Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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them so.

The difference between writers is that one
counts forms, and the other counts powers. The
gazetteer, in describing Boston, reckons up the
schools, the churches, and. the missionary soci-
eties ; but the poet remembers the alcoves of the
Athenaeum, or the Bates Library ; certain wise
and mannered men, certain fair women, and the

no JOURNAL [Age 62

happy homes in which he saw them. The friend,
— he is the power that abode with us ; and the
book, which made night better than day, — that
may be well counted.

In the Revue des Deux Mondes I found a paper
on the Future Life which suggested the thought
that one abstains — I abstain, for example —
from printing a chapter on the immortality of
the soul, because, when I have come to the end
of my statement, the hungry eyes that run
through it will close disappointed ; — 'That is not
here which we desire ; — and I shall be as much
wronged by their halting conclusion as they feel
themselves by my shortcomings.' . . .

" Michel Angela fut la conscience de P Italic." —


August 24.
Yesterday called on Forceythe Willson ^ at

1 This sentence, less personally stated, is found in " Im-
mortality " (^Letters and Social Aims, pp. 345, 346).

2 With this sentence for a text, follows a similar passage on
the loneliness and unpopularity of great souls to that printed in
"Progress of Culture " {^Letters and Social Aims, pp. 216,

3 The strange and moving poem "The Old Sergeant,"
published in the West, attracted the attention of Mr. Lowell


Cambridge, went into the city with him, to the
Athenaeum and Union Club.

In how many people we feel the tyranny of
their talent as the disposer of their activity. In
Wendell Phillips, now the " seul homme d'etat in
America," I feel that his patriotism or his moral
sentiment are not primarily the inspiration of his
career, but this matchless talent of debate, of at-
tack, of illustration, of statement, — this talent
which was in him, and must be unfolded ; that
drove him,in happy hours, under most fortunately
determining auspices, into the lists, where kings
were to be competitors, and nations spectators.

The conduct of intellect must respect nothing
so much as preserving the sensibility.' . . .

Manners. There are things whose hour is
always a little over or not quite come, as, for

and Mr. Emerson. After a fruitless search to learn of the man
and his residence, Lowell found that he was his next-door
neighbour on Mount Auburn Street. He proved to be a young
man, and, though of commanding stature and physique, with a
sensitive and kindly shyness reminding one of Hawthorne.
His other notable war poem was "In State," printed in the
Atlantic. Mr. Willson died in 1867.

I The passage is printed in Natural History of Intellect
(P- 43)-

112 JOURNAL [Age 62

example, the rule that you shall not go out to
dine too well dressed; which means, that a cer-
tain slovenliness fits certain persons, but requires
perfect aplomb and clear, sensible manners and
conversation. Cold scholars cannot afford these

Under a commanding thought, all people
become as graceful as if they were asleep. That
knows how to lay the hands and the feet, as,
long since, it knew how to make them.

Scotus Erigena, sitting at the table of Charles
the Bald, when the King asked him how far a
Scot was removed from a sot, answered with Irish
wit, " By a table's breadth."

The old sharper said "his conscience was
as good as ever it was ; he had never used it

September 30.
Yesterday, at our Cattle-Show, I saw a man
sitting in the Town Hall so like to the late
President Lincoln, in the whole head, that I
called the attention of Rev. Mr. Reynolds to
him, who at once recognized the fact. It was
Elijah Wood of this town. The view was in


profile, and he had his hand against his face,
covering it a little, and so probably increasing
the likeness.

Nature is very rich in patterns, but cunningly ;
not so rich as she seems, and so repeats herself.
Cousins of fourth and fifth degree have some-
times striking resemblance, and are therefore
both repetitions of the common ancestor. Robert
Winthrop, when young, strongly resembled the
portrait, in the Historical Society's Rooms, of
Governor Winthrop. Indeed, I suppose the
cunning artist does not quite repeat her type
until after four or five generations when all the
rememberers are gone, and she can just duplicate
every face of the fifth back generation, without
risk of confusion or discovery. But I don't
think even this interval will be safe now. Art
having circumvented her with the photograph,
which will force her to invent new varieties, or
lose her reputation for fertility.

Mr. Benjamin Peter Hunt ' said that a young
man of good position in Philadelphia went to
the war, and accepted the colonelcy of a colored
regiment. On his return lately to Philadelphia,

I Mr. Emerson's pupil at the Chelmsford Academy, and
valued friend later in Philadelphia.

