Saturday, October 29, 2016

William Cullen Bryant to Mrs. Charlotte Field of England, July 20, 1864

Roslyn, July 20th.

I am glad, and so is Frances, to see that your feelings are with our country in this calamitous war. You have seen, I suppose, enough to convince you that our Government and people are resolved that it shall end in but one way — the absolute submission of those who are in arms against them. We think we see this conclusion of the war at no very great distance. The news of our country, when circulated in England, is, in many instances, much discolored by passing through unfriendly channels. One of the worst consequences of this distortion of facts, and of the hostile comments so often made by your press upon almost every event of our war, is a growing animosity toward Great Britain. Some of us take great pains to distinguish the British nation, so far as relates to this matter, from the British government, and the British aristocracy from the British people; but it is not the great majority of newspaper readers who will attend to these distinctions.

Meanwhile, we are here at Roslyn, in a place where we know little of the war save by rumor, and where the world goes on, or almost stands still, just as it did when you were last here. Birds sing, and the cicada sounds his shrill note from the neighboring tree, and grapes swell, and pears ripen, just as they did then, and children are born, and old people and the sick die in their beds, just as if there were no war. I wish you were here a little while to see how peaceful the place is, and how much pleasanter we have made it, and to join in our prayers that every part of our country may soon be as tranquil.

SOURCE: Parke Godwin, A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, Volume 1, p. 210-1

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