Emerson In Europe
The Atlantic Monthly, June 1892
Note: These letters of Emerson and Thoreau are all from the 1840’s
and 1850’s, and Sanborn's article was published many years after they were
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A FEW undated notes from Emerson
to Thoreau may be of the years between 1843 and 1847, but I am inclined
to place them as late as the latter year. Here is the only one which will
be cited, and that to show how friendly was the service these two comrades
required of each other. The “Mr. Brownson” mentioned was Dr. Orestes
A. Brownson, who had examined Thoreau for his first district school, when
he went, during a college vacation, to teach in the town of Canton, near
Boston, where Brownson was then a Universalist minister.
DEAR HENRY, — I am not to-day
quite so robust as I expected to be, and so have to beg that you will come
down and drink tea with Mr. Brownson, and charge yourself with carrying
him to the Lyceum and introducing him to the curators. I hope you can oblige
me so far.
[The rest of this page was not part of Sanborn's original article, but
pages listed below are as they appeared in The Atlantic Monthly,
Letters I - V, 1847:
Letters VI - X, 1848:
I - Thoreau in Concord to his sister in Maine - "I think you may
have a grand time this winter pursuing some study,—keeping a journal, or
the like, — while the snow lies deep without."
II - Thoreau in Concord to Emerson in England, in which Thoreau
refers to a proposal of marriage from Sophia Ford, who was a teacher, and
15 years older than Thoreau
III - Thoreau in Concord to Emerson in England - Thoreau describes
the attempt by Emerson's gardner, Hugh Whelan, to move Thoreau's Walden
cabin from the pond, and convert it to home for his family
IV - Emerson in England to Thoreau in Concord - "The Dial is absurdly
well known here ... it is spoken of with the utmost gravity, and I do not
V - Thoreau in Concord to Emerson in England - "Next going to give
an account to the Lyceum of my expedition to Maine ... We have had Whipple
on Genius, — too weighty a subject for him."
Letters XI - XV, 1848-1856:
VI - Thoreau in Concord to Emerson in England - "Eddy climbed up
the sofa, the other day, of his own accord, and kissed the picture of his
VII - Emerson in England to Thoreau in Concord - "I heard the best
man in England make perhaps his best speech"
VIII - Thoreau in Concord to Emerson in England - "Lectures begin
to multiply on my desk... I read one last week to the Lyceum, on The Rights
and Duties of the Individual in Relation to Government" - probably referes
to an early version of "Resistance to Civil Government", later called "Civil
IX - Emerson in England to Thoreau in Concord - "My book, fortunately,
did not find a publisher ready to undertake it, and you can imagine the
effect of delay on an author’s estimate of his own work."
X - Thoreau in Concord to Emerson in England - "Ellen is already
thinking what will be done when you come home ... Edith says that I shall
come and see them, and always at teatime, so that I can play with her."
XI and XII - Emerson in England to Thoreau in Concord, 1848
- "I admire the English, I think, never more than when I meet Americans"
XIII - Thoreau on Fire Island Beach, writing to Emerson about the
tragic death by shipwreck of Margaret Fuller and her family, from the site
of the wreck in 1850
XIV - Two notes from Emerson to Thoreau, 1855 - "It is so easy,
at distance, or when going to a distance, to ask a great favor which one
would haggle at near by."
XV - Thoreau in Eagleswood, New Jersey to his sister Sophia, 1856
- "I have been constantly engaged in surveying Eagleswood, — through woods,
salt marshes, and along the shore, dodging the tide, through bushes, mud
and beggar ticks, having no time to look up or think where I am."
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