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Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated December 1, 1862.

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Title: Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated December 1, 1862.


  • Powers, Hiram, 1805-1873


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882

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Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter

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Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated December 1, 1862., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed January 17, 2018)

Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated December 1, 1862.

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 Dec 1st 1862
Honble George P. Marsh --

My Dear Friend

I am afraid that your estimate of Genl McLellan is the true one, and if so, a terrible amount of responsibility rests on his head -- It is almost inconceivable, however--that any educated human being--could carry on a Sham war on so vast a scale -- But any how--it was high time to displace him for it is quite clear now--that he was the unwilling agent in the policy of the Government -- The Democrats claim him and the rebels respect him above all our other officers--and there are high grounds for suspicion --

We shall see now--what Genl Burnside will do, but I fear the season is past for any thing decisive --

I hope that President Lincoln has got his eyes open to the situation--an[d] is convinced at last--of the determination of the South--to listen to no terms of conciliation or compromise -- He seems never to have abandoned the hope--that kindness would--in time--bring back to duty "our Southern Bretheren" and in this he has been supported by the simple well meaning democrats--who however object to his proclamation as too stringent a measure! They have not been kicked enough by the South--both cheeks have been slapped over and over again--and even kicks have not been wanting to convince them, but all in vain -- The cry is still--"our erring and wronged Southern -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- bretheren!" Possibly a few more raids into the free states--and the wanton destruction of some scores more of our ships at sea--may suffice to convince these kind hearted creatures--that--the rebels are--not joking--but terribly in earnest. --

But there are thousands of traitors among the Democrats--men who know how the case is--and desire the success of the rebel lion--and had some of these been hanged at the beginning, the Government would not now be embarrassed by the present opposition -- Doubtless--History will give Credit to President Lincoln for great simplicity of character--a man slow to see his way slow to take it and slow upon it --

With the power of a volcano behind him, he moves like cooling lava--and would stop any where if not forced on by the liquid fires in the rear --

But there is a Divine Providence in all this. And depend upon it, President Lincoln is indeed the very man for the occasion. Otherwise he would not have been where he is -- I think I can see some glimmerings of the truth -- A quick success in putting down the rebellion--would have brought back Slavery with all its evils. It is the lust of our Country--and every day reveals more and more how deeply it is rooted in the minds of our people -- Indeed with some even at the north--it is regarded as almost a sacred institution! --

It is only by grievious combats against temptations that lusts are removed with men--and as with men--so with nations--and--so to speak--our Country is now in purgatory! How many Priests--how many -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- masses--how many months or years--and sad to contemplate--how many more human sacrifices it will require to get her out, who shall say? But that she will come out--who that believes in Divine Providence--shall doubt? -- We have drunk deep of the Spirit of Slavery--and have been intoxicated with material success--nothing but blissful visions of plenty on our blooming fields, the earth heaving up her exhaustless treasures--and the Sea teeming with commerce with all nations--and filled with exultation--we have shouted--who like us--upon the face of the earth!

But the sober day has come--when the head aches--and the stomach heaves--and as we look around--even the very rocks seem to reel! There is no truth greater than this -- That every evil has its punishment inscribed upon it -- For if it were otherwise, the human race would soon come to an end -- What but pain--prevents the infant from again putting his hand in the fire? and if there was not a little sentinel nerve at every point on the boundary of our frame to sound the alarm of pain even of a needles point--up to the Citadel of the Soul--who would--in sleep--be conscious of danger though wrapped in flames? Indeed pain is the basis of joy also for to enjoy the heat we must feel the cold -- To enjoy food we must feel hunger, and to enjoy rest we must feel fatigue -- The lightning is never so bright as in the depths of darkness--and the opposite -- So may it be with our Country when she rises anew from her present night and begins a new day of existence -- We are now under going punishment for Complicity with Slavery--not greater I hope than we can bear -- Justice has overtaken us, but how with -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- the mother of Slavery--England? First she victimised her own daughter to profit by the crime -- That Daughter left her; when she began to "get religion" and hate the iniquity! She washed her own garments in the Gulf of Mexico in order to declare herself purified--while reproaching "America" for uncleanliness. She even wept over the sad tale of Slavery drying her tears all the while with Slave grown Cotton handkerchiefs! But alas--she weeps no longer--for Cotton is dear! She now reproaches us for attempting to free the Slave! and all her sympathies are with the Slave driver! It is American Liberty not Slavery--that England abhors! -- The mask is off at last--and she stands revealed our open enemy -- And what country on earth--is not now the enemy of England? She has no friend now, having succeeded in removing the last spark of affection in the breast of America--North and South -- Even the Italians have no confidence in England--for they know that the Austrians might come back, and the Pope might re-establish the Inquisition--for any thing that England would really do to prevent -- As for the moral support of England of which the Times so often speaks with marvelous conceit--the world begins to understand that. Having first planted her heel upon as much of this earth as suits her convenience--She now goes for non intervention as regards all the rest -- She says to France--"We do not want Italy--therefore Italy ought to be left to herself -- Why dont you leave Rome? To Russia, She says -- We do not want Turkey--therefore Turkey ought to be left to herself -- To America She says -- We do not want the South, Therefore The South should become an independent people -- But we do want Cotton -- Therefore we must give our Moral Support to the Slave Driver -- Charity begins at home -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- She says -- Dont you see our starving cotton spinners? Dont talk to us about slavery--that is your affair -- We washed our hands of it long ago -- We have no trouble about sugar, for that can be got almost any where -- But Cotton is quite another thing--and must have our Moral Support -- Almost every tissue of the London Times on American Affairs--begins with morals and ends with Cotton. It is Cotton for the warf and morals for the woof --

I think it will be lucky for us, if the Greek question assumes a serious form--for France seems to be watching for an opportunity to intermeddle with us -- She wants a cotton country, and Texas would do -- We should strain every nerve now to secure the entire right bank of the Mississippi! The unoccupied lands--as well as the lands of Rebels should be offered gratis to northern emigrants--and every soldier should have his share. Americans abroad--depending on remitances from home--begin to feel uneasy -- I do not know how you are paid--but if you must accept paper, your case is not to be envied. I suppose that the $2500. now due on my Statue of Franklin will be paid in notes--and if I am forced to draw for it, I shall get not more than about one half of that sum -- Happily I have sold some busts lately, and my credit is good --

I have been much gratified with several notices of your late work--and I hope that you will be rewarded -- But the times are very bad for you--as well as for me -- My wife has often read to me out of Mrs Marsh['s] poems -- They remind me of the song of some sweet bird--and they make me feel--that if I were better and purer, I should enjoy them all the more --

Pray remember us all most kindly to her and Carrie--and believe me ever most truly yours --

H. Powers --

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