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[297] There are very few matters in it that I should care to qualify. I feel the accuracy of your appreciation of the scenery of America. It is impressive from its vastness and extent, but inferior in its details to that of Europe. In that gem set in the sea, England, I have seen more that was picturesque than I have ever seen in America. In England the scenery is distributed, as it were, in beautiful pictures, which may be framed and enjoyed; in America it is spread over miles of canvas. You have not spoken so censoriously as many of ourselves often have of certain habits and points of manners. You have well remarked the little taste for happiness that appears in the people. I fear the decaying virtue of the rulers is too true. There are many who abhor Slavery not less than you do. With more confidence than you I look to the future. In the benign influence of freedom, in the extension of religious faith, in the great enlightenment of the people, in the happy preservation of peace, I find many auguries of the All-hail Hereafter. Much as I am disturbed by what seems to fill the present, I cannot lose my faith in the institutions of my country. I believe they are destined, at no very distant period, to exercise a powerful influence over the ancient establishments of Europe. I pray that a race of men may be reared among us competent to understand the destinies of the country, to abjure war, and to give extension and influence to our institutions by cultivating the arts of peace, by honesty, and by dignity of life and character.

I wish I could write you with more confidence with regard to Clay's prospects. The Whigs, conservative in doctrine, are weakened by anarchy among themselves. The Democrats, anarchical in their doctrines, are united among themselves. The feud between Clay and Webster cannot be healed. Delirant reges. Van Buren's chances are too good. You will see that old Adams, with his iron flail, is still beating at the Twenty-first Rule excluding petitions on Slavery, and that it will probably be abolished by this Congress.1 We shall then be heard, at least.

We are enjoying Prescott's success. His work2 has been received with unprecedented favor. It is an exquisite book, more interesting and complete than the other: I am inclined to say a superior work to the other. I long to know the result of those readings at Castle Howard, of which you wrote in your last letter.

Ever and ever yours,

To Dr. Lieber, then in Boston and about embarking for Europe, he wrote, Jan. 29, 1844:—
You have read Hillard's rich and beautiful article on Prescott in the “North American.” We rejoice in this second triumph of his pen. Felton is at Cambridge, and has just heard that you are in Boston, and wishes you

1 It was abolished at the next session of the same Congress.

2 Conquest of Mexico.

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