We have, it is true, a common language. It is very convenient it should be so, just as it is very convenient to have a medium of exchange. It would hinder our buying and selling very much, if it were not so. It is also very important to have laws to punish those who injure their neighbours. These laws must be general, lest one class should gain the ascendency. We must also have a doctrine preached about future rewards and punishments. Of course about such an uncertain subject there can be little agreement; and therefore, if all compete in preaching, it will suit all tastes. We do not want a sense of national life. It is this indifference to it which we have been striving against thro' all generations. This common enemy unites us to all past ages; if we have lost sight of it, we lose the meaning of history. And this is the meaning of a Fast day. It speaks to us all as members of a nation; it tells us of a stronger bond than that of possessing a common enemy; that we possess a common Father; this gives prayer a meaning, and national life a reality. And this speaks to us individually. So long as we look upon the Emperor of Russia as our enemy we cannot expect to have to conquer him; (sic), and we cannot ask for help to do so" … Thank you for the promise of ferns. Bring several. Numbers here will be glad of them. We are having the garden dug, and shall be glad of all contributions. Can you bring a stone and a root from Mr. Mansfield's grave? … It is very late, past twelve (long).
March 27th, 1855.
To Emily.Thank you for your two dear letters. They interested me very much indeed. Have you read