previous next
[245] writing-table was arranged and became as much his natural resort at a hotel, where he was to stay a short time, as was his library table at home. An old Spanish book seemed to take him out of the world around him, wherever he might be; yet if any person, high or low, interrupted his studies, having a reasonable cause for doing so, he was habitually prompt and courteous in turning to the new subject brought before him. He was rarely absent-minded, and scarcely ever visibly impatient of interruption.

The growth of the History is intimately connected with the growth of his Spanish library, for his books were his necessary tools, and the library took its character from the literary purpose for which it was collected. His correspondence with Don Pascual de Gayangos,1 his constant orders to Mr. Rich,2 and to others, for Spanish books, and for all accessory materials, became, as the years went on, more and more marked by indications of the absorbing subject he had in hand.

Three years and a half after his return to America he wrote as follows to Mr. Washington Irving, who had just accepted the post of Minister from the United States to Spain, and with whom, it had been hoped, Mr. Cogswell would go as Secretary of Legation:—

To Washington Irving, Esq., New York.

Boston, March 31, 1842.
my dear Mr. Irving,—Cogswell's decision throws me quite out of my track, and leaves me no resource but to turn to you. I trust, however, that my little affairs will give you almost no trouble, and therefore I will tell you quite frankly how they stand, and how much help I must ask of you. Please to tell me in return, as frankly, if it will be quite convenient for you to fulfil my wishes, and if it will not, let me beg you to say so without the least hesitation.

I have been employed for some time on a ‘History of Spanish Literature,’ and need for it copies of a few manuscripts to be found in

1 See ante, pp. 161 and 182.

2 Mr. Obadiah Rich, once Consul of the United States at Port Mahon, a faithful and cultivated bibliopole, was, as a London bookseller, Mr. Ticknor's agent for many years.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)
Port Mahon (Delaware, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Washington Irving (3)
Obadiah Rich (2)
George Ticknor (1)
Spanish Literature (1)
Pascual Gayangos (1)
Joseph Green Cogswell (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 31st, 1842 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: