  • “Yardley” – The next town down the road from Denton, which is the town after Brafield.

paragraph 3

  • “Denton” – The town after Brafield, before Yardley. See map below.

paragraph 4

  • The biographical details here and in the next few paragraphs are not from In Living Memory. They might derive from an interview with Black Charley’s son, or might just be made up.

Page 185

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “how come he didn’t take his shirt off” – See P206p2 below for the real reason.
  • “he had an extra nipple” – Traditionally seen as indicating a witch. This comes up in Voice of the Fire, chapter Partners in Knitting.

paragraph 3

  • “anything from candy-bars to chapbooks and dime novels making up the ballast” – While specific details are hard to come by, it is widely held that US comic books mostly entered Britain as ship ballast. These would later be encountered by a young Alan Moore.

paragraph 4

  • “Grange Farm” – There is a large farm in the location described, though by 2009 its name was “Mere Barn Farm”.
Black Charley's ride, part 6 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride, part 6 (Google Maps 2021)

Page 186

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

Gog and Magog (from Sylva Brittanica 1830)
Gog and Magog (from Sylva Brittanica 1830)
  • “Castle Ashby” – See map, above.
  • “Gog and Magog” – Originally two names from the Old Testament, complex and conflicting legends of giants named Gog and Magog (or combined into one as Gogmagog) have sprouted up all over. They have been associated with London since at least Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Brittaniae (1136).  Statues of them are alleged to have existed since the time of Henry V (c.1413). I have been unable to connect any historical statues with Castle Ashby directly, but the area did contain two large old oak trees named Gog and Magog, which survived at least until the early 20th century, when Black Charley rode by.

paragraph 3

  • Tiger Bay” – Per the BBC, “Tiger Bay – Cardiff’s dockland district – is Wales’ oldest multi-ethnic community. Sailors and workers from over 50 countries settled here.”
  • Abergavenny” – About 25 miles north-northeast of Cardiff. ILM has the following, from an interview with Ron George, Henry’s son:

    Richard Foreman; When your father arrived in Britain, was Northampton he first place he lived?
    RG: I imagine he’d been up in Wales. (My mother) came from Abergavenny.

  • Builth Wells” – About 30 miles north-northwest of Abergavenny.

Page 187

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “Spencer Bridge, then up Crane Hill and Grafton Street to Sheep Street” – See map.
Black Charley arrives in Northampton, part 1 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley arrives in Northampton, part 1 (Google Maps 2021)

paragraph 2

  • “Saint Sepulchre’s” – The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built circa 1100. Its building is part of the subject matter of The Voice of the Fire, chapter Limping to Jerusalem.
  • I was unable to find photos or a precise location for the old beech tree, since, as sadly recounted in the chapter The Rafters and the Beams, Pxxx, it has been cut down.
  • Welsh House” – Still standing. The building showed up briefly in two chapters of Voice of the Fire, and is a prominent location in the Jerusalem chapter Malignant, Refractory Spirits.
  • “England’s Civil War” – Ran from 1642-1651. The American Civil War was from 1861-1865.
  • “And there weren’t nobody hanging from it” – A grim reference to the American practice of hanging black men without trial.
Black Charley's ride, part 7 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride, part 7 (Google Maps 2021)

paragraph 3

  • “he got to Yardley” – See map, above.
  • “into the village square” – At least as of 2009, after the bend Northampton Road becomes The Square.

    Yardley School (Google Street View Aug 2009)
    Yardley School (Google Street View Aug 2009)
  • “butter-colour stones and a nice archway ” – Many of the buildings in town are constructed from a yellowish stone, though a newer school building (as of 2009) is much more “butter-colored”. The archway either no longer exists, or was somewhere not captured by Google Street View, though there are still empty fields behind the school.
  • butcher’s paper” – Low-quality paper sold in large rolls, often used for children’s crafts because of its cheapness. So called because it was originally used by butcher shops to wrap meat in. (And probably still was being so used in 1909.)

