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Sydney Smith's petition has done good, and it is something to be able to say this. Nearly every newspaper in the United States has printed it, generally without commentary; now and then enforcing its doctrines, and sometimes, though very rarely, trying to apologize for the indebted States. In only two cases I have heard of any exception to the above courses. One Boston paper, and one New York paper, disavowing the whole doctrine of repudiation, and declaring every dollar of the debts must be paid, yet abused Mr. Sydney Smith for the manner in which he urged his claims, and for the motives that led him to invest money in American stocks. I replied to both these, in a short article I enclose, the only article savoring of politics that I remember to have written since I was twenty-one years old. Perhaps you will find some mistakes of fact about Mr. Smith in it, though I rather think not, as I remember my authorities—chiefly himself—for all I have said about him. You will notice, however, that our newspapers, like many of yours, insist on spelling his name Sidney.

On the whole subject of repudiation I feel better than I did when I wrote you last about it, eight or nine months ago. The country, I think, is getting to understand the matter, and, what is more, to feel it. What Prince Metternich once said to me, in reproach of our democratic institutions, is entirely true: we must first suffer from an evil before we can apply the remedy; we have no preventive legislation upon such subjects. But then, on the other hand, when the people do come to the rescue, they come with a flooding force, which your societies, where power is balanced between the governments and the masses, know nothing about. I have much hope that this rescue is coming; I think I see signs of it throughout all our ‘fierce democratie.’ The people cannot bear to be dishonored, disgraced. They suffer as Metternich said, but not as he meant; and I begin to trust to them again, with my former slowly placed confidence.

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