Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD and MARY CHURCHILL BAIRD, dated September 15, 1848.
I left my son with D Siedhof until the adjournment of Congress, when, as I
found they would part with mutual satisfaction, I took him away, and left him at his
grandfather's to await my decision as to another school. He has learned a good deal
of German, and speaks it with considerable fluency, though he hath a contempt for
the superstitious observance of rules touching genders and cases, but so far as I
can discover has made very little progress in anything else; and learned as
D S. certainly is, I think he is far from being apt to teach. In the
keeping of accounts, however, he is exemplary; all errors, of which there are many,
being in his own favour, and no fractions
of terms being regarded. George went to Newton near a month after the beginning of the first term, & remained, upon sufferance only, three weeks after the beginning of the fourth, yet D S. sees no cause why I should not pay him for the whole year, & send me a bill, which, with former ones, amounts to $540 for little over, nine months instruction and board, including a little clothing & a few books. He confesses in his letter that his Forderung seems to himself unbillig, when he compares it mit dem wirklich , and I am of the same opinion; but as Dr Sears and Prof. Beck thinks it all right, he concludes it must be so, and makes demand accordingly. I shall pay his bill at the .
I had thought of sending George to Gettysburg, where, I had been told that German was thoroughly taught, but Prof. [...] writes that their German Professorship is vacant, though he says the Professors all speak it, except himself. I do not think G. qualified to enter college, & I should put him in the Preparatory Dept. if I sent him there.
Do you know anything of the school? & have you learned anything concerning the Bethlehemites and Nazarenes?
I don't know whether you have heard, that I have lost my election by a matter of 500 votes. I am not enough, it seems, & many of my old friends are going for a Loco, who was a Texas for slavery man, until he was nominated for Congress by the van Burenites. The final result is very doubtful, although I have a plurality of several hundred.
Mrs Marsh remains much as when you saw her. She was much exhausted by the journey, & was able to travel no further than to Massachusetts She is now in Rhode Island, & will remain there until I return to Washington. We shall take Carlisle in on our way, if Mrs M. is strong enough, but unless she improves, we can only go by the shortest route.
Your sincere friendGeo. P. Marsh
Not having heard from your husband, since
he left Washington, I have some fear that he is gone altogether astray in the wilds of Pennsylvania, and hath been swallowed by an anaconda or torn in sunder by a catamount. Did he bring home a goodly lot of Salamanders? Hath he read the newspaper accounts of the seaserpent seen on the mountain here in Manchester, and doth he religiously believe it? Will he chain up his asps and his cockatrices, so that they shall not endanger us, when we go to Carlisle a pleasuring? Doth thy little one affect Basilisks for her chief pets, and are her rattles made of the tails of Klapperschlangen? Give my best respects to thy mother and believe me
Thine ancient friend
References in this letter:
A time that will never arrive.
Begun in 1847 as part of the opposition to the extenision of slavery into new territories, the Free- Soil Party was composed of New York Democrats and antislavery Whigs. They backed Martin Van Buren in his failed bid for the Presidency against Zachary Taylor, but were successful in electing Salmon P. Chase of Ohio to the U.S. Senate and thirteen representatives to the House. In 1854 they were absorbed into the newly formed Republican Party.
The Locofocos were a group of New York Democrats who split from the Party in 1835 to support the extension of Andrew Jackson's policy against the national bank to state banks and monopolies. After Martin Van Buren adopted most of their program, they rejoined the Democrats.