W-MCP5-6.382 TO [DR.] CALVIN BROOKS from his friend J.C. [Learned?]
Oct 27 1859
To: [Dr.] Calvin Brooks McQuesten, Meriden, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
From: Divinity Hall, [Harvard University] Cambridge, Massachusetts, [U.S.A.]
My Dear McQuesten,
I record the receipt of two favors from you to which I am happy to respond, though sorry I was unable to comply with your last request, viz., to contribute an article for the "Paradox." I wrote a short piece of rhyme, but on the whole considered it hardly appropriate for your meeting, since it seemed rather too staid and sentimental and I then had no time I could well devote to another in the midst of pressing duties here.
I forwarded your enclosed letter duly, and acknowledge the finding of $5.66 in your last which was fully satisfactory. In fact I should never have thought of mentioning that lamp as it was a matter of little importance but I am grateful to you for disposing of it and think you sold it very well.
I am very sorry to hear that your present class seems unlikely to sustain the reputation of their pride of class. I always feel glad to find evidence of my belief that each generation surpasses in excellence those preceding and I don't like to see the belief in "total depravity" gaining ground. It seems however, that there is time enough still at Meriden (with the help of Bob Richards) to keep the "Dalton party" in the minority. How does it happen that [Sauvin?] is on for your public meetings? I thought he was a strong Dalton man and I knew like modern Democrats they did not like to have men in high places, except they were "right on the goose."
Today at Boston is sold the Library of Rufus Choate,1 I had some idea of going but I do not know that a memento of that man would make me a whit better, and old books can be bought any day. The season of Lectures is at hand and the Beechers, Chapins,2 Emerson,3 &c., are having all they can do. Four courses at least are under way in Boston, while the towns around are also on the alert since the City Halls cannot accommodate those pouring in from the suburbs.
Beecher seems more popular this time, while the "Recorder" recently has classed him with the Universalists, and pities the poor wretches who cling to his sinking craft destined to go down with him. The Recorder is in distress about it, but still as Everett4 said of Webster, Beecher is a man and it would be uncharitable not to allow him a man's faults.5 Do you know whether Mr. Patton went to California? Do you hear aught of the Doctor's talk that is interesting?
I recently received a letter from Williams which seems wonderfully pleased with Mr., I think he has had the fortune to act "Inside" a good deal, and has formed a connection with a very good school. Give me an account of the results of your public meeting and allow me to congratulate you upon your promotion to the Sec'yship of that time-honored Institution.
So it seems you are to remain there [?] [?].
Very truly your friend
J. C. Learned 6
[Note on Envelope:] J.C.L. Ans. 16/11/59
1 Rufus Choate (1799-1859), American lawyer and orator, was born at Ipswich, Massachusetts, besides being one of the ablest of American lawyers, was one of the most scholarly of American public men, and his numerous orations and addresses were remarkable for their pure style, their grace and elegance of form, and their wealth of classical allusion. "Rufus Choate 1850." November 29, 2003. http://73.1911encyclopedia.org/C/CH/CHOATE_RUFUS.htm.
2 Chapin, Aaron Lucius, educator, born in Hartford, Connecticut, 6 February, 1817. He was graduated at Yale in 1837, and subsequently at Union theological seminary. He was professor in the New York institution for deaf-mutes from 1838 till 1843, and pastor of the 1st Presbyterian church in Milwaukee from 1843 till 1849, when he was elected the first president of Beloit College, which he retained from that date until 1886, when he resigned. He was for a number of years one of the editors of the "Congregational Review," and published a work, "First Principles of Political Economy," in 1880. "Aaron Lucius Chapin." December 2, 2003. http://www.famousamericans.net/aaronluciuschapin/.
3 "Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1802-82), American philosopher and poet, was born in Massachusetts, inheriting his parents strong religious and spiritual tendencies. He was educated at Harvard, studied theology, was ordained, and became pastor at Boston, but resigned his charge owing to his views on the nature of the sacrament, which he was unable to regard as 'as a divinely appointed, sacred ordinance of religion.' He came to Europe and visited England in 1833, meeting Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Carlyle (with whom followed a long friendship and correspondence). On his return to America he lectured on literature, biography, history, and human culture, and settled at Concord in 1835. Emerson's prose essay 'Nature,' on the relation of the sould to nature, was published in 1836, and earned for his philosophical doctrine the epithet 'transcendental' which signified that he was an idealist with a tinge of mysticism: 'Nature is the incarnation of thought. The world is the mind precipitated.' Emerson delivered his influential address 'The American Scholar' at Harvard in 1837, in which he urged America to assert its intellectual independence." He wrote many poems, essays, lectures and biographical sketches, and journals (OCEL 269-70).
