Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1859: TO M. LANJUINAIS. - Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville, vol. 2
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1859: TO M. LANJUINAIS. - 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 M. LANJUINAIS.
Cannes, February 7, 1859.
My dear Friend,
I make use of the first beginning of convalescence, to resume my intercourse with you. It is long since I have written to you, and I assure you that it was absolutely impossible. Oh, my dear Lanjuinais, what a horrible January I have passed! Only the wretch who has had to endure those four weeks can imagine them. Excuse me the relation of my sufferings. I try to avoid thinking of them. Now, with God’s help, I am really convalescent. Did I not still feel extremely feeble, I should call myself well.
Though that weakness prevents my writing at any length to my friends, it does not diminish my affection for them, or my desire that they will not forget me in this crisis of my life, and that they will frequently write to me. Prudence forbids my reading, or speaking, or in fact writing. My thoughts are at times so gloomy, that I am ready to burst into tears. Beg, therefore, all those whom you know take an interest in me, to be charitable enough to write; they will give me the only intellectual pleasure I have left.
In your last letter, you tell me that you have at last bought an estate.* The news pleased me, as also the situation of your new property. But you have not described it. Pray do so; I shall take great interest in it. I end, for my hand and my head are fatigued.
Ever yours, from my heart.
TO J. S. MILL, ESQ.
Cannes, February 9, 1859.
My Dear Mill,
Your book on liberty found me yesterday at this place, where my health forces me to spend the winter. I cannot tell you how much this proof of your remembrance charms me. I have no doubt that the originality and vigour of your mind show themselves in your book; weak as I am, I am going to read it. I feel that liberty is a field in which we cannot but walk hand in hand.
TO THE COMTE DE CIRCOURT.
Cannes, February 9, 1859.
My Dear M. de Circourt,
I cannot thank you enough for the letters you wrote to me when I could not answer them. Of all my friends, you have best understood that a man whose hand cannot use a pen, may still have ears for what is interesting, and sense enough to comprehend and to enjoy such a correspondence as yours. The state which I have described is precisely that in which the mind values most all that can excite and amuse it. A thousand thanks, therefore, and I pray you not to tire of your intellectual charity. I am beginning, too, to regain the power of writing, and I soon shall be able to send satisfactory answers. My strength is quickly returning, and if the climate of Cannes will be kind enough to perform the promises that are made for it, I have no doubt but that my improvement will be rapid.
Now for a matter that much affects me. The interest in me which the Duchesse de Rauzan has lately expressed, touches me very much. Pray give her this message, which is sincerely felt. Her two little notes show a real anxiety for me. I shall never forget these proofs of her friendship—a friendship which I prize highly. I shall write to her as soon as I am again among the living. I am now a thing which is struggling into life.
Though a sort of shadow, I am still silly enough to feel an interest in the political and even in the literary affairs of the world; all that you can tell me on either of these subjects will be gratefully received. Has any new book come out, that I can send for?
I am beginning to be tired. Remember me affectionately to Madame de Circourt.
TO M. C. RIVET.
Cannes, February 15, 1859.
I have so many letters to answer, my dear friend, that I answer none. But I must thank you for yours which reached me yesterday, full, as usual, of a tenderness which always goes straight to my heart.
But the beginning put me out of patience. You had written to me a long political letter, and you had burnt it because ——— told you that I did not wish for such letters. How could such a notion have come into his head? It is exactly opposite to the truth, and I am inconsolable at your having followed his advice.
What I have to tell as to my own health is, on the whole, good. You know that I have passed a frightful January. But, thank God, its wretchedness seems to be exhausted. The pain has gone, my appetite has returned, and with it a part of my strength. I hope, therefore, and I ask you to hope.
Adieu, my dear friend. Write to me soon, and believe in my friendship.
TO M. DE CORCELLE.
Cannes, February 15, 1859.
I can write only a few words to my best friends.
The improvement in my health is rapid. Appetite and sleep have returned, and with them strength; and, what is remarkable, my severe attacks during January have not interrupted the recovery of the bronchial vessels. I may hope, therefore, to be cured, if God will preserve me from similar attacks.
I will say a few words on politics. I have read carefully the pamphlet called “Napoleon III. and Italy.” It throws great light on our present situation. It proves that the questions between Austria, the Pope, and ourselves, can scarcely be solved diplomatically, except on the basis of the plan which it proposes. Now this plan appears to me to be as unacceptable to the Pope, and to Austria (unless she is allowed to domineer over the Italian Confederacy), as a Roman Republic would be. I have not time now to explain my reasons. If we have really got into this diplomatic cul de sac, I do not see how we can get out of it, except by war.
