Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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teaching. Children utter unconscious oracles. Schleier-
macher's impatience of university routine. Emerson
appointed on committee on Philosophy at Harvard
College. Carlyle's 80th birthday. Reading . 441-445



(From Journal ST; also passages from Ledgers of uncertain date),
The Carlyle medal. Address at the University of
Virginia in June. Reminiscences at Boston Latin
School Celebration in November. William Ailing-
ham's poem 44.Q— ACi


(From Ledger PH)

Idealism, our need of ascent. The miracle of powers
combined. Sensibility, joy of human relation. Ab-
normal minds, Blake, Swedenborg, Behmen; oracular
men, Persian, Hindoo. Wonder. Divination by sym-
pathy; Hegel and Kant. The grand masters of
thought; instinct to wrrite in verse. No age to Intel-
lect. Inspiration, its periods of sleep; its majesty.
Man's witness to the Law. Style. Transition our
privilege and power. Your spirit should rank your
talent, character must command; heroes win us. Na-
ture leads us. Nature and Mind.

(From Ledger TO)

Hegel faltered, but his teaching did its work. Skepticism
useftil. Sieze on a man's sanity, ignore the rest. Re-
spect the exempts, they justify themselves. The as-
cending effort. Hegel's dogma helped on Science.
Melioration as well as transition. Genius unsettles
everything. Writing must be like Nature's works.


Fame convenient. Mankind's verdict good; Jesus
stands at the head of history. Thought wins against
Fate; its harmony, its davyn; it is man's distinction.
Language proves your thought not new. Divine
genius; the sculptor's feeling imbues the marble.
Truth vanishes with contradiction; Thoreau's word.
The people prefer thoughts to truth. Subjectiveness is
dangerously great; Bonaparte's genius dazzled him.
Automatic action of thought. Religion is power.
Fancy and Imagination; examples from Thoreau's V
journals; wind, golden-rod, the eagle, the bluebird's
song. The scholar's creed.

(From Ledger EO)

Fate; inherited opinions. May and Must, shown in races;
souls' varying ration of light; doctrine of Fate hard
to state; unity inspires all, yet passes understanding.
Hafiz on Fate; love is the safeguard.

(From Ledger PY)

Man's Eastern Horizon. The unseen treasure in unin-
teresting people, the gleams. Psychology made up of
many small contributions. We see what we make.

Mr. Emerson's last years. A few lectures read near
home. He reads again his own forgotten works . 4.52-476



Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Emerson Forbes. Frontispiece
Photogra'vure from a photograph in iSys.

Colonel William Hathaway Forbes i6o

From a photograph in l88j.

Mrs. Sarah Alden (Bradford) Ripley .... 208
From a painting in the possession of Mrs. James B.

George Partridge Bradford 254

From a painting by Miss Sarah G. Putnam.














(From FOR, WAR, DL and KL)
[All page references to passages from the Journals used by
Mr. Emerson in his published works are to the Centenary
Edition, 1903-05.]

To the Front!
[It does not appear that the Western lectur-
ing trip was so far or so long this year as
often. Mr. Emerson seems to have given lec-
tures in Erie and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and
Cleveland, Ohio, and probably other places, but
reached home in the third week in January.]

Tej(vv Tvy(7)v earep^e xal Tvy(rj Texvv" '


(From FOR)

January 13, 1864.
Beecher,at breakfast, illustrated the difference
between the impulsive mob in New York Cooper
Institute and the organized mob in Liverpool

I Art (or skill) and luck are on good terms with one an-

4 JOURNAL [Age 6o

meeting. "In one you go by a corner where
the wind sucks in, and blows your hat off, but,
when you get by it, you go along comfortably
to the next corner. In the other, you are on the
prairie, with no escape from the irresistible

(From WAR)

February 8.
At the dinner given the other night, Febru-
ary 4, at the Union Club to General Burnside,
after much talk of the accounts of our several
battles given by the reporters of the press, in
which accounts the General plainly had no con-
fidence, and so of the ignorance on the part of all
subaltern officers, who could not know any more
than they saw; — in despair Mr. Charles Storey
looked up, and said, " Well, General, do you
then think we have true history, in Caesar's Com-
mentaries ? " There was a sudden laugh which
went round the whole table, gradually increasing
in volume and cheer.

February 19.

