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Correspondence. - Alexis de Tocqueville, Correspondence and Conversations of Alexis de Tocqueville with Nassau William Senior from 1834-1859, vol. 2 (1834-1851) 
Correspondence and Conversations of Alexis de Tocqueville with Nassau William Senior from 1834-1859, ed. M.C.M. Simpson, in Two Volumes (London: Henry S. King & Co., 1872). Vol. II.
Part of: Correspondence and Conversations of Alexis de Tocqueville with Nassau William Senior from 1834-1859, 2 vols.
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Tocqueville, June 30, 1858.
I must complain a little of your silence, my dear Senior. I hear that before you left Paris you suffered a great deal from your throat. Is it true, or have you recovered?
I have not either much to boast of on the score of health since we parted. The illness which I had in Paris became still worse, and when I got a little better in that way I had a violent bronchial attack. I even began to spit blood, which had not happened to me for many years, and I am still almost reduced to silence. Still I am beginning to mend, and I hope, please God, to be able to speak to my friends when they visit me.
You are aware that I wished to induce my wife to accompany me to the South; but the length of the journey, the difficulties of transport, the heat, and indeed the state of my health, were reasons which she brought forward with so much force that we have remained here, and shall not leave till the end of September. We still hope that you and Miss Senior will join us the first week in that month. We shall be very happy to have you both with us. This is no compliment . . . I hope soon to be able to enjoy more frequent communication with my English friends. A steamboat is about to run from Cherbourg to the coast of England. We shall then be able to visit each other as neighbours (voisiner).
Between ourselves, I do not think that the events in England during the last six months are of a nature to raise the reputation of Parliamentary Government in the rest of the world. A bientôt!
A. de Tocqueville.
Kensington, July 5, 1858.
My dear Tocqueville,—
If I had written to you three days ago, I should have talked of the pleasure which my daughter and I expected from our visit to Tocqueville. But our plans are changed. Edward Ellice is going to pay a last visit to America, and has begged me to accompany him. He is a great proprietor in both America and Canada—knows everybody in both countries, and is besides a most able and interesting companion. So I have accepted the proposal, and start on the 30th of this month for Boston. We shall return in the beginning of November.
I am very sorry to lose the visit to Normandy, but I trust that it is only deferred.
We are grieved to hear that neither you nor Madame de Tocqueville are as well as your friends could wish you to be.
My grippe, after lasting for three months, has gradually subsided, and I look to the voyage to America as a cure for all remains of it.
I have most punctually carried your remembrances to all the persons honoured by being inscribed on your card.
Though I have often seen Gladstone, it has always been among many other persons, and he has been so full of talk, that I have never been able to allude to your subject. I mentioned it to Mrs. Gladstone on Saturday last: she said that there was not a person in all France whom her husband so much admired and venerated as you—therefore, if there was any appearance of neglect, it could have arisen only from hurry or mistake. I shall see him again on Thursday, when we are going all together to a rehearsal of Ristori’s, and I will talk to him: we shall there be quiet.
Things here are in a very odd state. The Government is supported by the Tories because it calls itself Tory, and by the Whigs and Radicals because it obeys them. On such terms it may last for an indefinite time.
Kindest regards from us all to you both.
N. W. Senior.
August 2, 1858.
My dear Tocqueville,—
I ought, as you know, to be on the Atlantic by this time; but I was attacked, ten days ago, with lumbar neuralgia, which they are trying, literally, to rub away. If I am quite well on the 13th, I shall go on the 14th to America.
I was attacked at Sir John Boileau’s, where I spent some days with the Guizots, Mrs. Austin, and Stanley and Lord John Russell.
Guizot is in excellent spirits, and, what is rare in an ex-premier, dwells more on the present and the future than on the past. Mrs. Austin is placid and discursive.
Lord John seems to me well pleased with the present state of affairs—which he thinks, I believe with reason, will bring him back to power. He thinks that Malmesbury and Disraeli are doing well, and praises much the subordinates of the Government.
Considering that no one believes Lord Derby to be wise, or Disraeli to be either wise or honest, it is marvellous that they get on as well as they do. The man who has risen most is Lord Stanley, and, as he has the inestimable advantage of youth, I believe him to be predestined to influence our fortunes long.