TO THE VICOMTE ÉDOUARD DE TOCQUEVILLE.
Cannes, February 17, 1859.
My dear Friend,
I must add to Hippolyte’s letter a few words of tender affection. I think of your visit with pleasure and with pain. I need not say that I was delighted to see you. But what pains me is, the recollection of the irritability with which I often treated my two good brothers who came to comfort me. Pardon me, and attribute my behaviour to the sickness, not to the sick man. I was grieved, too, by thinking that I perceived that my restlessness (now almost entirely calmed) hurt your health. I hope that you have not permanently suffered from my folly, and I am anxious to hear that my hope has not been deceived.
Write soon, and believe in my tender attachment.
TO THE COMTESSE HIPPOLYTE DE TOCQUEVILLE.
Cannes, February 25, 1859.
My dear Sister,
It is now my turn to give you news of the sick man who, for three months, has been so well nursed by your husband. If I may trust to my physician, and to my own feelings, he is again in the way of recovery. And if God will grant that no new attack may interfere with the excellent condition which I am now beginning to enjoy, I hope that the promise of my physician will be performed, and that he will send me away cured in the beginning of the summer. But in such matters no one should be confident. Towards the end of last December I felt so well that I thought myself cured; I had already recovered my strength, when those dreadful spittings of blood knocked me down, not so much by the local mischief which they did, as by their general disturbance of all the body, and especially of the nervous system. But my appetite and my strength have come back. My physician tells me that auscultation shows a great improvement in the bronchial tubes. God grant that what he says may prove true.
The object, however, of this letter was not to tell you about my health. Hippolyte keeps you au courant. I wished my dear sister to express to you how I am touched by your deep interest in me. Believe that I am most grateful; it was scarcely necessary to tell you so, yet I think that you will not be sorry to be reminded of it.
I suppose that our good Hippolyte will leave us in a few days. I never shall be able to express how thankful, to the very bottom of my heart, I am for what he has done. It is easy to feel kindly disposed; but to set off on a long journey in the depth of winter, in order to shut oneself up for three months in a hole, eight hundred miles from all one’s interests, nursing a brother, whom sickness often made very irritable, and always very tiresome, is a hard trial. Such conduct is rare, and ought to excite a gratitude equally uncommon. My excellent brother’s sacrifice will never be erased from the memory of my heart—a memory far more retentive than that of the head.
This, my dear sister, is all that the patient has to say to you to-day. Thank again all those who are kind enough to interest themselves about me, and believe in my tender and fraternal affection.
TO HENRY REEVE, ESQ.
Cannes, February 25, 1859.
My dear Reeve,
It is an age since I wrote to you. I could not do so. All January passed in a frightful crisis. No month in my whole life deserved to be marked with so black a cross. But let me forget, if it be possible, those cruel days and still more cruel nights, and only pray God never again to inflict such sufferings on me, or on my friends. During the last three weeks February has been repairing the mischief of January. I feel that I am going on as well as possible; much of my strength has returned. The bronchial tubes are quickly recovering. Let us talk of them no more.
Let me talk of an excellent article on the Catacombs, which I have just read in the Edinburgh Review. I have always felt interested in the subject. Yet, perhaps, I should not have read the article if I had not known that it was yours. A letter from Circourt deprived me of the pleasure of detecting you, which I hope that I should have done. However that be, the article is most interesting. You could not have given to your readers a more agreeable contribution.
Although I followed you underground with curiosity, what is now passing on the surface of our little globe deserves attention. I am posted here on one of the great military roads which led us in times past to Italy, and it is doing so now.
The length and desultory character of this letter are the best evidence of the state of my health. I am going to write to Mr. Grote. Remember me particularly to Sir George Lewis and to Lady Theresa. I hope that Lord Hatherton does not forget me. A thousand and a thousand regards to all the Seniors. I need not repeat them to Mrs. and Miss Reeve.
Ever yours from my heart.
TO M. FRESLON.
Cannes, February 23, 1859.
I send to you, my dear friend—not a letter, for where can I find matter for one?—but a bulletin—one I am sure that will please you. Since I wrote to you, my recovery has astonished as well as delighted me by its rapidity. Pray God against a relapse, and my hopes will be greater than they have yet been.
One proof of my returning strength is that I can enjoy reading. They are reading to me the memoirs of Miot de Melitot. Do you know them? They ought to be in every library.
