To E. T. Channing.
Gottingen, December 9, 1815.. . . .Your apprehensions for the quiet of Gottingen, in case Bonaparte had succeeded, were very natural. Amidst all the fluctuations of empire, this little spot has stood as the centre of German learning, unconscious of convulsions; and though all calculation and precedent would have been confounded if this new Marius, rushing from the marshes of Minturnae, had attained his former power, yet I think, unless the students had been as patriotic as they were at Jena, everything would have continued to go on in its accustomed order. They did, indeed, discover a strong and honorable and even imprudent feeling, on Bonaparte's retreat from Moscow, and Jerome was for the moment very angry; but I think he would soon have forgotten his vengeance. Even before the spirit had begun to awake in Poland and Prussia, the young men here felt its deep and dangerous workings. Secret clubs, which even the vigilance of the police could not discover, though it suspected them, were cautiously but resolutely formed, and the whole cemented into a body by an institution which they called ‘the League of Patriotism.’ Bonaparte's routed army crossed the Beresina, and the Prussians (students) disappeared; it entered the borders of Germany, and the Mecklenburgers were gone; and in this way, as he advanced towards any country or principality, the young men escaped, to share and encourage the spirit which finally crushed him. The dangers they ran were very great. The French government and police were still in full activity here, and more vigilant than ever, because more than ever stimulated by fear and suspicion. The young men, therefore, were obliged to escape in secret and in disguise, and make their way through unfrequented roads, through the woods, and in the night, with the constant apprehension of arrest and death before them .... The benches in the lecture-rooms began to be obviously empty, and the streets grew still and deserted. The retreating army was now about a hundred and fifty miles from the Westphalian capital, and Jerome began to think that, for a time, he might be himself exiled, and thought it necessary to make some show of personal spirit. He therefore came with a suitable guard to Gottingen, and called the professors together in the library hall. He was extremely impudent and abusive, but had not self-command enough to know when he had come to the end of a set speech some body had written for him, and so began again at the beginning, and