Last night heard Chapin lecture, for the first
time. He has a powerful, popular voice which
agreeably stimulates the house, and, rarely, he
drops the orotund, which is like an infantry
company firing one at a time, and uses a quieter


tone which penetrates all ears, and deepens the
silence. But I thought it is not a question
whether we shall be a nation, or only a multi-
tude of people; no, but whether we shall be the
new nation, the leading guides and lawgivers of
the world, as having clearly chosen and firmly
held the simplest and best rule of political so-

What a town was Florence with Dante, Ghi-
berti, Giotto, Brunelleschi, Da Vinci, Michael
Angelo, RafFaelli, Cellini, Guicciardini, Machia-
velli, Savonarola, Alfieri, Galileo !

The obstacle the philanthropic movements
meet is in the invincible depravity of the virtuous
classes. The excellent women who have made
an asylum for young offenders, boys of 10 to
[18?] years, and who wish, after putting them
through their school, to put them out to board
in good farmers' or mechanics' families, find the
boys do well enough, but the farmer and the
farmer's wife, and the mechanic's wife, behave
brutally. What then? One thinks of Luttrell's
speech about the soldiers fraternizing with the
mob, " Egad, it's awkward when the extinguish-
er catches fire." And I remember that Charles
Barnard had not made up his mind whether

6 JOURNAL [Age 6o

Dr. Tuckerman, his chief, relieved or made more

Dr. Charles T. Jackson will have nothing to
do with the survey of gold mines, because he
has no confidence that they can be profitably
worked by any stock company : the workmen
in such mines will carry off all the gold. In Cali-
fornia and Oregon, every miner for himself: and
on such terms only can they be wrought.

February 28.
Yesterday at the Club with Cabot, Ward,
Holmes, Lowell, Judge H oar, Appleton, H owe.
Woodman, Forbes, Whipple, with General Bar-
low,' and Mr. Howe, of Nova Scotia, for guests j
but cramped for time by late dinner and early
hour of the return train, — a cramp which spoils
a club. For you shall not, if you wish good for-
tune, even take pains to secure your right and
left hand men. The least design instantly makes
an obligation to make their time agreeable,
which I can never assume. Holmes was gay

I Francis C. Barlow, whose brilliant military talent and
utter courage raised him from a private volunteer soldier to a
Major-General's command, lived in Concord with his mother
in his boyhood and attended the Academy.


with his "preadamite mentioned in the Scrip-
tures, — Chap. First," and Appleton with "that
invariable love of hypocrisy which delights the
Saxon race," etc.

The Spectator says of the three obituary no-
tices of Thackeray by Dickens, Trollope, and
Kingsley, that only Dickens's is equal to the
subject; the others strain to write up, and

Captain O. W. Holmes' tells me that the
Army of the Potomac is acquiring a professional
feeling, and that they have neither panics nor
excitements, but more self-reliance.

France, in 1789, improvised war, and in
1803, improvised civilization. (See in Sainte-
Beuve, Nouveaux Causeries, article " Biot.")

BerthoUet's report on the poisoned brandy

1 What follows is printed in "Greatness" (^Letters and
Social Aims, pp. 3 1 7, 3 1 8).

2 Captain Holmes, of the Twentieth Regiment, Massa-
chusetts Volunteers, bore a gallant part in the fighting of the
Army of the Potomac and had been severely wounded at the
battle of Antietam. (See "MyHunt after 'the Captain ' " in
ia^ Atlantic Monthly, Dec. 1862, by his father, the Doctor.)

8 JOURNAL [Age 6o

to the Committee of Public Safety. He put the
brandy through a filter and then drank it. " How
dared you drink it?" said Robespierre. "I did
a bolder thing," replied Berthollet, "when I put
my name to that Report," — as having resisted
the panic of suspicion which made the tyranny
of the Committee of Public Safety.

March 13.
Last night talked with Alcott, who returns
much lately to the comparison between English
and American genius. I gratified him by say-
ing that our intellectual performance, taken with
our sentiment, is perhaps better worth than their
performance, taken with, their limitation or
downward tendency. For certainly we cannot
count or weigh living writers with theirs. But
how to meet the demand for a religion? A few
clergymen here, like Hedge and Clarke, retain
the traditions, but they never mention them to
me, and, if they travelled in France, England, or
Italy, would leave them locked up in the same
closet with their sermons at home, and, if they
did not return, would never think to send for
them. Beecher, Manning, Bushnell hold a little
firmer and more easily to theirs, as Calvinism has
a more tenacious vitality; — but that is doomed


also, and will only die last; for Calvinism rushes
to be Unitarianism as Unitarianism rushes to
be Naturalism."

