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‘ [230] 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.

To Mr. Lyell, London.

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

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