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1 Mr. Prescott, not then personally known to Sumner, wrote to him, April 18, 1839: ‘Our friend Hillard read to me yesterday some extracts from a recent letter of yours, in which you speak of your interviews with Mr. Ford, who is to wield the scalping-knife over my bantling in the “Quarterly.” I cannot refrain from thanking you for your very efficient kindness towards me in this instance, as well as for the very friendly manner in which you have enabled me to become acquainted with the state of opinion on the literary merits of my History in London. It is, indeed, a rare piece of good fortune to be thus put in possession of the critical judgments of the most cultivated society who speak our native language. Such information cannot be gathered from reviews and magazines, which put on a sort of show-dress for the public, and which are very often, too, executed by inferior hands. Through my friend Ticknor first, and subsequently through you, I have had all the light I could desire; and I can have no doubt that to the good-natured offices of both of you I am indebted for these prestiges in my favor, which go a good way towards ultimate success. . . . Thanks to your friendly interposition [referring to a forthcoming review of the “Ferdinand and Isabella” in the “Quarterly ” ], I have no doubt this will be better than they deserve; and, should it be otherwise, I shall feel equally indebted to you.’—Prescott's ‘Life,’ pp. 339, 340.
2 The ‘Voices of the Night’ was not published till 1839.
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