National Affairs: Mr. Fixit

Henry Wallace's talkative visit to England reminded some citizens back home of another, earlier American traveler abroad: George Logan, whose gabbiness inspired an Act of Congress.

Logan was an 18th Century gentleman farmer, an author of pamphlets on crops and soil, and a Quaker pacifist. He lived on a 500-acre estate near Germantown, Pa., dabbled in medicine, and habitually wore homespun clothes to encourage domestic manufacture. In 1798, Logan saw the U.S., attacked and insulted, preparing for war. French warships had seized U.S. vessels. The French foreign minister, Talleyrand, had cynically tried to exact what amounted to a tribute from the infant...

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