you may be sure. It will neither benefit the slaves nor advance the slave question one iota towards its solution. . . . . You ask me about Bunsen's ‘Hippolytus.’ I can hardly say I have read it. I looked over my copy, and then sent it to my kinsman, Mr. Norton, who, from having written learnedly on the ‘Genuineness of the Gospels,’ would be much more interested in it than I can be. I incline, however, to Bunsen's opinion, that the tract he prints is a work of Hippolytus, though I am by no means clear about it, not half so clear as I am that the tract itself is of little importance to anybody. The rest, which is foreign to the subject, seemed to me curious,—the maxims high German, and often very little intelligible; the apology interesting to your Episcopacy, but not to my Puritanism; and the Latin excursus on the old liturgies, or their fragments, most learned and irrelevant to everything else in the book. . . . . We wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Yours sincerely,—shorter next time,—
To Sir C. Lyell.
Boston, May 23, 1854.My dear Lyell,—There goes in the diplomatic bag of this steamer a portion of the printed sheets of a work on the ‘History of the Formation and Adoption of the Constitution of the United States.’ It is addressed to Mr. Murray. The book—2 vols. 8vo, when Completed—is by my kinsman, Mr. George T. Curtis, and involves the civil history of the country, in all the relations which constitute the foundations of its present prosperity and character, from 1776 to 1789. It is written with ability, clearness, and power, and it is astonishing how much of what it sets forth from the forgotten journals of the old Congress, and from manuscript sources, is not only new to many persons better informed in the history of the country than I am, but curious and important. It will produce, I think, considerable effect here, and tend to good, both as to our condition at home and our relations with Europe, and especially England. You know how conservative Curtis is, and how frank and fearless he is in expressing his opinions; but the main characteristic of the book is a wise and statesmanlike philosophy, profitable to all . . . . . The Nebraska Bill has passed, as we have heard this morning, not in all its forms, but in effect, by a majority of thirteen,—100 to 113. It is a shameful violation of an old compromise, and will tend to a dissolution of the Union more than any measure ever did. But it will not tend to increase the slave power . . . .