The world, I think, is gradually coming over to an opinion, which, when I maintained it thirty years ago, was treated as a ridiculous paradox—that India is and always has been a great misfortune to us; and, that if it were possible to get quit of it, we should be richer and stronger.
But it is clear that we are to keep it, at least for my life.
Kindest regards from us all to you and Madame de Tocqueville.
N. W. Senior.
Tocqueville, August 21, 1858.
My dear Senior,—
I hear indirectly that you are extremely ill. Your letter told me only that you were suffering from neuralgia which you hoped to be rid of in a few days, but Mrs. Grote informs me that the malady continues and has even assumed a more serious character.
If you could write or dictate a few lines to me, you would please me much.
I am inconsolable for the failure of your American journey. I expected the most curious results from it. I hoped that your journal would enable me once more to understand the present state of a country which has so changed since I saw it that I feel that I now know nothing of it. What a blessing, however, that you had not started! What would have become of you if the painful attack from which you are suffering had seized you 2,000 miles away from home, and in the midst of that agitated society where no one has time to be ill or to think of those who are ill? It must be owned that Fortune has favoured you by sending you this illness just at the moment of your departure instead of ten days later.
I have been much interested by your visit to Sir John Boileau. You saw there M. Guizot in one of his best lights. The energy with which he stands up under the pressure of age and of ill-fortune, and is not only resigned in his new situation, but as vigorous, as animated, and as cheerful as ever, shows a character admirably tempered and a pride which nothing will bend.
I do not so well understand the cheerfulness of Lord John Russell. For the spectacle now exhibited by England, in which a party finds no difficulty in maintaining itself in power by carrying into practice ideas which it has always opposed, and by relying for support on its natural enemies, is not of a nature to raise the reputation of your institutions, or of your public men. I should have a great deal more to say to you on this and other subjects if I were not afraid of tiring you. I leave off, therefore, by assuring you that we are longing to hear of your recovery. Remembrances, &c.
A. de Tocqueville.
Cannes, December 12, 1858.
I wish, my dear friend, to reassure you myself on the false reports which have been spread regarding my health. Far from finding myself worse than when we arrived, I am already much better.
I am just now an invalid who takes his daily walks of two hours in the mountains after eating an excellent breakfast. I am not, however, well. If I were I should not long remain a citizen of Cannes.
I have almost renounced the use of speech, and consequently the society of human beings; which is all the more sad as my wife, my sole companion, is herself very unwell, not dangerously, but enough to make me anxious. When I say my sole companion, I am wrong, for my eldest brother has had the kindness to shut himself up with us for a month.
Adieu, dear Senior. A thousand kind remembrances from us to all your party.
A. de Tocqueville.
Cannes, March 15, 1859.
You say, my dear Senior, in the letter which I have just received, 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 represented 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, and believe in the sincerity of my friendship.
A. de. Tocqueville.
[This was M. de Tocqueville’s last letter to Mr. Senior. He died on the 16th of April.—Ed.]
April 25, 1859.
My dear Madame de Tocqueville,—
I was in the country, and it was only last Friday, as I was passing through London on my way to Paris, that I heard of the irreparable loss that we, indeed that France and Europe, have suffered.
It cannot alleviate your distress to be told how universal and deep is the sympathy with it—quite as much in England as in France.
It has thrown a gloom over society, not only over that portion which had the happiness and the honour of intimacy with M. A. de Tocqueville, but even of his acquaintances, and of those too whose acquaintance was only with his works.
I have, as you know, been for about a year, the depositary of a large packet confided to me by M. de Tocqueville last spring. About six months ago he begged me to return it to him, in Paris, when I had a safe opportunity. No such opportunity offered itself, so that the packet remains in my library awaiting your orders.
Since I began this letter I have been informed by M. de Corcelle that you are likely to be soon in Paris. I shall not venture to send it by the post, lest it should cross you on the road.
I shall anxiously inquire as to your arrival, in the hope that you will allow one who most sincerely loved and admired your husband, morally and intellectually, to see you as soon as you feel yourself equal to it.
Believe me, my dear Madame de Tocqueville, with the truest sympathy, yours most truly,
Nassau W. Senior.
[Mr. Senior continued an active correspondence with Madame de Tocqueville, and we saw her whenever we were in Paris. Our long-promised visit to Tocqueville took place in 1861.—Ed.]