Page 188

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “Olney” – A village about ten miles southeast of Northampton.

paragraph 2

  • “you’re nearly there” – Olney is almost exactly 4 miles south-southeast of Yardley.

paragraph 3

  • No notes.

paragraph 4

  • These directions are accurate, though Yardley Road is now known as B5388.

paragraph 5

The Red Lion (Google Street View Aug 2009)
The Red Lion (Google Street View Aug 2009)
  • “gold sidewalks” – The sidewalks are made from the same yellowish stone as most of the buildings.

paragraph 6

  • “the Red Lion” – Located a block north of Bedford Road. See picture.

paragraph 7

Black Charley's ride, part 8 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride, part 8 (Google Maps 2021)
  • “where the river tributary did too there was a waterfall” – As of 2009, there is no river or waterfall here.
  • “near a third of the way down where there was ponds” – Google Maps indicates a few very small ponds and streams in this general area today. They seem to have been in their current shapes since at least 2009.

Page 189

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “bottle rocket” – Wikipedia claims that bottle rockets existed “at least since the early decades of the 20th century”, though no citation is given. This suggests that they might have been a new thing in this chapter (1909).

paragraph 2

  • No notes.

paragraph 3

Olney Church (Google Street View Oct 2009)
Olney Church (Google Street View Oct 2009)
  • Great Ouse River and its lakes” – The river runs just south of Olney. Just south of the river are Otter Pool, Snipe Pool, Heron Water, and Grebe Lake. See map, above.

paragraph 4

  • “a statue of the man or something” – There was a Cowper Museum not far from the church, founded in 1900, and now known as the Cowper & Newton Museum.

    Olney Church graveyard (Google Street View Oct 2009)
    part of Olney Church graveyard (Google Street View Oct 2009)
  • “Right across the street […] there was a graveyard” – Possibly an error. As of 2009, there are many graves in the churchyard, but they are not across any street.

Page 190

paragraph 1

  • “an angel what had half its nose and jaw gone” – I have not been able to locate a statuary angel of any kind within the Olney churchyard.

paragraph 2

  • “Old Nick” – A common folk name for the devil.

paragraph 3 – 7

  • No notes.

paragraph 8

John and Mary Newton's tomb in Olney, front view (Google Street View, taken by Ian Wilde, Feb 2017)
John and Mary Newton’s tomb in Olney, front view (Google Street View, taken by Ian Wilde, Feb 2017)
  • “he’s not here […] Reverend Newton is in London at St. Mary Woolnoth’s” – Incorrect. While Newton and his wife were originally buried there, they were re-interred in the churchyard at Olney in 1893, sixteen years before this chapter is set. The tomb bears his self-penned epitaph — placed facing a wall where it is almost impossible to see!

    John Newton's grave in Olney, rear view (via Wikipedia)
    John Newton’s grave in Olney, rear view (via Wikipedia)
  • “where he went when he left Olney” – Newton moved to London, becoming rector of St. Mary Woolnoth Church, in 1780.

paragraph 9

  • No notes.

Page 191

paragraph 1 (continued) – 8

  • No notes.

paragraph 9

John Newton (www.treasure-store.org.uk)
John Newton (www.treasure-store.org.uk)
  • The description of the painting seems to match the one at right.

Page 192

paragraph 1 (continued) – 3

  • No notes.
Olney Hymns, 1797 London edition
Olney Hymns, 1797 London edition

paragraph 4

  • Olney Hymns” – Originally published in 1779. See image for the cover of a somewhat later edition.
  • “Mr. Cowper” – William Cowper (1731-1800).

paragraph 5

  • No notes.

paragraph 6

  • “we’re almost completely certain that it’s Newton’s work alone” – I have been unable to verify this idea (or date it back to 1909).

paragraph 7

Amazing Grace, 1797 London edition
Amazing Grace, 1797 London edition
  • “Faith’s Review and Expectation” – This was the published title, though the hymn became popularly known as Amazing Grace.
  • “there was some lines from out the Bible in the first book of the Chronicles” – Early editions of the hymnal do not have these lines printed out, though they are referenced (see image). The snippet quoted is from the King James Version of the Bible. The full text referenced is:

    16 And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? 17 And yet this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O LORD God.

Page 193

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “the last verse, which weren’t like the one he was familiar with” – Per Wikipedia:

    Another verse was first recorded in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s immensely influential 1852 anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. […] Stowe included another verse, not written by Newton, that had been passed down orally in African-American communities for at least 50 years. It was one of between 50 and 70 verses of a song titled “Jerusalem, My Happy Home”, which was first published in a 1790 book called A Collection of Sacred Ballads:
    When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
    Bright shining as the sun,
    We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
    Than when we first begun.

paragraph 2

  • This is the final verse as printed.

paragraph 3

  • “World’s End” – The capital letters suggest a specific reference. It is a popular name for pubs in the UK.

paragraph 4 – 6

  • No notes.

