March 3rd

My dear friend,

You may think that I do not feel very bright
if a letter of yours could be in my portfolio a week
unanswered. -- And it is true that for seven years
at least -- no calamity has ever oppressed me like
the condition of George's -- worse than death to him
for it has not like death a glorious reverse -- in what
the heart can repose. -- Next to vice -- to be a hopeless
cripple is the most terrific thing -- especially if the
sufferer is an energetic young man. -- The heroism
of his quiet & ever cheerful endurance heightens
the pathos to me -- of the case. --

And then I am meditating going to live in
Baltimore myself -- for the sale of a little money.
This is almost an intolerable sacrifice. --

So your Report & letter have been unac-
knowledged -- I have thought however I would
give much for the sight of you -- An hour or
two of your affectionate brotherly presence --
such as I have had at some moments when I
less needed them -- would have been a real comfort.
Now that is impossible -- or even a letter in
your present press of engagements. -- And how can
I write in this style to you -- who are so full of duties --
so weary I know -- & require so different a tone?
Forgive my selfishness. --

After writing the above sentence I took
up the pamphlet & read through both Reports --
which are most animating -- because they show
that something is to be done now -- and yours
is very interesting as well as wise. But it seems to
me you think school committee men more impor
tant than the teachers. You will smile if I say you
speak of the teachers as if they were the schoolboys in comparison.

You speak of the legislature & school committee men as
choosing books -- A convention of teachers for that
purpose -- where books might be discussed -- & then each
book decided on by vote would be infinitely better.
Teachers are the best judges of books. I should like
to see an analytic table of contents for that book on
morals you want to have written. -- The moral class
book of Wm. Sullivan is a stupid book for the young.
And this reminds me of something -- which I wonder
I had not thought of before. --

There is a young man in this town -- not so very young
either -- (he is between thirty & forty years old) -- of whom
you have heard -- the Author of the "twice told Tales." He
is I think a man of first rate genius. -- To my mind
he surpasses Irving even -- in the picturesque beauty
of his style & certainly in the purity -- elevation -- and
justness of his conscience -- An extreme shyness of
disposition -- and a passionate love of nature -- together
with some peculiar circumstances have made him
live a life of extraordinary seclusion. When he left college he
did not fancy one of the three professions -- but preferred that
the literary part of his life should be voluntary. -- In study
and thought many years have past and occasionally he
has dropped a gem into the passing periodicals -- some of
which are gathered into the above named volume. This
time of study however has at length passed -- and he
is now turning his attention to taking up some serious
business for his life -- Authorship does not seem to offer a
means of living -- He has not thriven with the booksellers --
His book which sold so quick has yielded him nothing
by the delay & at length failure of the stationers company.
But he had in his mind one great moral enter
prise as I think it & you will agree -- to make an attempt
at creating a new literature for the young -- as he has
a deep dislike to the character of the Shoals of books
poured out from the press -- If you will take the trouble to
read "the Gentle boy" -- & "little Annie's Ramble" & "the
Gray Champion" & "the Maypole of Merry Mount" in the "Twice told Tales" you will
I think see indications of a genius for such an enter
prise could not fail to make a fortune at last
that would satisfy so very moderate desires as his -- He
told me of this scheme only to say he thought he should


be obliged to give it up -- But I think he has no genius
for negotiation with booksellers -- & moreover be
seemed inclined to reconsider when he found that I
too thought this reform necessary & feasible. -- He
has deep views -- thinks society in this country is only
to be controlled in its fountain of youth -- has a natural
religion that overflows in silent worship -- & the delicacy
of his morality is I think beautifully indicated in
"Fancy's Showbox" -- another of those "Twice told Tales"
which were not written for the young -- but have
merely been the amusement of his leisure hours. --
He says that were he embarked on this undertaking
he should feel as if he had a right to live -- he desired
no further vocations -- he considered it the highest. -- Now
you will agree with me in thinking this indicates a pure
& noble mind -- for he has political friends who
have been offering him government offices &
Every temptation had he any low ambition --

I am quite acquainted with a sister of his --
a remarkable person -- who has a great influence
over him -- when she pleases to court it -- and I see him
a good deal myself & find him deeply interested
in such things as interest my mind -- & you know what
they are - - Now I wish you would say something
in your next about this -- Whether you do not be
lieve that hereafter such labours will be more ap
preciated than at present. -- Capen is a bookseller
of principle -- the only man I know in that line
capable of being liberal. -- If you have leisure to
look into that book & think of the subject -- & to
feel about it as I do -- I think a suggestion from
you to Capen -- who thinks everything of you -- to en
deavour to enlist Hawthorne by good offers
to write for the young -- would perhaps secure him
to this work -- But it should be done soon --

I hear your lecture at the Temple was very great.
I trust I shall hear it or read it. -- I believe I
will enclose Sarah Charle's letter -- to show you that
others beside me -- are blown sky high by the breath
of your mouth -- Be sure to return it --

Sunday. Mr Foote has brought the manuscript & thinks
there never was such a lecture as yours. -- Mary is writing
to you -- I thank you for feeling that I had better not
go to Baltimore. She is on that side of the question --
She sees many advantages in my going -- & thinks I
shall write &c. -- If I go I shall endeavour to be true
to my transcendentalism & make it turn to account. The
separations of life -- these are real -- for they are on both sides
"tis Lethe's gloom without its quiet -- the pain without the
peace of death" -- Is nothing to be done here -- thank you --

[Address]

To Hon. Horace Mann
Boston

[Postscript]

[From Mary Peabody.]

My dear friend -- Mr.
Foote advises us to tease
you for your lecture till
we prevail upon you
to us the charity
to lend it -- do let us have it --
all in your own good time --

Yr friend Mary.

25.3 cm x 19.9 cm

From the Horace Mann papers III