How, then, is the new generation to be edi-
fied? How should it not? The life of these once
omnipotent traditions was really not in the le-
gend, but in the moral sentiment and the meta-
physical fact which the legends enclosed; — and
these survive. A new Socrates, or Zeno, or
Swedenborg, or Pascal, or a new crop of gen-
iuses, like those of the Elizabethan age, may be
born in this age, and, with happy heat and a
bias for theism, bring asceticism and duty and
magnanimity into vogue again.

In the most vulgar times, in the bronze as in
the oaken age, a certain number of men of or-
ganic virtue are born — men and women of na-
tive integrity, and indifferently in high and low
families. But there will always be a class of im-
aginative men, whom poetry, whom the love of
Beauty leads to the adoration of the moral senti-
ment."" ... At any time, it only needs the con-
temporaneous appearance of a few superior and

1 The last two sentences, without the names, are printed
in "Character" {Lectures and Biographical Sketches,'^. 1 16).

z The rest of the paragraph is found in " Character "
{Lectures and Biographical Sketches, Y9- 117, 1 18). ..

lO JOURNAL [Age 6o

attractive men to give a new and noble turn to
the public mind.

I said to Alcott that we old fellows occupy
ourselves with the history or literature of the
Sentiment, and not, as once, with the essence
itself. I remember in my life happy weeks when
I said to myself, " I will no longer respect Suc-
cess, or the finishing and exhibition of my work ;
but every stroke on the work, every step taken
in the dark toward it, every defeat, even, shall
be sacred and luminous also. Am I not always
in the Great Presence ? I will not postpone my
existence, but be always great and serene with
that inspiration."

Alcott thought that successful men were
liable to such fall, but that unsuccessful men
had nothing else but the sentiment to return to.
And that is just, and the sentiment may, by such
habitude, come to steep and meliorate the man,
— come to be character instead of a rhetoric.

The resources, I say, remain, or renew, day
by day. The old Eternal Ghost, the Jove, re-
fuses to be known, but refuses to depart : then,
the sporadic probity I spoke of, capriciously
scattered, is yet always present to keep society
sweet. Then Enthusiasm — from pure Vision
down to its most clouded form of Fanaticism —


is the miraculous leaping lightning, not to be
measured by the horse-power of the Under-
standing.' And the unanimous approbation of
Society and of Governments is secured, as a
rule, to godliness, because of its usefulness.

Barriers of man impassable. They who should
be friends cannot pass into each other. Friends
are fictions founded on some single momentary
experience. . . .

But what we want is consecutiveness.' . . .

March 26 .
At the Club, where was Agassiz just returned
from his lecturing tour, having created a Nat-
ural History Society in Chicago, where four
thousand five hundred dollars were subscribed
as its foundation by nineteen persons.' And to
which he recommended the appointment of Mr.
Kinnicott as the superintendent.

1 This sentence occurs in " Progress of Culture " {Let-
ters and Social Aims, p. 228).

2 The rest of the paragraph is found in "Inspiration"
{Letter and Social Aims, pp. 272, 273).

3 Footnote by R. W. E. When I visited the " Chicago
Natural History Museum" in 1865, the fiind had become

12 JOURNAL [Age 60

Dr. Holmes had received a demand from
Geneva, New York, for fifty-one dollars as cost
of preparing for his failed lecture. Governor
Andrew was the only guest.' Hedge, Hoar,
both the Doctors Howe, Holmes, Lowell, Nor-
ton, Woodman, Whipple, were present. It was
agreed that the April election should be put off
till May, and that the next meeting should be
on April 23, intead of 30th, and that we should,
on that day, have an open club, allowing gentle-
men whom we should designate to join us in
honour of Shakspeare's birthday. The commit-
tee of the Club might invite certain gentlemen
also, as the guests of the Club, Emerson, Low-
ell, and Holmes being the committee.

(From DL)

[Mr. Emerspn was at this time on the School
Committee, and the " March Meeting " of the
voters was at hand, when it might fall to him
to urge the town to liberality in the annual ap-
propriation for the schools.]

