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Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated February 24, 1874.

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Title: Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated February 24, 1874.


  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton, 1823-1887


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882

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Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter

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Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated February 24, 1874., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed December 14, 2017)

Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated February 24, 1874.

Transcribed by : Ellen Thomson

TEI mark-up by : James P. Tranowski andEllen Thomson

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Washington, Feb. 24. 1874

My dear Mr Marsh,

I wish you would not apologise for occupying my "valuable time"; as nothing gives me greater pleasure than to receive a letter from you, which I should be quite willing to read & answer once a week, if I could get a chance. Where a "feller" writes more than four thousand letters a year; as I did in 1873, filling the same number of pages of a letter Copybook, a few more or less do not make any difference; at any rate, as they are all written by a phonographic Secretary, they trouble me very little anyhow! So, there you have my declaration of opinion on that subject!

In reference to the gentleman to whom you refer, as wishing to try his hand at alpine climbing in the United States, there is not the least difficulty in going any where alone, with safety. I do not believe you realise the extent to which the country has been opened since you left us. There is no mountain in the Untied States to which a man cannot go along, & unattended, & but few that are more than a very short distance from a railroad, or stage route. For an idea of what has been done in the way of Mountain Climbing I would -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- refer you to Clarence King's "Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada," which I presume you must have seen, as it is a charming work, but not more so than its author whom we all know very well. There will be expeditions going out this Summer, which it will be easy enough to accompany, & any facilities needed can be obtained. Hayden has been making some most exhaustive surveys of the Colorado peaks, finding hundred of them over twelve to fourteen thousand ft. in height.

You would be quite amused to know that your little treatise on irrigation has made considerable breeze in Congress. Mr Kasson, knowing that you had written to the Department, introduced a resolution into the House calling upon the Commissioner of Agriculture for it. To this the Comr very naively replies that he wants it for his own report & cannot spare it. The question then come up whether, in organizing the Department of Agriculture, Congress reserved the right to demand information contrary to the will of the Comr to grant it; & to their great relief it was found that this could be done. Thereupon a more peremptory summons was sent by the House & Senate, with a successful result. This has been printed & is considered of great importance in its warnings of the danger of such action on this subject. -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- It will doubtless have a decided effect in influencing national & State action in this direction.

As usual I find plenty to keep me occupied, so that, so far as ennui is concerned, I have none. I have just finished the "Land Bird" division of my big books on North American Birds, of which I enclose a circular; & although I say it, that should not, it is the best thing of the kind ever published, & is a model of what an natural history for the whole Continent should be. It promises a fair sale; although, as the publishers have already paid about $25,000 for the three volumes, they are somewhat anxious as to the result. The work will be finished with one or two volumes of the Water Birds, which I hope will be out in the course of a year or eighteen months. At present too, I am running the Scientific departments of Harper's Magazine, Weekly & Bazar, & that of the N.Y. Tribune, & may possibly do something with the "Nation," to say nothing of rather frequent contributions to a few natural history journals, such as "The Forest & Stream,""The American Sportsman,""The American Naturalist" etc. The more valuable portions of these contributions, as heretofore, are reproduced in my "Annual Record of Science & Industry," of which the 3d volume, for 1873, will be out in about a week. This also I consider a very good work, as it has -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- the merit of very exhaustive indexes, systematic & alphabetical, & of being preceded by a summary of scientific progress, prepared by some of our best specialists, such as Prof. Newcomb, Prof. Abbe, T. Sterry Hunt, Sereno Watson & others.

With much love from all of us to yourself & Mrs Marsh, believe me,

Sincerely Yours.

Spencer F. Baird note:Hon. George P. Marsh.U.S. MinisterRome,Italy.

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