Letter from AUSTIN JACOBS COOLIDGE to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated May 17, 1858.
Hon. Geo. P. Marsh
My dear Sir,
I have not forgotten to thank you for your kind suggestions and valuable additions to one manuscript, which my long omission to acknowledge the receipt of the last half of the M.S. might seem to imply. From the haste in which I reviewed the part not written by me, I am ashamed that you were called to correct blunders in grammar. They were mostly, I noticed, where the ear is deceived by the Sound-- as connecting a singular noun with a plural verb, where the word in connection was plural.
Your criticisms upon the propriety of using severe terms I thought quite timely. My colleague in authorship has thought such language in these instances no more than just--but I have persuaded him that no fault will be found with us, if we are not fully up to the mark of public censors, in a work of this nature. Accordingly, instead of the long extract from the school report of Mr Adams, we have rewritten and abridged that part, & referred simply to the report in a note.
We shall hope at some convenient opportunity to show you the proof sheets of the work, and receive
as favorable an opinion as you may deem it proper and just to express. Our aim is not simply to make a book, we trust, (although that ought not to be entirely lost sight of after so great expense,) but to be faithful in obtaining the best and most reliable account, -- of men and places, and to arrange it in such form as shall give the greatest practical utility to the work. We have thought such a labor would supply a -- desideratum that no mere gazetteer has yet been able to do, while the bringing together all New England into a compendious form would give the book great additional value as a work of reference. As I intimated, I have been to great expense in procuring illustrations--original, and mostly from ambrotypes and photographs--to be made, and the first volume will contain from 60 -- to -- 75 of them. In these , we shall even hope to conform to facts. -- But I am troubling you too long with this.
Will you have the kindness to inform me upon this point.
Thompson gives the area of the state even to a fraction--9.056 1/4 square miles. From the valuation table of the legislature for 1855, which also sets down the area of each town, I have made up the aggregate of square miles contained in all the towns, and find them to fall short of the above mentioned area some 1500 square miles--making only an aggregate of about 7500 square miles
I find also the footings of the counties fall short,
in about the same proportion, of the published reckonings. -- My aggregate for Addison county, for instance, makes 652 square miles, while Thompson states it at 700, and Lippincott at 750 square miles. Lake Champlain, and all the gores and unincorporated lands in the State will not supply a quarter part of this deficiency. I do not know what the areas given in this valuation table are taken from, nor yet those given in Thompson, nor which is to be relied upon; but the discrepancy is certainly too great to admit the correctness of both. If you can give me light on this point, you will oblige me much. -
Very Respectfully YoursA. J. Coolidge
P.S. Will you please state what material change, if any, the late great fire will require us to make in our statistics of Burlington? -- or will the damage be so quickly repaired, as to make allusion to the fire only necessary as a event? --
References in this letter:
Zadock Thompson, A Gazetteer of the State of Vermont; consisting of a brief general view of the state, a historical and topographical description of all the counties, towns and rivers c, together with a map and several other engravings. Montpelier: E.P. Walton and the author, 1824. Zadock Thompson, (1796-1856), was a naturalist, an amateur botanist and geologist, and a prolific author on the natural history of the state of Vermont.
J. B. Lippincott & Co. published many atlases.
A. J. (Austin Jacobs) Coolidge was a publisher as well as the author of several books including History and Description of New England: Vermont with J. B. Mansfield. Boston: A. J. Coolidge, 1860.