114 JOURNAL [Age 62

all his acquaintances cut him. Judge Hoar said
to me that he had long ago made up his mind
that the cutting was to be from the other side ;
that this country belonged to the men of the
most liberal persuasion.

Now in the time of the Fugitive Slave Law,
when the best young men who had ranged them-
selves around Mr. Webster were already all of
them in the interest of freedom, and threw them-
selves at once into opposition, Mr. Webster
could no longer see one of them in the street;
he glared on them, but knew them not; his re-
sentments were implacable. What did they do?
Did they sit down and bewail themselves? No;
Sumner and his valiant young contemporaries
set themselves to the task of making their views
not only clear but prevailing. They proclaimed
and defended them and inoculated with them
the whole population, and drove Mr. Webster
out of the world. All his mighty genius, which
none had been so forward to acknowledge and
magnify as they, availed him nothing; for they
knew that the spirit of God and of humanity was
with them, and he withered and died as by sui-
cide. Calhoun had already gone, as Webster, by
breaking his own head against the nature of


Potentiality. In estimating nations, 'tis well
to remember the sovereign nature which often
remains when the actual performance is inferior.
Thus, in England, what destroying criticism we
can read or make on its education, its literature,
its science, its politics ! And yet the force of
that race may still any day turn out a better
man than any other.

Theodore will buy a hat, a soft hat, or a
beaver, for summer or winter. In his choice, he
looks about him in the street, or he remembers
that this friend or that reputable citizen wears
one of a certain form or colour which is becom-
ing. One good instance suffices him and guides
to a certain extent his choice. But he does not
consider that it is always character, personal
force, of some kind in the individual he thinks
of that makes the hat he wears so proper and
perfect in its place.

Beware of the Minor Key. Despair, whining,
low spirits, only betray the fact that the man
has been living In the low circle of the senses
and the understanding. These are exhaustible,
and he has exhausted them, and now looks
backward and bewails them.

Ii6 JOURNAL [Age 62

In Stirling's Secret of Hegel —

" The intellectual power from words to things
Went sounding on a dim and perilous way."

Carlyle is to be defended plainly as a sincere
man who is outraged by nothing so much as
sentimentaHsm, or the simulating of reform,
and love of Nature, and love of truth. There-
fore he detests " Progress of Civility," " En-
lightenment," " New Ideas," " Diffusion of
Knowledge," and all shallow insincerities com-
ing under such names.

November 5.

We hoped that in the peace, after such a war,
a great expansion would follow in the mind of
the Country ; grand views in every direction, —
true freedom in politics, in religion, in social
science, in thought. But the energy of the na-
tion seems to have expended itself in the war,
and every interest is found as sectional and tim-
orous as before. . . .

WiLLiAMSTOwN, November 14."
I saw to-night in the observatory, through
Alvan Clark's telescope, the Dumb-Bell nebula

I The address which Mr. Emerson had made to the Society
of the Adelphi at Williams College in July seems to have led

i86s] THE HEAVENS 117

in the Fox and Goose Constellation; the four
double stars in Lyra ; the double stars of Castor ;
the two hundred stars of the Pleiades ; the nebula
in (Perseus ?). Mr. Button, Professor Hopkins's
assistant, was our star-showman, and Stanbrough
and Hutton, who have been my committee of
the" Adelphic Union," inviting me here, carried
me thither. I have rarely been so much gratified.
Early in the afternoon Professor Bascom car-
ried me in a gig to the top of the West Moun-
tain, and showed me the admirable view down
the valley in which this town and Adams lie,
with Greylock and his attendant ranges towering
in front. Then we rose to the crest, and looked
down into Rensselaer County, New York, and
the multitude of low hills that compose it, —
this was the noted Anti-Rent country, — and
beyond, in the horizon, the mountain range to
the west.

to his being asked to lecture there in the autumn, probably be-
fore the Lyceum. But when he came, a spontaneous move-
ment of the students, which pleased him, led to his staying
there a day or two and reading other papers to them. One
of these students, Mr. Charles J. Woodbury, talked much
with Mr. Emerson and after his death published his memories
and notes in a remarkable and charming little book. Talks with
Emerson (The Baker and Taylor Co., New York).

Il8 JOURNAL [Age 62

Of all tools, an observatory is the most sub-
lime. And these mountains give an inestimable
worth to Williamstown and Massachusetts. But,
for the mountains, I don't quite like the prox-
imity of a college and its noisy students. To
enjoy the hills as poet, I prefer simple farmers
as neighbours.

