West Wing Continuity Guide
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How many original copies of the Bill of Rights are there?
President Washington ordered 14 handwritten drafts of the proposed Bill of Rights made. All but one were sent to the original 13 states to encourage them to ratify the Constitution and establish the nation. (The draft contained 12 proposed constitutional amendments; 10 were adopted.) North Carolina's, which was displayed at the state Capitol, disappeared when Sherman's troops left Raleigh in 1865 at the end of the Civil War. A soldier reputedly took it home to Tippecanoe, Ohio, then sold it to an Indiana man the next year for $5.
  • NYTimes: "A Copy of the Bill of Rights Has Resurfaced, but Who Owns It?" - (this article has been archived & is no longer available) "...there are many legal twists, including the sticky little fact that the state denounced the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, when it seceded from the Union.... Both North Carolina and the collectors claim ownership. Each side has done its research. The collectors cite Abraham Lincoln's General Order 100, which says confiscated Confederate property belongs to the Union. Therefore, they argue, the Bill of Rights was not stolen but liberated."
  • FindLaw: "Connecticut Antiques Dealer Exonerated in North Carolina Bill of Rights Case" (this article has been archived & is no longer available)
  • CNN: "Missing Bill of Rights copy recovered"
  • Bill of Rights copy found 138 years later - "...Five states have lost their copies of it over the years. North Carolina's might be the most significant. North Carolina's insistence on a Bill of Rights helped ensure its inclusion in the Constitution, said Walter Dellinger, a Duke University constitutional law professor...."
  • The News & Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina: "N.C. wins Bill of Rights copy fight"
  • Maine Antique Digest: Bill of Rights Seized by FBI - "...the discovery proving it was the long lost copy from North Carolina was made at George Washington University's First Federal Congress Project, and that very much involved project director Charlene Bangs Bickford.... 'There were fourteen made, all written in longhand by one of two clerks of the House or one clerk of the Senate. Actually, it's wrong to call them copies. All are original documents signed by both Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, the first Speaker of the House, and John Adams, as vice president and president of the Senate.... 'Six states have lost theirs, including Delaware, which ratified it right on the document and sent it back to Washington, where it's now in the National Archives. Of the five others that are missing, two, from New York and Georgia, supposedly were lost in fires.'"
  • Knight Ridder: Missing original copy of Bill of Rights found in Philadelphia - "...The faded document -- fading sepia-colored ink on a poster-board sized piece of parchment -- was displayed publicly for the first time in 138 years.... Congress in 1789 had three scribes write 14 copies of the Bill of Rights -- actually the first 12 amendments to the Constitution, only 10 of which were ratified at that time -- and sent one to each of the 13 states for ratification and one to the federal archives."
  • FBI Discovers Bill of Rights (editor's note: we just liked the title of this)

Did Galileo really mutter "Eppur si muove" as he left the Inquisition? Who would have heard him and how would we know that he did so?
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia on Galileo - "...the famous "E pur si muove", supposed to have been uttered by Galileo, as he rose from his knees after renouncing the motion of the earth, is an acknowledged fiction, of which no mention can be found till more than a century after his death which took place 8 January 1642...." (we became aware of this article only due to a post by "Odd Ray of Hope" at Television Without Pity's West Wing forum)
  • Science and You: "Galileo and the Establishment" - Galileo "may not actually have said it, in fact it would have been extremely dangerous for him to do that, but he no doubt thought it...."

    "Underlying the tenacity with which the Church of Galileo's day clung to what to us were the utterly indefensible theories... was this. The correct way to understand how the world functioned was to probe divine revelation. There really was only one truth and that was God's truth. If you should have any idea that did not square with God's truth then it obviously came from that other fellow, the Devil.

    "In such a climate, any theory you might dream up even if it was supported by actual observation had to be wrong if in some way it violated divine law...."
  • Legends, lies & cherished myths of world history by Richard Shenkman - "...the strangest anecdotes ever told about a supposedly sane human being..... the anecdote told about Galileo's final day before the Inquisition. As Galileo was about to leave the courtroom, where he had just been forced to renounce the view that the earth revolves around the sun, he supposedly saw the chandelier jolt and remarked, 'Eppur si muove' (nevertheless, it does move).

    "...Not true.... Who but a fool would take that somber moment to utter such a flip remark? Yet this is the story that is told about Galileo over and over and over again as if it redounds to his credit....

