Roslyn, May 14th
My wife and I read your second “Talk with the Camp” together, and were much edified. She thought you had written nothing better, and I was half inclined to agree with her. You cannot think how it consoles me and puts me in spirits when I see an old fellow at your time of life outdoing himself. I read the lives of literary Englishmen, and find them nearly good for nothing after a certain age that shall be nameless, and the effect is dispiriting. I declare I think that the intellect here retains its vigor longer in this country than in theirs, with all their boasts of the healthfulness of their climate.
As to the necessity of wars, I find it somewhat difficult to go along with you. It does not seem to me that they are more necessary than religious persecutions. Henry IV of France was wise beyond his age when he contemplated a tribunal for settling the differences between nations without a resort to force. But we have wars whether they be necessary or not, just as we have had religious persecutions, imprisonments, and burnings for heresy. And, while we have wars, we must try to extract what good from them we can.
SOURCE: Parke Godwin, A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, Volume 1, p. 194-5