Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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subject : and eminently this is true in Rock-
wood Hoar's mind, — his tendency to the in-
tegrity of the thing !

What a lesson on culture is drawn from every
day's intercourse with men and women. The
rude youth or maid comes as a visitor to a
house, and at the table cannot understand half
the conversation that passes, — so many allu-
sions to books, to anecdotes, to persons, —
hints of a song, or a fashion of the War, or the
College, or the boatmen, or a single French or
I In his admirable Methods et entretiens d' atelier.

336 JOURNAL [Age 67

Latin word to suggest a line or sentence familiar
to inmates, unknown to the stranger, — so that
practically 't Is as if the family spoke another
language than the guest. Well, there is an equal
difference if their culture is better, in all their
ways, and the like abbreviation by better meth-
ods, and only long acquaintance, that is, slow
education, step by step, in their arts and know-
ledge can breed a practical equality. The like
difference, of course, must appear in the father,
the son, the grandson, and the great-grandson,
if better opportunities of education are provided
to each successor than his parent enjoyed.

Greatness. "They deride thee, O Diogenes!"
He replied, " But I am not derided." — Plu-
tarch, Morals.

But, memo. I must procure a Greek Gram-
mar. O for my old Gloucester again !

A passage In the Convito of Dante testifies' that
he knew Greek too imperfectly to read Homer
in the original. (See Biographie Ginhale.)

Objection to Metaphysics. The poet sees wholes,
and avoids analysis. Ellery Channing said to me,
he would not know the botanical name of the
flower, for fear he should never see the flower


again. The metaphysician, dealing, as it were,
with the mathematics of the mind, puts himself
out of the way of the Inspiration, loses that which
is the miracle, and which creates the worship.

America. We get rid in this Republic of a
great deal of nonsense which disgusts us in
European biography. There a superior mind, a
Hegel, sincerely and scientifically exploring the
laws of thought, is suddenly called by a neces-
sity of pleasing some king, or conciliating some
Catholics, to give a twist to his universal propo-
sitions to fit these absurd people, and not satis-
fying them even by these sacrifices of truth and
manhood ; another great genius, Schelling, is
called in, when Hegel dies, to come to Berlin,
and bend truth to the crotchets of the king and
rabble. Not so here. The paucity of popula-
tion, the vast extent of territory, the solitude
of each family and each man, allow some ap-
proximation to the result that every citizen has
a religion of his own, — is a church by himself,
— and worships and speculates in a new, quite
independent fashion.

Plutarch treats every subject except Art. He
is ingenious to draw medical virtue from every

338 JOURNAL [Age 67

poison, to detect the good that may be made
of evil.

An admirable passage concerning Plato's ex-
pression "that God geometrizes," in Plutarch's
Symposiacs. (See especially in the Old Edition,
vol. iii, p. 434.)

In the History of opinion, the pinch of false-
hood shows itself, not first in argument and
formal protest, but in insincerity, indifference,
and abandonment of the church, or the scientific
or political or economic institution, for other bet-
ter or worse forms. Then good heads, feeling or
observing this loss, formulate the fact in protest
and argument, and suggest the correction and
superior form. Rabelais, Voltaire, Heine, are
earlier reformers than Huss, and Luther, and
Strauss, and Parker, though less solemn and to
less solemn readers.

Voltaire's Spinoza, — " Je soupconne, entre
nous, que vous n exist ez pas." — Satires. Les

It really appears that the Latin and Greek
continue to be forced in education, just as chi-
gnons must be worn, in spite of the disgust


against both, for fashion. If a wise traveller
should visit England to study the causes of her
power, it is not the universities in which he
would find them ; but Mr. Owen, Mr. Arm-
strong, Mr. Airy, Mr. Stephenson, Sir John
Lubbock, Mr. Huxley, Mr. Scott Russell,
Boulton, Watt, Faraday, Tyndall, Darwin. If
any of these were college men, 't is only the
good luck of the universities, and not their
normal fruit. What these men have done, they
did not learn there.

" Plato says that Time had its original from
an intelligence." — Plutarch, Morals, vol. iii,

P- 158.

The Greek text is, nXarov 8e yevvrjTov kclt
iTTivoLav, and Goodwin prints (vol. iii, p. 128)
thus, — " that Time had only an ideal beginning."

Micreft) fjuvrjfiovct (rvfiTTOTav" (and I remember
that Mr. Tom Lee complained of Margaret
Fuller that she remembered things) ; " and the
ancients used to consecrate Forgetfulness, with a
ferula in hand, to Bacchus, thereby intimating
that we should either not remember any irregu-
larity committed in mirth and company, or
I I hate a fellow-reveller who remembers things.

