The welcome he received, before he attained his majority, among the clever men of his own community,—lawyers, preachers, and merchants who had seen the world; Mr. Jefferson
's approbation of him as a representative of American youth, shown by his voluntary offer of letters of introduction for Europe
; Madame de Stael
's determination, after her children had seen him enough to describe him to her, that she would see him whether her physicians gave permission or not,—are but the early signs of the attraction and resources he bore about him. His early experience of society in Paris
was calculated to ingraft on the somewhat grave and formal courtesy of his home circle more promptitude and presence of mind in conversation, and to introduce the same element into the expression of that deference and politeness which are the unselfish essence of high breeding.
At the end of his life his name was widely known, and his character and intellect were respected wherever in Europe
they were familiar, and, after its close, tokens of this were abundantly given in public and private channels.
Societies honored him; many notices of him appeared in the public prints; the poor missed his ready compassion.
But among the testimonies called forth by his death there was one which expressed with singular felicity a thought that existed in many minds.
A youth of seventeen, who, like his parents and grandparents, was familiar in Mr. Ticknor
's house, showed his father a passage in Cicero
's ‘De Senectute’ as being singularly applicable to their venerable friend, especially in its concluding sentence: ‘Cujus sermone ita tum cupide fruebar, quasi jam divinarem, illo extincto, fore unde discerem neminem,’—I enjoyed his conversation as if I had had a presentiment that after his death there would be no one from whom I could learn anything.