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Although Brown spent in all some five days in Concord, as my guest, or Emerson's, or Thoreau's, I doubt if Channing ever saw him. He was living in New Bedford when Brown first came to spend a few days with me; and on his second visit, in May, 1859, although Channing had then returned to his house at Concord, he was not in the habit of going to public meetings, and he did not call on me while Brown was at my boarding-house, near the Fitchburg Railroad station. But he had heard much of Brown's unusual character, from Thoreau, bis most intimate friend, from Emerson and from Alcott; and he had read all the lives of Brown including my thick volume, published a year before this volume was printed. And I may say that there was no part of the world where Brown's true character was better known and valued than in our little town, We enjoyed then the presence of two or three men who had that intimate and prescient knowledge of mankind which is the privilege of genius. The human being who could elude or deceive the searching gaze of Emerson was rarely seen; and Thoreau, with more prepossessions, and a certain perver. sity of wit, had much the same clear vision. Hawthorne was a third in that circle who possessed the same insight into character; but he never saw Brown. Alcott and Channing in a less degree shared the same faculty. When therefore men who never saw Brown, or who are as destitute of any faculty of judging mankind as the owl is of daylight vision, undertake to give their account of Brown's insignificance, insanity or crimes, - if their statement reaches my intelligence at all, - I fall back on the judgment passed upon him by these masters in penetration and judicial fairness. Their view of Brown, with some softening from the gentler pathos of Channing's mood, is taken in these rude verses, and if each person does not stand out with clearness in these dialogues and soliloquies it is because Channing used a dialect capricious and rather vague, though sometimes as startling in its revelations as in the unlike roughness and abruptness of Browning's contorted verse.
In behalf of the PRESIDENT, Mr. Ford presented for publication an address made in 1841 by John Quincy Adams on the War between Great Britain and China. The manuscript was recently sent to the President by Miss Palfrey, who found it
among the papers of her father, John G. Palfrey, where it had lain since the address was delivered. The history of the manuscript was briefly as follows:
The idea of writing upon the war between Great Britain and China had first been suggested to Mr. Adams by Dr. Palfrey, then editor of the North American Review," who intended to print the essay in that periodical. For nearly a year Mr. Adams had worked upon the subject at such intervals as be could find, and the article was nearly finished when, on November 11, 1841, Dr. Shattuck and Dr. Lowell, successively, came to him to ask him to deliver the opening lecture in a course instituted by the Massachusetts Historical Society. The invitation was accepted, and in the eleven days allowed to him the essay was completed, closing, as he says, abruptly, hardly having passed the threshold of his subject. He outlined a series of three papers on the topic, but under his readings the scope expanded, and he realized that his point of view would not be that then generally prevalent in the United States. On the evening of Monday, November 22, the address was delivered in Masonic Temple, which was * crowded to overflowing."3 An editorial summary appeared in the “ Boston Courier,” November 25, which opened by saying that the lecture “was calculated to excite the surprize of most of the audience,” by its point of view, and closed with the paragraph,
We are not sure that we have given the full train of reflections, or the argument; but by this abstract we are confident that our readers may gather some accurate notion of the substance of the lecture, which occupied one hour and twenty minutes in the delivery, to as crowded an auditory, notwithstanding the torrents of rain, as was probably ever assembled within the walls of the Temple on any similar occasion.
What followed is related in the Adams Diary:
Mr. P. Q. Mason brought me a letter from George Roberts, editor of the Times and Notion newspaper, requesting permission for Mr. Mason to read my last evening's lecture to make an abstract of it for the newspaper, as he had not been able to get a seat last evening to take notes. I told him I had lent the manuscript, but if he would call
1 Proc., II. 226.
2 Memoirs, XI. 30. 8 Daily Advertiser and Patriot, November 23, 1841. See also Memoirs, xi. 30.
to-morrow morning at nine, he should have the perusal of it. November 23, 1841.)
Mr. Mason from the Times and Notion Office called this morning for the manuscript of my lecture, which I lent him to make an abstract for publication in the newspaper. I pointed out to him the parts which I had omitted in the delivery, and requested him not to notice them. He said he was (would) not; but said if I would consent he would publish all that I did deliver. I declined, having promised it to Dr. Palirey as an article in the North American Review. ... After dinner Dr. N. L. Frothingham and Mr. Gould, a committee from the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, came with an earnest invitation to me, to repeat my lecture on the Chinese War before that Society next Friday evening, to which I consented. The lecture was so different from what was expected, and from the opinions prevailing here, that it has produced what is called a sensation, not of approbation, but of curiosity. (November 24, 1811.]
A quarter before seven Dr. Frothingham came, and I went with him to the Masonic Temple, and delivered before the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, the lecture on the War between Great Britain and China. Immediately before, Mr. T. B. Smith had called, and intreated me to deliver it again tomorrow evening before the Boston Lyceum, at the Marlborough chapel. I told him that I had an engagement for tomorrow evening; but asked him to call tomorrow morning at nine for a definitive answer. The Temple this evening was not crowded, and scarcely filled; but the lecture was well received. (November 26, 1841.]
