25 January 1844. New York, N.Y.
The New-York Daily Tribune reviews the January issue of the Dial, comments on Thoreau’s contributions, and includes an extended excerpt from Thoreau’s comments on Homer and Ossian:
The number before us has papers on ‘The Modern Drama’ and ‘Tantalus’ by Ralph W. Emerson; on ‘The Youth of the Poet and the Painter,’ by W. Ellery Channing; on ‘Brook Farm,’ by Charles Lane; on Poetry, with a Literal translation of Pindar, by Henry D. Thoreau, which would be gems in any living work… We deeply desire to quote many pages, by different writers, from this number, but must be content for to-day with the following extracts from a Lecture on Poetry, by H. D. Thoreau, a young disciple and companion of Emerson, in whom the true spirit of the author’s philosophy is reproduced, without the egotism and indifference to practical ills which we have regretted to see it cherish in less genial natures . . .
after 7 February 1844. Concord, Mass.
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:
Precisely what the painter or the sculptor or the epic rhapsodist feels, I feel in the presence of this house, which stands to me for the human race, the desire, namely, to express myself fully, symmetrically, gigantically to them, not dwarfishly & fragmentarily. H.D.T., with whom I talked of this last night, does not or will not perceive how natural is this, and only hears the word Art in a sinister sense.
(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 9:71)
early March 1844. Concord, Mass.
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:
H.D.T. said, he knew but one secret which was to do one thing at a time, and though he has his evenings for study, if he was in the day inventing machines for sawing his plumbago, he invents wheels all the evening & night also; and if this week he has some good reading & thoughts before him, his brain runs on that all day, whilst pencils pass through his hands.
(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 9:77)
8 and 9 March 1844. Boston, Mass.
The Boston Courier, Boston Evening Mercantile Journal, and Boston Post advertize Thoreau’s lecture to be given at Amory Hall 10 March.
Sunday Lectures at Amory Hall
Henry D. Thoreau, of Concord, will lecture at Amory Hall, in the Morning and Evening of Sunday next.
(Studies in the American Renaissance 1995, 144)
The discussion of Non-Resistance will be continued in the Afternoon.
Hours of meeting, 10 1/2 A.M., 2 1/2 and 7 1/2 P.M. The public are invited to attend. A Collection will be taken to defray the expenses.
10 March 1844. Boston, Mass.
Thoreau lectures at 10:30 am and 7:30 pm at Amory Hall, Boston, on “Conservatives and Reformers” (Studies in the American Renaissance 1995, 143-5).
25 April to 16 June 1844. Concord, Mass.
Isaac Thomas Hecker boards with the Thoreau family while studying Classics with George Partridge Bradford (Isaac T. Hecker: The Diary, 372 note 186).
26 April 1844. Concord, Mass.
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to Margaret Fuller:
Henry Thoreau has been showing me triumphantly how much cheaper & every way wiser it would be to publish the book [Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes] ourselves paying the booksellers only a simple commission for vending it & conducting personally the correspondence with distant booksellers;—but such heroisms are not for me this spring.
(The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 3:250)
30 April 1844. Concord, Mass.
After a boat trip on the Sudbury River, Thoreau and Edward Sherman Hoar decide to stop at Fair Haven Bay to cook some fish they had caught earlier in the day. They start a fire that quickly spreads to the surrounding woods (The Days of Henry Thoreau, 159-62). See entry 3 May.
3 May 1844. Concord, Mass.
The Concord Freeman prints the following article:
Fire in the Woods.—A fire broke out in the woods near Fairhaven Pond, in this town, about ten o’clock, last Tuesday forenoon. It extended with great rapidity, and was not subdued until late in the afternoon. The extent of ground over which the fire prevailed, is variously estimated, the lowest estimate placing it at not less than 300 acres. The damage is estimated at about $2000, and falls principally upon Mr A. H. Wheeler, Mr Cyrus Hubbard, and Mr Darius Hubbard. Several other person have lost something by the disaster, but not so largely as the gentlemen named. Mr Wheeler had some sixty cords of wood which had been cut and pile, destroyed. Our citizens turned out very generally, and labored with great zeal and efficiency to stay the progress of the fire. Their labors were crowned with all the success that could have been expected, when we consider the exceeding dryness of the woods,—there having been no rain of consequence for weeks,—and the difficulties against which they had to contend. By trenching, beating the fire with pine branches, and lighting ‘back firs,’ all of which was done coolly and systematically, a large quantity of property was saved, and the fire prevented from spreading. The fire at times made a very magnificent appearance, but as it was mainly confined to the young wood, underbrush, and leaves, it could not have been see at any very great distance. Dense clouds of smoke rose at times, and gave the impression that he fire was more destructive than it really was. We were forcibly reminded of the scene in Cooper’s ‘Pioneer,’ in which a burning forest is so graphically described.
