- Letters to Mr. Lyell, Miss Edgeworth, Mr. Kenyon, G. T. Curtis, C. S. Daveis, Prince John of Saxony, G. S. Hillard, and Horatio Greenough. -- summers at Geneseo, N. Y.; Manchester, on Massachusetts Bay. -- journeys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, etc. -- passing Public events. -- slavery and repudiation. -- prison discipline. -- Revolutions of 1848. -- Astor place riots.
The summer of 1844 was devoted by Mr. Ticknor and his family to a journey through the interior of Pennsylvania, at that time beyond the region of railroads and crowded thoroughfares. Taking a carriage, and a light wagon for the luggage, they followed the windings of the beautiful Susquehanna and Juniata, often missing the comforts to be found on more frequented routes, but finding full compensation in the beauty and seclusion of these river valleys. Passing through the southern parts of the State of New York, which were full of interest and variety, they went through the lake country to Niagara. 
To Charles Lyell, Esq., London.Boston, November 30, 1843.my dear Mr. Lyell,—I wrote you a word by the last steamer, and now, in continuation, take up the several points in yours of October 12. The first is repudiation. On the whole of this matter, I refer you to an article which will appear in the ‘North American’ for January. . . . You may depend, I think, on every word of fact or law that you find in this paper.1 When you come to the prophecy you must judge for yourself. I do not know that anything needs to be added to it for your purpose, except in reply to your suggestion, that an impression prevails in London that the States which have not paid the interest on their public debts are well off. Nothing can be farther from the truth. There has been great suffering in all, and in some, like Indiana and Illinois, a proper currency has disappeared, and men have been reduced to barter, in the common business of every-day life. What you saw in Philadelphia was nothing to the crushing insolvency of the West and South. The very post-office felt the effects of it,—men with large landed estates being unable to take out their letters, because they could not pay the postage in anything the government officers could properly receive. . . . . How foolish, then, is Sydney Smith in his last letter, to treat is all as pickpockets! He does his cause a great mischief by it; that, perhaps, I could submit to, but I cannot submit to the injury he  has done to my cause, and to the cause of all honest men, by exciting passion and prejudice against it. He should have had more wisdom than to do this, more good feeling, more true sympathy with us; for it is we who are to fight this battle for him, if it is to be fought successfully. Burke says, somewhere, that it is never worth while to bring a bill of indictment against a whole people. Certainly, then, it must be a mistake to insult a whole people, more especially if you wish to persuade that people, at the same time, to do something; and most especially if that people is really sovereign, and can do as it likes after all. Nobody in this country can be glad of what he has written, unless it be the few who wish to build up their political fortunes on the doctrines of repudiation. He is on their side, and the best ally they now have, so far as I know. But I think we will beat them all. And let it be remembered that we have no weapons in the world to do this with, but the exact truth, and that we can succeed in no way but by the ballot-box and universal suffrage. So much for Sydney Smith on repudiation. On the general relations of the two countries he is still worse. His remarks on our desire to go to war with England, because we envy and hate her, how true are they? And if they were true, then how wise? Does he not know that this is the spirit that makes nations hate each other, till their frigates go down side by side, with their colors standing, and fills the bubbles that rise on the spot with the curses of their dead? If I were to talk so to him, very likely he would turn round and say, ‘This is the very sort of passion I intended to put you into. “I meant you there in the heart of hell, to work in fire and do my errands.” ’ Well, let him say so, that is, if his conscience will permit him. But in the mean time, notwithstanding the temptation he lays before us to do wrong in anger, we will still say what is true about repudiation; and he shall have his money, every penny of it, by the blessing of God, though he seems to prefer, as a matter of taste, to get it by the help of Satan.
December 14, 1843.my dear Mr. Lyell,—Continuing along with your questions,2 the next one to which I come touches the fatal subject of slavery. I hate to come near it, so odious is it to me in all its forms, and so full  of difficulties for our future condition. However, there are consoling points about it, and I will go on.3 . . . . The last important discussion on involuntary servitude at the South was in the Virginia Legislature, in 1831-32, soon after a formidable insurrection had occurred near Southampton, in that State. No question was taken; but, from the whole tone of the debate, all men apprehended the near abolition of slavery in Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky, and, so far as I know, all men rejoiced at it. Certainly all the North did. We hoped something would now be done that should counteract whatever of mischief had followed the extension of slavery, in 1820, to Missouri, sorely against our will. But we were disappointed. Political and sectional abolitionism had appeared already. The South soon became alarmed and excited. They put themselves on the defensive first, and then on the offensive. Instead of regarding slavery as a great moral and political evil, as it had always before been admitted to be among the mass of the slaveholders, and as it was openly proclaimed to be in the Virginia debates of 1831-32, it has been, since 1833, maintained by McDuffie, Calhoun, and perhaps a majority of the leading men of the South, to be a great good in itself, and defensible in all its consequences . . . . Meantime, at the North we grow rigorous with the South. We say, and say truly, that it was not a thought in the minds of men, when the Constitution of the United States was made in 1788, that slavery was to be regarded as anything but a temporary calamity, which was to be removed with the assent of all, as soon as fit means could be found for it. Washington, a slaveholder, acted so. Jefferson, a slaveholder, wrote so. All men felt so. But we at the North do not enough remember that we made, by that same Constitution, a special bargain with the Southern States, by which we left it entirely to them to remove, by their own means, and in their own time, the curse which was their own private mischief only, reserving to the whole nation the power of abolishing the slave-trade, which was promptly done. We further promised to permit them to retake their slaves escaping into our States, and to do other things, which we at first did cheerfully, and in a spirit of honor, but which we now do grudgingly, or not at all . . . . . So deep, so fatal, indeed, is the vice of the whole system, that nothing but mischief can come from it, whichever way you turn.  What, then, you will say,—nay, you do say it in your letter,what is to be done? I answer, wait. For, first, it is right in itself to. do so. Slave labor can never, in the long run, come into successful competition with free labor, and in time slaves, therefore, will everywhere cease to be valuable as property. . . . . In the next place I would wait, because I cannot help myself, I can do nothing. Legislation, I fear, can do nothing. It is an affair of two millions and a half of human beings, all slaves, and all in a most remarkable state of equality of condition in other respects It is beyond the reach of legislation; too big for it. It will be disposed of by its own gravity, not by any instruments of human invention. Finally, I would wait, as a Northern man, because it is for my interest. The South is growing weak, we are growing strong. The Southern States are not only losing their relative consequence in the Union, but, from the inherent and manifold mischiefs of slavery, they are positively growing poor. They are falling back in refinement, civilization, and power. Every year puts the advantage more on our side, and prepares us better to meet the contest, which will be gentler and more humane the longer it is postponed, but which can never be other than formidable and disastrous. I do not, however, deprecate the struggle as doubting the result, or fearing inconvenience or suffering for the North. There can be but one result. Slavery will be abolished; if soon, probably with much blood; if later, I hope with none. But in either event, what is to become of the millions of poor slaves? I foresee no milder fate for them than that of the Indians, and I fear one much more cruel. The eager, active, encroaching race, to which we belong, will never endure those gentle, inefficient tribes to cumber the earth about them, after they themselves begin to feel that they want it and can profitably use it. But do not misunderstand me; indeed, I know you will not. Foreseeing all these consequences, I am still for keeping on in the straightforward course, to abolish all slavery throughout the world. Great mischiefs, I know, will come of it. Let them. The thing is right, and will succeed;, and greater good will at last result from it. But let us do it by the wisest, which in such cases are always the gentlest means; that so humanity may least suffer from what is, after all, too old a disease to be eradicated without the use of remedies that may sometimes make us, in our short-sightedness, grieve to have it back again.  I pray, therefore, we may all remember, at the North, that ‘they also serve who only stand and wait.’ And I pray, too, we may all remember that the condition of the master, if rightly considered, is hardly more to be envied than that of the slave, and needs quite as much tenderness, and forecast in its treatment.