340 JOURNAL [Age 67

should apply a gentle and childish correction to
the faults." — Idem.

Plutarch loves apples like our Thoreau, and
well praises them. — SeeMora/jjVol. iii, p. 362.

Let a scholar begin to read something to a
few strangers in a parlour, and he may find his
voice disobedient, and he reads badly. Let him
go to an assembly of intelligent people in a
public hall, and his voice will behave beautifully,
and he is another person, and contented.

A scholar forgives everything to him whose
fault gives him a new insight, a new fact.

Peter Oliver,' in the Puritan Commonwealth,
insists like a lawyer on the duty the Pilgrims
owed to their Charter, and the presumed spirit
and intent in which it was given. He overlooks
the irresistible instruction which the actual ar-
rival in the new continent gave. That was a
greater king than Charles, and insisted on mak-
ing the law for those who live in it. They could
not shut their eyes on the terms on which alone
they could live in it. The savages, the sands,

I Chief Justice of Massachusetts, 1771, until the evacua-
tion of Boston by the Tories with whom he cast his lot.


the snow, the mutineers, and the French were
antagonists who must be dealt with on the in-
stant, and there was no clause in the Charter
that could deal with these. No lawyer could
help them to read the pitiless alternative which
Plymouth Rock offered them, — Self-help or
Ruin: come up to the real conditions, or die."

November 30.

Judge W of Rhode Island was not a

great man, and resented some slight he received
from Tristram Burgess at the Bar, by asking
him if he knew before whom he was speaking.
He replied, "Yes, your honour; before the
inferior Court of the inferior Bench of the in-
ferior State of Rhode Island."

Mr. Weeden ' told me, that his old aunt said
of the people whom she knew in her youth that
"they had to hold on hard to the huckleberry
bushes to hinder themselves from being trans-

I delight ever in having to do with the drastic
class, the men who can do things, as Dr. Charles

1 Mr. Emerson was reading with reference to the address
on Forefathers' Day in New York.

2 Colonel William B. Weeden, of Providence, often Mr.
Emerson's host when lecturing there.

342 JOURNAL [Age 67

T. Jackson ; and Jim Bartlett,' and Boynton.
Such was Thoreau. Once out of doors, the
poets paled like ghosts before them. I met
Boynton in Rochester, New York, and was cold
enough to a popular and unscientific lecturer on
Geology. But I talked to him of the notice I
had read' of repulsion of incandescent bodies,
and new experiments. "O," he said, "nothing
is plainer: I have tried it"; and, on my way to
Mr. Ward's, he led me into a forge, where a
stream of melted iron was running out of a
furnace, and he passed his finger through the
streamlet again and again, and invited me to
do the same. I said, " Do you not wet your
finger ? " " No," he said, " the hand sweats a
little and that suffices."


So words must sparks be of those fires they strike.

I saw that no pressman could lay his sheets
so deftly but that under every one a second
sheet was inadvertently laid; and no bookbinder
could bind so carefully but that a second sheet
was bound in the book: then I saw that if the

I Son of the honoured physician of Concord for more than
half a century. Mr. Bartlett was a mechanical engineer of
importance in Detroit.

i87o] READING 343

writer was skilful, every word he wrote sank
into the inner sheet, and there remained indeli-
ble ; and if he was not skilful, it did not pene-
trate, and the ink faded, and the writing was

^uotque aderant votes rebar adesse Deos.^ — Ovid.

Authors or Books quoted or referred to
IN Journal for 1870

Menu ; Confucius ; Heracleitus ; Ovid ; Sue-
tonius ; Marcus Aurelius ; Plotinus ; Porphyry;
St. Augustine ;

Averroes (Ibn Roshd); Snorre Sturluson;
Nibelungenlied; De Joinville, Chronicle of Saint
Louis; Froissart, Chronicles ;

Huss ; Luther; Michel Angelo; Rabelais;
Amyot, Philemon Holland (translators of Plu-
tarch's Morals into French and English respec-
tively) ;

Thomas Stanley, History of Philosophy ;
Spinoza; Fenelon; Montesquieu, P^»j^fj; Vol-
taire ;

Peter Oliver, The Puritan Commonwealth ;
Matthew Boulton; James Watt; Goethe; Eck-
ermann, Conversations with Goethe; Dumont,

I I will hold all bards that come my way to be gods.

