The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO THE COUNCIL OF UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON ; 1 October 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18521001-TC-CUCL-01; CL 27: 312-313


I have had the honour of some considerable acquaintance with Mr. “Masson for a good many years, and am well pleased to have this opportunity of testifying my high sense of his merits under all points of view. It is my clear opinion nobody can know him without feeling that he is a man of truly superior qualities, calculated at once to secure good success in his undertakings, and the love of his fellow-creatures by the way. A man of many attainments in scholarship and literature; and with a natural fund of intelligence, delicate, strong and deep, such as belongs to very few, even among scholars and men of letters. A man of beautiful and manly character withal; ardent, vivid, veracious, and yet altogether quiet, discreet, and harmonious; likely to be distinguished, I should expect, at once by love of peace, and by felicity and steadiness in doing work. For he is full of what one might call central fire, which is singularly well covered in, and tempered into genial warmth, of many useful and beautiful kinds.

Mr. Masson's Writings, chiefly criticisms and essays in reviews hitherto, are beginning to be well known in the world. Some of them I could point to,—especially to one on Milton,1 written several years ago,—as among the best, if not even as the very best, that British Literature exhibits at present. If there is not promise of excellence in Mr. Masson, I know not where, among our young men of letters, to look for it in these coming years.

In fine, if the Electors are not quite unusually fortunate in candidates, I think they surely may do well in nominating such a man to the Chair of English Literature in the London University; a post for which, I should expect, only few could be as fit.


Berlin (for Chelsea, London), 1, Oct., 1852.