To Miss Maria Edgeworth, Edgeworthtown.Boston, March 30, 1844.my dear Miss Edgeworth,—. . . . On looking over your letter, which is now lying before me, I am struck anew with the substantial similarity of the interests, great and small, that agitate society on both sides of the Atlantic, and, I dare say, on both sides of the globe. ‘Man,’ as a wise friend4 once said to me, ‘is, after all, an animal that has only a few tricks.’ . . . . Only think for a moment what a resemblance there is between that Rhode Island question, about which you did me the honor to read the long story I wrote to Mr. Lyell, and your Irish question; what counterparts your Daniel O'Connell and our Governor Dorr are, both in the motives that govern them and in the ends they pursue. Why, ‘half the platform just reflects the other,’ though here I must needs be permitted to say, that I think we have a little the advantage of you,—a thing that comes rarely enough, to be sure,—but I really think we have a little the advantage of you. For the Rhode-Islanders have not only put Governor Dorr in prison, but they keep him there . . . . . And there, I think, he will have to remain, till he is willing to come out and take the oath of allegiance to the government he has endeavored to overturn. . . . . But to leave politics,—though these questions are much deeper than mere party politics, which are always odious,—to leave politics and come to another of your exciting topics,—Puseyism,—we have, in proportion to the number of persons in the United States who belong to the Episcopal or Anglican church, just as much Puseyism, and just as bitter quarrels about it, as you have. In New England—thanks to the wisdom, I believe, of the Anglican clergy—we have not been much infected either way; but New York is full of the matter, and its newspapers too. Then, too, our tariff question, which is annually shaking the nation, is exactly your corn-law question turned upsidedown;  the manufacturers here being the party complained of, while with you it is the land-owners. So, you see, we are still children of Old England; and if we were not, we should be still doing substantially the same things, for we are all of us children of one family; connected by original qualities that will never permit us to get very far apart, even if we try. These, however, are great matters, and I might have added to them the Repeal movement; for, though that has been almost as exclusively an Irish affair, in the United States, as it has been in Ireland, it may still serve to show how intimate are the bonds that connect the two sides of the world together. But perhaps small matters will show this even more plainly, and show at the same time how much we are alike; for, as they are not themselves the vast stream of public interests, which, like the Gulf Stream, strike of their own great impulse from one continent over to the other, but rather the feathers and straws that float on its surface, we can, perhaps, after all, measure the movement itself by them, better than we can by the flood that bears us along, as if we were only a part of it. For instance, there is mesmerism. You are all astir with that in England, and I dare say in Ireland. Well, we reprint Miss Martineau's brochures, and read them, perhaps, as much as you do. We have, too, our great mesmerizers, and our great phreno-mesmerizers, some of them like Katterfelto,—if that is the way Cowper spells his name,—with their hair on end at their own wonders, wondering for their bread; and others, mere gross, immoral mountebanks, not at all deluded by the odious tricks they perform . . . . There is, no doubt, something true at the bottom of it; and, as in many other cases, the small portion of truth preserves the large mass of error, into which it is infused, from becoming obvious and odious to all men. That there is such a thing as a mesmeric sleep can hardly now be questioned; but my faith can go no further. One of the curious circumstances about the whole matter is, that the believers should consent to be called by the name of a man whom they themselves must regard as an impostor, and who, by common consent, survived his own honor above a quarter of a century. For Mesmer, I think, did not die till about the time of the battle of Waterloo. . . . . If you will draw fro m all these facts the inference that the United States—notwithstanding we have just chosen Mr. Polk to be President, and are in great danger of annexing Texas to our already too large territory—will still go on, and work out the original Anglo-Saxon materials of the national character to some good result, I shall  certainly be contented with it. We have made a great many mistakes, by most of which we have profited. We shall make a great many more, as other nations have done. But the aggregate of the whole will not be half so large as was anticipated by the wisest and best among us, when we began the world as an independent people about sixty years ago. The people here—I mean the mass, the whole — is more truly sovereign than it ever was before. . . . . All great questions, therefore, must be argued out before this sovereign. Repudiation was one of them, and was involved in a good deal of difficulty. . . . . But the question has been argued out,—or is now arguing out,—and the result is, that the sovereign has decided, and will continue to decide rightly. . . . . Just so it will be with slavery. It is a more difficult question than the last, but it must be argued out before the sovereign, and there is but one way in which it can be decided. Only think where you, in England, were, within the memory of a man like Mr. Thomas Grenville, when, as somebody says, the pious John Newton went regularly twice a year to Guinea, with a cargo of hymn-books and handcuffs. We are now nearer to emancipation than you then seemed, and are quite as sure to come to it; if for no other reason, for the plain one, that slavery will impoverish, and degrade morally and intellectually, every State in the Union that persists in maintaining it. I take these two great questions, of repudiation and slavery, as instances of what I mean, because they are the only questions of a political nature in which I have ever felt a deep personal interest; and because, if the popular sovereign is wise and honest enough to decide such questions as these rightly, he may be trusted, in the long run, with all the attributes of government. He will make mistakes, but none that will be fatal. . . . .