344 JOURNAL [Age 67

Souvenirs sur Mirabeau; Fichte ; Richter ; Alexan-
der von Humboldt; Hegel; Heinrich Steffens,
Review of Schelling's Philosophy; Fauriel;
Schelling; Hallam;

Varnhagen von Ense, Tagebucher; Arago;
George Ticknor ; Faraday ; John G. Palfrey,
History of New England; Carlyle ; Heine;

George B. Airy ; George Sand ; Richard
Owen ; Strauss ; John Scott Russell ; O. W.
Holmes; Charles Darwin; Margaret Fuller;
Theodore Parker ; Sir William Armstrong ; J . W.
Foster, Geology ; Erastus B. Bigelow ; Thomas
Couture, MHhode et entretiens d atelier ; J. R,
Lowell ; Thoreau, Field Notes ; Leveque ;
Julia Ward Howe, Battle Hymn of the Republic ;

Tyndall ; William J. Stillman ; Ernest Renan ;
Huxley, Lay Sermons ; Sir John Lubbuck ; Phil-
lips Brooks ; Hoefer, Nouvelle Biographie G'en'e-

















(From Journal ST)

[Mr. Emerson seems to have lectured in some
Massachusetts towns; also at Buffalo, Cleve-
land, and New Brunswick, New Jersey, during

On February 3, he spoke by request at a
meeting held for the purpose of organizing the
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.' In a letter
of thanks, Mr. Martin Brimmer expressed his
belief that the good effects of this speech in
awakening substantial interest in the Museum
soon appeared.

But through the winter Mr. Emerson had the
serious task of preparing for a course of lectures
on Philosophy for a new class at the University.
According to Mr. Cabot, the lectures were
mainly the same as those given in the previ-
ous Spring, except that " Identity " and " The
Platonists " were omitted, but " Wit and Hu-
mour," " Demonology," and another on " The
I See Boston Daily Advertiser of February 4.

348 JOURNAL [Age 67

Conduct of the Intellect " were added. A large
part of the new matter in this course was later
used in " Poetry and Imagination," in Letters
and Social Aims, the next published volume.]

January, 1871.
Old age. " Man is oldest when he is born,
and is younger and younger continually." —
Taliessin, apud Skene.

February 10.

I do not know that I should feel threatened
or insulted if a chemist should take his proto-
plasm or mix his hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon,
and make an animalcule incontestably swim-
ming and jumping before my eyes. I should
only feel that it indicated that the day had ar-
rived when the human race might be trusted
with a new degree of power, and its immense
responsibility; for these steps are not solitary
or local, but only a hint of an advanced frontier
supported by an advancing race behind it.

What at first scares the Spiritualist in the
experiments of Natural Science — as if thought
were only finer chyle, fine to aroma — now
redounds to the credit of matter, which, it ap-
pears, is impregnated with thought and heaven,
and is really of God, and not of the Devil, as


he had too hastily believed. All is resolved into
Unity again. My chemistry, he will say, was
blind and barbarous, but my intuition is, was,
and will be true.

I believe that every man belongs to his time,
if our Newtons and philosophers belong also to
the next age which they help to form.

" Our progress appears great, only because
the future of Science is hidden from us." —
Philip Randolph.

Of gravitation, John Mill said to Carlyle, " A
force can act but where it is." " With all my
heart," repHed Carlyle, "but where is it?"

March 5.
Dr. E. B. Pusey of Oxford surprised me
two or three days ago with sending me, "with
greetings," a book. Lectures on Daniel and the
Prophets, with the following inscription written
on the blank leaf, —

To the unwise and wise

A debtor L

'T is strange if true,

And yet the old

Is often new.

When in England, I did not meet him, but

350 JOURNAL [Age 67

I remember that, in Oxford, Froude one day,
walking with me, pointed to his window, and
said, "There is where all our light came

I ought also to have recorded that Max
Miiller, on last Christmas Day, surprised me
with the gift of a book-
Coleridge says, " The Greeks, except perhaps
in Homer, seem to have had no way of making
their women interesting, but by unsexing them,
as in the instances of the tragic Medea, Electra,
etc. Contrast such characters with Spenser's
Una, who exhibits no prominent feature, has
no particularization, but produces the same
feeling that a statue does, when contemplated
at a distance.

' From her fair head her fillet she undight,
And laid her stole aside : her angel's face
As the great eye of Heaven shined bright.
And made a sunshine in a shady place :
Did never mortal eye behold such heavenly grace ? ' "

Greatness. Chateaubriand says that Presi-
dent Washington granted him an audience in
Philadelphia, and adds, " Happy am I that the
looks of Washington fell on me. I felt my-


self warmed by them for the rest of my life."
Calvert gives the anecdote.

None is so great but finds one who appre-
hends him, and no historical person begins to
content us ; and this is our pledge of a higher
height than he has reached. And when we have
arrived at the question, the answer is already

April 7.

