Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1839: TO THE SAME. - Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville, vol. 2
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1839: 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.
Tocqueville, January 6, 1839.
. . . I have nearly finished one volume. This work demands much labour, and often affords little satisfaction. What especially interferes with it is my health, which though not actually bad, has certainly been failing for the last two months. Work tires me, and yet is so essential to me, that I often return to it, and then am obliged to leave off again. After sitting at my desk for five or six hours, I can write no longer; the machine refuses to act. I am in great want of rest, and of a long rest. If you add all the perplexities that besiege an author towards the end of his work, you will be able to imagine a very wretched life. I could not go on with my task if it were not for the refreshing calm of Marie’s companionship. It would be impossible to find a disposition forming a happier contrast to my own. In my perpetual irritability of body and mind, she is a providential resource. . . . . Adieu, dear friend; remember us both to Madame de Beaumont, whom we shall be charmed to see again. I shall reach Paris on the 14th.
TO THE SAME.
Paris, January 31, 1839.
I am going on in the same way; that is, very indifferently. If this continues for another fortnight, it will be impossible for me to finish by the spring, and I shall give up trying to do so.
. . . On the day before yesterday I was astonished, abashed, confused, and I do not know what else, on seeing M. de Chateaubriand walk into my room, to hear, he said, some portions of my MS. Of course I was obliged to read some. You will think that after taking, for what reason I cannot tell, such a step, he was not content with criticising; he paid me the most extravagant compliments. After reducing them by three-fourths, there still remain enough to allow me to hope that his impression, though ridiculously exaggerated, was favourable. So now I am like a horse to whom, after tying up all four legs, you apply a smart cut with a whip. Unfortunately the parallel holds good in every respect.
TO THE BARON DE TOCQUEVILLE.
Tocqueville, March 11, 1839.
I have only five minutes to write to you, but I will make use of them. I must tell you how glad I am that you are pleased with my success.* It is my habit, as you know, to share everything with you, and I value it too much to give it up.
I shall not now tell you anything about what passed. You know it as well as I do. The popular movement in my favour was complete; and I liked it all the better, as it was the result not of an appeal on my part to any evil passions, but to the noblest and most disinterested feelings. I hope that you have seen the few words spoken by me in the excitement of the moment. My friends took them down and printed them. But I have so few copies that I could only send one to my father, and beg him to show it to you.
Here I am at Tocqueville, come to enjoy a rest, which I am far from obtaining; for visits abound as well as letters. I ought, however, to be allowed to take care of myself for a little while; for though I have had no serious illness, I am much out of health. I think that I should have died if Marie had not watched over me, mind and body. I own, that in one respect, my future is clouded. I cannot reckon on the first condition of success, which is life.
TO M. J. J. AMPÈRE.
Tocqueville, September 17, 1839.
Your letter, dear friend, has given us the greatest pleasure. I say us, for my wife was as anxious as I was, that you should be tolerably comfortable among our ruins; and she is as much gratified as I am, by the kind manner in which you tell us that we succeeded. After all, dear Ampère, you ought to have been satisfied. One must always be happy with people who welcome one with so much delight, and take leave of one with so much sorrow. Really attached friends are rarer than comfortable quarters. This is what I hope you often said to yourself, when you were half-deafened by the knocking of hammers and pickaxes. As for us, we have the most agreeable recollections of your visit; and all we beg is, that you will come again soon. We have already asked you, and now we repeat our invitation in the most pressing terms. This is no compliment, but our sincere and earnest wish.
Your opinion of my book pleases me much. You would not hide from me the truth. I therefore believe you; and I shall read your letters over again, whenever I am seized by one of my attacks of spleen. Your visit had already done me great good in that respect. You seemed to like what you read, and that encouraged me.
I have not forgotten your promise to look over my MS. On the day after you went I sent for a copyist. I cannot tell you how obliged I feel for the trouble that you are willing to take. You could not have made me a more friendly and agreeable proposal.