School. First, see that the expense be for
teaching, or that school be kept the greatest

I He was chosen a member shortly after, as were also
Martin Brimmer, James T. Fields and Samuel W. Rowse.


number of days and for the greatest number of
scholars. Then that the best teachers and the
best apparatus, namely, building, furniture,
books, etc., be provided. School, because it is
the cultus of our time and place, fit for the Re-
public, fit for the times, which no longer can be
reached and commanded by the Church. What
an education in the public spirit of Massachu-
setts has been the war-songs, speeches, and
readings of the schools ! Every district school
has been an anti-slavery convention for two or
three years last past. This town has no seaport,
no cotton, no shoe-trade, no water-power, no
gold, lead, coal, or rock oil, nor marble ; nothing
but wood and grass, not even ice and granite,
our New England staples ; for the granite is
better in Fitchburg, and our ice, Mr. Tudor
said, had bubbles in it. We are reduced, then,
to manufacture school-teachers, which we do,
for the Southern and Western market. I ad-
vise the town to stick to that staple, and make
it the best in the world. It is your lot in the
urn. And it is one of the commanding lots. Get
the best apparatus, the best overseer; and turn
out the best possible article. Mr. Agassiz says,
" I mean to make the Harvard Museum such
that no European naturalist can afford to stay

14 JOURNAL [Age 6o

away from it." Let the Town of Concord say
as much for its school. We will make our
schools such that no family which has a new
home to choose can fail to be attracted hither,
as to the one town in which the best education
can be secured. This is one of those long pro-
spective economies which are sure and remu-

Bons-mots. I am always struck with the speed
with which every new interest, party, or way of
thinking gets its bon-mot and name and so adds
a new word to language. Thus Higginson, and
Livermore, Hosmer, and the fighting chaplains
give necessity and vogue to "muscular Chris-
tianity." The language of the day readily sug-
gested to some theological wit to call hell " a
military necessity."

thoreau's Letter.^ " Do you read any noble
verses ? For my part, they have been the only
things I remembered, or that which occasioned

I The letter was written to Mrs. Lucy Cotton (Jackson)
Brown, Mrs. Emerson's elder sister, an invalid lady whose
experiences had not been fortunate, and whom Thoreau al-
ways tried to cheer up, besides being helpfiil to her in many
practical ways.

1864] AGE. AVIATION 15

them, when all things else were blurred and de-
faced. All things have put on mourning but
they; for the elegy itself is some victorious
melody in '"you escaping from the wreck. It is
relief to read some true books, wherein all are
equally dead, equally alive. I think the best
parts of Shakspeare would only be enhanced by
the most thrilling and aifecting events. I have
found it so. And so much the more as they are
not intended for consolation."

Old Age. I told Richard Fuller that he would
soon come to a more perfect obedience to his
children than he had ever been able to obtain
from them.

M. Bablnet informs us that the problem of
aerial navigation is on the point of being solved.
I am looking, therefore, for an arrival of the
remainder of the prisoners of war from the Libby
and Atlanta prisons, by the balloon, descend-
ing at some point in Pennsylvania by a night
voyage from the South.

The English journals are flippant and spite-
ful in their notices of American politics and
society, but mean abuse cannot be answered.

1 6 JOURNAL [Age 60

If the writers were responsible, and could be
held to the interrogatory, it would be easy to
refresh their short memories with the history
of English politics and society. The private
memoirs of any age of England are full of
scandal. Read Lord Hervey to know how just
king, ministers, lords, bishops, and commons
were in George I's time. Read Wraxall for
George Ill's. Were the interiors of the court
and the behaviour of the gi:eat lords in any
age great and disinterested ? Ask Pepys, ask
Swift, Barnet, Bacon. The illusion under which
the aristocracy live amounts to insanity. Lord
Bristol plainly believes that it is very good of
him to exist and the Government owes him
unceasing thanks. He does nothing for them.
Weil, that is the humour of them all in Lord
Hervey's pictures. That immensity of conde-
scension in a fat old lubber does not appear
at Washington except in men very long dis-

It was curious, that, in the first volume of
Hervey, the mere mention of Lord Bristol's
love for Ickworth, and Walpole's building of
his grand seat at Houghton, and LordTown-
send's Raynham, more tickled my fancy, the vis-
ion of parks and gardens, than all the history.


Diplomatic. Lord Hervey affirms that, " How-
ever incredible, it is literally true, that, when
Queen Caroline (of George II) was dying, she
advised the king to marry again ; whereupon
the tears and sobs of the King were renewed,
and he exclaimed, 'Non, faurai des waitresses';
to which the Queen made no other reply than,
'Ab! mon Dieu! Cela n'empiche pas.'"

Old Age. The Tribune reports that a New
Zealandphysician, lecturing on the ignorance in
people of their own complaints, was asked by
a lady, " What was the subject of his next lec-
ture ? " " The circulation of the blood," he re-
plied. She said she should certainly attend, for
she had been troubled with that complaint for
a long time.

