February 1 ~  Castles in the Air Encyclopedia of Rhetoric & Composition

"To know your ruling passion, examine your castles in the air." ~ Richard Whately

Health, Mind, & Body

A man dedicated to the passion of truth, philosopher and Anglican Church Archbishop Richard Whately (1787-1863) was born on this day in London, England, the youngest of nine children.

He once said: "Preach not because you have to say something, but because you have something to say."

The son of a clergyman, he was educated at Oxford where he wrote the classical essay Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Bonaparte (1819), a satircal poke at skepticism.

"A man is called selfish," he said, "not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor's."

Best known for the astute The Elements of Rhetoric, Whately's philosophical arguments celebrated clarity, truth, and strength. Many credit him for the revival of the study of logic in England.

"He only is exempt from failures who makes no efforts," Whately said.

Whately became a social reformer and champion for the unpopular causes of his time, including equality for Catholics and Jews. In 1831, he was named archbishop of Dublin and further worked for what he believed was the Christian moral ethic of civil rights.

"Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it," he said.

Dream on.