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Chapter 16:

  • Return to home life.
  • -- circle of friends. -- inauguration as Professor at Harvard College. -- entrance on College duties. -- literary life. -- religious opinions. -- Mr. Webster's oration at Plymouth. -- story of Edheljertha.


Mr. Ticknor reached home, after his four years absence, on the 6th of June, 1819. He returned with character matured by unusual experience of men; with rare learning and accomplishments, acquired by diligent and systematic study; and with tastes cultivated and disciplined by acquaintance with the best society of Europe. The object of his residence abroad had been to prepare him for a career of useful activity at home, and he came back full of ardor to use his various gifts and acquisitions for the benefit of the community to which he belonged. There was nothing in him of the trifler or the dilettante.

There would have been small ground for surprise, if, after a period so crowded with interests from sources in which America had no share, Mr. Ticknor had felt something like depression at the prospect of the comparative barrenness of life, as regards aesthetic pursuits, in this Western world. But it was not so. His affectionate and cheerful disposition made his return happy for himself and delightful to his friends. His uncommon social gifts and animated spirits, his ready kindness, and his active energy, united to make him at once an important member of society, both in the circle of the cultivated, and in that of the public-spirited men of business in his native place.

Boston was still a compact town of scarcely more than forty thousand inhabitants, with the best conditions for healthy social intercourse,—leisure combined with considerable commercial activity; equality, inasmuch as there was neither a pauper class

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June 6th, 1819 AD (1)
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