The fire, we understand, was communicated to the thoughtlessness of two of our citizens, who kindled it in a pine stump, near the Pond.
(Concord Freeman, 3 May 1844:2)
6 May 1844. Concord, Mass.
Isaac Thomas Hecker writes in his journal:
If I had known that Henry Thoreau had taught the G. & L languages [Greek and Latin] I should have selected him instead of Mr Bradford [George Partridge Bradford] if I had known what I now know. Mr Thoreau has a better knowledge of languages, has more leisure, takes a delight in languages. Mr Bradford comes here when he has been tired out by his School, simply hears me recite, gives me scarcely any valuable information on the structure and nature of the languages; and does not awaken any keen interest in my study; whereas from H. T. a few moments conversation gave me more instruction and delight than all that G.P.B has ever said to me on the subject. G.P.B has so much other business that takes up his mind that when he comes here I feel as if he felt his time was lost and that he is desirous to get away as soon as he can. He comes after 12 and has to take diner at one. Would he accept willingly that H T should take his place? I cannot say, I fear not, or he would have told me of Thoreau situated as he is.
(Isaac T. Hecker: The Diary, 177)
8 May 1844. Concord, Mass.
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:
H.’s conversation consisted of a continual coining of the present moment into a sentence & offering it to me. I compared it to a boy who from the universal snow lying on the earth gathers up a little in his hand, rolls it into a ball, & flings it at me . . .
H.D.T. said that the other world was all his art; that his pencils would draw no other; that his jackknife would cut nothing else. He does not use it as a means.
Henry is a good substantial childe, not encumbered with himself. He has no troublesome memory, no wake, but lives extempore, & brings today a new proposition as radical & revolutionary as that of yesterday, but different. The only man of leisure in the town. He is a good Abbot Samson: & carries counsel in his breast. If I cannot show his performance much more manifest than that of the other grand promisers, at least I can see that with his practical faculty, he has declined all the kingdoms of this world. Satan has no bribe for him.
(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 9:101-3)
18 May 1844. New York, N.Y.
The New-York Daily Tribune publishes the following notice:
The Dial, the most original and thoughtful periodical ever published in this country, has suspended its issues for the present — finally, unless a considerable accession be made to its subscription, which has ever been very limited, although including many of the noblest minds in this Country and some in Europe. It has been sustained for three years by the free-will contributions of Ralph W. Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Wm. Ellery Channing, Theodore Parker, Charles Lane, John S. Dwight, Chas. A. Dana, H. D. Thoreau, Elizabeth P. Peabody, and others of the deepest thinkers and most advanced minds in our country. Two complete sets only of this work are for sale in this City, by W. H. Graham, 160 Nassau street, for $3 each, (subscription price, $12,) and they ought to be promptly secured for our best Libraries, as there are but a few sets in existence, and the work will yet be prized, not more highly but more widely, than it has yet been.
Thoreau takes a walking tour from Shelburne Falls, down the Deerfield River Valley, to Hoosac Mountain and the rest of the Berkshires and the Catskills, meeting William Ellery Channing en route at the foot of Mount Greylock (Emerson Society Quarterly 21 (1975):82-92; The First and Last Journeys of Thoreau, 30-1).
I once saw the day break from the top of Saddle-back Mountain in Massachusetts, above the clouds. As we cannot distinguish objects through this dense fog, let me tell this story more at length.
