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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.
Tocqueville, Aug. 10, 1841.
My dearest Friend,
Your letter from Marseilles has just reached me, and I put aside everything to answer it, lest you should pass through Ancona without hearing from me. I had rather write a few words which you will receive, than fire after you a long missile which probably would never reach you. I will first answer your friendly questions, and tell you that though I am not yet quite well, I think that I am in a fair way of becoming so. The soothing influence of my life here is beginning to tell upon mind and body. You know what it is, so I need not describe it to you. All that it wants is the additional charm of your presence, and that charm was very great. We long for your return, that the picture may be complete. I am almost alarmed at my growing attachment to this life; for I feel that I have other duties to fulfil; and I fear lest they should become irksome to me, and that I should be wanting in the zeal without which one can accomplish nothing. The farther my youth is removed from me, the more indulgence—I might almost say, respect—I feel for human passions. I love those that are good, and I am not quite sure that I hate the bad. They always show strength, and strength, wherever you meet with it, appears to advantage by the side of the weakness which surrounds us. I continually see cowards trembling if their hearts give one additional beat, and always talking of the dangers attendant upon passion. This seems to me nonsense. What one meets with least frequently in these days are true and lasting passions, influencing and directing the whole life. We can no longer will, or love, or hate. Doubt and philanthropy make us shrink from all action, whether for the purpose of effecting great good or great evil; and we are always languidly engaged in the pursuit of trifles, none of which really attract, repel us, or fix us.
Here I am, relapsing into the philosophical disease, but you will forgive me, for it is a proof of friendship. One talks to one’s friends as one talks to oneself. The thoughts in my mind overflow of themselves when I am writing to you, and fill my letter, which must, however, be short; therefore I will conclude. You are now on your way to the East—that wonderful country—to which we shall follow you in imagination; let us hear from you often and at length. I ask this of you as much in my wife’s name, as in my own; and if you have not time to write long letters, at least write one line:—“I am well.” Pray do all you can to keep well; and let it not be very long before you come to relate the result of your pilgrimage.
TO M. GUSTAVE DE BEAUMONT.
Tocqueville, October 9, 1843.
Our wives are better than we are, my dear friend, for they write to each other and we do not. I know that we have nothing in particular to say to each other; but still it is a good thing not entirely to break the thread of our daily impressions. This is my bulletin: since my return from the conseil général, I may say that I have not stirred from home. I have turned this seclusion to account by writing some articles on slavery. I think that they will not be without interest to the few who are occupied by this great question. I believe that it would be difficult to explain more clearly and in fewer words what has happened in the British colonies, and what may happen in our own. But with all my pains, these articles read like chapters. I do not think that I have the faults, but then I have none of the merits, of a writer for the public press. If Chambolle* inserts them, I do not recommend you to read them, except for the sake of the information which they will afford you. This occupation obliged me to read over again the Duke de Broglie’s report. It is a masterpiece. The whole work breathes a sincere love for the human race; that noble passion which the mummeries of the philanthropist have made almost ridiculous. Now I am going to study the British empire in India. I find it an interesting and even an amusing subject.
[*]These remarkable articles appeared in the “Siècle.” I do not believe that Tocqueville on any other occasion wrote in a newspaper.