After passing four months in New York and on Staten Island, in order that his eldest daughter might be under the care of an oculist, he writes to Mr. Daveis: ‘We came home about August 12. But it was too hot to remain in Boston. We—meaning my wife and myself—therefore took the cars to Concord, New Hampshire, as soon as we could, and there hired a buggy, with which—in the true Darby and Joan style—we jogged round the White Hills, stopping wherever we fancied, and enjoying about a hundred miles of the drive very much. We never were there before, either of us.’  On this journey he wrote as follows to his daughters, who had remained with their relatives in Cambridge:—Irish. On both accounts, therefore, I write. And, first, we are all well, and have thus far made a good expedition of it. . . . One day we passed in New York, and two nights, all given to noise, except a few hours that we were at the opera, which was pretty good, and a great relief. One week we passed in Philadelphia, almost as noisy, and quite hot and dull. Then, a fortnight ago yesterday, we plunged into the interior of Pennsylvania, by the Reading Railroad, making our first stop at Pottsville, ninety-seven miles. . . . Here your aunt first began to feel all the beneficial effects of change of air, and exercise, and from this time she has been constantly gaining strength. . . . . From this time we have been in a beautiful country. About Pottsville it was wild, and broken, and picturesque; crossing over through Lebanon to Harrisburg, it was the richest and finest rural scenery, German wealth, cultivation, and manners; and from Harrisburg here, only sixteen miles, we had the beautiful banks of the Susquehanna. We stopped five days in Pottsville; and here we have been eight days, in a quiet old mansion-house, where the decayed Duncan family, with a spirited old lady at the head of it, takes boarders, and accommodates them most comfortably. Tomorrow we go up the Juniata; sorry to leave such a beautiful spot as this is, even for the more various beauties we are promised in travelling farther. The population of the interior of Pennsylvania I find more different from ours than I expected, and more marked with the German character. But the German language—everywhere that I have been, badly spoken, but still always so as to be intelligible—is evidently dying out, and the German character will follow it . . . . . Meantime, the population is a pretty rude, opaque mass . . . . When we shall be at home is entirely uncertain. I have taken a plenty of work to do, and your aunt thrives so well, and we all have so good a time, and the country is so beautiful, and the travelling so easy, etc., etc., that there is no telling what will be the end of the matter, or when we shall get to Niagara.
To John Kenyon, Eeq., London.March 30, 1845.. . . . With the February packet came a codicil to your kindness, again most delightful, for which we owe you more thanks. How can we render them? Come and see. Here are the Lyells coming a second time, nothing daunted by their first experiment. The steam packets will bring you almost to our door; and when you are once here, you can judge of the soundness of your American investments, a great deal better than you can even through Bates's wide correspondence and painstaking judgment, for the whole depends upon the character of the people. This you may think is a bold remark in me just now, when you are thinking so ill of us, for electing Polk President, and taking measures to annex Texas. But it is true, nevertheless. You have nothing else to depend upon, as far as you are a holder of American funds, but the moral sense of the people who are indebted to you. The only question is, have they enough of this wisdom and honesty, to do what is wise and right? I think they have; that is, I think, in the long run, the popular sovereign may be depended upon. No doubt he has made great mistakes; no doubt he will make more. But those mistakes have been neither half so numerous, nor half so grave as the wisest and best men amongst us thought they would be, seventy years ago, when we were beginning the world; and I verily believe we have gained wisdom from all of them. The matter of slavery, of which Texas is only a subdivision, is one full of embarrassment both for the present and the future. But I think we shall come safely out of it, if we can only persuade ourselves to wait. . . . . It is inevitable, I conceive, in the nature of things, that slaves should become unprofitable, at some time or other, in the United States,—probably as soon as it is for the interest of the slaves themselves that emancipation should take place,—and by the slow and gentle process which will alone permit the emancipation of two or three millions of human beings to be a benefit to them. The great difficulty is, to make all interested in the matter willing to wait. Ten or a dozen years ago the South became very much alarmed, by the conduct of the unwise abolitionists of the free States, and finding themselves growing weak, have now contrived, or are likely to contrive, by unjustifiable means, to add Texas to their end of the confederacy, not perceiving that slavery is their weakness; and that to  add further to it is only to increase that weakness. The breaking of the Constitution, too, on this vital point, is breaking the old bargain and the compromise between the North and the South, which is becoming every day more important to them than it is to us. And the consequence of all this is, that ill — will is growing up between the free States and the slave States, that can be a source of nothing but mischief, especially to the poor slaves. For to them there is no source of hope and ultimate benefit, except in the influence, the kindly, peaceful influence, of the North, and its spirit of freedom. The Union, however, will not be broken in my time. It is too important to both extremes; and whenever it is broken, it will be because, as so often happens, the passions of men triumph over their interests. . . . Very different from all this is the ‘Vestiges of Creation,’ a book which has been reprinted here, and read, perhaps, quite as much as it has in England. I read it through at once, in the beautiful copy you sent me, and enjoyed the transparent style in which it is written, and the boldness of its philosophical generalization, very much. But I have no faith in the conclusion to which it comes, because almost every step in the argument is set upon some not sure theory, and the whole consists of a series of nicely fitted links, in which ‘ten, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.’ If the author fails in a single instance,—even in the poor matter of the Mac Lac speculations at the end,—the whole system explodes, just as a Prince Rupert's drop does when you break off its tail. Of each of the scientific parts that compose it I am no sufficient judge, but I hear the experts in each branch, on both sides the Atlantic, are least satisfied where they are most skilled; that Lyell likes all but the geology, Owen all but the comparative anatomy, etc.,—so that from the nebulous theory up to the theory of the perfectibility of human nature, this veiled prophet and philosopher, who draws all his materials from the darkness of the past, and pushes them with his mace, like a great causey, into the darker chaos of the future, will not be likely to find many who will venture on ‘his new, wondrous pontifrice.’ Those that do, will, I think, be seen dropping through it, one after another, like the crowds in Mirza's vision in the Spectator, but none will get over by it to the shadowy land beyond. It is no common man, however, that undertook such a work, and if you ever find out who he is, I pray you to send me word. . . . .