I had come over the hills on foot and alone in serene summer days, plucking the raspberries by the wayside, and occasionally buying a loaf of bread at a farmer’s house, with a knapsack on my back which held a few traveler’s books and a change of clothing, and a staff in my hand. I had that morning looked down from the Hoosac Mountain, where the road crosses it, on the village of North Adams in the valley three miles away under my feet, showing how uneven the earth may sometimes be, and making it seem an accident that it should ever be level and convenient for the feet of man…
[Thoreau] sometimes went as far as homeliness; which again, even if there be a prejudice against it, shines out at times beyond a vulgar sense. Thus, he alludes those who pass the night on a steamer’s deck, and see the mountains in moonlight; and he did this himself once on the Hudson, at the prow, when, after a “hem” or two, the passenger who stood next inquired in good faith: “Come, now, can’t ye lend me a chaw o’ baccy?” He looked like a shipmate. It was on another Albany steamboat that he walked the deck hungrily, among the fine gentlemen and ladies, eating upon a half-loaf of bread, his dinner for the day, and very late.
(Thoreau the Poet-Naturalist, 34)
Thoreau writes in his journal 5 July 1845:
I lodged at the house of a saw-miller last summer, on the Caatskill Mountains, high up as Pine Orchard, in the blueberry and raspberry region, where the quiet and cleanliness and coolness seemed to be all one,—which had their ambrosial character. He was the miller of the Kaaterskill Falls. They were a clean and wholesome family, inside and out, like their house. The latter was not plastered, only lathed, and the inner doors were not hung. The house seemed high-placed, airy, and perfumed, fit to entertain a travelling god. It was so high, indeed, that all the music, the broken strains, the waifs and accompaniments of tunes, that swept over the ridge of the Caatskills, passed through its aisles.
30 July 1844. New York?, N.Y.
Isaac Thomas Hecker writes in his journal:
We have in good earnest this afternoon commenced a Novena for the purpose of making a pilgrimage to Rome. To work, beg, and travel on foot so far as land goes to Rome.
The idea has seized me and I should not hesitate to start to morrow on the journey. I mean to write to Henry Thoreau on the subject. We know of no pleasanter better way both for soul and body than to make such a pilgrimage in the old middle age fashion. Suffer hunger storm cold heat thirst all that can affect the body of flesh. If we receive hard usage rough knocks etc. much the better will it be for us. Why thump ones flesh here; let it be done by others while in the mean time your soul is looking on higher objects: We like the idea it is a much better one than a monastery or any kind of seclusion. What if my friends should oppose it there is only another difficulty added to many more the impossible is unknown. We say o. We feel we have the stuff to do it in us. We say we should love to work and beg our way to Rome if it costs us ten or fifteen years of our life.
It is the best thing we can now do. We have a good constitution can live on bread and water why can’t we take a walk over the fairest portions of this Earth planet and make it our by seeing it. It would be so for more than the owners cannot do. We say again go.
We would say if H.T. should consent to go therefore it was we were sent to Concord. Who knows. Horatio etc. “God works by mysterious ways”. We will write to Henry Thoreau. Nothing is impossible.
We cannot write to him now the idea is too strong for us. We take no supper tonight as a preface to a large edition of the same in future.
We have talent to do this we know, and do it we can, and do it we may.
(Isaac T. Hecker: The Diary, 232-3)
31 July 1844. New York, N.Y.
Isaac Thomas Hecker writes to Thoreau:
It was not altogether the circumstance of our immediate physical nearness, tho this may [have] been the consequence of a higher affinity, that inspired us to commune with each other. This I am fully sensible since our seperation [sic]. Oftentimes we observe ourselves to be passive or cooperative agents of profounder principles than we at the time ever dream of.
I have been stimulated to write to you at this present moment on account of a certain project which I have formed in which your influence has no slight share I imagine in forming. It is to work our passage to Europe, and to walk, work, and beg, if needs be, as far when there as we are inclined to do. We wish to see how it looks. And to court difficulties, for we feel an unknown depth of untried virgin strength which we know of no better way at the present time to call into activity and so dispose of. We desire to go without purse or staff, depending upon the all embracing love of God, Humanity, and the spark of courage imprisoned in us. Have we the will we have the strong arms, and hands, to work with, and sound feet to stand upon, and walk with. The heavens shall be our vaulted roof, and the green Earth beneath our bed, and for all other furniture purposes. These are free and may be so used. What can hinder us from going but our bodies, and shall they do it. We can as well deposit them there as here. Let us take a walk over the fairest portions of the planet Earth and make it ours by seeing them. Let us see what the genius and stupidity of our honored fore fathers have heaped up. We wish to kneel at their shrines and embrace their spirits and kiss the ground which they have hallowed with their presence. We shall prove the dollar is not almighty and the impossible moonshine. The wide world is before us beckoning us to come let us accept and embrace it. Reality shall be our antagonist and our lives if sold not at a good bargain for a certainty.