The dim lanthorn which the astronomer used
at first to find his object-glasses, etc., seemed to
disturb and hinder him, preventing his seeing
his heavens, and, though it was turned down
lower and lower and lower, he was still impatient,
and could not see until it was put out. When
it had long been gone, and I had looked through
the telescope a few times, the little garret at last
grew positively lightsome, and the lamp would
have been annoying to all of us.

What is so good in a college as an observa-
tory? The sublime attaches to the door and to
the first stair you ascend ; — that this is the road
to the stars. Every fixture and instrument in
the building, every nail and pin, has a direct
reference to the Milky Way, the fixed stars, and
the nebulae, and we leave Massachusetts and
the Americas and history outside at the door,
when we come in.


December 10.
Dr. Jackson shone in the talk on Thanks-
giving Day/ explaining many things so success-
fully, — the possibility of the balloon by the aid
of gun-cotton (one of whose principal merits, he
asserted, was, that it does not foul the barrel or
engine as powder does); the ocean telegraph,
which he thinks far less practicable, and certainly
less desirable to us than the Siberian. Then the
fact that the patents of the telegraph companies
do not really protect the monopoly, for what is
patented they no longer use, as, the system of
"marks on paper," of Morse's patent; for the
telegraph is everywhere conducted without paper,
being read by the ear. He thinks the United
States Post-Office should take possession of the
telegraph as part of the postal arrangement, pay
a compensation to the companies, and give its
use to the people at a cent a word, and so save
the immense transportation of letters, by this

I Dr. Charles T. Jackson, Mrs. Emerson's brother, who
came with his large family to the Thanksgiving gathering at
Concord, was the life of the occasion. Mr. Emerson sat at one
end of the long table and he at the other. Mrs. Ripley always
counted on sitting beside him to learn from him of all the
wonders of advancing science, and his ready wit and skill as
a raconteur gave pleasure to all.

no JOURNAL [Age 62

imponderable correspondence. H e told the story
of the Rumford Medal voted to Ericsson by
the American Academy, and the money voted
to Roper and Company for valuable improve-
ments on Ericsson ; from which last he antici-
pates very great practical benefit. The union,
or double-union, engine : — I. T. Williams told
me, the other day, that ninety-seven per cent of
caloric was wasted in all attempts to use caloric
for force in mechanics. Dr. Jackson says much
is lost, but nothing like so much. He knew
Amory's chimney which burns the smoke. Its
advantage is demonstrable, yet it is not used,
resembling thus Boyden's turbines, which pre-
tend to save ninety-seven per cent of the power
of a waterfall, and, being tested, were found to
do what they claimed, yet are not used.

It seems to be a fixed rule in the planting
and growth of settlements, that the men follow
the waters.^ Thus, on each side of a height of
land, the people will go to the market that is

I. T. Williams told me that the last time he
saw Albert H. Tracy, he told him that when he
and Cass were in Congress they became very


intimate, and spent their time in conversation on
the Immortality of the Soul/ and other intel-
lectual questions, and cared for little else. When
he left Congress, they parted, and though Mr.
Cass passed through Buffalo twice, he did not
come near him, and he never saw him again un-
til twenty-five years afterward. They saw each
other through open doors at a distance, in a great
party at the President's House in Washington.
Slowly they advanced towards each other as they
could, and at last met, said nothing, but shook
hands long and cordially. At last Cass said,
"Any light, Tracy?" "None," answered
Tracy; and then said, "Any light, Cass?"
"None," replied he. They looked in each
other's eyes, gave one shake more each to the
hand he held, and thus parted for the last time.

When I was a senior in college, I think,
Samuel Barrett, whom I had known in Concord,
was about to be ordained in the Chambers
Street Church and I called upon him in his
room in college — I think he must have been a
proctor. We talked about the vices and calami-
ties of the time, — I don't recall what the grim

I This story is given here, although printed in " Immor-
tality," because of the added interest given by the names.

122 JOURNAL [Age 62

shadows were, or how we came on them, — but
when I rose to go, and asked him what was the
relief and cure of all this, he replied with cheer-
ful ardour, "Nothing but Unitarianism." From
my remembrance of how this answer struck me,
I am sure that this antidote must have looked
as thin and poor and pale to me then, as now.

