Letter from CHARLES ELIOT NORTON to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated March 26, 1861.

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Publication InformationCambridge. 26 March. 1861.

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My dear Sir

I am truly obliged to you for your kind note.

I should have accepted with pleasure the Secretaryship of the Mission to Italy, could I have received it at your hands, or with your approval from the Administration without personal solicitation. There are many reasons which would make it especially agreeable to me to be in Italy at this time, but I should probably never have thought of the

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Secretaryship had not you been appointed Minister. There are few persons under whom I should have wished to hold this place.

If the Secretaryship should become vacant during your residence in Italy, I should, so far as I can now tell, be much pleased to fill it. I thank you cordially for what you say in regard to this matter, & for your kind expressions to me.

The only persons, outside of my own family, to whom I have spoken concerning the

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Secretaryship are Lowell and Mr Sumner. I wrote to Mr Sumner to ask him, in case you had not presented the name of any other candidate for the place, to be good enough to put my name before the Administration, but my letter to him did not reach Washington until after the appointment of Mr Fry had been determined on.


I am heartily glad that you are going as Minister to Italy. It is a great satisfaction that America is to be so represented there. My only

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regret connected with your going is lest the publication of your promised book be deferred.

With my best respects to Mrs Marsh & yourself and with kind regards from my Mother & sisters, I am,

dear Sir,Very truly YoursCharles E. Norton.

References in this letter:

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891), poet, critic, and professor at Harvard, was editor of the Atlantic Monthly 1857-1861.

Charles Sumner (1811-1874), a founder of the Republican party, was U.S. Senator from Massachusetts 1851-1874.

William Fry, appointed by President Buchanan to be Secretary of Legation in Turin, resigned the post before ever filling it.

Either The Origin and History of the English Language, and of the Early Literature It Embodies, 1862, or Man and Nature; or Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action, 1864.