How does the idea strike you? I prefer at least to go this way before going farther in the woods. The past let us take with us. We reverence; we love it, but forget not that our eyes are in our face set to the beautiful unimagined future. Let us be Janus faced with a beard and beardless face. Will you accept this invitation? Let me know what your impressions are. As soon as it is your pleasure.
Remember me to your kind family. Tomorrow I take the first step towards becoming a visible member of the Roman Catholic Church.
If you and your good family do not become greater sinners I shall claim you all as good catholics, for she claims all baptized infants; all innocent children of every religious denomination; and all grown up Christians who have preserved their baptismal innocence, though they make no outward profession of the Catholic faith; are yet claimed as her children by the Roman Catholic Church.
Yours Very Truly
Thoreau replies 14 August.
Hecker also writes in his journal:
This afternoon we sent a letter to Henry Thoreau respecting a journey to Europe. (Isaac T. Hecker: The Diary, 233).
1 August 1844. Concord, Mass.
Ralph Waldo Emerson gives an address on “The emancipation of the Negroes in the British West Indies” and “Thoreau not only rang the bell, but previously had gone about the village, giving notice at the house-doors that Emerson would speak at the vestry”
5 August 1844. New York?, N.Y.
Isaac Thomas Hecker writes in his journal:
We have thought over our pilgrimage to Europe etc. and are still firmly inclined to undertake the journey if H.T. consents. (Isaac T. Hecker: The Diary, 236).
6 August 1844. New York?, N.Y.
Isaac Thomas Hecker writes in his journal:
We hope with great earnestness that H.T. will accept the invitation to go on the pilgrimage we have spoken of. It seems to be the act for me and we know of nothing better that we can do. (Isaac T. Hecker: The Diary, 237).
New York?, N.Y. Isaac Thomas Hecker writes in his journal:
I have not as yet rec’d any answer from H.T. I cannot imagine whether he is inclined to go or no . . .
I think that I should not hesitate to go to Europe if H.T. consents. Bishop McC. [McCloskey] who I spoke to concerning the pilgrimage tho’t that it might be very useful to me and seemed inclined in favor of it. He said tho it would be surely necessary for me to have some money on which I could depend that in some circumstances I could not get along without it. My brothers tell me that it is impossible for them to spare anything out from the bussiness. This would not hinder me from going. We should go as far as we could go. Across the Sea we certainly could get. We do not value this life or ours at a dear rate. We trust that H.T. will go.
(Isaac T. Hecker: The Diary, 242)
Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in reply to Isaac Thomas Hecker’s letter of 31 July:
I am glad to hear your voice from that populous city and the more so for the tenor of its discourse. I have but just returned from a pedestrian excursion [Thoreau’s walking tour with Ellery Channing to the Berkshires and the Catskills], some what similar to that you propose, parvis componere magna, to the Catskill mountains, over the principal mountains of this state, subsisting mainly on bread and berries, and slumbering on the mountain tops. As usually happens, I now feel a slight sense of dissipation. Still I am strongly tempted by your proposal and experience a decided schism between my outward and inward tendencies. Your method of travelling especially — to live along the road — citizens of the world, without haste or petty plans — I have often proposed this to my dreams, and still do — But the fact is, I cannot so decidedly postpone exploring the Farther Indies, which are to be reached you know by other routs and other methods of travel. I mean that I constantly return from every external enterprise with disgust to fresh faith in a kind of Brahminical Artesian, Inner Temple, life. All my experience, as yours probably, proves only this reality.
