The editors of these memoirs appear to have performed their task with great discretion and good taste. It has probably not been a difficult one, consisting mainly in selecting from abundant and well-ordered material, while suppressing what was too private or too trivial for publication. What they have had to say of Mr. Ticknor’s character is expressed with a proper warmth of feeling, but without any extravagance of eulogy. His life, as they justly remark, was distinguished by “an unusual consistency in the framework of mind and character” and “an unusually steady development of certain elements and principles.” What he from the first set himself to attain lay within the compass of his capacity as well as of his means and opportunities. Thus he had no external hinderances to contend against, and no inward misgivings to struggle with. No man, we imagine, was ever less troubled with self-dissatisfaction. He felt the limits of his faculties and qualities, if he felt them at all, only as useful and secure defences. Within them there was all the completeness that could be gained by persevering exercise and culture. There is not a page of his journals and letters that does not bear testimony to his earnest, careful and profitable study of men and books, while we doubt if a remark can be found in them that shows either sympathetic insight or subtle discrimination. His intellect had all its resources at command, but it had more of rigor than of vigor, more of formal precision in its methods than of well-directed force in its performances. Hence the semblance exceeded the reality, and it might have been said of him, as it was said of Guizot, “Il impose et il en impose.” This biography of him makes, consequently, no appeal to the deeper feelings and awakens no train of higher thought. But it has an interest which, though of an ordinary kind, is scarcely surpassed in degree by that of any similar work; and it forms a worthy memorial of a man whose wide attainments, strict integrity and warm affections endeared him to his intimates and made him respected by all.
OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.
A REMINISCENCE OF MACAULAY.
It was in June, 1857, that I had the good fortune to meet Macaulay at dinner at the house of my dear friend, the Rev. Derwent Coleridge, then principal of St. Mark’s College, Chelsea. The brilliant career of the great talker and essayist was drawing to its close, and it is partly on this account that I make now what record I can of my single meeting with him. He was beginning to give up society, so that only at the houses of his oldest friends was there any chance of seeing him. Besides the especial attraction of Macaulay’s presence it was an interesting company that was gathered that evening around my friend’s hospitable board. One felt that the English dinner, that choicest of all opportunities for exchange of thought, was here to