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[407] communities. I can easily understand that your suspension of cash payments was welcome on the other side of the Atlantic. So far as it had any effect, its tendency was to check the export of bullion. But I conceive that the consequences will last long after the resumption of specie payments, and will be felt in the pecuniary relations of New York and Boston. The readiness with which such a step can be resorted to will diminish confidence in Europe.

Nor do I see how the Legislature in New York is to help the banks by legalizing such a course. The fifth section of the eighth article of their Constitution is explicit, in depriving the Legislature of the power to authorize a suspension of specie payments. (I do not think that in Massachusetts you have any such clause, but I am not sure.) This will be a notable example of the difficulty caused by the absence of any living sovereign body, for the people of the State of New York can only speak when called into life for the purpose. Until they have so spoken, one of two things must be the case,—either the banks must openly and professedly violate the law, or the Legislature must deliberately set aside the Constitution.

I cannot enter on the slavery question, for I confess I do not see my way. If the Northern States secure Kansas as a free State, it will be the first time that their action has been ultimately successful. . . . .

With kindest regards,

Yours most truly,

Edmund had.

To Sir Charles Lyell.

Boston, February 19, 1858.
my dear Lyell,—. . . . I began a letter to you above a fortnight ago, the fragment of which is now before me, and would have crossed yours on the Atlantic if it had been finished; but Prescott's illness came the next day, and drove everything else out of my mind for a time. Anna wrote you about the first attack and the early relief. Since that time, thank God, he has constantly gone on improving, and is now almost restored . . . . . He is, of course, kept on a low diet, and knows that there must always be a cloud between him and the future; but, still, I believe there is many a year of happiness in store for him. His family, on both the father's and mother's side, have been long-lived; and he has a revenue of good spirits which is better than all the inheritances of fortune. His chief trouble. and it is one that he begins to feel already, will be the giving up his habits

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