Channing wonders how I can resist your invitation, I, a single man—unfettered—and so do I. Why—there are Roncesvalles, the cape de Finisterre, and the three kings of Cologne; Rome, Athens, & the rest—to be visited in serene untemporal hours—and all history to revive in one’s memory as he went by the way with splendors too bright for this world—I know how it is. But is not here too Roncesvalles with greater lustre? Unfortunately it may prove dull and desultory weather enough here, but better trivial days with faith than the fairest ones lighted by sunshine alone. Perchance my wanderjahre has not arrived. But you cannot wait for that. I hope you will find a companion who will enter as heartily into your schemes as I should have done.
I remember you, as it were, with the whole Catholic church at your skirts—And the other day for a moment I think I understood your relation to that body, but the thought was gone again in a twinkling, as when a dry leaf falls from its stem over our heads, but instantly lost in the rustling mass at our feet.
I am really sorry that the Genius will not let me go with you, but I trust that it will conduct to other adventures, and so if nothing prevents we will compare notes at last.
Hecker replies on 15 August.
Henry D. Thoreau.
15 August 1844. New York, N.Y.
Isaac Thomas Hecker writes in reply to Thoreau’s letter of 14 August:
I know not but that I shall receive an answer to the letter I sent you a fortnight ago before you will receive this one, however as the idea of making an indefinite pedestrian tour on the other side of the Atlantic has in all possible ways increased in my imagination and given me a desire to add a few more words on the project I will do it in the hope of stimulating you to a decision. How the thought has struck you I know not, its impractibility or impossibility in the judgment of others would not I feel assured deter you in any way from the undertaking, it would rather be a stimulus to the purpose I think in you as it is in me. Tis impossible; Sir, therefore we do it. The conceivable is possible, it is in harmony with the inconceivable, we should act. Our true life is in the can-not, to do what we can do is to do nothing, is death. Silence is much more respectable than repetition. The idea of making such a tour I have opened to one or two who I thought might throw some light on the subject. I asked the opinion of the Catholic Bishop [John McCloskey] who has travelled considerable in Europe but I find that in every man there are certain things within him which are beyond the ken & counsel of others. The age is so effeminate that it is too timid to give heroic counsel. It neither will enter the kingdom of heaven or have others to do so. I feel, and believe you feel so too, that to doubt the ability to realize such a thought is only worthy of a smile & pity. We feel ourself mean in conceiving such a feasable [sic] thing and would keep it silent. This is not sufficient self abandonment for our being, scarce enough to affect it. To die is easy, scarce worth a thought, but to be and live is an inconceivable greatness. It would be folly to sit still and starve from mere emptiness, but to leave behind the casement in battling for some hidden idea is an attitude beyond conception a monument more durable than the chisel can sculptor. I imagine us walking among the past and present greatness of our ancestors (for the present in fact the present of the old world to us is ancient) doing reverence to their remaining glory. If tho I am inclined to bow more lowly to the spiritual hero than the exhibition of great physical strength still not all of that primitive heroic blood of our forefathers has been lost before it reached our veins. We feel it exult some times as tho it were cased in steel and the huge broad axe of Co[e]ur de Lion seems glitter[i]ng before us and we awake in another world as in a dream. I know of no other person but you that would be induced to go on such an excursion. The idea and yourself were almost instantaneous. If needs be for a few dollars we can get across the ocean. The ocean, if but to cross this being like being it were not unprofitable. The Bishop thought it might be done with a certain amount of funds to depend on. If this makes it practible for others to us it will be but sport. It is useless for me to speak thus to you for if there are reasons for your not going they are others than these.
You will inform me how you are inclined as soon as practible. Half inclined I sometimes feel to go alone if I cannot get your company. I do not know now what could have directed my steps to Concord other than this. May it prove so. It is only the fear of death makes us reason of impossibilities. We shall possess all if we but abandon ourselves.
After 15 August 1844. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in reply to Isaac Thomas Hecker’s letter of 15 August:
I improve the occasion of my mothers sending to acknowledge the receipt of your stirring letter. You have probably received mine by this time. I thank you for not anticipating any vulgar objections on my part—Far travel, very far travel, or travail, comes near to the worth of staying at home—Who knows whence his education is to come! Perhaps I may drag my anchor at length, or rather when the winds which blow over the deep fill of my sails, may stand away for distant ports—for now I seem to have a firm ground anchorage, though the harbor is low-shored enough, and the traffic with the natives inconsiderable—I may be away to Singapoor by the next tide.