Carlyle. I have neglected badly Carlyle, who
is so steadily good to me. Like a Catholic in
Boston, he has put himself by his violent anti-
Americanism in false position, and it is not quite
easy to deal with him. But his merits are over-
powering, and when I read Friedrich, I forget
all else. His treatment of his subject is ever so
masterly, so original, so self-respecting, so de-
fiant, allowing himself all manner of liberties and
confidences with his hero, as if he were his hero's
father or benefactor; that he is proud of him,
and yet checks and chides, and sometimes puts
him in the corner, when he is not a good boy;
that, amid all his sneering and contempt for all
other historians, and biographers, and princes,
and peoples, the reader yet feels himself com-
plimented by the confidences with which he is
honoured by this free-tongued, dangerous com-
panion, who discloses to him all his secret opin-


ions, all his variety of moods, and varying esti-
mates of his hero and everybody else. He is as
dangerous as a madman. Nobody knows what
he will say next, or whom he will strike. Prudent
people keep out of his way. I f genius were cheap,
we should do without Carlyle ; but, in the exist-
ing population, he cannot be spared.

(From XO)

Reaction. Its power is as the need. Systole
and diastole of the heart, ebb and flow of tide,
centripetal and centrifugal, horse down-hill and
up-hill ; so the assailant makes the strength of
the defence. Therefore, we ought to pray. Give
us a good enemy, — like the Southerner who
exasperates the too good-natured North into
resistance ; or like President Johnson, who out-
rages his opponents and mortifies his friends.

Illusion. " We know all things as in a dream,
and are again ignorant of them according to
vigilant perception." — Plato, in Sophist.

The first illusion that is put upon us in the
world is the amusing miscellany of colours,
forms, and properties. Our education is through
surfaces and particulars. Nature masks under
ostentatious sub-divisions and manifold partic-

124 JOURNAL [Age 6z

ulars the poverty of her elements, and the rigid
economy of her rules. And, as infants are occu-
pied wholly with surface-differences, so multi-
tudes of adults remain in the infant or animal
estate, and never see or know more.

Moral sentiment. As the flower precedes the
fruit, and the bud the flower, so, long before the
opinion, comes the instinct that a particular act
is unfriendly, unsuitable, wrong. We are won-
derfully protected.

(From IT)

Memory. If we pierce to the origin of know-
ledge, and explore the meaning of memory, we
might find it some strange mutilated roll of
celestial papyrus, on which only a disjointed
jumble of universal traditions, of heavenly scrip-
tures, of angelic biographies, were long ago
written, — relics of a foreworld.

The Past will not sleep. It works still. With
every new fact a ray of light shoots up from the
long-buried years.

i86s] READING 125

Authors or Books quoted or referred to
IN Journal for 1865

Vedas; Vishnu Pur ana; Zertusht (Zoroaster);
Confucius ;

Pythagoras; Zeno; Archimedes;

Persius; Martial; Marcus Aurelius; St, Au-
gustine; Mahomet; Scotus Erigena; King Al-

Chanson de Roland ; Morte d' Arthur ; St. Ber-
nard ; St. Francis of Assisi ;

Chaucer ; Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of
Christ; Jean de Gerson, De Consolatione 'Theo-
logia ;

Savonarola ; Michel Angelo ; Vittoria Co-
lonna; Ochino; Reginald Pole;

Calderon ; Clarendon ; De Retz ; Thomas
Stanley, History of Philosophy ; Locke ; Spinoza;
Boileau ; Newton ;

Chesterfield ; Duclos ; Vauvenargues ; Beau-
marchais, Le Mariage de Figaro ; Goethe, Cor-
respondence with the Grand Duke of Weimar;
Lafayette; Rouget de I'lsle, Marseillaise ; Fried-
rich Augustus Wolf and others, Homeric Con-
troversy; Von Gentz ; John Dalton ; Cuvier;
Novalis (von Hardenberg) ; Malte Brun ;

Lewis Cass ; Daniel Webster; Manzoni ; La-

126 JOURNAL [Age 6z

martine; Michelet, Renaissance; Carlyle, Fred-
erick the Great ; Alcott;

Sampson Reed ; Victor Hugo ; Sainte-Beuve,
Portraits litt'eraires ; Dr. Charles T. Jackson;
Abraham Lincoln ; Benjamin Peirce ; Charles
Sumner; Wendell Phillips; Henry James, .Ja^-
stance and Shadow, Dr. J. J. Garth Wilkinson;
Henry Wilson; Henry Ward Beecher; Jones

Matthew Arnold; Thomas W. Parsons,
Translation of Dante ; James Hutchison Stir-
ling, 'The Secret of Hegel; A. Dumesnil ; Frank
Bird; Ernest Renan ; Goldwin Smith ; Lanfrey;
Forceythe Willson.

















