Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated April 25, 1859.
I am as unfit to succeed Dr V[...], as I should be to follow you. What can I say more? I hate boys, hate tuition, hate forms, and possess only one qualification for the place, namely poverty, and this, I grieve to say is shared in as high a degree by some. others I know. I am extremely obliged to you & others for the trouble you have taken, but the objections ( I won't take up your time by detailing them) are infinite, & I have written to Pennington that I must positively decline.
Answer me in the fewest
words (I quake when I see the . of your letters) . How many more volumes ( I have ) will there be of the Pacific RR Report? , Has Dr Bachmann or somebody else repeated Daines Barrington's experiments, & found out that birds have a , and don't adopt the song of the , after all, the said Daines having humbugged himself & his readers in maintaining, that it was all a matter of imitation?
We do jointly salute you jointly
Yours trulyG. P. Marsh
Please present my regards & thanks to Mr Henry for
the good word I hear he spoke in my behalf.
References in this letter:
In 1853, the War Department supported a series of expeditions to determine the best of four routes for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. The Smithsonian Institution appointed naturalists to accompany the parties and organized the supplies and equipment. The final report was published in 1860.
The zoologist John Bachmann (1790-1874) collaborated with John J. Audubon for whom he collected specimens. He wrote the text for Audubon's books on quadrupeds.
A British jurist, Daines Barrington (1727-1800) devoted his efforts after retirement to the study of antiquity and natural history. He wrote several books on natural history and the possibility of reaching the North Pole.