his uncle, having at this time asked for and obtained from him a copy of one of his early productions,—the ‘Life of Lafayette
,’–received a caution about it, very characteristic of the honest exactness in matters of fact for which Mr. Ticknor
was always marked.
He desired Mr. Curtis
to turn to a passage in which he had made the statement that the Duke
(Égalite) was on the staircase at Versailles
when it was invaded by the mob, and Louis XVI.
and his Queen
were carried to Paris
‘I wish you,’ he said, ‘to take notice, and to remember that this statement is not true.
When I wrote and printed it, it was an accepted fact in the history of the time, believed all over Europe
then, and for a long while afterwards.
But subsequent researches have shown that the Duke
was not there.
See to it that the passage is corrected.’
On the tenth day of his illness he was moved into his beloved library for the last time, and early in the morning of the 26th of January he ceased to breathe.
And so gently ended a long life which had been filled to the brim with intellectual activity, and with labors useful to the mental life of his time, and to the young and the poor around him. He died without suffering or long decay; and, like his father, he was ready to go; like him, when he came to his deathbed, there was nothing disturbing his mind, ‘he had nothing to do but to die.’
Looking back over this long life, we see an unusual consistency in the framework of mind and character from the first; an unusually steady development of certain elements and principles; the whole structure growing with a symmetry to which the freedom from external impediments contributed much, no doubt, but which was mainly due to a well-directed and very vigorous individual will.
Where this is the case, it is difficult to analyze and describe the combination of qualities we see, and yet avoid too much eulogy.
Taking up the consideration of Mr. Ticknor
's character at the period of his first return from Europe
, we cannot help perceiving the danger there was of his being isolated from his fellowcitizens by the culture he had gained through twofold means;