(From Journals DL, LN, and ML)

[Early in January Mr. Emerson set forth for
his lecturing tour in the West. He no longer
had the difficult task of arranging this, which
was done for him, by some agency, — a great
relief and advantage. The conditions of travel
were now more comfortable, yet the work was
arduous. He was away from home till Febru-
ary 19, lecturing in New York, Pennsylvania,
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wis-
consin. However, he almost invariably returned
rather refreshed and stimulated by his winter's
experiences in the advancing West.]

Vox immissa volat ; litera scripta manet.'

(From DL)

January 5, 1866.
I thought, last night, as so often before, that
when one has a task before him in which liter-

I The uttered word flies away, the written character abides.

I30 JOURNAL [Age 62

ary work becomes business, — undertaken, that
is, for money, — any hearing of poetry or any
intellectual suggestion (as e. g. out of J. Hutch-
ison Stirling's took lately) brings instant pen-
itence, and the thoughts revert to the Muse,
and, under this high invitation, we think we will
throw up our undertaking, and attempt once
more this purer, loftier service. But if we obey
this suggestion, the beaming goddess presently
hides her face in clouds again. We have not
learned the law of the mind, cannot control and
bring at will or domesticate the high states of
contemplation and continuous thought. " Nei-
ther by sea nor by land canst thou find the way
to the Hyperboreans." Neither by idle wishing,
nor by rule of three or of thumb. Yet I find
a mitigation or solace of the alternative which
I accept (of the paid lectures, for instance) by
providing always a good book for my journey,
as Horace, or Martial, or the Secret of Hegel,
some book which lifts quite out of prosaic sur-
roundings, and from which you draw some last-
ing knowledge.

In the Funeral of Steele, Sable, the Under-
taker, reproaches the too cheerful mute, "Did
I not give you ten, then fifteen and twenty


shillings a week to be sorrowful ? And the more
I give you, I think the gladder you are."

Common sense ; — Lord Mansfield or any
great lawyer an example of it, though they call
it law. And Beau Brummel even surprised
other fops by having this basis : as, when he
was asked what scents he used for his linen,
rephed, " Country air and country washing."

Love. The maiden only need consider that
she passes securely through ten or a dozen ap-
pearances, as in the street, or at an evening
party. The lover will do all the rest ; since he
is ever working up, enriching, enhancing her
image and attributes, with the smallest aid from
her ; so that thus there are two working on her
part, and none on his.

The power of manners is a principal agent
in human affairs. The rich and elegant and the
strong-willed not so much talk down as look
down and silence the well-disposed middle class.
'Tis fine that the scholar or the red republican
defies these people, or writes against them : he
cannot get them out of his thoughts. When he

132 JOURNAL [Age 62

meets them in the street, he cannot deny them
his boWj and when he meets them in clubs or
in drawing-rooms, he prizes their attentions, and
easily leaves his own set on any advances from
theirs. In England Sir Robert Peel and Thack-
eray are only two out of manifold examples. I
myself always fall an easy prey to superior man-
ners. I remember how admirable in my youth
were to me the Southern boys. Andrew John-
son, wont to look up to the planters as a supe-
rior race, cannot resist their condescensions and
flatteries, and, though he could not be fright-
ened by them, falls an easy victim to their ca-
resses. This result was explicitly foretold by
Moncure D. Conway and Frederick Douglass.

The remedy of this political mischief should
be to train a youth in poverty to a nobler style
of manners than any palace can show him, by
Plato and Plutarch, by the Cid, and Sidney, and
George Herbert, and Chaucer.

Quick people touch and go, whilst heavy
people insist on pounding. 'T is in vain to try
to choke them oiF and change the conversation
to avoid the slaughter-house details. Straightway
they begin at the beginning, and thrice they slay
the slain ; society shall be distressing, and there's
an end of it.


" Ce que dit le ruisseau ; Toujours, toujours,
partouty dans tout, pour tout, toujours."

George Sand,

(From ML)

Criticism. Best masters for the young writer
and speaker are the fault - finding brothers and

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