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[395]

To Mrs. R. H Gardiner, Gardiner, Maine.

Boston, April 13, 1832.
I am sure, my dear Mrs. Gardiner, the kindly influences of this beautiful spring day must reach to the Kennebec. At any rate, it reminds us of your beautiful domains, at the same time it inspires that vernal delight which Milton seems to have placed above every other, when he says it is ‘able to drive all sadness but despair.’ . . . .

We have just been taking a two-hours' drive over the hills of Brookline and Dorchester, with the chaise-top down, and we have certainly felt nothing like it since the last autumn. . . . .

Your remarks upon the little manuscript somewhat surprised me. It was prepared sixteen or seventeen years ago at Gottingen, and was, of course, then somewhat less of a fragment than it is now, though even then, I think, it did not come within nearly twenty years of the ‘Spirit of the Times.’ However, like many other sketches, it tended to prepare me for understanding the world and the age in which I live; and having fulfilled this purpose, I have thought no more about it1. . . . .

Since I wrote the first part of this letter the Masons2 are come, and are established in their own house in Tremont Street. . . . . The whole establishment is such an one as suits Mr. Mason's age and consideration, and I think the prospect of a quiet and dignified and happy old age is much greater for him here than it would be at Portsmouth. It is another proof out of many that have preceded it, how completely Boston is the capital of a great part of New England; how much more, I mean, than New York is the capital even of its own State, or Philadelphia of Pennsylvania. This comes, no doubt, in part from the homogeneousness of our character; but more, perhaps, from the great similarity of our institutions, which again arise from it and make us more strictly one people, with one common centre and capital, than any other equal amount of the population of the United States. I always look on this circumstance with great satisfaction, because I think the connection is for the benefit of both


1 One of the many volumes of notes containing the results of his studies at Gottingen (see p. 86). This one consists of over one hundred pages of remarks on the condition of Christendom after the French Revolution, and the causes of the restlessness and desire for change which characterize the period.

2 The family of Mr. Jeremiah Mason, the eminent lawyer of Portsmouth. See ante, p. 123.

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