Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD and MARY CHURCHILL BAIRD, dated October 6, 1848.
Dear Spencer & dear Mary
I am sorry I have given you so much trouble about schools, & have pretty much
determined on sending George to Andover, where I was (awful thought) before either
of you was born. Litiz is naught, and Gettysburg is nix. Nazareth is better, and
mercersburg and [allerchester?], & peradventure, I may take George thither
another year, but not this. So make no further inquiries. I congratulate you on your
monopoly of Agassiz, & shall give you and
him all and comfort with Prof. Henry. Put your
proposal into tangible form, & it shall not lack support from me. Lo a
discovery! Henceforth Vermont houseth her own mammoths. Proclaim to Agassiz that
last week in excavating the summit level of the Rutland Rail Road at Mount Holly,
beneath a bog, & in a bed of gravel, 12 feet below, the surface, was found a
perfect grinder of a mammoth, mastodon or other mammal beast, It is sound, processes
& all, & not much fossilized, not rolled or worn, whence I argued
that the rest of the skeleton would be found near, and urged special care in further
excavations, which men in authority promised a true report. These eyes have seen,
these hands manipulated, the molar. I prayed Director Rodgers to send Agassiz the
bauble, & peradvanture he will. Let Agassiz send a boy, or come himself, and
dig. All men shall aid him.
I hope the people of the 3' District here in Vermont will be wise but when a majority of 1500 shrinketh to a minority of 500, men know not what to think. I have spoken to the multitude much, sometimes seven hours in a day, & shall speak more yea, I shall reason with them continually until Nov 7' when I hope there will be an end.
Before I determine upon the missionary question I must be advised touching the fees & profits. I do nothing for nothing, let the reverend fathers understand that. What countryman is Master Nadal? There be Portugals of that name. I trust he is none. His funeral discourse is good. Tell him that. Mrs Marsh has spent several weeks at East Greenwich R.I. a very fischreich sort of place for the benefit of sea bathing, but with no advantage, and is as feeble as when we left Washington. I am greatly concerned about her, & fear her case will prove a confirmed one of spinal disease. I believe she needs rest and freedom from excitement beyond all other things, but there is nothing harder of attainment than just to be let alone. She is rightly sought unto, and persecuted of all men and women whithersoever she goes. This is complimentary and pleasing but too much of a good thing c. I am glad Mary is studying German: Let her not put her trust in [...] but study also. Heyse Schulgrammatik, or the like, and read much of Tieck, be at hand, let her read the autobiography of the Kaiser Tonelli in the 9' vol. & if she laugheth not [...] than she hath laughed yet. I am no true man. My poor Frau's health makes it more than doubtful whether we can go to Carlisle this fall, but I hope, faintly, that we may, and so farewell. Your affectionate friend
G P Marsh
References in this letter:
Swiss born zoologist and geologist, Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) emigrated to the U.S. in 1846 to join the faculty at Harvard where he became a leading figure in American science. He a member of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian and initially supported Baird but later disparaged his scientific accomplishments and, in 1863, attempted to block Baird's election to the National Academy of Sciences.
Trained as a physicist, Joseph Henry (1797-1878) was professor of natural philosophy at Princeton University where he conducted original research on electricity and magnetism. When the Smithsonian Institution was created, he was chosen as its first Secretary. From 1846 to 1878 Henry established basic policies and defined the scope of the Smithsonian's activities.
Johann Christian August Heyse., Theoretisch praktische deutsche Schulgrammatik. Hannover 1847.
Ludwig Tieck Merkwürdige Lebensgeschichte Sr. Majestät Abraham Tonelli