Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO N. W. SENIOR, ESQ. - Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville, vol. 1
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TO N. W. SENIOR, ESQ. - Alexis de Tocqueville, Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville, vol. 1 
Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville. Translated from the French by the translator of Napoleon’s Correspondence with King Joseph. With large Additions. In Two Volumes (London: Macamillan, 1861). Vol. 1.
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TO N. W. SENIOR, ESQ.
Paris, February 21, 1835.
My dear Mr. Senior,
I thank you much for the kind letter which you have just sent to me. There is no approbation that I was more anxious to gain, and I am proud of having obtained it. How much I wish that the book could be read by a large majority of your countrymen, and that the opinion which you have formed of it could become general. Its success here much surpasses my expectations. But I shall not be satisfied unless it extends to a country to which I am intellectually indebted almost as much as to my own.
I am about to remark upon your objections, which gave me almost as much pleasure as your praise; because they prove the attention with which you read my book, and because I intend to make use of several of them in preparing the second edition.
You tell me, with much truth, respecting a note on page 77, that a poor law is no proof of a republican government; but my reason for quoting America in this respect, was to give French readers an instance of the expense willingly incurred by a democracy. There are many causes which may induce any government to relieve the poor at the expense of the public, but a republican government is, from its nature, forced to do so.
In page 115, I said that in English legislation, the bien du pauvre, had in the end been sacrificed to that of the rich. You attack me on this point, of which you certainly are a competent judge. You must allow me, however, to differ from you. In the first place, it seems to me that you give to the expression le bien du pauvre, a confined sense which was not mine; you translate it wealth, a word especially applied to money. I meant by it all that contributes to happiness; personal consideration, political rights, easy justice, intellectual enjoyments, and many other indirect sources of contentment. I shall believe, till I have proof of the contrary, that in England the rich have gradually monopolized almost all the advantages that society bestows upon mankind. Taking the question in your own restricted sense, and admitting that a poor man is better paid when he works on another man’s land, than when he cultivates his own, do you not think that there are political, moral, and intellectual advantages attached to the possession of land, which are a more than sufficient, and above all, a permanent compensation for the loss that you point out?
I know, however, that this is one of the most important questions of the age, and perhaps the one on which we differ most entirely. Soon I hope that we shall have an opportunity for discussing it. In the meanwhile, I cannot help telling you how dissatisfied I was at the way in which Mr. McCulloch, whose talents, however, I acknowledge, has treated this question. I was astonished at his quoting us Frenchmen in support of his arguments in favour of the non-division of landed property; and at his asserting that the physical well-being of the people deteriorated in proportion to the subdivision of property: I am convinced, that up to the present time, this is substantially false. Such an opinion would find no echo here, even from those who attack the law of succession as impolitic and dangerous in its ultimate tendency. Even they acknowledge that as yet the progress of our people in comfort and civilization, has been rapid and uninterrupted; and that in these respects, the France of to-day is as unlike as possible to the France of twenty years ago. I repeat, however, that such questions cannot be treated in writing. They must be kept for long conversations.
END OF VOL. I.
r. clay, son, and taylor, printers, bread street hill.