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Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated February 15, 1854.

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Title: Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated February 15, 1854.


  • 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 February 15, 1854., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed January 22, 2018)

Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated February 15, 1854.

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 Feb 1515 1854

Dear Friend Marsh

Yours of Dec 20th duly reached me, but the parcel has not yet come. I suppose it will tho' in due time of the slow European coaches -- We thank you much for thus remembering us --

I was sorry to hear of your leave taking as Minister at Constantinople. our govt does not appear to care for measures or qualifications. It is enough that the party is held together no matter by what instruments or means --

Not long ago, a Mr Daniels made his appearance here, as Minister to Turin. He called upon me and I returned the visit, when I found him with his legs upon a Sofa and Smoking a Havana Cigar. In the same room was seated, quite at home, and engaged on some needle work (if I remember) a very dashing looking woman, splendidly dressed, to whom I was introduced -- She was not his wife -- only a traveling companion --

Mr Daniels had the impudence to make calls upon some Americans here with this woman! --------

Since retur[n]ing to Turin he has written home some letters, highly calculated to disgust the Govt and people of Sardinia, with himself and our Country -- and Judging from appearances, a worse representative of our Country could hardly have been chosen -- Indeed it would seem that unfitness is the highest qualification in the eyes of the present administration. Soule to Madrid a Refugee Italian to Genoa, and a Firebrand to Turin ---- -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- It is wonderful that Lester is still out of service. The Govt did show some discretion in appointing me Commercial Agent here, but I showed quite as much by declining the Commission. I have been offered a commission to Decorate with Sculptures the north front of the new Capitol Buildings but have declined it. Mr Crawford has accepted the south front --

It is too late now for me to spend 5 or 6 years upon a labor of that kind -- I must make the most of the 20 years of active life (at most as chances may go) remaining -- A single statue, such as I am now doing may bring me more credit than a dozen would placed on the pediment of the Capitol at Washington. And as for money, I care but little for it so that my young ones can live and be properly educated.

There is another reason against my accepting such an order. It has been offered not by Congress but by Capt Meigs by the consent and advice of the President and Secretary of War, but not openly -- Congress turned my "America" out of doors when they unanimously voted the Equestrian Statue of Washington to Mr Clark Mills -- My humble pretensions were treated with Contempt -- I will not decorate the outer walls of a building within which I have virtually been deemed unworthy to enter by the unanimous vote of its Representatives -- I have now no heart to do any thing for the Government--nor do I want a commission now--for it would bring with it no distinction or honor that I could acknowledge, or feel. So far as Art is concerned, the merest rabble is as wise and as judicious as Congress has proved itself to be. I have studied -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- and labored too hard and to[o] long to be willing to take my place--second to Mr Clark Mills -- I have written a careful letter upon this subject to Mr Meigs and another to Mr AtLee [?] of Washington, giving the substance of the above but avoiding all personalities or allusions that might prove offensive. They have answered, and still urge me to accept, but I shall not -- Mr Meigs does not wish this matter to be public for the present --

We hope you will be able to come here again before going home--and I trust you may yet do so -- I should like you to see my "La Penserosa" --

We are now in some Anxiety about the prospect of war -- A few days I suppose will show how matters are to go, and then we shall know what to provide for or against. If Austria goes with England & France we shall feel secure in remaining here, but otherwise it might be well to prepare for leaving. I should not like to expose my family to the hazards of another revolution -- Was ever a Government in so deplorable a position as Austria? Death staring her in the face on all sides! She will have to choose soon what may seem to her the longest death--who pities her? --

I put a letter for George in the office yesterday, it is from Woodstock and was directed to Casa Grazzini. I redirected it to the care of Pakenham & Hooker Rome--

We are all in excellent health and all join in affectionate regards to you all -- Mr Kellogg and Mr Gould are well I believe -- pray write to me now and then for your letters never fail to give us much pleasure -- I write to you carelessly as I would to a brother well assured that you will overlook all errors of grammar amp;c.,

Yours ever,

H. Powers.

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