Page 194

paragraph 1 -2

  • No notes.

paragraph 3

  • “he didn’t come to his religious calling until he was nearly forty” – Per Wikipedia, Newton first began studying religion at 30, first applied to become a priest at 32, and finally became one at 39.

paragraph 4

  • No notes.

paragraph 5

  • These details appear accurate.

paragraph 6

  • No notes.

paragraph 7

  • “He became the trader’s servant and was treated in a brutal fashion” – Initially a servant, Newton was literally enslaved himself before long.
  • “a sea captain who had known his father came along and saved him” – Accurate. Newton was initially too despondent to want to return home, but the Captain lied to him that he had a large inheritance waiting for him.

paragraph 8

  • “Mr. Newton had been captive on a slave boat” – Not actually true. Newton was not enslaved until after he was on land.

paragraph 9 – 10

  • No notes.

Page 195

paragraph 1 (continued) -4

  • No notes.

paragraph 5

  • “John Newton had become a slave-trader” – Newton returned to England at age 25. He made several voyages on slave ships over the next four years, quickly rising to the position of Captain. At 29, he stopped sailing due to a stroke. Newton continued to invest in the slave trade for some time, though I have not been able to determine how long.
  • “he’d made his big repentance” – Newton converted to Christianity during his voyage home from his enslavement at age 23. However, as noted above, this conversion did not stop him from participating in the slave business for years. Newton did not come out against slavery publicly until 1788, at the age of 63. Amazing Grace was written in 1772, when Newton would have been about 47.

paragraph 6

  • “a slaver’s servant” – As noted above, the truth is even worse; Newton was literally a slave himself.

paragraph 7 – 8

  • Black Charley's ride home, part 1 (Google Maps 2021)
    Black Charley’s ride home, part 1 (Google Maps 2021)

    No notes.

Page 196

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “Castle Ashby” – See map.

paragraph 3

  • “about a dreadful storm […] in May, seventeen hundred forty-eight” – The storm was on March 10, 1748, not in May.
  • “Treated his slaves decent from what the churchwarden said” – Sadly, this appears to have been wishful thinking from the churchwarden.
  • “A fornicating, drinking, whoring, cussing […] wretch” – This seems to be an accurate description of Newton in his late teens / early 20s.
Black Charley's ride home, part 2 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride home, part 2 (Google Maps 2021)

paragraph 4

  • No notes.

Page 197

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • These details are accurate except where noted.
  • “seventeen sixty or near to, he got ordained as a church minister at Olney” – Actually 1764.
  • “the poet was a troubled man” – William Cowper suffered multiple periods of depression and insanity.
  • “Newton putting in the best part of the labour, writing four for every one of Cowper’s” – I have been unable to locate any discussion of which man wrote what.
  • “if it weren’t for Newton’s writings, nobody would know a thing today about how slaving was in eighteenth-century times” – Newton’s Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade is an important historical source.

paragraph 3

  • “Newton had writ “Amazing Grace”, they reckoned, maybe late as eighteen seventy” – Placing this in the 1800s is an obvious error. Wikipedia thinks AG was composed in 1772, when Newton was about 47.
  • “Some ten year after that he’d gone from Olney up to London” – This was in 1779.
  • “went blind afore he died when he was eighty-two” – Newton’s eyesight did get very bad in his final years, though perhaps not fully blind. He did die at 82.
  • “plagues on Egypt” – A well-known story from the Biblical book of Exodus.

paragraph 4

  • “Mr. William Wilberforce” – Head of the British abolition movement. Successfully passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807, banning the slave trade in the British Empire.
Black Charley's ride home, part 3 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride home, part 3 (Google Maps 2021)

Page 198

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “The sky above Northampton was like treasure in a bed of roses.” – Presumably referring to a gold and red sunset, as he is traveling almost due west (see map, above).

paragraph 2

  • “He’d been around thirteen years old, he thought, when Mr. Lincoln won the Civil War and set the slaves all free” – The Emancipation Proclamation offically took effect on January 1, 1863. Henry George’s estimated birthdate (see introduction to the chapter) would put him at 14, possibly older. Note also that this was in the midst of the American Civil War, which didn’t end until 1865.
  • “Henry was marked up as a slave […] when he was seven” – As mentioned previously in notes to A Host of Angles, P48p3., the timing of this seem to have been a guess on Moore’s part. In a 2006 interview, Moore wrote:

    And on his shoulder he had the brand of the slave plantation in Tennessee that he’d been liberated from in 1863. When, by my estimate, he would have been thirteen. I figure he must have been born about 1850 from the date on his death certificate. I hadn’t actually known that the plantations used to actually brand the slaves. That was a new one on me. And I found myself having to wonder at what age they did it, if he was already branded by the age of 13. When would you brand a child? It’s funny the things you have to consider when you’re writing a novel. What would be a good age to brand a child? You know, you wouldn’t want to do it at two; that’d kill them, wouldn’t it? But you wouldn’t want to leave it too late in case they ran away, or fought back, or something.