[Mr. Emerson's good friend Mr. John M.
Forbes, hearing that he seemed worn and jaded
by the strain of his Philosophy lectures, — two
or more a week, — invited him to be his guest
on an excursion in a private car to California.
In the party, besides Mr. and Mrs. Forbes and
their youngest daughter, were Colonel Forbes,
with his wife (Mr. Emerson's daughter Edith),
Mrs. George Russell, James B. Thayer (late
Roy all Professor of Law at Cambridge), Garth
Wilkinson James, late the adjutant of Colonel
Robert Shaw, and wounded on the slopes of
Fort Wagner. Mr. Emerson's inborn reluctance
to receive favours even from near friends, and
his scruples about leaving his work, stood in
the way, but at last he yielded to Mr. Forbes's
tactful ingenuity of plea, and to his daughter's
urgency, and went. The journey across the

352 JOURNAL [Age 67

prairie, mountains, and desert (including a short
stay at Salt Lake City and conversation with
Brigham Young), the weeks in California in its
spring freshness and sheets of flowers, were to
Mr. Emerson an unforeseen delight and re-
freshment. The good friends in the party, with
their tactful and affectionate care of him, each
contributed to his pleasure, and his respect and
admiration for the quality of his host grew with
each day. Professor Thayer in a little volume
gave a pleasant account of the journey.'

Mr. Emerson was enjoying the rest, and did
little writing. But few notes of the trip occur.]

California Notes. Irrigation. Tea, impossi-
ble culture where labor is dear as in America.
Silk (?) Wine is not adulterated ; because grapes
at one cent a pound are cheaper than any sub-

Cape Donner. Golden Gate, named of old

I A Western Journey with Mr. Emerson, by James Bradley
Thayer, Boston, 1884.

There is also in Mr. Emerson's letters to Carlyle, written
after his return, a short mention of this journey and its pleasures
and experiences, among others, the visit to Brigham Young.
(^Carlyle- Emerson Correspondence, vol. ii, pp. 343—345.)

In Mr. Cabot's Memoir fvol. ii, pp. 644—648) are ex-
tracts from Mr. Emerson's letters to his family from Cali-


from its flowers. Asia at your doors and South
America. Inflamed Expectation haunting men.
Henry Pierce's opinion of the need of check,
calamity, punishment, to teach economy. Nick-
els [for] cents.

Mission Dolores. Flora. The altered Year.
(See Hittel on California.)

John Muir. General Sumner.

Antelopes, prairie-dogs, elk-horns, wolves,
eagles, vultures, prairie-hen, owls.

Sequoias generally have marks of fire : hav-
ing lived thirteen hundred years must have met
that danger, and every other, in turn. Yet they
possess great power of resistance to fire. (See
Cronise, pp. 507-508.)

Sarcodes Sanguinea, snow plant growing in the
snow, a parasite from decayed wood; monotropa,
Caanothus ; Wild lilac; Madrona; — Arbutus
Menziesii; Manzanita; Acrostaphylos glaucus.

Black sand at Lake Tahoe, and carnelians.
Mono Lake. Glaciers; Clarence King. Volcanic
mountains, cones, Enneo County.

The attraction and superiority of California
are in its days. It has better days, and more of
them, than any other country.

Mount Shasta, 14,440 feet high, in north-
eastern corner of the State. Mount Whitney,



[Age 67

15,000 feetj in Tulare County. In Yosemite,
grandeur of these mountains perhaps unmatched
in the globe ; for here they strip themselves like
athletes for exhibition, and stand perpendicular
granite walls, showing their entire height, and
wearing a liberty cap of snow on their head.

Sequoia Giganiea, Pinus Lambertiana, Sugar
pine, 10 feet diameter; 300 feet height; cones
18 inches. Pinus Ponderosa, yellow pine. Pinus

May 12.

At the request of Galen Clark, our host at
Mariposa, and who is, by State appointment,
the protector of the trees, and who went with
us to the Mammoth Groves, I selected a Se-
quoia Gigantea, near Galen's Hospice, in the
presence of our party, and named it Samoset,
in memory of the first Indian ally of the Plym-
outh Colony, and I gave Mr. Clark directions
to procure a tin plate, and have the inscription
painted thereon in the usual form of the named
trees : and paid him its cost : —


12 May


The tree was a strong healthy one ; girth, at
2| feet from the ground, 50 feet.

What they once told me at St. Louis is truer
in California, that there is no difference between
a boy and a man : as soon as a boy is " that
high" [high as the table], he contradicts his
father. When introduced to the stranger, he
says, " I am happy to make your acquaintance,"
and shakes hands like a senior.'