I like well the ring of your last maxim—“It is only the fear of death makes us reason of impossibilities”—and but for fear death itself is an impossibility.
Believe me I can hardly let it end so. If you do not go soon let me hear from you again.
Yrs in great haste
Henry D. Thoreau
16 August 1844. Darien, N.Y.
Isaac Thomas Hecker writes in his journal on 18 August:
The day before the 17 I sent him another letter before I rec’d an answer to my first. (Isaac T. Hecker: The Diary, 246).
17 August 1844. Darien?, N.Y.
Isaac Thomas Hecker writes in his journal on 18 August:
Yesterday I rec’d an answer to my letter from H. Thoreau. He declines going. He says he retires from all external activity in disgust, and that his life is more Brahminical, Artesian well, Inner Temple like. Such a tour has been one of his own dreams he says etc. etc . . . I think it is yet possible that he may make up his mind to go. However it is most likely he will not, and then I am set upon my wits again what to do. It seems almost impossible that this should fall through, for what else to conceive of I am at a loss. Should I undertake to study the Greek and Latin again to what end should I do it, none other than that of self-education. Probably if I cannot see any other thing, I may attempt to do this. Thoreau may yet decide to go.
(Isaac T. Hecker: The Diary, 246)
Hecker also writes to Orestes Brownson:
The project is going to Europe seems rather to increase as yet I have not heard from H.T. (The Brownson-Hecker Correspondence, 112).
23 August 1844. Darien, N.Y.
Isaac Thomas Hecker writes in his journal:
I have had a second answer from H.T. and he still declines going. All is well. We could go but are not very anxious to go. (Isaac T. Hecker: The Diary, 249).
5 September. New York, N.Y.
Isaac Thomas Hecker writes to Orestes Brownson:
My project of going to Europe has so far failed. Henry Thoreau is not disposed to go and under present circumstances I am not inclined to go on such a tour alone. (The Brownson-Hecker Correspondence, 114).
10 September 1844. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau’s father purchases a plot of land from David Loring:
David Loring to John Thoreau—Know all men by these Presents, That I, David Loring of Concord in the County of Middlesex Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in consideration of Twenty five dollars to me paid by John Thoreau, the receipt wherof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby give, grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said Thoreau a certain tract of land lying in said Concord bounded as follows commencing at the Southeasterly corner on a street and by land of Nathan W. Brook one hundred and seventy seven feet to a stake and stones, then westerly on land of the grantor one hundred and eighty feet to a stake and stones, then southerly on land of the grantor two hundred and five feet to said street, thence Easterly on said Street one hundred and seventy five feet to the bound first mentioned and containing about three fourths of an acres more or less.
To have and to hold the above granted premises with the privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging, to the said Thoreau, his heirs and assigns, to their use and behoof forever. And I the said Loring for myself and my heirs, executors and administrators, do covenant with the said Thoreau, his heirs and assigns that I lawfully seized in fee of the afore granted premises; that they are free from all incumbrances, that I have good right to sell and convey the same to the said Thoreau, his heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claims and demands of all persons.
In witness whereof, the said David Loring and Susan F. Loring wife of David in token of her relinquishment to right to Dower in the premises, have hereunto set our hands and seals this tenth day of September in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and forty four. Executed and delivered, David Loring (seal), Susan F. Loring (seal). in the presence of us, George Loring, Lydia A. Loring Middlesex ss. Sept. 10th, 1844. Then personally appeared the above named David Loring and acknowledged the above Instrument to his free (act) and deed, Before Me, Nathan Brooks, Justice of the Peace, Middlesex ss. Sept. 14, 1844. Rec’d & Recorded by Henry Stone (?), Reg.