  • “the day they heard they was emancipated” – While the the Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863, a variety of military, political, and communication concerns meant that the actual emancipation dates varied widely. Being in Tennessee, Henry George would probably have been freed in late 1864.

paragraph 3

paragraph 4

  • No notes.
Black Charley's ride home, part 4 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride home, part 4 (Google Maps 2021)

Page 199

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “what they called the Dern Gate up ahead of him” – There was once a gate in the town walls at roughly the location of Becketts Well. I don’t know when the wall (and gate) came down, but there is a thick line on an 1899 map that might be that wall. “Dern” probably comes from the meaning “gatepost”, though I note it has other definitions connoting secrecy and hidden places.
  • “Saint Thomas Becket’s well” – See notes above at P178p3.
Black Charley's ride home, part 5 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride home, part 5 (Google Maps 2021)

paragraph 2

  • “Victoria Promenade” – Now part of A5123, see map above.
  • “the cattle yards” – A map labeled “late Victorian” indicates a “Cattle Market” in this location, and calls the road Henry is on “Cattlemarket Road”. Note that the road south of here is still named “Auctioneers Way”.

    Plough Hotel (Google Street View Mar 2021)
    Plough Hotel (Google Street View Mar 2021)
  • “Plough Hotel” – The Plough Hotel was relatively new then, having been built sometime in the 1890s. The hotel is still standing, on the NE corner of Victoria Promenade and Bridge Street.
  • “gas holder” – Mentioned in the chapter Modern Times, P154p5. Now demolished, it still existed in 2009. See map, above, for its location.

    Gas-holder on St. Peter's Way (Google Street View Apr 2009)
    Gas-holder on St. Peter’s Way (Google Street View Apr 2009)

paragraph 3

  • “in future Henry might go back to saying prayers in sheds and barns” – This thread will be picked up in the chapter The Rafters and the Beams.

paragraph 4

  • No notes.

Page 200

paragraph 1

  • We previously saw this scene from Charlie Chaplin’s point of view in the chapter Modern Times, P171p2-5.
Black Charley's ride home, part 6 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride home, part 6 (Google Maps 2021)

paragraph 2

  • No notes.

paragraph 3

  • The mention of both doctors’ houses and St. Katherine’s Gardens in the same sentence is no doubt meant to remind us of Freddy Allen’s almost-rape of Julia in the chapter Rough Sleepers, P113p4-P115p1.

paragraph 4

  • “poor and ragged ghosts” – Such as the homeless Freddy Allen, see previous note.

Page 201

paragraph 1

  • “what they liked to do was just get drunk and fight each other […] young men, and women too” – Another reminder of the chapter Rough Sleepers, this time of the fight described between Mary Jane and Lizzie Fawkes, P92p10.

paragraph 2

  • “Children […] big squealing gangs of ’em” – Such as the Dead Dead Gang we will meet in Book Two.
  • “spooks was built up pretty thick by now, like some variety of sediment” – An image Moore has already used in the chapter Work in Progress, P24p1:

    There weren’t ghosts here; there were fossil seams of ghosts, one stacked upon another and compressing down to an emotive coal or oil, black and combustible.

paragraph 3

  • “the Great Fire” – We will see this in the chapter Malignant, Refractory Spirits, Pxxxff.
  • “across the lumpy burial ground” – This is now a spur of Chalk Lane, but that road did not exist on the nearest map I’ve found (1899), where the area is marked “Burial Ground (Disused)”.
Black Charley's ride home, part 7 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride home, part 7 (Google Maps 2021)

Page 202

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “Mr. Doddridge” – We will also meet him in the chapter Malignant, Refractory Spirits, Pxxxff.
  • Nonconformist” – Someone who, while still a Protestant, does not conform to the teachings and rule of the Anglican Church.

paragraph 2

Doddridge Church, Burial Ground, and Long Gardens (1899 map detail)
Doddridge Church, Burial Ground, and Long Gardens (1899 map detail)
  • “the houses set back from the street they called Long Gardens” – These can be seen on the 1899 map, though not labeled as such.
  • “Castle Terrace” – The 1899 map shows that the northern end fo what is now Chalk Lane was formerly Castle Terrace.

paragraph 3

  • “round seventeen hundred thirty” – Doddridge was invited to Northampton in 1729.
  • “he’d stayed just over twenty years before his health took him away” – Doddridge died in 1751.

