writing should manifest itself in that section of the country where there were libraries, wealth, leisure for the pursuits of scholarship, a sense of intimate concern with the great issues of the past, and a diffusion of intellectual tastes throughout the community.
It was no accident that Sparks
, were Massachusetts
, it is true, inherited neither wealth nor leisure.
He was a furious, unwearied toiler in the field of our national history.
Born in 1789, by profession a Unitarian minister, he began collecting the papers of George Washington
, the great jurist, had published his five-volume life of his fellow Virginian a score of years earlier.
proceeded to write another biography of Washington
and to edit his writings.
He also edited a Library of American biography
, wrote lives of Franklin
and Gouverneur Morris
, was professor of history and President
, and lived to be seventy-seven.
As editor of the writings of Franklin
, he took what we now consider unpardonable liberties in altering the text, and this error of judgment has somewhat clouded his just reputation as a pioneer in historical research.