Nations have no memories. They are all such
unlicked cubs as we see ; great mobs of young
men, full of conceit and all manner of empti-
ness. Lord Hervey, Pepys, Clarendon, Lord
Chesterfield, Commines, Wraxall, show up the
aristocracy ; that it is a gang of rich thieves, in-
stead of a gang of poor thieves.

1 8 JOURNAL [Age 60

Garrison. Round him legislatures revolve.
" Father of his country more than Washington,"
said Alcott.

What unexpected revivals we have seen !
Maryland and Kentucky are converted. Then
Concord may be.

If to the clubhouse people came ; if, better,
to some town of cheap living we could call
twenty deep men to spend a month and take
our chance of meeting each in turn alone, that
were worth while. When a man meets his ac-
curate mate, then life is delicious.

Alcott said of preachers, the " people want
some one who has been where they are now."

I suppose I must read Renan, Vie de Jesus,
which I fancied was Frenchy. It is a pregnant
text, and a key to the moral and intellectual
pauses and inactivity of men, " The creature is
subject to vanity." There is none almost who
has not this misleading egotism. The efficient
men are efficient by means of this Flanders
horse. But it destroys them for grandeur of aim,
and for highest conversation. They all gravitate
to cities, God, the inward life, is not enough


for them ; they must have the million mirrors
of other minds, must measure wit with others
for mastery, and must have the crowns and
rewards of wit that cities give. Yet up and down
in every nation, are scattered individual souls
with the grace of humility. George Fox, Beh-
men, Scougal, the Mahometan Saint Rabia,
and the Hindoos, have the art to cheapen the
world thereby. So Ossian's " Cathmore dwelt
in the wood to avoid the voice of praise." Jesus
was grand where he stood, and let Rome and
London dance after Nazareth. But the think-
ers or litterateurs of humility are not humble.
Thus Alcott, Thoreau, and I know the use
and superiority of it, but I cannot praise our

Every saint as every man comes one day to
be superfluous.

Who can doubt the potences of an individual
mind, who sees the shock given to torpid races,
torpid for ages, by Mahomet, a vibration pro-
pagated over Asia and Africa, and not yet
exhausted? What then of Menu? What of
Buddh ?

The single word Madame in French poetry,
makes it instantly prose.

20 JOURNAL [Age 6o

Scholar. Montaigne had rather take Europe
into his confidence than to tell so much to a
French lord ; as one may move awkwardly in
a parlour, who walks well enough in a crowd.
I heard Bandmann read Hamlet's soliloquy, the
other day, at Bartol's. In conversation he was
polite and expansive enough, but plainly en-
joyed the new expansion that the reading gave
him. He stood up, and by musing distanced
himself, then silences all the company, and gets
out of doors, as it were, by a cheerful cry of a
verse or two, and acquires a right to be the hero,
and abounds in his own sense, and puts it des-
potically upon us, in look, manner, and elocu-
tion. He brought out the broad meaning of the
soliloquy truly enough, but, as all actors will,
with an overmuch, with emphasis and mouthing.
They cannot let well alone, but must have the
merit of all the refinements and second senses
they have found or devised, and so drive it too
finely. It is essential to reach this freedom, or
gay self-possession, but temperance is essential,

Henry Thoreau wrote in 1840, "A good
book will not be dropped by its author, but
thrown up. It will be so long a promise that he


will not overtake it soon. He will have slipped
the leash of a fleet hound."

[It would appear that the celebration of the
three hundredth anniversary of Shakspeare's
birth had its origin in the Saturday Club, and
that Mr. Emerson had been appointed one of
a committee of invitations and arrangements.
Evidently changes were made in the plan, for
these lists and a later one do not quite agree.]

Address Dr. Frothingham, G. C. Verplanck,
J. G. Whittier, Dr.' Asa Gray, R. H. Dana.
April 6, wrote to Everett, Bryant, Bancroft,
Quincy, Jr., Ward ; April 7, wrote to Sanborn,
John M. Forbes, TIcknor, Governor Andrew,
Richard Grant White, Cabot, Lowell, Apple-
ton, Holmes, Gould, Frothingham, Whittier.

(Invitation to our centennial celebration of
Shakspeare's birthday :)

Club — Agassiz, Appleton, Cabot, Dana,
Dwight, Emerson, Forbes, Hawthorne, Hedge,
Hoar, Howe, Holmes, Longfellow, Lowell,
(Motley), Norton, Peirce, ? Sumner,? Ward,
Whipple, Woodman.

Outsiders — Andrew, Bryant, Bancroft, Ver-
planck, Curtis, Frothingham, Dana, Whittier,

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