    Philip Doddridge (www.edintone.com)
    Philip Doddridge (www.edintone.com)
  • “his eyes was clear and bright and honest as a child” – Most of the drawings of Doddridge I have found have what I would characterize as a “serious” expression, but such things are subjective.

paragraph 4

  • No notes.

Page 203

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

Black Charley's ride home, part 8 (Google Maps 2021)
Black Charley’s ride home, part 8 (Google Maps 2021)
  • “Castle Terrace, over where was Castle Street and Fitzroy Street and Little Cross Street knotted up together” – Today, there is a relatively orderly traffic circle at the junction of the four streets.
  • “Bristol Street, what was his most direct route home” – Bristol Street no longer exists. It formerly went NW from this street junction to Bath Street. Oddly it does not appear to be Henry’s most direct route home. Later indications show that his house is closer to Lower Cross Street than where Bath Street meets Scarletwell Street. There may be an error here, or it may be deliberate fudging on Moore’s part so that Black Charley’s path can intersect that of May Warren. Another possibility is that Henry is (consciously or not) avoiding the Destructor, which this paragraph is his closest approach to.

paragraph 3-9

  • No notes.

paragraph 10

Detail of map from In Living Memory
Detail of map from In Living Memory
  • “Fort Street” – Fort Street, and the adjoining Moat Street (both running east-west), no longer exist, having been replaced by Fort Place and Moat Place (both running north-south). See map detail right for the former street layout.

Page 204

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

Anglerfish (fishes-world.blogspot.com/)
Anglerfish (fishes-world.blogspot.com/)
  • “glow-in-the-dark bulbs hanging off the heads of them great ugly fish” – Anglerfish are deep-sea fish who have bioluminescent “lures” used to catch other fish.

paragraph 3

  • “the alleyway what folks here called a jitty” – To the left of this jitty is “the lonely house”.

    Black Charley's ride home, part 9 and last (Google Maps 2021)
    Black Charley’s ride home, part 9 and last (Google Maps 2021)
  • “Welsh House” – See P187p2. The Welsh House is about 2,000 feet due east of the Friendly Arms, or a bit over 1/3 of a mile.
  • “Newt Pratt’s animal” – Curiously, Moore never identifies this animal by name, though it is referred to a few other times. In case there was any doubt, here’s a relevant snippet from Reg Tero in In Living Memory:

    Used to be a fellow called Newt Pratt […]. He was a horse dealer. There was a public house down Scarletwell Street called the Friendly Arms [… a]nd this fellow. Newt Pratt, used to bring a zebra down there on a Sunday dinner time. Used to tie it up outside and he used to give it beer. Bring a jug of beer out to it.

paragraph 4

  • No notes.

Page 205

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “they first daughter, Mary, who’d got white skin” – John Short in ILM says: “they had a fair sized family and they were all coloured. But I seem to remember the oldest one was white. The oldest girl.”
  • “His wife weren’t tall” – John Short in ILM describes her as “a little white woman”.

paragraph 2 -9

  • No notes.

Page 206

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • the mark of Cain” – Referring to the Biblical Book of Genesis, 4:15, dealing with Cain, the first murderer. Relevantly, some Christian sects have interpreted this “mark” to be “black skin”, thus marking out Africans and their descendants as cursed by God, and justifying the practice of enslaving them.

paragraph 2

  • “rustling” – American slang for stealing, usually applied to cattle.

paragraph 3

  • In Living Memory includes the following text and image, apparently taken from an obituary:
    Brand image from ILM
    Brand image from ILM

    He bore on his left shoulder his brand of slavery, which was presumably the brand of the owner of the plantation on which he was born, and where he afterwards worked. This brand was a scroll surmounted by two triangles separated by double lines of which the subjoined is a rough sketch.

    This image will recur frequently in the rest of Jerusalem.

paragraph 4

  • No notes.

