Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882). The Complete Works. 1904.
Vol. I. Nature, Addresses and Lectures


THE YEAR after Mr. Emerson’s death, Mr. Cabot, in editing his works, gathered into a volume the occasional writings which had never been included in previous editions, although six of them had been printed, either as pamphlets or in periodicals, long before, by the author. These were the Sermon on The Lord’s Supper, the Historical Address at Concord in 1835, that at the dedication of the Soldiers’ Monument there in 1867, and that on Emancipation in the British West Indies, the Essay on War, and the Editors’ Address in the Massachusetts Quarterly Review, “American Civilization” had been a portion of the article of that name in the Atlantic in 1862. “The Fortune of the Republic” also had been printed as a pamphlet in 1874. Mr. Cabot said in his prefatory note, “In none was any change from the original form made by me, except in the ‘Fortune of the Republic,’ which was made up of several lectures, for the occasion upon which it was read.” This was after Mr. Emerson was no longer able to arrange his work and his friends had come to his aid.

The speeches at the John Brown, the Walter Scott, and the Free Religious Association meetings had been printed, probably with Mr. Emerson’s consent. The other pieces included by Mr. Cabot, namely, the speeches on Theodore Parker, the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln, at the Harvard Commemoration, “Woman,” the addresses to Kossuth, and at the Burns Festival, had not been published.

All that were in Mr. Cabot’s collection will be found here, although the order has been slightly changed. To these I have added Mr. Emerson’s letter to President Van Buren in 1838, his speech on the Fugitive Slave Law in Concord soon after its enactment, that on Shakspeare to the Saturday Club, and his remarks at the Humboldt Centennial, and at the dinner to the Chinese Embassy; also the addresses at the consecration of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and at the opening of the Concord Free Public Library. The oration before the New England Society of New York in 1870, printed by them in their recent volume, is not included, as most of the matter may be found in the Historical Discourse at Concord and in the essay “Boston,” in Natural History of Intellect.

I have given to the chapters mottoes, the most of them drawn from Mr. Emerson’s writings.