To G. T. Curtis, Boston.Niagara Falls, Upper Canada, July 23, 1845.my dear George,—We begin to want to hear again from you and Mary, and so I muster me up to thank you for your letter and ask for another. I have, however, little to say. We passed a very quiet life at Geneseo,5 after I last wrote to you, till five days ago, when we came here, or rather to the other side of the river; Miss Wadsworth and Gray joining our party, and Sam Guild having preceded us by a couple of days, after having spent two days, much to his satisfaction, at Geneseo. There—the other side of the river—we found Ole Bull and Egidius, his shadow, which seems in no likelihood to grow less. Of course we had a concert, and there was much visiting of wonders, and much enjoyment of lunar bows, and walks by moonlight on Goat Island, and adventurous rowing up to the foot of the falls. So passed three days. Then we all came over here, where there is a very good, quiet house; and right before our windows and along the piazzas, where we chiefly live, is, according to my notion, the finest view of the two falls united. The two tall Norwegians and Sam left us night before last, reducing our party to its original six; and to-morrow, having completed three days on this side of the river, and pretty much used it up, we propose to remove to the other side, where we shall bivouac a longer or shorter time according to our humors, the fates, the sisters three, and such odd branches of learning. The finest thing we have seen yet—and one of the grandest I ever saw—was a thunder-storm among the waters, as it seemed to be, the other night, which lighted up the two cascades, as seen from our piazzas, with most magnificent effect. They had a spectral look, as they came out of the darkness and were again swallowed up in it, that defies all description and all imagination.
New York (Staten Island), June 21, 1846.my dear Charles,—I received your letter in due time,—that is, about a month ago,—but we were then in New York, much occupied with cares of different sorts, and more with society; so that I had no leisure to do always what would best have pleased me. There we remained in all two months and more, our main business, to which everything else was postponed and made subordinate, being the care of the eyes of no less than four ladies who were under our charge. For we thought that, as we were likely to make a campaign of it, we might as well do all the good the opportunity offered. . . . Of those of our acquaintance whom we have found agreeable and pleasant, I can answer pretty readily what you ask. . . . . Chancellor Kent, a little deaf, but as vivacious as ever, is much the same he always was; and Mr. Gallatin, whom I saw a good deal, because he lived near me, is very wise, wary and philosophical, full of knowledge, and still eager in its pursuit. He is, on the whole, the man in New York whom you can get the most out of, if you will take a little pains; for he is really what Bacon calls ‘a full man,’ and is as ready as he is full. . . . . But enough of all this. We had a very good time in New York, after the way of the world; but at our age such things weary. It was impossible to refuse kindnesses such as were offered to us; but I do not know how often I said to Anna, in the words of Christophoro Sly, after he had heard some scenes of the ‘Taming of the Shrew,’ ‘'T is excellent work, ia faith, lady wife, would it were done.’ So, as soon as the weather permitted us, we finished it and came to Staten Island, where, though we are in a large hotel, we lead an uncommonly quiet life. The island is full of beautiful drives and talks.
To his daughters.Conway, Thursday afternoon, August 28, 1846.I do not think I can add much, dearest children, to your mother's letters, except an account of herself, which, however, I rather think you will be more glad to receive than anything else. . . . . The mountains, which rather deserve their ancient name of hills, are before our windows, and the pretty meadows of the Saco are all round the thriving, comfortable village in which our inn stands. It is just what I have wanted, and I assure you I enjoy the tranquillity and absence of all intercourse with strangers, except of the slightest kind, very much. Whether the hills are high, or low, is a matter of small moment to me. . . . . We shall both be glad to see you again, and will give you a day or two fair notice of what Dogberry calls our ‘reproach,’—a thing you know little about. But I only meant to fill up the envelope a little, that nothing might go empty of love to you; and, in good truth, I have nothing else to send. Always your affectionate father,G. T.
Franconia, August 30.I am glad your mother has made the amende honorable to the mountains, my dear darlings; for it is always an awkward thing to do, and she has done it much more gracefully than I could. They really deserve it. It was a beautiful drive up the Saco, with its rich meadows, on Friday, and it was a fine, wild one down the Ammonoosuck—the wild Ammonoosuck, as it is well called—to-day; but this Franconia Notch, by which we go from the waters of the Connecticut to those of the Merrimack, has been a great surprise to me, so beautiful is the pass. Just here, the rude, perpendicular hills are so close together that there is hardly room for the buildings, and when you stand a few feet from the house on either side of it, you see the rocks from the other side frowning over it. The moon went down two or three hours, I think, before its time, and keeps, still, a beautiful twilight over the mountain in front of us, and the reflection of a pale sort of spectral light on the one behind. The house where we are, like several we have seen, has a look like the hospices in the Alps,—large, long, and standing alone; they  amuse you, too, with echoes, and long tin horns; and the children, as you toil up the mountains, come out with berries and flowers for you; so strikingly do similar local circumstances produce similar results, in habits and manners. We have, indeed, enjoyed the last three days more than the week that preceded them, and shall stop tomorrow in this wild, secluded spot.6 After that, two days will easily take us to Franklin, Mr. Webster's fine farm, again; and therefore Thursday may well bring us home to Boston. . . . . Meantime, console yourselves for my absence, as well as you can, with my best love, and with the assurance that I want to see you as much as you can desire to have me. Love to all, especially ‘uncles and aunts.’ Always your loving father,G. T.
