Excerpts from H.D. Thoreau’s journals (1851)

This is part three of a collection of excerpts from the journals of Henry David Thoreau concerning law, government, man in society, war, economics, duty, and conscience. This part covers Thoreau’s journals for . For other parts, see:

This collection of journal excerpts is also available as a book: The Price of Freedom: Political philosophy from Thoreau’s journals.

These are based on the journals transcribed by Bradford Torrey and Francis H. Allen in their The Journal of Henry D. Thoreau ().

Footnotes are mine unless otherwise noted. I mostly stuck by the transcriptions used in Torrey & Allen, occasionally omitting brackets when they were used to insert some obvious missing article or end-quote, or when the intended addition seemed unnecessary. I sometimes used ellipses to omit material without distinguishing these from ellipses used by the editors of the transcribed journals or by Thoreau himself.


Almost all that my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad. If I repent of anything, it is of my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can, old man — you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind — I hear an irresistible voice, the voice of my destiny, which invites me away from all that.

Thoreau reworked this paragraph for Walden.

[Perhaps I am more] than usually jealous of my freedom. I feel that my connections with and obligations to society are at present very slight and transient. Those slight labors which afford me a livelihood, and by which I am serviceable to my contemporaries, are as yet a pleasure to me, and I am not often reminded that they are a necessity. So far I am successful, and only he is successful in his business who makes that pursuit which affords him the highest pleasure sustain him. But I foresee that if my wants should be much increased the labor required to supply them would become a drudgery. If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, neglecting my peculiar calling, there would be nothing left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birthright for a mess of pottage.1

How, when a man purchases a thing, he is determined to get and get hold of it, using how many expletives and how long a string of synonymous or similar terms signifying possession, in the legal process! What’s mine’s my own. An old deed of a small piece of swamp land, which I have lately surveyed at the risk of being mired past recovery, says that “the said Spaulding his Heirs and Assigns, shall and may from this time, and at all times forever hereafter, by force and virtue of these presents, lawfully, peaceably and quietly have, hold, use, occupy, possess and enjoy the said swamp,” &c

Obey the law which reveals, and not the law revealed.

I wish my neighbors were wilder.

A wildness whose glance no civilization could endure.2

He who lives according to the highest law is in one sense lawless. That is an unfortunate discovery, certainly, that of a law which binds us where we did not know that we were bound. Live free, child of the mist! He for whom the law is made, who does not obey the law but whom the law obeys, reclines on pillows of down and is wafted at will whither he pleases, for man is superior to all laws, both of heaven and earth, when he takes his liberty.3

  1. In Life Without Principle, Thoreau includes a reworked version of this paragraph, to which he adds some of a later journal entry (see ). For the “mess of pottage” reference, see Genesis 25:29–34
  2. In Walking, Thoreau puts it this way: “Give me a wildness whose glance no civilization can endure, — as if we lived on the marrow of koodoos devoured raw.”
  3. In Walking, Thoreau puts it this way: “There is something servile in the habit of seeking after a law which we may obey. We may study the laws of matter at and for our convenience, but a successful life knows no law. It is an unfortunate discovery certainly, that of a law which binds us where we did not know before that we were bound. Live free, child of the mist — and with respect to knowledge we are all children of the mist. The man who takes the liberty to live is superior to all the laws, by virtue of his relation to the law-maker.”

The story of Romulus and Remus being suckled by a wolf1 is not a mere fable; the founders of every state which has risen to eminence have drawn their nourishment and vigor from a similar source. It is because the children of the empire were not suckled by wolves that they were conquered and displaced by the children of the northern forests who were.

America is the she wolf to-day, and the children of exhausted Europe exposed on her uninhabited and savage shores are the Romulus and Remus who, having derived new life and vigor from her breast, have founded a new Rome in the West.

In the journal, four pages are missing before this excerpt. In Walking, Thoreau includes the first of these paragraphs, preceding it with “The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World. Every tree sends its fibres forth in search of the Wild. The cities import it at any price. Men plough and sail for it. From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind. Our ancestors were savages.”

  1. Romulus and Remus

I trust that the walkers of the present day are conscious of the blessings which they enjoy in the comparative freedom with which they can ramble over the country and enjoy the landscape, anticipating with compassion that future day when possibly it will be partitioned off into so-called pleasure-grounds, where only a few may enjoy the narrow and exclusive pleasure which is compatible with ownership — when walking over the surface of God’s earth shall be construed to mean trespassing on some gentleman’s grounds, when fences shall be multiplied and man traps and other engines invented to confine men to the public road. I am thankful that we have yet so much room in America.

In Walking, Thoreau reworks this and adds: “To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it. Let us improve our opportunities, then, before the evil days come.”

Do we call this the land of the free? What is it to be free from King George the Fourth1 and continue the slaves of prejudice? What is it to be born free and equal,2 and not to live? What is the value of any political freedom, but as a means to moral freedom? Is it a freedom to be slaves or a freedom to be free, of which we boast? We are a nation of politicians, concerned about the outsides of freedom, the means and outmost defenses of freedom. It is our children’s children who may perchance be essentially free. We tax ourselves unjustly. There is a part of us which is not represented. It is taxation without representation. We quarter troops upon ourselves.3

In Life Without Principle, Thoreau reworks this paragraph. He precedes it with: “America is said to be the arena on which the battle of freedom is to be fought; but surely it cannot be freedom in a merely political sense that is meant. Even if we grant that the American has freed himself from a political tyrant, he is still the slave of an economical and moral tyrant. Now that the republic — the respublica — has been settled, it is time to look after the res-privata — the private state — to see, as the Roman senate charged its consuls, ‘ne quid res-privata detrimenti caperet,’ that the private state receive no detriment.”

  1. King George
  2. The Massachusetts Constitution opened with a declaration of rights that begins “All men are born free and equal…”
  3. These echo complaints of the rebellious American colonists in their Declaration of Independence: “[The King] has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us … For imposing taxes on us without our Consent:”

There is little or nothing to be remembered written on the subject of getting an honest living. Neither the New Testament nor Poor Richard1 speaks to our condition. I cannot think of a single page which entertains, much less answers, the questions which I put to myself on this subject. How to make the getting our living poetic! for if it is not poetic, it is not life but death that we get. Is it that men are too disgusted with their experience to speak of it? or that commonly they do not question the common modes? The most practically important of all questions, it seems to me, is how shall I get my living, and yet I find little or nothing said to the purpose in any book. Those who are living on the interest of money inherited, or dishonestly, i.e. by false methods, acquired, are of course incompetent to answer it. I consider that society with all its arts, has done nothing for us in this respect. One would think, from looking at literature, that this question had never disturbed a solitary individual’s musings. Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off. If it were not that I desire to do something here — accomplish some work, — I should certainly prefer to suffer and die rather than be at the pains to get a living by the modes men propose.

