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Letter from CHARLES ELIOT NORTON to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated March 20, 1867.

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Title: Letter from CHARLES ELIOT NORTON to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated March 20, 1867.


  • Norton, Charles Eliot


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882

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Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter


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Letter from CHARLES ELIOT NORTON to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated March 20, 1867., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed December 12, 2017)

Letter from CHARLES ELIOT NORTON to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated March 20, 1867.

Transcribed by :

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

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Cambridge, March 20, 1867.

My dear Sir

Your paper for the N. A. Review on the origin of the Italian Language has reached me safely, and I am truly obliged to you for it. It is a great satisfaction to me to have an article from you for publication in the Review. This essay is full of interest and instruction. I wish I might hope to have another paper from you before long. This article will appear in the July number of the Review, and I shall be much obliged to you if when you write next to me you will be good enough to tell me how the publishers shall transmit to you the sum in payment for it. I have good reason to believe that the Review is gaining the respect and influence which I desire for it. Its circulation is not large, but it reaches the best readers, and its authority is recognized.

The "Nation" concerning which you enquired of me in the last letter I had the pleasure of receiving from you is, I regret to say, not yet self-supporting. -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- Its circulation, however, increases from month to month, and I have little doubt of its ultimate success and permanent establishment. Its very independence of partisanship, the freedom of its criticisms, and the absence from it of all "sensational" appeals to the public, interfere with its immediate popularity,--but in the long run I am confident that these qualities will secure for it solid support.

Congress has at length dealt vigorously with the question of Reconstruction. Its plan is on the whole approved by judicious men, as well as by the mass of the people. Present appearances seem to indicate that the South will make a virtue of necessity, and will do what is required to secure the restoration of the seceded States to a place in the Union. But after reconstruction is accomplished we shall still have a hard task before us, and the political future is by no means so unclouded as one could wish. The question of education at the South, the labor question, the tariff, the existence of a soldiers' party based on purely selfish considerations,--are among the matters which threaten to embarrass us. They unfortunately present admirable fields for the practice of the -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- arts of demagogues; and the material progress of the country is so rapid as compared with its intellectual & moral advance that there is a constantly larger infusion of ignorance & what may be called uncivilization in our councils.

In regard to the question of protection and free trade a curious & instructive change is now going on. The East,--New England and New York especially,--is giving up its old desire for protection & is adopting free trade principles; while, on the other hand, a considerable protectionist interest is rapidly developing itself in the Western & North Western States. The policy of the country will, I incline to believe, incline more & more to Free Trade, though for some time to come we shall be compelled to maintain a high tariff for the sake of revenue.

Seward has destroyed what little remaining respect was left to him by the Motley Correspondence. The letters addressed by him to our Ministers & agents abroad have made the whole country ashamed. He is supposed to be the chief counsellor & upholder of Mr. Johnson in his wretched course. A great personal & official power has rarely been more rapidly annihilated than in Mr. Johnson's case. Two or three other reputations have -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- also of late been declining,--in each instance quite to the advantage of the public. Sumner has shown great want of statesmanlike ability, while his estimate of himself grows without stint. Butler has made a conspicuous failure in his advocacy of Impeachment; and Banks has no longer any position except with newspaper-correspondents. Stevens too is growing old, & his extravagances and follies are gradually putting him where he belongs.

The next number of the Review will contain an admirable paper by Lowell on Lessing, and a very pleasant one by Howells, whose book on Venetian Life has won a place for him among our most agreeable authors, on Contemporary Italian Poets. There will also be in it an exposure worth reading of the nature & practices of the Camden & Amboy Monopoly.

I watch with great interest the progress of affairs in Italy. I regretted what seemed to me the mistake of Ricasoli in the Church question. Is there any journal which would keep one au courant of Italian affairs political & literary, & would not demand too much time in the reading?

It gave us all great pleasure to hear of the improvement in the health of Mrs. Marsh. I hope that the gain will prove
[the following is written vertically on the page beginning "Cambridge, March 20, 1867."]
permanent. Will you be good enough to give to her the kindest remembrances & regards of the ladies of my family, & my own best respects.

Lowell & Child have asked me to send you their best remembrances. With sincere respect, I am

Very truly Yours

Charles E. Norton.Hon. George P. Marsh.

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