Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated April 25, 1849.
I am glad you've got rid of your flowery associate. It is better for both. Thirty
seven cents isn't enough for a poor translation, & I agree with you in
believing that you'll find it easier to make a new one than to mend his. How many
pages can you in a day? I translated, certain days since, a description
of a new reflecting circle, and was boggled by the poverty of our English tongue,
and I confess it with shame, not always sure of the meaning of the Teutonic.
Give me the title of the books of directions for travellers, that I may order the same speedily.
I rejoice with you over your salamanders and other creeping things. May they multiply
and fill Carlisle, even as the frogs did Egypt--after we have been there. My hopes
are rather rising in the matter of the mission, but the cabinet hasteth not, and
delays are dangerous. Mr Bache is, and has been a good while, absent. I hold your
case to be safe, [line missing]
dite the movements of so unwieldy a body as a scientific corporation. The board will sanction anything Mr Henry & Mr Bache recommend. I advise you to cultivate Mr B. because though not more friendly to you than Mr H. he is a man more prompt (ask thy helpmeet whether one should say ) in action.
I hope my friend at Burlington will have pickled you a keg of menobranchi. Mrs Marsh
has been much worse for ten days, & will not be able to travel for sometime.
It is totally uncertain
how long we shall remain here -- My love doth always follow thee and thine.
Thine ancient friendG P Marsh
References in this letter:
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.
The geophysicist Alexander Dallas Bache (1806-1867) served as Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey from 1843 to 1867 and was one of the influential members of the Smithsonian Board of Regents from 1846 through the 1859 term.