Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to CHARLES ELIOT NORTON, dated July 2, 1864.
My dear Sir
I have owed you a letter for a long time, but the delay to reply more definitely to
your proposal on the subject of contribution to the North
American has arisen from causes beyond my control. I had become engaged in
preparation for a work which would have engrossed all my leisure for some months,
and it is but very recently that I have come to the conclusion to postpone the
execution of it, if not to abandon the project
altogether. The term you offer for articles for the Review are very liberal, and the rate of compensation is very considerably above what I have received, or am likely to receive, for anything I have yet published. I shall therefore be very glad to furnish occasional articles, and have already made many notes with a view to that object, but thus far the other occupation I have mentioned has prevented me from reducing them into shape. Beside this, I find my pen constantly straying into forbidden ground and before
I can finish anything, I must wait for a period--I will not say of greater leisure, for of time or measured by hours, I have enough, but--of greater recueillement, which will, I hope, come later in the season.
I shall keep the subject constantly before me, and hope to send something in a few weeks.
Our latest American news as to June 23, announcing a repulse of
Grant before Petersburg. This in telegraphic, & I hope not so bad
as Mr Reuter makes it. The defeat of the
proposal for amendment of the Constitution on the subject of slavery is
doing us much mischief, and will do us much
more. I heartily wish--but I fear it is a vain hope, that the administration could be induced to plant itself on an anti-slavery platform. We shall have no signal success--deserve none--till then. I know not what to make of a statement by the N York correspondent of the London Daily News: that Mr Lincoln's nomination was carried, or at least accompanied, by a pledge on his part to dismiss Seward & Stanton--I see nothing of this in the American papers. I should regret to see Mr Seward's foreign policy made the cause for his removal. I certainly am far enough from approving his apparent lukewarmness on the slavery question-- though I suppose Mr Blair to have controlled the President much more effectually on this point, than Mr S. has done--but his management of our foreign relations seems to me emi- [the following appears at the top and left side of the page beginning "Turin July 2 1864"]
nently discrete and able. Is there any truth in this statement, and if so, who is to succeed him? Is "nobody to blame" for Bank's wretched failures, or will somebody be held accountable?
Very truly yoursGeo P. Marsh
References in this letter:
The North American Review, founded in 1815, was one of the most important American periodicals of the nineteenth century. James Russell Lowell was its editor, with Norton, from 1863 to 1872.
French: meditation, contemplation.
In June 1864, Union assaults on Petersburg, Virginia, twenty miles south of Richmond, failed, leading to a siege of the city that lasted until April, 1865.
Paul Julius Reuter (1816-1899), a German native, founded Reuter's News Agency after moving to England in 1851.
Amendment XIII to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was passed by the Senate 38-6 on April 8, 1864, but defeated in the House of Representatives 95-66 on June 15. It was later passed by the House on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6.
Edwin Lawrence Godkin (1831-1902), a native of Ireland, who emigrated to the United States in 1856, was correspondent for the London Daily News during the Civil War, and founded the Nation in 1865. Later he was editor of the New York Evening Post.
William Seward (1801-1872) was U.S. Secretary of State 1861-69.
A Democrat, Edwin McMasters Stanton (1814-1869) was nonetheless a strong unionist. He served as U.S. Attorney General under James Buchanan and in 1862 Lincoln made him Secretary of War. He was identified with the Radicals during the Reconstruction period.
Montgomery Blair (1813-1883) was U.S. Postmaster General 1861-64. After the war, he sought moderation for the South and was against the disenfranchisement of the Southern whites and the enfranchisement of the Southern blacks.
General Nathaniel P. Banks was generally considered to have been responsible for the failure of the Red River camaign in Louisiana (March-May 1864).