1816. Carmignani readily promised to send me his memoirs and papers to look over, and see what I can find in them . . . . The evening was made pleasant to us by a visit from Rosini, the author of the ‘Monaca di Monza,’ of ‘Luisa Strozzi,’ etc.,—a round, easy, good-natured, vain, and very agreeable person, about as old as Carmignani; somewhat jealous, as an author, of the reputation of Manzoni, Grossi, and the rest of his successful contemporaries, and extremely frank in suffering it to be seen. He is full of anecdote, and talked about Mad. de Stael and Schlegel at the time they were here in 1815-16, of Manzoni, and of himself. He seems extremely well pleased that the ‘Monaca di Monza’ has gone through eighteen editions, and declares that he is no imitator of Manzoni or anybody else; for that in 1808 he had made collections for an historical romance on the times of Erasmus, in which Lorenzo dea Medici, and the coterie around him at Florence, were to have been introduced; that he showed his materials and his plan to his friends at the time, and went so far as to get a head of Erasmus to be engraved for the frontispiece, but was turned aside from his project by the times and his friends. He talked, too, a good deal of politics, and as freely as Carmignani, but with less discretion and good sense. May 25.—Carmignani, who cannot receive visits at his house, because it is undergoing great repairs, came to see me again this morning, and sent me Mazzei's Memoirs of himself and a quantity of letters and papers from Franklin, Jefferson, the King of Poland,—Stanislaus, —whose Charge d'affaires he was at Paris, Abbe Mably, John Adams, etc. It all looked very curious, some of it quite piquant; but I could only read a little, for it is a large folio volume of about four hundred closely written pages. What I did read, however, gave me the impression that Mazzei was a mere adventurer.1 Carmignani talked very well about him, as well as about everything else.
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1 Mr. G. T. Curtis, in recalling facts about his uncle, illustrating the retentiveness of his memory, says, ‘I was sitting with Mr. Ticknor one day in his library, about a year before his death, when he was rather feeble in health. That eminent lawyer, Mr. Sidney Bartlett, came in, and happened to mention that he had just had occasion to give a professional opinion on the title to the estate of Monticello, formerly Jefferson's, and he repeated the names of some of the places in the neighborhood. Mr. Ticknor remarked that Philip Mazzei named those places. Mr. Bartlett asked, “Who was Philip Mazzei?” Mr. Ticknor, with great animation, exclaimed, “Don't know who Philip Mazzei was?” He then for the space of ten or fifteen minutes made a rapid sketch of Mazzei's history, tracing him into the society of Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison, in Virginia. The whole was told with great spirit and vivacity.’
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