He declined the Lyceum on the following morning, because of an engagement, but he was informed by Harriet Welsh that " in the Times newspaper of this morning (November 27 ) there was a promise to publish in the Notion of next Friday, the whole of my lecture on the Chinese War.” The manuscript was sent to Dr. Palfrey on Sunday, November 28, “ with authority to use it at his pleasure."
The notice in the Boston Times of an intended publication in full of the Lecture greatly disturbed Mr. Adams, who had promised the manuscript to the North American Review, and had expressly restricted the reporter from the Times to a mere summary of its features. The Boston Notion was one of those huge blanket sheets which prevailed at that time,
1 Peter Augustus Jay also asked, on behalf of the New York IIistorical Society, that thie lecture be given in New York, “at such time and on such terms as will be agreeable to yourself.” - November 26, 1841, us.
and boasted of being the “ largest mammoth weekly published in America.” It was made up of essays, sermons, and serial stories, with little advertising, and at this time was filled by borrowings from abroad as well as from home, the novels of Lever, Dickens, Bulwer, and James finding place in its columns.
In this year a smaller sheet, known as the “ Quarto Notion, or Roberts' Weekly Journal of American and Foreign Literature, Fine Arts and General News," was published weekly from the same office, and in the issue (1. No. 9) for Saturday, December 4, 1811, the Adams lecture appeared in full, occupying three full pages, or fifteen columns, of the sheet. How the misunderstanding, to use no stronger term, about the use of the Adams manuscript arose, is explained in the letters received from the reporter and publisher :
Times Office, Saturday Evening.1 SIR, - Regretting exceedingly that misconception on my part, should give to you cause for the slightest offence, may I Hatter myself that the following explanation will not be deemed wholly uusatisfactory. Ou delivering Mr. Roberts note at your house on Tuesday I was ignoraut of its contents but believed it to contain a request for permission to publish your lectures at full length, a permission which it was my impression was granted during the short (conversation) with which you honored me on the same day. On Wednesday morning, you said
you did not wish it published entire for the present, and again I misconceived you, as I supposed you merely meant a delay until after the secoud delivery. In this I was confirmed from several of the morning papers having given garbled and imperfect votices of the first. I was to blame. I should have been more particular in my enquiries as to
On returning to the office on Wednesday Morning having out business to attend I left the MS. for Mr. Roberts with a verbal message for Mr. Roberts that in the daily you wished merely extracts to appear, but this message was unfortunately not accurately delivered, and the work was at once put into the hands of the Composi
got up and corrected from copy. I was obliged to absent myself from business in consequence of a severe Rheumatic attack and remained in ignorance of what was done until Friday, when I saw it announced for publication in " The Notion” of next week. The announcement has brought in a vast quantity of extra orders for the
1 Endorsed, 25 November, 1841.
paper, and Mr. Roberts having had to leave Town this afternoon on business, I am placed in a most awkward situation. In short, if the Lecture is not published the credit of the paper will be much lessened after so positive a promise from the Proprietors. You can form some idea of the manner in which it has been got up from the appearance of the accompanying paper. Mr. R. will cheerfully publish it in pamphlet or any other form if you wish. I know this explanation must appear imperfect, but at this moment I am suffering excruciating pain and incapable of writing as I would wish. Pain which will be much increased if I am not fortunate enough to obtain your sanction to publish.
Regretting sincerely the error I have committed, I have the honor to be, Sir, with unfeigoed Respect, Your most obed. Servant
Puilip Q. Mason."
ROBERTS TO Mason.
Jones Hotel, PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 30, 1841
12 o'clock Midnight. Dear Sir, I received your note this afternoon at 4 o'clock at the Sun office (too late for me to answer it by the steamboat mail) informing me that Mr. Adams had written me a letter which Mr. Kettel in my absence opened, the tenor of which letter forbade my publishing Mr. Adams Lecture on the China question.
Mr. Adams came on to this city in the Cars with me this evening, and I have this moment had an interview with him on the subject. He says he never authorised you to use the MS. entire for the very important reason that it had been some time previously promised to Mr. Palfrey, the Editor of the North American Review. Indeed he farther states that he first wrote on the subject at Mr. Palfrey's desire, and that it was merely accidental that he embodied it in a Lecture.
Under these circumstances I fear you were mistaken in Mr. Adams offering you the privilege of giving it to me for publication entire in the Notion, and I am convinced it is justly the property of Mr. Palfrey.
I therefore request that you cause its publication to be stopped, if it
1 "When I put the manuscript into his (Mason's) hands, he asked me if I was willing that you should publish the whole. I answered explicitly and positively No. That I could consent only to such an abstract as you had requested he might be enabled to make; nor did I even offer to allow him the perusal of any subsequent lecture that I may hereafter deliver on the same subject. I could make no such engagement, having already promised the manuscript to another person. I therefore forbid the publication in the Notion of next Friday, which I could not but consider as a violation of the confidence which I had reposed in Mr. Mason by the loan of the manuscript at your request.” – John Quincy Adams to George Roberts, November 27, 1841. He had declined an offer to print made by William Hayden, Editor of the “ Atlas."