John Lothrop Motley, A Memoir — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 193 pages of information about John Lothrop Motley, A Memoir — Complete.
of them to the public.  Far from making his book a mere register of events, he has penetrated deep below the surface and explored the cause of these events.  He has carefully studied the physiognomy of the times and given finished portraits of the great men who conducted the march of the revolution.  Every page is instinct with the love of freedom and with that personal knowledge of the working of free institutions which could alone enable him to do justice to his subject.  We may congratulate ourselves that it was reserved for one of our countrymen to tell the story-better than it had yet been told—­of this memorable revolution, which in so many of its features bears a striking resemblance to our own.”

The public welcomed the work as cordially as the critics.  Fifteen thousand copies had already been sold in London in 1857.  In America it was equally popular.  Its author saw his name enrolled by common consent among those of the great writers of his time.  Europe accepted him, his country was proud to claim him, scholarship set its jealously guarded seal upon the result of his labors, the reading world, which had not cared greatly for his stories, hung in delight over a narrative more exciting than romances; and the lonely student, who had almost forgotten the look of living men in the solitude of archives haunted by dead memories, found himself suddenly in the full blaze of a great reputation.


1856-1857.  AEt. 42-43.  Visit to America.—­Residence in Boylston place.

He visited this country in 1856, and spent the winter of 1856-57 in Boston, living with his family in a house in Boylston Place.  At this time I had the pleasure of meeting him often, and of seeing the changes which maturity, success, the opening of a great literary and social career, had wrought in his character and bearing.  He was in every way greatly improved; the interesting, impulsive youth had ripened into a noble manhood.  Dealing with great themes, his own mind had gained their dignity.  Accustomed to the company of dead statesmen and heroes, his own ideas had risen to a higher standard.  The flattery of society had added a new grace to his natural modesty.  He was now a citizen of the world by his reputation; the past was his province, in which he was recognized as a master; the idol’s pedestal was ready for him, but he betrayed no desire to show himself upon it.


1858-1860.  AEt. 44-46.  Return to England.—­Social relations.—­Lady HARCOURT’S letter.

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