Thoreau reworked this paragraph for Life Without Principle.

  1. Poor Richard’s Almanack

No good ever came of obeying a law which you had discovered.

In Walking, Thoreau makes a similar observation: “There is something servile in the habit of seeking after a law which we may obey.… It is an unfortunate discovery certainly, that of a law which binds us where we did not know before that we were bound.”

The man for whom law exists — the man of forms, the conservative — is a tame man.

A recent English writer (De Quincey1), endeavoring to account for the atrocities of Caligula and Nero,2 their monstrous and anomalous cruelties, and the general servility and corruption which they imply, observes that it is difficult to believe that “the descendants of a people so severe in their habits” as the Romans had been “could thus rapidly” have degenerated and that, “in reality, the citizens of Rome were at this time a new race, brought together from every quarter of the world, but especially from Asia.” A vast “proportion of the ancient citizens had been cut off by the sword,” and such multitudes of emancipated slaves from Asia had been invested with the rights of citizens “that, in a single generation, Rome became almost transmuted into a baser metal.” As Juvenal3 complained, “the Orontes … had mingled its impure waters with those of the Tiber.” And “probably, in the time of Nero, not one man in six was of pure Roman descent.” Instead of such, says another, “came Syrians, Cappadocians, Phrygians, and other enfranchised slaves.” “These in half a century had sunk so low, that Tiberius4 pronounced her [Rome’s] very senators to be homines ad servitutem natos, men born to be slaves.”5

So one would say, in the absence of particular genealogical evidence, that the vast majority of the inhabitants of the city of Boston, even those of senatorial dignity — the Curtises, Lunts, Woodburys, and others, — were not descendants of the men of the Revolution — the Hancocks, Adamses, Otises — but some “Syrians, Cappadocians, and Phrygians,” merely, homines ad servitutem natos, men born to be slaves. But I would have done with comparing ourselves with our ancestors, for on the whole I believe that even they, if somewhat braver and less corrupt than we, were not men of so much principle and generosity as to go to war in behalf of another race in their midst. I do not believe that the North will soon come to blows with the South on this question. It would be too bright a page to be written in the history of the race at present.

There is such an officer, if not such a man, as the Governor of Massachusetts. What has he been about the last fortnight? He has probably had as much as he could do to keep on the fence during this moral earthquake6. It seems to me that no such keen satire, no such cutting insult, could be offered to that man, as the absence of all inquiry after him in this crisis. It appears to have been forgotten that there was such a man or such an office. Yet no doubt he has been filling the gubernatorial chair all the while.7 One Mr. Boutwell,8 — so named, perchance, because he goes about well to suit the prevailing wind.

In two or three hundred of the inhabitants of Concord assembled at one of the bridges with arms in their hands to assert the right of three millions to tax themselves, to have a voice in governing themselves.9 About a week ago the authorities of Boston, having the sympathy of many of the inhabitants of Concord, assembled in the gray of the dawn, assisted by a still larger armed force, to send back a perfectly innocent man, and one whom they knew to be innocent, into a slavery as complete as the world ever knew. Of course it makes not the least difference — I wish you to consider this — who the man was, — whether he was Jesus Christ or another — for inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these his brethren ye did it unto him.10 Do you think he would have stayed here in liberty and let the black man go into slavery in his stead? They sent him back, I say, to live in slavery with other three millions — mark that — whom the same slave power, or slavish power, North and South, holds in that condition — three millions who do not, like the first mentioned, assert the right to govern themselves but simply to run away and stay away from their prison.

, those inhabitants of this town who especially sympathize with the authorities of Boston in this their deed caused the bells to be rung and the cannon to be fired to celebrate the courage and the love of liberty of those men who assembled at the bridge. As if those three millions had fought for the right to be free themselves, but to hold in slavery three million others.11 Why, gentlemen, even consistency, though it is much abused, is sometimes a virtue. Every humane and intelligent inhabitant of Concord, when he or she heard those bells and those cannon, thought not so much of the events of , as of the event of .12

I wish my townsmen to consider that, whatever the human law may be, neither an individual nor a nation can ever deliberately commit the least act of injustice without having to pay the penalty for it. A government which deliberately enacts injustice, and persists in it! — it will become the laughing-stock of the world.13

Much as has been said about American slavery, I think that commonly we do not yet realize what slavery is. If I were seriously to propose to Congress to make mankind into sausages, I have no doubt that most would smile at my proposition and, if any believed me to be in earnest, they would think that I proposed something much worse that Congress had ever done. But, gentlemen, if any of you will tell me that to make a man into a sausage would be much worse — would be any worse — than to make him into a slave — than it was then to enact the fugitive slave law,14 — I shall here accuse him of foolishness, of intellectual incapacity, of making a distinction without a difference. The one is just as sensible a proposition as the other.15

When I read the account of the carrying back of the fugitive into slavery, which was read , and read also what was not read here, that the man who made the prayer on the wharf was Daniel Foster of Concord,16 I could not help feeling a slight degree of pride because, of all the towns in the Commonwealth,17 Concord was the only one distinctly named as being represented in that new tea-party,18 and, as she had a place in the first, so would have a place in this, the last and perhaps next most important chapter of the History of Massachusetts. But my second feeling, when I reflected how short a time that gentleman has resided in this town, was one of doubt and shame, because the men of Concord in recent times have done nothing to entitle them to the honor of having their town named in such a connection.

