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[240] 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.

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.1 . . . . 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

1 This refers to the ‘Astor Place’ riots in New York, when Mr. Macready was attacked by a mob, in consequence of the course taken by Mr. Edwin Forrest, who attempted to put down the English actor.

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