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[207] Mr. Webster's letter to the governor of Maine has done more for this result than any other thing. It was a capo d'opera, and left nothing for faction to take advantage of. . . .

The little affair of Rhode Island has tended, I think, to strengthen our institutions, by settling the principle that the people of a State have no right to change their Constitutions, except in the forms provided by law. The case was this. The Constitution, or Charter, of Rhode Island was one sufficiently absurd, which had been given by Charles II., and had long since ceased to be suited to the people. But the landholders, who had all the power, refused to give it up until lately, when the mass of the people became so exasperated that, without observing the forms prescribed by law, they made a Constitution for themselves, and undertook to carry it into practical operation. Everything but bloodshed followed; but the popular party was completely put down, and now a suitable Constitution will be legally formed and peaceably carried into execution. It constitutes a strong case, because the people were originally right, and only erred in the forms, and in the passions they indulged. But enough of politics.

To Hon. Hugh S. Legare, Washington.

Lebanon Springs, June 9, 1842.
dear Legare,—A nice place it is, to be sure, as you say, and I do not wonder that you spent sundry happy days here last summer, except that there were so many people in it. We came a week ago, and had the Prescotts and Gray,1 till day before yesterday, when they returned, and left us to enjoy this rich and beautiful nature quite alone. It is really delicious. Don't you think we can tempt you to give up at Washington and come here? We can offer you the beautiful woods and valleys you know of, and as many sheep as your shepherd's craft can manage. It would be better than being the Poimenos Laon; especially when the people don't follow. Not a soul has disturbed` our peaceful repose, except that Colonel Colden and the Dickenses came, one night after we were gone to bed, and cleared out the next day at noon, much grieved that the Shakers were so insensible to his widespread merit, and so little respecters of persons, as to refuse to show him any of their mysteries, or managements touching men or

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