In 1869 Mr. George Ticknor Curtis had in press his ‘Life of Webster,’ and Mr. Ticknor gave careful perusal to both manuscript and proof-sheets of this work, in which he took a deep interest.
A great number of short letters and many pages of memoranda, in his handwriting, testify to the fidelity and industry with which he performed this labor of love.
The following will serve as a specimen of his tone.
my dear George,—Your letter of the 26th came yesterday, and the proof I enclose came late this forenoon . . . .
On reading the proofs I am more and more struck with the fact, that the events you relate, most of which have happened in my time, seem to me to have occurred much longer ago than they really did. The civil war of ‘61 has made a great gulf between what happened before it in our century and what has happened since, or what is likely to happen hereafter.
It does not seem to me as if I were living in the country in which I was born, or in which I received whatever I ever got of political education or principles.
Webster seems to have been the last of the Romans; and yet he, too, made mistakes.
But I hope you will give a good prominence to his solemn protest in the Senate against the annexation of Texas.
It is one of the grandest things he ever did. . . . .
But I am interrupted.
William Gardiner, Mrs. Cabot, etc., and dinner immediately; in short, nothing before the post, but,
Ever yours, and all well,
my dear Trevelyan,—My silence is not forgetfulness, neither is it ingratitude; it is simply old age. I am past seventy-eight, and, like nearly everybody of that age, I do, not what I like best to do, but what I can. I cannot walk much, and I forget a great deal, and I write as little as I can. Reading is my great resource, and I have lately been much amused with Crabbe Robinson, who is a model for old men, as far as their strength holds out. But your letter to me,
Boston, J. R. Osgood and company, 1876.
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