I hear a good deal said about trampling this law under foot.19 Why, one need not go out of his way to do that. This law lies not at the level of the head or the reason. Its natural habit is in the dirt. It was bred and has its life only in the dust and mire, on a level with the feet; and he who walks with freedom, unless, with a sort of quibbling and Hindoo mercy, he avoids treading on every venomous reptile, will invariably tread on it, and so trample it under foot.20

It has come to this, that the friends of liberty, the friends of the slave, have shuddered when they have understood that his fate has been left to the legal tribunals, so-called, of the country to be decided. The people have no faith that justice will be awarded in such a case. The judge may decide this way or that; it is a kind of accident at best. It is evident that he is not a competent authority in so important a case. I would not trust the life of my friend to the judges of all the Supreme Courts in the world put together, to be sacrificed or saved by precedent. I would much rather trust to the sentiment of the people, which would itself be a precedent to posterity. In their vote you would get something worth having at any rate, but in the other case only the trammelled judgement of an individual, of no significance, be it which way it will.21

I think that recent events will be valuable as a criticism on the administration of justice in our midst, or rather as revealing what are the true sources of justice in any community. It is to some extent fatal to the courts when the people are compelled to go behind the courts. They learn that the courts are made for fair weather and for very civil cases.


As for measures to be adopted, among others I would advise abolitionists to make as earnest and vigorous and persevering an assault on the press, as they have already made, and with effect too, on the church. The church has decidedly improved within a year or two, aye, even within a fortnight; but the press is, almost without exception, corrupt. I believe that in this country the press exerts a greater and a more pernicious influence than the church. We are not a religious people, but we are a nation of politicians. We do not much care for, we do not read, the Bible, but we do care for and we do read the newspaper. It is a bible which we read every morning and every afternoon, standing and sitting, riding and walking. It is a bible which every man carries in his pocket, which lies on every table and counter, which the mail and thousands of missionaries are continually dispersing. It is the only book which America has printed, and is capable of exerting an almost inconceivable influence for good or for bad. The editor is a preacher whom you voluntarily support. Your tax is commonly one cent, and it costs nothing for pew hire. But how many of these preachers preach the truth? I repeat the testimony of many an intelligent traveller, as well as my own convictions, when I say that probably no country was ever ruled by so mean a class of tyrants as are the editors of the periodical press in this country. Almost without exception the tone of the press is mercenary and servile. The Commonwealth, and the Liberator, are the only papers, as far as I know, which make themselves heard in condemnation of the cowardice and meanness of the authorities in Boston as lately exhibited. The other journals, almost without exception — as the Advertiser, the Transcript, the Journal, the Times, Bee, Herald, &c — by their manner of referring to and speaking of the Fugitive Slave Law or the carrying back of the slave, insult the common sense of the country. And they do this for the most part, because they think so to secure the approbation of their patrons, and also, one would think, because they are not aware that a sounder sentiment prevails to any extent.23

But, thank fortune, this preacher can be more easily reached by the weapons of the reformer than could the recreant priest. The free men of New England have only to refrain from purchasing and reading these sheets, have only to withhold their cents, to kill a score of them at once.24

Thoreau reworked much of this for Slavery in Massachusetts. See Sandra Harbert Petrulionis’s Editorial Savoir Faire: Thoreau Transforms His Journal into “Slavery in Massachusetts” for an interesting look at this process.

  1. Thomas de Quincey
  2. Caligula and Nero
  3. Juvenal
  4. Tiberius
  5. Thoreau is referencing Thomas de Quincey’s The Caesars
  6. The moral earthquake was the Thomas Sims fugitive slave case.
  7. Thoreau worked this in to Slavery in Massachusetts.
  8. George S. Boutwell
  9. The American Revolutionary War Battle of Lexington and Concord
  10. References Matthew 25:34–46
  11. Thoreau worked this in to Slavery in Massachusetts.
  12. Thoreau worked this in to Slavery in Massachusetts.
  13. Thoreau worked this in to Slavery in Massachusetts.
  14. Fugitive slave laws in the United States
  15. Thoreau worked this in to Slavery in Massachusetts.
  16. The Reverend Daniel Foster, minister of Concord’s Second Congregational Church.
  17. that is, Massachusetts
  18. Referencing another bit of resistance to civil government: The Boston Tea Party
  19. The “trampling underfoot” phrasing was a favorite of the abolitionist Wendell Phillips.
  20. Thoreau worked this in to Slavery in Massachusetts, adding that also trampled underfoot would be “[Daniel] Webster, its maker, with it, like the dirt bug and its ball.”
  21. Thoreau reworked this and the following paragraph into two paragraphs in Slavery in Massachusetts.
  22. Two pages of the journal are missing at this point
  23. Thoreau reworked this paragraph into two paragraphs in Slavery in Massachusetts.
  24. Thoreau worked this in to Slavery in Massachusetts.

The judge whose words seal the fate of a man for the longest time and furthest into eternity is not he who merely pronounces the verdict of the law, but he, whoever he may be, who, from a love of truth and unprejudiced by any custom or enactment of men, utters a true opinion or sentence concerning him. He it is that sentences him. More fatal, as affecting his good or ill fame, is the utterance of the least inexpugnable truth concerning him, by the humblest individual, than the sentence of the supremest court in the land.1

Are they Americans, are they New-Englanders, are they inhabitants of Concord, — Buttricks and Davises and Hosmers2 by name — who read and support the Boston Herald, Advertiser, Traveller, Journal, Transcript, &c, &c, Times? Is that the Flag of our Union?

Could slavery suggest a more complete servility? Is there any dust which such conduct does not lick and make fouler still with its slime? Has not the Boston Herald acted its part well, served its master faithfully? How could it have gone lower on its belly? How can a man stoop lower than he is low? do more than put his extremities in the place of that head he has? than make his head his lower extremity? And when I say the Boston Herald I mean the Boston press, with such few and slight exceptions as need not be made. When I have taken up this paper or the Boston Times, with my cuffs turned up, I have heard the gurgling of the sewer through every column; I have felt that I was handling a paper picked out of the public sewers, a leaf from the gospel of the gambling-house, the groggery, and the brothel, harmonizing with the gospel of the Merchants’ Exchange.3

I do not know but there are some who, if they were tied to the whipping-post and could but get one hand free, would use it to ring the bells and fire the cannon to celebrate their liberty. It reminded me of the Roman Saturnalia, on which even the slaves were allowed to take some liberty. So some of you took the liberty to ring and fire. That was the extent of your freedom; and when the sound of the bells died away, your liberty died away also, and when the powder was all expended, your liberty went off with the smoke. Nowadays men wear a fool’s-cap and call it a liberty-cap.4 The joke could be no broader if the inmates of the prisons were to subscribe for all the powder to be used in such salutes, and hire their jailors to do the firing and ringing for them.5

Thoreau reworked much of this for Slavery in Massachusetts. See Sandra Harbert Petrulionis’s Editorial Savoir Faire: Thoreau Transforms His Journal into “Slavery in Massachusetts” for an interesting look at this process.

