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To Mrs. S. B. Shaw.

Wayland, 1872.
I wanted to write a hurrah as soon as it was certain the ship of state had safely passed that coalition snag,1 but was prevented from time to time. Then came that awful fire in Boston, and put one out of the mood of hurrahing. But that conflagration, terrible as it was, was not so disastrous as would have been the restoration of Democrats and rebels to power. And not only have we cause for congratulation that a present danger is escaped, but we have reason to be devoutly thankful for this new proof that the people are capable of self-government.

About the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, you and I, as usual, agree. I have taken a lively interest in it, and have been a member of the Boston society from the beginning. I have not made up my mind about the Darwinian theory, but I have long felt that man does not sufficiently recognize his [214] kindred with animals. If they were tenderly and rationally treated from their birth, I believe it would make a vast change in the development of their faculties and feelings. I believe the principal reason why Arabian horses are so celebrated for intelligence and docility is that the Arab lives with his horse as with a companion and friend. I hope this widespread horse-distemper 1 will make men more thoughtful about the comfort of their horses; having learned the great inconvenience of doing without them.

1 Referring to President Grant's reelection.

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