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To Sir Charles Lyell.

Boston, March 31, 1863.
my dear Lyell,—I have not yet finished your book about the antiquity of all of us, but I cannot longer delay thanking you for it. I have enjoyed it so far very much, and shall, no doubt, to the end. True, my ignorance prevents my opinion from being worth a button; but then, even in this view of the matter, I represent a large fraction of your readers, and may therefore assume that the pleasure I have had has been shared by many. We may, at least, feel sure that in many most important points we know how far geology has got on.

The parts that have thus far most interested me relate to those lacustrine people, a feeble folk, I suppose, like the conies in Scripture, but nearer to us, by a good deal, than the people who made the arrowheads and hatchets in the valley of the Somme, so that I really am more curious about them. Next after your account of these lacustrines, I have been most interested about the history of the origin and development of Darwin's theory, concerning which I suppose more is to follow, which I have not yet reached. But then your style is so crystal clear and so befitting your subject, that I read all with interest. Only, from ignorance, I have to read slow.

The ‘Memoirs of Miles Byrne,’ which came, I suppose, from you or from Lady Lyell, at the same time, is as different from your book as one book can well be from another. Of this, too, I have read only the larger half, and am still going on with it. It seems to have, everywhere, the impress of truth upon it, and so it must be among the safe memoires pour servir. But then the infinite details, which contribute to give it this character, are very confusing. A man ought to know the topography of the parts of Ireland to which it refers, as he knows that of his own village, and have heard all about its people and their nicknames. To one conclusion, however, we fairly come, from the first volume of the brave old soldier, and that is the one he would be most anxious about; I mean, how cruelly and wickedly the Irish of that period were treated by the British government.

Much of what I have read comes to me with great force, now that we are in the midst of a civil war ourselves. How we get on you can judge as well as we, perhaps better. . . . . Keep your eyes on the Mississippi, and see if we soon clear out that great thoroughfare, and divide and break the resources of the Confederacy. This is the first and vital conflict, and I watch everything relating to it, daily, with intense anxiety. The Administration has received from Congress

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