August 24 1816: Gothic Darkness

 Your letters of Dec. 20. 14. and May 11. 16. are yet to be acknoleged: and my thanks to be returned for the book which accompanied the former on the subject of Great Britain and America. that able exposition prepared the European mind for receiving truths more favorable to us, and subsequent events have furnished facts corroborating those views. I believe that America, & bythis time England also are more justly appreciated. some greatly enlightened minds in Europe are in science far beyond any thing we possess; but leaving them out of the account (& they are but few) the mass of their people, within which term I include from the king to the beggar, is returning to Gothic darkness while the mass of ours is advancing in the regions of light. during the paroxysm of Anglomany lately raging in Bordeaux you must have had a mortifying time. that rage cannot last. the English character is not of that cast which makes itself be loved.

— Thomas Jefferson writes to William Lee, 24 August 1816

August 18 1816: We Talk of Ghosts

Percy Shelley writes:

Geneva, Sunday, 18th August, 1816.

See Apollo’s Sexton, who tells us many mysteries of his trade. We talk of Ghosts. Neither Lord Byron nor M. G. L. seem to believe in them; and they both agree, in the very face of reason, that none could believe in ghosts without believing in God. I do not think that all the persons who profess to discredit these visitations, really discredit them; or, if they do in the daylight, are not admonished by the approach of loneliness and midnight, to think more respectfully of the world of shadows. Continue reading