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Visit to Germany.
you there, for you are one of the people whose society always increases the happiness of life. However, we have plenty of time for talking over this plan. Adieu, dear Senior.
A. DE TOCQUEVILLE.
Wildbad, September 19, 1854 You gave me great pleasure, my dear Senior, by making me acquainted with Sir George and Lady Theresa Lewis.
I must really thank you sincerely for it, for the time passed with them has been the most agreeable part of our journey.
You have no doubt heard of the mischance which has put a stop to our peregrinations : my wife was seized two months ago at Bonn by a violent attack of rheumatism. The waters of Wildbad were recommended to her, and she has been taking them for more than twenty-five days without experiencing any relief. We are promised that the effects will be felt afterwards ; but these fine promises only half reassure us, and we shall set out again on our travels in very bad spirits.
Our original intention was to spend the autumn in the North of Germany, but in Madame de Tocqueville's condition it is evident that there is nothing else to be done but to return home as fast as we can.
We are somewhat consoled by the arrival of our common friend Ampère. He was returning from Italy, through Germany, and, hearing of our misfortune, he has come to look after us in these wild mountains of the
Black Forest amidst which Wildbad is situated. He has been with us a week, and I hope that he will accompany us home.
Our intention is to spend a month or six weeks with my father near Compiègne. Towards the first week in November we shall establish ourselves in Paris for the winter. We hope to see you there at the end of this year or the beginning of next.
Ampère, my wife, and I constantly talk of you. If you could overhear us I think you would not be very much dissatisfied. They insist upon being very particularly remembered to you, and as for me I beg you to believe in my most sincere attachment.
A. DE TOCQUEVILLE.
Compiègne, January 22, 1855.
It was a long time since I had seen your handwriting, my dear Senior, and I was beginning to complain of you ; your letter therefore was a double pleasure.
I see that you have resumed your intention of visiting Algiers, and I am anxious that you should carry it into effect.
I hope that we shall be in Paris when you pass through. We put off our departure from day to day; not that we are kept by the charms of our present abode ; the house is too small for us and scantily furnished, but I find it such a favourable retreat for study, that I have great difficulty in tearing myself away from it.
I hear, as you do, with great satisfaction of the mutual
1855.) English Loss of Prestige.
91 good feeling of our armies in the Crimea. It far exceeds my expectations.
But I am not equally pleased with your management of the war. The English ought to know that what has passed and is passing there has sensibly diminished their moral force in Europe. It is an unpleasant truth, but I ought not to conceal it from you. I see proofs of it every day, and I have been struck by it peculiarly in a late visit to Paris, where I saw persons of every rank and of every shade of political opinion. The heroic courage of your soldiers was everywhere and unreservedly praised, but I found also a general belief that the importance of England as a military Power had been greatly exaggerated; that she is utterly devoid of military talent, which is shown as much in administration as in fighting; and that even in the most pressing circumstances she cannot raise a large army.
Since I was a child I never heard such language. You are believed to be absolutely dependent on us; and in the midst of our intimacy I see rising a friendly contempt for you, which if our Governments quarrel, will make a war with you much easier than it has been since the fall of Napoleon.
I grieve at all this, not only as endangering the English alliance, which, as you well know, I cherish, but as injuring the cause of liberty.
I can pardon you for discrediting it by your adulation of our despotism, but I wish that you would not serve despotism more efficaciously by your own faults, and by the comparisons which they suggest.
It seems also difficult to say what may not be the results of your long intimacy with such a Government as ours, and of the contact of the two armies. I doubt whether they will be useful to your aristocracy.
Remember me to Lord Lansdowne and to the Lewises, who added such pleasure to our German tour.
Compiègne, February 15, 1855. I conclude that this frightful weather is still keeping you in London, my dear Senior. I am comforted by the fact that I myself shall not reach Paris before the 28th.
I do not wish to act the part of the pedagogue in the fable who preaches to people when his sermon can no longer be of any possible use, but I cannot help telling you that it is a great imprudence on your part to allow yourself to be caught in this way by the winter in England. What you now suffer from is only a trifling malady, but it may become a real illness if you persist in preferring pleasure to health. Pray think of this in the future and do not tempt the devil.
I have not read the article to which you refer."
I can perfectly understand the reserve which was imposed upon you, and which you were forced to impose on yourself.
I confess that I saw with great grief the sudden change in the expressions of the majority of the English, a year ago, respecting our Government. It was then ill consoli
1 An article in the North British Review, see p. 107.-ED.
Mismanagement of Crimean War.
dated, and in want of the splendid alliance which you offered to it. It was unnecessary that you should praise it, in order to keep it your friend. By doing so you sacrificed honourable opinions and tastes without a motive.
Now things are changed. After you have lost your only army, and oậr master has made an alliance with Austria, which suits his feelings much better than yours did, he does not depend on you ; you, to a certain extent, depend on him. Such being now the case, I can understand the English thinking it their duty to their country to say nothing that can offend the master of France. I can understand even their praising him; I reproach them only for having done so too soon, before it was necessary
I agree with you that England ought to be satisfied with being the greatest maritime Power, and ought not to aim at being also one of the greatest military Powers.
But the feelings which I described to you as prevalent in France and in Germany, arose not from your want of an army of 500,000 men. They were excited by these two facts.
First, by what was supposed (perhaps falsely) to be the bad military administration of your only army. Secondly, and much more, by your apparent inability to raise another army.
According to continental notions, a nation which cannot raise as many troops as its wants require, loses our respect. It ceases, according to our notions, to be great or even to be patriotic. And I must confess that, con