I am reading to myself, and therefore slowly, the “Autobiography of Gibbon,” in English, and with the greatest interest; but I venture to do so only for short intervals. Do not you agree with me that nothing is more interesting than the memoirs of celebrated men when they can be trusted? One always hopes to find the secret of the fine machines which have worked so well. Often one is deceived. Gibbon is evidently sincere. It shows how much may be done by a man with an extraordinary memory, who, in the leisure and the quiet given by a high social position and an independent fortune, passes forty years at work, reads all that has ever been written on an almost boundless subject, retains it, and afterwards quietly, and without hurrying himself, brings together all the results, and finds that, almost without having been aware of what he was doing, he has produced one of the greatest works of modern literature. What was least to be expected is that this man, capable of such patient toil (he gives a list of the readings of a month; in a whole year so employed, he would have done more than would have been done by a whole convent of Benedictines)—that this man, I say, laborious to a degree which generally excludes other great qualities, should, when he came to compose, have proved a concise, nervous, and animated writer. But why am I talking to you of Gibbon? Adieu!
TO M. J. J. AMPÈRE.
Cannes, March 3, 1859.
It is an age, my dear friend, since I have been in direct communication with you. I knew that you heard my news from my brother, and I therefore was in no hurry. That news must, I think, have been good. So is what I have now to tell. If March does not undo the good of February, I hope to reach a perfect cure. It is difficult not to feel well in this weather. Never did the softest spring play more gently with irritable lungs.
Your letter is just arrived. I cannot forgive myself for having alarmed you, especially when there was no reason, as you have seen by what I have just been writing. My physician tells me that I am going on as well as possible, and that, if God will preserve me from new attacks, like those of last January, I am on my way to recovery.
You repeat that you expect to come to me soon. I must repeat, my good and dear friend, that I implore you not to do so. I have opened to you my whole heart; you cannot but have felt it. Never was my affection for you more true, more fraternal. But what is the source and the preservative of that affection? My intimate and complete knowledge of you, which convinces me that you could not leave Rome without a struggle, and that when here you would be devoured by care and anxiety. To see you so would destroy the pleasure and the good of your presence. I am going on well. Really there is no motive for your journey. Except that I do not work, I have resumed my intellectual habits. Only, as far as I can, I avoid speaking. You would be, therefore, of little use to me, and you would be miserable. So, let us say no more about it. Love me as I love you. It is all that I ask.
TO M. GUSTAVE DE BEAUMONT.
Cannes, March 4, 1859.
My dear Friend,
I do not know that anything ever cost me more than it does to say to you, I beg you to come. . . . Come. Ask Madame de Beaumont to forgive me. But she has done so already. I embrace you with all my heart.
TO BARON BUNSEN.
Cannes, March 6, 1859.
My dear M. de Bunsen,
I forgot that, on Saturday, I had an appointment inconsistent with our meeting. Can you put me off till Monday, or Tuesday? If not, I will postpone the other engagement.
Such is my value for your conversations, which, as I said the other day to Madame de Tocqueville, do more good to my mind than all that Dr. Sève can do to my body. Do not trouble yourself to write; a verbal answer to my servant will do. A thousand kind regards.
TO M. LANJUINAIS.
Cannes, March 10, 1859.
Your letter, my dear friend, received yesterday, not only pleased me, but did me good. I was much interested by what you told me about public affairs.
Your letters enable me, as it were, to breathe more freely, by the atmosphere of moral greatness which they unconsciously exhale. You belong, I may say we belong, to a moral and intellectual family, which is disappearing. I am happy when I meet one of its members. I wished to tell you this while my heart was full of it. Such letters as you have written to me, of late, do me real good.
As to my health, I am told that I get on better and better. My strength is, in a great measure, restored; for I walk for an hour at a time, and taking in all my walks, for several hours in the day, and without fatigue. But, without dwelling on these details, you will be satisfied with knowing, that I advance as rapidly as is possible towards complete recovery. It is melancholy to have to add, that, as long as any trace of this strange malady remains, one is sure of nothing. Any accident may throw me back for two or three weeks.
Adieu, my dear friend. This letter is a slight piece of thanks for yours, and for the warm sympathy which is seen through the habitual calmness of your style. Talk of me to Dufaure, who has given me, during the last three months, all sorts of underhand proofs of friendship; to our dear Freslon, and to Rivet.
The loneliness which oppresses me, and sometimes almost wears me down, makes the recollection of these good and noble friends still more dear to me.
TO N. W. SENIOR, ESQ.
Cannes, March 15, 1859.
