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Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated January 8, 1866.

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Title: Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated January 8, 1866.


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882


  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton, 1823-1887

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Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter


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Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated January 8, 1866., Original located at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washinton, D.C., RU7002., (accessed January 16, 2018)

Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated January 8, 1866.

Transcribed by :

TEI mark-up by : James P. Tranowski and

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Florence Jany 8 1866

Dear Baird

Wishing you and yours, in my wife's name as well as my own, a happy New Year, these are to inform you that your letters of Oct 14 and of October 28 came duly to hand. The book of volatiles, of which you make mention in the former has not been received, a thing not strange considering that Washington is twice as far from Florence as Genoa is and that a case of rare books, gathered for me in Spain with much pains-taking, was forwarded to or rather towards me from Genoa on the 27'- of Nov. and is not come, nor can by any possibility be heard of. My anathema on the scoundrel railroaders, and on all railroaders whom I loathe with all my soul. Had the box contained wine, fruit, clothing, or anything the wretches could drink, eat or wear, they would have stolen it of course, but of what use, I pray you, are Catalan chronicles and poems to engineers and navvies? I think the cursed stoker has used them to light his fires withal.

As to Salvadore Prof. c, some said he was here, some there, other some- nowhere, a myth, a yankee invention. Others again said you had been led astray by an odd way these people have of writing their -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- names wrong end foremost, and that though there might be a Prof. Salvadore x x x x, there was not, and in the nature of things could not be, a Prof. x x x x Salvadore. In the end, I was advised of a cunning man to send the letter to Prof. Michele Le[n]ona, whilom of Genoa, now of Turin, who is represented as knowing all professors actual and potential, which I did. I perceive now that you asked me to read the letter. I forgot it and didn't read a word of it. What was it all about? I doubt me much 'twas an account of many complimentary remarks about "our most distinguished ambassador at the Court of Florence and his accomplished spouse," that you wanted me to read it.

En sieht nicht gut aus with your exchanges. There are but two fit points of distribution, namely Leghorn & Genoa. Leghorn being now preferable, but at Leghorn is nothing. Malteucci says the scientific associations of Italy are not organised so as be able to do any such thing; if they would. I can't see why. There is the Museo a Fisica e Storia Naturale, which might do it, but won't. Malteucci suggested the Ministry of Public Instruction, but when I said there would be cases to store and send hither and thither he doubted. He thought the other way to exchange was for you to send a list of what you had to give and what you wanted to get, & then, in continuance of time, arrange -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- a swap, which is nonsense, in regard that Methuselah himself would have made but one exchange in all his life by that process.

I suggest two things your system of exchange,
First, Give me details of bulk & number of packages, general character of [...] , number of points of distribution, returns expected, & especially expenses, for your Italian is ticklish in the purse and whether you will pay freight both ways, & give everybody a small present of say--a franc or two or five, besides.
Second and best. Have the U.S. consuls charged with this duty everywhere, by instructions from the Dept., or special law. Some governments do this, even benighted Spain. You may subscribe for books pub. by the Sp. gov't, at any Sp. consul's office, anywhere, pay your money & get your books at his office.

Thou knowest I love thy wife, and I do heartily rejoice at her improvement. I wish I could say that my own was improving. She has been exceedingly ill, & has some very bad symptoms still, but she has no faith in Doctors. I am very anxious about her & she is at times a good deal apprehensive as to her real character and tendencies of her ailments -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- a better account of Lucy. The sorrows of the past year have made me suddenly an old man, though, so far as physical strength is concerned, I have not decayed much. I took many a long walk in the Alps last Summer, &, was, one day fifteen hours on foot over glacier & moraine, which last is a hard road to travel. Lucy shall have more autographs.

Mrs Marsh joins me in affectionate salutations to you all Give also my kind regards to Prof. Henry.

Yours truly

G P Marsh note:Prof Baird

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