1872 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Adam Smith

William Minto, in Manual of English Prose Literature (1872; 1880) 476.



In person he was a grave, preoccupied-looking man, of a stout middle size, with large features and large grey eyes, absent-minded in company, often incontinently talking to himself, and keeping up his rather poor constitution by strict regularity and temperance. He was warm and affectionate in disposition, exceedingly unreserved, with simple frankness expressing the thoughts of the moment, and with ready candour retracting his opinion if he found that he had spoken without just grounds. His intellectual proceedings were calm, patient and regular; he mastered a subject slowly and circumspectly, and carried his principles with steady tenacity through multitudes of details that would have checked many men of greater mental vigour unendowed with the same invincible persistence.