To Prince John, of Saxony.Boston, U. S. A., October 30, 1846.my dear Prince,—When I had the honor of writing to you, about a year since, I told you, I believe, that, in the spring of this year, I should send you a document of some moment on the subject of prison discipline. . . . . But the report of the small minority adhering to the Philadelphia or solitary, system, has appeared from the press only within a few days, and the report of the majority is not yet published at all. The first—or the report of the minority, attacking the Auburn system and defending the Philadelphia system—I have now the honor to send you. It is the most important document that has been published in this country, on the side it espouses. More weight would be given to it if it dealt more with facts, and had its foundations more deeply laid in statistical results. But the truth is, we have not yet experience enough to furnish the materials for such an examination of the subject. I, therefore, regard it still as an open question; and in proportion as the discussion advances, and the materials for a wise decision accumulate, I shall be happy to be able to send you whatever is here published, that will be likely to interest you. Meantime, I console myself with the assurance, that both systems, wherever they are in practical operation, are doing much good, and are rapidly maturing results, which will enable good and faithful men to reach conclusions, upon which the best system of penitentiary discipline may be left to rest.  Whenever I have an opportunity I inquire about Saxony and its affairs, and am always glad when I hear, as I do almost always, of its prosperity and welfare. In particular, I have been gratified to learn that the troubles of the last year have ceased to agitate the country, and that the whole population is in a state of advancing civilization. There are few parts of the world in which I am so much interested. I wish I could report to you as well of my own country as I hear of yours. Of progress, indeed, we have enough. We advance in power, in prosperity, and in intellectual culture, with gigantic strides; and I have no doubt our future destiny is to be one of honor, and of ultimate benefit to the great cause of humanity. But, at this moment, we are engaged in a very disgraceful war with Mexico; and one in which, thus far, we have been very successful. It is, however, one of the good signs of the times, that, though successful, this war grows less and less popular every day. But I occupy myself entirely with letters, and take no part, but such as belongs to every citizen, as a duty, in the affairs of a free country. I hope, too, that you, though bound to the state by the most onerous duties, are still able to rescue leisure for your favorite pursuits. We look impatiently for the last and crowning volume of your labors on Dante. When shall we have it? . . . . I remain your Highness's affectionate and faithful friend,
Boston, December 9, 1847.my dear Charles,—. . . . You had, I dare say, a pleasant Thanksgiving, for you have in your own household, and among your own kin, all the materials for it. Ours, too, was pleasant, and ended at the Guilds', with the most thorough game of romps I have come across for many a year. Since that time we have gone on with our usual quietness; seeing a good many people at home, and few anywhere else. Gray's pamphlet7—of which you acknowledge the receipt—has done its perfect work, and settled the question as between the two systems of prison discipline. I never knew anything of the sort so well received, or produce so considerable an effect. Mr. Norton ended a note to Gray by saying, ‘One lays down your pamphlet without feeling the least  curiosity about what may be said in reply to it,’ . . . . and Webster said he ‘never expected to learn any more on the subject; it was exhausted and settled.’ Except where dissent was sure, whatever might be proved, none has been expressed, and even of this sort there has been much less than was expected . . . . The last steamer brought me a pleasant letter from Hillard, . . . . and another from Miss Edgeworth,—aged eighty-one,—written with the freshness of forty. All I hear makes me anxious for England, and almost in despair about Ireland. Indeed, all Europe seems to have a troubled mist hanging over it; but the people of the world, I trust, have gained some of the wisdom which Cowper wished for them, and do not show themselves willing to play at the game of war to please their princes. I have much hope from progress, little from violent reforms; God seems to work in the moral world by periods, like the geological periods of the great changes in the natural. Hallam says, ‘Peace societies were attempted in the twelfth century, and are no more likely to succeed now, than they were then.’ Perhaps so; but more men are now tired of war. Just so it is with slavery; it was never so near its final fall as it is now; but it is decaying as fast as it is for the interest of the slave that it should; and if we attempt to hurry its overthrow, the cause of humanity will suffer, as it always does, from violence.
Boston, April 5, 1848.my dear Lyell,—We were truly glad to get sight of your handwriting again, it was so long since we have seen it . . . . . But what subjects you have to discuss! We were thunderstruck here by the convulsion in France, nor were you less so in England. It seems impossible to come to any reasonable judgment on the whole affair, and quite useless to discuss what, long before our thoughts can reach you, will have been forgotten in the rush of revolutionary changes. . . . . The Revolution of 1830 gave political power to the middling class; that of 1848 gives it to the working class. Are they capable of exercising it beneficially to themselves, or to others? We think they are not. Will they attempt practically to exercise it? Not, we think, at first . . . . But we look for little practical wisdom in the mass of the French, and fear that what there is will not be able to take the lead. A constitution like ours—one of whose chief elements is to be found in the separate powers of the separate States—cannot be made effective  in France, where there are no historical foundations on which to build it. We look, therefore, first, for a great commercial trial, and then for an unwise constitution, which will disappoint its makers, and lead to further troubles and changes. . . . . We are most anxious about Italy, least so about Germany; but we expect the people will everywhere demand concessions from their princes, and obtain them. Tell me how much of this is true. . . . . I am greatly obliged to you for the abstract of your lecture before the Royal Institution, but am sorry you do not like to have it reprinted here. . . . I intended to have had the pleasure of telling you myself about my Spanish Literary History. But Prescott, I find, has done it a little before there is anything to tell. The truth is, I have finished the first draft of the work, and it has just been copied out into a fair hand. But it will still be long before I shall have corrected it and prepared it for the hands of the printer; a task I cannot find it in my heart to hurry, so agreeable is it to me. Agassiz continues to flourish, and enjoys the same sort of popular favor he has from the first.8 His bonhomie seems inexhaustible; and how much that does for a man under institutions and in a state of society like ours I need not tell . . . . . Everett is less and less satisfied with his position,9 and I think cannot remain in it beyond next August. I feel confident he has done much good since he has been there. Write soon, and tell me what you, and other wise men think about the Trastono. Faithfully yours,
To George T. Curtis.Boston, April 22, 1848.my dear George,—. . . . We think and talk of little here except the French and foreign affairs. There are so many steamers nowadays,  and magnetic wires are so successful, that we get revolutions by driblets, and have something—at least the overthrow of a single monarchy—every day or two. But never was speculation more at fault. . . . . The truth is, we have no precedents to go by. History gives us military revolutions and political revolutions enough. But this is neither. It is a social revolution. The hordes that broke down the decaying civilization of the Old World, in the fourth and fifth centuries, did it by violence. The decaying civilization of our times is assailed by social theories, which, it is possible, the masses may introduce, by the mere fear of their numbers,—though this seems highly improbable,—but which, if introduced, would lay waste the world as much as is consistent with its present advancement, and, at any rate, create an incredible amount of human misery, and reduce, materially, the population of Christendom. But it seems to me much more likely that the old order will be maintained; and if it is, it can only be by reconstructing society through some strict despotism, either military or civil. One more strict or severe than now exists in France can hardly be imagined. But whether it be able to do anything for the formation of a government that will protect property and life, is very doubtful. For the first month, during which we have an account of the progress of things in Paris,—or rather the first forty days,—the work of destruction and the dissolution of society has gone on faster than it ever did before, in any period of the world's history. Power has been wholly in the hands of an irresponsible mob, to whom the world had not been friends, nor the world's law, and who do not feel that they have any interest or business but to overturn everything that is established. The only question, therefore, is, how far things are to go on in this direction before a reaction takes place. The further they go, the severer must be the power that is to reconstruct society. Etc., etc. It is lucky for you that I was interrupted just now by a visitor, who has taken up all the time I have free before this letter must go off. Otherwise you might have had more of the dissertation on social revolutions; but now, I will only add that, under the best aspect of things, it seems to me that the mischiefs to follow the convulsions of the last few weeks will be more lasting than those that followed the convulsions of 1789.
