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Chapter 21:

To Sir Charles Lyell.

Boston, May 17, 1859.
My dear Lyell,—By the time this letter reaches London, I trust that you will be safely back in Harley Street, from the land of dikes and canals,—a strange country, which I visited once, and seemed to lead such a sort of amphibious existence, that I have never cared to go there again. But it was in the month of July, and the waters pumped up by the windmills did not give out Sabean odors.

We feel very uncomfortable about the news we get from your side of the Atlantic . . . . But I had rather talk about the progress of civilization than its decay and death, which are, I conceive, the natural results of the prevalence of military governments. So I will tell you about Agassiz and his affairs. . . . . The establishment1 is a grand one, and I take an interest in it, not from any knowledge about the subject, or any personal regard for it, but because I think such an institution will tend, more than anything else, at the present time, to lay the foundation for a real university among us, where all the great divisions of human knowledge shall be duly represented and taught. I had a vision of such an establishment forty years ago, when I came fresh from a two-years' residence at Gottingen; but that was too soon. Nobody listened to me. Now, however, when we have the best law school in the country, one of the best observatories in the world, a good medical school, and a good botanical garden, I think the Lawrence Scientific School, with the Zoological and Paleontological Museum, may push through a true university, and bring up the Greek, Latin, mathematics, history, philosophy, etc., to their proper level. At least I hope so, and mean to work for it. . . . . .

We are looking for your paper on Etna, and I hope to be able to understand it, but do not feel sure. Of Mansell's lectures I have

1 The Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge.

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