4 Everett, Edward (1794-1865) Statesman and Scholar, born in Dorchester, MA. He studied at Harvard, and was elected professor of Greek there (1815), and president (1846-9). He was governor of Massachusetts (1835-9), US minister at the court of St. James, UK (1841-5), and briefly secretary of state at the end of 1852. He is remembered as an outstanding lecturer and orator (CBE 314-5).
As a preacher he at once distinguished himself. He was called to the ministry of the Brattle Street church (Unitarian) in Boston before he was twenty years old. His sermons attracted wide attention in that community, and he gained a considerable reputation as a theologian and a controversialist by his publication in 2824 of a volume entitled Defence of Christianity, written in answer to a work, The Grounds of Christianity Examined (1813), by George Bethune English (1787-1828). "Everett, Edward." December 3, 2003. http://75.1911encyclopedia.org/E/EV/EVERETT_EDWARD.htm.
5 It is not clear which Beecher is being referred to here as a "Universalist": Reverend Lyman Beecher (1775-1863), was a prominent and influential Congregational minister:
Beecher, Edward: (1803-1895) second son of Lyman Beecher, b. at East Hampton, L. I., Congregationalist. He was graduated at Yale 1822; began his theological studies at Andover and continued them while acting as tutor at Yale 1825-26; was pastor of the Park Street Church, Boston, 1826-30; president of Illinois College, Jacksonville, Ill., 1830-44; pastor of the Salem Street Church, Boston, 1844-55, and editor of The Congregationalist 1849-1853; pastor at Galesburg, Ill., 1855-71; after 1871 resided in Brooklyn. He was lecturer on church institutions at the Chicago Theological Seminary (Congregational) 1859-66. In 1837 he defended the freedom of the press in the case of Elijah P. Lovejoy, an antislavery agitator at Alton, Ill.
Beecher, Henry Ward: (1813-1887) fourth son of Lyman Beecher; b. at Litchfield, Conn., Congregationalist. He was graduated at Amherst 1834, and at Lane Theological Seminary 1837; became pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Lawrenceburg, Ind., 1837, at Indianapolis 1839, and of Plymouth Church (Congregational), Brooklyn, 1847. The congregation was newly formed at that time, but soon became famed for its numbers and its influence, while Beecher attained to the position of the most popular and widely known preacher in America. As a public lecturer he was no less successful. In his sermons he disregarded conventionalities both in subject and manner. His wit and humor appeared in his preaching, which, nevertheless, was earnest and edifying, and revealed a great character, sincere and reverent; his public prayers in particular were truly devotional (cf. Prayers from Plymouth Pulpit, New York, 1867). No slight dramatic power, robust health and physical strength, and a striking personal appearance added to the effect of his eloquence. Personally he was a most estimable and attractive man, of generous instincts, of rare humanity, and catholic sympathies. He was active in the antislavery contest, but deprecated revolutionary measures. In 1863 he publicly advocated the Union cause in a series of addresses in the cities of England at a time when the sympathies of the people of England were strongly with the Southern Confederacy, and his success at this time before bitterly hostile audiences is one of the greatest feats of intellectual and oratorical achievement (these addresses were published as The American Rebellion: Report of the Speeches delivered in Manchester, etc., Manchester, 1864, and are reprinted in Patriotic Addresses from 1850 to 1885 by Henry Ward Beecher, edited, with a review of Mr. Beecher's personality and influence in public affairs, by John R. Howard, New York, 1889). "Beecher." December 3, 2003. http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc02/htm/iv.iv.lix.htm.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-96), daughter of Reverend Lyman Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut. Her mother, Roxanna Foote Beecher (1775-1816), died when Harriet was only five. Harriet was a school teacher before her marriage. Harriet was always interested in improving herself educationally and she pursued this same goal throughout her life. In Cincinnati, Harriet met and married Calvin Ellis Stowe, a theological professor at Lane Seminary. Six of the Stowes' seven children were born in Cincinnati. In 1850 Professor Stowe joined the faculty of his alma mater, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote much of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) in her husband's office at Bowdoin College. The book was prompted by the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law, which immediately focused anti-slavery sentiment in the North (CBD 1406).
6 We have located four letters from J.C. Learned, W-MCP5-6.337, W-MCP5-6.338, W-MCP5-6.382, W-MCP3-6.055, all dated in the Fall of 1859.