2 thoughts on “J1.07 Blind, but Now I See”

  1. Powerful chapter. The last page literally made me cry, thinking of a 7 year-old kid going through that, and being been born into that life.

    OBSERVATIONS & QUESTIONS:

    • I believe either Bill “Buffalo Bill” Cody or Wild Bill Hickok (both mentioned here) appeared briefly in From Hell, though I can’t remember which one of them.

    • p177, par 3: St. James’s End (commonly known as “Jimmy’s End”) is likely the same bar Moore and Mitch Jenkins used for their short film by the same name?

    • Why do various people (like Bob on p180, par) call Henry “Black Charley?” I understand the “Black” part, obviously, but why “Charley?”

    • Amazing Grace is a beautiful song which I have loved since I was a kid (I play piano, and it’s one of the earliest songs I ever figured out).

    It’s written in the pentatonic scale, which uses only five notes (hence “pent”), which are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th notes of the seven-note natural major scale (and can be represented as Do, Re, Mi, So, and La, if looked at through the lens of The Sound of Music haha).

    The pentatonic scale can be played using only the black keys on the piano (of which there are five, again hence “pent”).

    Here’s a video of a minister (reverend, preacher? I don’t know, I’m not religious) beautifully and bittersweetly explaining the pentatonic scale as the “slave scale,” discussing Amazing Grace and John Newton being a slaver, and then performing the song for his flock of churchgoers (oh hey, I just realized there was totally a “flock” of sheep in this chapter!).

    The video is well worth the eight minutes it takes to watch, and is very relevant to this chapter.

    And this may be super obvious, but this chapter’s title, “Blind, But Now I See,” is a line from Amazing Grace (a line that actually rhymes with the line “that saved a wretch like me”).

    • p184, last par: The ship on which Henry and Selina travel to England is named “Pride of Bethlehem.” Bethlehem is a city in JERUSALEM, known as David’s hometown in the Old Testament and the birthplace of Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus was born in a barn, and that parallels this great line on p199, par3:

    “Could be that in future Henry might go back to saying prayers in sheds and barns, wherever it was quiet, the way him and his folks had back in Tennessee. When you was kneeling in a barn you knew as God was there, the same like you was in a church. The difference was that in a barn you could be sure you didn’t have a devil in the pulpit.”

    • p198, par 2, a quite moving description of the treatment of African-Americans following the Civil War: “The old plantation bosses liked to say how all the slaves was happier before hey got set loose, and it was the plantation bosses and they friends made sure as that was true.”

    • p200, par 2: This confirms that Ch7 takes place on the exact same day as Ch6 (in September, 1909). This is Henry’s point of view of Drake/Chaplin watching him ride his bike past the Palace of Varieties.

    This is further reinforced later when Henry chats with May Warren (carrying May Warren), still on her way home after chatting with Drake/Chaplin.

    • p202: Some insight into Philip Doddridge, as in Doddridge Church (with the weird door halfway up), showing he had a unique take on religion (par 3):

    “When he come here to Castle Hill and started up his ministry, it seems he took on the English Church by saying folks should have a right to worship as they pleased, and not just how they Bishops and that wanted it.”

    Careful there, Doddridge – if you let people worship as they please, it’s a slippery slope that could end up with folks worshiping crazy shit like an ancient Roman snake god or something!

    • p203, last par: Regarding the Warren/Vernall family tree, this chapter notes that Snowy Vernall is May Warren-the-adult’s father, lives next door to her on Fort Street, and is an artist (and a drinker). Also, Ernest from Ch2 is her grandfather.

    • p205: On a similar note, Henry’s kids are Mary (seemingly a toddler, described as having white skin) and Henry Jr. (a baby, described as having black skin).

    “EINSTEINIAN BLOCK UNIVERSE” MOMENT:

    • This is a little bit of a stretch, but p200, par 4: “Dusk played tricks like that all over, Henry knew, though sometimes it would seem to him as if the Boroughs was built crooked specially so’s it could harbour all the gloom and haunts up in its corners; nests where poor and ragged ghosts was bred.”

    THESE LINES MADE ME LAUGH:

    • p177, par 1: “Leather was important to the trade around here and always had been, but it still made Henry shake his head how otherwise the town was mostly bars and churches. Could be it was all that stitching shoes had folks so that they spent they private time in getting liquored up or praying.”

