always was an easy and ready writer, and the exercise of writing was never distasteful to him. His letters and journals, during his residence in Europe
, were so copious that they alone, had he done nothing else, would have saved him from the reproach of idleness.
They contain so full and continuous a record of his life and thoughts, that little is left for his biographer to relate.
They should be read, however, not merely as fresh and animated sketches of what he witnessed and felt, but as unconscious revelations of character, addressed, as they were, to his father and mother, with that frank and affectionate confidence which had always existed between them.
They reveal to us a rare degree of self-denial and force of character in a young man of four-and-twenty, suddenly exchanging the loving and watchful supervision of a New England
home for the absolute freedom of Europe
, but yielding to none of the temptations of his new position; devoting himself to an unbroken life of hard study, making his plans deliberately and adhering to them resolutely, and renouncing not merely all debasing but all frivolous pleasures.
And from these letters and journals we also learn that his love of study was not the effect of a solitary temper or an ascetic spirit, but that he was fond of society as well as of books, that he was a social favorite, everywhere well received, and treated with marked kindness by many of the most distinguished men in Europe