Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD and MARY CHURCHILL BAIRD, dated June 30, 1870.
Dear Spencer & Mary
I cry you mercy! Miseremini mei! pecavi! mea culpa! Having made humble penitence I will answer your letter orderly, beginning at the beginning and leaving off at the end.
I think the Italian ministry will do right about the duties hereafter. Can't promise restitution for the past. Circulars arrived only a few days ago & are all distributed
The box of pub. doc for me is, as I am advised from New York, on the way, but will hardly arrive until I am off for Paris to see Dr Sims. We shall go on the 1' of July [if the?] fear of the small-pox doth not deter us.
We envy you your summer excursion, though the yachting
part, if you are to sail anywhere where the water would be "over my head" is less tempting. At any rate, if you catch any good fish, I would help you eat them, & thereby strengthen & reinforce the brains of us all with phosphorus & other needful material.
There hath been the devil to pay among the celestials. Scientific Schiff hath pitched into scientific Parlatore, and
scientific Eccher (Italian for hecker) hath pitched into Schiff. I am afraid it will
end in driving the Goths out of Italy. There were Moleschott,
two Schiffs, Hecker, Herzen, & I know not how many other Dutchmen, all
outlandishmen, & unbelievers at that, invited by Catholic Italy to be the
teachers of their youth. Well, Herzen rudely attacks Monsigneur Lambruschini, no scientific indeed, but a gentleman, & Schiff
most [...]ably attacked Parletore at a [...] of conversation, without the slightest
previous hint of dissatisfaction, & all Florence is thrown into a hubbub by
[The following written vertically.]
the ill-breeding of these foreigners. I like Schiff very much, but I think, in this matter, that he has behaved in the most unjustifiable way. This of course . There is much more scientific life & activity in Italy than the Dutch are willing to admit, but the general [poverty?] of the government and people is a great drawback in these days, when science is hardly to be had .
References in this letter:
Latin: Woe is me! I have sinned! I am guilty!
Dr. J Marion Sims, a gynecologist practicing in Paris, had operated on Caroline Crane Marsh for a noncancerous tumor of the womb in 1865.
The German physiologist, Moritz Schiff (1823-1896), performed controversial vivisections that provided new information about spinal cord physiology and clarified the role of the autonomic nervous system. In 1876 he was forced to leave Florence for the University of Geneva.
Filippo Parlatore (1816-1877) was an Italian botanist.
Jacob Moleschott (1822-1893) was a Dutch physician and physiologist who taught in Turin and Rome. He specialized in the metabolism of plans and animals.
The German physiologist, Moritz Schiff (1823-1896), performed controversial vivisections that provided new information about spinal cord physiology and clarified the role of the autonomic nervous system. In 1876 he was forced to leave Florence for the University of Geneva. In 1863 his brother, Hugo Josef Schiff (1834-1915), who was an organic chemist, was invited by the physicist Carlo Matteucci to teach in Florence; he remained in Italy.
Friedrich Franz Karl Hecker (1811-1881) fought for parliamentary democracy in Germany. He was the leader of the radical republican in Baden during the period from 1847 to 1849.
Aleksander Ivanovich Herzen (1812-1870) was a Russian revolutionary leader and writer.
Considered to be extremely conscrvative, Cardinal Luigi Lambruschini (1776-1854) was papal secretary of state under Gregory XVI from 1836 to 1846.