  1. Thoreau worked this in to Slavery in Massachusetts.
  2. Thoreau is referring to heroes of the Battle of Lexington and Concord: John Buttrick, Isaac Davis, and Abner Hosmer. Thoreau worked this in to Slavery in Massachusetts.
  3. Thoreau reworked this paragraph for Slavery in Massachusetts.
  4. Phrygian cap
  5. Thoreau reworked this paragraph into two paragraphs in Slavery in Massachusetts.

Nations! What are nations? Tartars! and Huns! and Chinamen! Like insects they swarm. The historian strives in vain to make them memorable. It is for want of a man that there are so many men. It is individuals that populate the world.

Thoreau worked this in to Life Without Principle.

How important is a constant intercourse with nature and the contemplation of natural phenomena to the preservation of moral and intellectual health! The discipline of the schools or of business can never impart such serenity to the mind. The philosopher contemplates human affairs as calmly and from as great a remoteness as he does natural phenomena. The ethical philosopher needs the discipline of the natural philosopher. He approaches the study of mankind with great advantages who is accustomed to the study of nature.

The Brahman Saradwata, says the Dharma Sacontala1, was at first confounded on entering the city, “but now,” says he, “I look on it as the freeman on the captive, as a man just bathed in pure water on a man smeared with oil and dust.”

  1. The play Thoreau refers to as “Dharma” Sacontala is Abhinjnanasakuntalam, an ancient Sanskrit drama, by Kalidasa (or Cálidás).

When I have been asked to speak at a temperance meeting,1 my answer has been, “I am too transcendental2 to serve you in your way.” They would fain confine me to the rum-sellers and rum-drinkers, of whom I am not one, and whom I know little about.

When formerly I was looking about to see what I could do for a living, some sad experience in conforming to the wishes of friends being fresh in my mind to tax my ingenuity, I thought often and seriously of picking huckleberries; that surely I could do, and its small profits might suffice, so little capital it required, so little distraction from my wonted thoughts, I foolishly thought. While my acquaintances went unhesitatingly into trade or the professions, I thought of this occupation as most like theirs; ranging the hills all summer to pick the berries which came in my way, which I might carelessly dispose of; so to keep the flocks of King Admetus.1 My greatest skill has been to want but little. I also dreamed that I might gather the wild herbs, or carry evergreens to such villagers as loved to be reminded of the woods and so find my living got. But I have since learned that trade curses everything it handles; and though you trade in messages from heaven, the whole curse of trade attaches to the business.

Thoreau includes and expands on this paragraph in Walden.

  1. Admetus

It is said that Mirabeau took to highway robbery “to ascertain what degree of resolution was necessary in order to place one’s self in formal opposition to the most sacred laws of society.” He declared that “a soldier who fights in the ranks does not require half so much courage as a foot-pad.” “Honor and religion have never stood in the way of a well-considered and a firm resolve. Tell me, Du Saillant, when you lead your regiment into the heat of battle, to conquer a province to which he whom you call your master has no right whatever, do you consider that you are performing a better action than mine, in stopping your friend on the king’s highway, and demanding his purse?”

“I obey without reasoning,” replied the count.

“And I reason without obeying, when obedience appears to me to be contrary to reason,” rejoined Mirabeau.

This was good and manly, as the world goes; and yet it was desperate. A saner man would have found opportunities enough to put himself in formal opposition to the most sacred laws of society, and so test his resolution, in the natural course of events, without violating the laws of his own nature. It is not for a man to put himself in such an attitude to society, but to maintain himself in whatever attitude he finds himself through obedience to the laws of his being, which will never be one of opposition to a just government. Cut the leather only where the shoe pinches. Let us not have a rabid virtue that will be revenged on society — that falls on it, not like the morning dew, but like the fervid noonday sun, to wither it.

Thoreau reworked some of this in Walden. The quotes from Mirabeau come from an article in Chamber’s Edinburgh Journal that Harper’s New Monthly Magazine reprinted in as Mirabeau: An Anecdote of his Private Life.

At took the Hingham boat and was landed at Hull. There was a pleasure party on board, apparently boys and girls belonging to the South End, going to Hingham. There was a large proportion of ill-dressed and ill-mannered boys of Irish extraction. A sad sight to behold! Little boys of twelve years, prematurely old, sucking cigars! I felt that if I were their mothers I should whip them and send them to bed. Such children should be dealt with as for stealing or impurity. The opening of this valve for the safety of the city! Oh, what a wretched resource! What right have parents to beget, to bring up, and attempt to educate children in a city? I thought of infanticide among the Orientals with complacency. I seemed to hear infant voices lisp, “Give us a fair chance, parents.” There is no such squalidness in the country. You would have said that they must all have come from the house of correction and the farm-school, but such a company do the boys in Boston streets make. The birds have more care for their young — where they place their nests. What are a city’s charities? She cannot be charitable any more than the old philosopher could move the earth, unless she has a resting-place without herself.1 A true culture is more possible to the savage than to the boy of average intellect, born of average parents, in a great city. I believe that they perish miserably. How can they be kept clean, physically or morally? It is folly to attempt to educate children within a city; the first step must be to remove them out of it. It seemed a groping and helpless philanthropy that I heard of.

  1. Archimedes is “the old philosopher” in question, who extrapolated the principle behind the lever and said “Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth.”

It is true man can and does live by preying on other animals, but this is a miserable way of sustaining himself, and he will be regarded as a benefactor of his race, along with Prometheus1 and Christ, who shall teach men to live on a more innocent and wholesome diet. Is it not already acknowledged to be a reproach that man is a carnivorous animal?