    • p177. Par 2: “He didn’t think Mr. Charles Bradlaugh would approve of that if he was looking down from Heaven…but since Mr. Bradlaugh hadn’t had no faith in the Almighty it was likely that he’d not approve of Heaven neither.”

    Like

  2. I’ll put my dramatis personae and index lists here.
    NOTES:
    Page referrers are for 3 volume paperback edition by Knockabout.
    Dramatis personae-characters in brackets are only mentioned but not in scene.

    Dramatis Personae
    • Henry ›Black Charlie‹ George (born approx. 1850), POV, ex-slave from Tennessee
    • (Bill Cody: see Index)
    • (Elvira Conley, black laundry owner in Kansas)
    • feller with cart (chimney brushes)
    • old lady
    • two fellers on way to work
    • sleeping drunk at Bradlaugh statue
    (• Mr. Brugger, watch shop)
    • Laughing young boys
    (• Mrs Carter)
    (• Henry Carter, husband of Mrs Carter)
    (• Black Charlies mother)
    (• Black Charlies father)
    (• Mr Bullard, and his rich children)
    • feller on 1st farm wagon
    • red faced farmer on 2nd wagon
    • Mrs Bruce, old lady of school rectory
    (• Selina, Black Charlies wife)
    • Shepherd in Brafield
    (• local feller at Castle Ashby)
    • head driver at gates of Saint Sepulchre
    • children at schoolyard of Yardley
    • caretaker of Yardley school
    • Farmworkers on way to Red Lion pub
    • Dan Tite, old churchwarden in Olney
    (• Old Nick)
    (• old plantation bosses in Tennessee)
    • young skinny feller at corner of Palace of Varieties = Charles Chaplin, see chapter Modern Times
    • May Warren (Vernall) and baby May
    (• Ernest ›Ginger‹ Vernall)
    (• John ›Snowy‹ Vernall)
    • Mr Beery, lighterman
    (• Newt Pratt)
    • Mary (white), daughter of Black Charlie and Selina
    • Henry (black), baby son of Black Charlie and Selina

    Index
    • Bill Cody ›Buffalo Bill‹ and his Wild West Show (1846-1917), American scout, hunter and world travelling showman: 175, 177, 178, 184, 193, 199, 202
    • Annie Oakley (1860-1926), American sharpshooter, performer at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show: 175
    • Jesus: 176
    • Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891), English political activist and atheist: 177
    • Thomas Becket (1119-1170), Catholic saint, Lord Chancellor, Archbishop of Canterbury: 178, 196
    • John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), American composer and conductor: 178
    • James Butler Hickok, ›Wild Bill‹ (1837-1876), American folk hero of the Old West: 178
    • Britton ›Britt‹ Johnson (ca. 1840-1871), legendary African-American cowboy: 178
    • Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin (1842-1924), African-American publisher, journalist, civil rights leader, suffragist and editor: 179
    • ›Ruffin’s Relief Association‹ unclear or uncorrect. Ruffins ›Boston Kansas Relief Association‹ was founded in 1879, did not exist in 1868: 179
    The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended: 181
    Amazing Grace, hymn (white gospel) 181, 182, 188ff, 194, 197, 202
    • John Henry Newton, Jr. (1725-1807), Royal Navy sailor, slave ship captain, Anglican glergyman, co-author of Olney Hymns: 181, 188-197, 199, 202
    • George Washington (1732-1799), Comander-in-Chief of Continental Army during American Revolutionary War, 1st President of United States: 181
    • Gog and Magog, enemies of God, Book of Ezekiel, Old Testament, Bible: 185
    • English Civil War (1642-1651): 186
    • American Civil War (1861-1865): 186, 196
    Olney Hymns: 190f
    • William Cowper (1731-1800), English poet and hymnodist, co-author of Olney Hymns: 190-195
    • Bible: 191
    • King David, according to Old Testament 2nd king of united Kingdom of Israel and Judah (reign 1010-970 BC): 191
    • John Newton, Sr., father of John Newton Jr., shipmaster in Mediterrean service: 192
    • William Wilberforce (1759-1833), English politician, philanthropist, leader of anti slave trade movement: 195
    • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), republican politician, 16th US-president: 195
    • War of the Roses (1455-1487): 196
    • War of Independence (1775-1783): 196
    • Philip Doddridge (1702-1751), English Nonconformist leader, educator and hymnwriter: 199
    • Cain, first son of Adam and Eve in the Bible, first murderer: 202

    Like

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