[Boston—Friday, 31 July 1863]

July 31st Mr F. has been much occupied with an article upon De Quincey written with great ability, in which De Q. is called more erudite than Dr Johnson. This he thinks it will scarcely do to say although doubtless De Q. was acquainted with many things entirely unknown to Dr Johnson. The article has needed very careful revision. The height upon which De Q. justly stands must not be lessened by undue or unjust praise.

We have been in Concord this week making a short visit at the Hawthornes. He has just finished his volume of English Sketches about to be dedicated to Franklin Pierce. It is a beautiful incident in Hawthorne’s life the determination at all hazards to dedicate this book to his friend. Mr P’s politics at present shut him away from the faith of patriots but Hawthorne has loved him since college days and he will not relent. Mrs Hawthorne is the stay of the house. The wood work, the tables and chairs and pedestals are all ornamented by her artistic hand or what she has prompted her children to do. Una is full of exquisite maiden-hood. Julian was away but his beautiful illuminations lay upon the table. The one illustrating a portion of King Arthur’s address to Queen Guinivere (Tennyson) was remarkably fine.

Col. Higginson called to see us on his way to Worcester during his short furlough from South Carolina but we missed each other.

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