From Prince John, of Saxony.Pillnitz, the 14 May, 1848.dear Sir,—I have received your last letter, with the books you were so kind as to send me, in the midst of our greatest political convulsions; and this may be an excuse if I answer you so late. But before I begin to speak of all that has happened in the Old World, I must thank you with all my heart for the interesting publications which you have sent me, with whose reading I am occupied at this moment, and which have almost shaken my opinion, that began to be fixed for the separate system. The dispassionate and truly critical mode of proceeding of the author inspires much confidence.10 If you should return to old Europe you would find many things, and, above all, the public opinion and the leading persons, so entirely changed, that you would think to be in quite another country. There is almost not one state, great or little, which has not made its revolution since the declaration of the republic in France. Germany is perhaps in a more convulsive state than any other country, being occupied at the same moment in reconstructing its general constitution and the constitution of its several states. The two greatest monarchies—Prussia and Austria—are shaken to their foundations; the last, above all, by the great difference of nations which are united under one crown, and which seem now inclined to separate into so many different kingdoms. With all that, two wars in the neighborhood,—the one of Prussia, or rather Germany, with Denmark, the other of Austria with Italy,—and, what is yet worse, the sense for legitimate order, even for property, when it suits not the opinions of the day, shaken to its foundation in the lower classes; the principles of socialism and communism diffusing themselves everywhere . . . . . But yet every one must endeavor to hold his post as long as he can, and perhaps the storm may pass away, and the stream return to regular channels,—not the old, that seems impossible, and must not be attempted. Nevertheless, I have not forgotten my friend Dante. The ‘Paradiso’ is finished, and I am only occupied with the last correction, and filling some blanks which I have left in the past labors. I am, with the highest esteem and sincerest friendship, Your affectionateJohn, Duke of Saxony.My compliments to Mrs. Ticknor.
To Mr. Lyell.Boston, June 21, 1848.My dear Lyell,—We are just entering on one of those political campaigns which, whatever be their mischiefs, tend more to give life and energy to our national character than anything else that comes round as a part of our republican institutions. The simple fact that the eyes of the whole population are directed to two men, and their thoughts seriously fastened on the great principles by which their government shall be administered for four years, and even the great measures it shall adopt, give a concentration and authority to public opinion that could be given, so far as I see, in no other way, and quite outweigh the disadvantages of a contest, fierce while it lasts, but never marked with physical violence, and forgotten as soon as it is over. Nothing struck me more in the last election than the absolute calm which instantly succeeded the turbulence which had filled the whole land a week before. All the storm that had been so threatening was blown off, and nothing remained but the steady power to give movement to the machinery of the State. So it will be now.
July 17, 1848.My dear Hillard,—I have your note from London, and thank you very sincerely for it. Its views are discouraging enough, but not more so, I fear, than are true, though I do not agree to all its conclusions. As to the present French and Continental convulsions, which some persons regard with favorable eyes, I can only say, that during a life of seven or eight years in Europe, I never was in any country where I should have thought it wise, or Christian, to join in any such movement. The reason is obvious. Whenever the institutions of society are so far destroyed as they were in last February and March in France, I take it to be certain that they can be reconstructed only on a military basis, and—whatever may be the nominal form of government—that the power for this reconstruction must be wielded by the will of one strong man, to whom the mass of the people will submit gladly, in order to secure their property and lives. But republics, I much fear, cannot grow on the soil of Europe; at least, not republics in the sense we give to that word. There is no nourishment for them in the present condition or past history of the nations there, and if such struggles as we have witnessed for the last sixty years are  to go on, with the vain hope of obtaining free governments, in which universal suffrage shall make the whole body of the people a practical sovereign, nothing but a decay of civilization will be the result. Christianity, almost powerless with the multitudes of a large part of Europe, and the press abused to mislead them, will not have conservative energy enough to save the most enlightened parts of the modern world, from the fate which befell the most enlightened parts of the ancient, from struggles not dissimilar. France, in the course of a thousand years, or in some other of the great periods which God appoints to the history of nations, as he does to the building and decay of the globe, may well become what Asia Minor and Egypt are now. At any rate, I think the steps she is taking at the present moment are in that direction. We, too, are no doubt going on like the buried nations of antiquity, through the changes of youth and age. But you and I have the happiness to live in the period of our greatest vigor and prosperity, and in that part of the country where the moral tone is the highest, and the strength and activity the soundest . . . . I am sorry, as you are, for the effect these discussions11 produce upon society in Boston; but the principles of that society are right, and its severity towards disorganizers, and social democracy in all its forms, is just and wise. It keeps our standard of public morals where it should be, and where you and I claim to have it, and is the circumstance which distinguishes us favorably from New York and the other large cities of the Union, where demagogues are permitted to rule, by the weak tolerance of men who know better, and are stronger than they are. In a society where public opinion governs, unsound opinions must be rebuked, and you can no more do that, while you treat their apostles with favor, than you can discourage bad books at the moment you are buying and circulating them. . . . .