You say, my dear Senior, that I like to hear from my friends, not to write to them. It is true that I delight in the letters of my friends, especially of my English friends; but it is a calumny to say that I do not like to answer them. It is true that I am in your debt: one great cause is, that a man who lives at Cannes knows nothing of what is passing. My solitary confinement, which is bad enough in every way, makes me a bad correspondent, by depressing my spirits, and rendering every exertion painful.
Mrs. Grote, in a very kind and interesting letter, which I received from her yesterday, says, that Lord Brougham, on his late arrival in London, gave a lamentable description of my health. If he confined himself to January, he was right. It is impossible to exaggerate my sufferings during that month. But, since that time, all has changed, as if from day to night, or rather, from night to day. To talk now of what I was in January is like making a speech about the Spanish marriages.
I am grieved to find that you have suffered so much this year from bronchitis. I fear that your larynx can scarcely endure an English winter. But it is very hard to be obliged to expatriate oneself every year. I fear, however, that such must be my fate for some winters to come, and the pain with which I anticipate it makes me sympathise more acutely with you.
We know not, as yet, whether we are to have peace or war. Whichever it be, a mortal blow has struck the popularity of Louis Napoleon. What maintained him was the belief that he was the protector of our material interests—interests to which we now sacrifice all others.
The events of the last month show, with the utmost vividness, that these very interests may be endangered by the arbitrary and irrational will of a despot. The feelings, therefore, which were his real support, are now bitterly hostile to him.
I feel, in short, that a considerable change in our Government is approaching.
Even our poor Corps Législatif, a week ago, refused to take into consideration the budget, until it was informed whether it were to be a war budget or a peace budget. Great was the fury of those who represent the Government. They exclaimed that the Chamber misapprehended its jurisdiction, and that it had nothing to do with political questions. The Chamber, however, or rather its Committee on the Budget, held its ground, and extorted from the Government some explanations.
Adieu, my dear Senior. Say everything that is kind to the Grotes, the Reeves, the Lewises, in short, to all our common friends.
TO THE COMTE DE CIRCOURT.
Cannes, March 17, 1859.
Forgive me for not writing to you more frequently, my dear M. de Circourt. What have I to tell? I live alone, with a malady which I am told is going off, but so slowly as to make me almost despair.
The brightest sky and the finest sea are before me; but such sights charm only the happy, and suggest no emotions to a man who has to endure the weight of exile. I would give all the beauties of nature in exchange for the conversation of my friends. Their letters, however, are a resource. Pray write to me, and write often; it will be a work of charity as well as of friendship, for though I am out of the world, I still enjoy hearing what passes, more especially when related by you. Politics, literature, anecdotes, all interest me.
Remember me to Madame de Circourt, and to Madame de Rauzan, and believe in my sincere friendship.
TO M. DE CORCELLE.
Cannes, April 6, 1859,
Though far from strong, my dear friend, I must tell you how much I rejoice in the termination of our great affair;* no one is made more happy by it than I am. Tell this to the parties principally interested.
B——, who must have seen you as he passed through Paris, probably told you of the trick which my stomach has played me, and how, when all seemed to be cured, it turned against me, and absolutely refused to have any appetite. This, in time, produced weakness, from which I am very slowly recovering. Tell our friends the cause of my silence, and that it makes me all the more anxious fir letters. For I am not ill, I am only weak. Write to me, therefore, my dear friend—you, and the others. I repeat, that the completion of our great affair fills me with joy. I embrace you with all my heart.
TO M. J. J. AMPÈRE.
Cannes, April 9, 1859.
My dear Friend,
I must tell you plainly, that your last letter fills me with delight.*
Never shall I have been more enchanted to see you, though I have never been less capable of enjoying your society. For my wife’s throat is in such a state, that she is forced almost always to use a slate, and I can scarcely put one foot before another. I only whisper, and that but little. After being read to for a very short time, I can listen no more. Yet I say, come; come. For nothing is more selfish than great friendship, except one other passion, which no one, in my state, ever mentions. We shall instantly prepare your bed. Your neighbour will be the only one of us who can speak and write—my brother Edward. My feelings are greater than my strength; so I say no more.
[*]Saint Frambaut, near La Suze, in the department of Sarthe.
[*]This was the marriage of M. de Corcelle’s daughter with the Marquis de Chambrun. Tocqueville could properly call it our affair; for his high estimation of M. de Chambrun had made him anxiously forward this marriage. Its conclusion was one of his last pleasures.
[*]In that letter, M. Ampère announced that he was leaving Rome for Cannes, to pass some time with his friend. He left Rome so soon afterwards, that he crossed this letter. It is the last that Tocqueville wrote.