Thoreau expands on this a great deal in Walden: “It is hard to provide and cook so simple and clean a diet as will not offend the imagination; but this, I think, is to be fed when we feed the body; they should both sit down at the same table. Yet perhaps this may be done. The fruits eaten temperately need not make us ashamed of our appetites, nor interrupt the worthiest pursuits. But put an extra condiment into your dish, and it will poison you. It is not worth the while to live by rich cookery. Most men would feel shame if caught preparing with their own hands precisely such a dinner, whether of animal or vegetable food, as is every day prepared for them by others. Yet till this is otherwise we are not civilized, and, if gentlemen and ladies, are not true men and women. This certainly suggests what change is to be made. It may be vain to ask why the imagination will not be reconciled to flesh and fat. I am satisfied that it is not. Is it not a reproach that man is a carnivorous animal? True, he can and does live, in a great measure, by preying on other animals; but this is a miserable way — as any one who will go to snaring rabbits, or slaughtering lambs, may learn — and he will be regarded as a benefactor of his race who shall teach man to confine himself to a more innocent and wholesome diet. Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.”

  1. Prometheus

Those soldiers in the Champ de Mars at Montreal convinced me that I had arrived in a foreign country under a different government, where many are under the control of one. Such perfect drill could never be in a republic. Yet it had the effect on us as when the keeper shows his animals’ claws. It was the English leopard showing his claws. The royal something or other. I have no doubt that soldiers well drilled, as a class, are peculiarly destitute of originality and independence. The men were dressed above their condition; had the bearing of gentlemen without a corresponding intellectual culture.

Warburton1 remarked, soon after landing at Quebec, that everything was cheap in that country but men. My thought, when observing how the wooden pavements were sawed by hand in the streets, instead of by machinery, because labor was cheap, how cheap men are here!

It is evident that a private man is not worth so much in Canada as in the United States, and if that is the bulk of a man’s property, i.e. the being private and peculiar, he had better stay here. An Englishman, methinks, not to speak of other nations, habitually regards himself merely as a constituent part of the English nation; he holds a recognized place as such; he is a member of the royal regiment of Englishmen. And he is proud of his nation. But an American cares very little about such, and greater freedom and independence are possible to him. He is nearer to the primitive condition of man. Government lets him alone, and he lets government alone.

I often thought of the Tories and refugees who settled in Canada at the Revolution.2 These English were to a considerable extent their descendants.

[Fortifications] are not consistent with the development of the intellect. Huge stone structures of all kinds, both by their creation and their influence rather oppress the intellect than set it free. A little thought will dismantle them as fast as they are built. They are a bungling contrivance. It is an institution as rotten as the church. The sentinel with his musket beside a man with his umbrella is spectral. There is not sufficient reason for his existence. My friend there, with a bullet resting on half an ounce of powder, does he think that he needs that argument in conversing with me? Of what use this fortification, to look at it from the soldier’s point of view? General Wolfe sailed by it with impunity, and took the town of Quebec without experiencing any hindrance from its fortifications. How often do we have to read that the enemy occupied a position which commanded the old, and so the fort was evacuated!

How impossible it is to give that soldier a good education, without first making him virtually a deserter.3

It is as if I were to come to a country village surrounded with palisadoes in the old Indian style — interesting as a relic of antiquity and barbarism. A fortified town is a man cased in the heavy armor of antiquity, and a horse-load of broadswords and small-arms slung to him, endeavoring to go about his business.

The idea seemed to be that some time the inhabitants of Canada might wish to govern themselves, and this was to hinder. But the inhabitants of California succeed well without any such establishment. There would be the same sense in a man’s wearing a breastplate all his days for fear somebody should fire a bullet at his vitals. The English in Canada seem to be everywhere prepared and preparing for war. In the United States they are prepared for anything; they may even be the aggressors. This is a ruin kept in a remarkably good repair. There are some eight hundred or a thousand men there to exhibit it. One regiment goes bare-legged to increase the attraction. If you wish to study the muscles of the leg about the knee, repair to Quebec.

Thoreau reworked much of this material for A Yankee in Canada.

  1. George Warburton (), author of The Conquest of Canada ()
  2. That is, British loyalists who backed the losing side in the American revolution and fled to Canada.
  3. In A Yankee in Canada he takes this further: “It is impossible to give the soldier a good education without making him a deserter. His natural foe is the government that drills him. What would any philanthropist who felt an interest in these men’s welfare naturally do, but first of all teach them so to respect themselves that they could not be hired for this work, whatever might be the consequences to this government or that; — not drill a few, but educate all.”

19 August 1851

The way in which men cling to old institutions after the life has departed out of them, and out of themselves, reminds me of those monkeys which cling by their tails — aye, whose tails contract about the limbs, even the dead limbs, of the forest, and they hang suspended beyond the hunter’s reach long after they are dead. It is of no use to argue with such men. They have not an apprehensive intellect, but merely, as it were, a prehensile tail. Their intellect possesses merely the quality of a prehensile tail. The tail itself contracts around the dead limb even after they themselves are dead, and not till sensible corruption takes place do they fall. The black howling monkey, or caraya. According to Azara,1 it is extremely difficult to get at them, for “when mortally wounded they coil the tail round a branch, and hang by it with the head downwards for days after death, and until, in fact, decomposition begins to take effect.” The commenting naturalist says, “A singular peculiarity of this organ is to contract at its extremity of its own accord as soon as it is extended to its full length.” I relinquish argument, I wait for decomposition to take place, for the subject is dead; as I value the hide for the museum. They say, “Though you’ve got my soul, you sha’n’t have my carcass.”

Some institutions — most institutions, indeed — have had a divine origin. But of most that we see prevailing in society nothing but the form, the shell, is left; the life is extinct, and there is nothing divine in them. Then the reformer arises inspired to reinstitute life, and whatever he does or causes to be done is a reëstablishment of that same or a similar divineness. But some, who never knew the significance of these instincts, are, by a sort of false instinct, found clinging to the shells. Those who have no knowledge of the divine appoint themselves defenders of the divine, as champions of the church, &c I have been astonished to observe how long some audiences can endure to hear a man speak on a subject which he knows nothing about, as religion for instance, when one who has no ear for music might with the same propriety take up the time of a musical assembly with putting through his opinions on music. This young man who is the main pillar of some divine institution, — does he know what he has undertaken? If the saints were to come again on earth, would they be likely to stay at his house? would they meet with his approbation even? Ne sutor ultra crepidam.2 They who merely have a talent for affairs are forward to express their opinions. A Roman soldier sits there to decide upon the righteousness of Christ. The world does not long endure such blunders, though they are made every day. The weak-brained and pusillanimous farmers would fain abide by the institutions of their fathers. Their argument is they have not long to live, and for that little space let them not be disturbed in their slumbers; blessed are the peacemakers; let this cup pass from me, &c3

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!

