previous next

[408] of exact industry, getting out of those iron grooves in which his life has so long run, and becoming comparatively an idle man. . . . . But he must do it, and he has made up his mind to it. Indeed, he has understood his complaint perfectly from the first moment, and accepts all its conditions and consequences with the most absolute cheerfulness.

Our financial troubles here, of which you speak, have been much like yours in Europe, and have come from the same causes. The suffering has been great, and will be long felt; but whether anybody will learn anything by the bitter experience is very doubtful . . . . Our banking system is one cause of our troubles, but by no means the chief. The universal extravagance, the spendthrift character of the mass of the people, goes deeper than all their moneyed institutions. This, I think, is likely to be diminished for a good while. . . . .

Our politics are in a state of great confusion. As the elder Adams1 said to me, when he was eighty-nine years old, about the politics of the State of New York for seventy years previous, ‘they are the Devil's incomprehensibles.’ The reason is that the old parties are breaking up, and the new ones are not yet sufficiently formed and organized to be intelligible. The great contest, as you know, is about Kansas. Buchanan has behaved as badly as possible about it; the leaders of the Free Soil party no better. Both have treated it as a game for political power. It has been just as certain for nearly two years, as it is now admitted to be by everybody, that Kansas will be a free State, and yet, as each party has believed that it could profit more by the contest than its adversary could, the contest has been continued. Either party could have stopped it any time during the last two years. . . . .

Lecturing is as active as ever, and the lectures well attended. Among others we have now religious lectures, delivered in a large church on Sunday evenings by clergymen of all the different persuasions, except the Catholics, in answer to one and the same question, namely, ‘Why, from love to God and man, do I hold the opinions in religion which I do hold?’ The attendance, I understand, is very large, and the discussions are conducted in the most tolerant spirit. This I regard as the natural result of free inquiry; violence and bitterness, indeed, for a time, but at last fair and faithful discussion. Thirty years ago such lectures would not have been decently managed; forty years ago I think they would have been interrupted by rude noises and in other ways, so that they could not have been carried

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Kansas (Kansas, United States) (2)
New York State (New York, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Adams (2)
Buchanan (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: