William H. Prescott

American historian and Hispanist (1796–1859)

William Hickling Prescott (May 4, 1796January 29, 1859) was an American historian, best known for his History of the Conquest of Mexico and History of the Conquest of Peru.

William H. Prescott


Biographical and Critical MiscellaniesEdit

Quotations are cited from the 1st edition (New York: Harper, 1845).

  • The triumphs of the warrior are bounded by the narrow theatre of his own age; but those of a Scott or a Shakespeare will be renewed with greater and greater lustre in ages yet unborn, when the victorious chieftain shall be forgotten, or shall live only in the song of the minstrel and the page of the chronicler.
    • "Sir Walter Scott" (1838), p. 239.
  • The history of literature is the history of the human mind. It is, as compared with other histories, the intellectual as distinguished from the material, the informing spirit as compared with the outward and visible.
    • "Chateaubriand's English Literature" (1839), p. 245.
  • No man is quite so much a hero in the dark as in broad daylight, in solitude as in society, in the gloom of the churchyard as in the blaze of the drawing-room. The season and the place may be such as to oppress the stoutest heart with a mysterious awe, which, if not fear, is near akin to it.
    • "Scottish Song" (1826), p. 588.

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