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[349] will shake Europe more than is now anticipated. There is no government that is not running in debt every year, merely to maintain social order, and to this inevitable course there can be but one inevitable termination. Credit must still be pushed, but must at last fail, and then revolution of some sort seems inevitable; but I cannot imagine that anything beneficent should come in its train.

But you would rather I should talk to you about the United States than about Europe, which you understand so much better than I do. Indeed, I should hardly have spoken even about Rome, if you had not desired it, and when I turn to America I cannot speak with the details and confidence I should if I were at home. But I am, perhaps, more cool than I should be if I were in the midst of the domestic discussion, though certainly I have less connaissance de causes. I do not, indeed, see far ahead.

Mr. Buchanan has made his Cabinet, and it is as good and conservative a cabinet as could have been expected from his position. . . . . The country, too, is quiet, and the new government will begin without a fierce or indiscriminate opposition to its measures. But there are bad elements at work under the surface. At the South a large body of the slaveholders are desperate, and openly avow a detennination to break up the Union . . . . . At the North everything is as tranquil at this moment as it is at the South, or even more so. But not a few persons in New England, besides the open Abolitionists, are in favor of breaking up the Union, . . . . but none except the Abolitionists honestly avowing their purposes.

That the South will be indiscreet enough, pushed on by its fanatics, to give ground, either sufficient or insufficient, to these ambitious men of the North to make a permanent Northern party, is a question that will soon be settled. I think it likely they will, and that we shall have a sectional excitement within two years fiercer than the one that preceded the late Presidential election . . . . . That any degree of wisdom and integrity can make Mr. Buchanan's administration of the country other than dangerous to our peace, both domestic and foreign, I do not believe.


To W. H. Prescott.

Florence, May 8, 1857.
my dear William,—I have to thank you for two most agreeable mementos of kindness; one a letter without date, written, I think, in March, the other a note dated April 4, touching my new honors as


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