heart upon your obtaining it. I am the worst person in the world to preach courage and perseverance in the time of disappointment; and yet I can see as plainly as any one the need there is of them. . . . For you, it seems to me, this heroism is peculiarly necessary; not from any thing in your real position in life which renders it so, but because you have come to take sad and gloomy views of life.
With your acquirements and fine talents, and with the high standing which you have achieved, the world is open before you in the brightest colors, if you will but see it so. Is all that has been said about the greatness and dignity of your profession a humbug?
Is the law a mere string of dull technicalities, or is it a field worthy of the greatest minds?
Is there not enough in it to interest and absorb your mind, and to give worthy employment for your highest faculties?
Here you are, a man with full-grown powers, circled by loving friends, with every thing to stimulate you; and, above all, with the priceless blessing of fine health: will you be driven to despondency?
Forgive my writing so freely.
I mourn to see by your letter that you have forsaken society, and that your mind is saddened; because I can see as plainly as the day that there is no need of this.
But I will not preach any more.
wrote, Dec. 25, 1843:—
What right have you, dearly beloved Charley, to a heavy heart?
Of all the men I have ever known, not one ever had less real reason for despondency than you. I told you the other day, at your office, what there was in my heart.
There must be something morbid in the views of life which you permit yourself to indulge.
Of the real misfortunes you have no personal experience.
To me—and I must think mine a healthier state of feeling—life is a precious gift; and, with all the sufferings which are a part of its condition, something to be cherished with gratitude, preserved with care, devoted to serious duty alternating with social enjoyment and the exercise of the affections; and, when the time comes, resigned with submission to the Divine will.
I shrink from expressions of discontent with life, still more from the utterance of wishes that it were over; and the longer I live and the more I experience of its uses, the more wrong such wishes appear to me to be. I think you strangely mistaken in keeping aloof from the best of human sympathies, because I think you need them in a peculiar degree.
You have a most mistaken fastidiousness, which, instead of cherishing by morbid reflections, you should dissipate by looking at the truth itself, not letting the better part of your nature wither under the blighting influence of factitious feelings. . . . Law and literature, in the highest form of both, are your chosen and should be your fixed pursuits.
They are both noble; but they and all secular pursuits are insufficient, if you will, Hamlet-like, brood over the unhealthy visions of an excessive introspection,—if you will keep out of the way of the possibility of the best form of human happiness.
He wrote again, a few months later:—
Think over again Howe's entreaties in regard to your health.
You must take better care of yourself.
You must not work at midnight. Arrange your