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Title: Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated May 24, 1852.


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882


  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton, 1823-1887

Source Document

Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter



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Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated May 24, 1852., Original located at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C., RU7002., (accessed November 21, 2017)


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TEI mark-up by : James P. Tranowski and

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Constantinople May 24 52

Dear Baird

I received the barometers a few days since, & shall remit to Mr Green the amount of this bill by next post. I am much obliged to you & Prof. Henry for your trouble with regard to them, and hope to have an opportunity of using them to some purpose. One is a cistern the other a syphon, barometer and they are both in general for anything I can see to the contrary, well constructed and well finished in the main. Neither of them, however, is divided with scrupulous accuracy, and the lower viewer of the syphon is more than .015 too short. The error of reading -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- thus occasioned, it is true, is not great, but as the shortness of the vernier is obvious at a glance, it annoys & embarrasses the observer at every observation, and is moreover a bad indication in regard to the general fidelity of the instrument. The two do not accord very precisely in their indications, the syphon always standing from .025 to .040 above the cistern, and in the former the adhesion of the mercury to the tube is so great in the short limb, that when it is rising fast, it is often almost impossible to make the surface of the column assume the meniscus form. I have not hitherto to used them hypsometrically because I wished first to compare them carefully, and by a pretty -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- long series of observations, in my study, suspended as recommended by Prof. Guyot, and I make a dozen or more observations per day, purposefully at irregular hours, in order to get at the general mean between them.

Spring has last set in, though we had fires every day from the last of October till about the 20' of this month. I am writing some loose babble about the Desert. I don't know what I shall do with it. I'm afraid I can never get done with it, for the moment I begin to treat my particular point, it swells up like a bladder, and I am fearful I shall make a volume on a grain of sand. Very likely I shall burn the whole affair, but don't speak of it! I am not ambitious of ap- -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- pearing in the Literary Gazette, as a distinguished scholar and diplomat, who is understood to be engaged in preparing his travels in Arabia for the press' --

You will infer from my letter to Mr Jewett, that there are troubles afoot. Well, when one gets to the bottom, he can't go much lower.

Mrs. M. is in her usual state of weakness, and is now suffering from the effects of a visit to the principal mosques, which she was allowed to go through in a sedan chair.

I am grieved when I think of you. A young man once said to me ' Oh! if you had my talents, or I your learning?! Complimentary, wasn't it? Well, If I had your knowledge, a book would come of the cross! I want to see you and Mary out here, a -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- [The following appears at the top of the page beginning "Constantinople May 24 52"]
mazingly. Can't Agassiz get somebody to give you 5000. and a cask of spirits, and send you out into the wilderness?

Yours truly G P Marsh

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