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[453] seems to have been rescued from such an extremity by the aid of a genial temperament, and it is curious to observe how, in him, this and other elements, which of themselves are signs of weakness and perversion, were adjusted and brought into harmony with the better side of his nature. The contrast and the composition are such as, I think, have rarely been witnessed elsewhere.

There is one considerable underpart in the story, obvious, indeed, to any attentive eye, which, however, perhaps deserved a more prominent notice. Had Mr. Prescott been a poor man, such a solution as he made of a difficult problem would have been impossible. That he made good use of his advantages is his praise; but in having them he owed much to fortune.

Nor was he less fortunate, surely, in his friends. I suppose no man of letters ever received more zealous and constant aid (of a kind which no money can procure) in the promotion of his work. This circumstance, indeed, reflects honor on both sides; for one whom all love to help must be one who merits their love. Nor can those who knew him not better learn what he must have been than by seeing the impression he made on those to whom he was known. . . . .

Yours very affectionately,

From Hon. George Bancroft.

New York, Sunday Evening.
my dear Mr. Ticknor,—Your splendid New Years gift reached me last evening in time to dip into it deeply before going to bed. This morning I rose before any one else in the house, lighted my own fire, and gave the quiet hours of a long morning to the life of our friend. I expected a great deal, a very great deal from you; and you have far surpassed my expectation. You have given Prescott as he was, leaving no part of his character unportrayed. He was in life and in himself greater than his books, and you have shown him so. I find nothing omitted, nothing remissly done, and nothing overdone. I had feared that the uniformity of his life would cut off from your narrative the resources of novelty and variety and stirring interest; and here, in the inward struggles of his mind, and his struggles with outward trials, you have brought out a more beautiful and attractive picture than if you had had to describe the escapes of a hero or the perils of an adventurer. Well as I knew Prescott, you have raised my conception of his fortitude, and self-control, and consciously noble

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