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From Henry Hallam, Esq.

Wilton Crescent, London, January 10, 1850.
My dear Mr. Ticknor,—The American mail went so soon after my receipt of your very obliging present of your three volumes, that I was not able to thank you at that time. The delay, however, has given me time to read them through, and I can congratulate you on having brought your long labors to a close with so much honor to yourself. The book has evidently taken a position in which it both supersedes, for its chief purpose, all others, and will never be itself superseded, certainly not out of Spain; and, unless Spain become very different from what it is, not within its confines. Your reach of knowledge is really marvellous in a foreigner; and I particularly admire the candor and good sense with which you have escaped the ordinary fault of exaggerating the writers whom you have occasion to bring before the public, while you have done ample justice to their real deserts. Your style is clear, firm, and well-sustained. Perhaps you will excuse a very trifling criticism; a few words seem to recur too often, such as lady-love, which I hold hardly fit for prose, and genial, which is better, and not objectionable, except that I think you have it too often.

I rejoice—not only on your account—that your work has every prospect of a large sale in America. It is greatly to the credit of the country that a subject so merely library, and not relating to transient literature, has attracted a number of purchasers—at least according to the calculation of your publisher—very far beyond what any book, except one of a popular character, could reach at once in England. This shows that America is fast taking a high position as a literary country; the next half-century will be abundantly productive of good authors in your Union. And it is yet to be observed that there is not, nor probably will be, a distinct American school The language is absolutely the same, all slight peculiarities being now effaced; and there seems nothing in the turn of sentiment or taste which a reader can recognize as not English. This is not only remarkable in such works as yours and Mr. Prescott's, but even, as it strikes me, in the lighter literature, as far as I see it, of poetry or belles-lettres . . . .

You will, I hope, be pleased to learn that Lord Mahon has proposed your name as an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. You will be united in this with Everett, Prescott, and Bancroft.1

1 Lord Mahon, as President of the Society, said at its annual meeting, April 23, 1850: ‘It is also with great pleasure that I find another gentleman from the United States, the author of the excellent ‘History of Spanish Literature,’ augmenting the list of our honorary members. Five years ago we had not one from that country. At present we have four, namely, Mr. Everett, Mr. Bancroft, Mr. Prescott, and Mr. Ticknor,—an accession of talent and high character of which any society might justly be proud.’ After reading the book Lord Mahon had opened a correspondence with Mr. Ticknor, whom he had not previously known.

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