  1. Probably Féliz de Azara
  2. “Cobbler, no further than the sandal” (don’t give advice outside of your realm of expertise).
  3. “Blessed…” and “Let this cup…” are quotes from Jesus in the Christian gospels.

To a great extent the feudal system still prevails there (in Canada), and I saw that I should be a bad citizen, that any man who thought for himself and was only reasonably independent would naturally be a rebel. You could not read or hear of their laws without seeing that it was a legislating for a few and not for all. That certainly is the best government where the inhabitants are least often reminded of the government. (Where a man cannot be a poet even without danger of being made poet-laureate! Where he cannot be healthily neglected, and grow up a man, and not an Englishman merely!) Where it is the most natural thing in the world for a government that does not understand you, to let you alone. Oh, what a government were there, my countrymen! It is a government, that English one — and most other European ones — that cannot afford to be forgotten, as you would naturally forget them, that cannot let you go alone, having learned to walk. It appears to me that a true Englishman can only speculate within his bounds; he has to pay his respects to so many things that before he knows it he has paid all he is worth. The principal respect in which our government is more tolerable is in the fact that there is so much less of government with us.1 In the States it is only once in a dog’s age that a man need remember his government, but here he is reminded of it every day. Government parades itself before you. It is in no sense the servant but the master.

Thoreau reworked this for A Yankee in Canada.

  1. In A Yankee in Canada, Thoreau qualified this: “What makes the United States government, on the whole, more tolerable — I mean for us lucky white men — is the fact that there is so much less government with us.”

I rarely pass the shanty in the woods, where human beings are lodged, literally, no better than pigs in a sty — little children, a grown man and his wife, and an aged grandmother living this squalid life, squatting on the ground — but I wonder if it can be indeed true that little Julia Riordan calls this place home, comes here to rest at night and for her daily food — in whom ladies and gentlemen in the village take an interest. Of what significance are charity and almshouses? That there they live unmolested! in one sense so many degrees below the almshouse! beneath charity! It is admirable — Nature against almshouses. A certain wealth of nature, not poverty, it suggests. Not to identify health and contentment, aye, and independence, with the possession of this world’s goods! It is not wise to waste compassion on them.

…I saw a man working with a horse in a field by the river, carting dirt; and the horse and his relation to him struck me as very remarkable. There was the horse, a mere animated machine — though his tail was brushing off the flies — his whole existence subordinated to the man’s, with no tradition, perhaps no instinct, in him of independence and freedom, of a time when he was wild and free — completely humanized. No compact made with him that he should have the Saturday afternoons, or the Sundays, or any holidays. His independence never recognized, it being now quite forgotten both by men and by horses that the horse was ever free. For I am not aware that there are any wild horses known surely not to be descended from tame ones. Assisting that man to pull down that bank and spread it over the meadow; only keeping off the flies with his tail, and stamping, and catching a mouthful of grass or leaves from time to time, on his own account — all the rest for man. It seemed hardly worth while that he should be animated for this. It was pain that the man was not educating the horse; not trying to develop his nature, but merely getting work out of him. That mass of animated matter seemed more completely the servant of man than any inanimate. For slaves have their holidays; a heaven is conceded to them, but to the horse none. Now and forever he is man’s slave. The more I considered, the more the man seemed akin to the horse; only his was the stronger will of the two. For a little further on I saw an Irishman shovelling, who evidently was as much tamed as the horse. He had stipulated that to a certain extent his independence be recognized, and yet really he was but little more independent. I had always instinctively regarded the horse as a free people somewhere, living wild. Whatever has not come under the sway of man is wild. In this sense original and independent men are wild — not tamed and broken by society. Now for my part I have such a respect for the horse’s nature as would tempt me to let him alone; not to interfere with him — his walks, his diet, his loves. But by mankind he is treated simply as if he were an engine which must have rest and is sensible of pain. Suppose that every squirrel were made to turn a coffee-mill! Suppose that the gazelles were made to draw milk-carts!

There he was with his tail cut off, because it was in the way, or to suit the taste of his owner; his mane trimmed, and his feet shod with iron that he might wear longer. What is a horse but an animal that has lost its liberty? What is it but a system of slavery? and do you not thus by insensible and unimportant degrees come to human slavery? Has lost its liberty! — and has man got any more liberty himself for having robbed the horse, or has he lost just as much of his own, and become more like the horse he has robbed? Is not the other end of the bridle in this case, too, coiled round his own neck?

As for walking, the inhabitants of large English towns are confined almost exclusively to their parks and to the highways. The few footpaths in their vicinities “are gradually vanishing,” says Wilkinson1, “under the encroachments of the proprietors.” He proposes that the people’s right to them be asserted and defended and that they be kept in a passable state at the public expense. “This,” says he, “would be easily done by means of asphalt laid upon a good foundation”!!! So much for walking, and the prospects of walking, in the neighborhood of English large towns.

Think of a man — he may be a genius of some kind — being confined to a highway and a park for his world to range in! I should die from mere nervousness at the thought of such confinement. I should hesitate before I were born, if those terms could be made known to me beforehand. Fenced in forever by those green barriers of fields, where gentlemen are seated! Can they be said to be inhabitants of this globe? Will they be content to inhabit heaven thus partially?

  1. James John Garth Wilkinson, in a footnote in his chapter on “Health” in The Human Body and Its Connexion with Man: Illustrated by the Principal Organs ().

No doubt man impresses his own character on the beasts which he tames and employs; they are not only humanized, but they acquire his particular human nature. How much oxen are like farmers generally, and cows like farmers’ wives! and young steers and heifers like farmers’ boys and girls! The farmer acts on the ox, and the ox reacts on the farmer. They do not meet half-way, it is true, but they do meet at a distance from the centre of each proportionate to each one’s intellectual power. The farmer is ox-like in his thought, in his walk, in his strength, in his trustworthiness, in his taste.

How much of the life of certain men goes to sustain, to make respected, the institutions of society. They are the ones who pay the heaviest tax. Here are certain valuable institutions which can only be sustained by a wonderful strain which appears all to come upon certain Spartans who volunteer. Certain men are always to be found — especially the children of our present institutions — who are born with an instinct to perceive them. They are, in effect, supported by a fund which society possesses for that end, or they receive a pension and their life seems to be a sinecure — but it is not. The unwritten laws are the most stringent. They are required to wear a certain dress. What an array of gentlemen whose sole employment — and it is no sinecure — is to support their dignity, and with it the dignity of so many indispensable institutions!

Some men are excited by the smell of burning powder, but I thought in my dream how much saner to be excited by the smell of new bread.

I am astonished to find how much travellers, both in the East and West, permit themselves to be imposed on by a name — that the traveller in the East, for instance, presumes so great a difference between one Asiatic and another because one bears the title of a Christian and the other not. At length he comes to a sect of Christians — Armenians or Nestorians,1 — and predicates of them a far greater civilization, civility, and humanity than of their neighbors, I suspect not with much truth. At that distance and so impartially viewed, I see but little difference between a Christian and a Mahometan;2 and so I perceive that European and American Christians, so called, are precisely like these heathenish Armenian and Nestorian Christians — not Christians, of course, in any true sense, but one other heathenish sect in the West, the difference between whose religion and that of the Mahometans is very slight and unimportant. Just such, not Christians but, as it were, heathenish Nestorian Christians, are we Americans. As if a Christian’s dog were something better than a Mahometan’s! I perceive no triumphant superiority in the so-called Christian over the so-called Mahometan. That nation is not Christian where the principles of humanity do not prevail, but the prejudices of race. I expect the Christian not to be superstitious, but to be distinguished by the clearness of his knowledge, the strength of his faith, the breadth of his humanity. A man of another race, an African for instance, comes to America to travel through it, and he meets with treatment exactly similar to, or worse than, that which the American meets with among the Turks, and Arabs, and Tartars. He is kicked out of the cars and hotels, or only admitted to the poorest place in them. The traveller, in both cases, finds the religion to be a mere superstition and frenzy, or rabidness.

Since I perambulated the bounds of the town, I find that I have in some degree confined myself — my vision and my walks. On whatever side I look off I am reminded of the mean and narrow-minded men whom I have lately met there. What can be uglier than a country occupied by grovelling, coarse, and low-lived men? No scenery will redeem it. What can be more beautiful than any scenery inhabited by heroes? Any landscape would be glorious to me, if I were assured that its sky was arched over a single hero. Hornets, hyenas, and baboons are not so great a curse to a country as men of a similar character. It is a charmed circle which I have drawn around my abode, having walked not with God but with the devil. I am too well aware when I have crossed this line.

Most New England biographies and journals — John Adams’s1 not excepted — affect me like opening of the tombs.

  1. Probably former U.S. President John Adams

We of Massachusetts boast a good deal of what we do for the education of our people,1 of our district-school system; and yet our district schools are as it were but infant-schools, and we have no system for the education of the great mass who are grown up. I have yet to learn that one cent is spent by this town, this political community called Concord, directly to educate the great mass of its inhabitants who have long since left the district school; for the Lyceum,2 important as it is comparatively, though absolutely trifling, is supported by individuals. There are certain refining and civilizing influences, as works of art, journals and books, and scientific instruments, which this community is amply rich enough to purchase, which would educate this village, elevate its tone of thought, and, if it alone improved these opportunities, easily make it the centre of civilization in the known world, put us on a level as to opportunities at once with London and Arcadia, and secure us a culture at once superior to both. Yet we spend sixteen thousand dollars on a Town House, a hall for our political meetings mainly, and nothing to educate ourselves who are grown up. Pray is there nothing in the market, no advantages, no intellectual food worth buying? Have Paris and London and New York and Boston nothing to dispose of which this village might try and appropriate to its own use? Might not this great villager adorn his villa with a few pictures and statues, enrich himself with a choice library as available, without being cumbrous, as any in the world, with scientific instruments for such as have a taste to use them? Yet we are contented to be countrified, to be provincial. I am astonished to find that in this Nineteenth Century, in this land of free schools, we spend absolutely nothing as a town on our own education, cultivation, civilization. Each town, like each individual, has its own character — some more, some less, cultivated. I know many towns so mean-spirited and benighted that it would be a disgrace to belong to them. I believe that some of our New England villages within thirty miles of Boston are as boorish and barbarous communities as there are on the face of the earth. And how much superior are the best of them? If London has any refinement, any information to sell, why should we not buy it? Would not the town of Carlisle do well to spend sixteen thousand dollars on its own education at once, if it could only find a schoolmaster for itself? It has one man, as I hear, who takes the North American Review.3 That will never civilize them, I fear. Why should not the town itself take the London and Edinburgh Reviews, and put itself in communication with whatever sources of light and intelligence there are in the world? Yet Carlisle is very little behind Concord in these respects. I do not know but it spends its proportional part on education. How happens it that the only libraries which the towns possess are the district school libraries — books for children only, or for readers who must needs be written down to? Why should they not have a library, if not so extensive, yet of the same stamp and more select than the British Museum? It is not that the town cannot well afford to buy these things, but it is unaspiring and ignorant of its own wants. It sells milk, but it only builds larger barns with the money which it gets for its milk. Undoubtedly every New England village is as able to surround itself with as many civilizing influences of this kind as the members of the English nobility; and here there need be no peasantry. If the London Times is the best newspaper in the world, why does not the village of Concord take it, that its inhabitants may read it, and not the second best? If the South Sea explorers have at length got their story ready, and Congress has neglected to make it accessible to the people, why does not Concord purchase one for its grown-up children?

See also in which Thoreau reiterates this entry (he also reworked it for Walden).

  1. Massachusetts was an early adopter of public education, and its legislature passed the nation’s first compulsory public education law in .
  2. Lyceum movement
  3. The North American Review

The railroads as much as anything appear to have unsettled the farmers. Our young Concord farmers and their young wives, hearing this bustle about them, seeing the world all going by as it were — some daily to the cities about their business, some to California — plainly cannot make up their minds to live the quiet, retired, old-fashioned, country-farmer’s life. They are impatient if they live more than a mile from a railroad. While all their neighbors are rushing to the road, there are few who have character or bravery enough to live off the road. He is too well aware what is going on in the world not to wish to take some part in it.

