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TO THE SAME. - Alexis de Tocqueville, Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville, vol. 2 
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). 2 vols.
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TO THE SAME.
Baugy, December 3, 1835.
My dear Mill,
I have just received the third Number of the London and Westminster Review, and your letter dated the 19th of last month. I have read them both attentively, and all that remains to be done is to talk them over with you.
Your article on me is so flattering that it surpasses even an author’s appetite. Whatever be the amount of vanity with which Heaven has endowed me, and you know that authors are in general liberally provided, there is in your article one thing that I must say pleases me even more than your praise. Of all my reviewers you are, perhaps, the only one who has thoroughly understood me; who has taken a general bird’s-eye-view of my ideas; who sees their ulterior aim, and yet has preserved a clear perception of the details. The profession of an author would be too delightful if one met with many such readers! Your article, therefore, gave me intense pleasure. I keep it carefully, to prove to myself that it really is possible to understand me. I wanted this testimony to console me for all the false conclusions that are drawn from my book. I am constantly meeting people who want to persuade me of opinions that I proclaim, or who pretend to share with me opinions that I do not hold.
To return to your article. I repeat that I have read nothing so good on my book. You enter into my conception more than any one; and as you see the whole, you are capable of administering praise and blame. Believe that I do not exaggerate, when I say that your unfavourable criticisms gratified me as much as those that are favourable. The friend may always be seen through the critic. They instruct, therefore, and never wound me. I wish that I could discuss every one of your objections, my dear Mill; but I should send you a volume instead of a letter. Such a conversation as I hope that we shall soon enjoy, will clear up more questions for us than a voluminous correspondence would do. Still I will make a few remarks. . . .
Paris, December 5.
I was at this point of my letter, dear Mill, when I heard that my mother, who lives in Paris, was in imminent danger. As you may think, I hastened to her side: I found her a little better, but she still makes us very uneasy. I hope that you will forgive me if, in the present state of my mind, I do not enter into the somewhat long discussion which my last words from Baugy seemed to promise. But I cannot just yet lay aside your article, which I read over once more with great attention on my arrival. Several passages struck me much. Not one of the friends of democracy has dared as yet to draw so clear and fine a distinction between delegation and representation, or has so well defined the political meaning of these two words. Rest assured, my dear Mill, that on this occasion you have mooted a most important question; so, at least, I firmly believe. It is much less essential for the partizans of democracy to find means of governing the nation, than to teach the nation to choose the men most capable of governing; and to exercise sufficient influence over the general nature of their government without interfering with their individual acts or means of execution. This is the problem. I am quite convinced that the fate of the modern world depends on its solution. But how few are aware of it! how few assert it!
The kindness with which I have been treated by the London and Westminster, is another stimulus to make me write the articles which I promised. The first* is very far advanced; but the grandeur, as well as the difficulty of the subject, seem to increase as I consider it. You must think me very slow. You would forgive me if you knew how hard it is for me to satisfy myself, and how impossible for me to finish things incompletely. I have always thought that the public had the right to require authors to strain their powers to the utmost, and I endeavour to act up to this duty. I am working therefore at your article, as if it were to appear in French under my own name. I should esteem myself very fortunate if I could be repaid for my trouble by producing something that would please you, as well as the enlightened readers of your review.
Adieu, my dear Mill, believe in my sincere friendship. Will you not soon pay a visit to France? I should be delighted to see you, and to introduce you to my wife, who is a countrywoman of yours, and to whom I often speak of you.
TO THE SAME.
Paris, February 10, 1836.
I dispatched yesterday to our Consul General, M. Durand de St. André, the papers that I promised to you. It was to be sent on that very day by the Ambassador’s bag. M. de St. André will deliver it to your messenger.
I do not know, my dear Mill, what you will think of this essay. All that I can say is, that I cannot do better. I have worked at it as if it were to appear in French, and with my name to it. I fear, however, that I have been only tolerably successful. I am afraid that my manner is too French to suit the taste of your countrymen, and that they will think me too fond of general ideas. At first I tried to resist this tendency, but the subject brought me back to it in spite of myself. There is none that forces one to reflect so much upon the general laws which govern human institutions. When, however, I come to the France of our own day, I shall easily enter more into detail and become more practical. I am longing to have time to apply myself to writing the second part. This study has awakened a host of ideas in my mind, and I see the relations of many things which till now I had overlooked.
A letter from Mr. Austin informed me, my dear Mill, that you were anxious about your father. I hope that your fears are over, and that his health is now restored. I sympathize all the more with your anxiety, as I have just had the pain of losing my mother, and have felt the bitterness and the depth of such a sorrow.
I hope that you will remember me to all the persons to whom you introduced me in London, and especially to Mr. and Mrs. Grote. Adieu, dear Mill.
[*]The article on the state of France, reprinted in the first volume, p. 208.—Tr.