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[300] You must have great pleasure in the quiet genius of Irving.1 I was very much fascinated by him the only time that I ever had the pleasure of seeing him. It was during a pleasant excursion that I made with Prescott. My dear friend, the historian, has been pleased not a little by your thoughtful attentions to him, and has sent me a letter for you, in which he lays on you the burden of his gratitude. He is most amply provided with spoils from the archives which you searched. Most careful eyes have examined the archives of the Indies, and obtained from them all that was thought to illustrate the histories of Mexico and Peru. Prescott's copies of manuscripts amount to many volumes. His accumulations on the subject of Mexico and Peru ceased long ago. He is now making collections for the great work of his life,—the reign of Philip II. In this he was much aided by Sparks, during his last visit; by Edward Everett, at Florence; by Greene, at Rome; but above all by the learned Gayangos, now Professor of Arabic at Madrid (did you see him there?), who is employed specially to assemble all that he can find in the archives and libraries of Spain illustrative of this important reign.

Fame and fortune both descend upon Prescott. Bentley has paid him six hundred and fifty pounds for the ‘Conquest.’ He refused fifteen thousand dollars for it from the Harpers. They have paid him in cash seventy-five hundred dollars for the liberty of printing, during the first year, five thousand copies. There have been generous salvos of criticism from all quarters. Perhaps no work was ever saluted so warmly from such numerous points of the country. But he deserves it all. He is simple, warm-hearted, generous, and refined. He is a fastidious gentleman. Indeed, I think—and I have more than once told him so—that, in his ‘History of Ferdinand and Isabella,’ the gentlemanly element is particularly apparent. You may read the volumes which poor Dr. Dunham2 has made on the ‘History of Spain,’ and you will say that he is learned, sagacious, and inquisitive,—that he is even a good scholar,—but you miss that aroma which comes from refined life, and the sweet tone of the gentleman. He was here not long since. . . . We are all glad to hear that your face is now set homewards. You will find great changes in Boston. The place is much improved since you have seen it; and yet I suspect it will seem to you smaller than it once did. Your European optics will not magnify things among us.

Ever yours,

C. S.

To his brother George.

Boston, March 1, 1844.
my dear George,—I have but one moment for a scrawl to you. We are all stunned this morning by the intelligence of the death of Upshur, Secretary of State, and of Gilmer, Secretary of Navy, by the explosion of a Paixhan-gun on board of the ‘Princeton.’ So this engine, formed for war,


1 Minister to Spain, 1842-46.

2 S. Astley Dunham; he died in 1858.

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