Just put a fugitive slave, who has taken the name of Henry Williams, into the cars for Canada. He escaped from Stafford County, Virginia, to Boston ; has been in Shadrach’s place at the Cornhill Coffee-House;1 had been corresponding through an agent with his master, who is his father, about buying himself, his master asking $600, but he having been able to raise only $500. Heard that there were writs out for two Williamses, fugitives, and was informed by his fellow-servants and employer that Augerhole Burns2 and others of the police had called for him when he was out. Accordingly fled to Concord last night on foot, bringing a letter to our family from Mr. Lovejoy3 of Cambridge and another which Garrison4 had formerly given him on another occasion. He lodged with us, and waited in the house till funds were collected with which to forward him. Intended to dispatch him at through to Burlington, but when I went to buy his ticket, saw one at the depot who looked and behaved so much like a Boston policeman that I did not venture that time. An intelligent and very well-behaved man, a mulatto.

  1. Shadrach Minkins was a fugitive slave who had been through the area during his escape from slavery in Virginia. He was arrested in Boston at the Cornhill Coffee-House, where he had been employed as a waiter, but was rescued by a daring raid on the courtroom where he was being tried, and he escaped to Canada.
  2. H. Daniel Peck speculates that this refers to Frederick D. Byrnes, who was one of the men who arrested Minkins in Boston.
  3. Elijah P. Lovejoy
  4. William Lloyd Garrison

Man recognizes laws little enforced, and he condescends to obey them. In the moment that he feels his superiority to them as compulsatory, he, as it were, courteously reënacts them but to obey them.

In relation to politics, to society, aye, to the whole outward world, I am tempted to ask, Why do they lay such stress on a particular experience which you have had? — that, after twenty-five years, you should meet Cyrus Warren again on the sidewalk!1 Haven’t I budged an inch, then? This daily routine should go on, then, like those — it must be conceded — vital functions of digestion, circulation of the blood, &c, which in health we know nothing about. A wise man is as unconscious of the movements in the body politic as he is of the process of digestion and the circulation of the blood in the natural body. These processes are infra-human. I sometimes awake to a half-consciousness of these things going on about me — as politics, society, business, &c, &c, — as a man may become conscious of some of the processes of digestion, in a morbid state, and so have the dyspepsia, as it is called. It appears to me that those things which most engage the attention of men, as politics, for instance, are vital functions of human society, it is true, but should be unconsciously performed, like the vital functions of the natural body. It is as if a thinker submitted himself to be rasped by the great gizzard of creation. Politics is, as it were, the gizzard of society, full of grit and gravel, and the two political parties are its two opposite halves, which grind on each other. Not only individuals but states have thus a confirmed dyspepsia, which expresses itself, you can imagine by what sort of eloquence. Our life is not altogether a forgetting, but also, alas, to a great extent a remembering, of that which perchance we should never have been conscious of, — the consciousness of what should not be permitted to disturb a man’s waking hours. As for society, why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, but sometimes as eupeptics?

Thoreau reworked the last half of this paragraph to conclude Life Without Principle.

  1. Cyrus Warren () was a Concord resident. As a boy, another Cyrus Warren had been among Thoreau’s students at the Concord Academy.

It is remarkable that the highest intellectual mood which the world tolerates is the perception of truth of the most ancient revelations, now in some respects out of date; but any direct revelation, any original thoughts, it hates like virtue. The fathers and the mothers of the town would rather hear the young man or young woman at their tables express reverence for some old statement of the truth than utter a direct revelation themselves. They don’t want to have any prophets born into their families — damn them! So far as thinking is concerned, surely original thinking is the divinest thing. Rather we should reverently watch for the least motions, the least scintillations, of thought in this sluggish world, and men should run to and fro on the occasion more than at an earthquake. We check and repress the divinity that stirs within us, to fall down and worship the divinity that is dead without us. I go to see many a good man or good woman, so called, and utter freely that thought which alone it was given to me to utter; but there was a man who lived a long, long time ago, and his name was Moses, and another whose name was Christ, and if your thought does not, or does not appear to, coincide with what they said, the good man or the good woman has no ears to hear you. They think they love God! It is only his old clothes, of which they make scarecrows for the children. Where will they come nearer to God than in those very children?

A man lately preached here against the abuse of the Sabbath and recommended to walk in the fields and dance on that day — good advice enough, which may take effect after a while. But with the mass of men the reason is convinced long before the life is. They may see the Church and the Sabbath to be false, but nothing else to be true. One woman in the neighborhood says, “Nobody can hear Mr. —— preach — hear him through — without seeing that he is a good man.” “Well, is there any truth in what he says?” asks another. “Oh, yes, it’s true enough, but then it won’t do; you know it won’t do. Now there’s our George, he’s got the whole of it; and when I say, ‘Come, George, put on your things and go along to meeting,’ he says, ‘No, Mother, I’m going out into the fields.’ It won’t do.” The fact is, this woman has not character and religion enough to exert a controlling influence over her children by her example, and knows of no such police as the Church and the minister.

If it were not for death and funerals, I think the institution of the Church would not stand longer. The necessity that men be decently buried — our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters and children (notwithstanding the danger that they be buried alive) — will long, if not forever, prevent our laying violent hands on it. If salaries were stopped off, and men walked out of this world bodily at last, the minister and his vocation would be gone. What is the churchyard but a graveyard? Imagine a church at the other end of the town, without any carrion beneath or beside it, but all the dead regularly carried to the bone-mill! The cry that comes up from the churches in all the great cities in the world is, “How they stink!”

This night I heard Mrs. S——1 lecture on womanhood. The most important fact about the lecture was that a woman said it, an in that respect it was suggestive. Went to see her afterward, but the interview added nothing to the previous impression, rather subtracted. She was a woman in the too common sense after all. You had to fire small charges: I did not have a finger in once, for fear of blowing away all her works and so ending the game. You had to substitute courtesy for sense and argument. It requires nothing less than a chivalric feeling to sustain a conversation with a lady. I carried her lecture for her in my pocket wrapped in her handkerchief; my pocket exhales cologne to this moment. The championess of woman’s rights still asks you to be a ladies’ man. I can’t fire a salute, even, for fear some of the guns may be shotted. I had to unshot all the guns in truth’s battery and fire powder and wadding only. Certainly the heart is only for rare occasions; the intellect affords the most unfailing entertainment. It would only do to let her feel the wind of the ball. I fear that to the last woman’s lectures will demand mainly courtesy from man.