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Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 5, 1852.

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Item Description

Title: Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 5, 1852.


  • Powers, Hiram, 1805-1873


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882

Source Document

Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter


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Type of Resource: text

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Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 5, 1852., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed November 21, 2017)

Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 5, 1852.

Transcribed by : Ralph H. Orth

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

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Florence August 5th 1852

Dear Mr Marsh

It is a long time since I have written to you although I owe you a letter -- "Trust tomorrow pay today" is a motto which you may have seen in shops at home. I have seen it in Mint Julip shops but for my credits sake, I should say it was by accident as I passed by and a long time ago at that -- They have no mint julips here fortunately--and have the great morality and real piety of the people. That tomorrow upon which I intended to write to you has come at last, but it has brought nothing of interest to tell you. Here "there is little or nothing stirring" and from home you get all the news I dare say almost as soon as we do. The nominations have taken place, favourably it would seem for the cause (I dont know what cause) of the Democrats, and doubtfully for the cause (equally obscure) of the Whigs -- I suppose that you must be shaking in your shoes at the probability of Genl Pierce coming in and Mr Fillmore going out--but never mind, for something will be found for you to do until your turn comes round again, or some new turn makes you a Presidential Candidate. You have only to recognize no small party express no sympathy for the few but great interest and regard for the many, find out the chinks to slip most patriotic speeches into--without touching the right side or the left and be extremely useful to every body and you will be taken up when every body else is so hot or so cold that they must be laid down -- Genl Scott is better in the field than he is in the Cabinet, in the former he knew always when to apply the linstock, but his quill hangs fire He sees better through clouds of gunpowder smoke than he does through a mere wisp of political fog -- He compromised himself by using wet powder and this is one of the difficulties you will have to meet, that of knowing precisely when to pull trigger with good powder -- People will look into your cartridge box and examine your ammunition, and you must let them suppose at least that they see it -- -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- Mr Van Buren used "Judicious" powder It was a new brand, and having great confidence in his judgment his friends trusted in it, but they found that it all blew out at the touch hole and kicked terribly at that -- Mr Webster uses universal powder, but this is very dangerous, it scatters the shot so -- It is very powerful and does great execution upon friends and foes--people are afraid of it -- Mr Fillmore has very good powder, but being a game keeper and having to guard his masters premises, he has had to use it against some of his neighbours pigs--and this has rendered it unpopular in some quarters -- You must never shoot to the right or to the left and when you must fire, let off a blazer straight into the Air, blind the eyes and stun the ears and you are a made man -- any powder will do this if you use it rightly and enough of it. Seriously speaking I cannot say that I am sorry that President making has taken the turn it has--for it will do one good thing at least. It will discourage ambitious men -- People will now hesitate to qualify themselves for the Presidency in the estimation of the Nation. For the thing being reduced to a game of Chance as it were, few will think it worth while to run the political gauntlet upon it.

A man not thinking of the Presidency will express his opinion freely and there is a probability at least of his being what he seems to be--but once let him become a Candidate and he ceases to know what he is himself -- A candidate must commit himself to a thousand promises before he can be elected, and it is next to impossible for him to keep them all, he can hardly enter his office an honest man when elected, but a man spontaneously chosen as a candidate, like Genl Pierce may preserve his integrity with ease -- The chances too are in favour of the honesty of a man -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- so chosen, for Democrat or Whig, so large a body of our people could hardly unite upon him if he were otherwise than honest--capable he might not be -- But enough of politics, I belong to no party nor do I know indeed what distinguishes Whig from Democrat nowadays. It is nearly 15 years since I left them all, and my home together -- I begin to be weary of this long Exile, my children are some of them nearly grown up--and I must consider what is to be done with them. I have sent one home already, he is at Stirling Masstts under the Tuition of Revd Mr Allen of that place --

I have not been without hope that the Govt would give me a Commission for my America or some other work of a National Character, but this hope begins to fail me, and if the present session passes without its being fulfilled I shall give it up entirely for six or eight years have passed since the first movement was made for me in Congress -- I have enough to do however but individuals never pay like Governments and I get on but slowly in the "way to fortune." I have some enemies too, who ought to be my friends, being Artists--and whom I have served to the best of my ability. These have spoken ill of me at home and else where and perhaps they have done me some harm but I do not mind that much, knowing as I do, that it can be but temporary ----

I have never importuned or even asked any one to interceed for me with Congress but some of my good friends, among whom I am proud to name Mr Everett have done so voluntarily --

I am now engaged on a Statue of Washington for the state of Louisiana--and on a statue of California--not ordered--I think I described the latter to you --

I hope you will call upon us on your return home, for I should like much to see you again here, for if not here, I know not if we shall ever meet again --

All unite in the kindest remembrances to you all,

Yours ever most truly

H. Powers

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