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1856.]

'Ancien Régime.

147

CORRESPONDENCE,

Kensington, August 20, 1856. My dear Tocqueville,—A few weeks after my return to London your book reached me—of course from the time that I got it, I employed all my leisure in reading it.

Nothing, even of yours, has, I think, so much instructed and delighted me. Much of it, perhaps, was not quite so new to me as to many others; as I had had the privilege of hearing it from you—but even the views which were familiar to me in their outline were made almost new by their details.

It is painful to think how difficult it is to create a Constitutional Government, and how difficult to preserve one, and, what is the same, how easy to destroy

one.

Mrs. Senior is going to Wales and to Ireland, where I join her, after having paid a long-promised visit to Lord Aberdeen.

I like the conversation of retired statesmen, and he is one of our wisest. Thiers has just left us. I spent two evenings with him, but on the first he was engrossed by Lord Clarendon, and on the second by the Duc d'Aumale and by Lord Palmerston. They were curious rapprochements, at least the first and third. It was the first meeting of Palmerston and Duc d'Aumale. I am very much pleased with the latter. He is sensible, well informed, and unaffected.

Kindest regards, &c.

A. W. SENIOR.

Tocqueville, September 4, 1856. I have read, my dear Senior, your letter with great pleasure. Your criticism delights me, for I rely on your judgment and on your sincerity. I am charmed that you have found in my book more than you had learned from our conversations, on my view of our history. We have known one another so long, we have conversed so much and so unreservedly, that it is difficult for either of us to write anything that the other will think new. I was afraid that what may appear original to the public might seem trite to you.

The Reeves have been with us; we have passed together an agreeable fortnight. I had charged Reeve to bring you, whether you would or not. Did he make the attempt? I am sure that you would have enjoyed your visit, and we should have rejoiced to have under our roof two such old friends as you and Reeve.

I am glad that you have printed your article ; pray try to send

to me. It seems that you intend this winter to anchor in Rome. It increases my regret that I cannot be there. It is out of the question. My wife's health and mine are so much improved that the journey is not necessary, and business of all kinds keeps us at home. If you

1856.]

American Rebellion.

149

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

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