page top

Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated April 2, 1863.

Add to bookbag Add to Bookbag | Bookbag (0)

Item Description

Title: Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated April 2, 1863.


  • Powers, Hiram, 1805-1873


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882

Source Document

Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter

Note [Digital Version]

, Center for Digital Initiatives, University of Vermont Libraries

Type of Resource: text

Parent Collections

Other Formats

Access Conditions

For usage rights related to this resource please visit:
More information.

Permanent Link:

Preferred citation

Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated April 2, 1863., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed January 23, 2018)

Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated April 2, 1863.

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 April 2d 1863

My Dear Marsh,

I venture so to address you for the first time--having got over the awe I have heretofore felt in the presence of an American Minister -- A dignitary--of the first water--once in my eyes, but now--alas--either my eyes have become dim--or the lustre of the title is gone -- But be not offended--if I take you yourself--nearer home to me--only doubting the value of the setting --

Our Country is truly in no condition--just now--to receive company--most beautiful and promising once -- She is now down--and groaning under a loathsome disease -- Doctors and nurses only--should be admitted to her presence -- Nevertheless--She lies exposed before the whole world--and what is worse--some of her own children--stand near--and delight in lifting the curtains which ought to cover her nakedness -- Of these a writer signing himself "Manhattan" is most conspicuous -- But the worst of all is--that such scoundrels are tolerated in our land of liberty! --

I see what you see--and feel as you feel--my dear friend! -- We are in an awful fix! -- We are in the wine vat, undergoing a terrible fermentation--and how we shall come out of it--depends on the amount of pure spirit in the liquor! --Every nation has had to undergo this trial and we are now upon ours -- The fermentation is powerful without a parallel-- -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- there has never been a Civil war like this--which shows--that the Spirit of our Country is strong-- --for good or for evil--which is it? -- An important question--for whichever it is--that is to come out of it -- In other words--we are to be all Slaves--or all freemen --

The Southerners who fight so manfully for Slavery--will fight equally hard against it--when the attempt is made to enslave them by their rulers -- They--that is--the masses are fighting now for an idea of freedom--while Southern Journals have already begun to throw off the mask, and declare for a Despotism -- A peaceful Southern Confederacy can therefore never exist--nor can a northern liberal Union--ever exist in peace with such a neighbor--and so I conclude that this war is bound to go on in despite of all compromises--until we are all Slaves or all freemen--a gloomy prospect--but we have no other before us -- Some of the peace democrats appear to feel the crack of Southern "nine tails" received in exchange for their support of the rebellion -- They have found out that the South won't have them even as a gift and so they are now all for the vigorous prosecution of the war -- I thought it would be so--and shall not be surprised if they try to take the lead --

I still stick to my comparison--of the Terrier and Badger -- North and South are in the same barrel together, and both cannot come out alive --We have got to whip or be whipped--and we are -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- fast coming to that conviction--even the peace democrats begin to see it, and when this is quite clear to the whole country--then the war will begin in earnest -- We shall then begin to hang traitors at home--and smash up the printing establishments of the "N York World" "Journal of Commerce" c --

I am afraid that your opinion of Genl McClellan is right. He herds with men of peace--not of war--and that is enough for me --

The late discussion in Parliament about fitting out ships to prey on our Commerce--will do good to our Cause -- It will unite the north to a man for the war--even with England--if any more Nashvilles are allowed to go out -- I could hardly suppress my indignation--and I do not believe that our people will take it cooly--for it is war upon our commerce, waged by great Britain--She supplying ships--arms--men and money -- Words weigh nothing against facts -- We must answer words with words--and facts with facts -- Lord Palmerston says there is no law to prevent Alabamas going out, and he scoffs at the idea of making a law for it -- This means war if it means any thing and the sooner we make reprisals the better -- We should seize on British property within our reach--leaving it for England to declare war --

My own case here is not so bad as I expected -- I have sold some works and made some portrait busts, and have not been forced to draw money from home--but this cannot last much longer. I shall have to draw at a great loss if the war continues -- My last bust if of Mr George Peabody--whose views about -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- American affairs are not so satisfactory as I could wish -- I make all due allowance however for his associations --

Mrs Marsh['s] bust is still in the model -- I have not had time to go further with it -- I shall enclose a photograph of a bust of my new Eve--"Eve disconsolate"

Longworth and Preston are doing pretty well together as photographers--and help to keep all afloat in these hard times --

I shall send my statue of Jefferson off soon -- It is almost finished in marble -- I suppose I shall be paid in green backs, which will take away all profits from the Commission -- I am bound to deliver the statue to the government in New York--otherwise I might demand Gold -- The final payment on the Franklin already sent out and what will be due on the Jefferson amounts to $10,000 -- My loss however will be so much paid to the war--and that is my only consolation --

Tell Mrs Marsh that I am quite as restive, and unhappy as you are about the way matters are going on, at home--and but for my work should do nothing but worry about it.

Your letter came like a friend in the desert--bringing no good tidings--to be sure--but delightful companionship. The weary waste has brightened up and that forsaken feeling which of late has so much oppressed me--is gone -- I am glad to hear of your literary progress and shall welcome your books with an interest greater than ever -- All unite in affectionate regards,

Hiram Powers --

Last news from Louisa--all well and happy -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- April 4th I forgot about the Seeds. -- We have only a bit of a garden, but could plant a few seeds along the wall, therefore do send us some if there should be an opportunity soon --

I might give some to friends who have ample ground for planting--and thus get a present of green corn c

You speak of the hard winter at Turin -- Here we have had an unusually mild one--not even a flake of snow! and the spring is unusually early -- Those storms which caused the avalanches on Mount Cenis--fell here in mild rain--nearly causing another inundation --

I wish you could come and live here, for I suppose my own lot is cast here for the future -- May God grant it otherwise--for I long to go home -- But when I consider the case of our Country--and how long it must be before real peace is restored--even with the greatest possible success--my own few remaining years--at best--fall far short of the mark--and at home I could do little or nothing to support the cause --

If your works shall prove successful then perhaps you might find it to your advantage to come here--live in quiet and cheaply--and certainly more happily than at home -- But events--not now far off will enlighten us upon these matters -- The crisis is really at hand --

P.S. You must suppose one hand of Eve pressed in her bosom--to realize the expression of the bust -- The statue is so --

Add a comment:


* Optional

User Comments