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[65] and he abstained from comparing it with any other English history on the same ground. He thought Prescott was too much in love with Isabella, and that his researches had stopped short with regard to the Moors. But Gayangos, perhaps, is too much in love with the Moors; he has devoted a great deal of time apparently to the study of their memorials, and is preparing something for publication with regard to them. He has been a great mouser in manuscripts, and says that he has some which would be very useful to Mr. Prescott, and which are entirely at his service. Among these is a collection of letters from the Great Captain. He has invited me to examine his treasures; but I fear that I shall fail in time.

At dinner Adolphus was as quiet as usual,—you know him as the friend of Scott,—and Macaulay was truly oppressive. I now understand Sydney Smith, who called Macaulay a tremendous machine for colloquial oppression. His memory is prodigious, surpassing any thing I have ever known, and he pours out its stores with an instructive but dinning prodigality. He passes from the minutest dates of English history or biography to a discussion of the comparative merits of different ancient orators, and gives you whole strophes from the dramatists at will. He can repeat every word of every article he has written, without prompting: but he has neither grace of body, face, nor voice; he is without intonation or variety; and he pours on like Horace's river, while we, poor rustics, foolishly think he will cease; and if you speak, he does not respond to what you say, but, while your last words are yet on your lips, takes up again his wondrous tale. He will not confess ignorance of any thing, though I verily believe that no man would ever have less occasion to make the confession. I have heard him called the most remarkable person of his age; and again the most overrated one. You will see that he has not left upon me an entirely agreeable impression; still I confess his great and magnificent attainments and powers.1 I wish he had more address in using them, and more deference for others. It is uncertain what he will do; he is now to a certain extent independent, with thirty thousand pounds, the spoils of India,—and fifteen thousand pounds, the legacy of a recently deceased uncle. Ministers have tried to bring him into Parliament, and to induce him to take office; but he stipulates for a seat in the Cabinet, which they, foolishly I think, are unwilling to grant: there are reports that at Easter this arrangement will be brought about. It was nearly one o'clock at night when we separated. I have several times seen in society your correspondent, Taylor,2 but without becoming acquainted. At Lady Davy's we were introduced. I at once told him that I had a near friend who had received a letter from him. He had received your letter, and wished me to say to you that he should be most happy to see you if you should ever visit England.

1 Greville, in his ‘Memoirs,’ Chap. XXX., Feb. 9, 1836, gives a description of Macaulay's conversation at this time, not unlike Sumner's. But he adds a note, in 1850, saying that then Macaulay was ‘a marvellous, an unrivalled (in his way), and a delightful talker.’

2 Henry Taylor.

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