Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated September 13, 1854.

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Publication InformationBurlington Sept 13 54

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Unfortunate youth

'Tis melancholy to perceive by the state of your letter, that all my warnings have been thrown away,) and that your pranks have brought you to that bad place at last. You affect indeed to talk of your visit, & speak of , but I can see that your visit to Sing-Sing is no voluntary one, [...] your very handwriting shows the effect of rigid wristlets I always prophesied it would come to this. I hope you're not for life. Is your uniform green and red, as it is in , or have you something more fanciful? Do they give you the iced shower-bath, or the cab when you are refractory? Have you got through the initiatory stage, or are you still in ? Have you a treadmill? Is Mary allowed to see you sometimes, & could you get leave to come out on parole for a day, & meet me on Saturday at New York, at the Irving House?

Not knowing your whereabouts, I wrote you through Gilliss lately refuting your pretences about writing to me at Boston, & hope you have got my letter. I shall go to New York on Thursday or Friday & spend one day only, at the Irving House. I wish I could find time to run up

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and see dear Mary for an hour, but I don't think it will be possible, as I shall be obliged to attend to getting my effects out of the government store house, & forwardi[ng] them to Vermont. My wife is, I suppose, at last Greenwich R.I. whither I go on Saturday even[ing] probably, & shall bring her home next week I cannot well go to Washington before about the [1st] of December, by which time I hope to find you well refreshed, & Mary quite restored. If you don't come to N.Y. on Saturday, let me find a line at the Irving House saying where I shall leave a small packet for you, & if you come after I am gone out, you will find at the office a note saying where I am gone, & when I shall be in. My Arabian herbal is the delight of such botanist[s] as have seen it. There are several hundred specimens. It goes to Dr Wislizenus, & his friend Dr Engelmann of St Louis. I have heard two or three times from Gilliss. What a real jewel of a man he is! Well, I wish I deserved such good friends, but I a miserable miner in the way of doing as I am done by. Love to Mary, wherein thyself & thy friends are included

Farewell Truly yoursG. P. MarshProf. S. F. Baird

References in this letter:

James Melville Gilliss (1811-1865) was both a naval officer and astronomer. He was responsible for proposing and supervising the building of Naval Observatory in Washington, DC (1842-1844). In 1846 he was assigned to the U.S. Coast Survey and spent several years in Chile conducting astronomical observations. The Gilliss family, based in Washington, became close friends of the Marshes and the Bairds.

Frederick Adolph Wislizenus (1810-1889), a German born physician, emigrated to the United States in 1835. He published a scientific account of his trip to Chihuahua, Mexico in Memoirs of a Tour to Northern Mexico, Connected with Colonel Doniphan's Expedition in 1846 and 1847. (Washington: Tippin and Streeper, 1848). In 1850 he married Lucy Crane, Caroline Crane Marsh's sister; they settled in St. Louis where he practiced medicine.