To Prince John, of Saxony.Boston, U. S. A., July 30, 1848.My dear Prince,—Your kind and interesting letter of the 14th of May, with one from Count Circourt, written after he had been at Dresden, have kept you almost constantly in our thoughts of late. Indeed, it is difficult to think of anything else but the changes that are now going on, like a solemn drama, in Europe; not only because the fate and fortunes of so many of our personal friends are put at  hazard by them, but because they involve so deeply the cause of Christian civilization and the paramount interests of our common humanity. We feel, to be sure, comparatively safe ourselves. Our people are young; we have room enough and bread enough for all; free institutions are the only ones that, even in colonial days, took root here; we have been gradually and thoroughly educated to them, and every year manage them with a more practised skill; in short, from our vast local advantages, and from the whole course of our history as a nation, a republic is a truth here; but what is it in France, or what can it be either there or in Germany? You will not be surprised to hear that wise men in the United States saw, from the first, that no good was to come—except as God brings good out of evil—from the violent changes that began in the South of Europe and in France last winter, because they saw plainly that, if the institutions of society are once destroyed,—as they were in Paris in February, March, and April,—they can be reconstructed only on the basis of a military despotism, and in the presence and by the authority of the bayonet. But you will, perhaps, be somewhat surprised to learn that the great mass of our people at the North felt no confidence in the French movement from its outset; no more confidence, I may say, than did the wiser. They are accustomed every day to the workings of a truly popular government, and they saw little in France that reminded them of their own experience, and nothing to justify the belief that a wise republic would be founded, in which the people, by severe organic laws, would limit its own powers; in which labor and capital would rest on the same foundations; and in which the rights of the minority would be protected by the same principles that give the majority all its control of the state. They knew that a people who not only are without knowledge enough to be able to read and write, but without the more important political education which enables them to judge the measures of the government they have created,—they knew that such a people can never make a wise, practical sovereign. All men, therefore, with few exceptions, in this part of America, have judged the changes in France rigorously, but rightly, from the first; predicting events from time to time as they have occurred, and looking now to no more favorable results than they anticipated four months ago. . . . . Very faithfully, my dear Prince, Your friend and servant,
From Prince John, of Saxony.Pillnitz, 3 September, 1848.dear Sir,—I have received some time ago your long and interesting letter of the 30th July. It is very curious to hear the impression which our great political convulsions make on an impartial spectator, placed at a distance, on a secure ground. Yet perhaps it may be likewise interesting to you to hear the description of one who is in the midst of the tempest. In general, I must say that since I wrote you last the public spirit is become better, yet we are not at the end of the crisis; and I fear the last decision will be that of the sword. One can distinguish, in general, five great divisions of opinion in Europe. 1. The anarchical party, or party of the red republicans, composed of a great part of the proletaires, of some men of broken fortunes, who like revolutions for revolution's sake, and of the disciples of communism and socialism. 2. The republicans, who wish a legal introduction of a republic. The number of this party I think comparatively small, yet it is to be feared that on some occasion it may lend its forces to the first party. 3. The men for monarchy, with the broadest democratical basis, who will have monarchy without any power in the monarch, and without the necessary condition of it. This party, which is very numerous, rejects all census of eligibility and the first chamber. 4. The conservative liberal party, composed of the ancient liberal opposition, not so numerous, yet weightier with respect to intelligence than the last, but partly overwhelmed by the consequences of its own system. 5. The ancient aristocratical party, overawed for the moment. The most intelligent men in it feel that they cannot oppose the torrent, and make common cause with the liberal conservative party. Since the late events in France and at Prague, and the victories of Austria in Italy, the conservative parties have gained in courage and activity, and this is the best symptom of our present situation. But if a union of the third-named party with the two republican fractions should take place, the position would be very dangerous. As for the particular countries, the conservative liberal party, which is there not so much separated from what I called the party of democratical monarchy, has been for the moment victorious in France. In that country, liberty is not so much what men desire, as equality and order. This is the reason why Cavaignac can take many measures against the press and associations, which no German government could venture  to propose. The parties now at the head of the government know not what to do with their republic, which was given to them by the republican and anarchical parties against their wishes; and I am persuaded that monarchy—perhaps a rather despotic monarchy— will in time be re-established in France. In Italy the movement was more the work of a faction than of the people; of a faction composed of the nobility, the higher classes of the bourgeoisie, and a part of the clergy, and influenced more by national than by political ideas. Since the victories of Radetsky,—a marvellous old man of eighty-three,—the enthusiasm seems extinguishing; the people, over all the people of the open country, have received everywhere the Austrians as deliverers, and if France does not mingle itself in the contest, things will be re-established in the ancient limits, yet with popular institutions. Yet this is the point where the danger of a general war is the most threatening. As for us in Germany, the situation is more complicated. It is not only the constitutions of the particular states that have been shaken, but the whole confederation is to be re-established on a new basis. The two constitutional monarchical parties are disputing the ground with that acrimony which characterizes our German theoretical disputes. But with respect to the whole of Germany there is another question dividing the opinions,—the question of centralization and of particularism. As for my opinion, a constitution like that of the United States would, in this point of view, be the best. Selfgovern-ment of the particular States as the rule, and centralization of all that is necessary for preserving unity, as foreign affairs, the army, the fleet, and the general commercial regulations. I think this is likewise the opinion of the majority at Frankfurt; but, nevertheless, I fear that we take there, in many respects, a false way. . . . . With us in Saxony, things are relatively better, and have even made a progress since last spring. The loyal and benevolent character of the King is generally estimated, and there is yet a fund of true attachment for his person. . . . . The King was lately at Leipzig, and was received there with the greatest demonstration of loyalty. . . . . You ask me some news of the King and my family. We are all tolerably well, after these great convulsions, the King much better since last spring. My family is growing up, my second daughter promised to the Duke of Genoa, son of the King of Sardinia, but the political circumstances have retarded the marriage. . . . . The notices you gave me about the question of prison reform are very interesting. I am sorry that Gray's book is so little known  in Europe. I will endeavor to render it more public. The ‘Paradiso’ is finished, and I hope the impression will soon begin. Your sincere friend,John, Duke of Saxony.
