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[462]

Of course I knew him but little, but there was one quality of his mind of vast consequence to him as a statesman, and to his country, which was very quickly apparent; I mean his instinctive fairness. He was singularly able and willing to change his opinion, when new facts came to unsettle his old one. He seemed to do it, too, without regret. This struck me the first time I saw him, which was at breakfast at Lord Stanhope's, in July, 1856, and it was still more strongly apparent the next morning at breakfast at his own house; the conversation on both occasions having been much on American affairs. . . . . And so it continued, I think, every time I saw him that summer, and the next, down to the last dinner at his house, when we were together. I remember that I used to think he had the greatest respect for facts of any man I ever saw, and an extraordinary power of determining, from internal evidence, what were such. I suppose this meant, that the love of truth was the uppermost visible quality in his character.1

How Lady Theresa will bear her loss, coming so close upon that of her daughter, I do not know. Her place in the world seems to be made vacant by it as much as that of Sir George; for she should always be associated with those who hold in their hands large power. At least, it has always so seemed to me, in the little I have known of her; so admirably did she appear to be fitted, both by her intellectual constitution and accomplishments, and by her gentle wisdom and graceful tact in society, for a place among those who manage the affairs of the world . . . . . She has, I apprehend, a very affectionate nature. At least, when I last knew her, the death of her mother—who had then been dead some years—still lay heavy on her heart. . . . .


1 In his reply to this letter Sir Edmund says: ‘Your letter is very striking, and very true, with reference to poor Lewis's mind and character,—so much so that I shall venture to take a liberty, which I hope you will pardon. I shall cause an extract from it (of course without your name) to be used in an article which will appear in the next “Edinburgh review.” ’ In answer to this, again, Mr. Ticknor writes: ‘I have not seen the July number of the “Edinburgh, ” and, indeed, do not know whether it has come. Therefore I am still uncertain what you may have found in my letter that could be turned to account. What I thought, and still think, about Sir George Lewis, as one of the most remarkable men I have met, I know very well. What I said about him is quite another matter, for I remember nothing of it. But whatever it was, you are welcome to it. I only wish it may have been better than I can think it was. Please tell me, however, who wrote the article, for though I naturally suppose you did, I should like to know for certain.’ Sir Edmund admitted that he wrote it.

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