II. and his officers. At any rate, they are the same, and the Prussian army was then the model army of Europe. But I have no authority for my conjecture. The pamphlet about the Bodleian1 is much to the purpose about all public libraries, and remarkable for being written so early, before the sound doctrine it maintains was endured either in England or in this country. I shall bind it, and keep it among my curiosa adding to it the anecdote about old Gaisford and the ‘Bibliotheque Nationale.’ I have just been reading the first volume of Prescott's ‘Philip II.’ down to the middle of the War of the Netherlands. The early chapters about the abdication of Charles, etc., he is disposed to think are a little too sketchy, a little too much in the style of memoirs. I differ from him entirely. The manner is suited to the subject, and is attractive and conciliating to a remarkable degree. He will grow grave enough before he gets through, without making any effort for it. Moreover, the last half of the first volume is already such. The battle of St. Quentin, and all about that time, is excellent, and the whole is, I think, in quite as good a style as anything he has done, in some respects better. . . . . My letters from Paris are full of matter. In one of them I have words spoken by Guizot at a meeting of all the Academies of the Institute, which I hear have been printed, but which, as I have not seen them in print, perhaps you have not. ‘We fail even to use the little freedom which is left to us. We are drunk with the love of servitude, more than we ever were with the passion for liberty.’ The Emperor, I hear, means to gain personal military fame as a commander, probably on the Rhine; and the adoption of De Morny is openly spoken of as a settled thing. It seems as if the worst days of the Roman Empire were come back. It reminds me of a conversation at Chateaubriand's, in 1817,—of which I have a note made at the time,—in which he said, ‘Je ne crois pas à la society Europeenne,’ going on to show that we were about in the fourth century of the Roman Empire. This adoption looks like it. . . . .
To Sir Edmund Head.
Boston, December 23, 1855.My dear Head,—Our Christmas greetings are with you. By New Year, if your reckonings are right, you will have your books all arranged, and dear Lady Head will have her drawing-rooms in order,