This morning I was greatly embarrassed. Reading over a chapter on the way in which “democracy modifies the relations between masters and servants,” I fell upon a long passage, treating of domestic service in feudal times. I believe that my ideas on this subject are correct; but I fear that they will seem mere theories. I want two or three examples, taken from contemporary writers. But I can recall none distinctly, although I have a confused impression of having met with many, from Froissart down to Madame de Sevigné. If you can remember any, pray remind me of them. What I particularly wish to describe is the state of things frequent in the aristocratic centuries, when servants threw their whole pride and their whole existence into the persons of their masters. Caleb Balderstone, in the “Bride of Lammermoor,” is the ideal of such a character; but I do not know if he has an historical prototype.
Forgive me, dear friend, for persecuting you with myself. I am not afraid, because I feel how deeply I am interested in all your concerns. This encourages me in the belief that you are equally willing to take part in mine.
TO J. S. MILL, ESQ.
Paris, November 15, 1839.
It is now a long time, my dear Mill, since I have heard from you; and I am sorry for it, for there is no man in England whom I think of with greater pleasure. Beaumont heard that you had quite recovered. If this good news be true, pray be so kind as to confirm it.
I shall post to-day for you a copy of the Report which I have just published, in the name of the committee appointed by the Chamber, on the abolition of slavery in our colonies. You will see that, contrary to the practice of most of my colleagues, I have not tried to be eloquent. I have even carefully avoided irritating the colonists, which has not prevented their newspapers from lavishing much abuse on me. But you know what colonists are; they are all alike, to whatever nation they may belong. They become raving madmen as soon as one speaks of justice to their negroes. But it is in vain; they will not succeed in making me angry, or in inducing me to discuss the question with mischievous violence.
I came to Paris two days ago to print the book which I have been working at for the last four years, and which is the continuation of the other. It is on the influence exercised by equality over the opinions and feelings of mankind. I will send you a copy as soon as it comes out, which will be in February next. When you read it, you must not forget that it was written in a country, and for a country, where equality having achieved a complete triumph, and aristocracy having been beaten entirely out of the field, the object is not to create or to prevent a system, but, finding it there, to correct its faults. I often tell hard truths to this new society, both in France and in America; but I tell them as a friend. It is because I am a friend that I venture to say them, and that I insist on saying them. With us, equality has flatterers of all descriptions, but she has no steadfast, sincere advisers. You will judge whether my self-imposed task has been well performed.
TO M. J. J. AMPÈRE.
Tocqueville, November 2, 1839.
I ought to have thanked you sooner, my dear friend, for the kind and interesting letter that you wrote to me some time since. But my “Democracy” would not let me. You know that she has never been an obliging mistress. My obedience has been rewarded; for I can at last say, that I have finished the book, with the exception of the changes which you may advise. I am farther than ever from letting you off your promise. I value this service highly; and I will ask you to do me another, which is, to be perfectly open with me. You see that I have nothing in common with the Archbishop of Granada. I would have sent part of my MS. to you a few days ago, if I had not been so near bringing you the whole of it myself, which will be much better. I expect, indeed, to leave Tocqueville in a week’s time. You will soon, therefore, see me appear in the Rue de Grenelle. I shall present myself at your door, at which one must knock and kick, not merely ring, if one wants to be let in.
If my return had not been so near, I should have written also to thank M. de Chateaubriand for his kind intentions. I was much touched by them, and I am as grateful as if I could have benefited by them. But I cannot this time. It seemed to me, that at so great a distance, it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to appreciate my chance of success. I do not wish to offer myself unless I have a good chance. An admission into the Academy of France is one of the things best worth having, if it is obtained without too great a struggle, or too frequent an appearance in the lists. I have, therefore, made up my mind to be quiet this time; and I think that you, as a friend, will consider that I have done wisely.
I shall not write any more to you to-day, as we shall soon be able to talk as much as we please.