I
Ancestral Life THE FLANDERS LINE, THE GILFILLAN LINE, THE DUNCAN LINE

WHY be interested in ancestors? Many people hunt back through the centuries for illustrious or noble forebears. They like to find a lord or an earl or a duke, or perhaps a king, somewhere along the line. Such people are liable to have unpleasant surprises. Reckoning the generations of the Christian era, it is inevitable, practically speaking, to have somewhere behind us at least one king -- and many rascals.

I cannot search my own line hopefully for illustrious or noble names. My interest lies in the narrowing stream of heredity which concentrates, in each of us, some elements of body or mind or temperament (whether of spirit I do not know) and which gives us what we have to start with.

I found the key to constructive living, first, in recognizing what I was by inheritance; then in making my plans and bending my energies to the best possible use of that "nature" which had been bequeathed me.

There is an ancient argument as to which predominates in determining a man's fortunes, nature or nurture. Our generation has the idea that nurture -- the social institutions and personal relationships which surround one -- is the primary determinant. I

-3-

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Senator from Vermont
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Prefatory Epistle vi
  • Table of Contents vii
  • I - Ancestral Life The Flanders Line, the Gilfillan Line, the Duncan Line 3
  • II - Early Life of My Father 11
  • III - Village Life in the Eighties and Nineties 13
  • IV - Education 23
  • V - Apprenticeship 46
  • VI - At the Drafting Board 63
  • VII - In the Metropolis 82
  • VIII - Engineer and Manager 104
  • IX - Religious Life 122
  • X - The Great Depression 132
  • XI - Travel 141
  • XII - Public Life 165
  • XIII - Economics, Legislation, and Politics 184
  • XIV - In the Senate 206
  • XV - 1953-1954, and Senator Mccarthy 250
  • XVI - Adventures of a Senatorial Free Lance 269
  • XVII - Putting Principles to the Test 283
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