    "In passing, it is worth noting that it wasn't just the Catholics who felt threatened by Galileo's pronouncements. Martin Luther criticized Galileo as a 'madman' who, in his yearn 'for a reputation', would subvert the whole science of astronomy. 'Scripture tells us', wrote Luther, 'that Joshua bade the sun, not the earth, to stand still.'"
    • (note: Bradford R. Martin, Jr. emailed us, "I note that Richard Shenkman's reference to Martin Luther's criticism of Galileo cannot be accurate since Martin Luther died in 1546 and Galileo was not born until 1564.  I believe it was Copernicus that Luther condemned for his views."
    • --- ed: dates not being our thing, we have checked with the Encyclopaedia Britannica and, indeed, Brad is right: Luther died before Galileo was born and so Shenkman must have been referring to Luther's reaction to the idea and maybe to Copernicus!)
    • History of the Christian Church, Book 7, Chapter 5 mentions of Luther, "He shared in the traditional superstitions of his age. He believed in witchcraft, and had many a personal encounter with the Devil in sleepless nights. He was reluctant to accept the new Copernican system of astronomy, because Joshua bade the sun stand still, not the earth."

Is there really a flak jacket passed from one Press Secretary to the next as was mentioned in #518?
  • "luna azul" posted on Television Without Pity's West Wing forum:
    "I came this close to seeing the flak jacket a few years ago at the (late, lamented) Newseum in Rosslyn. It was an exhibit on Press Secretaries, and there was an empty display torso with a small sign saying that the flak jacket had been temporarily removed from the exhibit because Clinton's newest Press Secretary was being "invested" on his first day on the job. Bad timing on my part, although I think seeing the sign on that particular day was kinda cool as it confirmed the truth of the story."
  • Also a report on Slate which discussed the supposed vandalism by the Clintonites that the Bush Administration talked about after they took over said that there seemed to be no evidence of any such thing and that "The press secretary's ceremonial flak jacket, allegedly stolen by the Clintonites as part of Prankgate, turned out to have been picked up accidentally by the cleaning crew, which returned it."
  • And The Telegraph of Calcutta, India reported "As per a longstanding custom, Fleischer left McClellan a flak jacket passed press secretary to press secretary as well as a handwritten note welcoming him to his new duties."

Did President John F. Kennedy really have his press secretary buy a thousand Cuban cigars the night before he announced an embargo on them?
  • by Pierre Salinger, Press Secretary for John F. Kennedy Published Autumn 1992
    "...the President called me into his office in the early evening.
    "'Pierre, I need some help,' he said solemnly.
    "'I'll be glad to do anything I can Mr. President,' I replied.
    "'I need a lot of cigars.'
    "'How many, Mr. President?'
    "'About 1,000 Petit Upmanns.'
    "I shuddered a bit, although I kept my reaction to myself. 'And, when do you need them, Mr. President?'
    "'Tomorrow morning.'
    "I walked out of the office wondering if I would succeed. But since I was now a solid Cuban cigar smoker, I knew a lot of stores, and I worked on the problem into the evening.
    "The next morning, I walked into my White House office at about 8 a.m., and the direct line from the President's office was already ringing. He asked me to come in immediately.
    "'How did you do Pierre?' he asked, as I walked through the door.
    "'Very well,' I answered. In fact, I'd gotten 1,200 cigars. Kennedy smiled, and opened up his desk. He took out a long paper which he immediately signed. It was the decree banning all Cuban products from the United States. Cuban cigars were now illegal in our country."
  • On the website of The Future of Freedom Foundation, we found this:
    According to Pierre Salinger, President John F. Kennedy's press secretary, on the night before the embargo was announced, Kennedy asked him to buy up 1,000 Cuban cigars from Washington tobacconists. Kennedy knew that the embargo would limit the supply and raise prices. He wanted to secure his stash before he announced the embargo.
  • Arlington National Cemetary: Pierre Emil George Salinger, United States Navy & Presidential Press Secretary
    "five weeks after the famous Bay of Pigs incident -- an invasion of Cuba that failed miserably. Five weeks later, he said, JFK called Salinger into the Oval Office. 'He said, 'I need 1,000 Cuban cigars,'' the press secretary said. Salinger, whose trademark was a smoldering stogie, found the requested smokes and returned them to the White House. '(Kennedy) then picked up a paper and signed it. It was the embargo ending trade with Cuba.'"

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