California is teaching in its history and its
poetry the good of evil, and confirming my
thought, one day in Five Points in New York,
twenty years ago, that the ruffians and Amazons
in that district were only superficially such, but
carried underneath this bronze about the same
morals as their civil and well-dressed neighbours.

Gifts. The pleasing humiliation of gifts.

The saying is attributed to Sir Isaac Newton
that " they who give nothing before their death
never in fact give at all."

I Mr. Emerson, by invitation, gave two lectures in San
Francisco. Of his " Immortality " the California Aha of next
day said that " An elegant tribute had been paid by Mr.
Emerson to the creative genius of the Great First Cause,
and a masterly use of the English language had contributed to
that end."

356 JOURNAL [Age 68

We are sometimes startled by coincidences
so friendly as to suggest a guardian angel : and
sometimes, when they would be so fit, and every
way desirable, nothing but disincidences occur.
'T is perhaps thus ; the coincidence is probably
the rule, and if we could retain our early inno-
cence, we might trust our feet uncommanded
to take the right path to our friend in the
woods.' . . .

[Mr. Emerson reached home in the last
week in May, much refreshed, and having had
pleasure in the company of his good friends.

Perhaps on the journey, he wrote, at her re-
quest, the following]

Inscription for Mrs. Sarah Swain Forbes's
Memorial Fountain: —

Fall, Stream ! to bless. Return to Heaven as well :
So, did our sons, Heaven met theAi as they fell.'*

What was the name of the nymph "Whom
young Apollo courted for her hair"? That
fable renews itself every day in the street and
in the drawing-room. Nothing in nature is

1 See Natural History of Intellect (p. 37).

2 The roadside drinking-fountain is in Milton, on Adams
Street, in front of the home of Mr. and Mrs. Forbes.


more ideal than the hair. Analyze it by taking
a single hair, and it is characterless and worth-
less : but in the mass it is recipient of such vari-
ety of form, and momentary change from form
to form, that it vies in expression with the eye
and the countenance. The wind and the sun
play with it and enhance it, and its coils and
its mass are a perpetual mystery and attraction
to the young poet. But the doleful imposture of
buying it at the shops is suicidal, and disgusts.

Nature lays the ground-plan of each creature,

— accurately, sternly fit for all his functions, —

then veils it.

(From NY)

My Men.' Thomas Carlyle, Louis Agassiz,
E. Rockwood Hoar, J. Elliot Cabot, John M.
Forbes, Charles K. Newcomb, Philip P. Ran-
dolph, Richard Hunt, Alvah Crocker, William
B. Ogden, Samuel G. Ward, J. R. Lowell,
Sampson Reed, Henry D. Thoreau, A. B.
Alcott, Horatio Greenough, Oliver Wendell
Holmes, John Muir.

I This list seems an extempore recalling, not merely of
near personal friends, but of men whose various powers had
won Mr. Emerson's respect, from Thomas Carlyle, first met
in 1833, to John Muir, his genius loci but a month before in
the Sequoia forest.

3S8 JOURNAL [Age 68

[In June, Mr. Emerson had been chosen
a member of the Massachusetts Historical So-
ciety, and on August 15, when the Society
celebrated the Centennial Anniversary of Scott's
birth, Mr. Emerson spoke. What he said is
printed in Miscellanies.']

(From ST)

Scott said to Mr. Cheney, " Superstition is
very picturesque, and I make it at times stand
me in great stead; but I never allow it to in-
terfere with interest or conscience." — Lock-
hart, vol. viii, p. 81.

I think he spoke honestly and well, but his
superstition was dearer to him and more com-
prehensive than he well knew : I mean that it
made him a sterner royalist, churchman, and
conservative than his intellect should allow.

Correlation of forces is an irrepressible hint
which niust compel the widest application of it.
It gives unforeseen force to the old word of
Cicero's aliquid commune vinculum, and we re-
alize the correlation of sciences. But poetry cor-
relates men, and genius, and every fine talent,
and men the most diverse; and men that are
enemies hug each other when they hear from


that once hated neighbour the synonym of their
own cherished belief.

The splendors of this age outshine all other
recorded ages. In my lifetime have been wrought
five miracles, — namely, i, the Steamboat; 2,
the Railroad ; 3, the Electric Telegraph; 4, the
application of the Spectroscope to astronomy ;
5, the Photograph ; — five miracles which have
altered the relations of nations to each other.
Add cheap postage ; and the mowing-machine
and the horse-rake. A corresponding power has
been given to manufactures by the machine for
pegging shoes, and the power-loom, and the

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