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July 8, 1842.

After an interval of two days, I return to you, my dear George. I hope you will not think me cool or unkind in what I have written on the other sheet. Perhaps I value too much (and yet can anybody value too much?) charity and kindliness in our appreciation of others. This world is full of harshness. It is easier to censure than to praise: the former is a gratification of our self-esteem; while to praise seems, with minds too ambitious and ungenerous, a tacit admission of superiority. It is a bane of society, wherever I have known it,—and here in Boston as much as in London,—a perpetual seeking for something which will disparage or make ridiculous our neighbors. Their conduct is canvassed, and mean and selfish motives are attributed to them. Their foibles are dragged into day. I do not boast myself to be free from blame on this account; and yet I try to find what is good and beautiful in all that I see, and to judge my fellow-creatures as I would have them judge me. There is a verse in Pope's ‘Universal Prayer’ which is full of beauty. I wish it were graven on tablets in all our churches. You will pardon me for quoting what is to you so trite:—

‘Teach me to feel another's woe,
     To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
     That mercy show to me.’

When in Europe, I mingled in different countries with people of various characters. I am thankful that my impressions of all the countries that I saw, and of many people in those countries, are agreeable. I received much kindness: for this I am grateful. Not that I did not see much misery, much coarseness, much ignorance, much want of refinement, much injustice; but [215] among individuals of all countries I found precious human sympathies, and cultivation that adorned them. You think I look back upon England with too warm feelings of regard. Do you know my opinions of English policy, and of the English Government? With these I certainly feel less sympathy than with the French. But should I not love my friends? Should I not love those minds that have enriched our common language with their high fancies, their glowing thoughts, their learned expositions? And can I confine my regards to those few whose tastes and studies have conducted them in the same path with myself? No: I rejoice in every opportunity of meeting any person whose mind is enriched by cultivation, and whose heart is warm with kindly feelings. Let me not judge his short-comings; let me not require from him more than God has appointed to him to contribute. . . .

You feel about this and your letter on Greece1 as I did about the first articles in the ‘Jurist’ which I published while I was still a student. I thought all the profession throughout the country would look up to me as the author; and I was anxious for newspaper notices. But I find that the more one writes, the more indifferent he becomes to the reception of his productions. Dr. Channing has often told me that, when he has printed any thing, he dismisses it from his mind.

I cannot forbear saying how much pleasure it gave me to see your few words about Longfellow. He cares not at all for politics or statistics, for the Syrian question, or the disasters of Afghanistan. But to him the magnificent world of literature and Nature is open; every beauty of sentiment and truth and language has for him a relish; and every heart that feels is sure of a response from him. I feel for his genius and worth the greatest reverence, as for him personally the warmest love. . . . I think, if you view persons candidly in England, you will meet many whom you would be proud to grapple to your heart with hooks of steel. You cannot fail to be struck by the high cultivation of all who form what is called the class of gentlemen, by their accomplished scholarship, their various acquaintance with all kinds of knowledge, their fastidious taste,—carried perhaps to excess, but erring on virtue's side. I do not know that there is much difference between the manners and social observances of the highest classes of England and those of the corresponding classes of Germany and France; but in the rank immediately below the highest,—as, among the professions, or military men, or literary men, or politicians not of the nobility,—there you will find that the Englishmen have the advantage. They are better educated and better bred, more careful in their personal habits and in social conventions,—more refined. The English country gentleman is of a class peculiar to England. He has at least three thousand pounds a year, and lives surrounded by his tenantry. Mr. Blackett, who has called on you, is a country gentleman of moderate fortune, and the owner of a coal mine. He was for many years the M. P. for the County of Northumberland. Ingham is a person of warm and affectionate nature, and much attached to the Church. I hope you will mingle with [216] people without taking part in politics. It is the privilege of a foreigner to mingle with all parties, without expressing sympathy with either. Mr. Basil Montagu is an old lawyer of remarkable attainments. He has written several works on professional topics, which have been republished in our country; but he is chiefly known as the illustrator of the works of Lord Bacon. He and his wife, a most remarkable person, were warm friends of mine. They were both bosom friends of Coleridge, Charles Lamb, and Dr. Parr, and will give you pleasant stories of them. You know Kenyon's intimacy with Coleridge. I think some of his sketches of Coleridge and of his conversation are among the most interesting things I heard in England. Pray remember me warmly to Kenyon and the Montagus. Tell Kenyon that I confess to owing him a letter, which I shall send very soon.

July 15.—To-day, I close my long epistle. Hillard has gone with Cleveland on a horseback excursion to Trenton Falls. He is getting stronger. Hillard's is a beautiful mind. You will be struck on your return, if that ever takes place, by the grace and felicity of his conversation. From his lips there never fall slang, vulgarisms, or coarseness; but all his language is refined, choice, and elegant, enlivened by anecdote and literary illustration. . . .

Affectionately yours,


1 A reference to George's anxiety about some articles sent to Charles for publication in this country.

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