Manchester, September 10, 1848.12 My dear Charles,—you have not kept your tryst. . . . . However, I dare say we shall find a room for you, if you will find a locus poenitentioe for us, though, as we have no safety-valve in our territory, like the Tremont House, and as our own hotel is rather popular, not to say populous, just now, I recommend it to you to give us notice a day or two if you have any kind purpose in our favor . . . . We have had beautiful weather ever since you were here, and much good, pleasant company staying with us. I only wish you had been with us to share our pleasures, both rural and marine, bucolic and piscatory. Of the external world I know little. I have been in Boston but once for above two months, and hope not to be obliged to go there again for above a month more. But, now and then, somebody comes to me wandering over the morning dew,—as the shepherds did to Parnell's Hermit,—and I hear in this way of the bustle of the great world of our little city, without being incommoded by its stir. From what I hear I suspect the early Taylorites in my neighborhood do not feel so easy as they did when I saw them last . . . . . Moreover, they begin to be afraid, as Macbeth did, that they have ‘'filed their minds,’ after all, for somebody's else benefit and not for their own, or that of their party. They begin to be afraid, in short, that Taylor may not be chosen. . . . . . I am, on the contrary, of the mind of the elder brother in ‘Comus’:—I incline to hope, rather than fear,I shall vote for Taylor, and if you do as well for him in Maine as Vermont has done, you will yet give him your personal vote as an elector . . . . I write to you about politics because there is nothing else hereabouts to send you, except a little orthodoxy from the village church, or a  little of the πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης from the beach before us. We have had Mrs. Norton and some of her children staying with us, and expect them again. Gray, too, has been here, the Everetts, Prescotts, and so on. We have not been alone since the first few days after we came down, and are not likely to be as long as we stay.
And gladly banish squint suspicion.
To Sir Charles Lyell, Bart., London.Boston, May 15, 1849.dear Lyell,--As we are decidedly imitating your émeutes in Europe, I send you two or three newspapers extra, of all complexions, that you may see how we get on.13 . . . . One or two moral reflections I must make. The people here about twelve years ago first began to feel that a mob impaired the popular sovereignty. The first proper firing of the people on a mob was at Providence, where a mob undertook to pull down some houses of ill-fame. Since then it has been frequently done; as, for instance, at Philadelphia, in the case of the Catholic riots, the attack, I mean, on the Catholics. But this at New York is the most decisive of all. The work was thoroughly done, both by the police and the militia; and it has been sustained by an unanimous cry from the whole country, as far as heard from; but the farther from New York the louder, even from the lowest and most vulgar of the penny papers in New York and Boston. I think it settles the question, that the sovereign people will defend its sovereignty against the mob at all hazards, and I am not sure that this feeling will not make government among us as strong as it is anywhere. The difficulty is, that we must work by cure, not by prevention. But then such cures are like certain diseases, that disinfect the constitution. You may set it down as a fact that the whole country goes with the city authorities at New York in relation to the late mobs . . . . . It would certainly be easier now to put down any form of anarchy in any city in the United States than it was a fortnight ago. There is a confidence which no man had a right to feel then, but which all feel now, since two hundred and ten soldiers, called from the mass of the people, at two hours notice, faced and overcame a mob twenty thousand in number, and of which about one thousand were ill disposed. Nearly every person injured, killed, or arrested was a foreigner; so  were three fourths of those present, and nineteen twentieths of the active mob. When we think that the Parliament House in Montreal was burnt down only a month ago in the presence, as it were, of two thousand regular troops, and the governor there insulted and mobbed, we feel as if our government were growing strong, and that it may live to grow old. Certainly I feel a vastly greater confidence in both its stability and its wisdom than I did five-and-twenty years ago. . . . . The California fever is spreading fast. . . . There is, in fact, in our Anglo-Saxon blood more of a spirit of adventure and romance than belongs to the age, mingled with a gravity and forecast that are natural to it. Companies collect here with rules of the severest kind for their government, invite an eloquent preacher to pray with them and address them on their duties; bind themselves to the most absolute temperance; and then set forth upon an adventure as wild as ever a cavallero conquistador dreamt of. Meantime, the most authentic accounts are the most extravagant. . . . . But as long as Congress quarrels about the extension of slavery, so long there can be no government in California, and every man will do what seems good in his own eyes; a state of things that does not promise an advance in civilization. Indeed, in any event, it will be a curse to most persons who go there; perhaps to the world. . . . . Yours always,G. T.
To Horatio Greenough, Esq.Boston, December 15, 1849.My dear Mr. Greenough,—I received, a short time since, your kind letter written in October, announcing to me that you had shipped for Boston a bas-relief, which you destine for me.14 It has not yet  arrived, but I feel that I ought not to delay thanking you for it on that account. The little assistance you needed when young seems so trifling a matter, when compared with the acknowledgment you make for it, that I hardly know what I should say. But when I receive it I will write again. Meantime, be assured that I feel your kindness and thoughtfulness very sensibly. And I ought to; for it is rare that such little favors are so long remembered; and, if it be any pleasure to you to think so, you may have the satisfaction of understanding that you have acknowledged many obligations of others, besides this inconsiderable one of your own, and that I regard them all as cancelled, both those that have been forgotten and those that have not, by this one return. I wish we were likely to see more of your works here, and do not despair of it. But things have been so unsettled for the last two years, and the great material interests of New England are so much jeoparded, that no appeal to public liberality has been ventured in Boston for a long period. . . . . But be assured that it would give me very great pleasure to see a bronze statue of Washington by you in State Street, and that whenever a favorable time for it may come, I shall be most happy to co-operate with your other friends in placing it there. The state of things here is, indeed, in many respects very little creditable to us. We have not, I am aware, the troubles that break up society, and put in danger civilization itself. These are the trials of countries entering into the period of old age. But we have our own peculiar trials, and just at this moment we feel them severely.