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[131] Those of many compromisers did. But he passed from the scene before the outbreak, and thus is crystallized as a figure detached from strife, a non-partisan, hard-working yet leisurely historian, sheltered from the hard things of life, almost untouched by his generation, endowed with the best New England could give to a few of her sons, and with the type of New England conscience that led him to use the talents he had but which also permitted him to hold aloof from his country's troubles as from something almost unclean.

Yet how many of his fellow-countrymen found his work grateful can be seen from the number of his books that were scattered over the land. Since 1837, editions of his books have appeared at frequent intervals. Exact figures seem difficult to obtain, but many thousand copies have been sold, while several editions of translations have appeared in Spain, in France, in Italy, in Germany, and in Holland.


II. Motley

John Lothrop Motley (1814-77) was like Prescott in being a son of Massachusetts and born with a silver spoon of pure Boston metal in his mouth. In each case New England gave to her child a heritage of sturdy character, of convinced opinions of the Channing school, of the finest lineage she had woven from British material; to birth-right she added the best quality of education that had thus far been evolved on her soil. Of this late post-colonial education it can be said that, full of short-comings as it was, it usually had this characteristic— its disciples were inspired with a desire for more. To each of these Bostonians fate granted the boon of remarkable personal beauty. These endowments fell, however, upon characters of somewhat different tendencies, while their lives took them over different courses. Prescott was a prisoner within the bounds of congenial private life, his professional activity limited to the area of his own book-room filled with the imported source-material which he could not go to seek; while Motley made his own researches, touched the past with his own fingers, so close did he come to the documents, and had, in addition, the stimulus of world contact, of hearing statesmen's voices, of activities of which Prescott was wholly ignorant.

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