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[145] of my pen in different quarters, but there is no one I should be so happy to serve as you.

With sincere attachment, yours,

To Miss Peters, Philadelphia.

Boston, Aug. 13, 1834.
. . . I am glad that you are so fond of what most young ladies call dry reading,—Hume, Sallust, &c. Novels, indeed, are delightful. They are the sources of exhilaration and pleasure; and especially those of Walter Scott and Miss Edgeworth often contain much instruction, either by furnishing sketches of historical characters, or of an age, or of a remarkable event, which are thus imprinted on the attentive mind with the vividness of a picture, or by illustrating and enforcing some beautiful moral truth. Miss Edgeworth's ‘Helen,’ which I have just read, is worth a score of dull sermons on this account. With what point and skill has she shown the miserable consequences of the slightest departure from truth! But notwithstanding all the fine qualities which some novels possess, they must not be received as the only aliment of the mind. . . .

I am glad you have taken the trouble to abridge Hume as you read, though I fear you have done it out of kind deference to my advice rather than from love of it. The making this abridgment will have a tendency to fasten your attention upon the history more than it would have been otherwise, while you will also accustom yourself to select the leading events,—a habit of great importance. Hume's style is easy and fascinating. It has not the stately and oratorical character which belongs to Robertson and Gibbon, but is much more intelligible than that of either. . .. When you have grown a good deal older, you will take a pleasure in reading some criticisms and strictures upon Hume, and also the volumes of Sir James Mackintosh on English history, which, though written in an involved and often crabbed style, abound in the finest thoughts and in the most correct views of the English Constitution.

Sallust is one of the most valuable authors spared to us from antiquity. He is remarkable for point, strong remark, and sarcasm; the last is especially directed against vice, though he himself was one of the most flagitious men that ever lived,—if I remember right, the plunderer of the province of which he was pro-consul, and a sensualist who set no bounds to his indulgence. His works, so caustic in the cause of virtue, and his character so defiled by vice, taken together present an anomaly which is a standing wonder. . . .

Remember me affectionately to your father, mother, sisters, and

Believe me as ever yours,

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