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1856.]

American Rebellion.

119

push on to Naples, you will, perhaps, enjoy the absence of the rascally king whom you and I found there five years ago. I applaud the virtuous indignation of the English against this little despot, and their sympathy with the unhappy wretches whom he detains arbitrarily to die slowly in his prisons, which, though not placed in the African deserts or the marshes of Cayenne, are bad enough. The interest which your great nation takes in the cause of humanity and liberty, even when that cause suffers in another country, delights me. What I regret is that your generous indignation is directed against so petty a tyrant.

I must say that America is a puer robustus. Yet I cannot desire, as many persons do, its dismemberment. Such an event would inflict a great wound on the whole human race; for it would introduce war into a great continent from whence it has been banished for more than a century.

The breaking up of the American Union will be a solemn moment in the history of the world. I never met an American who did not feel this, and I believe that it will not be rashly or easily undertaken. There will, before actual rupture, be always a last interval, in which one or both parties will draw back. Has not this occurred twice?

Adieu, dear Senior. Do not be long without letting us hear from you, and remember us affectionately to Mrs. Senior and to your daughter.

Ashton House, near Phoenix Park, Dublin, September 26, 1856. My dear Tocqueville,-Your letter found me at Haddo House, Aberdeenshire, where we have been spending a fortnight with Lord Aberdeen.

It has been very interesting. Lord Aberdeen is one of our wisest statesmen.

I found Lord Aberdeen deprecating the war, notwithstanding its success, utterly incredulous as to the aggressive intentions attributed to Nicholas, and in fact throwing the blame of the war on Lord Stratford and, to a certain degree, on Louis Napoleon.

I found him also much disturbed by our Naples demonstration, believing it to be an unwarranted interference with an independent Government.

Ever yours,

A. W. SENIOR.

Tocqueville, November 2, 1856. I am grateful to you, my dear Senior, for your kindness in telling me what I most wished to hear. The judgments of such men as those with whom you have been living, while they delight me, impose on me the duty of unrelaxed efforts.

Your fortnight at Lord Aberdeen's amused me exceedingly, and not the least amusing part were the eccentricities of A.B.

1856.]

Remedy for Rise in House-rent.

151

There is one point in which the English seem to me to differ from ourselves, and, indeed, from all other nations, so widely that they form almost a distinct species of men. There is often scarcely any connection between what they say and what they do.

No people carry so far, especially when speaking in public, violence of language, outrageousness of theories, and extravagance in the inference drawn from those theories. Thus your A.B. says that the Irish have not shot half enough landlords. Yet no people act with more moderation. A quarter of what is said in England at a public meeting, or even round a dinnertable, without anything being done or intended to be done, would in France announce violence, which would almost always be more furious than the language had been.

We Frenchmen are not so different from our antipodes as we are from a nation, partly our own progeny, which is separated from us by only a large ditch.

I wonder whether you have heard how our illustrious master is relieving the working-people from the constant rise of house-rent. When they are turned out of their lodgings he re-establishes them by force; if they are distrained on for non-payment of rent, he will not allow the tribunals to treat the distress as legal. What think you, as a political economist, of this form of outdoor relief?

What makes the thing amusing is, that the Government which uses this violent mode of lodging the working classes, is the very same Government which, by its mad

public works, by drawing to Paris suddenly a hundred thousand workmen, and by destroying suddenly ten thousand houses, has created the deficiency of habitations. It seems, however, that the systematic intimidation and oppression of the rich in favour of the

poor,

is every day becoming more and more one of the principles of our Government.

I read yesterday a circular from the prefect of La Sarthe, a public document, stuck up on the church-doors and in the market-places, which, after urging the landed proprietors of the department to assess themselves for the relief of the poor, adds, that their insensibility becomes more odious when it is remembered that for many years they have been growing rich by the rise of prices, which is spreading misery among the lower orders.

The real character of our Government, its frightful mixture of socialism and despotism, was never better shown.

I have said enough to prevent your getting my letter. If it should escape the rogue who manages our post-office, let me know as soon as you can.

Kindest remembrances,

A. DE. TOCQUEVILLE.

Tocqueville, February 11, 1857. I must ask you, my dear Senior, to tell me yourself how you have borne this long winter.

I suppose that it has been the same in England as in Normandy, for the two climates are alike.

1857.)

Freedom of Speech.

153

Here we have been buried for ten or twelve days under a foot of snow, and it froze hard during the whole time. How has your larynx endured this trial? I assure you that we take great interest in that larynx of yours. Give us therefore some news of it.

Your letter gave us fresh pleasure by announcing your intention of passing April and May in Paris. We shall certainly be there at the same time, and perhaps before. I hope that we shall see you continually. We are, you know, among the very many people who delight in your society ; besides, we have an excellent right to your friendship

I am looking forward with great pleasure to your Egypt. What I already know of that country leads me to think that of all your reminiscences it will afford the most novelty and interest.

I do not think that your visit to Paris will be a very valuable addition to your journals. If I may judge by the letters which I receive thence, society there has never been flatter, nor more insipid, nor more entirely without any dominant idea. I need not tell you

I that your opinion of our statesmen is the same as that which prevails in Paris, but it is of such an ancient date, and is so obvious, that it cannot give rise to interesting discussions.

A-propos of statesmen, we cannot understand how a man who made, inter pocula, the speech of — on his travels can remain in a government. I think that even ours, though so long-suffering towards its agents, could not tolerate anything similar even if it should secretly approve. Absolute power has its limits. The

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