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To Sir Edmund Head, Bart., Fredericton, N. B.1

Boston, November 19, 1850.
my dear Sir Edmund,—I thank you, we all thank you, for your letter of October 30, with the criticisms on Allston. . . . . For myself, I thank you for your offer of rare and precious Spanish books, which I receive exactly in the spirit in which it is made; that is, I accept the last of the six volumes, and leave the rest to somebody that has better claims on them. The book I refer to is, ‘Historia de San Juan de la Peña, por su Abad Juan Briz Martinez,’ Zaragoza, 1620. Of the five others, I possess the ‘Diana’ in sundry editions, including the first. . . . . I accept thankfully the old Abbot Martinez, because in such books I almost always find something to my purpose. . . . .

Sir Henry Bulwer has been here lately, and is just gone. He is a good deal de labre, or, as we say in Yankeedom, ‘used up,’ but is shrewd, vigilant, sometimes exhibiting a little subacid, but on the whole very agreeable. He took kindly to the town, and we met him constantly in the houses of our friends at dinner, to say nothing of quantities of gossip that went on in our own library. Lady Bulwer did not come with him. His relations with the present Administration are no doubt very satisfactory to him, but with his shattered nerves, I should think a residence in Washington would be anything but agreeable.

Webster, too, has been here, and hurried off yesterday to his post, better in health than he was a month ago, but almost sixty-nine years old, and showing decidedly the approach of age. Still, he is capable of great things, because he works so easily, and in the forty years and more that I have known him well, he never seemed to me so wise and great as he does now. If his strength is continued, he alone will carry us through our present troubles.

1 Sir Edmund Head was, at this time, Governor of New Brunswick. He and Lady Head had paid a visit to Boston in October, and he wrote thus to Mr. Ticknor afterwards: ‘Sir Charles Lyell says of Mr. Prescott, “Prescott's visit has been a source of great pleasure to us, and, though I can by no means sympathize with MacAULAYulay's astonishment that, being what he is, he should ever go back to Boston, I cannot help regretting that the Atlantic should separate him and you from us.” nor can I,’ continues Sir Edmund, ‘sympathize with MacAULAYulay's astonishment, since I have had the great pleasure of receiving your kindness and enjoying your conversation at Boston. Those few days are days on which Lady Head and myself shall always look back with sincere satisfaction. We only regret that they were so few.’

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