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women with pale and perplexed faces meet one another in streets and churches here, and ask if this be so? We have inquired if this be a gross misrepresentation from the party opposed to the Government and anxious to blacken it with the people. We have looked in newspapers of different parties, and find a horrid confirmation of the tale. We are slow to believe it. We hoped the Indians were misinformed, and their remonstrance was premature, and will turn out to be a needless act of terror. The piety, the principle that is left in these United States, — if only its coarsest form, a regard to the speech of men, forbid us to entertain it as fact. Such a dereliction of all faith and virtue, such a denial of justice and such deafness to screams for mercy, were never heard of in times of peace, and in the dealing of a nation with its own allies and wards, since the earth was made.
Sir, does this Government think that the people of the United States are become savage and mad? From their mind are the sentiments of love and of a good nature wiped clean out? The soul of man, the justice, the mercy, that is the heart's heart in all men from Maine to Georgia, does abhor this business. In speaking thus the sentiments of my neighbors and my own, perhaps I overstep the bounds of decorum. But would it not be a higher indecorum, coldly to argue a matter like this? We only state the fact that a crime is projected that confounds our understanding by its magnitude, — a crime that really deprives us as well as the Cherokees of a country, for how could we call the conspiracy that should crush these poor Indians, our Government, or the land that was cursed by their parting and dying imprecations, our country, any more? You, Sir, will bring down that renowned chair in which you sit into infamy, if your seal is set to this instrument of perfidy; and the name of this
LETTER TO CHANDLER ROBBINS
CONCORD, March 20, 1845. MY DEAR SIR: – Had I remembered any piece of mine which seemed to have a special fitness for your purpose, I should have made an opportunity, amidst a press of petty affairs, to name it; but none occurring to me, I have left the selection to your and my good fortune. It would have given me pleasure, could I have known of the occasion earlier, and if the Muse had been willing, to have recalled for poetry, those earlier days - many anxious, many pleasant, all thoughtful days, which I spent in the service of the Second Church. I stood a few weeks ago at the foot of the new tower, and gazed up at its stately mass and proportions with great satisfaction. I hope it will confer new benefit every day as long as it shall stand.
Yours, with great regard,
RALPH WALDO EMERSON.
A LETTER TO WILLIAM B. SPRAGUE, D. D.
CONCORD, OCTOBER 5, 1849. MY DEAR SIR:—I fear you have the worst thoughts of me as far as the virtues of a good correspondent go. I ought to have warned you at first that I am a reprobate in that matter. Yet, I did, on the receipt of your letter, in the summer, make, with my mother, some investigation into the history of my father's preaching, that he might make his own answer, as you suggested, to your inquiry concerning his opinions. But I did not find, in any manuscript or printed sermons that I looked at, any very explicit statement of opinion on the question between Calvinists and Socinians. He inclines obviously to what is ethical and universal in Christianity; very little to the personal and historical. Indeed what I found nearest approaching what would be called his creed, is in a printed Sermon “at the Ordination of Mr. Bedee, of Wilton, N. H.” I think I observe in his writings, as in the writings of Unitarians down to a recent date, a studied reserve on the subject of the nature and offices of Jesus. They had not made up their own minds on it. It was a mystery to them, and they let it remain so.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON,
AMOS BRONSON ALCOTT
Amos BRONSON ALCOTT, a philosopher devoted to the science of education, was born at Wolcott, Conn., Nov. 29, 1799. Like many farmers' sons in Connecticut, whilst still a boy, he was intrusted by a local trader with a trunk of merchandise, with which he sailed for Norfolk, Va., and which he afterward carried about among the plantations; and his early readings were in the planters' houses, who gave hospitality to the young salesman, and, observing his turn for study, talked with him, and opened their bookcases to him in a stormy day. On his return to Connecticut he began to teach, and attracted attention by his success with an infant-school.
He removed to Boston in 1828, and showed singular skill and sympathy in his methods of teaching young children of five, six and seven years of age, , at the Masonic Temple. (See a printed account, “Record of a School,” E. P. Peabody, 12mo, Boston, 1834; also, a transcript of the colloquies of these children with their teacher, in “ Conversations on the Gospels,” 2 volumes, 12mo, Boston, 1836.) But the school was in advance of public opinion, and, on the publication of this book, was denounced by the newspapers of the day. After closing his school, Mr. Alcott removed to Concord, Mass., where he betook himself to his studies, interesting himself chiefly in natural theology, and the various questions of reform, in education, in diet, civil and social institutions.
On the invitation of James P. Greaves, of London, the friend and fellow-laborer of Pestalozzi in Swit
zerland, Mr. Alcott went to England in 1842. Mr. Greaves died before his arrival, but Mr. Alcott was cordially received by his friends who had given his name to their school at “ Alcott House,” Ham, near London, and spent some months in making acquaintance with various classes of reformers. On his return to America, he brought with him two of his English friends, Charles Lane and H. G. Wright; and Mr. Lane having bought a farm which he called
Fruitlands,” at Harvard, Mass., they all went there to found a new community. Messrs. Lane and Wright soon returned to England, and the farm was sold. Mr. Alcott removed to Boston, and has led the life of a Peripatetic philosopher, conversing in cities and in villages, wherever invited, on divinity, on human nature, on ethics, on dietetics, and a wide range of practical questions. These conversations, which were at first casual, gradually assumed a more formal character, the topics being often printed on cards, and the company meeting at a fixed time and place.
Mr. Alcott attaches great importance to diet and government of the body; still more to race and complexion. He is an idealist, and we should say Platonist, if it were not doing in justice to give any name implying secondariness to the highly original habit of his salient and intuitive mind. He has singular gifts for awakening contemplation and aspiration in simple and in cultivated persons. Though not learnéd, he is a rare master of the English language; and, though no technical logician, he has a subtle and deep science of that which actually passes in thought, and thought is ever seen by him in its relations to life and morals. Those persons who are best prepared by their own habit of thought, set the highest value on his subtle perception and facile generalization.