12 September 1844. Concord, Mass.
John Thoreau borrows $500 from Augustus Tuttle to build a house on his newly purchased property:
John Thoreau to Aug. Tuttle
Know all Men by these Presents, That I, John Thoreau of Concord in the County of Middlesex and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Yeoman, in consideration of five hundred dollars paid by Augustus Tuttle of Concord aforesaid, Yeoman, the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge, do hereby give, grant, sell and convey unto the said Tuttle, a certain tract of land lying in said Concord as follows, commencing at the southeasterly corner on a street and by land of Nathan W. Brooks, running northerly on said Brooks land one hundred and seventy feet to a stake & stones, thence westerly on land of David Loring one hundred & eighty feet to a stake & stones, thence southerly on land of said Loring two hundred and five feet to said street, thence easterly on said street one hundred & seventy five feet to the bound first mentioned containing about three fourths of an acre with a dwelling house on the same.
To Have and to Hold the aforegranted premises to the said Augustus Tuttle, his heirs and assigns to his and their use and behoof forever. And I do covenant with the said Tuttle his heirs and assigns, that I am lawfully seized in fee of the aforegranted premises: that they are free of all incumbrances, that I have good right to sell and convey the same to the said Tuttle and that I will warrant and defend the same premises to the said Tuttle, his heirs & assigns forever, against the lawful claims and demands of all person. Provided nevertheless, That if the said John Thoreau, his heirs, executors or administrators pay to the said Tuttle, his heirs, executors, administrators or assigns the sum of five hundred dollars in five years with interest semi-annually, then this deed as also a certain note of hand bearing even date wills these presents given by the said Thoreau to the said Tuttle to pay the same sum of five hundred dollars & interest at the time aforesaid shall both be void; otherwise shall remain in full force. In witness whereof, I the said John Thoreau with Cynthia wife of said John who hereby releases her right of Dower in the premises, have hereunto set our hands and seals this first day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty four. Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of Helen L. Thoreau, Henry D. Thoreau – John Thoreau, (seal), Cynthia D. Thoreau (seal) Middlesex ss. September 12th 1844. Then the above named John Thoreau acknowledged the above Instrument to be his free act and deed – before me, Nathan Brooks, Justice of Peace. Middlesex ss. Sept. 14, 1844, Rec’d & Recorded by Henry Stone (?) Reg.
4 October 1844. Concord, Mass.
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to his brother William:
I have lately added an absurdity or two to my usual ones, which I am impatient to tell you of. In one of my solitary wood-walks by Walden Pond, I met two or three men who told me that they had come thither to sell & buy a field, on which they wished me to bid as purchaser. As it was on the shore of the pond, & now for years I had a sort of daily occupancy in it, I bid on it, & bought it, eleven acres for $8.10 per acre. The next day I carried some of my well beloved gossips to the same place & they deciding that the field was not good for anything, if Heartwell Bigelow should cut down his pine-grove, I bought for 125 dollars more, his pretty wood lot of 3 or 4 acres, and so am landlord & waterlord of 14 acres, more or less, on the shore of Walden, & can raise my own blackberries.
(The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 3:262-3)
14 October 1844. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes to James Munroe & Co.:
James Munroe & Co,
Please send me a dozen copies of Mr. [Ralph Waldo] Emerson’s Address by the bearer—
Henry D. Thoreau.
15 October 1844. Concord, Mass.
Ralph Waldo Emerson lists Thoreau among those to whom he is sending a copy of his second volume of Essays (The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 9:128).
28 October 1844. Concord, Mass.
A. Bronson Alcott writes to his brother Junius:
A few are looking on with hopeful interest, and need the braver hope and surer hands of some one or two, whom they love and trust, to engage in the good life… Henry Thoreau, is interested in our simple plan of life, and might, at times, be one of our house and field mates. (The Letters of A. Bronson Alcott, 114).
11 December 1844. New York, N.Y.
William Ellery Channing writes to Ralph Waldo Emerson:
I see more of [Giles] Waldo, last Saturday. We walked down to Staten Island. Here, is a good disorganized condition, a sort of moderate Thoreau, Thoreau with the Stoic & Pompous element dried out, but it cant bear fruit, anymore than Thoreau. These young men who know nothing about home or family, who dont know that home or family means, what can they do? Their hearts are not as hard as the nether mill stone, but they are as useless as if they were as hard. I dont pity them,nor care anything about them. They are blind; they are unfused.
(Studies in the American Renaissance 1989, 214)