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To William H. Prescott, Boston.

Dresden, February 8, 1836.
. . . . Your remarks about Dr. Channing's book on Slavery bring up the whole subject fresh before me. You cannot think how difficult and often how disagreeable a matter it is to an American travelling in Europe, to answer all the questions that are put to him about it, and hear all the remarks that are made in consequence. All the complications that arise from our constitutional provisions and local situations are nearly unintelligible to foreigners. Once or twice, indeed, here, and oftener in England, I went at large, with sensible individuals, into the whole subject, and they were, of course, satisfied. But, in general, the naked fact of the existence of a slave population, under a government that rests entirely on the doctrine of equal rights, with the additional fact that it is thought wrong to do anything in the purely free States to promote immediate emancipation, is all that is understood; and on these two grounds we are condemned in a tone that would surprise you, I think, if you were here; and which is none the less decided or disagreeable, because so many, from a conservative spirit, are disposed to find fault with us whenever they can.

Dr. Channing's little book, therefore, will be received with unhesitating and unmingled consent and applause in Europe, and will add at once to his reputation, which is already much greater than I supposed; not as extensive as that of Washington Irving, but almost as much so, and decidedly higher. My bookseller here told me, to-day, he thought an English edition of his works would sell well on the Continent, they are so frequently asked for in his shop; and Baron Billow, a young Prussian, brought me the other night a letter from the Duchess of Anhalt Dessau, inquiring earnestly how she could procure them for herself.1 In England, again and again, where I should least have suspected it, I found him held in the highest estimation; one of the old Besborough family, for instance, looking upon a present of one of his sermons as one of the most agreeable things that could happen to him; and Mrs. Somerville, Miss Joanna Baillie, and several other persons, of no less note, declaring to me that he was generally regarded by their friends, as well as themselves, as the best writer of English prose alive.

If the book on Slavery is written with only the usual talent of his

1 Note by Mr. Ticknor: ‘She is a Prussian princess, and the most intimate friend of the present Empress of Russia, having been brought up with her. Both are women of talent, especially the Princess.’

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