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To Dr. Francis Lieber, Columbia, S. C.

Jan. 5, 1842.
This morning, dear Lieber, comes to hand your note of Christmas. The best English paper published only once a week, incomparably, is the ‘Spectator.’ This will keep you au courantof the politics, the court, the gossip, the literature of England, with tolerable notes about the Continent. It is radical and democratic, but independent and thorough,—serving no party or section of men. The debates of Parliament are presented in an abridged form. The literary notices are more various, complete, and spirited than those of any other journal. The ‘Examiner’ is clever, but lacks fulness and completeness. With that, you would miss much that you will find in the ‘Spectator.’ Indeed, you will be surprised at the amount of matter stowed into that weekly journal.

I have seen Howe, who speaks of you and your wife so as to please my heart. He is very grateful for your kindness to him in aiding his plans, and in receiving him and his under your roof. Last evening, I saw Mrs. B. and F. A. In the corner of a supper-room we talked of you and Mrs. Lieber. I reported to their glad souls the tidings brought by Howe. Miss F. told me that her sister had received a delightful letter from you, in which you overflow on sculpture. Let us hear from you. You see how many friends are pleased by news of you.

I cannot agree with you or John Quincy Adams, with regard to the China war. I think it justifiable, but not on your grounds. It is justifiable, because the English representative was maltreated, and forced to flee from the factories; because English subjects have been cruelly used,—their ears cut off, and stuffed down their throats; because English merchants have been falsely and oppressively dealt with. The Chinese were justified in demanding the opium, and burning it; and this act of itself would not form a ground of war,—nor would it be even an igniting spark. I am at a loss to see how Mr. Adams can invoke Christianity as a cloak for such a principle as he lays down. Much as policy and the feelings of our social nature may dictate to nations commercial intercourse, I cannot find in the law of nations, as expressed in the writings of publicists and deduced from the practice of the world, any rule which would authorize the scourginga State into the circle of nations. If it chooses to be a hermit, and live on its own springs and the fruits of its own soil, we cannot interfere. It is churlish and barbarian; but we cannot impose our Christian yoke upon them. What is the ceremony of the Kow-tow,which J. Q. A. treats as the cause of the war, but a court ceremony,—peculiar, indeed, but in the same class with the obeisance to the Grand Lama, and the requisition of the Russian and English courts that an American minister should appear in a court-dress, or some other uniform? Mr. Dallas, in his black coat, was refused an audience of the Russian Emperor.

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